The Star Princeby Susan Grant
Princess Tee'ah Dar has everything except freedom. After learning to fly starships in secret, she flees the stifling rules of the palace for the wild frontier, and promptly gets hired by a man from Earth. Her thrilling new life threatens to crash and burn when she learns her sexy employer is the one man she needed to avoid-but her heart may already be past the point of no return.
Ian Hamilton's life flips upside-down when his mother marries the king of the galaxy. After his stepfather names him as his successor, Ian fights to stay one step ahead of the scheming royals who don't want him in line for the throne. A mission critical to galactic peace forces him to hire a cute but tough pixie of a pilot he can't help falling for-until he discovers she's on the run from the very laws he's pledged to uphold.
Romantic Times senior reviewer
- Susan Grant
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.66(d)
Read an Excerpt
The Star Prince
By Susan Grant
Copyright © 2001
All right reserved.
"He's not drunk, Captain, he's dead."
"Yeah, yeah. We found him like this last week-and the week
before. He's no more dead now than he was then." Ian Hamilton
pushed past his mechanic and the stragglers milling around the
bar. His pilot-his only pilot, and the third he'd hired since
taking command of the Sun Devil-was slumped forward. Not
surprisingly, Carn still occupied the perch he'd chosen the
night before, when Ian had joined him and the rest of the crew
for what was for Ian a rare drink. Now blotches of early
morning sunlight spread over the pilot's uniform and the
gritty floor, heating the already muggy air.
Ian dragged his arm across his forehead as he pushed toward
the bar. The unrelenting tropical weather was another reason
on a long list of why Donavan's Blunder, although a bustling
crossroads, was arguably the sorriest stopover in the
frontier. No worthless lump of space scum was going to keep
him here an extra day.
"Move back," he growled irritably at the onlookers pressing in
on him from all sides. His eyes must have indicated how close
he was to the edge of wringing someone's neck, because no one
could stumble backward fast enough.
Ian grabbed Carn's thick shoulders and gave the man a hard
shake. "You've overstayed your shore leave, Mr. Carn. Get up."
But the pilot's forehead remained on the greasy table, his
motionless fingers clamped around an empty shot glass. "Move
your sorry butt now or you're relieved of duty."
Judging by the grumbling of the crowd, firing the drunk was a
worthy threat, one expected of a starship captain. "Any of you
happen to know how to fly?" he asked. A chorus of apologetic
murmurs gave him the answer he expected. Starpilots were
scarce in the frontier.
Ian exchanged glances with Quin, the stocky young mechanic who
had dragged him off the Sun Devil. Quin gave him an
I-knew-this-would-happen frown. Their original pilot had drunk
himself into oblivion as soon as they arrived in the frontier,
the farthest and barely civilized reaches of the galaxy. Ian
had sent him home. Unfortunately, the next pilot he hired
turned out to be an alcoholic, too. Now pilot number three was
following in the others' wobbly footsteps.
But, unreliable or not, he needed Carn. When the king of the
galaxy sent you, an Earth-guy, on a mission, the outcome of
which was possibly critical to the future of the galaxy, you
kept on schedule and finished the job. Especially when that
king was your stepfather-a concept Ian doubted he would ever
take for granted.
"Sober him up," he ordered Quin. "Nothing short of a gallon of
tock poured down his throat is going to get him back to the
"It'll take more than that, sir," Quin grabbed a fistful of
Carn's blond hair and tipped his head back.
Ian winced. The pilot's face was puffy and tinged a decidedly
unhealthy blue. His brownish gold eyes were glazed and
unseeing, and spittle leaked from the corner of his mouth,
which was still curled into the idiotic grin he'd been wearing
when Ian left him and the rest of the crew last night.
Ian drove the fingers of both hands through his hair.
"Beautiful, just beautiful." His starpilot had drunk himself
He tossed two credits to the bartender. "Call someone about
the body. And you might as well put the word out; the Sun
Devil needs a pilot, a qualified one."
It dismayed him how quickly frustration blunted his pity for
Carn, but now wasn't the time for soul searching. After an
Earth month in the frontier, he'd met with a year's worth of
setbacks: ship malfunctions and pilot problems. They weren't
accidents. His neck tingled. His years spent submerged in the
Vash culture had taught him to trust his senses, and that
instinct now warned him that someone wanted to thwart his
"Tie up the loose ends and return to the ship," he told Quin
before shoving outside, past the canvas flap that served as a
Steamy heat throbbed up from the pavement in the
still-deserted marketplace. A poor excuse for a breeze stirred
up the odors of stale liquor and urine. Action started late on
this disreputable planet and went on all night. Now, most of
the inhabitants were either sleeping in their bunks aboard
hundreds of trader vessels docked near the outskirts of the
city. Or they were in the bed of a pleasure servant: a woman
specially trained and authorized to sell her body for sex.
Ian hoped the traders were enjoying themselves, because his
life lately made the average monk look like a party animal.
He'd become the consummate prince; his behavior was
impeccable, his adherence to Vash ways beyond reproach. It was
the only way to earn the honor his stepfather had bestowed
When Rom, ruler of the Vash Nadah, asked him to go the
frontier and assess any political unrest, Ian had grabbed hold
of the chance. In exchange for the answers he promised to
bring back, Rom had given him the Sun Devil, a crew of loyal,
experienced, merchant-class spacefarers, and his own valued
bodyguard. But the mission was more to Ian than a covert
scouting foray, more than a way to prove himself to the
skeptical Vash; this was his chance to demonstrate his worth
to Rom, a man he'd come to admire and love, in many ways more
than his own father.
Only, so far, things were not going well.
Ian put on his Ray-Bans, brushed his hand over the laser
pistol in his holster, and started back to the Sun Devil to
mull over his latest fiasco.
"Captain!" Halfway across the plaza Rom's bodyguard
intercepted him, an incongruously named, six-foot-eight hulk
of rippling muscle. "Muffin is an old-fashioned name," the big
man always explained patiently, if a little defensively, to
English speakers like Ian, insisting that "Muffin" personified
the essence of rugged masculinity on his homeworld, not a
sugary breakfast treat.
"I guess you heard about Carn," Ian said.
"If you can't die a warrior, you might as well die happy."
Ian managed a smile. "True." He appreciated Muffin's tactful
attempt to lift his spirits. Although Carn had been a pain in
the rear, he had been a member of their small crew, and they'd
all feel his passing. "Did he have a family?"
"None that he mentioned. I don't think anyone will miss the
Except me, Ian thought wryly. A rookie space captain marooned
on a remote frontier outpost with a cantankerous crew, one of
the finest ships in the galaxy and no one to fly her.
* * *
A backdrop of stars whirled slowly behind a wheel of ruby,
emerald, and platinum. Distance made the bejeweled disk appear
as tiny as a child's toy, but the structure was as large and
populous as a city.
"Rotation synchronized," Tee'ah Dar stated when the spin of
the cargo freighter she piloted matched that of the space
As expected, Mistraal Control issued final approach
instructions via the comm. "Cleared to dock, Prosper. Bay
"Copy. Alpha-eight." Tee'ah's hands tightened around the
control yoke. You were born for this, her thoughts sang out.
If she were truly the pious princess she was raised to be, the
dutiful daughter her parents thought she was, she'd be in bed,
sleeping. But with her hands wrapped around the controls of a
cargo freighter, she wasn't the king's sweet and sheltered
daughter; she was six hundred million standard tons of
lightspeed-strong, molecular-hardened alloy, screaming toward
a docking bay that looked too small to hold her. In her
imagination, her breaths hissed with hydraulics, her heart
beat with mechanical whirs and clicks. She was the gargantuan
starship she piloted, her nearly impenetrable trillium skin
shielding a crew of thirty, ten of whom looked on with
experience-forged scrutiny as she decelerated the Prosper,
gliding it into its assigned bay.
There was a gentle rumbling of metal sliding over cushioned
guards, and a muffled, soul-satisfying thunk as the great ship
settled into place. Soundlessly the bay's external hatches
closed, sealing and pressurizing the compartment where the
ship now rested from the vacuum of space. Yes.
The crew applauded, and for once she allowed the warmth of
pride to flood her. Docking the ship on her own was an
achievement symbolizing the culmination of a year's worth of
clandestine visits to the Prosper, a ship used to haul goods
between the moon-based mining stations and her home planet,
Mistraal, one of the eight Vash Nadah homeworlds. Sure,
Captain Riss had greeted her request for flying lessons with
polite incredulity, particularly after she'd beseeched him to
keep her identity a secret-she was a royal woman, after all,
and the Dars' only daughter. But once she proved she had the
talent to be an intersystem cargo pilot, hard work earned her
a coveted pair of pilot wings and a crew's respect, a regard
infinitely more satisfying than that given to a cloistered
Vash Nadah princess.
"Well done." Riss extended his arm across what would be an
unbridgeable distance at the palace and clasped her hand in a
She responded with the self-depreciating retort expected of a
space jockey when complimented. "It's a testament to your
teaching abilities that no one's now wiping us off the walls
of the spaceport."
An outer hatch whooshed open. She expected to see the usual
cargo handler or two there to confirm the load of goods.
Instead, four uniformed royal guards strode into the cockpit,
followed by a tall, broad-shouldered man with coppery dark
blond hair exactly the same shade as hers.
"Father." The blood drained from her head. She gripped the
armrests on her chair to steady herself.
Captain Riss snapped to attention. "Behold, the king! Welcome
to the Prosper, my lord," he said and fell to one knee. The
rest of the crew reacted with similarly respectful, albeit
shocked, shows of respect. The cargo crew was civilian, not
military, and kings rarely, if ever, boarded mining
freighters. But Joren Dar gave the men little more than a
cursory wave. His blue travel cape slapped at his boots as he
climbed the gangway to where Tee'ah sat.
Her hands fumbled with her harnesses. Finally free of her
seat, she stood, facing him. "Greetings, Father."
He spoke in a low, ominous tone, so that no one else would
hear. "I would not have thought that you, Tee'ah, would have
deceived me in such a"-he waved his hand around the
His golden eyes chilled her with his disappointment and
disapproval. Tee'ah fought a watery feeling in the pit of her
stomach. "I know it means little now," she replied in an
equally hushed tone, "but I intended to tell you everything."
She squeezed her clasped hands together until her pulse
throbbed in her fingertips. "But I thought you would take the
news better once I'd officially earned my wings."
His eyes flicked to the silver intersystem cargo pilot wings
she wore over her left breast. Embroidered in metallic thread
onto her rich indigo-hued flight suit, the emblem was a
replica of the genuine pair she kept in a box in her
bedchamber and treasured above all else. "I've had the wings
only a month," she whispered, hoping her achievement would
prove to her father how much she desired personal freedom.
Or were you merely longing to spark in him a bit of pride in
His frown deepened. She cursed herself for thinking that such
a tradition-defying feat would win her father's praise. She
should have told him sooner where she disappeared to three
nights a week. She should have informed him before he figured
it out on his own or, worse, learned of her exploits from
Joren Dar turned his attention to Captain Riss, who waited
uneasily for further instructions. He'd risked his career by
teaching her to pilot his ship, all because he'd understood
when she confessed that her yearning to fly, to be free,
flared so hot it burned. He mustn't take the blame that was
"Why was I was not informed that my daughter was spending her
nights flying your ship?"
"I asked him not to," Tee'ah said before Riss had the chance
to answer her father.
The captain compressed his lips and made a small sound in the
back of his throat.
"He did not understand that what I requested of him was
against your wishes," she went on.
"My lord-" Riss attempted. "I-"
"Well, perhaps he did, Father, but know this: I sought out the
Prosper because of Captain Riss. He's the best in the fleet.
He's professional, knowledgeable. He's ensured my protection
from my first day aboard this ship. The only place I'd have
been safer was in my bed."
Riss's mouth quirked and he stared hard at the alloy flooring,
clearly fighting a smile. Evidently he'd given up the struggle
to get a word in edgewise.
His yielding to her persistence was not lost on the king, and
that was the point she hoped to make. At times, though only
over small issues, even her father fell victim to her
cajoling. "If anyone is to blame for my presence here," she
said, her voice pleading and low, "it's me."
Joren scrutinized the beleaguered captain. Riss lifted his
eyes. Strangely, an understanding of sorts flickered between
the men. "I will see you in my chambers tomorrow, Captain."
Then he gently but firmly took Tee'ah by the elbow. "And you,
daughter, I will see in my chambers now."
The shuttle ride back to the surface was excruciatingly long.
On her lap, Tee'ah clutched the satchel containing the
handmaiden's dress and cloak she'd used to disguise herself
when traveling back and forth to the spaceport while her
family slept. Her father's hands were spread on his knees, his
muscular arms braced, his eyes downcast. His expression was
guarded, making it difficult to tell what he was thinking,
although she had her suspicions as to what occupied his
Within a few weeks, her marriage contract would be signed and
she'd be officially promised to Prince Ché Vedla, a man she'd
met only once, when they were both children. One standard year
from the day the promise took effect, they would marry, a
union arranged with good intentions, but little regard for her
personal wishes. Marriages among Vash Nadah royalty were part
of a complicated, ongoing stabilizing of power shared by the
eight ruling families. They were political alliances, not love
matches, although the Vash culture emphasized the importance
of good relations between a husband and wife. Eventually her
union with Prince Ché Vedla could be a pleasant one, if he'd
matured from the overconfident royal brat she remembered.
But the extraordinary events of the past few years-her uncle
Rom's startlingly unconventional marriage to an equally
unconventional Earth woman, and then, more recently, Tee'ah's
own daring spaceflights-revealed choices she'd never imagined,
much less contemplated. She was less certain than ever that
the path so carefully prepared for her was the one she should
Upon their arrival at the palace, Tee'ah walked with her
father to his private chambers. The ancient polished white
stone walls and floor she normally admired now struck her as
featureless and cold.
Her mother met them. Her eyes were swollen as if she'd been
crying. Tee'ah embraced her, whispering, "I'm sorry."
But was she? After all, it wasn't as if she'd run off to a
lover, knowing she was about to become engaged-that would have
been unforgivable and symptomatic of a weak character. She'd
only learned to fly. What was so terribly wrong with that?
Joren regarded her for long moments. Tightening his features
were a loving father's complicated mix of emotions. "You have
responsibilities, Tee'ah. Maintaining a trade, like flying,
drains time and energy away from those obligations. And then,
of course, there is the issue of propriety to consider."
Stiffly, she stepped out of the circle of her mother's
familiar warmth and sweet scent. "But after I marry, if Prince
"Don't pursue this. The Vedlas will not approve. You cannot
You cannot fly.
There. With three words, he'd ended her dream. Apparently, the
king's renowned mercy and open-mindedness didn't extend to his
The sensation of suffocation was so real it felt as if a vise
squeezed her lungs. Her hand crept to her throat, her fingers
Oblivious to her grief, her father paced in front of her.
"'The welfare of all comes before the desires of an
individual,'" he quoted from the Treatise of Trade, the
holiest document of their people.
Excerpted from The Star Prince
by Susan Grant
Copyright © 2001 by Susan Grant.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Jumbo jet pilot Susan Grant is a NY Times Bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of science fiction, time travel, and action-packed romance featuring strong women and honorable men.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Romance and intrigue ,it's all here . It isd a fast read . the story pulls you in and won't let go .
Ian Hamilton's upbringing had not prepared him to become the crown prince of the galaxy. His life took that strange turn after his mother married Rom B'kah, and his new stepfather became the Vash Nadah king. Rom unexpectedly named his stepson as his heir, although Ian has no Vash Nadah blood in him. The Vash Nadah nobility were predictably scandalized. Rom immediately puts Ian to work trying to find the source of discontent on the outer edges of the galaxy, an area that includes Earth and its restless inhabitants, many of whom aren't particularly enthusiastic about being part of any galactic federation. Ian's job isn't easy and gets harder when his pilot drinks himself to death on an out-of-the-way planet. Tee'ah Dar is a high-ranking member of the Vash Nadah nobility, destined to marry well and settle into the constricted life dictated for women under its constraining social customs. She wants to be a pilot and see the galaxy, instead, so she 'borrows' a star ship and runs away. When she finds herself stranded on an out-of-the-way world, her only hope for escape is to sign on to pilot a ship stranded when its pilot dies unexpectedly. Ian and Tee'ah strike sparks off each other immediately. Tee suspects who Ian is, and his association with the world she's fleeing concerns her. Ian worries that his new pilot appears to have a drinking problem, which is the last thing he needs. Neither of them needs a romantic entanglement that can't go anywhere, but the more they learn about each other, the deeper their feelings for each other become. The Star Prince is a wonderful futuristic romance with a well-paced plot, warm, engaging characters, and a number of nice little touches that make the futuristic background feel complete and credible. Throwaway details such as the rainbow-colored bubble-bots performing in a street-show evoke an exotic feel without being intrusive. The characters are sympathetic and engaging. Ian, in particular, is a terrific hero, a man who is challenged to fill a position he never anticipated. He brings all his considerable intelligence, charisma, diplomacy, and daring to a role complicated by political entanglements, conflicting loyalties, language difficulties and family problems. You can't help but root for Ian and Tee to find a way through the seemingly impossible complications to find a happy ending. The resolution is both unexpected and very satisfying. The Star Prince has found a place on my 'keeper' shelf.
A Vash Prince, Rom B¿kah ¿adopted¿ the twin teenage children (Ian and Ilana) of his beloved Jas as his own. Rom stuns the Vash nobility when he names the outsider Ian has his heir as king of the Vash Nadah Trade Federation as he sees leadership qualities and honor in the lad. Rom also knows that Ian would link the Vash Federation to the frontier that includes the youngster¿s home planet of Earth. Led by U.S. Senator Randall and his ¿Earth First¿ campaign, Earth seems posed to reject the Federation offer of an alliance. Ian needs to know why Randall is so opposed. His trek into the outer space frontier proves dangerous and he soon finds himself without a pilot. He hires Rom¿s niece, Princess Tee¿ah Dar, though he has no idea who she really is, to fly him in search of Randall. As they learn how dismal life in this sector is, Tee¿ah and Ian fall in love, but both hid their real identity from the other. A permanent relationship seems remote, as the bond between them was not started with trust. THE STAR PRINCE, Susan Grant¿s latest science fiction romance, soars to the stars with a strong story line and deep characters that are easy to like and admire. The exciting plot makes life in outer space seems real. Ian is a great character balancing his heritage with the Vash honor system. Tee¿ah is an intrepid heroine who is not afraid to try anything even when her peers condemn her. As with STAR KING, Ms. Grant takes the science fiction and romance genres on a ride not often seen by readers. Harriet Klausner
This book shows the differences between two world views and that they can come together. It shows the injustices, but also the needs that people need.
The second book of this series and it did not lose steam! What a delightful game of cat and mouse! So looking forward to reading the next book. Love the characters! I always like to play the "What if" reality game. Too bad government and people are not as accepting and open minded in today's world! Kudos to the author for contributing to my moments of escapeism!
bad very bad.... can't say any more.
Once again, Susan Grant has the uncanny knack for pulling you into her book¿s adventure so that you can feel the starspeeder shudder, see the blackness of space, hear the computer¿s alarm, taste the tock, and yes, even smell the `clay-roll¿. Her galaxy creatures and people are very entertaining, the humor sometimes subtle to make you chuckle and sometimes crazy to make you laugh out loud. As Ms. Grant¿s usual, the high-tech futuristic gadgets and ideals are consistent throughout and very cool. Ian is a honorable, lovable, sexy, prince-of-a-guy that has a killer grin and looks mighty fine in a pair of tight jeans. He has all the wonderful qualities that only Susan Grant can describe. Tee¿ah is a fantastic heroine, as are all of Ms. Grant¿s women. In my opinion, what makes a really good romance book is the woman. Hunky men are easy to imagine, but it¿s the heroine that makes the book because she has to be the perfect mate for the hero. Tee is someone we can all relate to in one way or another or wish we could find in ourselves. You¿ll love her. There is also a well-known, very sexy Vash fella that re-appears to have a little adventure of his own. I was so glad to see him. You thought The Star King was good? Well, you¿ll have a hard time deciding which one you liked better. So, turn on you gravity generator, grab a cup of tock, and settle in for a very satisfying adventure. Thank you Susan!
As much as I enjoyed THE STAR KING, I could not imagine enjoying a sequel any more but I must say that I did! THE STAR PRINCE is every bit as wonderful as THE STAR KING was! This is the story of Ian Hamilton, Rom¿s stepson. Rom has thrown Ian a curve when he named him as his successor to the throne. There are those Vash individuals who feel an Earth dweller would not make a good successor. Ian has been given a secret mission to check out the Frontier but not only does his ship keep getting sabotaged but his pilots keeping drinking themselves to death. Tee¿ah Dar, Rom¿s niece, has been a good Vash all of her life but all she wants to do is fly. When her parents tell her they have made arrangements for her marriage, she runs away. She runs into Ian at Donavan¿s Blunder when Dar guards confiscate her stolen star cruiser and leave her stranded. Ian has never met her so he doesn¿t know who she is. When he finds out she¿s a pilot he hires her right away. This is only the beginning. Hang on to your hats for a wild ride through space. This is a one sitting read. I know I stayed up far to late in the night reading just one more chapter to this incredible book. I know I, for one, will be avidly awaiting to see what Susan Grant will come up with next.