sci-fi romance book
genre: sci-fi romance book
length: 16111 words / short
released: June 2008
Share this book!
Sons of Lyra: Runaway Hearts
Heir Prince Lyra I hates his life, and it’s only getting worse. Not only do Sebastian’s parents force him to remain on Lyra Prime with them and control his life, now they’ve gone and arranged his marriage. Unable to stand the thought of getting married before he’s seen the stars as his three younger brothers do and tasted adventure, he decides to run away. Only that’s not as easy as it sounds when you’re one of the infamously handsome sons of Lyra.
Terea needs to get away. She’s had it with men and her family. When she spots a man who looks as though he has a little money, she sees her chance and pickpockets him. The only trouble is, he’s quicker than her. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s been caught and is agreeing to leave the planet with him. Anything to escape Lyra Prime and her future there.
Terea’s plan to escape Sebastian when they’ve left the planet behind is shattered when he cleans himself up and changes on her, losing his naive air and becoming a confident and dangerously sexy man. A bottle of the strongest alcohol available is her last resort, but getting him drunk to the point of passing out means she’ll have to drink too, and before she knows what she’s doing, she’s sitting astride his lap feeding him the alcohol and kissing him.
When the ship is forced to stop and boarded by Minervan military looking for him, will Sebastian hand himself over to protect Terea? Will Terea stand by and let the man she’s falling for get hurt or will she sacrifice herself and return to her family for the sake of saving him? Will two runaway hearts find the freedom they’re searching for in each other’s arms?
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.
Heir Prince Lyra I only had one thing to recommend him to women, and it was one thing he wished he didn’t have—Royal blood. Never in his life had a woman seen him for who he was. The second they realised he was a son of Lyra and heir to the throne, they changed. Their petty flattery had the opposite effect to what they wanted. It made him leave.
He wished he were like his younger brothers, free of the title of Heir Prince of Lyra. What he wouldn’t give to be them, to be enjoying their lives and carving out a reputation for themselves that didn’t tie them to the throne. His next two brothers were both captains of the Lyran Imperial Army. His youngest was in training to follow them. He’d wanted to be a captain once, had desired to see the stars and experience the universe’s many galaxies.
Leaning against the balcony of his room in the palace, he stared up at the pitch black sky and the millions of glittering stars, longing to be out there with his brothers.
The piece of paper in his hand rustled in the light breeze, reminding him of its presence. Simply put, it was an order. It came from the highest power in the land. It came from his parents.
They had decided it was time for him to marry.
With Balt, the second eldest of he and his brothers, married and settled on Lyra Five with his wife, Kayla, his parents were anxious for another marriage. More particularly, his mother was. He’d got the impression countless times over that his father didn’t really care if he or his brothers ever married.
He had to admit that seeing his brother get married had made him consider marriage himself, but he didn’t want it to be this way.
He stared at the piece of paper. There was no name on it. She had been written about as though she was a piece of property without any thoughts or feelings of her own. His brother Balt would be furious if he saw this letter. He hated anything that made people out to be a slave or would offend his once-slave wife.
His eyes scanned the page to the proposed date of the wedding. It was only a week away. It turned his stomach so much that he screwed the note up and threw it over his shoulder into his room.
He couldn’t marry without knowing the woman first or even knowing her name. It was impossible. He couldn’t marry without having seen the universe first. He’d never even been into deep space.
A thought crossed his mind, brilliant and glittering like a jewel at first, but quickly becoming tarnished when his better sense said that his parents would never allow him to go into deep space, not even with his brothers.
He sighed and stared longingly at the stars.
Perhaps there was another way.
The bell rang for dinner and he trudged wearily across his room and out of the door, his thoughts still with the beautiful night sky and his heart still fixed on seeing deep space before he was married. Perhaps the other way was the only way.
He sat down at one end of the long dark wood dining table while his parents sat at the other. Even during his meals he was lonely, left sitting what felt like miles from his parents because that was what propriety dictated. He leaned his right elbow against the table top, propped his chin up on his palm and played distractedly with his food.
“Sebastian!” His mother’s voice rang across the room.
His gaze slid to her. She was frowning so hard he couldn’t see her eyes. She motioned towards his elbow. He rolled his eyes and sat straight, removing his arm from the table.
At thirty four, he had thought he would have more freedom. His life seemed to be getting more and more controlled the older he got. He was tired of being treated like a child and not like the man he was. His parents never saw the real him. They didn’t know him. They only knew the boy they believed him to be—the one they wanted him to be. He sighed again and decided that he would go through with his plan.
He couldn’t get married without seeing those stars and another system, or the blackness of deep space. He wanted to see the things his brothers saw and told him about whenever they came home.
“Mother,” he said in a cautious voice. “I’m going to visit Balt on Lyra Five.”
She snorted. “You certainly are not.”
“But the child will be born soon... I would like to be there when it is. I promised Balt that I would be.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Kayla will come here to have the child, as tradition dictates.”
He frowned. He hated tradition. Why couldn’t he have been born the second eldest son? He supposed that the less freedom you had the more you longed for it. Kayla had told him as much once, just after her wedding. She’d been radiant with sheer joy. She’d told him that she’d never felt as free as the day his brother had removed her collar and said she belonged to no one but herself.
He wished he belonged to no one but himself.
He was the property of the imperial family though, and of Lyra. Heir Prince.
“Kayla will not leave Lyra Five. She is intent on having her baby there with Balt and the Terran midwives.” He knew that this slip of knowledge would stir trouble, but he didn’t care. Right now, he wanted to spite his mother for not letting him leave Lyra Prime and this seemed the perfect way.
“What?” She stood sharply, sending the cutlery rattling when her legs knocked the table. His father placed a hand on her arm. She shook it off. “It was agreed she would come here!”
“Balt says that Kayla said no such thing and that they were going to have the baby on Lyra Five.”
His mother stormed towards him. He hadn’t seen her this angry since Balt had originally announced his intention to marry Kayla. His brother had guts to go against their mother. Maybe he had the guts too.
He stood, gave her a look that said he was just relating what he’d heard, and then walked away, leaving his parents arguing about where the baby was going to be born.
It would keep them busy for a while. Possibly long enough for him to put his plan into action.
The short walk back to his apartment passed quicker than he’d expected. He locked the door and went to his wardrobes. A rifle through them made it clear that he had nothing to wear that wouldn’t make him stand out from the crowd wherever he went. He needed clothing that was a little more common looking if he was going to get off the planet unnoticed.
None of the servants’ clothes would do. They were all too recognisable as well.
He took the purse of gold Lynans he kept in his desk drawer and went back to the wardrobe. He stripped off his jacket and his boots, swapping them for a pair of worn riding boots and an old riding jacket. A glance at himself in the mirror made him realise he was even more noticeable now. He growled in frustration, removed the jacket, and went back to the wardrobe. There was just nothing suitable.
At the back of it, he found a moth-eaten cloak that he’d had since forever. His parents had insisted that he throw it away, but he’d always refused. He was glad that he hadn’t now. He wrapped it around his shoulders and went back to the mirror. It was better. The old brown cloak would hide his crisp white shirt and tight black trousers. It went perfectly with the scuffed boots. He looked at his face. He had to do something about that. Everyone on Lyra Prime knew what he looked like.
He stared at himself, into his almost jet-black eyes, and ran his fingers over his short black hair. A hat? It was the quickest method of disguise that he could think of. Unfortunately he didn’t own any hats.
He was too clean as well. The people using the public freighter transports were likely to look more worn and dirty. He went to his balcony, stuck his hand into the nearest plant pot and rubbed the dirt across his face and neck and into his hands. A look in the full length mirror made him smile. That was better, but he still could be recognised.
A quick ruffle of his hair made him look less like himself. He smiled at his reflection. He actually looked better than he had before. He liked this new hair style. It was wild and rebellious. Exactly how he felt right now.
Deciding nothing else could be done to disguise himself, he went to the balcony and looked over the edge. He made the short drop to the larger balcony below and ran to the steps that led down into the garden. In the far corner, he found the gate he’d stolen the key to years ago but had always been too afraid to use. He unlocked it and walked through. A sense of freedom swept through him when he locked the gate and then turned to face the wide open road that led down into the city.
He was sure there would be a transport leaving tonight. He didn’t care which one he got on. He looked at the star-filled sky. He just wanted to be up there.
Running down the road, he kept the cloak closed around him to hide his finer clothes, and tried to remember whereabouts in the city the port was. He stuck to the winding side streets, avoiding the large square at the front of the palace. There would be guards there and he wasn’t about to get caught. For the first time in his life, he was going to see how others lived and taste the freedom they did.
He slowed to a walk when the palace began to grow small and distant. His eyes scanned the dark shop windows, running over the displayed goods in fascination. He’d never thought the world would be so colourful and interesting. The shops sold all manner of things, most of which he’d never seen. There were tools in one, material in others, and flowers. He stopped to look at them. He’d never seen such delicate and beautiful blossoms before. They were splendid white irises spotted with rich purple. His eyes fell to the card in front of them. Apparently they came from Lyra Three. Lyra Three was the planet next to Lyra Prime on the sun side. It was hotter there. He wondered if the ship he chose to board would go there. He hoped it would go out of the system and into deep space.
A wide square opened in front of him. Directly across it was a long building with rows of arches along the front and tall arched windows above them. The white roof was a series of domes. A ship appeared from behind it and lumbered into the air, chugging towards an unknown destination. It had to be the port.
He walked towards it and then realised that he’d have to navigate a market in order to reach it. The square was packed with stalls selling goods even more fascinating than those in the shops. It was as though traders that had just landed from distant planets had unpacked their wares and were selling them to anyone interested. He stopped at a few stalls and looked at some of the items on sale. At one of them, he picked up an object that he recognised. He’d seen Acer with something similar last year, but couldn’t recall what it was. Acer had only told him that it was something he was fixing for his ship, the Nephis-Lyra. The trader spoke to him, babbling on about prices and trying to get him to haggle for the object. He shook his head and placed it back down.
A group of children ran past him, laughing as they wove through the crowds. He kept a hand over his money, aware that even on a planet as rich as Lyra Prime, there were still those that needed to pickpocket in order to feed themselves or their families.
The port loomed ahead of him. He slipped through the last of the crowd and out into an empty strip of square. He watched the constant line of people entering and leaving the port. This was it.
He stepped forwards.
Someone bumped into him, almost knocking him to the ground. They fell at his feet with a muffled noise of pain. He looked down to see a small woman kneeling on the hard cobbles. Stooping, he caught her arm and helped her to her feet.
“Are you alright?” he said and looked her over.
She wrapped her dark blue cloak around her and nodded. She looked shaken and he got the impression she was scared when she looked over her shoulder towards the market. Was someone following her? He looked there too and then back at her. She was staring at him now. He was glad she didn’t seem to recognise him. Perhaps she wasn’t from Lyra.
“Are you sure you are alright?” he asked again.
She nodded. “I’m fine... if you’d just release me.”
She was speaking Lyran though. Maybe she was from his system. She gave an impatient look to his hand where it gripped her upper arm.
He released it and she hurried off. He looked over his shoulder at the market again and then back at her. He frowned. His eyes widened. His hand flew to his pocket. The money was gone.
By Iskara’s wings, she had nerve.
He sprinted after her. The moment she saw he was giving chase, she broke into a run and headed for the port. He had to catch her before she made it into the building. He’d lose her in there.
He increased his speed until he was closing in on her. She looked over her shoulder and gave him a pained look. She slipped on the cobbles just as he lunged for her arm and he fell with her, landing beneath her on the ground. He caught her wrists as she struggled and wriggled, and wrestled with her until she was trapped beneath him.
Terea breathed hard and her face screwed up with effort as she tried to get the man off her. He pressed her wrists into the cold cobbles, trapping them, and frowned at her. There was such darkness in his black eyes. She tried to get her knees free so she could kick him in the balls. He shifted, pinning her legs to the ground with his. Damn it. This wasn’t what she needed.
“Let me go,” she said and struggled again. He held her wrists tighter. Her hands hurt and her bones ached. She stilled, fearing he’d break her wrists if she continued to fight him. “I will return your money if you let me go.”
“Why did you take it?” he said, his breath sweet and moist against her face. A look of curiosity entered his eyes, chasing away the blackness. He was filthy. From a distance, he’d looked rich and noble. Up close, he looked nothing more than a common beggar. He probably didn’t have any money in the purse anyway.
“I need to get off this planet... I only needed a little money.”
He visibly swallowed and the pressure on her wrists decreased. He was giving her a funny look. Was it something she’d said? She opened her hand and looked at it, indicating his purse. He snatched it and shoved it into his pocket. He didn’t let her go.
She whimpered when he dragged her onto her feet, his hand locked tight around her wrist. No matter how much she tried to prise his fingers off her, he wouldn’t let go. She kicked him in the shin. He frowned at her again.
“Why do you need to leave?” he said, the curiosity still in his eyes. “Is someone after you?”
“It’s hard to explain. I just need to get away.” She tugged on her arm. He tightened his grip. Her bones ached. He was going to snap her arm if he kept going. She dropped to her knees again, her eyes closed against the pain. He hauled her back onto her feet and towered over her. “Let me go... I won’t bother you again.”
“Where are you going?”
Damn he was full of questions. She wished she’d never mentioned why she’d been robbing him. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Didn’t the people of this planet understand that?
She kicked him again. He cursed in Lyran, voice rich and deep, and then slapped her so hard her head turned to the side. She stood there with her eyes wide and mouth open as she waited for her cheek to stop stinging and her head to stop spinning. She’d never been hit before. She couldn’t say that she liked the experience.
“Answer me,” he said and she looked at him. It was too dark in the square to see his face properly, but she could hear all the hardness in his voice. He was used to getting answers when he asked a question and she was starting to anger him. He sounded like her father.
“Anywhere,” she whispered and her brow furrowed. “Just somewhere away from here.”
He went quiet for a moment and then his look changed. All the anger disappeared, leaving a sense of calm behind. She reached out a little with her mind, testing the waters. He was calm, interested. There was a sense of hope and relief about him and something else. Understanding.
“Have you used transport before?” he asked.
She nodded. She’d used it a few times in her life. Getting passage here couldn’t be any different to those times. Most space ports worked the same way.
“Then I’ll pay for your passage, but on one condition.”
“Name it,” she said quickly, not wanting him to change his mind.
“I will be coming with you.”
She stared at him but before she could say anything, he was dragging her towards the port. He was coming with her? Was this the understanding she’d felt? He wanted to leave this planet too.
He had been heading towards the port when she’d stolen his money.
His hand slid into hers when they entered the port. She looked down at them, frowning at the way he thought he could do as he wanted with her. He couldn’t. She tried to get her hand free but his grip tightened and he stopped to look at her.
“If you cannot play along, I will leave you on this planet.” He stepped close to her, his voice a silken purr in her ear.
She closed her eyes a moment to savour the strange sensations he’d stirred in her and then opened them again when he stepped away.
The light was better here and she could see him properly. He was handsome. No amount of dirt could hide that from her notice. His almond eyes spoke to her of his feelings, telling her everything he was trying to hide from the world. He did want to leave this planet. She wondered why. A slight frown creased his dark brows and she realised he wanted an answer from her.
“Whatever gets me off this hellish rock,” she whispered up at him, her eyes still locked with his.
They narrowed and her gaze fell to his mouth. A smile curved his full sensual lips. She looked away, cursing the blush that burned her cheeks when her thoughts got the better of her. So what if he was handsome. He was rough and a little arrogant too. Those two qualities were enough to make her think the worst of him. As soon as they were onboard the ship, she’d part ways with him and continue with her plan.
He started walking again, his palm pressed into hers and fingers locked tightly against her knuckles. She followed him in silence. The crowd was suffocating and she couldn’t see above them. She was too short. She looked up at the man. He was a full head above the people around them. She wondered if the universe looked different from up there. Perhaps it didn’t. They were both running away from something after all.