On the space station Niteo, Jem still mourns the loss of his father while his stepfamily treats him like a servant. When he saves a stranger’s life, Jem’s world and that of his best friend Byron is turned upside down. Jem is bedazzled by the charming Prinz and Byron -- who hides a secret of his own -- by Herne, Prinz’s friend and colleague.
Byron and Herne collide in a tempestuous relationship, while Prinz gently courts Jem.
But Jem discovers Prinz is the son of a ruthless businessman who covets the family business, and he thinks Prinz is using their budding relationship for ulterior motives. Furthermore, when Herne investigates the disappearance or Jem’s father, something shocking is uncovered.
Will Herne find the truth in time to save Jem?
Although he had spent most of his life on Niteo, Jem still found the place a constant source of fascination. When he did get some free time, Jem loved to sit by a portal on the recreation level and watch the ships approach and wonder about the people they carried, or just look at the stars and wonder about life on an actual planet. He’d been born and raised on Solis Ortus, a similar station in another part of the galaxy.
These days, however, Jem also watched for a small shuttle and a miracle. He sighed and moved away from the portal. He had to stop torturing himself or he would never get better. He’d never understand how his father could have left them. So many times Jem replayed the events of the day over in his mind. Nothing suggested anything was wrong. His father was simply looking forward to going to a conference.
When Airlia had told Jem the news, he’d broken down so badly, he’d needed a lot of medical care and his stepmother had taken care of everything. When he’d tried to read the reports for himself, he’d always ended up blacking out. He no longer even bothered.
The sound of a fight stopped him in his tracks and jolted him from his reverie. Crime was almost non-existent. But in the artificial twilight of the station’s night, there were still those who preyed on the weaker and hoped to avoid detection by either security staff or one of their many cameras. Remaining undetected proved rare and criminals were instantly deported from the station when caught.
“Leave him alone,” Jem shouted and waved his arms as he saw two hefty men punch a slender man to the ground. To his relief, his shout chased them away. In all honesty was too small to have been of physical assistance.
Hurrying to kneel beside the fallen man, Jem carefully eased him onto his back, supporting his shoulders. He brushed the lush, brunet fringe aside from where it obscured the man’s face.
Dazed hazel eyes gazed up at him from a face of exquisite, masculine beauty. Jem suddenly felt like an ugly duckling in the presence of a magnificent swan. His fingers tingled where he touched the other man. It was electrifying, sending a pleasurable frisson through his body and he wondered if the stunned man felt the same.
“Are you all right? Did they hurt you?” His voice croaked slightly due to its dryness.
Jem was stunned by the effect the other man had on him. His heart hammered and he found it hard to swallow. He’d never felt anything like it before.
“Just a bit winded and dizzy.” The man tried to look around. “Have they gone?”
“They took off when I shouted. I wouldn’t have been much help if they hadn’t.” Jem glanced around briefly.
“I owe you big, thanks. My name’s Prinz, what’s yours?”
He felt a twinge of embarrassment at the stranger’s thanks. Luck had played a big part in the rescue, not him.
“Um, it’s ... it’s Jem.” He blushed as he was subjected to an inquiring gaze. “Can you stand?”
With a combined effort, they got Prinz to his feet. He rubbed a spot at the back of his head and a bruise on his chin. “I’ll live.” Prinz gave a wry smile and Jem’s cheeks heated. Prinz looked even more gorgeous.
“This isn’t the best area at this time.” Jem waved a hand around. He would normally be in the jewellery shop by now. Byron had let him sleep far too long, and although he did feel better for the rest, he was anxious to get back in case Airlia noticed his absence.
“So, why are you here?” Prinz frowned.
“On my way home.” Jem shrugged. “This is a shortcut I don’t usually use. Let’s get away from here. You mustn’t know your way around to have come this way. You’re heading towards the even less salubrious bars.”
“You know around here well?” Prinz asked.
Not wasting any time, Jem guided Prinz into an area that was clearly more familiar to him, glad to see the man relax a little bit.
“I work not far from here.” Jem felt guilty at his evasive answers, but didn’t want to get Byron or himself into trouble. “I shouldn’t be out so late. My uncle wouldn’t be happy and I’d get a good friend into trouble if he knew. I don’t want to risk my friend losing his job.”
“Are you always so late?”
“No. Normally, I finish cleaning the bar and go around here, not through.” Jem pointed vaguely in the direction he’d go.
“But accommodation is up a level.”
Jem nodded at Prinz. “Yes, it is. But I have a small room over a shop. I clean it before it opens and then stock take; nothing too demanding.”
“Which is your bar?” Prinz asked. “I could come and buy you a drink, as a thank you.” He added the last quickly, obviously seeing the worried look Jem darted his way.
“Oh no, that’s not necessary. I’m just glad you’re okay. I have to go. You’ll be safe from here. You’re not far from one of the elevators up to the residential level.” Jem pointed Prinz in the right direction. He had to rush to get back before anyone realized how late he was.
And before he succumbed to any of the suggestions from the incredibly attractive Prinz.