Inside his room, Luc shut the door, activated locks and set full privacy settings. It took three seconds to choose a bottle of Skovron Blush ’37. Light, delicate and sweet. He opened the bottle to let the wine breathe while he set about stripping. Everything but the shoes went into the recycler, although he considered ditching those too. If his house-droids couldn’t whisk them clean, he’d let them get rid of the shoes. Not his problem.
Luc chose a wineglass, poured, then carried it into the bathing area. After a sip, he set the glass on a marble countertop and slid open the smoky-gray glass door of the shower.
Pietas stepped into view, fully clothed. “I do not need a shower, thank you.”
Luc snatched a towel and whipped it around himself. “My lord–” An explosive sigh burst from him. “What are you doing in my shower?”
“I wanted to see you.”
“In the shower?”
With a flirty smile, Pietas leaned one shoulder against the wall. “You must admit, it is a good place to see you.”
A headache shoved its way forward. “Not happening, Pietas.”
“Again, what are you doing here?”
“I portaled into your room and heard the door open, so I came in here, and–” He lifted his chin. “I am your king. I go where I please.”
“I asked you not to portal here, my lord. My Deshai are home.”
“Which is why–” With a groan, Pietas clenched his fists. “Only you would expect me to explain myself.” He gestured toward Luc. “You explain. Where have you been? Are you showering because you’re going out, or…” He trailed a look down Luc’s length. “…going to bed?” He ended the question with a smile.
“Bed. Alone. I’ve dealt with drama for days.” Luc picked up the wine and drank it in one gulp. “I need a refill.” Without waiting for a response, he marched himself back to his room, retrieved the bottle and poured, then splashed wine into a second glass.
Drinking alcohol had no effect on Sempervians, but the act itself soothed. It offered tradition. Comfort. And when needed, a means of stalling while you decided how much truth you could afford to tell.
He offered the second glass.
His king lifted it, sniffed, sipped. “This is good. From one of your wineries?”
“Yes. One of the Skovron locations.” Luc swirled his wine, waiting until Pietas took another sip. “It’s your sister’s favorite.”
Mouth twisting, Pietas set down his glass with a click.
A former space pirate who’s gone straight rescues a vulnerable child adept at breaking into things. By protecting him, Luc unlocks secrets that threaten to topple the powerful king Luc once loved. Luc must send the boy away, out of danger. Somewhere safe. Somewhere private. Nowhere near him. Even if this little one has already stolen his heart…
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Kayelle Allen writes space opera with larger than life, unforgettable characters. Come walk in her worlds and meet them.
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