Like the Knave of Hearts [MultiFormat]
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eBook by J. Blackmore
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
eBook Description: At least two generations have grown up watching Disney's animated classic Alice in Wonderland. This year, with Tim Burton's live-action remake, we were all given the chance to revisit this magical place. How is Wonderland different for adults? What new experiences would we have there, all these years later? Wonderland viewed by adult eyes is a very different place indeed, taking on a whole new dimension when elements of the erotic are introduced. The results are strange, troubling, and whimsical. This collection features five writers who were given the chance to explore the themes of adulthood and eroticism in the context of Lewis Carroll's work. The resulting stories range from deeply romantic to starkly erotic, and are far-reaching in their imaginative scope. Their visions range from the ridiculous to the deeply dangerous. These are stories of pasts revisited, imaginations awakened, and fears faced. Includes: -*- Lily White by Morwenna Drake -*- A World of Her Own by Alex Picchetti -*- Tarts and Tea by Holly Abair -*- A Wasp, a Wig, and a Wanton Woman by Gary Westfahl -*- Wonders Wild and New by Verity Penvenen
eBook Publisher: Circlet Press, Published: 2010, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2010
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2 Reader Ratings:
We're all mad here. We were drawn to Alice as children. We agreed that a book without pictures or conversations is seriously lacking, and that even insanity has a certain logic to it. We grew up with Alice, and she has grown up too. These are stories of a Wonderland that has become darker, sexier, more complicated, and infinitely more wonderful in the telling. The authors in this book tell tales of a world where dreams are real and always have happy endings. They believe that the journey through this place leaves the wanderer richer, wiser, and satisfied.
Morwenna Drake imagines what life may be like for the royal court of the White King and Queen. The world through the looking glass is likened to a giant chessboard, and those who dare it must keep their wits about them. "Lily White" tells the story of a young princess whose aimless life is transformed by a walk through the squares. As we journey with Lily, we too learn the six valuable rules one must follow to balance fantasy and pleasure with everyday life.
But we must return to Alice. How could she possibly have coped with growing up and away from Wonderland? Alex Picchetti thinks that she could have left a bit of herself behind there, a mirror image of her more mature thoughts and wishes. "A World of Her Own" is about Alice's very grown-up adventures. Married now, she occasionally slips back through the glass to lose herself in exotic pleasures. Refreshed by these experiences, she can go on with her sedate Victorian life.
However, Alice could also have forced herself to forget Wonderland, out of fear or a need to fit in. Holly Abair thinks that Alice may have learned to hide her longing. In "Tarts and Tea," Alice has fled from her dreams for years, but is given the chance to return to them on the eve of her wedding. The world she finds has been transformed by her neglect into a land of misery and nightmares, but there is still hope, because that is one thing that Alice has never given up.
Gary Westfahl reminds us that Alice was a logical, pragmatic child; selfish and wise, generous and mocking. He can't imagine she would be so very different as a woman and, maybe as a prank, sets her down willy-nilly in a lost chapter of her past. "A Wasp, a Wig, and a Wanton Woman" is a ridiculous, poignant, and whimsical story that, for all of its unrepentant debauchery, strongly harkens back to Carroll's precise silliness.
Verity Penvenen suggests that Alice has already had her adventures, and instead takes one of us on a whirlwind tour of Wonderland. Natasha, in "Wonders Wild and New," thinks she has simply bought a bit of nostalgic comfort from a mysterious bookseller on a horrible day. But falling asleep while reading Alice sends her on an adventure far beyond her comfort zone and miles away from the destination she thought she was seeking
Dear reader, these writers have made you a gift. Their stories are a way to return to the chaotic, fragile beauty of your childhood fantasies, but with all the decadent understanding of what you have learned since.
Toronto, CanadaMarch 2010
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"You can't be a Queen, you know, till you've passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better. "
--Red Queen to Alice, Through the Looking Glass
* * * *
* * * *
Lily opened the storeroom door a crack and peeked out. The corridor was deserted. She paused to give a brief wink to the pageboy lying prostrate on a sack of corn, and his flushed face split into a huge grin as he winked back.
Stepping out into one of the minor corridors of the castle, Lily closed the door silently behind her. With one final glance in both directions, she began walking regally towards her drawing room in the east wing.
Just as she was reaching the door to the great hall her foot snagged on something. Glancing down, Lily realized that her stocking had fallen down around her slipper. Muttering, she bent down and pulled the stocking back up her leg. She took care this time in securing the ribbon round the top of her thigh before letting her gown fall back down. An impudent whistle made her turn sharply.
Leaning against one of the huge marble pillars of her father's castle was a man she knew well. The Royal Carpenter was a man who knew many secrets. His work took him all over the castle, as well as to every part of the land, and the things he heard could bring the country to ruin, or save it. No one was quite sure which. And now it appeared he knew one of Lily's secrets.
"Carpenter," Lily said imperiously. She tried not to let the guilt on her face show. If anything, he would be the criminal, for spying on a member of the royal family.
"Princess Lily," said the Carpenter. "I do believe I have just seen a part of you which no other commoner in the realm has done. Or, perhaps not..." He left the sentence hanging as he glanced back the way she had come. Lily followed his gaze and cursed silently when she saw the storeroom door open a crack.
The pageboy, taken on by the Royal Butler not more than a month ago, was as yet naive in the ways of the court. He was lacking in the art of subterfuge, so when he saw Lily he waved impishly and hurried off.
"Not the most subtle," commented the Carpenter with a raised eyebrow. He had been hidden from the boy's line of sight by the pillar, but the Carpenter craned his neck to watch the young lad hurrying away, adjusting his breeches as he went. Lily rolled her eyes.
"I am sure I can trust you with such a secret, Carpenter," she said. She tried to adopt the authoritative tone her father, the White King, used when he was not to be disobeyed. The Carpenter merely chuckled light-heartedly.
"I do have a reputation for secrets," he said, his eyes twinkling with a dark light. He moved closer to her. "Perhaps I could share one with you. Would that prospect tempt you, Princess Lily?" He reached out, as if to stroke a stray wisp of hair from her face, but then hesitated at the last second and withdrew his hand. Lily could barely breathe with the anticipation that squeezed her heart.
"What would tempt me would be to find myself alone in a storeroom with you rather than a silly little pageboy," Lily said boldly. The corner of her lip curled up into the seductive smile she had been practicing in the bronze mirror that very morning.
"Your time would be better spent in the company of Sir Bruno," replied the Carpenter, his voice low. Lily snorted derisively.
"The White Rabbit? I think not."
"It is cruel to call people by such names, princess," the Carpenter said reprovingly. Lily lifted her chin defiantly.
"It is merely how the rest of the court names him," she replied. "And, yes, I would see Sir Bruno, if his talents were to my liking. I find my tastes are more... refined." It was the Carpenter's turn to be derisive.
"I would hardly call a pageboy with more in his trousers than in his head a 'refined' choice, princess." The Carpenter shook his head sadly. "You will never reach the Sixth Square if you choose such companions."
The Carpenter began to turn away, but Lily's hand snapped out and caught his arm. She was momentarily taken aback by the hard muscles she felt beneath her fingertips.
"The Sixth Square-what is that?" she demanded. As he turned back, she saw the mischievous curl of his lip, the slightly raised eyebrow. She realized that he had baited a trap and she had fallen straight in.
"Why, princess, if you do not know, I don't know if I should be the one to tell you," he replied innocently. "After all, the making of a queen is not a matter to be taken lightly."
"You can make me a queen?" Lily asked. As one of eight children, this boast appealed to her.
"I can show you the path, but you must follow it," said the Carpenter. "Would you like to see that much?" Lily answered with a vigorous nod. He grinned.
Lily followed the Carpenter out of the castle. As a child, she thought she had played in all the corridors and alcoves, but the Carpenter took her through secret doors and down cobwebbed passages which she had never even guessed existed.
They finally emerged outside the castle walls with the dark forest stretching ahead of them for miles in all directions. Lily was tingling with the exhilaration of being somewhere she knew she should not be, with someone she probably should not be with. Probably.
As the Carpenter headed down the slope towards the tree-line, Lily called out, "Wait! I really shouldn't go in there. Papa will murder me if he finds I've strayed into the forest."
The Carpenter turned round and stalked back, his eyes fixed on Lily. She quavered a little under his gaze, as a mouse might shiver when a cat stares into its nest.
"A queen in her own right would not be so fearful of her own kingdom," he said.
"I am not a queen."
"And you never will be if you don't come with me. What are you, princess? Second youngest? Nowhere near a queen at all. If you want to stay here, you may do so, but I am going." With that, the Carpenter turned and headed back down the slope.
Lily hesitated, close to wringing her hands with indecision. She wanted so desperately to go with the Carpenter, to learn what he had to teach her, yet she feared the consequences. She shivered at the thought that he might try to accost her in the forest, force her up against a tree, and ravish her. Such delicious imaginings made her decision.
As he reached the shadow of the trees, the Carpenter turned and waited, his strong hands resting on his sturdy hips. As Lily approached him, she tried to mimic the stride her mother, the White Queen, used when she strode up the great hall. Yet her small teeth biting her pink lip gave away her nervousness.
The Carpenter nodded approvingly when she was beside him, triumph gleaming in his eyes. She had shown that she would follow him anywhere and Lily felt a flutter of nervousness in her stomach at the power she was giving him.
"I am going into the forest with a man whose name I don't even know," Lily said. The Carpenter raised his eyebrow.
"Well," he mused, "I'm not just a Carpenter but a Jack of All Trades, so you can call me Jack."
"Lead on then, Jack," Lily said. Jack made a brief bow and then led her into the wood.
* * * *
The Carpenter led Lily some way into the forest before he stopped and turned. He wore a serious expression so Lily assumed an attentive one.
"Now, Lily," he began in the manner of a stern teacher, "before you can become queen, there are certain rules to be learned. If you don't know and adhere to the six rules I am going to show you, then your rule will quickly falter."
"Does Mother adhere to them then?" Lily asked with interest. A smile flickered over Jack's face.
"Why, of course," he said. "I showed her just the same as I am showing you now." Lily gaped. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask in astonishment just how old he was, but then it occurred to her that this would appear rude, so she kept her peace.
Besides, she reasoned as she followed behind him, his mind is still sharp and his body is still lithe and toned-oh, how toned-so what does it matter if he's as old as time?
The Carpenter paused suddenly and Lily nearly ran into him. He turned to her and gestured that she go first. Lily moved forward cautiously. A row of trees stood before her, so covered in ivy and honeysuckle and other creepers that it seemed as if a curtain hung between the trunks.
Very carefully, Lily parted the living curtain before her and stepped through. She found herself in a clearing, the trees lining each side in four straight lines, effectively forming a square. Yet it was not this fact that made Lily's jaw drop.
The grass within the square was itself arranged into squares, sixty-four of them. There were people standing on some of the squares, dressed in a strange assortment of clothing. One woman wore a fabulous jeweled gown cut so low that her heavy breasts seemed poised on the verge of exposing themselves whenever she moved. A tiara glittered on her head, flashing as she wiggled her hips provocatively. Two squares in front of her and one to the right was a man wearing a knight's helmet and nothing else. He carried a shield on one arm and a lance in the other. His dark eyes were filled with lust as he watched the woman in the bejeweled gown. Lily heard the rustle of undergrowth as Jack stepped up behind her.
"It's a chessboard," she exclaimed with surprised delight. "Only, with real people rather than pieces. But I don't understand what those people are doing." Lily pointed to a dozen couples who were at the edge of the grass-board, coupling or rutting or just lying entwined.
"Those are the pieces that were lost during the game. See?" He gestured to one couple. "Bishop takes Rook." Lily stared at a woman with jet-black hair who was kneeling on all fours. She wriggled and moaned as a man in a miter thrust into her from behind.
"What kind of lesson is this?" Lily asked. A familiar heat was beginning to fill her as she watched the various acts of pleasuring taking place around the board. "Is it a lesson that I shouldn't play chess?"
"You can join in, if you want," called the woman in the luxurious gown. "We need another pawn." Lily shook her head shyly. The woman gave a disappointed sigh which turned into a shriek of surprise as the knight closed the distance between them and leapt upon her. Lily gaped as he threw up her skirts and mounted her.
"Knight takes Queen," said the Carpenter over the woman's cries of delight.
"She's not a queen," said Lily scornfully, following Jack as he moved away. "I would have recognised her if she was."
"Well, you're not a queen either-yet," replied Jack. He stopped at the edge of the square. Lily obediently stopped too. "Rule One," announced Jack, raising a finger, "is that it's all a game. Anyone can-and will-play. You must always think three moves ahead if you don't wish to be soundly buggered." Lily frowned.
"That sounds more like three rules than one to me," she said. "Are they all going to be like this?"
Jack grinned. "Would you like to find out?" he asked.
* * * *
The Carpenter gestured for Lily to go ahead once more.
"Can't I go that way?" asked Lily, pointing to the right.
"No, pawns can only go forward or diagonally," replied Jack.
"I'm not a pawn," replied Lily coldly, putting her hands on her hips and pouting. She made sure it was an alluring pout.
"You are a pawn," said Jack decisively. "You've five more rules and five more squares to go until you become queen. So, if you're ready..." He gestured again. Lily held her head in the air and marched forward into the second square. However, when she saw what it contained, she tried to back out again. As she took a step backwards, she felt the solid bulk of Jack behind her. His chest was firm and muscled against her shoulders, and she was surprised to feel the hard length of his shaft pressing against her soft buttocks.
"What's the matter?" he asked her.
"It's the White King," whispered Lily, pointing to the man with the salt-and-pepper beard sitting in the center of the square. "It's my father."
"So?" replied Jack unconcernedly. "He's far too busy to notice you." Lily saw that he was right. The White King was sitting on a large wooden throne, much like the one he had in the castle. He was reading a lengthy scroll of parchment, his brow furrowed in concentration, completely oblivious to their presence.
"So I see," said Lily with mild amusement. "Only the King could find entertainment in paper and work when there's a whole wicked game of chess going on such a short way away."
"Oh, that is the price of kingship," said Jack. "Always business before pleasure. It could drive one mad if not for Rule Two."
"Always find a way of turning your business into pleasure," Jack said with a knowing smirk. Lily was about to question him when the King held up his parchment. A servant scuttled out of nowhere to relieve him of it.
"Fetch me paper, ink, quill, and something to rest them on," the King demanded. The servant bowed and hurried away, returning immediately with the paper, ink, quill, and a young woman. Lily watched with astonishment as the woman knelt down on all fours in front of the White King. He placed the ink on her shoulders and the paper on her back.
With a look of concentration, the King dipped the quill into the ink and began to write. Lily stared up at Jack in astonishment.
"I swear he just uses tables at home," she said in a whisper.
"Undoubtedly," Jack said. "This forest isn't about normality, Lily. It's where people come to find themselves and the pleasures they desire." Lily turned back to see that the White King had paused in his writing. As he stared thoughtfully into space, she saw that one of his hands had drifted down to the woman's breast and he was idly stroking it, as if such motion was an aid to thought. The woman was biting her lip, trying not to giggle or sigh. Lily could see that there were ink stains around her nipple.
As the woman let out a short sigh, Lily felt her own nipples harden with desire, pressing against her dress. Behind her, Jack shifted his weight a little and his erection brushed against her again. It sent a delightful shiver down her spine.
The kneeling woman gave her own little shudder and upset the ink-pot which was resting on her back. The King looked down as it fell to the floor, splattering ink all over his paper.
"Damn woman-keep still!" he said as he gave her a short smack on her naked arse. The woman squeaked a mixture of pleasure and pain, before trying to hold still. The King tutted as he rescued the ink-pot, then went back to writing.
"I think we should leave his majesty to it," whispered Jack in Lily's ear. "We still have four more lessons to go."