Dynasty by Eva Caye

Eva Caye
By Eva Caye April 17, 2013 14:57

Dynasty by Eva Caye

Summary:

Being the youngest sons of the most important person in the galaxy is a demanding job — especially when she insists they carry her scientific legacy into the future! As Princes Stefan, Josef, and Evan work to assimilateEmpress Felice Sinclair’s immensely critical stargate enterprise, they struggle with their regular University educations and political duties as well as their love lives. The concatenation of social and emotional turmoils propels them into their destinies, for they fear their mother’s recent debilitation will result in the loss of her intellectual legacy to them.

To also strive for their personal goals threatens to overwhelm the three princes, who are torn between the expectations of their social class and their desires to find ladies as brilliant and determined as their headstrong mother. But all previous concerns become meaningless when an Attican attack upon the Stargate Fleet tries to capture the Empress!

With the Galactic Assembly following their achievements as the lifeline to humanity’s future, will the Imperial Sons be able to provide stargates on their own from now on? And will their love lives suffer from long absences, demanding production schedules, and the need for absolute secrecy?

According to the author, this book contains descriptive writing about sexual acts between consenting adults.

The author has rated this book R (not suitable for those 17 and under).

Excerpt:

Stefan did it the hard way. That Friday after the ball for business leaders, he tried to make love to Teresa again. He was completely unaroused.

When they finally spoke about it, Stefan admitted it was not a temporary thing, but that he found her unexciting. Teresa cried, speaking of all the exciting events they had gone to in the ten months they had been dating. He reminded her none of those had been in bed. This time it was Teresa who slammed the door, exiting his suite with her overnight bag and demanding a ride home from the Sentinel detail.

Thank God for Saturdays and Mother’s little afternoon classes. Stefan threw himself into the circuits Mother had designed until she was working with Evan and Josef alone. He asked if he could look at her lab notes for her crystalline resect data storage cubes while he waited for her to finish with them. She drew them up immediately, and he threw himself into studying those. By the end of the session, Evan was growling, Josef was rolling his shoulders to release his tension, and Stefan was calm and cool, back on track again.

At dinner Josef asked Stefan, “Hey, I could use some help on this little project I am doing. Would you consider looking it over?”

“You have a project? What are you working on?” Mother seemed professionally interested but somewhat reserved. Stefan figured she would prefer her sons to spend their limited spare time studying stargate circuits.

“I’d rather not say yet, Mother. It is just an idea I came up with one night. After all, you surely cannot expect to be the only inventor in the family,” Josef teased her with a smile.

She at least smiled back at him. “I see. Does this have anything to do with our own little project?” She was being circumspect, since Anne had invited Andrés to dinner.

“No, Mother, not at all. Just trying to reinvent the wheel,” he drawled.

Stefan snorted. Josef had been teasing him and Evan about this mysterious project for some time now. “Sure, I’ll look it over after dinner.”

Father gave him a puzzled look. “Aren’t you going out tonight?”

Flushing, he bit his lips together. “No. I don’t think Teresa and I will be seeing each other anymore.” Going back to his meal, he began cutting and recutting his meat until it turned to mush. Putting his utensils down, he glanced at Father. “May I be excused, please?”

Everyone was staring at him now. Realizing that all conversation had stopped since his announcement, Stefan flushed again and looked down at his plate.

“Certainly, son. Come see me if you need to talk,” Father added gently.

Stefan nodded, set aside his napkin, and left.

 

◊ ◊ ◊

 

Evan and Jessica were almost to his suite that night when Josef left Stefan’s suite and stormed toward his own door, grumbling. Evan wondered what that was about. “Bad night?”

Josef stopped and shook a data card. “He solved it. Made it look easy. Dammit, I’ve been working on this idea for four weeks! Now I’ll have to share the patent with him.” Emitting a brusque growl, he stomped through his own open door just down and across from Evan’s.

“What did he invent?” Jessica wondered as they waited for Evan’s Sentinel agents to scan his suite.

“I don’t know, but he’s been alternately smiling and frowning whenever he mentions the project. You would think he’d be happier to have it done, but I am starting to suspect there’s some real jealousy there. Stefan seems to have no problem picking up – anything mathematical.” Evan caught himself before saying anything about Mother’s project.

“You mean he hasn’t said a word to you on what it’s about, yet he told Stefan all about it? I thought you were the mathematical genius of the three.” She frowned in suspicion, and the Sentinel agent indicated they could enter the suite.

“Genius? Hardly that. I just prefer it to the physics or the microengineering classes we are taking,” he said hastily. Pushing her gently toward his suite, he ogled her openly. “I can think of a few engineering feats I’d like to try with you right now, though.”

Jessica laughed and pulled him to her. “Teaching science now, I see. I’m going to have to sign up for that class.”

 

◊ ◊ ◊

 

On Tuesday, Mother looked over their work. “Much better. I can see you’ve finally applied yourself, Evan.”

“Not fair, Mother. I apply myself all the time,” Evan complained. “It just finally clicked, that’s all.”

Josef and Stefan looked at each other. They had drilled Evan for three hours before that click had come, just before dinner. He had been apprehensive during the meal, wondering if he remembered everything, avoiding conversational gambits with little more than a few words to throw the subject back to the speaker. Renee had looked at all three of them solemnly as if she knew just what it was costing them to maintain their pleasant façades.

“Now, the next circuits in the series work in parallel. These are the ones that release the plasma energies into the crystalline couplers that – never mind, we will get to it once you master the series,” Mother explained obliquely.

“How many more designs are left in the series?” Josef asked.

“Twelve,” she said matter-of-factly.

Evan groaned very softly as Mother began teaching again.

 

◊ ◊ ◊

 

Stefan spent two hours in the gymnasium on Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday. The twins would come for their workout when Stefan had already done his warm-ups and begun sparring, and leave about the time he headed for the knife alley.

Stefan spent over three hours in the gym on Saturday morning and ate lunch in his suite. When the twins finally cornered him in Lord Charles Strauss’ antechamber to Mother’s lab that afternoon, Josef asked, “Man, when do you find time to study? If you aren’t in class or working out, you are taking on social duties like crazy. Are you on some kind of stim?”

“I study in the mornings before breakfast. I don’t get much sleep, though,” Stefan admitted. “Since I got rid of Teresa, I feel like an enormous cloud of worry has dissipated. I can think clearly now.”

He pulled a paper out of his pocket. “Here, I thought of another easy tweak. This will make the running lights shine brighter if a vehicle approaches within a meter of a shielded ground car. It should be bright enough to alarm a driver to at least brace for impact, if they are that unaware in the first place.” Handing it over to Josef, Stefan put his computer down on the bench next to Mother’s airlock lab door and went across the room to chat with Charles.

Josef looked over the diagram and the formulas, shaking his head. “At this rate, I’m going to just patent it in Stefan’s name.”

“What is this design, anyway? You never told me,” Evan complained.

Josef described his force-shielded bumpers to Evan, who whistled with approval. “I even got Roberta to help me price the components. It won’t add more than ten percent to the price of a ground car, and that could easily be covered by the savings an owner would get on insurance alone.”

Looking over Stefan’s schematics, Evan’s voice went plaintive. “No wonder Mother thinks I’m a dunderhead. Between you and Stefan, I might as well be a horse in her eyes, just someone to ride until I’m knackered.”

A sharp breath came from the doorway to the corridor. Mother stood stiffly, staring at Evan and blinking back sudden tears. She looked over at Stefan, who was busy with Charles, and then at Josef, who felt as embarrassed for Evan as his twin looked. To their great surprise, Mother turned and walked away.

Two minutes later, a Sentinel agent peeked through the open doorway. “Your Highnesses? The Empress says your class has been cancelled.”

Stefan glanced up from his position looking over Charles’ shoulder. “Is everything okay?”

The Sentinel agent’s face was blank. “I do not know, Highness.” He retreated quickly.

Josef waved Stefan over. When he was within earshot of a confidential whisper, Josef replied, “Mother caught Evan saying something indiscreet. She finally realized how much pressure she’s been putting him through.”

Evan couldn’t hide his misery. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have complained. I’m just jealous that it takes you two no time to absorb everything, by osmosis apparently, whereas I have to beat my head against it all. I hardly see Jessica on weekends anymore, even. I feel like I am about to explode,” he confessed. “Even workouts don’t seem to relieve me. Or sex, what little I get anymore.”

“I do understand the feeling, but if it’s going to interfere with me and Josef getting trained, I object,” Stefan said coolly. “This is the chance of a lifetime, and I am ready for it, even if you are not. Would you please at least go apologize to Mother? And make sure she knows it is your problem and not ours?” A brief look of thunder crossed his face.

Josef was torn. Try to keep up with Stefan, whose brilliance he already resented, or stick with Evan’s reluctance to continue and have more time for himself? He was mad as hell to be caught in this conversation. “Go ahead and take the training, Stefan. It’s not like you have other people you want to spend time with.”

The look on Stefan’s face made Josef desperately wish he had not said a word. Stefan blanched a sickening greyish-white before striding over to pick up his computer and leave without even glancing in the twins’ direction. Josef could hear his steps pick up in the corridor, almost to a run.

Evan shook his head. “Thanks for the moral support, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the horses gets ridden to death today.” He sighed. “I’m going to go find Mother. Would you like to come witness my personal humiliation? I’m used to you being there for it by now, after all.”

Josef huffed a laugh. “Yeah. I’ll give you points for groveling. Five on your knees, ten on your belly.” As Evan chuckled a bit, Josef grew more serious. “But if you screw it up for Stefan and me, we better schedule our workouts at different times.”

Evan gulped and nodded. “Are you going to grovel to Stefan?”

“Only if he succeeds in killing a horse. Or a Sentinel.” Josef rubbed his still-bruised wrist.

 

◊ ◊ ◊

 

Stefan did kill a horse. He worked on his jumps until he decided to take on the circuit all at once. He knew when he approached the fourth jump that Feverfew was tiring, but he spurred him even harder. Feverfew landed with a sickening crunch and stumbled an extra step before falling, giving Stefan just enough warning to kick out of his stirrups and follow the horse down until he could push away into a rollout in the soggy mulch of the jump corridor. The horse had screamed twice, writhed a bit, and now lay blowing in pain, eyes wide and panicked.

His two Sentinel agents came up immediately. After seeing Stefan stand and brush himself off as if nothing had happened, Captain Russell and Sergeant Clovis immediately surrounded the horse. One called back to the stables on his wrist phone for the head groom, but the latter had gone to a distant duchy that day to look over a few young stallions to be purchased for the Imperial stables. Since the break was an ugly compound fracture and Feverfew was a gelding, the consensus was to put the horse down.

Sickened by his actions, Stefan nevertheless sat and stroked Feverfew’s head and neck until his two Sentinels agreed to use their pulse pistols together. He stepped back to a safe distance, brushed away tears, and watched with sorrow as they executed the beast. They had removed its riding gear by the time the grooms got there with a new horse for Stefan, and a veterinarian’s air van arrived to remove the dead horse.

As they rode back to the stables, Sergeant Clovis said gravely, “That was a remarkable rollout you did, Highness. I’m glad we didn’t have to take you to surgery for a broken leg. Or worse.”

Stefan looked down the access road and stopped his new horse. Father and six Sentinels were headed for the Preserve. Since he had already ridden out that morning, it could only mean Father had heard about Feverfew and suspected Stefan had disregarded the horse’s signals. Not wanting to be dressed down in front of the grooms, Stefan turned his horse back to the Preserve and headed for the small glen where the truly private conversations among Imperial Family members took place, with Sentinels barely visible among trees atop the ridges.

The little grotto had several objects decorating it now. Besides Sophia’s crystal angel, there was a silver drinking goblet near the trickle running to the pool, a small candle-cup complete with melted wax on the bottom, and an offering of late-summer wildflowers tied in a ribbon, drying out nicely. Stefan wondered who had placed the candle and flowers there; it seemed reminiscent of some kind of rite. Love rite? Fertility ritual? He sat cross-legged and wondered what he would place as a memento, as well as whether such a rite actually beckoned the desired outcome into reality.

Father found him there beside the pool. Dismounting and leading his horse to drink, he sat beside Stefan and stretched out his legs, arms propped behind him. After a few moments, he very casually remarked, “You know I did not meet your mother until I was almost 31. About this time of year, too.”

Stefan didn’t want to talk about women. “I’m sorry about Feverfew. I pushed him too hard and I shouldn’t have taken that last jump so fast. Russell and Clovis did the deed. I could have used one of my knives, I should have, it was my responsibility, but I didn’t want to see the blood spatter.”

Father continued as if he had not heard. “Phillip didn’t date for about two years before he found Annette. I was surprised Zhaiden bounced out of his relationship with Colette within one year. And Brian and Christian have never settled on one lady for more than a few months. Besides all your married siblings, you are the one who has had the longest relationship with anyone. That kind of investment in time and emotion is bound to be painful when you watch it drain away into nothing.” He bent his knees and sat up, brushed negligible dirt off his hands, then pierced Stefan with his warmest gaze. “We will support you, no matter what.”

“No matter what?” Stefan brooded, tossing a stone in the pool. “Are you sure about that?”

“Well, if you were to demonstrate violence against a lover, we would probably send you to get help, but otherwise, yes, no matter what.” Staring at the grotto, a moment later he added, “One of your brothers even had a few experimental homosexual encounters.”

Stefan turned to him, then. “I… have to admit, I’ve wondered about that kind of thing. I know I enjoy women, though Teresa turned out to be a real turn-off. But sometimes when I am working out, I find myself enjoying the wrestling moves more than I think I should. I don’t know whether that means anything, though.” He groused bitterly, “And it’s not like I can ask about it. What Sentinel would want to work with me if he knew I was thinking about him like that?”

Father uttered a short laugh. “You would be surprised. Shall I have Chief Savat send you some new agents? Ones who would not mind?”

Stefan gaped. “Father! You can’t be serious!”

“They are the most discreet men in the Demesnes, after all. And Chief Savat knows all about them; he has to in order to give them security clearances. They will behave professionally at all times, but they would understand completely if you were to have questions, or more male friends than female friends.

“And as long as your Sentinel detail knows, your mother and I don’t have to know,” he pointed out. “Your mother only asks you to introduce her to possible bedmates in order to ask them personally if they have contraceptive implants, you know, as well as to make sure they do not expect a marriage contract to result just from a night of sport. And to check for their parents’ approval if they are under 21.”

Stefan’s mind was boggling, now. “I had not realized all that was going on. I just thought she had to approve of the girl, personally speaking.”

“As always, your mother is practical above all other concerns. Even in love.” Father chuckled. “You should have heard us negotiating our marriage contract. We agreed not to speak of its terms because we knew no one would understand.” His chortling wound down. “She’s not quite sure what to do with you three boys. As the youngest children, she feels like she has shorted you her attention, and she truly does think you deserve to carry on her stargate legacy. But if Evan is having problems with it—”

“We three spoke about it briefly. They don’t mind if I take the training by myself. At the least, they may train with her in the future, just not when so many other things are going on in their lives.”

“Ah, yes. I can see now how your mother thought it would be efficient to train you all together, given that you are taking the same classes. And it has been a boon to Sentinel Command to have you all together so they only have to concern themselves with a few classrooms, as well as for your personal details to be able to protect you with their comrades.” Father rose to his feet. “I shall speak to her about this fetish for efficiency and how we might personalize our attentions to you in the future.” He dusted off his hands once more. “Is there anything else you would like to talk about, son?”

Stefan rose, too. “Not at this point. I really am sorry about Feverfew. I had no idea I was taking my own stress out on him, until that last drive to force him over the jump when he was unprepared.”

Father tilted his head. “There’s a strong metaphor in that, if you think about it.”

“Indeed.” Stefan sighed but stood straighter as a result. “I shall see it doesn’t come to that again.”

Copyright© Eva Caye. All rights reserved.

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Eva Caye
By Eva Caye April 17, 2013 14:57
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