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

Note: This ARC was provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"I want to be sure you've thought this through. You have to. There's no going back from this once it's done."
"Why are you fighting me so hard?"
"Because I love you enough to let you go if it's the right thing to do."

Combine my love for all things British monarchy (which started with Diana, Princess of Wales and went on to the everything before and after her era) and my love for M/M romance novels and I couldn't have found myself a better result than His Royal Secret, the first in a duology by the same name from author Lilah Pace. Gay royalty isn't all that rare but from what I can remember from all those history books I've read, a member of the monarchy's sexuality was never publicly acknowledge, with dalliances more of well-kept secrets by those in the know. And that's the thing with secrets: we all have them and when someone offers to share theirs with you, the temptation is too damn difficult to resist, which is exactly the case with James, Prince of Wales, and Benjamin Dahan, journalist and author. Their story and these two men who share it had my curiosity from the get-go, which fostered into attention and then affection, and by the end of it all, I wanted the modern-day prince and his not-so-common commoner to have their very own fairy tale-like happily-ever-after. But finding happiness, whether temporarily or not, while everyone's eyes are on you, intruding in the most private aspects of your life, could cost James and Ben their one chance at it.

Prince James has a secret. He's gay, a fact that only an exclusive lot know of. His best friend has played the role of his girlfriend for a decade, granting him an extension on keeping his sexuality a secret. He never meant to stay in the proverbial closet, especially not after his father, first in line to the throne, gave him his acceptance and support. But everything changed when James's parents died, moving him up to take his father's place as next in line to become king. He's kept his affairs limited, counting only three lovers in his lifetime. Being the Prince of Wales does not allow for carefree dalliances and there is simply no way he's willing to risk his position, not when it would mean forcing his younger sister further into the very limelight she shies away from in the most crippling of ways. Fate intervenes when he meets Ben Dahan while on a trip to Kenya and they indulge in their mutual attraction, going their separate ways afterwards. Then their paths cross again when Ben is transferred to London. Both are ready to risk a no-strings-attached affair, but will the risks be worth it by the time they decide what--and who--it is they truly want?

His Royal Secret resulted in a major royal book hangover, one that I still feel the effects of even three days after I started and finished the novel. The intrigue alone wouldn't have sufficed, but it was blended so beautifully with a love story that developed as the relationship between main characters James and Ben evolved. An affair that had set parameters was ideal for both James and Ben but for completely different reasons. James has his position in the monarchy to protect and Ben's past relationship has left him forever jaded. Both their back stories are interesting, providing glimpses to what shaped them to be the men that they are now. James relationships within the royal family vary, depending on who the family member is, but it's clear that he loves his younger sister dearly and his uncle is merely waiting for his chance to usurp James's position in the line of succession. Ben's relationship with an emotionally manipulative older man is one that I do believe will be delved into even further in the sequel, and it's a sequel that I'm already craving to devour. Let me reveal my own secret: His Royal Secret is a five-plus-starred 2016 favorite read. ♥

Release Date: 19 July 2016

Date Read: 17 July 2016

Learn more about Lilah Pace.

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