CHAPTER 1

Running one hand through his thick, rusty-red mane, Alastair Stark stepped out of the imposing mansion, the cradle of his family, and headed to the little corner of heaven that was the playground. The man’s stern features softened, his dark-green eyes shining with paternal love when he heard the crystalline laughter and angelic voices of Morwena and Rowena, his youngest daughters.

A soft, content sigh escaped Alastair’s lips as he thought about Sue Ellen Milkovich, the nanny Aristarh supported, who’d proved to be a blessing in disguise more times than he could count. The woman was everything a nanny was supposed to be and some more. Compassionate, understanding, affectionate, she offered the two little girls the only thing he and Mallory couldn’t give: the love of a mother.

”Papa, you’re here!” one of the girls, probably Morwena, came running straight into his big, warm, welcoming arms. ”Rowena chickened out again. What a scaredy-cat she is!” the four-year-old huffed, as she kissed Alastair’s cheeks.

”Well, I’ve told you before, sweetheart, your sister is a princess, and they are delicate creatures, who need the help of fierce warriors like you,” the man started to explain in a sing-song voice, kissing the little girl on the tip of her nose.

”I want to be a warrior, too! And a princess!” a little voice protested, as Rowena claimed her father’s attention by gently touching his leg. ”I’m not scared. I want to be a warrior-princess; I know how to fight!”

”There is no such thing as a warrior-princess,” Morwena scrunched her adorable, button nose, as Alastair put her down.

”Papa always tells us stories about warrior princesses,” Rowena replied almost instantly, to the man’s amusement. ”And there are lots of girls where Brother Willard works,” she added with an energetic nod.

”Well, princesses and warriors, how about going for a walk? Or even better, let’s play hide and seek? Maybe we can convince Nanny Sue Ellen to join us?”

”Yay for hide and seek,” Morwena triumphantly shook her little fist in the air. ”Will daddy also come and play with us?”

”He will, if we ask him nicely,” Alastair smirked when the little girl called Mallory daddy. If she only knew, he thought while messaging his husband.

”Is it true that Brother Willard is coming to visit us today? I like him!” the shy Rowena suddenly spoke, blushing.

”Yes, it’s true, and he likes you a lot, too,” the patriarch crouched down, kissing his daughter on the forehead. ”Both of you,” he added, seeing the look of disappointment on Morwena’s face.

”I take the three of you want to play hide-and-seek so that I can find each and every one of you? Some people never learn,” Mallory’s cheerful voice made Alastair and the girls turn their heads in the direction it was coming from.

”Papa always finds you, Daddy.” Morwena tried to wink, looking in awe at the older man. ”Can we team up again, Papa? I’ll be on your team!”

”Of course, we can, sweetie! And I’m honored to have you as a partner. You are the best in the world!” Alastair high-fived the girl.

Rowena wasn’t upset by the man’s remark. It was always like that, for as long as she could remember: her older father preferred Morwena, while she was the youngest’s favorite. Their older brother Willard loved them both the same. He didn’t have a preference. The girls returned the affection, each smile they generously gave him brightening the young man’s life for days.

Not that he was depressed, on the contrary, the young Stark thrived under Lucien de Saint-Laurent’s guidance and care. He also rested assured, knowing that the girls were safe, taken care of, and happy with Alastair and Mallory, in whose company they had a lot of fun.

Just like in those moments when they were hiding, giggling when the two men found them. And, after successfully resisting the attack of the ticklish fingers. They ran back to their secret-not-secret hiding places, with the cooperation of nanny Sue Ellen. The little group went on like that for quite a while, until their grumbling stomachs announced to them that it was lunchtime.

They ate together because Alastair and Mallory cherished the moments they spent with the little girls. Watching their progress, listening to their chirpy chitter-chatter, answering a billion questions they asked. After Morwena and Rowena finished eating, Nanny Sue Ellen took the little girls to their room for their afternoon nap, to which they didn’t object.

”Aren’t you tired too, boy? Don’t you want to take a nap in Daddy’s bed? You may even play a little before going to sleep.” Alastair eyed his husband, suggestively darting the tip of his tongue over his lips.

”Yes, Daddy, this boy is exhausted, he spent all morning at his desk, buried in a ton of papers.” Mallory sweetly purred, his eyes half-closed. ”But he also wants to play before going to bed, if Daddy allows.”

”Go ahead and strip, then wait for me on the bed. I want you on your back, legs widespread, like the good boy you are.” the other man’s voice dropped, becoming a rugged whisper.

”Yes, Daddy,” Mallory swallowed hard at its sound, his cock already twitching in anticipation, aching to be touched.

He went to the bedroom and did as instructed, a bright smile playing on his lips at the memory of his and Alastair’s first time together. As he was neatly folding his clothes, just like the love of his life taught him, the man wondered how the time went by so fast. Seven years earlier—that was when the two of them had met for the first time—and they flew by in the blink of an eye.

All these thoughts were going through Mallory’s head as he lay there, legs widely spread, cock already semi-hard, waiting for Alastair to come and touch him in all the right places. Turning him into a finely tuned instrument, and making his heart sing with joy. His husband stepped into the room shortly after, casting an appreciative look in his direction.

”Look at you, my sweet, obedient, beautiful boy. Laying there, on display, for me to take pleasure from you.” Alastair seductively stated, removing his clothes piece by piece, much to the younger man’s frustration.

”Please, Daddy, let me play with myself,” Mallory begged, looking into the two dark, shining emeralds his husband’s eyes were.

”Change of plans, boy,” Alastair swatted away the hand that tentatively traveled to the younger man’s private parts. ”Those toys are mine to play with as I see fit. A good boy like you plays with Daddy’s toys,” he guided the stray hand to his own cock.

”Are you sure? I mean, I’d be delighted to…but we haven’t done this before, so I don’t know what…” Mallory’s voice was hesitant, the look in his eyes unsure.

”You know my body like it’s your own, and it’s the same with me,” Alastair caressed his husband’s cheek, chastely kissing his lips. ”And isn’t there a first time for everything?” he gently spoke, laying on the bed on one side. ”Now, turn so you can face me and touch my body wherever and for however long you want.

”Can I go here? It’s so soft to the touch,” Mallory closed his eyes, running his hand up and down his husband’s chest, covered with a fiery red, thick pelt of hair. ”Oh, and can I touch your nipples, too? I’d love to play with them a little,” he tentatively squeezed the bits of flesh.

”Yes, and yes,” Alastair answered, ”meantime, I’m going to play with this,” He took the younger man’s cock in his hand, squirting lube on it.

”Oh, you do?” Mallory innocently blinked, imitating his husband. ”I’m going to do what Daddy does, like the good boy I am,” he grinned, starting to stroke the older man’s cock, which began to become more substantial and harder under his actions.

”Keep going, boy. I didn’t have any idea you were so skilled at it,” Alastair pushed himself deeper into his partner’s fist. ”You may go faster,” he said, maintaining the same slow rhythm, teasing the younger man.

”Please, Daddy,” Mallory whimpered, his cock throbbing painfully. ”I need…” he choked on the words, thrusting his hips forward.

”Because you asked nicely, I’ll give it to you,” Alastair picked up the pace, while his husband pumped him faster and faster.

They cried their release at the same time, splattering the hot, sticky substance on their bellies and chests. Once the post-orgasm haze dissipated a bit, Alastair went to the adjacent bathroom, cleaned himself, and returned with a damp washcloth, performing the same ritual for Mallory, who was already half asleep.

Poor boy, the patriarch thought, wrapping his husband in a warm embrace. He must be exhausted. The younger man had spent long hours at the law firm, but he also worked a lot at home. Gathering and studying all the documents and titles of the Stark family’s properties, and helping Warrick Grant with Alastair’s new will.

A new distribution of the estate was absolutely necessary in light of the changes in the Stark clan’s dynamic. Ava and her son Kieran, Tyler and his second-born Ronan, of whose existence the patriarch wasn’t even aware of at the time he’d made the first will, had to be included in the new one. Also, Willard was going to get more than the amount Liam had twisted his great-uncle’s hand into giving to him back then.

Of course, Morwena and Rowena, whose future had also to be secured, especially since they were only four, and Alastair wasn’t young anymore, no matter what those around him were saying. With those thoughts in mind, the patriarch finally drifted to sleep. When he woke up, Mallory had already gone. Most likely to his office. For the last round of studying deeds and other documents, the patriarch thought.

The girls were still sleeping, so Alastair went downstairs, heading to the library to spend some quality time in the company of a good book. However, his time alone came to a quick and abrupt end when his phone beeped, announcing an incoming message. Opening it, the former Supreme Dragon saw that it was from Mallory.

Most likely, his husband needed some clarifications on the often tangled transactions the Starks were involved in over the time. However, when he got there, Alastair suspected it was something different, more severe than a simple clarification.

”I want you to take a look at this,” Mallory extended a frail piece of paper over the desk. ”If it is what I think it is, we may have quite a situation on our hands.”