In order to stop his magic from eating him alive, Chalice seeks out a man strong enough to dominate and control him.
Chalice might be a prince on his planet, but his submissive tendencies prevent him from dealing with the incredible energy coursing through his body. Magic users need a second to balance them out, but there has never been a case where the one with the power didn’t hold the dominant position. Chalice’s ability as a rare four-elemental magic wielder already marks him as different, though. And with the king in denial of his son’s needs, he has no choice but to look off-planet to find a powerful partner.
He runs into a diplomat on a mission, who leads Chalice to agree to be the pet of an emperor—one whose reputation for tossing aside subs is only balanced out by the fact that Chalice thinks he’s the sexiest creature he’s ever seen. Chalice takes the plunge, hoping the biggest gamble of his life won’t prove to be his biggest mistake.
“That’s the best I can do. It should hide your marks but not cover up so much as to offend an interested Master,” Odwill said. The elderly servant finished positioning the decorative cuffs over Chalice’s biceps, then patted his arm with the familiar touch of a man who’d watched over his charge since birth.
“Thanks, Odwill, it should do fine.” Chalice gave his manservant a reassuring smile. He knew the older man didn’t approve of Chalice’s plans. However, Odwill couldn’t argue with Chalice’s mother’s foresight.
Although Chalice’s mother had died years ago, her powers as a seer were still legendary. Knowing she wouldn’t survive childbirth, she’d chronicled advice to her unborn son and uploaded it into the royal archives. The password to her encryption key had died with her, so no one would be able to alter her work or read ahead. Once a week, Chalice’s communication device would chime and wisdom from beyond the grave would appear on the screen. Not once had she steered him wrong. When Chalice was younger, he’d thought of her as his imaginary friend—always there when he needed help. Now he wished she could advise him in person.
When Chalice had first announced plans to join the outbound pets on the next starship, Odwill had immediately looked for ways to help. They both knew there was no future for Chalice as long as he lived beneath his father’s roof. His father loved Chalice in his own way, but he refused to acknowledge his son’s problem. In his father’s mind, a planetary ruler couldn’t have a submissive for a son. Chalice couldn’t fight his submissive tendencies, which put him at odds with his strong-willed father.
To protect his identity, Chalice first needed to cover the tattoos revealing him as a four-elemental mage. No one would take a man on board who could destroy their ship with a single thought. Wide bands of coppery metal on his biceps gave the impression of bondage as well as covering up his signs of power. Hopefully by the time he’d bonded with his Master his magic wouldn’t matter.
Chalice fidgeted with his armbands for a moment before turning to face his servant. Worry creased his brow as he spoke. “You’d best make yourself scarce after I leave. I don’t want you to get into trouble. I doubt Father will discover my absence for a few days, but when he does, he’s likely to come question you. Wait to announce your retirement until they discover I’m missing. Don’t give him any reason to think you were responsible for my disappearance.”
Odwill nodded his agreement. Not a strand of his white hair moved. Chalice had always wondered how the man stayed perfectly groomed no matter what the conditions. “I will wait until they announce you missing, then go stay with my sister in Collinsville. Your father shouldn’t object since I will no longer have a charge and am too old to start out with a new one.”
Chalice went to his dresser to pull out a small velvet bag from the top drawer. “This is for you, Odwill. A small thanks for all of your help.” He clasped the servant’s shoulder, handed the bag over then turned to away finish packing. He wasn’t going to cry. According to his father, princes didn’t cry and Chalice didn’t plan to start now.
“My lord!” Odwill gasped behind him. “This is more gold than I’ve ever had in my life.”
Chalice took a deep breath but kept his back to Odwill. He refused to have an emotional breakdown over leaving the man who’d been more like a father to him than his own. He sniffed, but held firm in not letting any tears fall. Once he had better control he turned back to meet Odwill’s shocked gaze.
“I can’t repay you for everything you’ve done for me, but I can make sure your remaining years are comfortable.”
“Thank you, Your Highness. I want you to know that it has always been a pleasure to serve you, despite your handicap. You’ve never been a bit of trouble. If I could go with you to your new home I would.”