Sleeping Beauty, Reimagined
“Shhh,” Rainier said as he ran a hand down his horse’s neck. After it was apparent the animal wouldn’t calm easily, he slid from his spooked horse and continued soothing the stallion. “It’s okay, boy. According to the map, we’re almost to the village.”
There was good reason for the horse to be spooked. He cast a look to the side. Off in the distance, stood a huge ruined castle or fortress of some kind. It was hard to see, between the moon’s glow and the dense overgrowth surrounding it. A shiver raced down his spine. Something evil resided inside that place, he sensed it in his gut.
Steeling himself, he refused to let his instincts show. He’d never get Bailey to calm if he let his concern show. He ran a hand along the horse’s strong neck. “Not far, boy.” He led the horse a bit farther away from the brambles that grew closer to the structure. Noises sounded behind him… noises that didn’t sound natural…
He kept walking, leading Bailey through the dark stretch of road.
Once they rounded a corner, the moon came out from behind a cloud. Brighter, the horse seemed to calm. Rainier climbed astride and urged his steed forward. It wasn’t long before they came across an inn at the crossroads.
“I think we’ll call it a night,” he murmured to his horse, which whinnied his approval.
After leading his horse to the stables and paying the stable master a florin to get the animal cared for, he bid his horse ado for the night and ambled into the inn. A rowdy bunch was well into their cups as he edged through the crowd. Over a drunken chorus, he paid for a room, ale, and dinner before moving to a seat close to the fire.
Rainier scanned the room, searching for any signs of danger. Traveling alone was never wise, but he had no choice. He was in dire need.
The innkeeper brought over his ale and trencher filled with mutton stew. “I’ve got a room being tidied up fer ya now,” the robust man said. “Should be ready by the time ye’ve eaten.”
“Many thanks,” Rainier said before nodding to the man and taking a long drink from the pint.
The food didn’t last long. He hadn’t eaten all day. It was too salty and a bit too overcooked, but he was starving, so he ignored all that. After a refill of his pint to wash down the salt, he again scanned the room.
It had grown a bit quieter as he’d eaten. He searched over the faces of the men inside, only to have a plump woman land in his lap.
“Need someone ta warm that bed o’yers?” she asked with a coy smile.
“I doubt you’d like my bed,” he muttered before pushing her to her feet.
“A handsome chap like you? I think I’d like that verra much.”
Rainier lifted an eyebrow. He had more important things to do than argue with her. A fuck wasn’t the reason he’d come this far, alone. But then, maybe she could answer his questions. “How much?” he asked.
Her smile widened. “One of them florins ye’ve got should do.”
“How about I pay you one of those—if you have some news to share with me?”
A frown crossed her face. “News?”
“That fortress I passed on the way here—the one covered in vines—can you tell me about it?”
Her eyes grew wide. “Yer not thinking of going in there, are ya?”
He shrugged. He was desperate. And he’d heard the myths… if they were true, he needed something inside. “Perhaps.”
“Issa dark, dark place, that. Ya don’t wanna go there.”
He held up a coin. “I just want you to tell me all you know…” He dropped his hand. “Unless you don’t know anything.”
The woman flopped down across from him. “O’course I do.” She eyed him before lifting her chin arrogantly. “Dinner, ale, and that coin, and I’ll tell ya whatever ya want.”
Rainier sighed. “Dinner and the ale.” He leaned forward. “And if your information is strong, then I’ll pay you the coin.”
She considered him a moment before nodding. He lifted a hand and called over the innkeeper. Once he’d paid for the woman’s food, the old man muttered as he walked away.
“The story goes that there’s a princess inside that place,” she said. “Some call her Sleeping Beauty. Say she’d the fairest lass the land’s ever seen. But I say there’s no way anyone’s alive in there, asleep or not. It’s been a good three hundred years now. All’s in that place is cobwebs and bones. ‘Cept for—” She paused as the innkeeper delivered her food. Immediately, she took the ale and drained what had to be half.
The woman lowered her tankard. “‘Cept for the dragon. He’s been in there, guarding the Sleeping Beauty for all these years. I’ve heard him myself, I have. Roaring in the middle of the night.”
Rainier averted and rolled his eyes. A dragon. Sure. There hasn’t been a dragon sighting in a thousand years or more. “They say the whole castle fell asleep when she did… the king, the queen… his court… his army… and his guards and knights.” The myths that surrounded the king’s elite guard and those knights were stuff of legend. They’d been powerful… unstoppable… and all brought down by a girl who couldn’t remain away from a spindle.
“That’s what I hear. A kiss from her true love will awaken the entire castle. Whoever does it will get rewarded in gold, lots of it.”
A smile crossed his face. His country was in ruins… his armies nearly destroyed. An evil tried to claim his lands. Reawakening that sleeping army, the guards, and the knights was his last chance. The gold reward could help buy his troops the supplies they desperately needed. His neighbors had already been defeated… his country was the last bastion of hope.
He wouldn’t let his people down.
If he had to kiss some girl, so be it.
“Wait a minute? True love? The one to kiss her must be her true love?”
“So I hear.”
Rainier frowned. “The tale I heard said anyone who could get past the brambles, the mighty dragon, and awoke the princess with a kiss would receive a grand reward.”
“No telling,” the woman said. “The story’s older than I am. Either of us could be right.”
Rainier smiled ruefully, irritated at a new wrinkle in the tale.
“No reason to smile,” the woman said between bites of the stew. “Yer never gettin’ in.”
“You think so little of me, hmm?”
“Ya think yer the first who’s tried? There are bones of great knights in those brambles, even more inside with that dragon. Many a man has died trying to get the princess. None did. And they all died trying.”
He didn’t want the princess. He wanted something far greater.
Reaching into his pocket, he caressed the map he held there. He’d stumbled across it in his library months before, a token his father had received from someone. It showed a secret passage into the castle. If he could bypass the bramble and sneak in to see whatever guarded that castle, perhaps he’d have a better chance.
He withdrew the map and showed the woman a portion of it. Pointing near the spot where the tunnel began, he looked across the table.
“Know where this is?”
She cocked her head, the fork stuck between her full lips. Staring as she chewed, she finally slid the implement out before gazing at him wide-eyed. “That’s near the mill.” She pointed to a small spot. “That’s it, I’m sure.”
“You can direct me there?”
“Follow the road to Iveyville. Sign is right out there. Ya will see the mill’s blades after a few miles or so.”
Rainier smiled and handed her the coin. “Thank you.”
The woman smiled. “I can still keep ya comp’ny tonight if ya want. No additional charge.”
Rainier shook his head. “Not tonight. I have a big day tomorrow.”
The following morning, Rainier made his way down the road to Iveyville. Just as the woman had told him, he saw the mill a few miles down the well-traveled road. Slipping off his mount, he drew Bailey through the woods and stopped beside the abandoned mill.
Gazing around, he saw the crumbling structure sat beside a dried up riverbed. The fabric-covered blades were beginning to rot, the material folded over in places. Trees and shrubs had begun to grow around the building, nature reclaiming what it had lost. He walked closer to the riverbed and noticed it was now just a thin stream.
Enough for his horse to drink from. “I think it best I leave you here, boy,” Rainier whispered to Bailey. “You didn’t care for the place I’m going, at all.”
After typing up his horse, Rainier pulled out his map and tried to get his bearings. The old river was just where it should be, as well as a huge, twisting tree depicted on it. He crossed the dried bed and climbed up the opposite bank before moving through the wood.
Not far in his quest, he ran into the same brambles as the night before. The sky even seemed to grow darker, making the land seem all the more desolate. Unnatural rumbles sounded in the distance, the same as he’d heard before.
He chuckled to himself, ignoring the hint of fear that swept through his mind. Tall tales and old myths, that’s all it was. Rainier looked at his map again before moving on. When he reached the spot where he expected to see the entrance, he saw overgrown brambles. Unsheathing his sword, he cut away at the brambles… but they seemed to only grow back as quickly as he cut them. He hacked away, a sweat breaking out over his brow.
“By the gods, I will get inside,” he muttered before slicing through a huge clump.
A noise—like a maniacal squeal—sounded and a huge section withered. The sound sent a shiver up his spine. He paused for only a second to look before taking advantage. Rainier cut through until he saw the entrance. He raced forward and felt a slice along his face as he fell into the cool, dank tunnel.
Rising, he saw the brambles closing back in and covering the entrance. After sheathing his blade and taking off a leather glove, Rainier lifted a hand to his face and felt an inch long cut to his cheek. Plants that attacked? What else would he face inside? Perhaps those tales of a dragon weren’t tall tales after all.
The brambles seemed to twist and tighten even more than they’d been before he cut his way through. No way out, he could only move forward. Rainier lifted his stare to the dark inner path and saw an old torch along one wall. He took it down and dug into his bag for his flint.
After striking it and creating a flame, he moved down the tunnel. Multiple twists and turns later, he came to a steep set of stairs. Rainier made his way up quickly before reaching a large iron door. Inserting the torch into a notch on the wall, he then tugged on his glove and drew his sword out again.
He took a deep breath before lifting the latch and pushing on the door. It didn’t give. Rusted shut, more than likely. Rainier gave it another push and felt it give somewhat. Another shove and it creaked open an inch.
A loud creak.
If there’s a dragon here, he knows I’ve arrived.
With all of his might, he pushed again. It was enough for him to wedge himself through. Once on the inside, he reached for the torch and spun to have his first look at the inside of the castle.
Servants sat along the edges of the hall, pale. They looked dead, but yet not. If they were indeed 300 years old, they would’ve withered away to bone by now. Something kept them alive. The same something that could create a dragon to protect the magic within. He slowly moved through the hallway, toward where he assumed the great hall would be. Midway along, he saw a skeleton wearing a suit of armor. The same brambles that had guarded the outside appeared to grow around the bones.
Continuing on, he saw more servants and other men who’d tried to win the heart of the fair princess. A few were still moldering, the flesh and meat still not completely withered away. His stomach turned as he saw the men who’d come before him.
The men who’d failed.
They’d wanted her. I want the help of the kingdom’s army. They led with their heart. I lead with my mind.
He made it out to the great hall. It looked to be filled with sleeping courtiers, knights, and up ahead, he saw the sleeping king and queen. As he paused to look at a knight who’d been torn in half, he heard a rustling sound behind him.
Spinning, he saw the glistening of scales and the end of a tail.
“Who comes into my castle?” a roar echoed about the interior.
“Crown Prince Rainier of Farin.”
“And what business do you have here?”
“I need help.”
The dragon chuckled. “What help do you think I shall provide you?”
“My country is under attack; my people in danger. My armies are nearly decimated. I had long ago read of a sleeping army inside this castle. I need them. Desperately.”
The dragon slunk by and knocked the torch from his hand. It sputtered and died at his feet.
“And you’re not here for the Sleeping Beauty upstairs?”
Rainier shook his head, gripping his sword tighter. “No. I have no need for princesses.”
“But to wake them, you must wake her. That, I cannot allow.”
“Then fight for me,” Rainier said, realizing he needed to try a new tactic. “Win my war for me and I’ll leave—never to return.”
The dragon chuckled, moving in the darkness. “Or I could kill you now… and be done with you.”
Rainier sighed. “Then you leave me no choice. I must awaken the princess.”
He heard a slithering to the right. Closing his eyes, he trusted his ears. Rainer held his ground, waiting to hear the sound of the beating heart.
Lub-dub… lub-dub… lub-dub…
The sound grew stronger.
A roar sounded behind him as he spun and shoved his sword up into the dragon’s chest. It roared again, even louder—the sound nearly making his ears bleed. Rainier fell away, covering his ears from the screams.
The whole place shook as the dragon fell to the ground. The screams died… as did the light in the dragon’s eyes.
The beast withered… slowly turning into a man.
Rainer rose to his feet and looked down on the naked man. Scales still covered the outside of his skin, but otherwise, the dragon now looked human. An old human, with white hair and wrinkled flesh. Grasping the grip of his sword, he pulled it out before plunging it in a time or two again—just to be sure the creature was dead.
Glancing around the hall, he wondered if that was it.
How had so many failed before him? Or was it that the dragon had grown so old, the beast was ready to die?
He bent down and restarted the torch. Rainier gazed at the sleeping faces around him, knowing there was still one more task ahead of him—one that he feared even more than the dragon. He had no desire for female flesh. The thought of the kiss made him shudder.
My people need the army. It’s our only chance.
With that thought, he began to search the castle, starting with the lower rooms. When his search there found nothing, he moved to the second floor. Room by room he looked… and found nothing. He saw a door leading to one of the towers, and on a whim, took it. After racing up the stairs, he found a single candle ablaze.
A woman lay under a gossamer fabric, the light of the candle making it glisten. Rainer forced himself to take a step forward. And another. He stood at the edge of the bed and tried to still his beating heart.
What if my kiss does nothing? I’m not her true love.
But I bested the dragon. This will work. One kiss and she awakens.
Rainier lifted the gossamer fabric and gasped.
It wasn’t a princess… but a prince.
He drew the fabric away and saw a naked prince, pale and beautiful. Long golden locks flowed from his head, his porcelain skin tempting his touch. A thick cock lay soft along his stomach, the head pink and plump.
Rainier felt a spark of need, need he hadn’t expected.
Dropping to one knee, he looked closely at the man’s beautiful face—it had an almost feminine beauty, but was masculine enough to quicken Rainier’s heart. His cock, too. It grew thicker under his tights and tunic.
He licked his lips and glanced at those he was required to kiss. He’d rued the moment, except now that duty no longer weighed as heavily on him. Lowering his head, he brushed a soft kiss over the softest, fullest male lips he’d ever seen.
Deepening the kiss, he grew harder, need spiraling in his gut. A gasp came against his lips, so he pulled back.
Long lashes fluttered. And then the most beautiful blue eyes looked up at him.
“Who… who are you?”
Rainier smiled. “I’m the man who woke you from your three hundred year slumber.”
Sleeping Beauty smiled before leaning up to kiss him again. Rainier moaned against the prince’s hot mouth, hungrier than he’d ever imagined he’d be. The kiss turned feral, the lust between them raging like a flood.
Beauty drew him onto the bed and rolled until he was on top. Breaking the kiss, the beautiful prince stretched his back and arms over his head. “Has it truly been that long? Three hundred years?”
“From what I hear. I’m not sure.”
Beauty ground his hips against Rainier’s erection. “We might as well finish this and awaken the others.”
Rainier frowned. “I thought… they would awaken when you did?”
Beauty shook his head. “No. There’s one more part you’re missing.”
“My true love must claim my virginity.” Beauty smiled. “The dragon claimed no one would have me if he couldn’t.” The prince looked over a shoulder. “Where is the dragon?”
Rainier grasped Beauty’s hips. “Dead. I killed him. Sword to the heart.”
“No,” Beauty said, his eyes growing large. “He’ll only die when I am claimed.”
A roar suddenly shook the castle.
“Fuck,” Rainier lamented.
“Exactly,” Beauty said. “We have little time.”
Rainier pushed his leggings down and lifted his tunic as Beauty reached under the bed and pulled out a small tube. He poured some of the contents onto his fingers before smearing it over Rainier’s hard cock.
The dragon’s screams grew louder…
Beauty smeared some of the oil on his ass and positioned himself on top of Rainier. He pushed down onto Rainier’s cock, crying out a little in pain.
“Why did you have to be so big?” Beauty cried.
“Sorry?” Rainier quipped, gripping the prince’s hips and guiding the man down. “It’s shocking I’m still hard.”
The door burst open just as Beauty fully seated himself on Rainier’s cock. The dragon burst through in human form… and dropped to his knees…
And then turned to dust.
Rainier couldn’t believe his eyes. They sat there, still, both seemingly stunned. Beauty turned to gaze at him after a moment.
“Thank you,” the prince whispered. “It’s over now. I’m free.”
Rainier stared at the beautiful prince. He was still hard and deep inside the man. “What happens now?”
Was this all the prince wanted?
Beauty leaned forward and off Rainier’s cock. But the second when Rainier thought they’d part, the prince came back down and drove him deeper. A moan rose up Rainier’s chest, echoing around the room.
“This happens now,” Beauty murmured. “You fully claim me as yours.”
Rainier rolled them over and pinned the beautiful prince to the bed. He lifted Beauty’s knees over his arms and drew up on his knees. A smile spread across his face. “With pleasure.”
He slid out before moving back inside the prince. Beauty reached down and began to stroke his beautiful cock. And it was big—surprisingly so. The prince was lean and lightly muscled, almost to a point of being lanky. The big cock stood out on his small frame… and excited Rainier. It was nearly as big as his own.
And would feel wonderful sliding inside him.
He replaced Beauty’s hand with his own, and continued to stroke. Beauty’s hands fell back onto the bed, over his head, and the prince writhed under Rainier. His elegant neck arched, his head falling back as his spine bowed.
“It feels so good,” Beauty murmured. “Fuck me harder, lover.”
Rainier quickened his pace, a little thrill racing through him over the fact neither of them knew the other’s name. Strangers… yet not. Bound by this magic that had pulled them together.
A cry sounded at the door. Rainier looked up and saw the king and queen he’d seen asleep on the throne awake and shocked. Rainier lifted grabbed his tunic to covered where they were bound as one.
“Caspien? What’s going on here?” the king commanded.
“This is my prince,” Beauty said leaning up slightly to drape a long, elegant arm over Rainier’s shoulder. “Prince…”
“Rainier,” he added into the silence that fell.
“Prince Rainier. My betrothed,” Beauty said, smiling. He captured Rainier’s stare. “He broke the spell… he’s my true love.”
“But… but…” the king sputtered, growing red in the face.
“He broke the spell, Magnus. Let it be,” the queen said, patting his hand. “We owe that man a great deal for defeating the dragon and awakening us.”
The king pointed to them. “This? He’ll have no heirs!”
“We will find a way,” the queen cooed, drawing the king from the room. She cast a pointed look over her shoulder and drew the door closed.
“Betrothed?” Rainier asked. “You just met me.” And this isn’t what he’d come for. He’d needed an army. Not a husband. What would his people think? If they survive. Thoughts of his people had him pulling away. He hadn’t come to waste time fucking a beautiful prince.
He is so beautiful.
“You don’t want me?” Beauty… or rather… Caspien asked.
Rainier sat on the side of the bed. “I must be honest. I didn’t come for you.”
“I came… because my people are in danger. An evil is spreading through the land. All my neighbors have been conquered. Cries for help have been ignored. The sleeping army you had here—that was what brought me. I wanted to save my people. Not save you.”
Beauty was silent a moment. “To be honest… I think that only makes me like you more. Handsome. Brave enough to face this quest. Strong and smart enough to best a dragon… compassionate enough to find a way to save his people… and honest enough to tell me the truth.”
Rainier cupped the side of Caspien’s face. “The legends of this place claimed you were a princess. I didn’t want a princess… but as soon as I saw you, the idea of that kiss went from depressing to exhilarating.”
Caspien smiled. “As my betrothed, my father would of course send forces to help bolster your army. Especially considering you are the one who broke the spell.”
“Your father didn’t seem too thrilled to see me.”
“My mother and I can convince him of anything,” Caspien said with a smile. “And I think a big, strong, smart, handsome, brave man could help persuade him, too.”
Rainier leaned in for another kiss. It quickly deepened and took his breath away. “I could definitely get used to kisses such as those.”
Caspien slid into Rainier’s lap. “Why don’t we finish negotiating the terms of this betrothal… including how many forces you’ll need to be sent to your country?”
Sleeping Beauty slid back down his cock, swallowing his shaft whole. Rainier groaned with need, his whole body trembling from want.
“You have an interesting way of negotiating,” Rainier whispered.
“Oh just you wait and see,” Caspien said before lowering his head for another kiss. He rolled his hips, driving Rainier even deeper.
Crying out against the prince’s mouth, he knew this was only the beginning of his tale. A smile crossed his lips—he was ready for the new and more adventurous quest to come.
In Bed, 1
Five old college buddies drifting away from one another…
One last chance to get things right… for two of them…
Jesse’s friends are falling apart. Adam and Clay are at odds—again. Benji is growing more distant. And don’t even get him started on his lady’s man best friend. Hayden’s partying and screwing has become a noticeable problem. Jesse figures they all need a night out—together—to bring them back to where they’d been.
Adam and Clay arrive and refuse to speak to one another. Benji has brought along a new friend he’s more interested in. And Hayden shows up with an older woman draped over him like a cheap suit.
Jesse’s incensed—it was supposed to be a guy’s night!
He watches the pair of them, anger growing as he can’t help but witness Hayden and the woman—and all their PDAs. It makes him sick, seeing that woman touching his… his…his best friend.
By the end of dinner, Jesse’s ready to toss in the towel and call it a night. The check arrives with a pile of fortune cookies. Each person at the table grabs one, and their unwanted guest reminds them they need to add in bed to the end of their fortunes.
Jesse never counted on her being right—or that his fortune would come true.
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Excerpt:Olivia opened the door and drew him inside the semi-darkened room.
Jesse turned and saw a half-naked woman on her knees. It took his eyes a moment to acclimate to the low light. A nightlight of some kind was on, giving the room a surreal glow. It eventually hit him that it was Mandy in her bra and panties, on her knees. Between Hayden’s thighs.
He gasped inwardly as he realized Mandy was blowing Hayden. Jesse’s stare roamed over Hayden’s nakedness. His chest was bare, his jeans open and pushed down his hips some, exposing nearly everything.
Hayden’s cock was hard and jutting out… and slick from Mandy’s mouth. Jesse lifted his stare and met Hayden’s shocked gaze.
But it wasn’t only shock. There was some lust in them, too.
As if Hayden wasn’t too upset in being caught.
“It’s my room, too,” Olivia said, shutting the door. “We can play in here, too.”
Jesse opened his mouth to argue they should leave when Olivia pushed him down on the bed across from Mandy and Hayden, knocking any denial from his lips. She knelt on the floor like Mandy and began undoing his jeans.
“Wait, maybe we should go somewhere else,” Jesse said, trying to still her fingers.
His stare drifted to Hayden’s cock again, and he forced it back down to Olivia.
“There is nowhere else,” she said. Pulling her hand from his, she reached into his briefs and caressed his cock.
An unbidden moan came from his lips.
It was all Olivia seemed to need. She pulled his cock through the vee of his pants and began to caress him. Jesse closed his eyes, hating that it felt so good. He reopened them and saw Mandy had gone back to work on Hayden’s cock. He couldn’t see everything, just an outline against that glow of light.
There was no doubt to what they were doing.
The sounds of Hayden’s moans only added to the excitement he felt.
Jesse grew harder under Mandy’s touch… and he had to wonder if it was the feel of her hand or the visual of Mandy’s lips wrapped around Hayden’s shaft. He leaned his head back against the wall, watching the action across the room.
It was too dark for Hayden to be able to tell where Jesse was looking… yet there was a little part of him felt as if Hayden was watching him, too. If Jesse could feel that, could Hayden sense his stare?
He didn’t care.
When he felt Olivia’s lips wrap around the head of his cock, he closed his eyes for a split second. It felt good. Really good. And it felt even better when he opened his eyes and continued playing the voyeur.
Mandy’s head moved faster and Hayden’s moans grew louder.
Jesse felt his body responding to the sounds.
Olivia pulled off his cock and looked up at him. “I think I’m… I’m…”
And she jumped up and fled from the room.
“Oh shit, not again,” Mandy said and raced from the room, slamming the door behind her.
“Lovely,” Hayden said from the other bed.
There they sat—alone—with two hard-ons.
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