Once upon a time, before the Victorious Star, there were a prince and a prisoner…
Aubrey was a tech engineer with a dirty little secret that the Moribund Company was willing to destroy everyone and everything to get their hands on. When Deshryt Seht, blood-prince of Skeldhor, saved the dying boy's life, it set off a contest of wills as strong as the call of their blood.
Unfortunately, Aubrey has one more secret that severs their relationship before it can truly begin.
Though years and an ocean of stars separate the prince from the prisoner he saved, neither the prince nor the Moribund Company will let him escape. What was Lost will be found, winner take all.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, substantial BDSM elements (including/not limited to bondage, domination/submission, whipping), menage (m/m/f), and homoerotic sexual situations (m/m, f/f).
“Look, you rusting pile of antique junk! I’m trying to save your ass here! Let me in!” Aubrey grabbed his throat, gasping for breath, and choked. The air on the freighter’s sub-engineering deck was thick and foul with smoke from melted metal and fused wiring. “Morris! Are you listening to me?” He slammed his bruised fist against the control console, nearly knocking over the small light he’d rigged. Most of the lights had gone out in the first hit from the marauders. He didn’t want to think about how close they had come to losing all life support, too.
“I hear you, tech engineer.” The ship’s tired and masculine mind-voice shimmered with a touch of annoyance across the wire jacked into the back of Aubrey’s skull. “You do not have clearance for access. You are not the nav-pilot.”
Aubrey fought to calm his beating heart, not that his heart was listening. “Morris, your nav-pilot is dead. He’s dead with everyone else that was on your bridge. If you don’t let me in, we’ll be boarded, and you’ll be torn apart for scrap!”
“I am already…scrap.” Crushing depression and electronic interference colored the electronic mind-voice.
“I know you’re old. Fate, damn you! But you’re not dead yet!” Aubrey scrubbed a hand through what little hair he had left, nearly dislodging the jack in the back of his skull. Damned military-issue buzz-cut freaking itched. He leaned over the panel. “Morris, please! Let me in! There isn’t anybody else with an array to talk to you and I’m not fucking ready to die yet!” His breath hitched. Fate, he hadn’t even reached the legal age to drink yet. He closed his stinging eyes and took a deep breath. “And neither are the rest of the men on this ship. If you want to die, then fine, die! But let me save the ones who want to live first!”
Anger flickered deep in the ship’s sentience.
Aubrey held his breath. Apparently, his comment about letting the crew die had pissed the ship off. That was good, very good. There was still a chance. If he could get access to the ship’s controls, he could use the freighter’s fully functional pulse cannons to clear a hole and try for a jump. If the ship didn’t kill him with a power burst instead.
Information slammed into his skull to become sight, sound, taste, smell…and pain, hideous wrenching pain. Aubrey gasped and dropped to his knees. The ship was in agony. There were gaping holes all over the ship’s hull. Wounds that bled air, water, and bodies… Bodies of people he knew.
Sheer stubborn will and deep terror forced him back up on his feet. He ignored the itch of tears streaking down his smoke-smeared face and threw every code he had into the ship’s controls, grabbing for everything that still worked.
He found everybody still breathing and began opening doors, making safe passages for the crew to get deeper into the ship where he could do something about maintaining life support.
At the same time, he activated the pulse cannons and aimed them at the corsair closing in to make contact against the starboard side. He knew that at this close range, he was going to damage the freighter more, but he could not afford to let the marauders board. They were only a small freighter with no military personnel capable of defending them, none still alive anyway. Once they got in, the game was over. They were utterly defenseless.
Aubrey smiled grimly and opened fire.
The pulse cannons burned a surgically precise hole right through the attacking ship’s engineering core. The ship’s sensors delivered a low casualty rating from the other ship, but all maneuver controls were offline.
The attacking ship veered off course diving right under them.
Aubrey shouted in triumph. “That’s right, you stupid-assed shit-heels! The body manning these cannons actually knows what to fucking hit!” Abruptly, he lost clear sight of the second corsair. The ship’s sensors were going out on the keel. They were in deep trouble if he didn’t get them back in view.
Information trickled in from the remaining corsair. It was a sentience to sentience communication. It was meant to be hidden from the nav-pilot.
Aubrey smiled grimly. If he’d had a piloting array, he would have missed it, but he didn’t. He had a programming array. His ability to interpret the ship’s complete interior and exterior data was somewhat limited, nothing compared to the near physical connection a nav-pilot had. On the other hand, what he did have was one of the most complete mind to mind connections one could get with a ship.
And he’d been a very bad boy before the Agency had caught up with him.
He intercepted the communication without even trying. At the same time, he worked feverishly to reroute power to the sensors so he could see well enough to get a nice clean shot on the corsair dangerously close to his keel.
His personally doctored programs read the encrypted communications with pathetic ease. Those same programs were the reason he had been arrested and penal chipped, but they continued to prove useful every now and again.
The only reason the Agency hadn’t fried his ass when they finally caught him, was because he’d been under-age, a minor, with no fatalities to his name. Instead, the Agency had offered him the chance to work off his sentence using his programming tech talents on whatever ship they posted him to.
It was that or a memory wipe.