Five lesbian fairytales that feature classic stories like “Cinderella” and “The Princess and the Pea” with a queer twist. What are the erotic possibilities of the enchanted princesses and forbidding queens that we learned about as children? Discover the love story between Gretel and the Witch and the intoxicating tale of Cinderella’s seductively severe stepmother It wasn’t a pea in her mattress that kept the Princess up all night, and the story didn’t end when the Prince found Snow White in the woods. Instead of competing for princes or beauty, the women in these stories are made more powerful by their desire for each other.
Praise for Like a Queen:
“These stories are all deliciously twisted versions of familiar stories, some featuring compelling characters and some with clever plots that wind their convoluted way to a happy ending.” and “These stories vary considerably in style and tone, and each casts a different spell. Tales of strong women subverting predicted outcomes never grow stale. If woman/woman sex appeals to you at all, this collection is sure to enchant.”
—Jean Roberta, Kissed by Venus
Keep reading for an excerpt:
Includes the stories:
Mirror, by Clarice Clique,
The Queen’s Jewel, by ADR Forte,
Gretel’s Dilemma, by Kaysee Renee Robichaud,
After the Hunt, by Michael M. Jones,
The Stepmother’s Girl, by Quatre Grey
From the Introduction by Rachel Kincaid:
Fairytales (and their cousins fables, myths, and folk tales) have been told and retold since before the written word. Their details change from generation to generation, and culture to culture. Names and settings shift and mothers become stepmothers as the needs of the storyteller change. This tradition hasn’t ended with modern times: contemporary writers such as Neil Gaiman and Francesca Lia Block have wrought beautiful and haunting versions of old stories, and there are already a dozen published books of erotic fairytales – most of them straight, but not all of them. So why put together another one? What can one more set of reworked Cinderellas possibly contribute?
Fairytales were originally conceived as, essentially, indoctrination and training for young children. In every telling they reveal and reinforce the values of the culture that created them: little girls who don’t listen to their mothers will be cruelly devoured, and young women who are too eager to use forbidden spinning wheels (or lose their virginities, however you want to read it) will be punished. We tell the same stories now for the same reason, but we change them to impart the messages that we want others to know, and that we ourselves need to hear. The ancient tale of Cinderella offered hope that good-heartedness and hard work could secure a happy life where superficial beauty and trickery could not. The modern “Cinderella story,” seen in forms from the exciting new lesbian novel Ash by Malinda Lo to Jennifer Lopez movies, tells us that we deserve to be happy even if we are poor or overworked or uneducated or of color or gay.
With this in mind, the significance of the stories in Like A Queen becomes clear. These stories are fun and sexy and clever, but they are also important. The original Grimm’s fairytales were set without exception in a world of compulsory heterosexuality; even worse than being ostracized or punished, queer people didn’t even exist. These stories are our way of writing ourselves back into our cultural memory; of making sure that the values that we’re imbibing include us and our desire in a positive light – a practice that’s necessary no matter how many times it’s already been done. As you’re about to find out, the results have been amazing. Fairytales often feature women at odds with each other, competing for male attention, but they have now been transformed into spaces where women are powerful, where they grow stronger through their love for one another, where instead of being punished for their sexuality they revel in it with fabulously beautiful princesses and captivatingly severe stepmothers. Magic wands are useful for more than casting spells, and the Princess’s bruises didn’t come from a pea in the mattress after all. It turns out that there are things in the Witch’s gingerbread house even sweeter than candy, and it’s definitely not the prince that Cinderella goes to see at the ball. So put on your glass slippers, and don’t forget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind as you venture on to find out what happened once upon a time.
Excerpt from QUEEN’S JEWEL
by A.D.R. Forte
She sent the maid to fetch something, some invented errand for more water or rose oil, and picked up my laces herself. The maids emptying the bath finished their work and left with curtseys and clanking buckets. The door stayed open, but there wasn’t a sound from the corridor beyond. Just the crackle of the fire in the room, the hiss and crinkle of velvet and linen and silk as she pulled the laces through the loops, and the sound of our breathing: mine and hers.
The bodice tightened, pushing the air from my lungs in a sudden, involuntary puff. She yanked the laces hard, and I stumbled a little in the pointed, heeled shoes, but I kept my balance, biting my lip and holding my spine arrow straight as she pulled and pulled again. I felt her fingers tie the laces into knots, the pressure of her rings hard and knobby against my spine even through the padding of the dress. Then she was done.
“Turn around. Let me look at you.”
I obeyed, spinning in the impossible heels as smoothly as a doll on a stand and presented myself to those fine, dark eyes under perfectly arched brows. The maids had combed my hair out before the roaring hearth until it dried, but it still tumbled loose in heavy waves over my shoulders. She reached out long, jewel-heavy fingers and brushed the strands back from my bare shoulders where the embroidered sleeves ended.
The dark eyes gave nothing away as she looked at me. I might still have been bedraggled and filthy, dripping water all over her threshold. But then I saw the movement of her throat as she swallowed. Her fingers toyed with my hair, cool fingertips brushed the line of my neck, and I felt answering heat flood my face and my half-bared bosom.
The fingertips moved down across my skin, leaving awareness in their wake: flesh roused by that careless, yet intimate touch. They brushed the curve of my breast, exaggerated and lifted by the bodice, and I held my breath as her hand cupped my soft flesh. Heat radiated from her palm through the velvet, but where the gown revealed the top of the smooth mound, her thumb moved cool and dry across my skin.
I shivered, and looked up in a whirl of confused desire worse than all the cold and fear and exhaustion of a few short hours before. Answering desire kindled in her eyes as her grip tightened around my breast, fingers digging into my flesh, forcing my breast nearly free of the constricting neckline, squeezing until I couldn’t breathe from the pain. Fancy, patterned metal from the edge of her ring brushed my exposed nipple, sending need, hot and liquid, through my loins.
Her lips pressed against mine.
I moaned at their softness, at the sweet scent of her, at the way her tongue in my mouth kindled every nerve, every shred of hunger. By instinct my hand slipped up to pull her closer. The jewels sewn into her dress brushed rough against my fingers still sore from trying to set traps in the rain and kindle soggy tinder with flint and poor steel. But I clenched my fingers tight against the material, drinking in the pain she gave me, until she stepped back.
I panted, on fire still as she released me, tucked my breast back into modesty and tugged the crushed material smooth. The sounds of the maids’ voices, returning, drifted to us.
“Go sit before the mirror, girl,” she said, her voice soft and husky with the same lack of breath that kept my own chest tight. But she cleared her throat as I obeyed. When the maids entered, bringing fragrant oils and combs of ivory I was waiting, my hands in my lap, eyes downcast: the image of a perfect princess. And she stood behind me, regal and proud: snowflake obsidian with her raven hair bound in a jeweled net and her alabaster-white skin.
I sat like stone and she dressed my hair, combing and pinning each strand with maddening slowness so that inside I quivered like golden jelly by the time she was done. Then she made me stand for inspection once more and only I saw her gaze linger on the kerchief of lace one of the maids had pinned to my décolletage. With imperial grace she fluffed the drooping edge of the lace, a careless, minor adjustment to complete my perfection, and I had to clamp my teeth into the tip of my tongue to keep from making any sound.
She pronounced me acceptable and ordered me to present myself in the hall before she swept from the room. Leaving the maids to lead me down the endless flights of steep stone stairs that I navigated with my heart in my mouth and my flowing skirt held high and out of the way, accustomed as I was to the wide, shallow marble steps of the palace I had once called home. But I refused to take even one misstep, even one fumble. I would not mar her handiwork. Or my own perfection.
I walked into the great stone dining hall with steps so light and small I knew the voluminous skirts would make it seem I floated in on them. I saw the prince sit up and stare. I heard the gasps and exclamations around me and I stopped, hands folded demurely around my fan, smiling like a china doll until the prince came to take my hand and lead me to a chair at his side.
I sat beside him and sipped the sweet wine he himself poured into my glass. I told my story again, the one I had rehearsed so often and knew so well: The bridal caravan taking me to my intended husband, the prince to whom my father had promised my hand. The robbers: my dowry lost and nearly my life. The weeks I wandered in the forest until the storm and fate had driven me here.
At least it wasn’t all a lie.
And all the while I laughed and flirted, I felt her silent gaze, tasted her mouth on my tongue. My breast still throbbed, recalling the heat of her hand, aching for her touch again.
(To read the rest of the story and the other fine selections in the book, purchase a download today!)