Why would a male both hope for and fear a lover? ...Ah! Inexperience, perhaps?

Taking the wrong lover…in the wrong place, at the wrong time… is dangerous. And when the High and Mighty intervene, it can be fatal. Can true love and a pure White Knight's virtue triumph, when society loves a right royal scandal.

'Rhett has just refused Queen Electra's outrageous request for a semen sample.


Excerpt from Chapter Five/Chapeter Six

Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce
'Rhett's bedchamber

"It is a very bad idea, Your Majesty."

As she fought, 'Rhett was strongly tempted to kiss her inexpertly, perhaps roughly, to teach her a lesson she'd never forget. He could. She was in his power. With his free hand he could knead one of her lovely breasts until she gasped.

He could play the tough, heartless superimpregnator. She knew that he was Djinn. She only wanted him because of it, which was bloody insulting.

Rules, now. There must be "rules for a rake" that he should observe, were he—at this fork in his life—to take the broad, low road and to become a young, wicked, dangerous debaucher of lovely, virtuous females. Not that Electra could by any stretch of the imagination be called virtuous, and he would not be debauching her. The boot would be on the other leg. She would be taking his virginity…but he'd be damned if he'd let her know it, no matter how much of a turn-on it would be to be taken in hand by an Island School graduate who knew a lot about sex.

He would definitely formulate a code of conduct, because he enjoyed making rules. Making rules, like doing mental arithmetic, was an effective way of resisting the urge to do with his free hand exactly what she wanted him to do.

Rule One, then. Never sleep with a lady only once, especially in the case of an older lady. There would have to be a second occasion, shortly after the first, to prove that he was not after only one thing; also, to avoid leaving the lady with the impression that he'd found her too slow or too demanding in bed.

Electra was demanding. Delightfully so. She'd taken the lead and said what she wanted. Now what would she do? 'Rhett smiled down at the furious lady sharing his pillow and thrashing wildly to escape. Or was she trying to get a leg up and over him? That reminded him.

Rider to Rule One. Having sex multiple times the first sleepover does not count as more than one "date."

Rule Two. There had to be a Rule Two. The lady "comes" first? Ladies first, by whatever means necessary?

He considered that. Did a shameless, Royal adulteress—who was only there for the semen—count as a lady? On the other hand, where would be the power play, where would be the punishment, if she got what she wanted without having to put out?
If it took a lot of fumbling and prodding, and a great deal of experimentation on his part, what choice would she have? She could hardly laugh—or swear—at him, or she'd never have her wicked way.

Rule Three. The rest of the Nevers. Never wear a thong. Never kiss with a closed mouth, it's ungodly. Never kiss with open eyes…unless she does. Never strike, force, or take advantage of a lady, even if she climbs into your bed of her own volition.

Ah, well. It was fun while it lasted.

'Rhett opened his fingers and let her wrench free, leaving the next move up to her. She promptly fell off the bed.

"It was a very bad idea," 'Rhett repeated, as Electra exploded out of his room, and out of his life. "For both of us."

He'd done the right thing…but it had been a close call.



Pleasure Moon of Eurydyce
'Rhett's bedchamber

A wild thrill ran up and down his spine. By All That is Wondrous, he hadn't really done anything wicked, but he felt magnificent. His rules weren't doing the job at all.

Rule Six. A gentlemale does not allow a lady to leave his bedroom in tears. 'Rhett threw off his silk sheet and sprang out of bed to go after her. I shouldn't let her run around blinded by tears, even if she is hot, sexually experienced, and asking to be inseminated.

He was struggling into his tight, white breeches, when a gasp from the corridor, followed by a scuffling sound, made him snatch up his sword belt and rush barefoot to the doorway.

"Of all the Djinn groins…in all the towns…in All the Communicating Worlds…" An insolent drawl cut the silence.

All three of 'Rhett's older half-brothers shared Casablanca humor, but Devoron had always been the "gin joint" punster.

Damnation! Of all Djinn, she's run into Devoron!

"…she throws herself onto 'Rhett's." Devoron stood about twenty-five paces down the corridor, blocking Electra's path. His sword was drawn. Electra was backing away, like a tiptoeing child playing Grandmother's Footsteps in reverse motion.

"Onto 'Rhett's!" the lone twin repeated with exaggerated incredulity. He'd first spoken in English, but now switched to the Imperial language, High Court. Most puns did not translate, but the accompanying crotch grab-and-shake must have made it clear even to Electra that Devoron meant to belittle and offend.

"Drop it, Devoron!" 'Rhett strode toward his half brother.

For reasons he couldn't begin to explain to himself, he preferred that Electra not be told that he'd lost his saturniid glands and would never be sexually fixated on a scent love. He didn't want her to know that she could ovulate in his company and he would not go into a week-long mating frenzy. He wanted her to believe that he was as dangerous to her as she was to him.

"She's not rut-rageous, is she?" Devoron lifted his face and sniffed the air like a grizzly bear.

No way! Electra couldn't have been so reckless as to come down from the relative safety of her Barge to the lawless Pleasure Moon in search of her notorious old Uncle Django-Ra at the time of the month when she could be rut-rageous. "She's fully dressed, Devoron, for pity's sake!"

He left it at that. The point was that he and Electra hadn't done anything, however bad it looked to Devoron.

"You are not. Little brother."

"Cease and desist. Don't say another word. Or I'll have to make you silent."

"Go on! Make me! Kiss my thigh!" Devoron jeered.

In Earthling terms, thigh-kissing came somewhere between "Kiss my arse!" and "Kiss my feet!" In Imperial parlance, thigh-kissing was a gesture of sexual and political submission.

"Get away from here!" 'Rhett told Electra as he shouldered past her and thrust her behind him. "Normally, he's not like this."

Nor am I!

'Rhett unsheathed his sword with as much long, drawn-out menace as was possible with a ceremonial—and therefore relatively short—saber. He went into a ready crouch, knees flexed, core and thighs taut, with his left hand fisted on his hip and the twitching blade in his right hand…like a hunting cat's tail just before the lethal pounce.

Out of respect for Aunt Tarra's fixtures and fittings in the corridor, and to protect his own bare chest, he confined his sword movements to tiny, economical circles and little Zorro slashes as he advanced to within three sword's lengths of Devoron.

"Are you sure you want this, Dev?" His pulse had begun to pound like a jackhammer. Mouth dry, belly tight, he was "in the zone," seeing everything in slowed motion. "I'm serious. It's not a game. If we fight, you will get hurt."

'Rhett and his brothers didn't mess about. They could be nice guys, but they weren't ritual Knights. They were warriors. If they fought, it was their job to maim and kill. They knew how. They had the skill and the will.

"Are you going to try to kill me this time?" Devoron taunted.

"This time?" He heard Electra gasp from the rear.

Devoron fixed his arrogant, blue-eyed gaze on a point behind and to the right of 'Rhett's shoulder. On Electra.

"Hasn't 'Rhett told you, Ma'am? He has a long and illustrious history of being a spoilsport when his elders and betters want sex."



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