It’s Wonderland Wednesday again! I hope everyone is excited as I am. I’ve been longing to share Chapter Seven of Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice in Shifterland with you. Enjoy (unless you’re underaged. If you’re under eighteen years old, please navigate away from this website.)!
“This is your fault,” another, more familiar, voice replied.
“How could I have known she’d eat an entire cupcake?”
“Most people eat a whole one. She didn’t know it was one of yours.”
“They were clearly marked with my signature phrase.”
“Eat me?” The voice sounded incredulous.
“All in good time, my sweet bunny.”
Groggily, Alice sat up and looked around until her gaze fell on the two men arguing right next to her, Wit and Hat.
The plush, deep purple bedding beneath her informed her she was in someone’s bedroom, sprawled across their neatly made bed. She couldn’t remember how she got there, and she felt like she had been hit by a truck.
Clearly oblivious to the fact that she was stirring, the two continued to argue. “Don’t be a smartass. Just go ahead and fuck her.”
Those words jarred Alice wide awake as she did a double take but stayed quiet so she could continue to eavesdrop.
“I will not!” Hat shook his head at Wit. “I don’t ravish sleeping virgins.”
Alice pursed her lips to keep from busting out laughing. If he was expecting to draw first blood from her, he was going to be disappointed.
“She needs your essence or I’ll be fighting off potential rivals all day. “I don’t have time for that!” Wit’s voice was almost desperate.
“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to start treatment…” Hat tilted his head and stroked Wit’s cheek before adding, “But you’ll have to draw out her first dose.” His hand slid up the side of Wit’s face and rested on top of his head.
Wit dropped down on his knees and unfastened Hat’s trousers. Whoa! This scene was getting interesting in a hurry.
From her angle, Alice couldn’t see much more than Wit’s head bobbing. The intimate display inflamed her senses but aggravated her condition. Still, she couldn’t look away. She held her breath, scared they might notice her watching, but Hat turned a knowing eye her way and lifted an eyebrow. The smirk on his face told her he had known for some time, and the smoldering look in his eyes practically dared her to look away.
Her pussy throbbed with desire and she trembled. Hat moaned, closing one eye while keeping the other open, staring at her. She shivered, feeling naked in his gaze. She wrapped her arms around her fully clothed body, one arm covering her breasts while another hand shielded the lower portion of her dress. He opened both eyes and licked his lips just before growling. As his body shuddered in climax, Alice moaned aloud as if she were the one coming.
In a flash Wit was off his knees and coming straight for her, his face less than an inch from hers. Alice startled and started to pull back, but even knowing what Wit had in his mouth, couldn’t resist. Part of her burned to taste Hat’s essence on Wit’s lips, to be a part of their intimate experience. Wit took her in his arms, and she melted into his embrace. Their mouths collided, lips pressed together at first before opening hungrily. As Wit’s tongue joined hers, he delivered the bitter present.
Her eyes opened wide as she accepted, but the sharp flavor was too much. Without attempting to push him away, she broke the kiss. Before she could swallow or fluid covering her tongue, Hat’s hand covered her mouth while Wit’s hand rested on the back of her head, holding her in place gently but firmly.
“Don’t spit it out,” Wit cautioned.
Hat laughed as if amused by Wit’s sweetness and pinched Alice’s nose. Alice swallowed down the thick fluid without resisting and he released her nostrils.
“Shh, shh, that’s a good girl.” Wit cuddled her tightly against his chest and caressed her back as if soothing a fussy infant. “It’s all done. He released her from his grasp and met her gaze. His smile was so caring, she couldn’t even be mad at him. “That’s a good girl. You’ll feel better soon.”
Alice did feel better. The heat that had been emanating from her core had dissipated enough that she no longer felt like she was being burned from the inside out and the powerful yearning had lessened. Her pussy was still wet but no longer throbbed. ”So that’s the antidote?”
Hat laughed as he slipped a hand into his jacket pocket and then retrieved a vial of bubbling blue liquid, but this needs a protein activator. He popped the cork with his thumb and handed her the container.
Alice knitted her eyebrows and frowned. He tricked me! “You dick! You could have used a hundred other proteins.” She shot Wit a nasty side-eyed look and punched him in the arm as hard as she could.
He grabbed his bicep and rubbed. “Ouch!”
“You didn’t complain.” Hat’s voice was cool and sexy.
As she shifted her gaze to Hat and noticed the perverse pleasure he was taking in the scene, she narrowed her eyes. “Where the hell am I?”
“The castle…my room.” Hat tilted his head towards Wit. “He barged in with you clinging to him and moaning unintelligibly. Then he dumped you on my bed and you writhed like a bitch in heat. I finally had to give you a little sleep pinch to calm you down.
Alice could tell from his expression that he was having a ball recounting the degrading story. A man who loves to tease and dominate—she had his number.
“Sleep pinch?” She folded her arms over her chest as she called him on his bullshit.
“It’s one of my signature martial arts moves. I strike, applying just the right amount of pressure to just the right place.” He paused making eyes at her in a way that told her he was alluding to more than just his fighting skills. Once again, overcome by a pervasive feeling of being completely exposed right down to her short and curlies, Alice shivered with both trepidation and exhilaration.
“Just like that…lights out.” He snapped his fingers, obviously loving the sound of his own voice while practically eye-fucking her. As if he was a cat tiring of toying with a captured mouse, he looked away. “But just for a few moments.”
“Shit!” Wit groaned. Alice looked over just in time to see him snap his pocket watch closed. “We’re late!”
Hat rolled his eyes and walked over to the door, opening it. “After you.”
Wit grabbed Alice’s arm and hauled her up to her feet before hurrying her out the door. He clasped her hand in his intertwining their fingers before sprinting off, dragging her along. She broke into a sprint just to keep up with him and threw a look over her shoulder only to see Hat leisurely strolling while twirling a walking stick.
Alice tried to force Wit to slow down, pulling against his grasp on her hand but he wasn’t having it. “Slow down!”
“I can’t.” He dashed along never missing a beat.
“Hat doesn’t seem so concerned.”
“He’s the Prince of Spades and the Queen’s heir. Besides, he’s always done as he damn well pleases. I don’t have that option.”
Alice panted, struggling to keep up. “So he’s my Prince of Darkness?”
“You got it.” Wit stopped short just before they entered a heavily guarded corridor. He smoothed out his clothing and used his hand to straighten his mused hair before turning his attention to Alice. He knelt, and then adjusted her stockings that had loosened as she ran. He stood before looking her over. He nodded. “That’s good.”
Alice’s head was spinning. “Where are we?”
“Shush.” He took her hand again and led her to two large doors being guarded by a pair of identical-looking soldiers. They were tall and neither their faces nor their bodies were anything special to look at aside from the observation they had to be twins. Wit nodded to them and waited expectantly but they smirked.
“Something you wanted?” One of them asked, grinning.
“Let us in.” Irritation clung to each syllable as Wit huffed.
“Sorry, but you have to answer our riddle first,” said the guard on the right.
Wit sneered. “I don’t have time for your bullshit right now.”
They completely ignored Wit’s menacing protests. “One of these doors leads to the castle and the other leads to certain death.” They chanted together while Wit palmed his face.
“And one of you always tells the truth and one of you always lies; blah, blah, blah!” Wit’s face was bright red, but Alice had recognized the riddle and perked up, bouncing with excitement.
“I know this one!” She clapped her hands together.
“Yeah, everyone does.” Wit sneered while reaching into his jacket. He whipped out a gun, and the jubilant atmosphere dissolved into dust. The guard’s face’s dropped and lost color. Alice was speechless and not only because he pulled a weapon no one else, including the royal guards, seemed to possess but because the damn thing looked old as hell, not so much in age as in style. Rather than a Glock or Smith and Wesson, Wit had a revolver straight out of the Wild Bill Hickok’s Wild West Show. On the other hand, his weapon was very well-maintained, clean and devoid of signs of actual aging.
“Both doors lead to the throne room now open up before I shoot you both in the head!”
“Touché!” One of the guards said, frowning at his brother.
“I know…some people,” the other guard replied as he opened the door.”
Wit moved towards the entrance, but Alice was still stunned. He holstered his gun and slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her close and whispering, “Sorry about that.”
“Uh huh.” Alice blinked at him, and he hustled her to a seat off to the side of where everyone else was sitting as if she was a one-person jury in a courthouse. On the other hand, her isolated location gave her an excellent view of anyone and everyone in the throne room.
“Just sit right here for now.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze before dashing off and then hustling up the stairs to the large raised platform where the Queen and King were seated. He bowed to each of them and took his place standing next to the King’s large, ornate chair.
“It’s about damn time!” The Queen eyed Wit with aggravation. Whoa, that woman has a talent for resting bitch-face. “You’re late! Off with…”
The loud boom of someone deliberately slamming the door with excessive force distracted the royal lady from passing sentence. All heads turned towards the sound, staring as Prince Blackard himself came sauntering into the room.
“Sorry for my tardiness.” He winked at his aunt. As the Queen looked his way, her expression softened.
“I suppose you held up the rabbit?” She lifted her eyebrow, giving Hat a knowing look.
“Guilty as charged.” As he ambled up the steps, he ran a finger along the brim of his hat just before removing it and giving a deep bow to the royal couple.
“Indeed, and of course, your only nephew.” Hat’s demeanor was cool and casual. Wit was right about him doing just as he pleased.
Alice looked around at everyone else in the room, noting they were anything but calm and unruffled. About half of the attendants were animals. She suspected they were shifters as well; otherwise, she couldn’t imagine them sitting in on court proceedings.
She brought her attention back to the Prince. He was slouching in his seat much like a sullen teenager, leaning to one side as he spread his legs and then threw one of his long limbs over the chair arm on the opposite side. Everything about his manner reeked of boredom. He even lit up a cigarette and started to smoke before piping up to ask, “Can we get this travesty started?”
“Are you so anxious to see justice?” The King threw a glance over his shoulder at Hat.
The quicker it gets started, the faster it will be over,” Hat replied in between drags from his cigarette.
“Bring in the prisoner!” The King bellowed loudly.
A door on the other side of the room flung open and two soldiers dragged a third into the throne room, flinging him in the middle of the floor before moving back to the other side of the room. On his knees, the soldier groveled, “Mercy, your Majesties! Mercy!”
The Queen stood and smoothed out her dress. “And why would we be merciful to a lying thief?”
“I’m no liar.” The man sniveled pitifully. Alice sat back in her chair and crossed her legs, wondering if the man was truly guilty of anything and if so what he stole.
“Stand up, you pathetic wretch!” The King sneered at the accused.
As the man stood, Alice noted the handcuffs restraining his hands behind his strapping back and his tight muscular butt. He wasn’t bad looking at all—hard bodied, a boyishly handsome face and long blonde hair trailing down over his shoulders. He had a scar peeking out in a diagonal left-to-right direction from under the eye patch over his left eye. Someone or something had definitely done a number on him at some point in his life, but rather than detracting from his attractiveness, the mark gave him a mysterious and enticing aura.
As Alice observed his pitiful, defeated expression, something stirred inside of her, something she had always buried deep down even though it was always trying to claw its way out. She wanted to see him cry more! She bit down on her bottom lip, grateful that her nasty dose of medicine seemed to be working. No matter how intriguing the scene before her was, she had to keep control over herself.
“Knave of Hearts, you are accused of stealing my tarts?” The Queen’s voice was questioning, her eyes narrowing as she glared at the defendant. Somehow her expression didn’t ring true. Suspicious, Alice tilted her head, tapping her chin with her finger. If the Queen were really angry wouldn’t she be losing her shit and running around screaming about taking heads?
“Um…your Majesty?” the Knave’s response was puzzling. Is he asking the Queen how he should plead?
“Oh, shut up! No one wants to hear you lie!” The King’s tone was cold, but his expression was anything but. His eyes shimmered, hooded with what appeared to be arousal while his smile gave the impression he might jump down from his throne and devour the Knave at any minute…
The Prince sighed loudly, rolling his eyes. “My turn?”
The Queen threw him an annoyed but imploring look. “There was a time when you enjoyed helping mead out justice, dear Prince.
“There was a time, long, long, looong ago when this was new and fresh and fun. Now…not so much.” Hat plopped his head back against his seat as he looked up at the ceiling.
“Call the first witness!” The King pounded on the arm of his chair with his fist.
“I call H’atanian Blackard, the Prince of Spades.” The Queen said while returning to her seat.
Alice lifted an eyebrow. She’d have to file his full name away for later use.
“Go ahead,” Hat replied without moving from his seat.
“You’re not going to stand in the galley?” The Queen’s lips poked out as if she were a child who had been denied dessert.
“Hell no!” Hat shook his head emphatically. “I can answer your questions from here.”
The Queen grimaced but appeared to accept Hat’s request to stay seated. Instead, she got up and strutted across the platform and down the stairs until she was standing about a foot away from the Knave of Hearts. As she came near, he dropped to his knees in front of her. She circled him like a wolf circling prey while tapping him on the shoulder with what looked like a riding crop with a stiff, leather heart at the end.
The Knave leaned forward, falling on his face, his hands still cuffed behind him as he rested his forehead on the Queen’s shoe. Cruelly, she turned from him, allowing his head to fall to the floor as she brought her attention to Hat. “Tell me, Prince of Spades, where were you last Thursday morning shortly before breakfast was served in the palace?”
“I was in the kitchen icing cupcakes.” Hat wasn’t even looking the Queen’s way. Instead, he stared straight at Alice. The way he leered at her made the tiny hairs on her arms stand. She squirmed, turning her head to avoid his gaze.
The Queen continued her line of questioning. “And while you were in the kitchen, did you see anyone else?”
“Yes,” the Prince replied with a nod of his head.
“And who might that have been?”
Hat shot his aunt a roguish a smirk. “The royal cook was there, busily preparing breakfast.”
The Queen’s eyes went wild and her smug smile dropped. “Anyone else?” Her tone of voice was slightly louder.
“Hmmm…” Hat tapped a finger on the side of his head as if he were trying to think. “As I recall, the cook’s assistant was helping her.”
Queen Beatrice’s nostrils flared and her right eye twitched. “And? Anyone else?”
“Let me think…” Hat looked off to the side, tapping his chin this time. His eyes shimmered with glee as he shot his aunt a sideways glance. “Ah yes, the pastry chef had finished the tarts and was baking bread.”
Queen Beatrice patted her foot impatiently, and the King, who periodically turned in his seat to glare at Hat, was practically foaming at the mouth. Her nostrils flaring even more than before, the Queen asked, “Was there anyone else there?”
“A young boy…I don’t know his name but he was about five-foot and three inches tall with red hair and freckles. I’ve seen him there many times before working with the pastry chef so I’m fairly certain he’s an apprentice. He was learning to bake bread.” Hat nodded as if proud of himself for remembering the detail.
Obviously, at her limit, the Queen threw her hands in the air. “Was the Knave of Hearts there?” Her voice was shrill.
Hat looked off into the distance again as if he were thinking, still playing his own game. He resumed his gawking at Alice. “Yes, I’m certain I saw him there.”
A forced-sounding gasp rose over the crowd. Alice looked around doubtfully. All the animals and humans looked bored, and no one seemed at all shocked that a high ranking member of the Queen’s guard would steal from her.
“Ah ha!” the King pounded his fist against the arm of his chair again while leering at the Knave, practically salivating.
“My Queen, it’s simply not true!” the Knave cried, rubbing his face against the hem of her dress.
“Prince, are you certain it was the Knave who you saw in the kitchen?” The Queen turned from the Knave to Hat and then back to the Knave.
“Positive,” Hat replied, swinging his leg and shifting his weight.
“And how can you be sure?” the Queen asked.
Alice looked around at the rest of the crowd and noted one of the mice was actually mouthing the words the Queen said as she said them as if some sort of script were being followed.
“Well, let’s see…I’ve known the man for years so I’m familiar with his appearance and he was about two feet from me, stomping around in front of me, pacing really.” A sadistic smile spread across Hat’s face as his gaze strayed from Alice and locked on to the Queen. He bent forward in his seat, grinning. “You know, it seemed like he was actually trying to get my attention. I wonder…”
The Queen cut Hat off mid-sentence. “What did you see him do next?”
Hat leaned back, laughing. “Once he got my attention, he made a big show of skulking around by the tarts, sniffing them, staring at them and finally eating them before running out of the room just like he did last Thursday and the Thursday before that and so on and so forth.”
The Queen attempted to interrupt him again, but he raised his voice and talked louder than her. “You know; you’d think he’d pick a different day so I couldn’t testify against him again. I mean Thursday is the only day I make cupcakes, and the Knave always steals your tarts on a Thursday and only on a Thursday. Wonder why that is?”
As laughter broke out and filled the room, the Queen spun around and faced the crowd. Her frightening glare shut everyone up lightning fast.
Turning back to the Prince, Queen Beatrice folded her arms across her chest and scowled. “Don’t be cheeky, Nephew! You’ll spoil everything.” Alice covered her mouth with her hand to avoid laughing at the Queen’s pouty tone.
The Prince and Witt shared a knowing look, and as the Prince turned his attention back to his aunt, he wore a mocking smile. “My apologies, my Queen. Please restate the question.”
“I asked how you could be sure it was the Knave of Hearts who stole my tarts?” She stomped her foot.
“As I said, I was standing at close range as he gobbled down your tarts, crumbs flying everywhere and filling dripping.”
“I see…” The Queen said, turning her back on Hat and looking out over the crowd. She looked off into the distance, tapping her crop lightly against her free hand as if she were thinking. “Filling…” she murmured before raising her voice and shouting, “Guards, off with his clothes!”
Alice burst out laughing. but quickly clamped her hand over her mouth and looked around as if she had no idea who could have been so rude. She spared a glance towards Hat. A big grin spread across his face as he winked at her. Alice’s heart fluttered, and her pulse quickened. She wished she could be pissed at him for poisoning her with his pervert cupcake, but she couldn’t shake the effect he had on her.
Alice leaned back in her chair and watched as the two guards who had dumped the Knave of Hearts on the floor yanked him up and used daggers to cut his clothes off. Oh, my! This spectacle is starting to get interesting.
The Knave stood naked and glorious. His shoulders were broad, and his torso was lean with hard muscles. From head to toe, he was a work of art, carved by the hand of God. Alice’s gaze swept downward over a sandy blonde patch of hair and settled on the man’s rigid cock, standing at attention for the whole world to see. She brought a finger to her mouth, tapping a nail against her teeth as she ogled at the Knave’s impressive asset. As Alice brought her attention back to the man’s face, his ashamed expression and crimson blush brought a smile to her face and set her heart racing.
The Queen stepped forward and ran a finger over a smudge on the Knave of Heart’s chest, wiping it off and tasting it. “Strawberry cream cheese.”
Another forced gasp rang out over the crowd.
“How dare he steal from us!” The King roared, standing up from his seat.
Alice shook her head incredulously. Why did no one call out the absurdity? It wasn’t Thursday anymore. Would the Knave not have had a bath? Besides, the strawberry cream cheese hadn’t necessarily come from the Queen’s tarts. Was any damn body going to speak up for the Knave? She glanced Hat’s way and lifted an eyebrow while motioning toward the knave and queen with her head. He shrugged, rolling his eyes.
She pursed her lips, eyeing him with fascination. Why doesn’t he care what happens to the Knave? Does this really happen every Thursday and if so, how does the Knave still have a head?
Queen Beatrice walked in a circle around the Knave, smacking various parts of his body with her crop as she did. Each time the heart-shaped leather made contact with his skin, the Knave winced and Alice’s breath hitched.
“Confess!” She swung the crop wildly, allowing it to land where it would. Alice gasped as the crop hit the man’s nipple, and he trembled. The Queen scolded the Knave, her face inches from his. As tears poured down his cheeks, Alice licked her lips.
The Queen yelled right in the Knave’s face. “Confess!”
“I’m sorry, Majesty! I only ever wanted to please you and His Highness!” The Knave quivered, and his cock twitched, standing much taller since his chastisement began. Is he actually enjoying this debasement?
Alice’s cheeks burned. She wasn’t sure why she was enjoying this man’s degradation so much, but somehow the spectacle was like an intoxicating drink. Every tear he shed amped up her buzz better than a shot of top-shelf whiskey ever could. She was giddy with sadistic glee.
“Confess!” The Queen’s demanding tone sent a shiver down Alice’s spine. She hugged herself, parting her lips. As her gaze traveled upward, she noticed the Prince staring at her with a haughty expression of self-satisfaction. Had he somehow known how this distasteful display would affect me?
Catching her staring at him, Hat raised tilted his head to the side and winked. Alice looked away, embarrassed by her reaction the depraved scene unfolding in front of her.
The Knave cried out. “I’m sorry! I confess…I stole the tarts, but only because you told…”
His words trailed off as the Queen’s crop landed hard on his back. Alice flinched, clasping her hands together as she sat on pins and needles to find out what was to come.
“Shut up!” The Queen screeched even though she was the one demanding he confess in the first place.
Hat’s voice rang out across the room. “Sounds like we have our answers so what’s the verdict? Off with his head?” His tone was mocking and sarcastic.
The Queen shot him a look of aggravation, but he simply grinned. It was the King who stood and passed sentence. “Since the Knave has confessed his crime and begged for mercy, I will give him just that…” He paused as if for dramatic effect. “Your life will be spared and you will retain the honored title of the Knave of Hearts as long as you endure a lively session in the punishment room.” After passing sentence, the King shared a knowing look with his wife.
Alice’s jaw dropped as she blew out the breath she’d been holding. Well, that was anticlimactic. She frowned, feeling cheated. The Duchess had done more to her simply for showing up at her house unannounced.
The guards from before led the Knave out a door on the far side of the room just left of the platform while bellowing, “Make way for the Queen!”
Queen Beatrice walked behind them with a spring in her step, and the King trailing right after her. The Prince swung his cane allowing it to rest over his shoulder as he stomped down the platform steps, playfully leaping from one to the next. Wit followed behind him.
As the rest of the audience made their way out of the throne room, Alice sat alone, slack-jawed and flabbergasted. What the hell just happened here?
The Prince swaggered up to her, bowing low and taking her hand. He kissed just above her knuckles before hauling her up to her feet. She locked eyes with Witt, and he gave her a shy smile before looking away. “Shall we, my dear?”
Alice had no idea what Hat was offering. Why the hell not… “Lead the way.”
He offered his arm and she took it but as they were walking toward the door the rest of the royals had exited through, Hat stopped short and glanced back at Wit. “You wait for us upstairs.”
Wit’s face fell and for just a second, he looked just like a helpless little rabbit. Alice’s heart went out to him. She suspected he was in love with Hat and couldn’t imagine how much it would hurt to be shooed off and excluded by someone who held her heart.
“That seems mean,” Alice whispered in Hat’s ear.
He patted her arm. “Don’t you worry about Wit, Alice—he wouldn’t know how to act if I was too nice to him. When I make him practice patience, scold or push him away, it only makes it that much sweeter when I pull him close and dote on him.”
Alice noted a sign on the door that read: Authorized individuals only. All others will lose their heads,
She stopped in her tracks. “Are we authorized?”
He nodded as he opened the door and held it for her. After she walked through, she asked, “And how do you do that?”
“What?” Hat asked.
She lifted her eyes seductively. “Dote on him.”
Hat bit down on his lower lip and raised his eyebrows. “In lots of different ways—Let’s discuss that later. Come on.”
“Where are we going?”
Hat laughed. “You’ll see.”
Alice stopped in front of a bronze statue of a pig. “No, I’m not going any further until you tell me where we’re going.”
Hat looked her up and down, likely observing her body language, before his gaze settled on her eyes. He seemed to be studying her expression. A slight smile turned up the corners of his mouth.
He shrugged. “Suit yourself but you’ll miss all the fun.” He marched ahead twirling his walking stick as he did.
Alice saw red. She was so pissed off she didn’t know what to do. How dare he! “Ugh!” She stomped her foot and followed him. He turned right down another hallway. “Wait up, you jerk!”
I hope this chapter leaves your mouth watering for the next one. Be sure to check back Sunday for a teaser. In the meantime, please check out my books and sign-up for my newsletter if you haven’t already.