When ex-slave Zall is asked to be Captain Teslan’s cabin boy, he learns sometimes you have to bend your rules to offer your heart.
Zall is settling in on the ship Chalice chose for him. Even though he’s not a soldier, he’s learning from them and developing his own skills. When the ship changes captains, Zall has to decide if he’d rather keep his independence or offer himself to a man who might be everything he’s ever wanted…or his biggest mistake.
Danner Teslan has agreed to investigate a possible smuggling ring on a military ship. However when he arrives and meets Zall, he’s convinced the ex-slave is his other half. Zall is not interested in becoming another man’s property and Danner has to decide whether he’s willing to give another person the freedom to destroy his heart.
“They say he doesn’t keep his cabin boys for long.”
Zall heard the whispers race around him as he went onto his tiptoes to peek between the rows of soldiers blocking his line of sight. No one gossiped more than a group of warriors with downtime.
He’d only been on the ship for a few months, and they were already changing leaders. Captain Smallen was stepping down to retire and pass his leadership over to a younger man. Rumours abounded that Smallen’s retirement might not be entirely voluntary. No one knew why. Smallen had announced he was leaving a week ago and had sent his personal cabin boy back home, over the man’s loud objections.
Zall had never liked Jav anyway. The guy had the pampered look of someone who’d never worked a day in his life and liked to rub everyone’s nose in it. As a former slave, Zall had met enough useless people to know one when he saw one.
Examining the people closest to him, Zall wondered who might want to be the next cabin boy picked. Every captain chose someone to keep him or her sexually sated and away from the rest of the crew. A leader who gave in to sleeping with a member of his staff set up a poor dynamic. However, the military recognised that their captains had needs. Their solution? Either bring a dedicated lover on board or pick one from the crew.
Zall hoped the change in leaders wouldn’t affect his position on the ship. After two months, he was just now finding his feet. Even though he had a limited skill set-a slave’s life didn’t lead to much training-Zall spent his days helping out wherever he could. Some days he assisted the cook, and others he crawled into the belly of the ship to get to spots the elderly systems mechanic couldn’t reach. Even though with proper nutrition he’d put on a few pounds, Zall still retained his rangy build. His leanness helped him slide beneath the ship’s pipes or slink between electrical panels.
Truthfully, he didn’t have to work at all. Prince Chalice had settled a large amount of money into Zall’s account-something about taking care of his own. Chalice might be a young man with scary magical abilities, but he had the biggest heart Zall had ever seen. That had to be the reason why he’d fallen for his asshole of an emperor. Zall suspected the only thing preventing Terrin Hawk from ruling the galaxy with an iron fist was the pretty prince kneeling at his side. The dynamic between the pair had always baffled Zall. How a man like Chalice could hand over control of himself to a borderline despot amazed Zall, but no more than the fact that he suspected the emperor would realign the planets to earn his lover’s favour.
Zall didn’t care who ran the ship as long as they left him alone. He’d barely ever seen the last captain. However, he had to admit that the pictures of Captain Teslan circulating around added more than a little lust to his curiosity.