All the trappings of steampunk society–corsets, airships, and ‘leaping technologie’–meet the simmering undertone of sexuality so well-hidden by Victorian morality in LIKE A CORSET UNDONE, Circlet Press’s third volume of erotic steampunk stories. By turns kinky and romantic, the stories in Like a Corset Undone explores all the reasons to unlace, whether to rebel, or for more intimate purposes.
From the Introduction, by J. Blackmore: “Revolution is a knife. The same knife is used to cut the corset’s strings as is used to slit the despot’s throat. When people decide that what is should not be, and that their vision is what’s to come, they plan to change things. When lovers are told that they cannot moan with the lights on, that they cannot seduce whom they wish, that they cannot fuck with joy and abandon, it’s only a matter of time until they have their way. Desire, and surrender to it, is the most revolutionary act of all.”
“Bravo to Circlet Press for helping to usher in steampunk erotica for us readers eager for the new and unknown.” — Obsidian Bookshelf
Includes the stories:
- The Pretty Horsebreaker by Peter Tupper
- Adventures Underground by Carlanime Bligh
- The Skydancer by R.E. Bond
- Skyway Robbery by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
- The Tinker’s Lady by Jasmine Dale
- The Zeppelin Raider by Roxy Katt
- Submission by R. Blackett
- The Coming Age by Angela Caperton
From: The Coming Age
by Angela Caperton
When Elizabeth Newkirk knocked on the front door of the big house at the end of Prosperity Street, she told herself the pain in her stomach was only hunger and not nerves at all. She needed this job badly, but if she didn’t get it, there were always others. Even if the rest of the country reeled under the churning storm of panic and recession in the summer of 1893, Chicago bristled with opportunity and with a vision of the impending Twentieth Century manifest in the imposing structures of the Columbian Exposition, the grandest fair America had ever seen.She had only applied for, what? Twenty positions at various firms, secretarial pools, sale positions, and as “hostess”—a title she had come to understand might mean “prostitute.” If this job didn’t work out, she could always go home to Whistle Springs, though such a retreat would break her heart. Her father waited there to herald her failure, eager to marry her off to a railroad man.
At twenty-five, Elizabeth knew her desirability, even for marriage, had reached a precipice, but she also knew from the mirror and from the eyes of the men who had interviewed her that she still turned heads. Well-shaped body, thick blonde hair, eyes of vivid blue and a birthmark at exactly the right spot to draw a gaze to the smooth, high perfection of her cheek—she knew she still had a little time to play with. But she knew it was more her wit than her beauty that would hold a man, and in the case of the doctor on Prosperity Street, she also knew she could do the job.
“Girl wanted,” the ad had read. “To perform office duties and assist in research vital to mankind. Call on Dr. Lancelot Mason between the hours of ten and four, Monday through Friday. Compensation guaranteed to satisfy.”
The vagueness of the ad worried her some, but she hoped it would discourage less ambitious girls. She drew a deep breath and willed her stomach to calm. She was ready for anything.
The house appeared much older than the ones she had passed on her walk from the trolley, and it stood several blocks away from the nearest cluster of frame buildings in the new neighborhood of Englewood, grown up like spring grass in the shadow of the White City. She had only visited the fair once, but she felt its presence to the east, gleaming under the thin clouds that hung wispily above Lake Michigan.
Her knock’s echo had hardly faded when the door opened. The man who welcomed her stood at least six feet tall, broad of shoulder, strong of chin—”strapping” as her father would say. He appraised her with eyes the color of the sky. “You Elizabeth?” he asked.
She nodded and let him take her arm to lead her over the threshold. “Are you Dr. Mason?”
“Nah. Finnian Segal. Call me Finnian. I’m his jack-of-all-trades and sometime mechanic. Come along.” He led her down the hall and into a small room with a pair of desks, one massive and the other minute. “Sit,” he said, pointing to the little desk.
She obeyed, keeping her knees together, striving to project confidence and poise.
“The doc’ll be in soon.” He grinned. “I can already tell he’s going to like you. Your letter said you speak and write French?”
“Oui,” she said and added, “I type almost seventy words a minute, and I can take shorthand.”
Finnian’s grin exposed a mischievous imp. “I bet you can,” he said. “Ever had a boyfriend?”
She fought to keep the color from her cheeks. “Back home…” she started, just as the storm struck the room.
Dr. Mason entered in a whirl of motion. “Good God!” he said. “Finnian, I told you to take her to the chamber first. We’ve no time. No time!” The doctor was not, as she had assumed, a distinguished man. He looked no older than Elizabeth. His ash blond hair stood mostly on end, and the once-white collar of his shirt shone gray with oil or grease. His grubby overalls would have disgraced a Whistle Springs farmer.
The two men swept her from the chair, gripping her lightly but insistently by the elbows and half-carried her between them down a narrow hallway and into another, larger room. An egg-shaped pod stood in the room’s center, one side of it open and a tangle of wires emerging from its conical top to vanish into the chamber’s high ceiling.
Dr. Mason ushered her to the egg, pointing to a platform that looked a bit like a drawing room settee, a layered construction of rubber, fabric, and leather. “There!” he commanded and half pushed her to sit within the contraption.
Elizabeth’s heart pounded, yet not even for a moment did she feel threatened by the men. Heavens knew she would have been powerless in Finnian’s hands, but Dr. Mason’s air of excitement captivated her and drew her to the very edge of awareness, the vista of her future perhaps visible any moment.
The two men vanished, closing the room’s door, and left her alone with the sound of her own accelerated breathing. She examined her surroundings, realizing with a little thrill that the pod was lined with soft velvet and the layered material of her seat returned a variety of pleasant sensations when she ran her hand over the ragged edges.
In the distance, something began to hum. Turning toward the sound, she noticed another door in the room, this one half-glass, so that she had a view into an adjoining chamber. Finnian stood in the other room, his features intent, and Elizabeth stared, mesmerized, as the big, handsome man unbuttoned his shirt.
He did not look toward her, but continued to undress, and though propriety poked at her to look away, she couldn’t. The distant hum grew louder until it echoed within the pod and perhaps even within her skin. Finnian, bare at least to the waist now, flexed his impressive arms, his face as chiseled and perfect as a Roman statue, his naked torso shining with a thin film of oil or sweat.
Oh, to see the rest of him, Elizabeth mused, wishing the ability to see through the opaque lower half of the door.
Her legs began to tremble and her breath quickened. Heat grew in her belly and settled lower, and then, to her surprise, a bloom of indescribable pleasure opened in her most private place. She bit her lip, but cried out. She wanted Finnian to look at her, to touch her. The pod droned and she arched and gasped as ecstasy pooled in her sex, then flowered again. She moaned and clenched her legs together, thrilling at the tight pulse of overwhelming pleasure. Abandoned in the moment, she sagged within the pod, her eyes closed, drowned by the repeated crests of sensations within her.
Panting, shaking as she descended from the flight, she opened her eyes again. In her writhing, her hair had come undone and fallen about her shoulders. Two buttons of her blouse were torn away, and her legs were no longer primly together. Dr. Mason peered into her intimate little chamber.
“The job is yours, Miss Newkirk,” he said. “Be here at eight tomorrow morning.”
* * * *
Elizabeth watched the Arabian girl’s hips and the fast, dizzying gyrations of her round stomach. Finnian stood beside Elizabeth, solid as a lamp post, and leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “Place is full of erosflux. You feel it? Mostly blue, but there’s some red too.”
The only woman in Little Egypt’s crowd, Elizabeth certainly felt something in the raucous men around her—the possibility of danger, the heat of their lust. She had learned so much in her first week working for Dr. Mason—about the erotic flux, the universal energy force that surrounded men and women. “The electrical essence of sex,” he called it. She smiled. The word didn’t make her blush any more. She had already written reams of letters for the doctor. Several of them, to his colleagues in Paris, he had dictated in French. Some of the words were new to her and Dr. Mason explained them to her patiently, without a hint of impropriety.
The belly dancer finished with a flourish, bowing low, her breasts nearly spilling from her silky halter. The room exhaled and Elizabeth imagined that the erosflux must have subsided.
Finnian rested his hand on her hip and a pleasant shiver passed through her. “Come on,” he said, leading her from the Egyptian Theater, down the Streets of Cairo, past a small cadre of sleepy camels, and out onto the furious rush of the Midway Plaisance. In spite of the deepening shadow cast by the enormous wheel that dominated the sky, the sun blushed red off in the direction of Prosperity Street and turned Ferris’s titanic amusement device into a Catherine Wheel of fire. To the east, night crept over the lake. A rising breeze blew fresh scent and scattered the smells of popped corn, sizzling meat, and pressed humanity.
The White City burned with pale fire, the shining lights of science painting the buildings golden in the sunset, highlighted with the pale, bright shine of electricity. Elizabeth and Finnian made their way west, the great wheel above them beginning to turn, so close she felt its metal breath upon her neck.
She took Finnian’s arm and leaned into him, deliberately pressing her breast against his forearm. He grinned at her and winked. “Doc wanted you to see Little Egypt. He wants to get her up to the house, but the cops have already warned him away once. Doc says she’d likely break his machine.”
She thought for a moment, picking exactly the right question. “When will I get to see his machine?” she asked.
“Pretty soon, I think,” Finnian said.
She kissed Finnian’s cheek, grateful for his escort to the fair. She liked being with him. He was so very different from any man she had known back in Whistle Springs, direct and honest in his words and the way he looked at her. She supposed, given the nature of Dr. Mason’s work, directness about such matters as romance and lovemaking was essential.
“The lights are beautiful,” she said with a wistful sigh as she looked back at the White City. With night’s cloak drawing tighter over the fair, electrical illumination eclipsed the horizon, like masses of stars fallen to earth.
“Doc says the erosflux is even more powerful than electricity,” Finnian confided. “And it’s all around us, in every man and woman.”
“And he seeks to tame it,” she said. “Like Mr. Tesla tamed the lightning?”
“Nothing tame about it, Miss Newkirk. Let’s go home. I reckon I can show you the machine, if you’re sure you want to see it.”
“Oh, yes,” she nodded, excited. She glanced once more at the night burning behind the spinning wheel. “More than anything in the world.”
* * * *
Her father would never approve of her living in the house on Prosperity Street, but Dr. Mason gave her no choice if she wanted the job and, after that first day, she wanted it very badly indeed. She had never felt so good in all her life, her senses stimulated and her mind free. Dr. Mason gave her a room of her own with a private bath. Nothing improper took place, though the constant sense of flirtation and arousal that had begun when she sat within the shining pod—the Receptor—kept her skin warm and her blood racing.
Finnian’s work now centered on a smaller device that occupied a bench in the little workroom that adjoined the Receptor room: the room where Elizabeth had seen him undress while she sat within the pod. She understood now that his display of nudity had been designed to help make her body ready to receive the erosflux that had flowed around her, to quicken her desire and lower her sense of caution. “It was a test, Ms. Newkirk, to see if you could be an asset to my experiment. You don’t scare or startle easily, and your level of acceptance is admirable,” Dr. Mason explained. She smiled and found, to her surprise, that she held no ill feeling toward him. In fact, she kept hoping for a repeat of the experience.
No one spoke of the exact nature of Finnian’s current labors, though Elizabeth sensed the frustration of both men. Whatever unknown goal they reached for, their failure to achieve it made the air thick with tension. Sometimes she tried to peek at Finnian’s workbench, but she saw little of the object, save that it seemed about the size of a human torso and had spindly parts, like legs or bands. When Finnian left off working on the project and covered it with a cloth, it reminded Elizabeth of a gigantic spider.
Besides Dr. Mason and Finnian, a pretty maid named Natalie lived in the house. Dark of hair and eye and with a plump, curvy body, a natural beauty radiated from her—fresh and clean, but touched with mystery. Natalie rarely spoke and, when she did, her words were colored by an accent Elizabeth did not know. Natalie cooked and cleaned and spent many hours alone with Dr. Mason in the mysterious room at the end of the hall, down from the office and the room where the Receptor sat.
The oddest thing about Natalie was the garment she wore most often, a flowing white robe that covered her from neck to ankle, modest enough, though from the bouncing motion of Natalie’s ample bosom beneath the robe, Elizabeth knew the maid wore no corset beneath it and perhaps no other garment whatsoever.
After Finnian and Elizabeth left the midway, they caught the trolley west and walked the last mile to Prosperity Street. By the time they arrived at the old house, no lights shone within. Elizabeth heard every joist pop, every floorboard creak as they slipped quietly in and made their way through the entryway and into the wing where Dr. Mason’s work unfolded.
“He’ll show you soon, himself, so just pretend you’re surprised,” Finnian said with a grin as he led her down the hall. She peeked into the Receptor room, saw its shape in the dimness, and shivered when she remembered the intense pleasure she enjoyed within its tight dimensions.
Finnian opened the big door at the end of the hall and ushered her in. The size of the room startled Elizabeth. In this portion of the old house, the second floor and the attic floor had been removed entirely and the walls and ceiling shored up with timbers. The windows of a hollow cupola shone with the light of the moon, casting blue glamour over the cavernous chamber. In the fairy glow, Dr. Mason’s machine loomed in the shape of a gigantic human form, a metal god, its torso golden bristling with coils of wire, shining glass bubbles, and little outcroppings of gleaming metal.
Finnian lit a gaslight near the door, exchanging pale moonlight for dusk and gold. The machine was indeed in the shape of a giant, sculpted with considerable skill, mostly of bronze. The giant had no face, only a gleaming surface of silvery metal, and it stood thigh-deep in the floor. Below its waist, the bronze opened into a little alcove or chamber.
“Behold the Erogine!” Finnian whispered loudly as he took her by the hand.
A rising excitement obliterated any fear she might have felt. Was the erosflux thicker and stronger around the machine, Elizabeth mused? In the little chamber at the base of the Erogine, a platform stood that looked much like a bed, constructed of layers similar to those in the pod, leather, rubber, silk, and a woven sheet of copper.
Finnian rested his hands on her hips and Elizabeth saw his intention clearly in his gaze. Breathless, her own desire quickened.
“You been with a man?” he asked her.
“Yes, no.” she said. “There was a man back in Whistle Springs. Robert. Sometimes we touched each other.”
“Good enough,” he said, unfastening the buttons of her dress. “I’ll be gentle.”
Impatient, she attacked his vest with eager fingers and Finnian chuckled, surprised and pleased. They kissed, more urgently than Elizabeth had ever kissed Robert, or anyone for that matter, and she thrilled at his tongue behind her lips, teasing her palette. He cupped her breast and, even through the stiffened fabric of her corset, the heat and pressure of his big hand rippled pleasure through her body.
He lifted her and her dress fell away. He laid her on the platform, one hand working on the stays of her corset and the other under her petticoat, his fingers like hot bands lacing her thigh. Tender as breath, his fingertips touched the lips of her pussy. Shocks of sensation flooded her core and she moistened as he stroked.
Finnian clearly had experience in such maneuvers, for he unlaced her swiftly. As he pulled away her petticoat, the rough back of his hand brushed against her mons, sending another jolt through her. With a few deft motions Finnian stripped her to the last garment. She lay naked before him, the first time in her life she had ever been entirely naked to any man.
Finnian lay beside her, his dark eyes wild as a beast’s, his breath ragged, but his hands infinitely tender, worshipping her with firm strokes, hip and waist, circling her breasts, not quite venturing to touch the nipples. She marveled at his penis, somewhat longer and thicker than Robert’s and yet much the same. She found she knew exactly where to touch him to make the head swell and the shaft grow veiny and hard.
Such magic, she thought, as Finnian moaned from her touch.
Then he moved atop her, pinning her hands with his, though she had not thought of trying to escape. His cock rode above her stomach as he kissed her breast, assaulting the nipple with his teeth. In a fluid motion he slipped into her.
She anticipated the pain, but the dull tearing seemed barely an edge of sense as it lanced, the white hot tip of a candle flame. Then all turned gold, the pleasure running like molten metal into her legs and her belly. She raised her legs to ease his entry, the most natural motion in the world, and she felt the erosflux around her, a blue-white cloud that gathered in the loins of the Erogine.
Finnian rode her in long, deep thrusts; slow, sensitive this first time she had been mounted, almost reverent. Elizabeth moved against him, her pussy anxious to hold all of him deep inside her, aware of his pulse and the racing of his heart like a motor.
The room glowed blue at the edges of her vision and the Erogine began to pound in subtle rhythm, the brass expanding and contracting, the flux almost raging, untamed, all around them, within them, everywhere.
The ecstatic crest Elizabeth remembered from inside the Receptor returned, as though the two moments in time were one, and then she rocketed into other realms, Finnian’s cock inside her, the scepter of the god erupting, her orgasmic scream of joy echoed in the hollow torso of the machine.
He sagged atop her, his bulk considerable but his hot weight delightful. His shrinking penis still buried deep inside her kept her linked to the miracle that raged around them for a moment longer, then passed, leaving warmth as precious as noonday sunshine.
Her fingers traced the corded muscles of his back. She wanted to tell him that she loved him, but the words echoed inside her, inadequate.
“Yes! Oh, yes!” The cry caused Elizabeth to jump under Finnian and he lazily lifted himself partially up, his cock still inside her, stirring again. Rising as best she could, she saw Dr. Mason and Natalie outside the chamber, the doctor’s face illuminated by a smile that almost betokened madness. Strangely, shame did not prick at Elizabeth even considering her exposed state, naked and penetrated. She tingled with the extension of her pleasure, like a pool of light around them, the erosflux, reaching out and including the doctor and the maid. Her gaze easily found the evidence of Dr. Mason’s excitement—his penis bulged in his overalls, the impressive length reaching almost halfway to his knee.
“You broke the meter, my dears!” the doctor exclaimed. “If we’d handled that properly, they would have felt it in Philadelphia!”
(To read the rest of the story and the other lovely selections in the anthology, download Like a Corset Undone today!)