Silk and Steel (MF)
[Siren Classic: Erotic Historical Romance]
Decimus buys beautiful, red-headed Corinna from Silvinus Cato, a nominal Christian and her cold Roman master. Corinna, also a Christian, is terrified to be sold to a hired killer but finds Decimus to be an honorable, caring man--and overwhelmingly sexy.
Their lovemaking introduces her to passion she has never known before, and love-spanking that she finds deeply erotic. Happy for the first time in her life, she is horrified when her former master, Silvinus Cato, comes to Decimus' house with devastating information. Decimus, whom she is beginning to care for deeply, has killed Joseph, the holy man who converted her to Christianity. Silvinus Cato says she must be like Judith in the Bible and kill Decimus in his sleep. Corinna is appalled and suspicious. Why does Silvinus Cato want Decimus dead? And what should she do?
After I wrote 'Flavia's Secret', I found myself fascinated by the story of a Roman girl who served as a toga girl in the public baths. Could there be a happy ever after for her and a man equally reviled and desired in Roman society - a gladiator? 'Silk and Steel' is my story of two people redeemed by love. ~ Lindsay ~
A Siren Erotic Romance
4 ANGELS: "Silk and Steel is an enjoyable novelette with plenty of steamy love scenes, including some spanking, as well as a good dose of angst. Corinna struggles to reconcile her religious faith with her desires and the nature of Decimus's work, while Decimus is a sexy, practical hero who wants to lavish affection on Corinna and keep her safe from her enemies. With some nice historical detail, Silk and Steel is a fun read." -- Maija, Fallen Angel Reviews
4 STARS: "Silk and Steel is captivating and wonderfully written...Corrina has so much depth and interest as a slave. She shows that being a slave doesn't mean sacrificing all of you. Decimus wants a red head to love and he found her in Corrina. He treats her with love and respect even though she belongs to him. He shows what a true man is; in that he can love a woman and dominate her while still being gentle and loving...The sex was very arousing with a little of everything, including spankings, oral and regular sex. I highly recommend Silk and Steel for anyone who likes a traditional love story or something a little different." -- Heather Nestorick, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
4 CHERRIES: "Ms. Townsend writes an interesting historical. Many try to write about Ancient Rome and end up with fantasy stories. This isn’t one of them. The attention to detail keeps the reader locked in the story from page one. You feel for the characters and want to see them find happiness...And sex scenes? This story is packed with them, but not just run-of-the-the mill scenes. These scenes scorch. I’m not much for spanking, but I felt her passion for him and his desire to please her. My only issue? I want to see more! This has the potential to be a longer story and could be more powerful. It’s great as-is, but I want to know more. If you want a steamy short story for a cool winter night, then you need to grab a copy of Silk and Steel." -- Tiger Lily, Whipped Cream Romance Reviews
Dazed, Corinna stumbled back to the kitchen, too shocked to speak to the other slaves. Later, unable to sleep, she wandered out into the garden and knelt by the old well, dropping pebbles into the water, trying to pray but failing. As the long hours of the night dragged on, she felt abandoned and ill, her stomach burning, her mouth dry. She had felt safe in the house of Silvinus Cato, but he was going to sell her—and to a gladiator!
Decimus. The name meant 'Tenth'. Had he killed ten men? Ten women? Ten children? Decimus, the hired killer. Only bath slaves were more reviled than gladiators. And she would have to touch him, submit to him. She wanted to love and be loved. She had always longed for love, but not with a murderer. I can't, she thought wildly, her head throbbing as she squinted into the darkness, mentally clawing for an impossible escape.
And then she heard a soft snapping of twigs, and then the gentle thud as a strong, toned body dropped into the garden after scaling the surrounding high wall.
It's him. She knew at once and was transfixed, unable to stir as a tall, black shadow detached itself from the wall and prowled towards her. In the bright, cold light of the full moon she saw him emerge clearly: a strapping, powerful figure, towering yet agile, dressed in gray homespun yet carrying himself like a king. Weaponless, he strode forward with absolute confidence, almost a swagger.
His face, as he drew close, surprised her. She had expected scars, battle-weary eyes, and a harsh calculating look. This stranger was young. His face, lit by the moonlight, was as flawless as an angel's and his eyes were as brown and warm as the good earth beneath her clenched bare toes.
He hunkered down before her and looked deeply into her eyes. 'I could not wait to see you again,' he said softly. 'Ever since I spotted you at Piso's bath-house, I have been haunted by you. I came here early, in the hope of catching another glimpse of you. Will you tell me your name?'
‘Corinna.’ Astonished that any man should go to such trouble to seek her out, and to seek her out early, Corinna realized in wonder that he had also asked her a question, not demanded. 'I am Corinna,' she said again, 'and you are Decimus. Do the crowds in the arena chant your name?'
'Sometimes.' His full mouth tweaked into a half-smile. 'Mostly they bawl, "Get him, Thracian! Stick him with your sword!"’ He nodded at the garden. ‘What are you doing out here? Are you hot? Shall I draw you water from the well?'
Again, Corinna was amazed that he should offer to serve her. And his hair, now that she could see its color this close-up, was gray! Utterly gray. Old hair, a young face and a muscular, youthful body: the contrast was piquant and it intrigued her, made her aware as she had not been this last month of her own young body.
'Ah, my hair.' His expression turned rueful as he tugged his forelock. 'This thatch turned from straw-yellow to ash in almost a night, soon after I'd killed. And for your knowledge, Corinna, I do not gut women or children.'
'Are you a mind-reader?' she gasped.
'Only a reader of faces.' He brushed her cheek with his fingers, flicking one of her red curls away from her forehead. 'Yours is wonderfully expressive. I marked that when I saw you first, when you helped the lame old man at the baths. Your face then was wrought with pity.' He touched a small bruise on her chin, a final lingering legacy of the baths. 'I would see you racked with bliss, all gold and rose and open for my pleasure.'
Corinna jerked back, hitting the well, her face burning with a rush of heat. She had lain with many men, but none had spoken to her like this, in such a searching, intimate way. 'You can say what you want,' she said, deliberately tearing her eyes away from his.
She heard him chuckle. 'Because you will be mine? There is that. And I think, my Corinna, that you are a natural: tender and loveable, eager to give service.'
'A good toy to find in your bed after a long day's killing,' she replied tartly. Instantly she clapped her hands over her mouth, horrified by what she had just said, but her soon-to-be master only laughed.
'You do not know what you want yet,' he said, smiling. 'But I know.' Suddenly he moved, bringing an arm on either side of her, trapping her against the well as his mouth found hers. He kissed her, very quickly and sweetly, his tongue teasing against her open lips.
Please—Still kneeling, Corinna stared up at him, marveling afresh at how handsome he was. She could still taste him on her lips; a fresh, astringent scent, both musky and clean, nothing as she'd expected a killer to smell. She found herself leaning forward, to kiss him in return and stopped in time, mortified by her own response. She wanted to run indoors, away from this disturbing man.
'What is it?' he asked gently. 'You need not be afraid. Never with me.'
Corinna heard his padding approach and shivered slightly, although she remained where she was, leaning against one of the three pillars of a small portico and looking out into a secret, sunken garden. She knew what would happen in a few minutes. In the dusky shade of the portico there was a broad couch littered with cushions and on a table nearby was a jug of wine and cups, a plate of sweet pastries, dates with almond and honey. Noting the basins of good olive oil and ointments perfumed with spikenard at the foot of the couch she felt her face grow hot. As a bath-girl no sexual act should be unknown to her, but at the baths her every mating with a man had been a hurried, casual matter. These careful preparations hinted at arts she did not know.
'Do you like our garden?' Decimus had joined her by the pillar. Standing behind her, he crossed his powerful, tanned arms around her middle and tugged her close. He was naked, as she was. Half-twisting in his grasp to look up into his bright eyes, Corinna caught a glimpse of the scatter of his clothes leading to where they were.
His body was taut and hot against hers. She could feel the hairs on his long legs, the wedge of solid muscle across his belly, his ribs against her shoulders. Fully erect, his cock was a thick column rising to his stomach and jutting against her bottom.
'I—' She had forgotten the question. His was the most beautiful male body she had ever known and to have it touching against hers made her light-headed with mingled excitement and tension. He pressed her closer and her feet scrabbled an instant for balance until her toes were resting on top of his. His cock twitched, riding into the crease of her buttocks, and her own sex clenched in answer.
He kissed her, rotating her easily in his arms, lifting her higher so her feet dangled, drawing her up so that the tip of his sex nestled in her crop of red, intimate curls.
'The servants have all returned to my old barracks. They hire themselves out from there as it is,' he said, rocking her against himself. 'Which means we are alone today.'
His member brushed against her moist vulva and even as she wondered at his self-control, Corinna felt herself tense, he felt so large to her. Wanting to please him, though, she put her arms about his neck, running a hand through his gray hair.
'Are you pleased, Corinna?'
'Who is the slave here?' She almost whispered, but what came out of her mouth was a shallow gasp. Every part of her body was tingling and alive, sensitized to an incredible point. She felt the tip of his cock brush and circle her intimate parts again, almost as if his sex was kissing hers. She stretched up and began to kiss him, thrusting her tongue past his half-open mouth.
In response he moaned, snarling her even closer so that not even a shadow could fit between them.
'Must—' She must have him inside her. She shifted, trying to lower herself onto him.
'Yes!' He cupped her bottom in his hands and entered her, Corinna tilting her hips to bring him in more quickly.