Chimera Publishing, Ltd
Available at: Amazon.com
Twenty-two year old Emily is an avid art authenticator. She regularly inspects paintings, and other artistic items to ensure they are not replicas, or fakes. The directors of the gallery where she is employed have sent her to a rural mansion owned by a mysterious art collector, Dr. Stikannos. When she arrives, her job will be to authenticate some new paintings he has acquired, then promptly return to London. Emily figures this should be a quick-turnaround trip, but it turns out to be much, much more.
From the very beginning of her trip, when Emily is seated on the train that will take her to Dr. Stikannos, she experiences flashbacks to her days at boarding school when she was given many lashings for being disobedient. Instead of reacting to the corporal punishment in horror, Emily, for many years, has been sexually excited by thoughts of being spanked, or even whipped.
To her surprise, the servants and maids at the manor are all practiced in the arts of bondage and sado/masochistic delights. The fine line between pain and pleasure is regularly explored at Wiltshire, but so is deception and deceit. Emily’s new employer is a brilliant art historian, yet because of an accident he is confined to a wheelchair and believes he can’t walk. Equally frustrating to Emily, is that Dr. Stikannos, a skilled sadist, is under the illusion that his trusted servant, Ursula, is truly devoted to him. When Emily becomes prey to Ursula’s unchecked and viscous jealousy, she ends up as an object to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
“And this,” her host continued … “is a … but I’m sure you know.” He produced a small silver mounted lozenge from its purple velvet pouch. You do know, don’t you?”
Emily knew it was not a compliment, or a tribute to her expertise. It was a challenge. An open test of her knowledge, judgment and commercial sense.
She peered down at the artifact. The silver mounted gem was a pale cornelian cut with a slightly convex upper face. Etched into the glittering surface was a tiny naked figure of a young woman. The nude, bound to a whipping post, twisted in her agony as minutely etched winged cupids flayed her naked buttocks.
Emily swallowed softly to lubricate her dry mouth. Her tongue felt thick and swollen.
“It’s an intaglio. From the Allectus period. Certainly no later. The pale cornelian had expired by then.”
Dr. Stikannos inclined his head, but did not comment.
“Silver mounted Carpathian silversmiths would have done the framing and delicate chasings.”
Her host nodded. Slowly, twice.
“It depicts the punishment of Lexa, an early lover of the poet Lesbia. Lexa betrayed Lesbia with a vestal virgin, for which transgressions –”
“Good, yes, transgressions,” Dr. Stikannos whispered. “I like that. Whipped for her transgressions …”
“For forty days,” Emily concluded.
“… You understand the mind, the very soul, of the true collector, Emily. You understand very well. And what do you really think of my little collection? Apart from my vanity and egotism, hm?”
Emily smiled, relaxing. “You have an appetite for that which is most precious, most beautiful,” she replied.
“Yes, my dear. You are, once again, perfectly right. I have an appetite.”
My Thoughts (review):
If you are into S & M literature, this book is a winner all the way. Page after page of delighted tormentors fills this book. Their delight is matched only by the sheer joy of the sobbing, screaming, writhing, scantily clad tormented. Their bottoms bared to the world, slave maids, Chloe and Susie withstand the sexual torture of being whipped constantly for even the simplest transgressions. Overseen by their master, Dr. Stikannos, the two girls are soon joined by a third masochist, the highly educated, but submissive-to-a-fault, Emily. However, Emily must be forgiven because she can’t help herself; she was caned on her bottom repeatedly at her boarding school.
This book is a winner if you can suspend belief that any of these tormented souls would not be passed out, or badly scarred, or in need of immediate medical attention. The author, Sarah Steel, is an excellent writer and knows how to build suspense and tension and is riveting in her graphic descriptions of these continual floggings. And, Steel obviously knows her art history. All that aside, I found the beatings (because they were beatings) to be less than tasteful, which of course is an erotic novel’s least concern. Even so, I found my mind wandering about half-way through the book, longing for some other form of torment to bestow upon the tormented. In real terms, I was a little bored with the same scenario of bottoms being caned, whipped, flogged, spanked, slapped, and the inevitable penetration of the anus. Of course, once again, the book is a winner if you have a single-minded attachment to round bottoms crisscrossed with red welts.
About the Author
Sarah Steel is the author two ebooks The Collector and Bouquet of Bamboo