They are erotic artists, trained to indulge their lovers' wildest wishes and most forbidden fantasies. And that is only the beginning. Now, in these scorching hot novellas, four ripe and ready concubines will discover the joys of getting what they give...
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November 28, 2006
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Excerpt from The Harem by Celia May Hart
The Secret Door by Noelle Mack
The deep blue of twilight suffused the garden where Yasmina walked alone. She stopped at the black-tiled fountain at its center, bubbling with water that rose from an ancient, buried spring. Only she came hereýthe other odalisques of the Topkapi harem shunned this place, convinced that the strange shadows cast by the gardenýs old walls had enchanted the water and the flowers that drank from it.
Yasmina had listened to these tales and then, left to her own devices, dipped her fingers in the fountain, not caring if the water was poison, and found it pure in taste. Still, it was whispered that evil spirits, djinns and ifrits, lurked in its dark depths. For that reason the garden had been neglected, and for that reason she preferred it. Here, sweet white roses sent out thorny shoots, climbing up and over the walls with wild abandon, as if they might someday escape the earth in which their roots were buried.
But the roses could not. Nor could she ever leave this place, she thought with bitterness. Though she wanted for nothing in this golden realm, nothing belonged to herýnot her beautiful gowns, not her embroidered slippers, not the jewels that hung between her perfect breasts, bared under silken gauze.
Yasmina shivered. A cool breeze wafted through the garden, enlivening the air and clearing her mind. Her nipples stood out against her white skin, white as the roses she walked among. Here in the harem, no one considered such display of female flesh immodest. There were only women to see. Like them all, Yasmina was the property of the sultan, a debauched and repulsive old man whom she glimpsed only rarely from behind a latticed wall of precious marble, under the great dome of the palace, holding court among his viziers and eunuchs.
His chief wife and favorite, the plump and lovely Gulbahar, made a great show of enjoying his company, as did the kadins, his lesser wives. The odalisques did not have to, as a rule. The sultan Suleyman was too old to visit many beds, and weary of the quarrels and vicious rivalry among the women.
Left to themselves, watched over by eunuchs and attendants within the harem walls and armed guards without, the young odalisques entertained themselves with storytelling and poetry, and games of chance and skill, and songs that extolled the prowess of legendary lovers and erotic bliss. When those amusements palled, there was always gossip. And for some, hashish and opium, which allowed their minds to flee the lovely bodies that had brought them to a state of bondage.
Yasmina wanted only to be by herself. As no one spoke her dialect, she was ignored and avoided, and some thought she was deaf and mute. A few seemed to look at her with pity in their beautiful eyes, but she cast her gaze down, not wishing to be entangled by an emotion as useless as pity.