Read Daughters of Lyra: Heart of an Assassin Online

Authors: Felicity Heaton

Tags: #romance, #love, #romantic, #science fiction romance, #sci fi, #space, #aliens, #sci fi romance, #science fiction, #future, #scifi, #scifi romance

Daughters of Lyra: Heart of an Assassin

Daughters of
Lyra: Heart of an Assassin

Princess
Natalia, one of the beautiful and strong daughters of Lyra, has
spent her whole life on Lyra Five behaving just as a princess
should, except for one thing. After her daily duties she sneaks out
at night to sing in the bars of Lyra Five, pretending to be someone
else. Natalia loves to sing, more than anything else in the galaxy,
until the night that Ixion, the handsome commander of the royal
assassins, comes to the bar to bring her home.

Ixion is the
only man Natalia has dreamed of since she first saw him seven years
ago, but she’s sure he doesn’t notice her and she’s determined to
change that. But Natalia couldn’t be more wrong.

Ixion has loved
his elusive princess, Natalia, since the night he revealed himself
to her, and now he faces a daily struggle between his duty and his
heart, between hoping a princess could love him, an assassin and
man of no rank in society, and fearing that she loves another man
more worthy of her heart.

When Natalia
insists on going to the spring festival, Ixion is ordered to ensure
her safety, just as she hoped, but things don’t go as smoothly as
she had planned. An explosion in the port triggers a battle between
the purist factions and the imperial army and Natalia is caught in
the middle of it.

Will Ixion be
able to protect Natalia? Will Natalia be able to convince Ixion
that she loves him and that the passionate night they share won’t
be their only time? When her family discovers she’s in love with an
assassin, will Natalia be able to save him or will Ixion face a
death sentence?

Daughters of
Lyra: Heart of an Assassin

Felicity
Heaton

Smashwords
Edition

Copyright 2009
by Felicity Heaton

All rights reserved. No
part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or
by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without written permission from the author, except for the
inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

****

Chapter
1

Natalia lifted her head
and almost stopped singing when she spotted him sitting alone at a
table at the back of the dark and crowded club.

What was he doing
here?

Without missing a beat,
Natalia continued to sing to the gathered Terrans but his presence
played on her mind, making her movements restrained. She pushed
rogue spikes of her black hair off her neck, trying to cool down
while still looking as though she was dancing. Nerves fluttered in
her stomach, keeping time with the fast bouncy music. She twirled
and the moment she faced front, her gaze snapped back to
him.

He stared at
her.

The room was too hot. Her
eyes darted to the exits either side of the stage. She struggled to
keep singing under his watchful gaze.

What was a royal assassin
doing here?

Was he here for her, and
if he was, why had they sent him?

The song faded. Natalia
gave a quick bow and then fled the small stage. No time for the
usual talk at the end of her set tonight. The applaud ceased when a
door slid shut behind her. No time for an encore.

She had to get
away.

Natalia turned down the
corridor to her changing room, hurrying along it as quickly as she
could manage in the platform-heeled metallic pink boots. The door
to the changing room slid open and she hit the pad to shut it
behind her. No time for a shower. She stripped off the small shiny
pink and white top, the long gloves, and the tiny shorts and
stuffed them into the black bag that she always brought with her.
She tugged on her long deep blue dress and fumbled with the
fastenings across the front, struggling to tighten and tie the
ribbons with her trembling fingers. When she was done with her
dress, she grabbed her hair, twirled it around into a knot at the
back of her head and pinned it roughly into place.

What was he doing
here?

Did her father know about
her singing?

Her breaths shortened and
came faster when she thought about how angry her father would be if
he discovered that she had been singing in the slums of Lyra Five.
Her mother would kill her.

Maybe the assassin was
just in the club to relax like all the other patrons. Maybe she was
mistaken.

Natalia stormed along the
corridor towards the exit that led to the narrow street at the back
of the club. The palace was far away but she was going to run all
the way there, even up the steep hill on which it stood overlooking
the city. She would be in her rooms within the hour. No one would
know that she had been gone.

She sent a prayer to
Iskara that she was mistaken and it wasn’t him. The bright lights
on the stage could easily have turned someone else’s face into his.
It might not be him.

No. It was definitely him.
The lights hadn’t been that strong and she had taken a good look at
him. She had only seen his face once before but it was enough. You
didn’t forget a royal assassin.

She had to get home.
Perhaps he hadn’t recognised her. No one else did. Renie was the
more famous of them and Natalia always looked different when
attending public events and around the palace. He might not
recognise her.

The beaten grey metal back
door slid open as she approached.

Natalia froze in her
tracks, her heart hammering.


Princess
Natalia,” he said, voice deeper than she had expected.

It sent an odd tremor
through her.

Ixion stepped forward.
Head to toe in black, and with his dark hair, he was a sight to be
seen. His clear purple eyes fixed on her as he moved into the
corridor, blocking her only exit. The muscles of his lithe body
shifted beneath his tight black uniform with each step.

Natalia’s palms sweated
and her skin turned tacky. She clutched the bag over her shoulder
and tried to see if she could pass him. It was too hot in the
building. She longed to drink in the cool night air and to return
home to her apartments in the palace. She wanted to pretend that
she hadn’t been caught.


I don’t know
who you mean.” The quiver in her voice ruined her
denial.


Princess
Natalia,” he said again and her heart fluttered at the way her name
sounded on his lips—soft and sensual. She had never heard him speak
before, didn’t know anything about him or any of the royal
assassins.

She tried to move past him
but he shifted to block her path, towering over her. She didn’t
even know where he was from. He wasn’t Lyran or Terran. None of the
assassins were. They were a different species entirely.

Natalia tried the other
side but he blocked her again.

She stared at his
knee-high black leather boots and hunched up, clutching her bag
with both hands over her right shoulder. It was no use. While she
had never seen him close up or more than once, he had clearly seen
her a lot of times, enough to recognise her when others hadn’t. She
supposed that was part of his job. He and his men were often used
as stealth bodyguards for her family.


Did father
send you?” she said, giving up her attempt to lie. It probably
didn’t do to lie to a royal assassin. Although they worked for her
father, they were still deadly and mysterious, giving off an air of
men who would gladly kill anyone if they were offered the right
price.

Natalia corrected herself.
Ixion wouldn’t. He had been with her family since she could
remember. She had heard his name repeatedly from when she had only
been a child. He was loyal to her family.

Her eyes scanned up the
length of him, over taut muscles that were only emphasised by his
uniform, until they reached his face.

Ixion shook his head,
causing finger-length strands of his black hair to fall down across
his pale forehead.

In a way, he looked
Minervan, but she knew that he wasn’t. No Minervan had eyes so
vivid and purple.


Mother?” she
whispered, hoping he would say no. She didn’t want to upset her
mother, not after what she had been through with Renie and Rezic’s
kidnapping by the Vegans.


None at the
palace know.” His voice was as smooth as the ocean of Lyra Five,
and almost as deep.

Natalia exhaled long and
slow, and then frowned at him. “You knew.”


No one of
importance knows,” he said as though correcting himself and
her.

No one of importance? He
was part of the palace and an important part of it in her
eyes.

He placed his right hand
to his chest and bowed his head, closing his eyes. His hair fell
forwards, a mass of long spikes that hung in front of his
face.


It is not
safe, my lady. We must return to the palace.”

Natalia tightened her grip
on her black bag and nodded. At least she wouldn’t be frightened on
her way home tonight. Sometimes some of the men had too much cheap
Lyran Aquan and came around back to serenade her with lewd
suggestions and offers. She didn’t think that they would dare
approach her when Ixion was by her side.

His eyes opened and he
looked up at her through the strands of his hair, his purple eyes
cool and impassive. When she blinked, he straightened and turned,
moving out into the alley.

Natalia
followed.

They walked along the main
street of the city. It ran straight to the palace and she could see
it standing tall in the distance on top of the hills, lit up in the
dark. Its pale stone towers shone brightly, like something out of
the fairytales her mother had told her as a child. The waterfalls
thundered down from arches at its base to the river one hundred
feet below.

Her cousin Sophia had told
her that the emperor’s palace on Varka Prime was similar to hers,
but a lot spikier and darker looking. She had looked up a picture
of it and had decided that her palace was far superior. There was
nothing in the galaxy that could compare to the beauty of her home.
She loved it with all her heart, even when it felt like a prison at
times.

Turning her attention away
from the palace, she looked in the windows of the small redbrick
buildings that lined the main street. The stores sold all kinds of
goods, from junk to antiques and food to clothes. They were a
treasure trove when they were open during the day hours and a place
that she loved to wander around with her attendants in the rare
times they had managed to escape the palace alone. There was always
something new and fascinating to find.

In one of the windows was
a pretty painted card advertising the upcoming spring festival.
Natalia wanted to go to it but had never been allowed. Her
attendants went every year and always came back with stories of
wild animals and even wilder men, and of beautiful clothes and
bolts of stunning coloured silks and materials. She loved to make
her own clothes. Her outfit that she sung in at the club was one
that she had made and certainly one that she had kept hidden from
her parents. Her mother would have Snrikiks if she ever found out
about her singing.

Natalia snuck a glance at
Ixion. The street was only lowly lit by the tall glowing white
lights that hung from the roofs of the shops but it was enough to
see his face. He was younger than she had expected considering how
long ago she had first heard his name and far more handsome. She
didn’t remember him looking this good the only time she had seen
him but then he had been far away, not close enough for her to see
any real detail. She had noticed his eyes though, couldn’t forget
the rich clear purple of them and the way they had fixed on her,
intent and unnerving her back then. When they had settled on her
tonight, she had felt no fear. She had only felt a strange stirring
deep inside her and incredible warmth that had suffused every inch
of her body.

They turned down a side
street and came out by the river. The lights were brighter here,
making the rapidly running water sparkle like diamonds. Two large
passenger freighters passed overhead, one going towards the city
port and one away, the tinny whine of their engines loud in the
night. She wondered where the one leaving was going as it moved
into the distance and struggled upwards. Out of the planet for
certain and probably only to another one in the Lyra system, but
she imagined that it was going somewhere far away, to a place that
she had never been.

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