With the next one coming out soon I thought I’d promote the first dragon book. Here is the buy link
When Jory’s father sends him to the dragon planet to make a match little does he know that Jory will bond with not one but two powerful men. His final decision will change the fate of world.
With a spectacular flip through the air, Joriah Eprion landed behind his opponent, slammed his foot into the back of the soldier’s knee, and knocked him to the ground.
“Match.” The trainer’s deep voice rang through the arena. “Nice move, my prince.”
Jory gave the fallen man a low bow before helping his adversary to his feet.
He scanned the crowd, amused by the soldiers’ faces. As a group, they regarded him with varying expressions of respect and astonishment. He didn’t know why they looked shocked. He’d defeated one of them almost every day, and although all the soldiers were taller and stronger than Jory, none were as fast.
Outside of the arena, he was known as the fashionable Prince Joriah, youngest son of the High Galactic King. Inside the arena, he was like any other fighting soldier. His men didn’t take it easy on him, and those in his honor guard wore his personal emblem of three interlocking dragons with pride. He’d dreamed up the logo as a child and insisted on it at the precocious age of seven. As usual his father had indulged him, and his men had worn the badge ever since.
Luckily, on days the battle didn’t go as well, Jory’s half-Talivvian blood helped most of his injuries heal within minutes, giving him a fearsome reputation among his people as a man blessed by the gods. Jory saw it as a convenient way to avoid hobbling from the arena after a sound thrashing.
He bid the men goodbye and hit the showers. After bathing and redressing into his good clothing, he left the arena wing. Entering the great hall, he almost collided with his boyfriend.
“Why do you waste time training like a common foot soldier?” Peter’s voice dripped with disapproval. “You could do so much more with your life. With our lives.”
For the first time in a long time, Joriah examined his lover with a critical eye. Over the past few months, he’d become less and less enamored of the pretty dark-haired man. It was time to face facts. Peter was a self-centered, annoying prick.
“And what is it you think I should spend my time doing?”
Peter smiled, and for once, it had little effect on Jory.
When had he stopped finding his lover’s smile charming?
“You could start by picking up the reins of leadership and become your brother’s right-hand man. You know your father adores you and would give you any position in the government you asked for.”
Jory gave a shudder of distaste. The idea of a life trapped in politics made him want to slit his wrists. Unfortunately, they would heal right up. At twenty-three, Jory still didn’t know what he wanted to do when he grew up and didn’t feel a pressing need to figure it out.
“Detrius does fine with the help of my other siblings. He doesn’t need my assistance, and I have absolutely no interest in politics.”
“You lack ambition, Joriah. You split your days between playing with your swords and meeting with your tailor.”
Jory didn’t bother mentioning the fortune he’d diverted from his father’s funds to build hospitals for poverty-stricken cities, or the complex pirating system he coordinated to thwart his uncle’s slave trade.
“I’m not political,” he said, mildly, “and I like to look good. What do you think of this shirt?” He held out a sleeve so Peter could feel the texture.
Jory had learned over the years that the public expected beautiful people to act a certain way and rarely looked beneath the surface.
A fact he used to good effect.
After all, if he spent the morning sequestered with his tailor, he couldn’t possibly be spending the afternoon plotting the interception of his uncle’s slaver ships or the freedom of a certain planetary colony that ran afoul of his second cousin, Leon.
Peter rolled his eyes, his usual response when Jory started going on about his clothes.
“Beautiful clothing can’t hide a damaged character,” a disapproving voice said behind him.
Jory turned to see his father’s Captain of the Guard. “Captain Transen,” he greeted the other man. Guilt flashed through him over his delight in having their conversation interrupted. When had talking to his lover become a chore to escape instead of a pleasant pastime? “What can I do for you?”
The older man’s cool gray eyes examined him, neither approving nor disapproving, just cold. He narrowly avoided shivering like a teenager caught in an illicit act.
“Your father is looking for you, my prince.”
Jory sighed. Avoiding his father took a fine combination of luck and being unavailable in plain sight. Unfortunately, it looked like his luck had vanished.
He flashed the captain his best smile. Mother had always said, “Try charm first and, if that doesn’t work, kick them in the balls.” His mother’s sayings were a brilliant source of insight he referred to often; some days he missed her so much it hurt. However, once a Talivvian evolved into a goddess, she left her family behind.
“What does Father want?”
The king rarely used his captain as a messenger boy. Of course, Joriah usually charmed the messenger boys into forgetting they found him. Transen couldn’t be charmed, which was probably why his father sent the poor man to do a task far beneath his position.
“Come with me. He wants to break the news to you himself.”
“This would be a good time to talk to him about a greater leadership role,” Peter urged in a low voice. Had his boyfriend always been so oily or was he just now seeing his true colors? Disgusted with his lover, Jory followed the captain with only a brief nod to Peter.
Yep, that relationship was over.
Halfway through the palace, the captain spoke again
“You could do much better than him, my prince.”
Jory almost broke stride. He’d always assumed the captain didn’t approve of his relationships with men, but maybe it wasn’t men but his particular choices.
“I know. You’re right. No amount of amazing sex is worth putting up with that kind of manipulation.”
For the first time in his memory, Jory saw the captain laugh. Not a smirk or a half-smile, but a full laugh. A meaty hand slapped Jory on the back, moving him forward a few paces.
“Now I know you’ve become a man,” the captain declared. The pride in Transen’s voice warmed Jory. The older man rarely expressed approval over anything.
As they reached the dining hall, he felt all eyes tracking his every movement. Ignoring them with familiar ease, he walked to the royal table.
“My son.” High Galactic King Rufeus Eprion waved from his seat at the head table. His usual collection of political sycophants surrounded him on both sides, and an amazing assortment of breakfast foods sat on the table before him. Pastries, eggs and bits of the finest meats littered the surface.
At well over six feet, the king dominated the room. It wasn’t just his body overshadowing the others at the table, but his presence. With the king’s strong charisma, his men were willing to follow him damn near anywhere with a smile on their faces and pride in their hearts.
“Leave us. I need a moment alone with my boy.” His deep voice carried through the hall even as his jade eyes never left Jory’s face.
The prince stood still under his father’s scrutiny as the nobles fled. He always felt less in his father’s gaze. At a sleek five feet nine inches, he resembled his mother and, unlike his half brothers and sisters, had few of his father’s features. When they all stood together, it was like being the only deer in a room full of dragons. He never doubted they could rip him apart in a feeding frenzy.
“What’s so important you sent the captain to find me?” He wasn’t going to play the king’s waiting game. Father was up to something; he could feel it in his bones.
“Sit down and have a bite.” The king waved at the bounty before him.
Unsettled, Jory grabbed a roll to nibble on and sank into the padded seat across from his father, the better to face his opponent. It didn’t help that he had to look up at the man. Genetics were an evil bitch.
Sipping coffee from a cup a servant thoughtfully placed at his elbow, Joriah waited.
It didn’t take long.
“I’m sending you to Dragait. They’re having a mating festival. It will be a good opportunity for you to form an alliance.”
Jory set his mug down with a thud. “You can’t just send me off to find a husband, Father, I have responsibilities.” There had to be something that required his immediate attention. Maybe he could go start a war or something.