Captain Ravnos of the Mercenary dreadnaught Hellsbreath rules his crew with an iron will. First Officer Seht is a skeldhi prince whose specialty is erotic discipline. They're on a mission, and in need of a nav-pilot.
Kidnapped into service on the Hellsbreath, Victoria is caught between two very different men locked in their own private and erotic power struggle. And then there's the mission…
The Moribund Company has captured the Imperial Dreadnaught Arcane and intends to auction the sentient ship to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, Moribund himself is attending the auction and Ravnos is forced to remain onboard the Hellsbreath for Moribund has a personal vendetta against the handsome captain. It is up to Victoria and First Officer Seht to go deep undercover at the Mordred Space Station to rescue the Arcane.
To complete the mission and return to her duties as an Imperial officer, Victoria must become Prince Seht's rehkyt—a pet, literally and figuratively. Not allowed on the furniture and kept at the end of a leash, Victoria discovers that there are worse things than servicing your captain. Or are there?
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).
First Lieutenant Victoria Stark grimaced at the image on her holographic display. “So, this is where the captain has seen fit to abandon me.” The small orbital waystation looked like a floating heap of crumbling junk that had somehow fallen together but had yet to drift back apart. Trash and debris from wrecked ships trailed its orbiting wake. The moon it circled didn’t look much better. The surface was pocked with craters and crashed ships.
She snorted. “I’ve seen worse.” She had, but not by much. She shut down the holographic transmission and stroked the instrument panel. “I’m going to miss you, lady,” she said with sincere regret.
The lights in her cabin dimmed just a few degrees.
A slight smile curved Victoria’s lips. The Adamant would miss her too. Her ships always loved her. And she always loved them.
A knock came at the door.
Victoria sighed. This was it; this was goodbye. “Come,” she called out.
The door opened, and a white-uniformed yeoman snapped a sharp salute. “We’re ready for you, Senior Nav-Pilot Stark.” He stared at her austere black coat. “Nav-Pilot?”
“Former senior nav-pilot. They relieved me of duty, remember?” Victoria smiled grimly. “I get to wear civilian togs.” She pulled on her supple black gloves. There was no way in hell she was going to walk onto that station in a burning white, screaming target of a uniform, especially on the wrong side of the Imperial border. She wasn’t suicidal.
“I’ll be ready in a moment.” With sharp, efficient movements, Victoria buckled the sword belt over her floor-length black coat. She was not about to walk onto a civilian station without a weapon. The unadorned black scabbard would draw little attention. Swords were not uncommon apparel, as energy weapons were strictly regulated. Swords might cut flesh, but they couldn’t punch holes through plating to release precious atmosphere.
Although many civilians carried swords, Victoria’s saber, like the white breeches and matching frocked officer’s coat tucked safely in her personal cases, was a symbol of her officer status. The uniform and weapon were holdovers from a more romantic time when ships sailed the seas rather than the stars. Of course there had been updates. Instead of the archaic tempered steel of the original officer’s saber, the live steel of Victoria’s mimetic blade practically hummed with nanites. The sword would return to shape from a forty-five-degree bend, would never lose its edge, and could withstand extremes in temperature, such as the absolute cold of space, without shattering. It would hold the perfect shape of its making for as long as it existed. Live steel was said to be born, not made.
The yeoman’s jaw tightened. “Are they going to court-martial you?”
Victoria shook her head. “No, just reassign me to another battleship.” She smiled. “Trust me; they do not want me on the stand. My report would be quite embarrassing.” She strode out into the hall. She knew exactly where she was going. No one knew this ship better than she.
The yeoman followed at her heels. “Pardon my frankness, Nav-Pilot, but they gave you a shitty deal. You saved the damned ship.”
Victoria’s hands clenched at her sides. “Somehow, I strongly suspect that the executive officer didn’t want the ship saved.”
The yeoman scowled. “Why don’t I find that surprising?”
“Perhaps because you are an astute young man?” Victoria raised an eyebrow at the crewman. “As it is, if Admiral Moraine had not appeared when he did to drive off those marauders, we would have all been lost.”
The crewman frowned. “You would have found a way to keep us in one piece, even without Admiral Moraine’s fleet.”
Victoria shook her head. She said reluctantly, “I doubt that. The mercenary commander was very, very good.”
The yeoman snorted. “Which one? There were two marauder bands.”
Victoria snorted. “The second. If the first hadn’t started squabbling with the second, we’d all be in chains.”
The yeoman looked up. “Then it’s true? The second commander asked for our surrender?”
Victoria nodded. “Not that I was about to.”
The yeoman chuckled. “I bet you surprised the hell out of him when you opened fire on his flanking ship.”
Victoria smiled grimly. “If Moraine hadn’t spooked him, and he had moved just a little faster, he would have taken us anyway. He was that good, and I was running out of options fast.”
The yeoman snorted. “He didn’t have the Victorious Star at the helm.”
She winced. Would she never escape that damned title? “No, he didn’t.” She lengthened her strides. Her long skirts flared in her wake. It was more than time to get off this ship.