Starship mechanic Rooker Dans needs to scrounge up enough money to find his brother, who disappeared in an attack by a progressive cult feared throughout the galaxy. When he stumbles across a wrecked royal starship, he can’t believe his luck. The girl inside claims she’s the realm’s lost princess; the bounty on her head would more than fund a brotherly rescue mission.
The only problem? She’s lying.
Early one morning, the princess of the Mandea Realm smashed out her window and climbed onto the ledge.
Alarms must have been going wild in the security wing, but here all was quiet except for the gentle crash of waves. The Sovereigns’ Mansion—her home and prison—towered above the sea. Other dwellings crowded the chalky cliff below, their royal blue domes a perfect match to the ocean’s morning hue. The princess breathed deeply. The air tasted like salt and salvation.
She summited the roof easily. Her private trainer had ensured her proficiency in every athletic art, though she’d never had cause to test herself before. Up ahead, the geodesic dome that housed the royal fleet glistened in the weak rays of sunrise. The princess crouched behind a low wall dividing the rooftop terrace, breath coming in quick bursts. Her mind wandered to the dining hall several floors below. Her parents would be arriving for breakfast, wondering why she hadn’t yet joined them. Would they guess what she’d overheard?
A man in navy blue came to relieve the guard at the hangar’s entrance. The princess was just far enough away that she couldn’t hear their conversation, and her anxiety grew. Maybe word had already gotten out about her escape. She had to move now, while both were distracted.
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