3.5 "Chess Mate" Stars

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Friday, July 22, 2016

His Royal Secret

His Royal Secret #1

by

Lilah Pace





Can you imagine a monarchy with a gay crown prince or king? All the repercussions and consequences this would have? This story barely scratches the surface but even with what we learn here it would already be an unmanageable pile of things you would never have considered in your wildest dreams. Political consequences, social consequences, and the unpredictable effects a gay monarch would have, including not having a direct successor. 

James is the fictional crown prince of Great Britain. His secret is only known to a handful of people, not even his family knows that he is gay. His best friend is his beard and she has played along for 10 years. During a visit in Kenya his security deems it safe for him to roam the resort on his own so that's what he does. He runs into a mysterious stranger and James is intrigued. 

To say that Ben is surprised when the crown prince seeks shelter from the pouring rain, in the house he has rented for his vacation, would be an understatement. He invites the prince to a game of chess and, to spice things up, their stakes are secrets. Personal, private secrets. The air is electric between them and Ben quickly realizes that His Royal Highness is gay. 

At chess mate they give in to their electric chemistry and James allows himself the adventure of having Ben as a lover for a couple of hours, knowing it will be a one-timer. When it's time to leave, James finds out that Ben is a journalist of all people. Will this man keep the crown prince's secret? Or will he make it known to the world and push the monarchy in an unknown crisis?

Let's talk characters. I loved James. Period. He is this gentle yet fierce and strong-willed good man who you want as a ruler. He is loyal, understanding and tries to do right by everyone. He has a sweet sense of humor and is loyal to a fault. The way he treats his fellow man is plain amazing. To counter the sweet there is Ben. I struggled with him half of the the story. I didn't like him very much. He is constantly irritated with James and his feelings for the crown prince. He also isn't very understanding that James wouldn't be able to come out until he is confronted with a reality check. I ended up adoring them together though, so Ben did pull his head out of his ass. 
Cassandra, James' best friend is a shining light and I loved her spirit to bits. Opposite of her is Indigo, the crown prince's sister, who is deeply troubled, yet supportive of him. 

The relationship develops at a realistic pace. They start out as sex partners and grow into friends before feelings are even considered. All this considered, why not 4 stars? The story itself was rather slow in the beginning. I kept spacing out and had to re-read paragraphs, and it was not because I had so much on my mind. I just wasn't in it. Once things started happening I really loved the story. The other issue was Ben. He wasn't very likable half of the book and I *want* to like my main characters. 

Lilah Pace is a new-to-me author. Her writing style is flawless and fluid and I do think that there rests one hell of a talent in her. The end of the book is kind of tied up but still has a small-ish cliffy which compells me to read the next book.





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