Friday, March 27, 2015

Heiress of Lies (Bloodtruth #1) by Cege Smith - FREEBIE


Barnes and Noble

With the King of Altera on his deathbed, all eyes are on his only child, eighteen year old Angeline Robart. The crown princess spent the last two years finishing her studies in a remote convent far away from the capital city of Brebackerin and the prying public. After being called home to her father's side in preparation for her Ascension, Angeline is kidnapped en route by Connor, a mysterious rogue who has his own reasons for becoming involved in the high stakes game of intrigue.

As the last of the Robart bloodline, Angeline soon discovers that enemies long thought conquered have been doing nothing but lying in wait for just such an opportunity to turn things to their advantage. Worse yet, by uncovering those secrets Angeline is forced to confront the possibility that no one expected her to ever take the throne in anything but title only.

Facing the impossible consequences of a freak accident, Angeline must travel a dangerous path to regain control of her fate and her kingdom even if that means relying on Connor, who epitomizes everything her family hated and tried to destroy. But the more she learns about Connor, the more she realizes they have far more in common than she ever expected, and that could make him just the ally she needs.


Angeline awoke to hear the horses screaming. She yanked the long dagger out from underneath her pillow and shot to her feet. If there was one thing her father had insisted on, it was that Angeline knew how to defend herself. It had been years since she had trained with the dagger, but it was small and light and good for a fight in close quarters.
She heard the men yelling outside trying to coordinate. Then Rhone’s rough voice broke through the melee. “Protect the princess! Guard the perimeter! Don’t let any of the bastards break through!”
Angeline wanted to know what was happening. Her heart felt like it was going to beat right through her chest. The noise outside was deafening, but she didn’t dare step foot outside the tent for fear of getting in her own men’s way. She looked down and realized she had fallen asleep without changing. The lantern above her head was giving out only a weak beam of light, so she knew it was late. She had just enough time to pull her cloak around her shoulders when Rhone burst in through the flap. She saw only the inky blackness of night behind him before the flap fell closed. The perimeter torches were no longer lit.
The grizzled old soldier had blood running down the side of face and he looked like he had seen a ghost. “Princess, we must get you to safety,” he said, breathing heavily.
Rhone, what’s happening?” Angeline asked, trying to keep her voice under control. She had never seen Rhone look afraid. She thought the man was incapable of fear.
We’re being attacked, Princess. I think the men can hold them off so that we can make our escape.”
What do you need me to do?” Angeline’s father had also taught her in times of crisis, action was better than standing around asking questions. At the moment a million of them were swarming through her mind, but there was no mistaking the urgency in Rhone’s eyes. She nodded instead.
You know how to use that, Your Majesty?” Rhone gestured toward the dagger in her hand.
You taught me yourself, Rhone. You should know,” Angeline retorted.
It’ll be a lot different than sinking it to the hilt in a hay bale,” Rhone said.
I am going to be queen someday soon, Rhone. I wouldn’t dare disgrace the Robart name by going down without a fight." It hurt to think that someday was going to be much sooner than either she or her father had anticipated.
Rhone nodded. “Good. I need to go see if any of the horses are still alive. Stay here until I get back. If anyone but me comes through that opening, you use that dagger and don’t think twice about it.” Rhone swung around and slid back through the flap seconds later, leaving Angeline alone again.
Angeline could hear yelling and the clank of metal on metal as the fighting continued outside. It didn’t seem as close to her as it had before, but it was hard to tell. She wished she could go outside and see, but it was still the dead of night and without any light she was as likely to end up on the wrong end of one of her own soldiers’ swords by accident. She had to do what Rhone told her to do and pray that they’d make it out safely. There was nothing to do but wait.
Long minutes crawled by and Angeline could do nothing but pace the tent. Several times it seemed like the fighting stopped and Angeline’s breath would catch, but then the clanging and yelling would continue. Several times screams were abruptly cut off. She wondered what was taking Rhone so long, and what he saw that scared him so badly. Rhone had been fighting since he was a young boy; Angeline thought for sure he would have seen all there was to see on a battlefield.
She walked to the tent flap and considered. She could just peek and see if she could see Rhone coming. Then she’d drop it back. He’d never know, and she wasn’t disobeying him if she didn’t actually leave the tent. She was raising her hand to the flap when she heard a scrape on the ground right behind her. Then the lamp was blown out and the room plunged into darkness. Angeline opened her mouth to scream.
Two hands encircled her, one covering her mouth and the other snaking up and easily sweeping the dagger out of her hands. Suddenly her body was spun around in that tight embrace and she found herself staring into a pair of emerald eyes that burned brightly even in the dark.
Is that a polite way to greet one of your loyal subjects?” The voice dripped with sarcasm.
Her eyes adjusted quickly to the gloom, and she could make out his white face and full red lips. A black curl fell over his eyes. It was like her mind turned to mush and she was mesmerized by how beautiful he was. Then she saw the smudge of red running from the man’s mouth. The dominos in her mind fell over in quick succession: an attack in the middle of the night, the screaming horses, and Rhone’s look of terror. She was a Robart; she knew what that meant. An age-old enemy had reappeared in their midst.

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