The Bloodtruth Series - Cege Smith


No matter what she did, the voices in Angeline’s head wouldn’t stop despite the fact that the moment that would define the rest of her life was just around the corner. She felt lost, even though almost every waking moment of her eighteen-year-old existence should have prepared her for what was to come. She was sure that the moment those gathered for her Ascension saw her they would all know the truth; she was a fraud and a liar. The voices whispered and gurgled and she couldn’t make them stop. But she had never felt so alone.

Stupidly she wished that he was there, but he couldn’t be. She knew that. Just knowing that he was close by would have calmed her nerves. It was a childish desire and it rankled her that she had come to depend on him so quickly. Queens didn’t have the luxury of always waiting for someone to come to their rescue. Her constant companions were duty, responsibility, worry and guilt. These were a queen’s emotional captors, especially when it came to making decisions that affected all of the people that she had been born to protect. Now that her father was dead, there was no one left to make those decisions but Angeline.

A Robart had sat on the throne of Altera for as long as anyone could remember. It was a duty her family had willingly accepted. But the mirage that Altera was still a prosperous and safe place was nothing but a shiny veneer. Her land was sinking into a darkness that could spell the end of days for everyone. Her people didn’t see it yet; the surface was just beginning to wear thin. Angeline knew, and it was a secret that she had to hide until she found another way; her current options were grim.

Angeline stared deeply into the mirror in front of her. The dress she was wearing had been custom made in three days. The lace veil that would be brought down from the crown on her head to cover her face was her mother’s. The heavy jewels that circled her throat had been part of a treasure trove an ancient ancestor brought home after the last mighty battle that secured the Robart bloodline as the rightful rulers of Altera.

Her hand reached up and lightly brushed the tiara on her head. It didn’t seem real. The deep violet hue of the rich fabric of the dress matched her eyes. Her long black hair had been tamed, temporarily in any case, and twisted into a tight bun at the base of her neck. It was giving her a headache. Her pale skin seemed almost translucent and accented the dark circles underneath her eyes. But it wasn’t long days spent sequestered at her father’s bedside that had robbed her of her naturally rosy glow and caused the sleepless nights that haunted her. No one would know the real reason though; her cover story had already been carefully spread. She knew that anyone looking at her would see the vision of a queen, but she had no idea who she really was anymore.

Little more than a month ago she had been so sure of herself and her destiny. She had been ready to take on the world and rule her kingdom as her father had—with kindness but force when necessary, just as he taught her. That was before she knew the truth; everyone she had ever trusted had been lying to her. Even though she understood they thought it had been necessary, those lies set in motion a series of events that could destroy Altera as it existed today and would certainly take her down with it. Even he had lied to her.

In such a short time, he had turned her world upside down. Connor. She wanted badly to hate him, to deny that he had any hold over her. But he did. Just as everyone had lied to her to protect her, she was now lying to herself about not feeling anything for the man who had burst into her life and left it just as suddenly. She barely knew him. It was especially soul wrenching because she was set to walk down the marriage aisle in three days. She was promised to someone else, someone who had lied to her just as insidiously. Altera law required that in order for a woman’s bid to the throne to be recognized, she needed to be married. It was an old and outdated law, but one