Imprisoned Prince, page 1
An Ellora’s Cave Publication, May 2005
Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
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ISBN MS Reader (LIT) ISBN # 1-4199-0230-X
Other available formats (no ISBNs are assigned):
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IMPRISONED PRINCE Copyright © 2005 MEG HARRIS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.
Edited by Briana St. James.
Cover art by Syneca.
The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers. Imprisoned Prince has been rated E–rotic by a minimum of three independent reviewers.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (E-rotic), and X (X-treme).
S-ensuous love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.
E-rotic love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as “fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.
X-treme titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Unlike E-rated titles, stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.
The Zytellian Empire
The vast spaceship cut through vacuum with an ominous grace that reminded Prince Barrak of the sharks that prowled Terra’s oceans. It looked predatory and dangerous.
Based on everything he’d heard, the Zytellians were sharks, avaricious hunters bent on taking over this sector of the galaxy. It was his duty to make certain they didn’t take over his empire as well.
He looked at his first officer and saw the man’s nervousness, clearly evident in the tense line of his shoulders. “Don’t worry, Ama,” he said, although the truth was he was quite nervous himself. “They agreed to these talks. They’re interested in negotiating.”
“The Zytellians don’t negotiate,” Ama said. “Everyone knows that. So why did they agree to negotiate with us?”
“They’re afraid of our navy,” Barrak replied, hoping he’d instilled the right amount of confidence into his answer. Although looking at the size of the ship gliding toward them, he found his own words a little hard to believe. He loved his small, sleek cruiser, the Heron, but the unfortunate truth was that the entire Royal Navy could be contained in the giant vessel approaching them. And could his people, long accustomed to peace, possibly hope to defeat the predatory Zytellians in battle?
Somehow he doubted it.
Which made the outcome of these talks even more important. He needed to convince their Leader that they would make a better ally than a conquered people. And he had to convince them of that before the Zytellians moved into the Terran sector.
Ama’s fingers flew over his keyboard. “There’s the ship’s designation,” he said, enlarging part of the view, so that a series of black symbols appeared.
Barrak frowned at the viewscreen. He had learned to speak Zytellian for this mission, but the written language still eluded him. “What is the name of the vessel?”
Ama looked back over his shoulder. Fear flashed in his dark eyes. “The Dominant.”
According to Barrak’s briefing, that was the name of the flagship, and it was a singularly appropriate name. Barrak mentally reviewed what he knew of the Zytellian Leader, Tiryl, as the vast silver ship glided toward them. He had read a great deal about her, although no picture had been available, and based on what he’d read, he had formed an unattractive mental image of her. He envisioned her as an ugly, excessively thin woman with a perpetual sneer. Although still a young woman, she was said to be cruel and heartless to conquered peoples, forcing them to accede to the same harsh matriarchal system the Zytellians had used for centuries.
On Zytellia, men were nothing but sex toys.
That would make his job that much more difficult, he admitted to himself. It was hard enough to negotiate with a war-hardened leader. To negotiate with a leader who thought of him as inferior would be nearly impossible. But for the sake of his people he must find a way, or the world his parents ruled wisely and well would crumble before the onrushing Zytellian fleet.
He stood up, smoothing his clothing self-consciously, and approached the viewscreen. Due to the importance of this first contact, he’d worn his most formal ceremonial robes, dark green and ornately embroidered with herons—the tall, stately bird that was the ancient symbol of his family. His long black hair fell loose around his shoulders, as the custom of his people dictated, and a simple silver circlet around his forehead showed his rank.
“Open communications,” he said, hoping the nervousness he felt didn’t show in his voice.
Ama’s hands flew over his keys, but the image on the front screen remained unchanged.
“Is there a problem?” Barrak inquired.
“I don’t know,” Ama answered, his eyebrows drawing together. “They don’t seem to be answering our hails…” He broke off, then yelped, “Sir, there is an energy build-up in the Zytellian vessel!”
Barrak jerked to attention. “A weapon?”
“None that I am familiar with, sir. It—” His words halted as a yellowish light lanced out from the great ship.
Barrak saw his first officer fall from his chair, hitting the deck plating hard, and around him other members of the crew collapsed to the floor.
And then everything went black.
* * * * *
Barrak awoke, slowly, aware that he was uncomfortable. His arms ached. His head hurt slightly as well, either from the weapon the Zytellians had used, or from slamming into the metal deck plating as he fell. He wondered vaguely how long he’d been unconscious, and what exactly had become of his ship and crew after he’d lost consciousness.
A sharp stab of concern for his people lanced through him. Damn it, his crew had depended on him to protect them from the Zytellians, and he’d failed them. He remembered Ama’s anxiety, and his own foolish assurances that the Zytellians would be willing to parley, and anger welled up within him. He cursed the day they’d noticed Terra.
Slowly, wincing slightly, he opened his eyes to discover he was in a holding cell.
There was little to see. The painful brightness of the lights in the ceiling made him squint and sent a stab of pain through his head, but they illuminated his surroundings with starkly vivid clarity. He was in a small room with dingy metal walls, perhaps six by eight meters, and there was nothing there other than a rather uncomfortable-looking bunk, a toilet and a water tube that protruded from the wall next to the bunk. A standard cell for a prisoner, in other words. Barrak tried to walk across the room and look at the door more carefully, but he discovered he was unable to move his arms.
Looking up, he saw he was manacled to the wall.
Looking down, he discovered that he was stark naked.
His formal clothing, embroidered with the symbols of his royal family, had been removed, and he could feel
Despite what the Zytellians might think, Terra was not a provincial backwater. It was the original home of humanity, the planet from which all of civilization had sprung. It was true that when the Diaspora occurred almost six hundred years ago, the vast majority of humans had left the planet. As a consequence, Terra was now only home to some hundred million people, as opposed to the Zytellian Empire, which numbered hundreds of billions on a thousand planets. But despite Terra’s relatively insignificant population, it was one of the most enlightened places in the galaxy. He and his men were not barbarians. They were accustomed to civilized treatment. The thought of his valiant crew treated like primitives, rather than the intelligent, decent men they were, made his blood boil.
Damn it, he should have expected this sort of treachery from the Zytellians. If only he’d been more alert, more suspicious, perhaps he and his men wouldn’t have been captured. Although he had no idea how he could have defended his ship against a weapon they’d never before encountered. And running hadn’t been an option—the huge Zytellian ship was almost certainly capable of higher velocity than the Heron.
Glumly, he admitted to himself that their capture had probably been inevitable from the very start of this mission.
He did not have long to brood over the situation. In another moment, the door irised open, and a woman strode in.
She was clad in a simple black jumpsuit, its unadorned military cut utterly failing to conceal the lush, rounded figure that lurked beneath. Her golden hair was drawn up at the back of her head, accenting the fine, lovely bone structure of her face.
She looked very human but for the violet eyes with their catlike pupils. Terran scientists believed Zytellians were anatomically identical to humans but for a few minor details. In fact, most scientists believed the Zytellians were descended from a band of humans that had left Terra in the Diaspora. The belief was that Zytellians were humans whose ancestors had been altered by genetic engineering.
But based on everything he knew of the Zytellians, he refused to believe they were human. He was more inclined to think of them as monsters.
“So,” the woman said in a voice as sweet and smooth as honey. “You are awake.”
Barrak strained against his manacles, but with no result. He knew enough about the Zytellians to know that a man didn’t want to be alone with a Zytellian female. What they could do to a man, what they eventually did to every man they captured, was appalling. Barbaric. Revolting.
But despite his revulsion, a thin ribbon of thought unfurled in his mind. They say a Zytellian woman can bring a man unbelievable pleasure.
He pushed the thought to the back of his mind and did his best to ignore it. He didn’t want pleasure at the price she would offer. He glared at her, doing his best to ignore the sweet beauty of her face.
“Why did you attack us?”
“We did not attack you, my pet. We merely disabled you.”
“What type of weapon did you use? I am unfamiliar with such a weapon.”
“It is beyond a male’s weak understanding,” she said with a smug condescension that infuriated him. He growled, aware that she was probably right that he wouldn’t understand the physics involved—not because he was male, but because the Zytellians were more technologically advanced than his own people.
His people. Where were they?
“What have you done with my crew?”
She smiled, displaying white, even teeth. He could see two small spaces where her slim, hollow fangs were folded back against the roof of her mouth. He only prayed they remained that way. Dangerous things, those fangs. Just the thought of them filled him with terror.
And, to his shame, an eddy of lust.
“They are unharmed, my pet,” she said. “The women will of course be treated as honored guests. The men will be…retrained.”
“We do not want to be retrained,” Barrak spat. “On my world women and men are equals.”
“Your ways are wrong,” she said gently. “Women have led my world for countless generations. The men thank us for it.”
“The men know no better. And you—you force them into compliance.”
“We do not use force,” she said, again in that gentle voice. “They would do anything for us.” She took one step closer. “When I am through taming you, you will do anything for me as well.”
“And if you manage to tame me, what will you do with me?”
“You will take your proper place in my harem, of course.”
“Your harem?” He made no effort to hide his disgust and outrage. “The way you treat men is totally barbaric!”
“Not at all,” she said gently. “You are lucky that I claimed you, rather than some other woman. There are women that enjoy pitting their men against each other. They set two or three of their men loose in the same room and let them fight for the privilege of which man gets to pleasure his mistress. Sometimes the men rip each other apart.”
“But you, I suppose, are not as barbaric as that.”
She ignored the biting sarcasm in his tone, or else she failed to notice it. “No,” she said. “I understand men cannot help their baser nature, their childlike inability to control themselves. I understand that they must be kept protected and sheltered, from the world and from each other. Once I have tamed you, my pet, you will remain safely cloistered in my harem.” She looked him over with detached approval, as if he were a prize stallion or a side of beef. “It would be a pity to see all that beauty marred.”
It was bad enough that she wanted to force him to accept inferior status. But the calm certainty in her voice, the assurance that her way was right and the Terran way was wrong, infuriated him. “I will never accept you as my superior,” Barrak snapped. “I am a Terran prince. I was sent here to negotiate for my people, with the permission of your ruling Council. I have been illegally kidnapped, and I insist on speaking with the Council.”
“Foolish man,” she said softly. “Anyone who has heard of the Zytellians must know that we would never negotiate with a mere man. And you would never be permitted to speak in front of the Council.”
It had been foolish to believe the Zytellians’ offer to negotiate, he had to admit now. A woman should have been sent. Unfortunately, his only sister could not be spared from her duties, and none of his brothers were experienced in diplomacy. As the eldest prince, he had been the logical choice. But it had been a calculated risk, since everyone knew what the Zytellians thought of men.
What they did to men.
He guessed they were going to use him as a hostage. If only they would leave him alone, not try to “retrain” him…
But it was immediately evident he wasn’t going to be so lucky. She walked toward him slowly, and a sweet, musky fragrance, not unlike vanilla, drifted toward his nostrils. Instantly he jerked his head back against the wall, but to no avail. There was no escaping her scent. Her pheromones. The devastating pheromones that could bring any man of any known species to his knees.
To his chagrin, he hardened almost instantly. He could feel the blood pounding in his body, could feel his cock swelling until it stood, erect and eager, pointing almost toward the ceiling.
“You think to defy me,” she said softly. “And yet your body is already my slave.”
Her fragrance teased his nostrils, driving him mad. It was unbelievable how excited her mere scent could make him. But he shook his head and spoke, aware that his voice was shaking.
“It is a merely physical reaction. It means nothing.”
“On the contrary, it means a grea
She looked up at him, then slowly reached up to her jacket and unfastened it. He felt himself panting in ragged gasps as she slowly opened the jacket, exposing the curves of her smooth, round breasts. Her pale skin was perfect and flawless, even in the unforgiving, harsh white light from the ceiling.
He couldn’t tear his eyes away. He wanted to see her nipples more intensely than he’d ever wanted anything in his lifetime. Slowly, teasingly, she pulled the jacket off, and he saw glorious, large, firm breasts, tipped with large, rose-colored nipples that stood erect in the chilly air of the cell.
His head swam with images of taking her nipples into his mouth and suckling them until she screamed. Without any intention of doing so, he tried to take a step toward her. But of course, he was manacled to the wall.
A groan of frustration escaped him.
Her lovely lips curved in a triumphant smile. “You like what you see?”
Stubbornly, he sealed his mouth and refused to answer. Still smiling, she lifted her hands, cupped her breasts, and began to stroke her own thumbs over her nipples.
Barrak gasped as if she’d touched him instead of herself.
“You want to touch me this way,” she whispered.
His cock throbbed in an insistent and very affirmative answer. But he gritted his teeth against the desire that crashed over him in waves. “No,” he ground out.
Shrugging, she dropped her hands from her breasts and slowly pushed down her pants. Beneath them she wore nothing at all. She stood proudly naked before him, her only adornments her waist-length mane of hair and the golden thatch of hair at the junction of her thighs…an appealing sight that irresistibly drew his attention.