Tag Team Review: His Royal Secret (His Royal Secret #1) by Lilah Pace

The first in an enchanting new male/male romantic duology from Lilah Pace, author of Asking for More and Begging for It ....

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...

Sheziss - 2.5 Hearts

The ending saved the book for me.

Strange thing to say, because it ends in a cliffhanger. But a merciful one, if that sort ever exists.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is the length. The book information says it’s less than 200 pages but it feels like more than 400. And I noticed because the style didn’t exactly drag me in. It was pleasant enough, but it’s a long way from saying it was captivating or that I couldn’t put it down. Because I was distracted too easily.

The strong asset of this book is the blurb, even if it’s a way too familiar story. At least for me. Yes, the journalist falling in love with the Prince and heir of the Crown has already happened in real life. In Spain, that is. Still, it’s something that seriously draws your attention and your curiousity arises in order to see how this is going to go.

However, the world is different. It's like a nowadays story but in a parallel dimension. There is Internet, and smartphones, and forums. They mention the Commonwealth but not the EU, the homosexual marriage doesn't exist yet, and the kings’ and queens’ names don’t coincide. Needless to say, the gay issue is another little detail that gives drama to the story.

The forbidden love story. For so many reasons.

There is an obvious sexual tension and that’s what makes it interesting. There is chemistry between the characters, and the sex pays it off. They can get creative and imaginative in the middle of all the restrictions they find in order to have a normal relationship. They have to “date” each other in secret, and the less people know about it, the better. That doesn’t mean they don’t make up for it with everything in their record. And the author makes you want to glimpse more of them together.

But beyond that, the story is pretty average. It pains me to say so, because I really enjoyed the story, but in fact, it’s quite forgettable after a while. Meh, almost.

Close to the end, I feared there would be a Big Denial of their feelings/relationship and that the characters would turn Too Stupid To Live, but in fact, the author managed a turn of events that surprised me and awoke me from the numbness of the story. Yes, it’s the ending what convinced me the book was a good one.

SheReadsALot - 3.5 Hearts

An alternate universe where the Prince of Wales to the British Throne is secretly gay...

No, we're not talking about Wills, baby.

"Your Royal Highness. Or is it Your Majesty now that you've become Prince Regent?"
"I don't think you've came all this way to discuss royal protocol."

His Royal Secret is the first half of two part series from author Lilah Pace. His Royal Secret is Pace's first foray into MM. This alternate universe is the same as present day just with an alternate British royal lineage.

HRH James is young, orphaned, high educated and directly in the public eye due to being the future king of Britain. He's been raised in the spotlight and sadly can't be free with his sexuality. With a best friend as his public beard, a younger sister with untreated mental health issues and a sad sexual history, due to isolation and fear, James is firmly inside his closet with all the stressors in his private life. Enter Ben Dahan, hot Israeli openly gay, anti-commitment, international journalist who has a chance meeting with James in Kenya. A game of chess and rainy season turns an opportune moment into a steamy little tryst.

Did it make an impression? Not really. It was a nice little interlude. Cut to months down the road and a move to London on Dahan's part, the men figure they're at perfect points in their life to start a strictly sexual relationship. The sex got better as the story progressed though for the first third it was borderline repetitive with the same stroke-finger-lube-penetrate. Thankfully, it broke out the mold.

The story on a whole has good parts. It was better than good when reflecting on the entire thing. A decent set up, two men who shouldn't be together on paper but somehow are-- due to availability and a sexual chemistry. I don't mind closeted reads, but the anti-commitment MC's are my juice. I love them. Especially reading them turn into a pro-commitment fan. We don't get much reflection on the change from either men, especially from the stubborn one. I think the story could have gone deeper with both men, more so with Ben. I'm hoping it's because this is a duology and the second half is going to be bombastic. Or I'll just come back and rate this lower, once I read the second half.

I don't think this story hit it's full potential. There were awkward breaks, weird transitions into chapters or to different characters. And what I think my biggest gripe is if this story was supposed to be Erotica or Romance? I don't mind the two mixed, or separate. The erotica was spicy vanilla at best with role playing being the hardest kink (lol) James seemed naive for that. Maybe if he didn't have his background, I'd have had an easier time buying it. The guys start off slow, kind of lukewarm/medium heat. Then presto!

We're getting sentences like this:
"Hand jobs are well and good, but this time I'm not leaving without getting fucked."

Or even better:

"I thought you'd get back around now."
"Only just. Is anything wrong?"

 "Yeah. Your mouth's not around my cock."

That's a drawers dropper sentence. Mmmhmm I'm all for it!

Sometimes the erotic actions, words and role play kink, seemed at odds with the characters introduced. Erotically, the story works. Romantically...ehhhh...I guess?

I like Ben.

I like James.

Do I like Ben and James together? It's a hesitant yes. But a yes, nonetheless.

I wasn't invested until 75% into the story. Or really cared about the romance until 97%...

There were bursts of magic within.

"Nobody else ever got to me like this. Nobody ever. And nobody's going to get to me like this again. You got through my defense when on one else could, or can, or will. You're the only one I could ever have loved, the only man on this earth. I can't change it now. It's done. All I know is that if I walk away from you tonight, I'll spend the rest of my life...broken in two. Needing you. So I won't walk away."
I wish we got to know more of the person as the reader was inside their head when they made they decisions, to get a sense of their feelings.

 A plus on this novel's side? It didn't read like stereotypes or thinly veiled MF in a MM coating.

I'm pretty good at sniffing those out. And I'm happy to report that is not the case in His Royal Secret. #yay

Just dudes who placed strict boundaries on being fuck buddies and somehow broke their own rules because feelings became involved. [Just wish there was more attention paid on that detail of feelings, sharing more inside the character's head when it was their turn]

The story ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. But it's a soft cliffhanger, meaning it's a HFN with a promise of a HEA. But the stakes are too high not to read what the outcome is in the second book of this duology.

I'd read from this author again, to see how this all wraps up. I'm curious how it plays out for the royal and his lover.

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