Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium– the kingdom she’s just learned is hers.
But with the King’s ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.
The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.
It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King’s strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won’t let her kingdom down without a fight.
I bounce into the room. “You didn’t wake me. Keep up that attitude and they’ll start to call you layabout—” He looks up at me and the expression in his brown eyes is so bleak it stops me. “Liam,” I finish lamely. I clear my throat. “What’s happened?”
His mouth tightens as he looks from me to the piece of paper in front of him, and something cold gathers itself in my chest. “Liam.”
Sighing, he passes the paper to me. “I’m sorry,” he says.
Lips parting, I look at him questioningly. I’m not sure I want to read this letter. My throat is dry, and I swallow, turning it over in my hands.
“It’s a report,” Liam says gently. “About His Highness.”
No. Liam’s expression hadn’t been a happy one. I take a breath to steady myself, my heart somewhere in the vicinity of my ankles.
A few words leap out at me instantly.
Rescue and search efforts barred by fire.
No sign since.
Presumed missing or dead.
There’s more to the letter. A wax seal with the Underground’s symbol. Worries over how to proceed with the revolution without a figurehead and other such practicalities that make my stomach roil right now. Like it may burn me, I put the letter down and step cautiously away from it.
“They’re looking for him?” I ask. My voice sounds high.
He hesitates. “No. We haven’t the time.”
I whip my head around. “Haven’t the time? Funny, it seemed just a short while ago that everyone cared a great deal about what Prince Caden could do for them.”
Liam regards me like an unpredictable force of nature. “If we unseat King Langdon, things would have been a degree easier with Prince Caden available to assume the throne, it’s true. But we must forge on without him now.”
“Forge on without—” A sea bucks inside of me. Makers, what I would give to be able… I storm up to Liam and put a threatening finger beneath his chin. “You didn’t—you don’t know him,” I say lowly.
“I did not,” Liam agrees.
“Caden is… He’s just good,” I say around a lump in my throat. It warbles uncertainly, and I have to pause before I go on. “He believes in people. He encourages them. He makes me…makes those around him smile and he…he loves logic.” His gray eyes crinkle in my mind’s eye.
I shake my head. “And he hid under his father’s nose for years, convincing him of his loyalty, until my da and I blew it all to shreds. That’s just what he’s doing now. Running. Hiding. He’s not dead,” I say resolutely. I wipe at my nose to mask a sniffle and turn away from Liam.
“He’s not dead.”
I almost believe it this time.
Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
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