sullenly at them. In the throne chair sat a big man with a black, untrimmed beard. He was of middle
age, tall and heavy set. He glared as the prince and his party approached, and Nikolai felt his eyes
roam over him before coming back to rest on Prince Jagger.
“Prince Jagger. Nice to see you again. How’s your father?”
“This isn’t a friendly visit, Captain Garth, so stop pretending it is,” Jagger said sharply. “Why
have you asked us to come? Is something wrong with…”
“My hostage? No, she continues in good health. She’ll remain that way as long as you cooperate.
I must say the bitch complains a lot, though. I think she’s been quite spoiled.”
Jagger stiffened and would have leaped forward if Nikolai hadn’t caught him around the waist
and restrained him. “You dare insult her to my face!” he shouted furiously. “I’ll kill you!” The Nilanium, who had jumped to his feet and drawn his sword when he saw Jagger’s reaction,
lowered it to his side again and sat back down. “It’s a good thing your man stopped you, Prince
Jagger. It would have been a shame to run you through with my sword.”
“And it would be a shame to rip off your head and stuff it up your ass, but that won’t stop me
from doing it if you speak to him that way again,” Nikolai said, stepping in front of Jagger. Garth’s eyes grew wide and he gave a nervous, scoffing laugh until he saw what Jagger couldn’t
see from his vantage point, Nikolai’s wicked, sharp fangs sprouting instantly from his gums. Jagger pushed his way back in front of Nikolai, not even sparing him a glance as he squared off
with the Nilanium chief. “Speak of her again that way, and I’ll kill you.”
Garth opened his mouth to answer and then glanced at Nikolai’s face as he stood protectively
behind Jagger. “Uh, yes…sorry, Prince Jagger.”
“Can I see her?” Jagger asked.
“No, not this time. Perhaps next time when you bring us the bauxite shipment. Have you made
any progress in procuring it for us?”
Nikolai fought to keep his face from registering the surprise he felt. So this was why the
Jayronians had tried to steal his shipment. The Rogers held someone as hostage—some female Jagger
apparently had strong feelings for. Nikolai felt a raging jealousy for whoever the bitch was surge
through him. He would not share his mate with anyone. The sooner his mate realized that, the better
off he would be. Nikolai forced his attention back on the conversation going on between his mate and
“I’m working on the bauxite situation now. We should have it for you in a few days if things go
“I hope so, Prince Jagger. If not, we may have to start giving our hostage back to you—in
This time, Nikolai was barely quick enough to catch Jagger as he drew his dagger with lightning
speed and leaped forward to plunge it into the chief, snarling and cursing. Grabbing Jagger by the
scruff of his neck Nikolai threw him behind him to the other soldiers and growled, “Hold him!” He
turned and faced the chief. “Harm one hair on the lady’s head, and you’ll answer to me.” Garth turned pale and nodded. He had seen the red eyes glowing in Nikolai’s face and from his many confrontations over the cycles with Lycans, he knew exactly what they were capable of doing.
“Sh-she’ll come to no harm.”
“Good. You’ll get your shipment in a few days.” He turned on his heel, taking Jagger by the arm
and dragging him from the room. His prince was spitting mad, and fought him all the way outside to
the waiting transport. The other Jayronians followed uneasily, not sure if they should go to their
prince’s aid or not. Some of them, too, had gotten a glimpse of Nikolai’s face as he turned back to
Once he got Jagger back in the transport and headed out the gate, he released him from the
headlock he had on him. Jagger sat up and would have struck him, if Nikolai hadn’t grabbed his arm. “Settle down, Princeling. If I hadn’t gotten you out of there when I did, they’d have attacked all
of us. You really need to watch that temper of yours.”
Jagger pulled his arm back and sat back in the seat with a huff, contenting himself with a furious
glare at Niki, one that promised retribution later on. He crossed his arms and refused to look at
Nikolai all the way home. Nikolai knew he was still upset about the chief’s words and decided to
leave him alone. By the time they reached the castle, Jagger seemed to have calmed down some, and
when he got out of the transport, he held out his hand for Nikolai’s arm.
“I’m still furious with you for laying hands on my person like that. I may decide to beat you after
Nikolai tried valiantly to hide his smile. “Yes, little Master. Whatever you say.”
Jagger was quite irritated at his concubine and when he got him to their room, he’d told him to wait there for him the rest of the afternoon. Really, Niki had overstepped himself by throwing him back to his men and telling them to hold him while Niki himself faced Jagger’s enemy. He admired his loyalty, but he needed to learn his place. He did inform the servants to bring Niki a big midday meal. He didn’t want him to go hungry, even if he was angry with him. With his huge appetite, he knew Niki wouldn’t be able to go long without food.
Jagger stayed away all afternoon, busying himself with the accounts, trying to make sense of the mess their finances were in. It seemed as if the country was virtually bankrupt. If something weren’t done soon to mitigate this appalling mess, their people would revolt and remove his father from the throne by force. Late in the afternoon, he finally stood up and stretched, ready for his supper and a long hot bath, preferably one that included his big, handsome concubine. He was tempted to give him a sound spanking after all, if he hadn’t thought Niki would enjoy it too much. Instead, he had plans to let Niki make things up to him in bed later on.
Jagger left orders for his supper to be delivered to his rooms and went down the hall to deal with Niki. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do yet, but he was determined to force his submission to him. His stepbrothers would be coming for him soon, and he needed Niki to know that he belonged to him and that he would protect him. They needed to forge a strong, unbreakable bond between them before the group arrived. When he got to his rooms, there was no sign of Niki, either in the bedroom or in his bathing chamber. He was about to become alarmed when he heard a noise coming from his private balcony. Jagger’s room was on the second floor of the castle, right at the back, so his balcony had a lovely view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Niki was standing by the rail, looking out at these mountains as Jagger stepped out.
Nikolai turned to smile at him. “Still mad, baby?” “Master,” he said, frowning. “And yes, I am. I can take care of myself, Niki. I don’t need your interference.”
“Well, Princeling, you did say I was to act as your bodyguard.”
“Yes, but only if I need backup. I could have taken care of that fool without your help.”
“To what end, Princeling? If you had managed to kill him, all twenty or thirty of his men would have jumped on us, probably killing most of your men in the process when they tried to protect you. A leader needs to have better control.”
“Don’t lecture me, Niki,” Jagger said coldly. “You forget your place.” Jagger turned and walked back into the bedroom, furious because he knew Nikolai was right, but when the chief had threatened his mother, he’d totally lost control. Partly he was embarrassed because he’d really wanted to impress Niki, and he’d probably only managed to make Niki lose respect for him. Sometimes he felt so out of his depth, with people expecting him to be strong and in control at all times. Even his father was leaning on him more and more since his mother’s capture. He wished sometimes he could let it all go, and let someone else take over for a while.
He pulled off his boots and threw them halfway across the room in frustration. Standing by his clothes cabinet, he began to tear at the buttons on his shirt. All he wanted at this point was to sink into the warm water of the bathing pool and let the water soak away his stress and despair. A hard arm came around him and pulled his body close. Jagger knew that touch. He twisted in Niki’s arms, but was turned firmly back around.
“Stay still.” The deep, honeyed voice seemed to purr in his ear. “Let me do it, love.” He shivered at Niki’s touch and closed his eyes, wanting to pull away from the hardness pressed against his ass, but finding that he couldn’t seem to move. Niki’s strong fingers finished with his buttons and slipped the shirt from his shoulders. Pulling him back firmly against his body, Niki moved his strong fingers over Jagger’s chest, teasing his nipples and tugging on them gently. Jagger closed his eyes and let the sensations sweep over him. He relaxed into Niki’s hard chest, only to jerk in shock a moment later as Niki’s hands moved down to unlace his trousers. A warm hand plunged inside, grasping his half-hard shaft and bringing it out.
“Niki, no…” Was that him whimpering? He tried to pull away, but the hand on his waist kept him trapped. Gods, Niki was so strong.
“Shh…be quiet, Princeling.” His hand began to move, warm and strong over his cock, rubbing his thumb over the head of his shaft again, making his knees go weak. Pre cum leaked from his cock, spilling onto Niki’s hand, but his hand only moved faster, feeling like silk against his shaft. Jagger felt more and more excited, unable to be still.
“Ahh, Niki. I’m coming…”
“No, sweetheart. You won’t come until I tell you to.”
Jagger’s head fell back onto Nikolai’s shoulder. He heard himself making a sound that was like a low keening. His breathing was coming faster, and he thrashed his head back and forth, “Niki, please!”