Earth is about to be invaded by hostile aliens from the void, but David’s knowledge of crystal energy helps avoid the full invasion, with a little help from another alien, Prince Lonn. The leader of the invasion force is captured, and it turns out to be Lonn’s brother Vell. Eventually, Lonn takes Vell back to their homeworld to face punishment. Two years later, Lonn reappears in David’s penthouse with a badly beaten and emaciated Vell, where he leaves his brother under David’s protection while he returns to finish dealing with the people who have mistreated his brother. What Lonn doesn’t realize is that the slave collar Vell wears will only allow him to speak or eat if he sexually pleases his master, which is now David.
“Prince for Sale” sets up an interesting moral dilema: Vell may have been an enemy, but in his sorry state, David does not wish him any further harm. The enslaved man has clearly been through an ordeal in the two years since they met in battle. While the former prince is not unattractive, the idea of using someone for sex when they can’t say no is abhorrent to him. Yet, if Vell doesn’t service David, he will starve. David is constantly questioning and second-guessing himself about how far he can rightly go with Vell.
I had some trepidation when starting this book, given the warnings about non-consensual sex contained in the blurb. Such stories can easily cross a line from sexy to sketchy, and you won’t know if that will happen until you read them, since individual reactions will vary. Happily, the situation is handled quite well. David’s reactions seem quite natural and well-played. While the topic may seem quite heavy, there actually some humorous, even hilarious, scenes to lighten the mood.
Vell is a bit more of a mystery. Even though we have chapters from his point of view, he still guards his true feelings. We definitely get a good idea of what the slave collar does to him, which goes to making him a more sympathetic character. Like David, Vell is as interesting a character to try and put yourself in their position and think of what you would do.
Although this is the first in a series of books now spanning four volumes, it stands quite well on its own. The main story line wraps up as completely as you might hope for, although there are a few questions about Vell that aren’t answered. These perhaps will be addressed in the follow-on books.
“Prince for Sale” is available from Amazon.