March 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm #539
Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims, and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.
Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love, tough stories about sweet love, and takes long naps.March 16, 2019 at 5:50 pm #540
Tsarina/ Royal Scoundrels Anthology
Even the Royals weren’t excluded from passion and madness…
Tsarnia: Ivan the Terrible had a secret. He let it rule.
“’Tis true, Your Grace—” She stopped, mouth agape at her slip.
Ivan reached forward and raised the back of his hand to her. “You may receive one strike or one penitence. I will offer you a choice…this once.”
Jekaterina inhaled and said, “The penitence, please.”
“Very well.” He lowered his hand. “You will finish this interview undressed to your waist. Humiliated while your flesh is displayed. Your silent prayers had better be that I am not ensnared by the sight of your wantonness.”
“Yes…” With trembling fingers, she undid the lacing.
Ivan poured himself more wine and held the bottle out for her.
She raised her glass, needing the wine’s encouragement.
When they had both drank, he said, “My question?”
Surprised by her own composure, Jakaterina looked Ivan in the eye. “’Tis true, undermining is commonplace and secretive. I think this more sinister in that it is veiled by the light. No one would assume dishonesty to be attached to an open comment.”
“But you do?”
“The thought that came to my mind was if your Rada wishes to rule on your behalf, why do you need the Boyers. Or in reverse. The Tsar does not need a middle person pretending to rule for him.”
Ivan reached for a wedge of cheese and nibbled. For a long time, he said nothing. Whether in deep thought over her words or deep fantasy over her nipples was a mystery. Jakaterina sat still and straight despite her vulnerableness.
Then he stood up and moved to his bell cord, giving it a forceful tug.
Shocked by his sudden movement, she sprung to her feet.
“Osip will find you a suitable room. Your personal belongings will be brought there shortly. You will speak of this conversation to no one. And, for the love of all things holy, cover your sinful self. He went to his desk.
Recognizing the dismissal, Jakaterina pulled her clothes up, curtsied deep and said, “Yes, Your Grace.” It was the appropriate response, as she was leaving his presence. She moved away quickly, in case he retaliated.
Ivan, however, was already absorbed in correspondence.
The Tsar waited— not on his knees but in a chair placed for his comfort— until his confessor arrived and seated himself behind the partition. He signed the cross. “Bless me, Father. For I have sinned.”
“What is your sin, my son?” The old priest sat back, eyes averted.
“A woman paraded her flesh before my eyes. I did not look away.”
“Have her beaten and kept away from your precious sight and the wandering eyes of weaker men. “
“Say three Hail Mary’s and do not look upon her again.”
“Yes, Father,” Ivan vowed. He would keep her locked away from the eyes of other men. And he would fill his precious sight with whatever he damned well pleased.
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