sci-fi romance book
genre: sci-fi romance book
length: 30896 words / novella
released: August 2009
Share this book!
Daughters of Lyra: Heart of a Prince
Princess Renie, one of the beautiful and strong daughters of Lyra, loves nothing more than exploring space with her twin brother, Rezic, but when they venture too close to the Black Zone, the barrier between Vegan space and the rest of the galaxy, things turn from exploration to a fight for their lives. With Rezic injured in a meteorite shower, Renie has no choice but to accept help from a vessel within the Black Zone, even when it turns out to be Vegan! Separated from her brother and taken hostage, to be held for ransom, Renie isn’t sure what she’s going to do…
Until she meets a man in the cells, the most unusual and gorgeous male she has ever seen, a man who seems to be willing to do anything to protect her and makes her pulse race.
Tres isn’t enjoying his stay in the cells. The commander has broken his thermal suit, leaving him cold and weak, and his last chance of leaving the Black Zone has been thwarted. But the galaxy comes to him instead, and she’s more beautiful, warm and full of feeling than he’d ever dreamed. When he discovers her and her brother’s plight, he vows to help her if she’ll help him, and when she touches him, showing him warmth, he wonders how touch can be so forbidden and realises that he’ll do anything for her.
When Renie is injured during their escape and Tres is forced to stay behind so Rezic can leave with her, will she ever see him again? Will she be able to convince her father, General Lyra II, to go back into the Black Zone and rescue the man she’s fallen in love with? And will she still love Tres when she realises just who he is?
ALL OF THE DAUGHTERS OF LYRA STORIES STAND ALONE AND DO NOT NEED TO BE READ IN ORDER.
Ebook available from:
This ebook is available worldwide at all Amazon Kindle stores and all Apple iBookstores. Please check your local Amazon site or Apple iBooks / iTunes for my books if the store isn't linked above.
Also available in paperback
Some of the books on this site contain material of a sexual nature or graphic violence and are only suitable for adults. By reading the excerpt below you release me as the author of any responsibility.
Renie cradled her brother to her, stroking his brow, and when the ship came to a halt, she gently lay him down on the floor of the dark bridge. The power had gone out during the ship’s descent onto the large vessel. Now she was in complete darkness. The strained sound of Rezic’s breathing made her feel ill, turning her stomach and filling her head with terrible thoughts. The ship’s computer had announced that his life signs were stabilising but she knew better than to believe that meant he was going to live.
The blood on the side of his head was thick and dark, covering half of his forehead and his cheek. He hadn’t stirred at all since the meteorites had struck the ship and she feared the worst. An image of the huge vessel that had answered her call for help flashed across her mind. Would they be able to save her brother when she couldn’t? She hoped that they could but an ominous feeling had settled in the pit of her stomach on seeing the ship. She couldn’t remember ever seeing one like it before, but it had come from the Black Zone and instinct was telling her that wasn’t a good sign.
It had commanded her to leave the area. She prayed to Iskara that didn’t mean what she thought it did.
Her gaze strayed back to where she knew Rezic lay. Her insides flipped again, stomach churning with fear and anticipation. The air was growing thin again. With no power, the life support system had failed. She stared in the direction of the door and stood. Would they come soon? It was getting hot.
The bridge door opened a fraction. Light streamed in. Renie’s heart jumped into her throat and then pounded hard when black claw-like fingers appeared through the gap. She gasped and stepped backwards, hitting the ship’s console behind her. The clawed fingers closed around the door and pulled it open with ease. She couldn’t possibly have done that. Not even her brother could have. Whatever was coming was stronger than both of them were. She crouched down to be with Rezic and stared at the door, waiting to see the face of their rescuer.
The doors opened fully.
What they revealed was more frightening than her worst nightmare.
Several dark clad soldiers moved into the small space, forcing her to one side. Her eyes didn’t leave the man who had opened the bridge door. Standing over six and a half feet, he towered above her, his skin as white as clouds. His long black hair parted over his pointed ears. He barked orders at the men and she frowned when they grabbed her, pulling her around as they searched her body for something.
She glared at the soldiers when they opened the small weapons hold beside the pilot’s chair and took the laser guns. Weapons? They were searching her for weapons.
Two soldiers grabbed her and marched her through the ship and out into the cargo bay of the vessel that had her. They roughly turned her on the spot to face her ship and she struggled when she saw her brother on a hover stretcher. Three women and one man were attending to him. She fought harder to escape the men holding her when the others began to walk away with her brother.
“I need to go with him,” she said and stamped on one of the men’s feet. He snarled and tightened his grip on her, his fingers digging into her flesh.
“You offered payment for your brother’s life,” a familiar deep voice said and she looked up to see the man who had opened the door to the bridge.
In the bright light of the cargo bay, his eyes met hers, sending a sickening chill through her.
What should have been the white of his eyes was black. His irises were golden, bright and sharp like a hawk’s. They studied her and held her at the same time. She couldn’t look away no matter how much she wanted to. He stepped out of the ship and she barely held the gasp inside when she saw he had black leathery wings tightly furled against his back. She looked over at the doctors that were taking Rezic away and then at the soldiers in the area. Wings. Black wings.
Her heart beat painfully hard and her gaze slowly came back to the man who had addressed her.
She had never seen one before, but she had been educated well enough to be able to recognise one when she saw one.
“Vegan!” she growled the word with all the hatred of her species.
The man grinned, an ugly smile that only made his rough countenance more horrifying. He seemed pleased by her reaction.
“Lyran,” he said as his hand came to rest against her cheek. He licked his lips. “Wait, even sweeter, a half breed Terran.”
Her heart felt as though it had stopped.
His smile widened and she knew what he was going to say.
Fighting the men holding her, Renie tried to get free. She needed to get to Rezic and escape the hellish place she had brought them to.
“Rezic!” she shouted after him, desperate.
There was a growl of annoyance and then pain black and sharp split her skull. She faded into the darkness, drifting away.
This was a warm place.
Renie liked how free of hurt she was here, how free of everything. The darkness surrounded her but slowly began to brighten, as though the sun was rising. She watched it, fascinated but numb. Gradually, the dark turned to light and she fluttered her eyes open.
“Rezic?” she muttered, her head splitting, and tried to remember what had happened.
She shot into a sitting position when she remembered that Rezic was hurt and that she was on a Vegan ship and they knew she was Lyran royalty.
She screwed her eyes shut when her head ached even worse, blinding her. Perhaps sudden movements weren’t wise after someone had tried to knock your head off. She clutched it and groaned when she slowly opened her eyes to see that she was in a cell. The pale grey wall behind her was solid, a bench running along it that she supposed was a bed. The other three walls of her cell were blue light bars—rows of highly charged vertical energy beams. Lyran vessels had cells that used them but she had never seen them before.
Dreamily and without thinking, she reached out and touched them. They crackled and she snapped her hand back as they burnt her fingertips. Clutching her hand to her chest, she tried to make sense of where she was. The other cells were empty and it was quiet. She didn’t know where she was in the ship or where her brother was, or even if he was alive. She didn’t know what they wanted with her or what they were going to do to her.
Curling up against the bench, Renie hugged her knees to her chest and checked her hand. She frowned when she saw her communicator band was still there and pressed the button four times, the number she had agreed with Rezic would be their emergency signal.
Nothing but static came back.
“It will not work in here,” a male voice said and she jumped, looking around her.
She wasn’t alone.
There was someone in the cell beside hers. Renie shuffled over to the bars and tried to get his attention. He was lying on the bench, his back to her and a dark grey blanket covering him completely so she could only see the shape of him.
“Excuse me,” she said and held her hand up by the bars, wary of them. “Excuse me... how do you know—”
“Quiet,” he said and tugged the blanket further over his head, exposing a pair of heavy dark blue and silver boots at the other end.
Her right eyebrow rose. Such a lazily spoken order wasn’t going to put her off. He sounded like her brother after she had awoken him. If Rezic didn’t scare her when he was in a mood like that, then this stranger certainly wasn’t going to.
Unless he looked like that man had. She had never imagined that a Vegan would look so frightening.
“Excuse me... how do you know it won’t work... or even what I was doing for that matter?” She frowned at him. His cell was at a right angle to hers. He had his back to her and she hadn’t heard anyone move. How had he known what she was doing?
“The ship is actively blocking communications,” he said and his arm appeared from under the blanket. Around his wrist was a device similar to hers. “It was obvious what you would try to do on waking.”
Her eyes widened, but not because of the device.
His skin was white but from his knuckles it slowly turned from white to a rich blue colour at his fingertips. He had deep blue claws. The tattered black cuff of whatever clothes he was wearing fell back to reveal tighter clothing in blue and silver beneath.
His hand disappeared back under the blanket.
“Do you know where the medical area is? I need to get to my brother. They’re holding him there.”
“Quiet,” he said. This time his voice carried a note of warning.
Renie shrank back and sighed. Evidently, this man wasn’t going to be much help to her. Still, questions crowded her mind and they demanded answers.
“Erm, excuse me?” she said and in one swift move, he pushed the blanket off himself and sat up, facing her.
“I said to be quiet!” he snapped but she was too busy staring to hear what he had said.
She had never seen anything like him. His skin was white but, where it neared his hairline, it gradually turned dark blue just as his fingers did. His hair was a matching dark blue at the root but slowly changed to black. It hung in loose tendrils, framing his face with tousled strands that made her want to reach out and push them back, out of his face so she could drink her fill of his otherworldly beauty.
A pair of the most fantastic eyes held hers, their pale blue pupil surrounded by black irises fascinating her.
With an irritated sigh, he raked his fingers through his hair, revealing the fact his ears were slightly pointed and the tips of them were also blue.
He was breathtaking. It wasn’t the fact that she had never seen a species like him. It was how handsome he was—beautiful enough that her heart beat a little quicker at the sight of him and when her eyes met his, she trembled inside.
She could do quiet when she was looking at him. Words had no place in this moment, no use. They were unnecessary. Sight had command here, and she wanted to do nothing more than stare at him for eternity.
He shivered and his hair fell down across his face. She had never seen someone suffer such a violent shudder before.
He pulled the tattered grey blanket around his shoulders and her gaze fell to his hands and then his clothes. He was wearing black like the soldiers that had taken her captive but his appearance was nothing like theirs.
“Are you a prisoner too?” she said, finding her voice at last and unable to ignore her desire to learn more about him.
He frowned, dark blue eyebrows meeting tightly above those stunning eyes.
“I thought the answer to that was obvious.”
She shrugged and dropped her gaze away from his. Loose black trousers covered his legs. They were torn in places. She could see something blue beneath.
Was he wearing something similar to a fight suit beneath the clothes?
He huddled up into the blanket and sighed.
“Do you know where they might have taken my brother?”
“You mentioned the medical deck,” he said and his eyes met hers again, sending another warm rush down her spine. She nodded. “Then I suppose he is there.”
He wasn’t very forthcoming.
“What did they capture you for?” she said and waited for him to tell her to be quiet again.
“Attempting to leave the Black Zone.”
“Is that bad?” Since he was answering questions, Renie couldn’t stop her mouth from asking them. Perhaps if she broke the ice between them, then he would be more inclined to tell her the location of the medical area, presuming he knew. Her gaze took in his face again, slower this time, in intimate detail. A cut dashed across his right cheek just below his eye. At least she presumed it was a cut. It was a thin blue line. Did he have blue blood?
“Not as bad as being a Lyran in the Black Zone.”
His reply startled her and she shuffled backwards a few inches.
“Did they tell you when they brought me in?” she said, wondering what the guards might have said to him and why they would tell a prisoner such information.
“No,” he said and pulled the blanket even tighter around him. She got the feeling that he wasn’t going to say anything more than that. Perhaps he was a species that could sense things, as Varkans could. She didn’t have the courage to ask, so instead she focused on the fact that he was intently wrapping the blanket around him. He banged a fist against the wall. “Turn the heat up!”
She frowned. He was cold? She was boiling in just her thin white shirt, tan waistcoat and brown trousers.
When she moved, a curl of her long black hair fell out of her bun. She poked it back into place and wished she had done something nicer with her hair this morning. She hadn’t expected to end up shut in a cell next to a handsome prisoner, especially one who, for the first time in a long time, made her care about her appearance.
“Are you cold?” she said, wanting to break the silence between them again.
He glared at her, as though it was another ridiculous question.
“I thought it was rather warm,” she said with a shrug.
With a muttered comment she couldn’t make out, he tugged the blanket closer around him.
“It is cold.” His voice held a note of command and authority that made her feel as though she should believe it, as though if he said it was cold then it was cold or if he said that deep space was in fact purple, then it was.
“What deck is the medical one?” she said.
“Fourteen,” he replied and then paused. His gaze ran over her and then over the room. “I do not recommend attempting to escape. The crew is all male except the medical staff and you have neither the clothing or appearance to pass as a medical assistant. You would be caught in a matter of seconds and your punishment would only be more severe.”
“More severe?” she said with another frown. “I’m a princess of Lyra in Vegan space. I don’t think my punishment could get more severe than this. They’re probably plotting how much to ransom me for right now, or planning my public execution.”
He laughed. It was mocking and made her teeth grate.
“Execute you? On whose orders?” He huddled down into his blanket and stared at her, his strange pale blue pupils boring into hers. “Vegans would not initiate another war with Lyra. They have no need to. The galaxy is divided and both are trapped, unable to expand their empires or their technology.”
“Lyrans are expanding their technology perfectly well.”
“Well enough that you could create your own barrier?”
She resisted a pout. “Perhaps.”
It wasn’t her place to talk about politics like this, or even something that she was interested in doing, but the way he was talking made her furious. He sounded as though he sympathised with the Vegans and that he was mocking the Lyrans. It was difficult to stop herself from talking about things like her cousin’s recent marriage to the emperor of Varka. Lyra had already expanded the reach of their technology because of it. She was sure that soon Lyra could build a barrier like the one Vega had erected, but she wasn’t sure there was a need.
“That barrier... I saw a planet out there... or something that used to be a planet. My brother said that it had a high carbon content, as though everyone who had once lived on it had died in a flash.” She hugged her knees again as she thought about being back on the small ship with her brother. Where was he? Was he alive? If the Vegans had realised that she was royalty just by touching her, then perhaps they would sense the same about her brother. It was to their advantage to ensure he survived.
“When the barrier was turned on, anything in its path was decimated.”
Decimated. Her brother had been right. The barrier had destroyed the planet.
“In time, things that are blocking the barrier or caught in it are eliminated. Vega must keep a clean line between the Black Zone and the rest of the galaxy.”
“We were hit by meteorites—”
“Not meteorites,” he said, cutting her off. “This ship has a duty. It was sent here to destroy the planet. It was part of that planet that struck your vessel.”
No wonder the ship hadn’t detected anything before the meteorites were already closing in on them. No wonder there was a ship in the vicinity to hear her distress call.
“I see,” she said and stared at her knees. Her hand hurt. She sucked her fingers, trying not to think about how dire her situation was. Her father would pay for her return, but would it be enough? Would the Vegans give her and her brother up so easily?
Would her father give up so easily? She was sure that he would fight for her. If he did, then there was a chance the war with Vega would begin again. She didn’t want that. She didn’t want to subject the people of Lyra to war again, or to catch another system in the crossfire and have them suffer as the Earth system had.
The thought of billions of people dying as the Terrans had made her sick to her stomach. She clutched it and closed her eyes.
“Are you ill?” the man said.
She shook her head.
She nodded this time and rested her chin on her knees.
“If you are a princess, then your brother will be safe.”
Those words weren’t as reassuring as she had thought they would be. Her thoughts turned to Rezic and she wondered if she would ever see him again. Would they ransom him and then her? What if they refused to hand them over at all? What if her and her brother were about to become pawns in the downfall of Lyra? She hoped her father wouldn’t come. She hoped her uncles would be able to talk sense into him.
She had to escape this cell and find Rezic but she knew it was as impossible as her pale friend had said it was. The Vegans would catch her in seconds, and that was if she even managed to escape the cell in the first place. She couldn’t see a way past the bars.
“Will you answer one more question?” she said to the man, losing hope more and more by the second.
“What will the Vegans do to me?”