Happy Birthday, Nora! A teaser for THE SAINT
March 15th is Mistress Nora's Birthday! In honor of her birthday, I've posted a teaser for The Saint, book one in The White Years Original Sinners prequels. In this scene, Søren has introduced 16 year-old Nora/Eleanor to the Book of Esther. Discussion of a biblical nature follows.
Happy Birthday, Mistress Nora! Spankings for everyone!
Eleanor and Esther
“Did I just read what I think I just read?” Eleanor asked without preamble.
“What do you think you read?” Søren asked as he closed a book and gave her his full attention.
“King Xerxes fired his queen and then needed a new queen.”
“And he auditioned for a new queen.”
“That he did.”
“Am I reading it wrong or did King Xerxes audition for virgin queen candidates by fucking them?”
“That would be one rather graphic, albeit accurate, way of putting it.”
“So he did?”
“So King Xerxes had virgins brought in from all over the Empire. He gave them a year to pretty themselves up for him, and then they had a one-night audition with him in his bedroom to become queen.”
“Is there a question in there somewhere, Eleanor?”
“Yes. What did Esther do?”
“I don’t follow.”
“To the king to get him to pick her, I mean,” Eleanor explained. “What did she do that the other girls didn’t do so she could be queen?”
“I assume she was better in bed than the rest of them.”
Eleanor gaped at Søren.
“What?” he asked.
“The reason she was the person chosen to save the Jewish people was because she was good in the sack?”
“The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
“The Lord works through sex?”
“All the time. Saints were babies once. They had to be conceived through sexual intercourse. There’s nothing unbiblical about that.”
“But Esther wasn’t married to the king. She was part of a harem. That’s premarital sex. Catholics aren’t allowed to have premarital sex.”
“Esther wasn’t Catholic. Catholicism hadn’t been invented yet.”
She glowered at him.
“You know what I mean. It’s in the Bible.”
“Shocking, isn’t it?” He didn’t sound the least shocked, only amused.
“Then why are you still talking?”
“Because I found a biblical heroine who is a biblical heroine because she spread for a king. It’s seriously sexy but seems like a piss-poor way to choose a world leader. Or not. Maybe that’s how we got President Clinton.”
“In all fairness to Esther, she was a prisoner and didn’t have much choice in the matter—the sex or becoming queen.”
“She was amazing in bed and that helped her save her people.”
“I knew you’d like her.”
“I want to be her. I wonder if Xerxes was hot.”
“Perhaps he looked like Eddie Vedder.”
“Do you even know who that is?”
“I didn’t think so. I wonder what Esther did to impress the king so much in one night.”
Søren picked up his pen and tapped it on the desk.
“She was beautiful according to the author of the book,” Søren said. “And clearly intelligent. The women of the harem were allowed to take anything they wanted with them for their night with the king. But Esther takes only what the harem guard Hegai says she should take. Smart of her to ask someone in the know what he would suggest.”
“Maybe she didn’t ask him because he knew the king. Maybe she asked him because he was a man.”
“That’s one possibility.” Søren flipped through his Bible.
“What would you have told Esther to do?”
“Pardon?” Søren arched an eyebrow at her.
“If this virgin girl came to you and said that she was going to spend a night with the king, what advice would you give her?”
“Interesting question. Priests aren’t often asked for sex advice. Then again Hegai was a eunuch. I doubt they’re often asked for sex advice, either.”
“What’s a eunuch?”
“A castrated man.”
“Well, a priest is better than a eunuch for advice then. I’m guessing you still have all your original parts.”
“Warranty included,” he said.
Eleanor crossed her arms and leaned against the doorframe.
“So what would you tell Esther to do?”
“I was hoping you’d forgotten that question.” She heard a tense note in his voice.
“Oh, sorry,” she said. “We’re not supposed to be talking about S-E-X, are we?”
“We can talk about sex in a biblical context.”
“Does it embarrass you, talking about sex?”
“‘Embarrass wouldn’t be the word,” he said. “I’m disconcerted, perhaps.”
“Disconcerted?” she repeated. “Talking about sex disconcerts you.”
“No, talking about sex with you disconcerts me.”
“So you don’t like it?”
“I like it far too much. And I think you know that.”
Eleanor’s hands trembled slightly. The world around them had gone quiet, as if even the walls were listening into their conversation.
“What advice would you have given Esther?” Eleanor asked again, refusing to back down. He never answered her questions. She wouldn’t give up until he answered this one.
Søren leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers. As he thought about her question her mind started to wander. She could easily imagine herself as Esther. Girls in that day married young, Søren had said. She and Esther were probably about the same age. If she lived back then, would she have been one of the virgins brought in to audition for the role of queen? What would she have done in that situation? Esther asked the guard for advice and according to the Bible Esther took only what Hegai told her to take. She took less than the other women. But what was it? What did he tell her to take? And what did she do when she was alone with the king?
“I think if I had to give Esther advice as a man and not a priest—” Søren leaned forward to rest his elbows on the desk “—I would tell her to go to him without fear and with total trust. She should offer herself to him in a spirit of submission. After all, it was Queen Vashti’s refusal to submit that infuriated the king. Clearly he prized submission highly. She should tell the king she was his to do with as he pleased, that she would obey his every whim and submit to his every desire. I would tell her to let him bare his most secret self to her and accept it without question and to show her most secret self to him. She should submit to him in love and without fear, giving her body to him like a holy offering and making their bed an altar.”
Eleanor’s knees trembled at Søren’s words. She couldn’t help but picture herself in a silken gown being escorted to the bedroom of the king, a king who bore a strong resemblance to the priest in front of her.
“Eleanor?” Søren prompted.
“Did I?” She had. She knew she had. “Sorry about that.”
He leaned back in his chair again and looked at her without a smile on his face but with a dark and amused gleam in his eyes. Right there—she saw it. That look. Those eyes. He knew he’d turned her on with his words and was congratulating himself for it. The expression on his face was arrogant, patronizing and imperious. She wanted him so much it hurt.
“Who’s disconcerted now?” he asked.
She narrowed her eyes at him. Without a doubt he was the only man who’d ever lived who could make the word disconcerted sound sexy.
“Whatever this game is we’re playing,” she finally said, “I’m going to win it.”
If she expected him to be thrown off or confused by that statement, she was sorely disappointed.
“If you trust me and obey me,” he said, “we might both win.”