Former Lycan general, Renard Dmitru, is the newly appointed Head of Law Enforcement on Lycanus, trying his best to clean up an illegal love slave operation on one of his planet’s moons. He has set up a sting operation to capture the slavers and put them all in jail for a very long time. But now that the long war between the Axis and the Alliance has ended, Prince Anarr of Tygeria has time on his hands and nothing much to do except train for battles that may never come. He dreams of adventure and longs to leave his boring life behind. When he gets the chance to go on a rescue mission, he jumps at it, and lands in hot water when he's mistakenly arrested for illegal slavery.
As General Dmitru fights an overwhelming attraction to the young prince, he accidentally compromises the innocent, sheltered young royal and soon discovers he has to make things right with the young man’s father, King Davos of Tygeria. Not to mention placating his furious mate, the royal consort Blake. Add in a gloomy, decaying settlement on a deserted moon, creepy, dark subterranean passages, ghostly apparitions, heroes, romance, and even a damsel in distress, and it’s a recipe for the most rousing adventure of the series yet!
It was past midnight when Renard finally made it back inside the auction house. He saw the Nilanium still sitting by the guards with a few others, the more seriously injured having been taken to the infirmary first. One of the emergency medical technicians was bending over the boy in a hallway just off the stage to check his injuries and Renard watched the young pirate flirting with the man outrageously. A loud voice behind him suddenly boomed, filling the corridor. “Sir! I have news!”
“Redmond? I thought you were already on board the ship by this time.”
“I was, sir. But I had to come back to tell you. The buyer has just been cleared by air control, sir. They were awaiting our signal. He’ll be landing soon and taken to Minokov’s auction house.”
His aide, Redmond, was twenty-six, though he looked even younger, and he always seemed to be in a hurry, even during a normal day at the office. He was small and slender, tossing his floppy blond hair off his face, his brown eyes sparkling with excitement.
Redmond glanced over at the Nilanium, who was staring at him with frank and open appraisal.
“Um, hi,” Redmond said, noticing the boy’s close scrutiny and sounding uncomfortable. “I should take you to the shuttle craft now. All the victims are leaving to be taken to the general’s ship.”
“You can take me anywhere you like, pretty boy,” the pirate said. “I’m completely at your disposal.”
Redmond looked stunned at that statement and blushed what Renard thought was a charming shade of pink. “I’m neither pretty, nor a boy,” he said, his tone a little sharp. “You, however, are a child. So behave yourself.”
The Nilanium got to his feet, shrugging off the coat that was so long it pooled around him on the floor. He stuck out one hand and a foot. Bending at the waist, he gave Redmond a deep and quite creditable bow for a naked person who was also sporting a fairly impressive erection. Renard was actually pretty impressed.
“I beg your pardon, my little shubu. I’m afraid you have mistaken me. I will soon be twenty years old and a man. I can prove this to you, if you’ll allow me. And you’re entirely correct that you’re not a boy either. I can see you’re all man. And not just pretty, it’s also true. You’re beautiful.”
Redmond blushed so hotly at this amazing statement that Renard took pity on him and stepped in to interrupt. “Yes, well, this is neither the time nor the place for romance, Tiber. You’ll find the shuttle outside waiting. Go along, please, while I have a word with my aide, and he’ll be out to join you soon.”
The young Nilanium inclined his head graciously toward Renard and then strode boldly toward the front door, still stark naked and looking back as he reached it to wink and blow a kiss to Redmond, who reacted by whirling around and blushing furiously.
“My God,” he said, his voice shaky.
“You seem to have made a conquest, Redmond.”
“Sir! I’m not…I mean, I never…he’s just a baby. And I don’t date men anyway, sir.”
“Do you date anybody?”
“Well, no. But I’m straight, sir. I have no interest in that young man. None at all!”
“He did tell me he’s nineteen, and as he says, almost twenty. It seems he has an interest in you. He called you his ‘little shubu,’” Renard said, unable to hide his smile as he teased him.
“What is that, sir?”
“I believe it refers to a creature the Nilaniums favor, small, furry animal with yellow hair. It looks a great deal like one of your Earthan kittens, and serves the same purpose as that pet, I believe. Which is to say, not much at all.”
Redmond’s face grew even redder, a thing Renard would have thought impossible, and he spluttered for a few moments. Renard clapped him on the back and scooped his coat off the ground. “Take my coat back to the ship for me, will you? And tell me where I must go to meet this buyer of small children. I will enjoy explaining to him what we do to child molesters on Lycanus.”
“They should be landing any minute, sir. If you’ll go to Minokov’s office, I’ll show him in as soon as he arrives.”
“You do that,” Renard said, his face grim. “I’m really looking forward to meeting him.”
A short time later, Renard was sitting behind Minokov’s desk trying not to touch anything the filthy trader might have come into contact with, when the door opened and he looked up into a striking pair of amber-colored eyes fringed with thick golden eyelashes. The gorgeous young man standing in the doorway, accompanied by a burly Tygerian, was also of that race, which was, in and of itself, remarkable, because Renard disliked Tygerians more than he did Nilaniums and had never thought of them as a particularly lovely people. With their red hair and their golden brown skin with faint tiger stripes running just under it, he found them to be exotic, but not at all to his taste. This one, however, was the most fascinating, delectable creature Renard had ever seen. For a long moment, he was literally speechless as he gazed at him.
He’d never before now found the yellow-orange eyes of Tygerians attractive in any way, but these eyes were something special. A dark, sensual color, not quite brown and not quite golden, Renard would have liked to sit and contemplate their precise hue for hours. It occurred to him that he might have suddenly lost his mind. Did complete madness ever come on quickly like this? Surely he would have had some signs of incipient insanity before this, wouldn’t he?
It was the smell that finally convinced Renard the universe was playing a nasty trick on him. A sweet, sugary smell like something delicious to eat filled the room, and he couldn’t even breathe properly. It was coming from the beautiful Tygerian. All he could do was stare at the whole beautiful package that had stepped into the room. Renard’s gaze traveled back up to his face—high cheekbones and a straight little nose above luscious, full lips. The tiger stripes under his skin lay in a faint, fascinating pattern that ran across his cheeks and angled down toward his mouth, making him look exotic and rare.
Renard would like to trace his finger over that pattern of stripes and see if they extended all over his body. He’d heard that their dicks were solid black and he wondered if that could possibly be true. He’d like to see this man’s for himself.
The young man was tall, even for a Tygerian and about average build for one of his race, not overly muscular. At least from what he could see of him in the long robes his race seemed to favor. He had a pretty pink blush on his cheeks, and he kept wetting his lips and trying to swallow. He seemed a little stunned, as if at an unexpected development, and Renard wondered if he felt this thing too. Finally, Renard remembered how to breathe properly and rose stiffly to his feet.
He reminded himself with a flinty resolve that this man was attempting to buy a small child, little more than a baby, as his love slave. No matter how gorgeous he was, and no matter how Renard was feeling about him personally, he would not flinch from his duty. But oh gods, this Tygerian—this criminal—this beautiful creature—was somehow his mate. His mind reeled with what that meant.
Yet he had to get hold of himself and quickly. It would be an intolerable weakness to give in to this ridiculous mating urge. He would utterly refuse to do it, and maybe if he told himself that enough times, it would finally sink into his brain. Except—he wasn’t sure he could keep his hands off him.
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