sci-fi romance book
genre: sci-fi romance book
length: 12129 words / short
released: August 2008
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Sons of Lyra: Stranded
Captain Lyra III is known for his vicious attitude and brilliance in battle. Second youngest of the infamously passionate and handsome sons of Lyra, he’s a born leader and doesn’t take no for an answer. Except this time. Acer is facing a future that seems like a nightmare, a future that has shaken him and made him realise that the one thing he truly wanted in life may have just slipped through his grasp—his engineer, Stella.
Stella fell for Acer the moment she was transferred to his ship by his brother, Captain Lyra II. A year on his ship and never being noticed by him unless she’s done something wrong, she’s come to accept that she won’t be the one to tame this prince’s passionate heart, but it doesn’t make her feelings disappear and doesn’t stop her dreaming that she might capture him yet.
Attacked en route to Lyra Prime they find themselves stranded alone in the middle of deep space and things reach boiling point when the climate control breaks down. Trapped with only each other for company, it’s not long before the truth comes out about their feelings for each other and Acer’s reason for returning to Lyra Prime.
When Stella discovers Acer is duty bound to marry a woman of Lyran aristocracy, she offers him a night to remember her by, but will it be enough or will it cause them more pain than pleasure? Returning to Lyra Prime, will Stella’s heart falter or will she rise to the challenge and fight for Acer? Will Acer be able to find the strength to forsake his family in the name of true love?
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The engines droned into silence. This time, the gravity drive went with them. Stella slowly floated into mid-air in the access panel, still holding the wrench. Her knees touched the entrance of the curved tunnel, stopping her from going any higher. She wiped the sweat from her brow, desperate for a drink and some sleep, and worried that they were going to be stuck in deep space forever. It had been two days since the engines had given up, leaving them adrift in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t even a shipping lane within fifty thousand leagues of them. No one was answering the distress call.
Stella pushed off from the ceiling of the tube and drifted out into the dark, hot engine room. Turning, she waited for her feet to touch the opposite wall and then kicked forwards, propelling herself back towards the engine bay.
She pined for the stretching blue skies and Gavaelian moons of Lyra Six, the universe’s foremost pleasure planet. It had been a long overdue break that she was now missing, knowing that her captain wouldn’t give her the time off in lieu.
Her fingers locked around the grab bar near the Gravi-Drive. She whacked the drive with the wrench. It whined into life. Her feet slammed to the floor.
Something in the distance slammed too.
He had already been in a foul enough mood after they’d been attacked by the Minervan mercenary ship. It had been a miracle that they’d made it out alive with such a skeleton crew to fly the ship—only her and the captain.
Captain Lyra III.
There was no denying any part of his reputation—handsome, noble, a skilled captain, and a vicious bastard.
Not that the last part stopped every woman of mating age in the universe from trying to tame him and his passionate heart. None had been successful. Not even her.
She’d thought about it a few times when she’d first come onboard his ship. She’d even gone as far as unzipping her flight suit to expose a little cleavage now and then. After a few weeks of not being noticed in the slightest, she’d given up trying to get his attention, but she hadn’t given up her feelings.
He strode into the room and her eyes were immediately on him, scanning him from the feet up as they always did. There really was no denying how handsome he was. His athletic figure was only emphasised by the tight blue and black flight suit that left nothing to the imagination. His features were noble, with bowed lips, straight nose and dark hair, but it wasn’t those that had made her heart race the moment she’d met him.
It had been his stunning aquamarine eyes. They made him the picture of Lyran perfection and breeding. They made him a man any woman would want—even her. His eyes held hers. Out of the four sons of Lyra, the royal bloodline, he was the only one to have eyes like that.
He was the only one unmarried.
Anger flashed in his eyes.
Blood trickled down the bridge of his nose.
There was a cut on his forehead. He hadn’t had that when she’d last seen him this morning on the bridge.
“In the name of Iskara, Engineer! How many times must I tell you to sound the warning before re-instating the Gravi-Drive?” He wiped the blood from his nose, smearing it across his forehead, and then pushed his fingers through the black tendrils of hair on top of his head to the shortness of the back.
She saluted. “Sorry, sir.”
Apparently one more time. She was so used to working on ancient freighters where the gravity drive eased itself back into action much like everything else. These new Achelon Class fighters had gravity drives that snapped back on. She’d discovered that to her dismay over a year ago when she’d been drafted to the Lyran Imperial Army. Back then, Captain Lyra II had threatened to discharge her. In the end, he’d punished her more severely. She’d been reassigned to the Nephis-Lyra, his brother’s, Captain Lyra III’s, ship.
His eyes burned into hers.
All she’d done since arriving was piss him off. Never once had he threatened to discharge her though. He’d shouted at her plenty of times and had even personally thrown her in the brig once, but he’d never taken it any further.
She wondered what he was waiting for tonight. Normally by now he’d be across the room and trying to make her ears bleed with the volume of his voice. He leaned against the doorway.
The gravity drive whined.
She smacked it again, frustrated. Two days and she was beginning to think she was going to spend the rest of her life stuck in space with just Captain Lyra III. She wanted to be on Lyra Six, sunning herself and relaxing. Well, she’d be on her back anyway.
“Have you tried sticking a posidriver in it?”
He held up a long cylindrical tool. A dirty interpretation of his words drifted across her mind. She swallowed. He walked across the room, steps slow and measured, moving with the sensuality of a Lyran mountain panther, and handed her the posidriver.
Her gaze fell to it and then shot back to him when he unzipped the top of his flight suit, peeling it apart and pulling it down his arms. He tied the arms around his waist. Her stomach heated through at the sight of much bare flesh and muscle. She stared at the posidriver in her hand, wishing she was on Lyra Six right now, where men like him were waiting to do her bidding.
He crouched down in front of the boxy Gravi-Drive and the access tube for the engine. When he turned and lay on his back, his head and shoulders disappearing into the hole in the wall, she changed her mind.
Not men like him.
No men were comparable to the sons of Lyra.
She handed him all the tools he asked for, her eyes never leaving his body. They studied how his muscles shifted and tensed with each movement and the steady build of a fine sheen of sweat as he tried to fix the engine. If he was going to give her a free show like this, she wasn’t going to waste it. She hoped he’d be down there a while. The sight of him like this was driving her fatigue to the back of her mind. There wasn’t room in her head for it and all the wicked thoughts. She fanned herself with her hand as her temperature rose and then unzipped her tight flight suit to just below her breasts so the start of her low-cut white vest was showing. There was a frustrated growl and the sound of a fist hitting something.
Acer looked at the panel above him and the flashing red warning light. He clenched his fist, causing the dark blue leather of his gloves to creak, and hit it again. The warning light went out. So did all the other lights on the panel.
“Cruskin nyaaeso!” He cursed and hit it again for good measure.
“Captain?” Her voice became more concerned.
Nothing left now but to confess. Perhaps he should’ve let her deal with it. He was sure she would’ve fixed it in the end and he’d be on his way to Lyra Prime. His family probably thought he wasn’t coming. He wished he wasn’t.
“I think the climate system went down,” he said.
“What?” Her voice was louder now and full of disbelief.
He looked down the length of his body to see her bent over and looking up at him. His lips parted. His breath left him in a rush. His blood boiled. He could see right down her flight suit, could see the luscious curves of her breasts. His eyes shot back to the dead panel and then slowly returned to her.
“Do you want me to come down there?”
She got down onto her knees and then all fours. She was going to crawl into the tight tunnel with him. Her breasts squashed together and her hand brushed his thigh. He swallowed at the brief contact and then shook his head. He slid out, stood and looked down at her where she knelt on the floor.
His older brother was a bastard for placing this siren under his protection. Balt had known what he’d been doing when he’d transferred her for something as petty as a gravity drive failure. Since setting eyes on her at the port of Antilles, Acer hadn’t been able to get her out of his thoughts.
She stared up with him round brown eyes that gave her an innocent look and full blush lips that commanded he kiss her. Her fingers combed though her sweat-dampened long brown hair. He’d done that once. She’d been unconscious in his arms at the time. It had been barely a month ago, when they’d been attacked by the first Minervan mercenary ship. He’d received the call from home shortly after that and had selected one crew member to come with him to the Lyra system while the others had shore leave.
He’d chosen her.
It was too late though.
It was only a matter of time now before she discovered why he had to return to Lyra Prime and before he lost her forever.
“It’s getting hot,” she said and unzipped her flight suit, pushing the arms off so only a tight white vest covered her top half.
His eyes widened when she stood and started tugging the blue suit down, revealing an even tighter pair of little white shorts that hugged her hips. His temperature shot to hotter than the Lyran sun and he couldn’t stop his eyes from running down the length of her long slender legs. His heart pounded.
By Iskara’s wings, she was trying to kill him.
“Engineer, what do you think you are doing?”
She stepped out of her boots and then the flight suit. “I need to get this engine working and I can’t do it when I’m slowly boiling to death.”
He raked his gaze over her again and swallowed hard.
He had to admit, it was getting hot in the ship.
Her gaze skimmed up his legs, lingered on his bare torso, and then met his eyes.
“You should do the same. You’ll boil if you don’t.” She gave him a small smile, one that made him believe that she wanted him in just his underwear.
It was a cruel temptation. Perhaps he should’ve told her why he had to return home. Maybe then she wouldn’t have stripped off. If she knew it was as hopeless as he did, she wouldn’t be sending out such signals.
He wasn’t a prude though, and this was no time to back down from a challenge. If she was brave enough to get down to her underwear to avoid heatstroke, then so was he.
A glance at the temperature reading on the large display screens to the right of Stella revealed that it had already hit thirty degrees Celsius throughout the ship, and it was steadily climbing.
He untangled the arms of his flight suit and then unzipped the rest of it. Pushing it down his legs, he couldn’t stop his gaze from straying to hers. What he wouldn’t give to have had her like this a few months back when he could act on it, when he could have had those beautiful slender legs wrapped around his waist and her screaming his name.
Kicking his boots off, he peeled the suit off over his feet and then straightened. He looked at her, watching her drink her fill of his body and fighting the urges sweeping through him. Wearing nothing but his white trunks, it was no time to get those kinds of urges. She’d know the second his body began to respond and then it would be game over.
Damn his brother.
Damn himself too for not acting on his hunger and feelings for her when he’d had the chance.
He’d give anything to brush his fingers over her arms, across her stomach, and feel her silken skin. He’d give up everything if he could kiss her.
There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t swap for just one moment with her.