Valves & Vixens by Nicole Gestalt by Nicole Gestalt - Read Online



A Steampunk anthology containing 9 stories.
Valves & Vixens is erotic romance that mixes both the escapism and fantasy of steampunk with the Victorian style. Many writers have worked in the genre of steampunk from Jules Verne all the way to H.G.Wells and with this book the genre gets a good warming up. The stories within reflect a wide mix of backgrounds and settings all linked by the presence of steam at their heart. With a multitude of pairings and heat levels there really is something for everyone.
Published: House of Erotica on
ISBN: 9781783338399
List price: $5.99
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Valves & Vixens - Nicole Gestalt

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Page 1 of 1


Coming Aboard the Greatest of the Great Ships

By Jime Lee

Chapter 1

Rachel Morris’ blue eyes widened, her dainty mouth puckered with bewildered amusement. Really, Cassie? she said and gestured at the outfit laid out so carefully across the other woman’s canopy bed. The semi-sheer black silk gloves she’d just removed swayed disapprovingly between her fingers. "This is what you propose to wear to the social and spiritual event of the season - if not of our very lives to date?"

Indeed, Cassandra Webb replied with a calm smile. Then she paused to await her best friend’s all-too-predictable reaction.

A riding habit, Rachel muttered - her evident wonderment mixed liberally with equally open dismay.

She was a sweet girl, really - a loyal comrade and, whenever Cassandra could lure her into exploring certain life experiences less-exploratory eras would’ve certainly found shockingly unsuitable at the very least, a most pleasant and responsive lover. But Rachel clung inexplicably to a reverent conventionality better suited to one of those earlier times - to periods pre-dating the World Drought and most especially prior to the advent of the steam-driven, barrier-shattering version of Salvation offered by the Great Cloud Ships.

In short: Rachel could be something of a pill.

"This is a formal affair - you do realise that, my girl?"

Cassandra nodded benignly.

The nostrils of her friend pulsed with frustration, not to say exasperation.

Rachel’s head turned, her eyes lifted to peer worshipfully upward through the curtained window of Cassandra’s boudoir. An appreciative and unconsciously lustful gasp escaped her lips as she beheld the provocatively shaped underside of the massive device looming amid the thin cloud deck presently above Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and adjoining environs.

CSS Aquarius - a full mile long from bow to stern and as much as one-fifth of a mile wide - the pride of the nearby Homestead Iron Works and a truly breathtaking sight!

This evening, Rachel recited with genuine awe in her voice. It is to be our High Honour and Most-Tender Joy - not to mention our Sacred Duty as mere humble Ground Folk - to Greet and Entertain and, should circumstances allow us to be so fortunate, to Provide all manner of Most-Attentive Service to the Great Ship’s Highly-Respected Officers and most particularly the So-Rightly-Venerated Engineers - in an appropriate and proper manner!

The pious blonde closed eyes that had gone abruptly dreamy and her full bosom heaved, ripe with emotion - and alive with desires she dared not voice, except while cloaked in ritually approved euphemisms.

Indeed, Cassandra repeated with unforced conviction. And then she continued - for she was not so shy nor of so retiring a nature as her friend. But what, I ask you, could conceivably be more appropriate than donning my finest riding clothes for such an occasion? Oh, let us be utterly frank and open here, dear Rachel! I admit - without shame or hesitation - that I have a great and abiding expectation that tonight I shall find myself ridden - quite well and most vigorously, one should hope - by one or more of the So-Worthy Individuals you have just mentioned!

The scandalised expression on Rachel’s face was predictable - and Cassandra thought, profoundly silly. Didn’t she understand their world of 1887 at all?

The World Drought, which called forth so much unexpected change, had by now plagued the planet for a full century and more.

The Sky Machines had appeared somewhat later - in their grandparents’ time. At first they were another bizarre curiosity - one that made the experimental hot air balloons they quickly displaced in the public imagination seem quite ordinary by comparison. Yet they very soon proved practical instruments of high-speed and long-distance transportation for both people and freight, at once complementing and competing effectively with those other two mighty innovations of the modern era: The ocean-spanning steamships and the thunderous, onrushing rail-roads that now criss-crossed the surface of virtually every nation worth mentioning.

Between those three stream-propelled miracles of technological science, the world was now a much smaller and more interconnected place.

A better place too, Cassandra reflected with a lick of full and sensuous lips. These days the world was more peaceful, more liveable for the greater proportion of humanity - even at least somewhat more just.

To a very large degree, all that was owed to the men - the bold, wondrously exotic and notoriously, shamelessly lusty Men of the Sky Machines - such as the ones that she and her friend were about to encounter!

Stirred by these thoughts, Cassandra took a slow deep breath.

Her bust - less prodigious than her friend’s yet by no means inadequate - heaved upward against the loose outer garment she’d thrown on when Rachel appeared a full hour early at her door. Her nipples hardened; her mouth went dry as the desert that so much of Earth would be without the Great Ships’ intervention. Conversely, other regions of her anatomy grew moist as one of the clouds that Sky Machines like the Aquarius infused with precious, moisture-fixing substances.

Unobserved by Rachel, she undid the sash of her dressing gown.

The wispy fabric slid from her shoulders and down her curves, reached the floor with the faintest of soft rustling sounds. Now clad in nothing but her skimpiest corset, her most colourfully striped silk stockings with lace-trimmed garters and a pair of silvery ballet slippers, Cassandra eased closer to her thoroughly distracted friend.

Shortly thereafter, she continued musing to herself, the startling insight that Cloud Ships might be used to mitigate the Great Dryness that threatened nations and indeed whole continents had made its appearance. And finally - almost as soon as this new use convinced all who mattered that the ever-larger Sky Vessels amounted to a vital necessity - the new system ran afoul of one of its own organising principles.

The great twin furnaces that produced the required steam had to be fed enormous quantities of coal. This work was of its nature hot and hard, dirty and physically taxing in the extreme. Additionally, the arrays of adjustable rotors that allowed the vast ships to rise into the clouds and there move about or hover at will, the complex piston-like equipment that injected the various weather altering substances that were tried into suitable clouds and the elaborate pipe systems connecting it all had to be maintained at all times and costs. All these systems and more necessitated large numbers of seemingly unskilled aboard the Great Cloud Ships - unglamorous jobs in marked contrast to the dashing Officers and most especially the gloriously mysterious technical challenges facing those new Culture Heroes of the Steam Age, the Engineers.

Employing a motley - and allegedly disposable - mix of inmates from debtor prisons, recently paroled outright criminals, poverty-stricken immigrants from ‘inferior’ races and/or nations, free but desperately poor non-white men and outright slaves in these often brutish yet absolutely vital jobs had seemed logical.

Though largely unschooled and undeniably grimy, these workers were no fools - nor were they willing martyrs. Very soon, they came to resent their lowly and unappreciated status. The best and brightest of the lot did far more than work to exhaustion for the benefit of the Cloud Ships and their wealthy owners - they watched and learned, until they knew as much or more about the ships than the original operators. They plotted, they quietly organised -and they cultivated often surprising allies wherever possible.

At last they were ready.

The Righteous Uprisings swept one Cloud Ship after another.

Those Engineers and other Ship Officers who had the decency - or at least sufficient wit to immediately grasp the new circumstances as well as a desire to continue living - joined the mutiny and thereby survived. Others were killed in a brief but intense spasm of raw violence and replaced by formerly downtrodden, untitled underlings. To the astonishment and yes - the fearful consternation - of many Ground Folk and in particular those in traditional positions of wealth and power, the ragged New Order quickly stabilised and settled into place. They kept the ships functioning as before and even notably better in many cases. The natural leaders among these rebels - men such as the legendary Denmark Vesey, and his equally brilliant, though much younger protégé Nat Turner - found themselves suddenly blessed with near-Godlike influence.

And in concert with the land-borne allies that now emerged, they used their power well - at least for the most part.

By 1825, the World Drought and the great Cloud-Seeding Ships that - for a price - now kept whole nations from abject ruin had turned the politics and social structures of the entire planet upside down. The Cloud Service and its mighty Ships became a virtual law onto itself - a de facto super-nation without borders or limits.

From that point onward, a multinational and, yes, defiantly multiracial alliance of the formerly beaten down, the scorned, the neglected and the marginalised enforced their ideas of freedom and justice by the simply ruthless expedient of withholding their services from the non-compliant.

Defiant regions - several slave-holding states of the American South provided especially vivid examples - paid dearly for their obdurate stances.

By contrast, more receptive areas flourished - or at the very least suffered far less.

And now, more than fifty years later, as Cassandra reminded herself, the changes still came rapidly. It was a fresh new world of endless possibility and passionately rebellious young people like her were only too-eager to be part of it all.

Now she lifted a hand and played multiple fingertips across her golden-haired friend’s cheek.

Rachel continued staring up and outward, her only immediate response to this contact a slight but undeniable quiver of excitement.

Cassie, she whispered desperately, please - ?

Please what? Cassandra whispered back teasingly.

Her hand drew back then swept forward again, gliding under Rachel’s slightly upturned chin. Her fingers bent up then back and the very tips lightly caressed the opposite side of the blonde’s flawless face.

Please rip the very fabric away from your big round breasts, perhaps? And then lift, squeeze the undersides of both as I sink my teeth into one of those perfectly round and deep-pink areola?

Oh - Cassie, Rachel whimpered and trembled more intensely. You are such a wanton - such a shameless, brazen creature!

Indeed. Cassandra grinned triumphantly. I am a true Daughter of Our Age, am I not? And you are so glad of it - admit it now!

The blonde closed her eyes tightly, revealing lids darkened in keeping with the fashion of the moment’s nod to ancient Egypt.

Kohl, Cassandra murmured the word, pronouncing it exactly like the coal that was so vital to the modern world - and particularly to the Great Ships, the greatest of which had been constructed just two years previously in the massive iron works mere miles from where they now stood and which now, at last, was paying a return visit to the place of its construction.

She tightened her grip around the underside of Rachel’s chin, the thumb digging into the nearer portion of the blonde’s soft cheek and her other fingers working deeper into the flesh of the other side. Staring hotly, her long black hair lustrous in the muted sunlight that passed through the lace curtains, Cassandra turned her slightly taller friend’s head with slow determination.

She brought Rachel’s submissively puckered lips to her wide-open mouth and kissed fiercely, grinding one mouth against the other. The blonde opened to her questing tongue and Cassandra’s other hand shot upward, took a mass of faintly curled, golden hair by the roots.

She wrenched the other young woman’s suddenly-avid lips a few millimetres back from her wriggling tongue and chuckled, amused by the instant power she had - as usual - achieved so easily over her friend.

Put the gloves back on, she demanded.


You heard me, Cassandra insisted and gave her fistful of blonde tresses a sudden twist. At least the one, she amended decisively, the one for your good right hand.

Okay. Rachel’s eyes blinked open and she fumbled with the silk gloves, finally pulling the specified one on while letting the other tumble unceremoniously to the carpeted floor between Cassandra’s slipper-clad feet.

The brunette tossed her shimmering hair delightedly and tightened her grip on the back of her friend’s skull.

Now, she said with a tone of absolute yet matter-of-fact authority, fuck me with that gloved hand!

Cassie? By God, girl! I don’t think -

Simply do it - or I won’t allow you to taste of me when I lick your nether regions to orgasm!

Sobbing, Rachel Morris did as she was told - as she pretty much always did, and not merely when it was Cassandra Webb doing the telling. She probed and penetrated then fisted her friend’s deep and pliable notch with cresting passion and quickening gasps that matched - and at least twice exceeded - those of the woman on the receiving end of these blatantly erotic attentions.

Her black silk glove and the hand within it were soaking wet and excess pleasure-fluids coursed down Cassandra’s inner thighs, moistening her gartered stockings and dripping on the carpet by the time passions final level was achieved.

Cassandra tossed her head up and back. A wave of black hair swirled and jumped then lashed back down against her back. She quivered all over, a screech of ecstasy shooting from her contorted lips as she climaxed strongly.

She released the blonde’s hair, blinked and staggered backward - retreating three uncertain steps from Rachel’s still-thrusting fingers. Her nostrils flared, her lungs fiercely sucking up extra oxygen. Her mouth twisted again and she shook her head, gulped one more mouthful of air.

That will do, she said with understated savagery. Now, get yourself stark naked for me - and be quick about it!

Rachel’s brown taffeta gown, high-necked white blouse and equally high-necked chemise, a petticoat or two, bright white stockings and matching garter-belt with stays, a pair of side-buckled shoes and white cotton drawers all disappeared - flying off in a frenzy of sexually charged activity.

Only a fashionably skimpy whalebone corset remained when Rachel turned to meet her friend and periodic lover’s darkly passionate eyes again.

Cassandra, having had far less to remove, looked back at her - utterly undressed but for an even more diminutive corset.

I know, she said mildly. You need help with that - as I do with this one.

She opened wide her arms and Rachel melted against her. They kissed and licked and fondled one another. In due course, both women became fully nude.

Then Rachel descended - to rest on her back upon the floor of Cassandra’s bedroom for the tenth or eleventh time in less than that many months. Her legs parted as Cassandra settled on top of her, facing in the precisely opposite direction. Widespread fingers and marginally cupped palms clutched the outsides of her dark-haired friend’s thighs.

By contrast, Cassandra’s palms lay flat on the carpet, though the thumbs of each rested snug against the sides of the blonde’s hips. Two tongues emerged - each wriggling organ quite familiar yet still truly thrilling to the other young woman. And now they loved and enjoyed each other, mouth-to-groin and groin-to-mouth with a heart-warming mutuality of passion and satisfaction.

Cassandra rolled off her friend and both took a moment to catch their breath.

By God, Rachel admitted in the sweat-slick, panting aftermath, you do make one moist between the legs!

Cassandra Webb smiled languidly in response. As do you, she said and caressed the sole of the blonde’s left foot.

Chapter 2

You even brought the riding crop, Rachel noted with an astonished grin.

For once she had determined not to criticise her friend’s outlandish choices, but still...

Out of mere curiosity, Cassie - is that for you to use on someone else, or to be used on you by another?

Indeed - why not both, perhaps? Cassandra suggested, smirking. Is there a rule that one might not ride and be ridden in turn, on the self-same evening?

Not that I’ve heard, her friend admitted.

Then the chauffeur of the horse-drawn cab they had employed for the evening opened the door - the new technologies were making inroads everywhere, but steam-driven horsepower had not utterly displaced the real thing everywhere, Cassandra observed.

Somehow, she considered further, that was a reassuring thing.

In any case, the driver stepped back with a dignified flourish followed by a smart click of the heels. Likewise, the uniformed doormen showed them great respect and deference upon their presenting of the engraved invitations.

And why not? They were there to do important - even vital work. Social ritual had its place in any age and this one was no different - even if Cassandra affected a mocking attitude to the more straight-laced and pious aspects now afoot. And if their task also promised to be exciting and, one dared hope, highly pleasurable - what was the harm in that?

Tribute in a great many forms simply had to be paid to the unlikely yet undeniably genuine Steam-Fortified Saviours of the Modern World!

Such a thing was right and proper in ways no outmoded notions of morality - sexual or otherwise - could in any way hope to effectively address. She simply could not see why so many things must be viewed by so many with such acutely humourless Social Correctness.

Shall we? Cassandra asked her friend rhetorically and, her dark eyes bright with eagerness, she slapped the shaft of her crop into her cupped palm for emphasis.

Rachel nodded and they stepped together into the great reception hall of the Mayor’s mansion.

Chapter 3

Wide-eyed, Rachel caught her good friend’s attention and directed it across the way with a nod. "That is her - our Beloved Hostess?"

Most assuredly, was Cassandra’s reply. Abigail Brant - the first female Mayor of Pittsburgh! She was a Bloomer Girl from way back - at the forefront of Dress Reform. And a supporter of Labor Rights; a Suffragette; Anti-Slavery from Day One, too - and a devotee of the Free Love Movement, of course. Cassandra paused for an approving sigh then nodded to herself without taking her eyes from her, one of the few non-Sky Dwellers that she truly admired. In short, Mayor Brant is the living embodiment of many of our best Ground Folk - the ones who stood in Solidarity with the Cloud Workers and thereby remade the world into what we are fortunate enough to inhabit today!

And the man beside her? Rachel indicated the brown-skinned individual in the neatly tailored but only modestly ornamented, charcoal grey uniform. That must be -

Cassandra nodded, boldly led the way across the crowded room.

Chapter 4

Mariano Valdez, Captain of the Cloud Service Ship Aquarius, had been introduced to a succession of Pittsburgh’s loveliest young women that evening. It was anyone’s guess why he chose Rachel Morris as the focus of his part of the social ritual aspect of the night. Perhaps he had a soft spot in his heart for dewy-eyed blondes with large breasts who quivered with genuine excitement when in the presence of a man of Valdez’s stature. Perhaps he truly appreciated her fervent wonder at him, and of how well she balanced the outwardly demure and the barely hidden passions simmering below the surface.

Or perhaps Valdez was simply a horny Latin in his early 50s who wanted to end the night naked and between the thighs of a bosomy blonde a bit less than half his age.

Cassandra watched Rachel engage the Captain with copious amounts of cheerful if meaningless chatter and stand beaming at his side as they endured the interminable and pompous and self-serving invocation that Pennington Brace, the infamously supercilious local Bishop of the Church of the Sky Lords Unified, delivered.

Of course Rachel, the wide-eyed True Believer, ate up every overdone pronouncement - to Cassandra’s not-overly-secret mortification. And the bored if not scornful looks on the faces of all the Sky Machine Officers present, from Valdez on down, reassured the amusedly sceptical brunette that they were not taken in by such shallow and commonplace adulation.

Still, Valdez was polite and outwardly correct to all - including to the awestruck blonde.

The outwardly mismatched couple of the evening danced three times and shared plates of good food, a glass or two of equally fine wine and more talk that gradually assumed a more personal - if no less mannered - nature.

Valdez and Rachel made their exit as soon as was possible without risking anyone’s embarrassment or hurt feelings. They retired upstairs for the expected private conversation - one that, as all those in attendance knew was likely to feature a minimum of actual words and a maximum of other sorts of mutually satisfying interaction.

In their case, these interactions continued almost till dawn, as a proudly glowing Rachel was to report to her friend in detail - albeit an indirect and euphemism-laden form of detail - the following day.

Cassandra knew absolutely no disappointment over these developments. She had felt a degree of secret trepidation at how her well-meaning but frankly rather shallow and uncritical, even innocent, friend would react when faced with the raw reality behind all the idealised words that was the stock and trade of the New Faith that Rachel professed.

It was a relief when she saw the compelling responsibilities of friendship properly discharged. Leaving Cassandra feeling free to address her own - no less compelling yet far less problematical desires. She quickly contrived to be introduced to the Great Ship’s Chief Engineer - one London Fowler - and his First Assistant, a tall and muscular individual with the intriguingly exotic name of Yoruba Tarr.

As the two most responsible for the cloud-seeding work aboard their vessel, they were second to none in her admiration and interest.

As a young child, Fowler had been a slave in the last days of the allegedly Great State of Alabama’s hopeless resistance to the winds of change. His thick accent and lack of formal education was belied by a straightforward if crudely expressed intelligence.

Tarr was another matter entirely: younger and darker, a truly black black man with an improbable Roman nose, a neatly trimmed chin beard and a cultured manner that went well with his absolutely mysterious yet beguilingly musical accent.

Cassandra told herself that these two gentlemen’s racial heritage had nothing to do with how strongly she felt drawn to their side. It was 1887, after all - and the world was as never before!