Rumpled Silk Sheets offers everything you expect in a fairy tale and in an erotic romance. These talented authors have taken some familiar tales-and a few not so familiar-in new and incredible directions.
Ride the desert sands with a girl who encounters a sexy incarnation of the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet and a Japanese maid who helps free her mistress from the human body trapping her heavenly spirit. We haven’t forgotten the witches and wolves, but you’ll also meet a Snow Bear whose gruff exterior hides a secret only a scared girl can unlock. Like a little pain with your pleasure? Then meet a delicate princess who longs for a lost lover’s firm touch instead of a traditional marriage that leaves her unmarked and unsatisfied.
Princess of Silk and Pain by Shanna Germain
Handsome and Gretel by Kilt Kilpatrick
The Art of Storm-Riding by Sunny Moraine
Red in the Hood by Vivica Lace
Hannah and the Witch by Michael Jones
Snow by Kenzie Mathews
The White Bride by G.G. Royale
Madame Blanche by Jean Roberta
They got my story slightly wrong–the woman Badra meets at the heart of the storm is cursed by Bastet, not an incarnation of her–but regardless, that is a stellar lineup right there. Pick up your copy here.
“The Art of Storm-Riding” started life as a very different story; it is actually my third attempt at a retelling of the German folktale “The White Cat”, which was a favorite of mine as a child. Both my previous attempts were decent but also much too conventional for me, and it wasn’t until I decided to radically shift the setting and the premise that it started to feel right. As it currently stands, it bears only the roughest resemblance to the original folktale, but I think what’s there is a neat twist on a classic form. I also like the idea of a fairy tale that ends in liberation for all the characters in a way that isn’t just another form of being boxed in, to marriage, to tradition, to family convention. Badra never would have stood for that and I wouldn’t have tried to force it on her.
The title comes from a poem by the Egyptian-Lebanese poet Yahia Lababidi, whose first couple of verses feel, to me, to be full of the same kind of unhinged power that sits at the heart of the story.
I could not decipher the living riddle of my body
put it to sleep when it hungered, and overfed it
when time came to dream
I nearly choked on the forked tongue of my spirit
between the real and the ideal, rejecting the one
and rejected by the other
I still have not mastered that art of storm-riding
without ears to apprehend howling winds
or eyes for rolling waves
Excerpt under the cut.
The cat stepped closer, its great, cool nose nudging against Badra’s hand. And Badra, without thinking, without fearing that its powerful jaws might close on her wrist and take her hand from her, reached out and gently stroked its head.
At once a purr like thunder filled the room, echoing off unseen walls, rumbling at the base of Badra’s spine. She opened her mouth, and was not entirely amazed to discover that it was the cat’s own language in which she spoke. -Sihr.- Anything might happen.
“How have I found you, if your goddess did not send me?”
-I do not know,- answered the cat, and it tossed its head, a shudder running through it. –Just… aye, keep your hand there, ukhti. It has been too long. I feel…-
The fire flared. It was sudden and blinding, and Badra raised a hand to shield her face, certain that next she would feel the flames as they charred her flesh.
But no heat came. The light died away. Badra dropped her hand, blinking as the violet patches faded from her vision, and there before her, where the cat had been, was a woman. She was as dark as the cat had been, naked, her hair long and black as jet, braided and falling around her bare shoulders like the fringe of a riding blanket.
The woman looked down at herself as if seeing her own body for the first time, hands raised and open, her breasts heaving with her breath. She seemed too shocked to feel any shame. And why should she feel ashamed anyway? thought Badra, with the faintest touch of wryness. Weren’t they both women, after all? Women in body, perhaps. In the depths of -sihr-, one’s sight could not be trusted.
But it could be enjoyed. The soft curves, undulating and swaying in the shifting light, the gentle swells and valleys, familiar terrain… and yet delightfully unfamiliar. Land that invited exploration. Badra inhaled, smelled that same light scent of incense, coupled with something muskier and more alive, warmer, and she felt as though that warmth flowed down her and settled between her thighs.
-I am…– murmured the woman, and looked up at Badra again, her eyes still that same dark, liquid gold, the gold of flowing honey, shining in the firelight. –My body is returned to me. How?-
Badra shook her head. “I do not know.”
-You. It was you. Your touch, ukhti. Your hands.– The woman lifted her own hands, beckoning, smiling in a way that would have appeared shy were Badra more easily fooled. -Come sit with me by the fire. Let us marvel at this occurrence together.-