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Authors: Felicity Heaton

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Daughters of Lyra: Heart of a Commander

BOOK: Daughters of Lyra: Heart of a Commander
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Daughters of
Lyra: Heart of a Commander

Lieutenant Amerii, one of
the beautiful and strong daughters of Lyra, wants nothing more than
to prove herself to her captain and the army without her father,
Captain Lyra III’s, help… except maybe one thing. Van, Count of
Aeris and attendant to Emperor Varka has been on her mind since she
met him at her cousin Sophia’s wedding, and she wants to see him
again.

Charged with the duty of
meeting the Varkan first fleet at Varka Two, Amerii is pleasantly
surprised when the commander turns out to be Van, and he wants her
to be the one to join him on his vessel to sign the contract
between Varka and Lyra. When she meets him again, he’s more
handsome than she remembered, and she resolves to risk the violence
of his bloodlust to make him hers.

Van is sure bringing
Amerii to his vessel is nothing short of dangerous and his fears
are quickly realised. Amerii stirs his blood like no other female
and he’s been battling his bloodlust since first meeting her,
desperate to know what love is and to find a way of controlling
himself so he can have her, but his feelings for her are too strong
to resist, placing his whole crew in danger.

Can Amerii convince Van
that he can love and that he’s worthy of becoming her mate? Can Van
control his bloodlust enough that he won’t hurt Amerii when he
bites her? And when Van is taken captive by the Wraiths of Varka
Two, how far will Amerii go to rescue the man she loves?

Daughters of
Lyra: Heart of a Commander

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

Lieutenant Amerii took one
final look at her appearance and then left her quarters. She pushed
her jaw length chestnut hair from her face, tucking the long fringe
behind her right ear, and strode through the ship. It was the
largest vessel she had worked on in her career with the Lyran
Imperial Army and the one where she had felt least at home. The
captain of the Nebuz-Lyra VIII was impossible to deal with. No
matter how hard she worked, how much she pushed herself, he seemed
to refuse to see her worth. He rewarded the rest of his crew for
efforts one hundred times less than her own.

Not that she was
bitter.

Amerii refused to let it
get to her like that and she refused to raise the matter with her
father, Captain Lyra III. In her heart, she knew it would get her
nowhere. Her father would see to it that the crew gave her respect,
but there would be no feeling behind that respect. It would be a
hollow lie. She wanted to win the male crew’s respect without
having to resort to her father stepping in. She wanted to do this
on her own, wanted to make something of herself just as her father
and mother had done.

She envied the rapport
that a select few officers had with her captain though. She envied
it enough that it left her feeling on the outside of that group,
looking in at a place where she wanted to be more than anything.
She had worked well with her previous captain, but the bond these
men shared seemed to go beyond that. She would even say that they
were friends.

Her rapport with the
captain couldn’t be further from what she desired, from what those
men had. No matter how hard she worked. It was as though he
expected something more from her. She didn’t think that she could
give any more.

Amerii caught a glimpse of
herself in the wall of thick blue glass that surrounded
engineering. It was strange to see herself wearing something other
than the tight blue and black flight suit that she had become
accustomed to. The close-fitting dark blue, almost black, jacket
was cropped short so the hem rode level with the waist of her
equally deep blue tight trousers. A twin stripe of royal blue
chased up the side of her legs from her polished black knee-high
boots. The stripes marked the arms of the jacket too, running up
from her wrists to her shoulders and from there to her neck. She
had never had to wear dress uniform before.

But then she had never
been given such an important task.

Walking to the bridge,
Amerii went over the greeting procedure in her head, not wanting to
mess it up. Her captain had chosen her for this task and she had to
get it right. Perhaps then he would begin to respect her and see
that she had potential and could be a great officer.

There was another reason
why she couldn’t mess up this task either. She would be greeting
the Varkan commander of the vessel that was coming to escort them
to Varka Two. They were to finalise the handover of the planet with
the commander. Lyra had to make the right impression.

She had to make the right
impression.

The door to the bridge
slid open to reveal the curved room that she had seen only once
since her transfer to the Nebuz-Lyra VIII. The room fell silent
when she entered, the laughter of her captain and the officers
dying away. They all turned to face her, their expressions serious.
She walked down the curved steps and past the communications post
to reach the group.

Each of the five men’s
gazes raked over her and then rose back to her face.

Sometimes she couldn’t
decide whether it was because she was a woman or royalty that they
treated her so differently.


Lieutenant
Amerii,” her captain said, his expression still stern.

Amerii looked at him,
wondering if she would be a captain by the time she reached his
age. Silver touched his temples, streaking his black hair. His dark
eyes held hers. There was cruelty in them that rivalled her
father’s when he was angered. She almost sighed when she thought
about him. Perhaps she should have remained on his ship where they
had treated her like an equal, not an inferior. She had wanted to
make something of herself though, and she couldn’t do that under
his command.


You are
late.”

Amerii had been expecting
that. She was late by fifteen minutes. His gaze lingered on her
face and she knew what he was looking at.

She just didn’t know why
he looked so unimpressed.


Are you here
to do your duty, or to attempt to win yourself a Varkan husband
like the king’s daughter?”

A frown threatened to
crease her brow but she stopped herself. The malice in his voice
annoyed her but not as much as the laughter of his officers did.
Her hands clenched into fists at her sides.

Swallowing her feelings,
she bowed her head. “My apologies, Captain. I only wished to make
the right impression on the Varkan emissary.”

When she straightened, her
captain was smirking. She didn’t need to be able to read minds to
know what he was going to say. It was going to be another snide
remark about her attempting to snag a Varkan male.

He opened his mouth to
speak.


Incoming
communication,” the young man behind her said.

She silently thanked him
for sparing her the embarrassment of having her captain make fun of
her and then added thanks to the Varkans for interrupting
too.

Her captain left her,
barking orders at the officers on the bridge.


Is it them?”
he said with a glance at his first officer. The younger man was
leaning over one of the displays at the side of the bridge. He
pushed his long black hair from his face and nodded.


It’s the ship
of the fleet.”


On screen,”
her captain said.

Amerii looked up when the
view of space shifted to reveal the Varkan vessel. It was still at
a distance but it was already huge, black and ominous. Two bulky
halves were joined down the centre by a domed section and in front
of that was an array of spiked blocks that slowly created a point,
each a weapons port. It looked as dark and deadly as the species
that had built it. It also looked as though it would dwarf her ship
and the rest that followed.

Her thoughts shifted as
she stared at the ship and she found herself recounting what her
captain had said. Her cousin Sophia was her best friend and she
despised her captain for showing such disrespect towards her and
their family—the royal family. She touched her cheeks. And she
wasn’t wearing make up to catch a man. It was barely a hint of
eyeliner and lash darkener and a little colour to her lips. It was
purely because she wanted to make a good impression.

Sophia’s wedding came back
to her and Amerii found herself thinking about the Varkan that she
had met there. It had been a year since the celebration but she
still thought about him sometimes. She doubted that she would ever
see him again though. He had said that he was the emperor’s
attendant. A secret smile touched her lips. Perhaps, since she was
already all the way out here in the Varka system, she would visit
Sophia and the children on Varka Prime. Maybe she would run into
him there.


Lieutenant
Amerii, pay attention!”

Jolted back into the room,
she rushed to her captain’s side, cringing inside over angering him
again.

The screen changed to
reveal the Varkans. There were three of them, all wearing the black
high stand-up collared jackets that she remembered seeing the
Varkans in at Sophia’s wedding. Two of the men were standing behind
the third, seated, man. All of them were wearing black visors that
covered the top half of their heads, the two curved sides of the
visor sweeping to a point in front of their noses. She looked at
the one at the front. He had to be the commander.

Stepping forwards, she
recited the greeting she had practiced, speaking the old language
of Varka in a show of respect for them and their
history.

The commander
smiled.

There was something
familiar about his mouth.

***

Van sat up and paid more
attention when he realised who the female addressing him was. His
dark red gaze ran over her, his perusal safely hidden by his tinted
visor. She had said the words of greeting perfectly, although with
a slight tremble to her soft voice that declared her nerves. The
snug deep midnight blue dress uniform she wore emphasised the
curves he had noticed that night over a year ago. Curves that had
captivated him until she had turned in his direction and he had
seen her face. Her beauty was unparalleled. Not in all his long
years had he seen one with such angelic grace and
features.

The nerves reached her
eyes and her fingers flexed. It dawned on him that she was waiting
for his reply. She had captivated him again and he had been so lost
in refreshing his memory of her that he had forgotten to say his
part of the greeting. She threw a glance at the male who wore the
insignia of a captain. The male glared at her. Her cheeks coloured
and she turned back to face him. She wasn’t nervous because he
hadn’t replied. It went beyond that. She drew a small device out of
her pocket and began to frantically look at it.

Van stood the moment that
he realised that she thought she had said something wrong. She had
spoken it perfectly, right down to the accent on some of the more
difficult words. When he removed his visor, her sky blue eyes came
back to the screen.

A smile curved her lips,
the same shy one she had shown him at Regis’s wedding. She had
looked beautiful then. She seemed even more beautiful
now.

His breathing quickened
when her cheeks coloured again. This time it wasn’t shame that
tinted them but something else, something entirely more alluring.
He cursed the distance between them, wishing she were here in front
of him, not on another ship, and struggled with the sudden surge in
bloodlust. It had never come on so strong before, not even in the
midst of battle. He had never wanted anything as much as he did
her. She had haunted him since the first and only time he had seen
her.

In all their time apart,
he hadn’t forgotten how she had made him feel that night, how he
had found himself desiring her. It burned in his blood. It pervaded
his dreams. It stripped control from him until he verged on
becoming a slave to his bloodlust. He had spent long nights
fighting his bloodlust, battling for control over it even as he
surrendered himself to his feelings. He had tried to learn to let
go, to accept the terrifying feeling of not being in control of his
emotions, but it was far harder than he had ever expected. He
didn’t think he would ever be able to do as Regis had done. He
didn’t know if he could love.

BOOK: Daughters of Lyra: Heart of a Commander
8.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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