3rd Place in Best Other Novel 19th Annual Preditors & Editors™ Readers' Poll 2016
Genres: Fiction, Gay
Prince Amory longs to find his true love.
Néstor Awada wants to be a servant no longer.
Both yearn to find the man with whom they could fall in love.
Each doubts their dream will come true.
When word reaches Amory that his father is mistreating a new servant, he goes to save him.
Prince and servant try to fight their growing feelings for each other to no avail.
But is their love strong enough to breach the chasm forced on them by society?
“YOUR HIGHNESS, THE king is being… unfair to the servant who recently joined the staff.”
“The young man is new and is still learning our ways. I was present when a guard dragged him in.”
“The throne room, my lord.”
PRINCE AMORY STORMED down the hallway toward the throne room, his trusted friend Covyll right behind him as always. He was glad Covyll had informed him. He’d tried so hard to be different from his family and had gained trust from servants he’d taken from them and employed to work solely for him. All these people in the castle might be servants, but they were still people; though it seemed he was the only one who understood that. Reaching the double doors, he took a deep breath. He and the king had never seen eye to eye on anything.
He pushed open the doors and strode in, approaching the king. “Father, stop this immediately.”
The king backhanded him, ignoring the soft gasps of his couriers. His icy tone matched the cold look in his eyes. “Do not talk to me like that. I am your king first, and I can do as I please.”
“You have always been the king first. Not once have you ever been a father to me. You’ve treated me like a bastard child all these years.”
The servant shifted, biting his lip and attempting to stifle the groan the movement caused. Amory could tell the man’s knees were aching. How long had Floyd kept him in this position? Another furtive attempt to move away caught the king’s attention and he dealt another blow to the servant’s already-reddened face. Raising his arm once more, the king snarled when Amory grabbed it, holding it in midair.
“Unhand me,” the king commanded, staring daggers at Amory.
The prince stood between his father and the servant. He didn’t speak right away, and when he did, he lowered his tone, never breaking eye contact. “With your merciful permission, Your Majesty, I’ll take him. He’ll answer to me, or to Covyll if I am not present.” He paused, choosing his words. “A king of your stature shouldn’t be worrying about the affairs of one lone servant.” Amory knew he was taking a gamble, banking on the fact that as much as his father loved using brute strength and fear as weapons, he also liked playing the benevolent ruler when it suited him. And seeing as there were more than a handful of witnesses watching the exchange, he hoped this resolution would suit Floyd.
The king glared at him for another heartbeat, glancing around the room before giving a curt nod. There would be hell to pay later, Amory knew. For now, however, he simply released his grip and stepped back. “Thank you.”
Turning his attention to the newest member of his staff, he squatted down and touched the young man’s shoulder. “You don’t have to be scared around me. I’ll take care of you from now on. You can ask my advisor how I treat my personal servants.”
After a moment’s hesitation the servant looked up at him, meeting his eyes for an instant before quickly looking at the floor again. Amory urged him to his feet. “Covyll, please get him settled in my wing.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” Covyll placed a gentle hand at the small of the servant’s back and guided him out, murmuring soothing words to him.
Amory turned around to look at the people who’d brought him into existence. “He’s mine, as I said. Neither you nor anyone else will have anything to do with him. He’ll obey me or Covyll. Good day to you, Father. Mother.” He spun on his heel and left the room.