Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets #1) by Jennifer Anne Davis
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Amazon ♥ B & N
Jennifer Anne Davis’ best-selling True Reign series captivated readers from the very first page. Now, get ready to become entangled in the follow-up series, Reign of Secrets. In this new series, follow Allyssa, the daughter of the beloved Emperor Darmik and Empress Rema— and find out what happens after happily ever after.
Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion—she’s beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona—that of a vigilante—to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.
Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.
Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.
Allyssa glided inside Darmik’s office. Her parents and Prince Zek sat at a small, round table waiting for her. She had planned to arrive early so she could talk to her parents before the prince showed up, but it had taken even longer today to conceal her bruised face than it had yesterday. It actually hurt to smile. As gracefully as possible, she took her seat between her parents.
She’d attended enough of these meetings by now to be able to determine the seriousness based upon small subtleties. The low fire in the hearth, the absence of fresh flowers, and the fact that her father wore his commander uniform instead of his royal tunic and crown indicated that her parents didn’t consider the prince a potential suitor. However, there was definitely something of importance they wished to discuss—otherwise, they wouldn’t have even bothered to meet with him.
Darmik motioned for the remaining guards to exit and shut the door, leaving the four of them alone. “You wanted an audience with us,” he said to the prince. “What would you like to discuss?”
Prince Zek cleared his throat. “I wish for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Allyssa had heard similar declarations before. Many wanted to marry the crown—no one actually cared for the person wearing it.
“You and every other prince on the continent,” Darmik bluntly answered.
Allyssa wanted to kiss her father. She tried desperately not to laugh at the look of shock on the prince’s face.
“Why don’t you save us both a lot of time and get to the point?” Darmik said. He leaned back on his chair, crossing his legs.
“My country is in need of Emperion’s protection,” Prince Zek declared, trying to regain his composure.
Allyssa admired the fact that he was willing to marry her in order to protect his kingdom. It showed loyalty, duty, and a sense of honor on his part—something she hadn’t learned listening to him drone on and on over the course of the past few weeks. However, she wondered what Fia needed protection from. The ten kingdoms on the mainland had lived in relative peace for the past decade. She’d heard whispered rumors that Russek was bullying its neighbors, yet that was nothing new or worth being concerned about.
Rema folded her hands on her lap. “You come from the small kingdom of Fia, which has little to offer us. Why would we allow you to marry our daughter?” She kept all emotion from her face, but Allyssa knew her mother well enough to know she was leading the poor prince right into a trap.
“Russek has invaded the kingdom of Melenia,” Prince Zek stated. “My parents fear Russek will invade us next.”
Russek invaded Melenia? Allyssa opened her mouth to question Prince Zek when Rema shook her head. Allyssa withheld her question and sat there silently, waiting for her parents to respond. Since neither of them appeared to be shocked or outraged, this information wasn’t new to them.
Darmik stood and paced about the room, appearing deep in thought. Allyssa tried not to roll her eyes. Her parents were master negotiators and planners.
“I have a proposition for you,” her father began. “Your kingdom is in need of protection. We will give you the resources you seek.” Darmik stopped walking and turned to face the prince. “If Fia joins the Emperion Empire.”
“What?” the stunned prince asked, his eyes wide.
Darmik smiled. “Fia will become a region within Emperion. Your parents will retain their titles and land. However, they will pay taxes to Emperion. Their army will join with my army. That is what I’m offering you. No need to marry my daughter.”
Prince Zek sat there, fumbling with the edge of his cuff, not looking at anyone in the room. If his parents deemed him capable enough to come here to Emperion, the largest kingdom on the continent, and seek her hand in marriage, thus securing an alliance, surely he could speak on their behalf regarding this matter.
“I’ll, uh, need to discuss it with the king and queen,” he answered.
Rema abruptly stood. “You do that. Until then, we wish you well.” She was dismissing him. He was no longer welcome in their castle under their protection.
The prince stood, his chair scraping against the stone floor. After he exited the room, Allyssa sank back against her chair, sighing.
“Interesting move on his part,” Darmik said, folding his arms and staring out the window
Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she married her best friend and high school sweetheart.
Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.