“Hello, Pietas.” Luc fastened the second cufflink. “What do you want?”
“I liked you better when you were subservient.”
“I’m your second-in-command. I might be submissive, but subservient?” He tugged at one sleeve of his tuxedo. “Never.”
“Which is why I keep you around. Plus…” Pietas raked a penetrating look over him. “You’re stunning. I’ve always loved you in a tux. Or a uniform.” He quirked his brows. “Or out of one.”
“Not happening, Pietas. What do you want?”
“Black is your color in so many ways. So opposite my white. We are truly shadow and light.”
Why was talking to this man always like chasing mowts? “What do you want? You didn’t come here to compliment my fashion choices.”
“I could have. You’re impeccable. I like that about you. The point is, we made a dashing pair when we were together.”
“Which we no longer are.” Nor would they ever be again. Why could Pietas not see that? There was no reason to count. He could get to a zillion and Pietas would be… Pietas. “Did you come here to remind me of our past indiscretions?”
“Indiscretions!” Pietas flattened one hand against his chest. The gleam in his eyes ruined his feigned shock. “Is that how you remember our torrid relationship?”
Luc took a long pause. “Yes.”
“How unflattering. Did you think so little of the passion I showed you?”
“You lacked no passion. We both know that’s not why I left you.” Luc sat and put on a shoe. “Talk. I don’t want to be late for dinner.”
Pietas picked up a cufflink from Luc’s dresser. “Why don’t you ever have dinner with me?” He tossed the jeweled item onto the dresser. “Do you even think about the fact that I’m alone on that ship, night after night?”
“Alone?” He fastened the second shoe. “With your crew of how many hundred?”
Pietas cast him a sarcastic glance. “None of whom are you.”
“What aren’t you telling me?” Luc stood. “You must think I’ll disagree or you’d have asked outright.”
“Spoilsport.” Pietas tried on a debit bracelet. “I think I’ll keep this one, since I gave the other back.”
“Pietas!” Luc threw back his head and released a harsh breath. “Do you never tire of passive aggression?”
“Passive aggression? Let me see. What is that?” The king rubbed fingers and thumb together. “Are you referring to apparently compliant behavior?”
“Oh, good. You’ve learned new words that mean ‘annoy people.'”
Drawing himself up to his full height, Pietas tsked. “Don’t interrupt. Interrupting is passive aggressive.”
“Is it?” Biting the inside of his cheek, Luc drew in a deep breath through his nose, released it the same way. “You mean like the way you interrupt me?”
His king came over, eyeing Luc’s tie. “Do you want an answer or not?” Pietas reached toward him.
Luc stepped back.
“That dismal tie is quite crooked.” Pietas tugged it free. “I’ll fix it. I can do that while defining passive aggression for you. I’m rather good at multitasking.”
Available in Ebook:
A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen
When he rescues a half-human orphan, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to topple the powerful Thieves’ Guild he once led.
Multiple layers of conspiracy unfold, reaching all the way to Luc’s immortal ex–the king. Behind each solved mystery looms an unseen foe, undoing the good Luc accomplishes. For the sake of this child, Luc must postpone his own freedom and master his desire for revenge or he will violate an ancient vow. Worse, he’ll put the toddler at risk.
At war with his compassion for the vulnerable child, loyalty to the king, duty to the Guild, and the bright lure of freedom he’s coveted for centuries, Luc seeks the right path. Will he choose liberty and unparalleled success, or restore the Thieves’ Guild to its former glory while overseeing the child’s training?
A hard choice for any man.
For an immortal whose inner monster can destroy on sight? Impossible.
A pirate with a monstrous past can never be trusted with an innocent child. Luc must ensure the child is protected, safe, nowhere near danger. Nowhere near him. Even if this little boy has already stolen his heart…