Published by Penguin on 6/19/16
James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he's keeping a king-sized secret...James, next in line for the throne, is gay.
He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.
While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.
But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth...
“How much longer can you live a lie?”
A modern fairy tale. A charming, sweet, and sexy love story about a prince wanting to live a life in the light, without lies and secrets; and the boy he falls in love with.
In this tale we have James, the Prince of England, next in line for the thrown — a well-loved figure who fits the role of Prince Charming in every way possible but one: he’s gay. We also have Ben, a well-traveled journalist who lives out of a backpack, is reluctant to settle down, and always ends his relationships before any attachments form. These two meet one stormy day and after a tension-filled game of chess in which secrets are revealed and true natured unveiled, Ben and James connect in a way that is unforgettable to both. Then the real world enters the fantasy. These two men that live vastly different lives and hold sometimes-opposing philosophies know that they probably shouldn’t be together, but they’re going to do it anyway. Just as a casual thing though, something with an end date and no promises made. Yeah, right, we know how that always ends.
“They had boundaries. They had limits. Those limits were absolute and unlikely ever to change. James would never ask for more, which meant Ben didn’t have to feel like a shit for having more to give.”
Lilah Pace puts her own spin on the tale about the royal who falls in love with the commoner, and I loved seeing them interact with each other. Ben the cynic, and James the romantic. I also loved getting a glimpse of royal life. Don’t we all love stories when we can see how the ‘other half’ lives? A plus is that Pace’s portrayal of James’ live isn’t one that’s particularly lavish, and I feel that’s probably more what it looks like behind the scenes today – just them living in their prison. James’ down-to-earth personality made me love him more. Combine that with Ben’s reluctant acquiescence, his I-don’t-give-a-fuck-who-you-are attitude and the moments between these two are so sweet they’ll make you smile.
I will say that the first quarter or so (after the initial, passionate meeting) dragged as I just wanted them to meet again so they could fall in love *cough*get-it-on*cough*. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, so I never skimmed. It just went at a slower pace than I wanted.
“It was as if his feelings for James had been an iceberg, silent, and cool, with only the smallest portion visible. Yet beneath the surface lurked something vast and unknown…”
James and Ben enter an agreement, determined to keep things sexy and shallow, both knowing that with the restrictions placed on James that they can never be more than they are. Also, Ben has a past and his own reasons for keeping things simple. Of course I loved watching these two fools attempt to keep the boundaries they set intact as they did things and revealed pieces of themselves that guaranteed that those very same boundaries would break. Smh, they never learn, do they? In that sense, His Royal Secret was predictable, the evolution of their relationship one that I’ve read many times before. But, the ending was a happy surprise. I was expecting one thing, my eyes were geared to roll in the back of my head, but then it didn’t happen. Pace totally surprised me because these characters went against the grain, and even though it shouldn’t be shocking (it’s nothing crazy or twisty), it is.
All in all, I enjoyed the evolution of Ben and James’ relationship, and love seeing the reluctant love form between the two. I was excited to read His Royal Favorite to see how Pace tied everything together for these two characters and the surrounding characters introduced. In a sense, His Royal Secret can be considered a standalone, but I’m not looking at it as such. This set the stage for some juicy conflict that I hoped I’d see come to fruition in His Royal Favorite.
His Royal Favorite
“If he loves you as much as you love him, then nothing else matters, right? The rest of the world is irrelevant. Isn’t that how love is supposed to work?”
I can’t review this book without spoiling a lot of book one, so this portion will be brief(er). After His Royal Secret, I was mainly looking forward to this installment because I wanted to see both Ben and James face the ramifications of their actions. I wanted to see if Ben’s past would come into play, if James could be the man he dreams of being and whether they both grow closer or break apart because of all the challenges they face.
Though this book was also told in alternate POVs, it felt like Ben’s book. James of course has to deal with the albatrosses around his neck — his family and the British public — but most of the conflict in this book lays with Ben and his struggles. He undergoes the most growth as he deals with the choice he made regarding James, and as he questions if it was a mistake, if he should change his mind and whether he’ll be able to live with the future if he does.
“I spent my whole life being the most cynical bastard in the world, and I never believed in fairy tales, so of course an actual, literal Prince Charming came along.”
I loved watching the evolution of this relationship, and the intimacy that these two shared. There were a few moments of annoyance, mainly regarding Ben and his inability to make up his mind about what he wanted, because I just couldn’t see what his problem was. Helllooo??? GTFOH with all your whining! But I got it, that was his character and Lilah Pace stayed very true to her characters — all of who enjoyed, even the ones that grated on my nerves.
His Royal Secret and His Royal Favorite are a duo that I enjoyed. They weren’t heavy on the drama or over-the-top emotion, and I think some might find them bland because of that. But, if you enjoy books where you get to not only see couples fall in love, but see them face hurdles together as they fight to stay in love when the world pushes against their bubble, then you’ll like this one. I think these two novels are smartly written, sexy, sweet, and overall just charming, romantic reads.
“How could you get your courage from me when I get my courage from you?”