Colin was HOT. He oozed that strong quiet power that I adore. He was ruthless and powerful yet he was so careful with Macy, it’s a combination I love. 5 Sacrificial Stars!” – Charlie, Goodreads reader
I just released The Sacrifice, my dark captive arranged marriage romance. I feel like this is a trope we all need more of!
Here’s the first chapter Free…
Excerpt from The Sacrifice (c) 2022, Kitty Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
I’ve tried to deny it, but I’ve always known this was my fate. In certain families there are duties, and some of those duties are more unsavory than others. I’ve been kept pure for this, and tonight, I am their sacrifice.
I’m led blindfolded down a long hallway and through a door that creaks ominously as we pass through. My breath catches when I hear the men. I can’t see them, but I’ve been prepared for this. I know what to expect.
They’re young—ten of them, all close to my age. We went to private school together. The oldest is five years older than me. They are the future titans of industry, and they’re here to fulfill their duty—to impregnate me and continue tradition. And may the strongest sperm win.
The blindfold comes off, but I keep my eyes cast down on the floor. My naked body is barely covered by a white cloak that ties at the neck and then a couple of places beneath that so my modesty is protected. My modesty. Such a joke. No one will care about my modesty as soon as the initial formalities are over.
There’s another man, this one older—one of the fathers: Mr. Kingston. We’ll call him the Master of Ceremonies.
“Do you understand why you’re here, Macy?”
“I’m glad you were prepared for this, though tradition requires me to explain it to you anyway.”
Of course it does.
The coming narrative isn’t for my benefit. It’s for the benefit of the young men here, who will each get to touch me, taste me, claim me, bury their seed inside me in an attempt to be the victor. I will marry whoever is successful, whoever’s heir I end up carrying, which will be determined by paternity test. I can’t even begin to imagine how this was done before modern technology.
Maybe the ritual was different then.
“Each of these young men will please you. You are required to come for each of them. Do you understand, Macy?”
“Y-yes, Mr. Kingston.”
“Sir was just fine,” he says, his stern forest green eyes boring through me so that I find myself looking back down at the ground.
“Good girl. After that you’ll be allowed a break. The entire ritual will take hours, you see, and we wouldn’t want you to get light headed from hunger. Each of them will fuck you, and you are once again required to come for them. All of them. We’ll know if you’re faking. What happens if you fake or if you fail to come for them, Macy?”
“P-punishment, Sir.” My face is hot, flaming, but the place between my legs flames more.
“That’s right, Macy. Punishment. And we want this to all be about pleasure, don’t we?”
Mysterious hands seem to come from nowhere to untie the cords that hold the cloak in place. Then the lush fabric is pushed from my shoulders to land in a pile at my feet. This entire speech is for the entertainment of the spoiled rich men who are about to enjoy their sacrifice. Though I will enjoy it, too. It was designed for my pleasure, after all.
Though I’ve been told it isn’t really about my pleasure but about ensuring a pregnancy results from the ritual. Orgasms open the cervix. And I’m ovulating, so this is happening now. I’ll be carrying the child of one of these men tonight. Fate will decide who I’ll spend the rest of my life with, based only on the strongest swimmer.
I know every single moment of what’s supposed to transpire. I know every move, every part of this ritual by heart. Mr. Kingston raises an eyebrow at me, his look expectant. In response, I take a deep breath and drop to my knees. I crawl slowly to him, and suddenly every eye in the room is on me. Previously the men had been scattered about, drinks in hands, low murmurs as they pretended to talk to each other, as they pretended I was beneath their notice. But they can’t pretend anymore.
A gasp escapes my throat as I feel his hand stroke through my hair and then move around to cup my breast. I thought only the guys my age would touch me.
Two of the men help me to my feet and guide me onto a table where I’ll be examined by the doctor to ensure my purity is intact before it’s destroyed in this one long orgy.
A phone rings, breaking my focus. Dammit. I was so close. The fantasy drifts away, and with it, any hope of an orgasm this morning. I roll over in bed to find Livia’s name flashing on my cell phone screen.
“It’s eight in the morning. You know that’s my me time,” I grumble when I answer. And she knows exactly what I mean by that. Other people have their morning coffee, I have my morning orgasm. This has been my go-to fantasy for months now. It hits all the buttons: exhibitionism. Multiple men. Lots of orgasms. The demand of orgasms. Helpless, vulnerable, arousal. And I’m working myself up again now just thinking of the elements of this perfect spank fantasy.
“Sorry,” Livia says. But she doesn’t sound that sorry. This daily appointment with pleasure isn’t as sacred to her as it is to me, obviously.
She giggles in the background, and I hear rumbling male voices. Those would be her three… husbands? Is that what we’re calling them? Only one is legally married to her in the sense that they went and got a marriage license and had a wedding. The other two have private business contracts that are basically the same as marriage without calling it marriage. Apparently as long as nobody calls it marriage it’s not polygamy—at least not technically. I think. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. Maybe it’s still polygamy, or at the very least adultery. I need to research this because it’s going to bug me.
“I thought we were going dress shopping today. It’s your turn!”
Livia sounds way more excited about this than I feel.
My best friend has been married for the past three months. Even though I caught the bouquet at her wedding, I didn’t believe I’d be next because I wasn’t even dating anyone. Then two months ago this guy I was friends with in college popped back into my life.
One night while drunk, we’d made this silly pact that if we weren’t married by the time we were thirty, we’d marry each other. And when he called in this pact, I couldn’t come up with a good reason why I shouldn’t do it—aside from the fact that it’s crazy, and drunken promises to marry someone you barely know if you happen to be single in a decade is hardly the kind of thing normal people expect you to follow through on.
William is nice. He’s nice enough looking. He’s got a stable job. And I really want kids. I’ve still got some time on the baby clock, but I don’t see how the next ten years will be more fruitful for dating than the last ten were. I don’t even know how to date in the land of the perpetual player. And I’ve got a bit of an awkward problem.
I’m almost thirty and still a virgin. Yeah, that part of the fantasy is real. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of it, but I am. It makes me feel like I’m some kind of loser who didn’t have any opportunities—like no man wanted me. And I’ve walked through the local grocery store. I’ve seen pregnancies that defy all sexual attraction explanation.
But that isn’t it. A lot of guys have tried to sleep with me. I just didn’t because I wanted them to still be there the next day, and I could tell I was just a conquest—a curiosity. I’ve never been gifted with that ability to lie to myself that maybe this guy is the one when I know he isn’t.
There’s also that situation when you’re in that zone where it’s still totally normal to be a virgin, lots of other people your age are, and then suddenly everybody else has done the deed and you’re still standing there, suddenly out of the loop. It felt like I went from this is totally normal to it’s getting kind of weird almost overnight. Then I just stayed there. Like I’d somehow accidentally taken a vow in a convent, and that was that. Sorry, too late now, best to accept your spinsterhood. Here’s your free starter cat!
Most good men are freaked out by my late-stage virginity as though it’s a red flag all by itself. Or they don’t want the responsibility of being my first. It’s too much pressure. Only the bad men really like it.
And I’m just so shy and awkward.
I’m always researching everything and know weird facts about everything, and I mean, that’s kind of strange for dating. Right? And I don’t have that thing. You know that thing? The sexy airy breezy way some women have about them? That power over men. That siren thing. That certain je ne sais qua. I don’t have it. Though I’ve googled how to get it, to little avail. Everybody makes it sound so easy, but it just isn’t so easy for me. I’m not like that, and I just feel fake and awkward when I try. But I want to be that woman in my imagination so much I can barely stand it.
“Macy, did you just stroke out or something? You have to have a dress. You’re getting married in six months.”
I resist the urge to say Don’t remind me.
“Do you think he’s gay?” I blurt out.
“What?!?” Livia laughs out loud on her answer.
“I mean… why is he in such a rush to get married? And he hasn’t tried to sleep with me. We are getting married and he hasn’t pushed for sex once. That’s weird, right? I want to call it off.”
“I don’t think he’s gay,” Livia says. “He’s just shy. And he knows you haven’t… Maybe he thinks you’re religious, and he’s trying to respect your boundaries.”
“That pisses me off,” I say.
“That he’s respecting your boundaries?”
“No. That he might think it’s because of religion. Also, my skirts are a little short for fundamentalism. Don’t you think?”
I’m about two seconds from launching into an extreme, likely thirty-minute rant about how the way I am is how almost all women used to be. I mean, not obsessively researching arcane random facts, but the chaste until marriage thing. That used to be normal. I don’t want this one more thing to make me feel abnormal. I already feel abnormal enough.
Then I start crying. I don’t know where this is coming from. I mean I do, but I was fine a minute ago. Fine-ish. And now I’m sobbing over the phone like I’m about to be thrown into a volcano instead of getting married to a nice enough, good looking enough, and financially secure enough man.
“Macy?” Livia sounds concerned.
“I don’t want to marry him.” The words come out in a rush, more blubbering than speech. And then I get into a pathetic hiccuping sob where I can’t fully catch my breath, and I sound like a two year old having a meltdown over no ice cream for dinner.
We’ve booked the venue. We’ve got deposits down on everything. I’m sure this is why I don’t have a dress yet, why the idea is giving me stress acne instead of making me feel excited. I don’t want to marry this guy. I don’t feel anything for him. And I just know he’ll be missionary position lights out guy. I can’t spend my life with missionary position lights out guy. I mean look at my fantasies!
This is probably another reason I’m still a virgin. I don’t know how to ask for what I need or want. And even if I could say the words, even if I could let a man in on my twisted mind, there just aren’t any men I can trust enough for that. How would I ever do the things I want to do with anyone? I’ve never even been naked with a man before. And I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to bring myself to do even that. I can’t picture it in my mind at all—being naked with a guy. I can picture it when I’m fantasizing, but I mean… I can’t see it as a possible real activity that I could ever actually engage in. It’s all just so… impossible.
I should call off the wedding, get some cats, and just call it done.
And I feel so stupid even thinking these things. At least I’m not saying them out loud. That would be worse.
My mind, body, and experience are not at all in alignment. I don’t think anybody would guess that behind my bookish nerdy glasses are some very dark and wrong thoughts.
I mean it is so me to be a virgin trying to figure out how to get super kinky sex when I haven’t even done it the regular way yet. You have to crawl before you can walk after all. No kinky puns intended. The whole situation embarrasses me.
“If you don’t want to marry him you should tell him now before this goes any further. You haven’t even ordered the invitations.”
“All those deposits are nonrefundable,” I say, flopping back on the bed as though I’ve suddenly been transported to the Victorian era. I’m a millisecond away from dramatically putting my hand to my forehead in distress.
“So? Is it worth sacrificing your life over? I can give you the money back if you need it.”
I know she’s right. And anyway it’s not like it would be that much embarrassment on my end—calling things off, I mean. What little family I have, I’m not in contact with. The only people I was planning to invite to the wedding are Livia, her guys, and her family. I don’t even know who to put in my wedding besides Livia.
This whole thing makes me feel like I’m living a lie. I’m planning a wedding for a woman who doesn’t exist. I wish she existed, I want to be her, but I don’t know how to get there from here.
“Just come pick me up,” I say on a sigh. “We’ll go look at the dresses. I can at least try some on.” And fantasize about a dream wedding to a man I actually want to marry.
“Are you sure? It was just a stupid pact. Nobody follows that if we aren’t married by thirty we marry each other shit. Nobody. It’s just a thing you say. Macy, you don’t have to marry him. You know that, right?”
Don’t I though? He feels like the last boat—the only boat that’s coming. And I’m afraid if I don’t do this I’ll die alone.
It’s late in the afternoon when I collapse on the sofa, dropping my bags beside me. I got a dress. It’s green. Not pale green. Dark green. And I’m not wearing a veil. I can’t bring myself to wear a white dress because I’ll feel like I have a flashing neon sign over my head announcing my purity to the world.
Anyway, the white dress isn’t as traditional as people think. Queen Victoria started the tradition in 1840. Before that, nobody wore white. They just wore their nicest dress, whatever that was. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t read every book I could find on weddings when we were planning Livia’s. I can’t escape these million stupid facts all swirling around in my brain as though they mean something—like they’re important.
I jump at the sudden knock on my door.
“Who is it?” I call from the sofa. I’m not expecting anybody, and if someone’s delivering pizza to the wrong apartment, I’d rather not get up.
I bolt upright. Soren is Livia’s husband. The legal one. What’s he doing here?
“Livia isn’t here,” I call back, still not moving.
“Could you open the door, please? I’m here to talk to you.”
I struggle to get off the sofa, stopping to look in a mirror near the door. As expected, my long dark auburn curls are disheveled, and I can see the blush already starting in my cheeks, edging out the freckles dotting over my nose. I hate those freckles. I already look too innocent. Freckles are just a bridge too far in adorableness.
When I open the door, Soren sweeps right in without an invitation, smelling of whiskey and cigar smoke. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smoke a cigar, but he still smells that way. It’s like that’s just his natural masculine scent.
I can barely stand upright in this man’s presence. Soren has a strong effect on me. I spent the entire time around Livia’s wedding trying to focus my attention on Griffin, so I wouldn’t be lusting after my best friend’s soon-to-be husband. I didn’t know at the time that Griffin was hers too. So it was a pointless waste of effort on my part. I put absolutely everything into that Oscar-worthy performance and made every effort not to even look at Soren. His pull was far too strong.
Then when I walked in on her and Griffin kissing, thinking she was cheating on the man I’d wanted… I locked myself in my car and had a long pathetic cry about it.
Soren is tall with dark forest green eyes and a body sculpted by the gods. But it isn’t his looks or even his money that I’m so attracted to. It’s his presence. The sheer dominant overpowering and terrifying essence that is Soren Kingston. Yeah, he’s the Mr. Kingston in my longstanding fantasy. I make it okay in my head by aging him a couple of decades and not letting him participate. Much. Don’t judge me.
He’s like a storm that you just know will blow through and rip you apart from the inside out, but you’re so enthralled watching it coming your way, you can’t make yourself move out of the path of devastation in time.
“Do you have anything to drink?” he asks.
I still don’t know why he’s here, and I’m sure I’m so turned on he can tell. I wish I could turn this feeling off. I would never betray Livia—not that Soren would be into someone like me. But even if he was, I’d never hurt her. I just can’t shut off my body’s reaction to this man.
“Y-yeah. I-I have some tea. D-do you want tea?” Oh god, why am I stuttering? And I’m sure he means like a drink drink, like an adult beverage, but I don’t really keep liquor in the house. I’m not much of a drinker, and it’s a small studio apartment so it’s not like I do a lot of entertaining here.
“That’ll be fine. Make some for yourself, too.”
It’s a command, and I swear if he were single I would strip off my clothes and kneel at his feet right now. I’ve never felt this way around a man before. I have no idea how Livia managed to go months without sleeping with him. Is it possible I feel a stronger attraction to her husband than she does? That would be tragic.
I wish he’d leave. What’s he doing in my apartment? I take a deep breath and force my mind to stop racing as I heat the water in the kettle.
“Earl Grey or English Breakfast?” I hear myself say. It doesn’t even sound like my own voice. It sounds far too high pitched and squeaky to be me. Or maybe it’s more breathy like Marilyn Monroe.
“Whatever you’re making for yourself is fine.”
We’re both silent in the kitchen. He stands several feet away, but it’s still too close. In moments like this I’m jealous of Livia. I love her like a sister, but why does she get everything? She didn’t just get one hot, wealthy, kinky guy. She got three. How is that even possible? It’s statistically very unlikely. It just isn’t fair.
Meanwhile I’m about to marry a probably gay guy where I might get to have vanilla sex one time for the sake of procreation.
Am I really going to marry him? Even though I’m going through the motions I’m still not sure I’ll be able to go through with it. Livia’s right though, I need to end things before the invitations get ordered. But why the hell did I buy a dress if I don’t plan to actually marry him?
And I really thought we were to a point where a man could be gay and just be open about it. Why hide behind me and pretend? But then I remember that not literally everyone in the world is up to date on this, so maybe there’s a reason he needs to hide. And I can feel sympathy for that, but it’s still not right to hide behind me.
When the teapot whistles, I pour the tea into two cups and place them on the table. I can’t stop thinking about how bizarre it is that Soren is standing in my apartment. And he still hasn’t told me why he’s here.
“Do you take milk and sugar?” I ask, desperate to fill the silence with anything but the sound of my raging heartbeat.
I go to the fridge for the milk, wondering if he’s planning some kind of surprise for Livia and wants my help. I leave the milk on the table, then grab the sugar for myself and some tea cookies out of the pantry. When I return, Soren is seated at the table, milk in his tea, already drinking.
I put sugar and milk in mine and take a couple of sips.
“So, why are you here again?” I ask. I’m sure I sound rude. I don’t mean to, but I need him out of here before he figures out how much I wish I could be with him. I mean I don’t have a crush or anything. I’m not in love with him. I just… he makes me feel like I’m in heat, and I kind of want to climb him like a tree.
“Are you nervous about something, Macy?”
I take a big gulp of my tea and then another. It’s barely cool enough to be chugging it back like this, but I need a distraction.
“What would I be nervous about?”
“Let’s not play games. I’ve seen how you react to me. You think I don’t notice how you blush when I’m near? I think there’s something dark and a little dirty in you. You probably have needs you’ve never even admitted to yourself.”
The heat that was concentrated in my cheeks spreads swiftly through the rest of my body. Oh, I’ve admitted them to myself, but thank you for that psychoanalysis.
“You’re married,” is all I can say. Is he propositioning me? If this bastard is propositioning me I will geld him.
Soren laughs. “You’re so adorable.”
I’m about to speak again but my tongue feels… weird. I can’t make words work anymore. Soren’s face blurs in front of me. Then the world tips to the side and goes black.
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