Gild (The Plated Prisoner #1) by Raven Kennedy

Chapter One

I lift the gold goblet to my lips as I watch the show of naked flesh through the space between my bars.

The lighting is low, deliberate. Just a crackle of flame over promiscuous shapes that move in warm tandem. Seven bodies working all to one sole release, while I’m here, apart, like a spectator for a sport.

The king called me in here a couple of hours ago when he started getting hot and heavy with his revolving harem of concubines—also known as his royal saddles. He decided to have his pleasure in the atrium tonight, probably because of the acoustics in here. To his credit, the moans really do echo nicely.

“Yes, my king! Yes! Yes!”

The skin around my eyes tightens, and I quickly gulp more wine down and force myself to look away and take in the night sky instead. The atrium is huge, and all of the walls and the domed ceiling are made entirely of glass windows, so it’s the best view in the palace. That is...when it stops snowing long enough to see anything.

Right now, there’s a snowstorm like usual. White flakes fall from the sky, a promise to cover the panes by morning. But for now, I can see a faint hint of a single star high above, peeking out from between the oppressive clouds and looming white. Always, the puffy, frozen vapor stands sentinel over the sky like a miser, stealing the view from me and hoarding it to itself. But I have a glimpse, and I’m thankful for that.

I wonder if at one point, past monarchs from forgotten times built this atrium so they could chart the stars and decipher the stories that the gods left for us in the sky. But then nature thwarted them, those sentry clouds mocking their effort and blocking truths from us.

Or perhaps the long-dead royals just built this room to see the glass frosted over and blizzards whipping around while they could stand in here, untouched by the vast, white cold. Orean royals are arrogant enough to do something like that. Case in eyes flicker over to the king who’s currently balls-deep in his saddle while the others flaunt and play for his pleasure.

Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe this space wasn’t built for the purpose of us looking up, but for the gods to look down. Maybe those old royals brought their saddles up here too, as a visual offering for the heavens to enjoy the debauchery. Based on some of the stories I’ve read, the gods are a horny bunch, so I honestly wouldn’t put it past them. I don’t judge them, though. The royal saddles are very talented.

Despite the fact that I’m being forced to watch and listen to the lewd acts right now, and despite the fact that the top of the dome is usually blocked with snow, I still like coming in here. It’s the closest I ever get to being outside, or feeling the wind on my face, or having my lungs expand with fresh air.

Bright side? At least I never have to worry about my skin getting chapped from the wind or shivering from the snow. The snowstorm does look cold, after all.

I try to keep a positive outlook on life, even if I am in my own person-sized birdcage. A pretty jail for a pretty relic.

“Oh, Divine!” one of the saddles—Rissa, I think—cries out in bliss, pulling me from my thoughts. She has a husky voice and blonde hair, beauty effortlessly held on her face.

I redirect my gaze to the scene in front of me, unable to help myself. There are six saddles doing their best to impress. Six is the king’s lucky number—since he’s the ruler of the Sixth Kingdom of Orea. He’s a bit obsessive about it, really. At any given time, I see the number surrounding him. Like the six buttons on every shirt that his tailors make for him. Or the six spires in his gold crown. The six saddles he’s fucking tonight.

Right now, five women and one man are catering to his carnal needs. The servants brought up a bed so that he could be comfortable while he’s getting his thrill. It seems like a big hassle for them to take apart the enormous bed, walk up three flights of stairs, and then put it back together again, only to have to remove it again later. But what do I know? I’m just the king’s favorite saddle.

I wrinkle my nose at that term. I prefer it when people call me the king’s favored. It has a much nicer ring to it, though it still means the same thing.

I’m his.

I kick my feet up on the bars in front of my cage, settling back on the cushions beneath me. I watch the king’s ass flex as he plunges in and out of one of the girls beneath him, while two more women kneel on the bed on both sides of him so that he has full access to their bare breasts, which he’s currently kneading, two-handed.

The king is a breast man.