Set in Venice 16th Century.
Advisory: Seriously, sensuously erotic. 18+
It’s a great honour for me to be your guest today. Thank you for having me, Muffy! I’d like to introduce you to Veronica, a high-class sex worker in 16th Century Venice. Known as courtesans, these ladies of the night were well-educated and highly sought-after. I came across them when I was researching my romantic historical novel Lady of Asolo. My fantastic editor, John Hudspith, suggested I play to my strengths which, for him, is the way I can convey gritty realism when writing sex scenes. So I decided to write a series about the most famous of these women, and Veronica is the first. She was married off young, as women were in those days, for financial reasons, but the union ended badly. To support herself, she learnt the tricks of the trade from her mother, who’d also been a cortigiana in her youth. Veronica was a talented poet and writer - able to maintain a balance between her sense of self-worth and the need to win and keep the support of men. Writing an erotic novella about a woman who practised ‘free love’ has been exciting. Veronica was promiscuous, yes, she had to be; how else to please the King of France but with the imaginative use of Murano glass? My second courtesan novella, Theodora, will be released in the autumn. The following excerpt takes place when Veronica has her first lesson in seduction.
I watch him watching us, imagining how he would take me.
I send him the message with my eyes.
This is who I am.
I am Veronica Franco.
I am a COURTESAN.
I court the cultural elite for fame and fortune, giving my body to many.
And I’m good. So very good. After all, I was taught by my mother, and mother always knows best.
How else to please the future King of France than with the imaginative use of Murano glass? How else to fulfil the desires of all yet keep my sense of self-worth?
But when disaster strikes and my life begins to unravel, I’ll have to ask myself one question:
Is it too late to give my heart to just one man?
My eyes practically fall out of my head when Mamma reaches under the cushion and pulls out a loaf of bread shaped like a prick. ‘Lesson number one. You’ll need to take this into your mouth, all the way down to the back of your throat, without making any marks with your teeth. But first I must teach you how to touch a man so that his member swells to this size.’
‘You mean it isn’t always as big?’ I think of the bulging codpieces that poke out from between men’s legs.
‘Sometimes it’s as small as a mushroom. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can grow when you stroke it. Your movements should be slow and subtle. Don’t touch it straight away. Gently rest your hand on your patron’s leg, then brush your fingers on his cheek. Let your shawl slip down so that he can see your breasts. All these things you can do after you’ve entertained him.’
‘Most definitely. You’ll be an honoured courtesan. Highly sought after. There are only just over a hundred among the thousands of whores in Venice.’
Mamma ignores my question. ‘When you are entertaining your patron by singing, playing the lute or spinet, or with witty conversation, you must flirt with him, entice him into your bed.’
‘Why do I have to take him in my mouth? I thought my figa was made for a man’s prick, not my mouth.’
‘All part of the seduction, cara. Men will stick their pricks in all our orifices, including our back passage. If you are really fortunate your patron might seek to give you pleasure too, by sucking your figa. Never, ever, ask him to do it, though. The initiative must come from him. There are men who enjoy the taste and smell of us.’ Apples and Musk. Of course.
Siobhan Daiko is an author of romantic historical fiction and a new series of erotic novellas featuring famous courtesans – strong women who held their own in a man’s world. A lover of all things Italian, Siobhan lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband and two cats. After a life of romance and adventure in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK she now spends her time, when she isn’t writing, enjoying the dolce vita near Venice.
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