Martin of House Ganymede, trained as a companion slave, is eager for a master of his own. Everything he’s done in his short life has been to prepare him for auction day, and now all that waits is to be chosen. In being sold, he’ll be separated from the boys he’s lived and trained with his entire life, and it’s possible he won’t see them ever again. Goodbyes are hurried and emotions are raw as the slaves go on display for prospective masters. Martin has ideas about what he’d like in a master, though of course he’ll have no say in who will buy him. When he meets tall, handsome Henry Blackwell, he’s found the one he wants, but does this shy master want him?
A Superior Slave is a prequel introducing the books of the Ganymede Quartet, a fantasy of Gilded Age New York in which young men from the richest families form intense bonds with the slaves who serve them.
Charlie, who was a notoriously fast eater, finished his sandwich and said, “Do you think it’s bad luck to talk about what sort of master we’d like?”
“Yes,” Noah said firmly.
“No,” Georgie said at the same time. “What do you want, Charlie?”
Charlie thought about it a moment. “I just hope he isn’t actually ugly. Hideous, I mean. It would be nice if he was handsome, but we’ve been warned so often that most masters aren’t that I’m pretty well reconciled to my master being homely.”
“I hope he’s clean,” Stuart said, making a face. “We all keep so clean for each other, but I don’t imagine free boys even think of such things.”
They all contemplated gamy cocks for a minute, noses wrinkled in distaste.
Georgie said, “I just hope he’s not a mean little bastard. I don’t want one who’ll be bossing me around for no other reason except he can.”
“Yes, I want a kind master,” Charlie agreed. “A nice boy, more or less. He doesn’t have to be an angel or anything, but a decent guy. That’s what I want.”
Noah cleared his throat self-consciously. “Not too fat.”
They all looked at him.
Noah blushed. “I don’t want some great huge boy squashing me,” he said, sounding somewhat defensive.
“Well, of course not.” Georgie put his hand on Noah’s arm and gave him a reassuring squeeze. “No one wants that.”
“In that case, you get on top and ride him,” Stuart pointed out. “Let him just relax and enjoy you, and no one gets squashed.”
“It would be nice if he wasn’t terrible at sex,” Charlie said. “I know I’ll have to teach him everything, but I hope he’ll learn. I hope he’ll listen to me.”
Martin thought the things his friends hoped for were very reasonable, very modest. He did not want to share his hopes because they were not reasonable at all. He wanted a handsome master, kind and affectionate, who’d touch him like a lover and treat him like a friend, and these wishes were desperately, unrealistically romantic. He’d been taught as much at Ganymede and it had been made very clear: his master would be an ordinary boy with an extraordinary bank account, and he would be under no obligation to think of his slave as a person.