August 19, 2016

RELEASE WEEK REVIEW + AUTHOR INTERVIEW: His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret #2)

His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret #2), by Lilah Pace
Publish Date:
August 16, 2016
Publisher: Intermix
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary m/m romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He's decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media's harsh spotlight. 

When the news story explodes across the globe, Ben can endure the mockery and dirty jokes. But after his tragic past is cruelly revealed, his life begins to implode. Can even his love for James be worth this?

James has it no easier. His revelation divides the country and sparks turmoil within the royal family. He must struggle to defend not only himself and Ben, but also his younger sister, who hovers on the brink of a breakdown that could endanger her life.

Is Ben strong enough to survive the onslaught and stand by James' side? And will James have to make a choice between Ben and the crown?

This was a fantastic ending to an incredibly intriguing series. Ben and James' relationship takes a decidedly angsty and tumultuous turn at the moment when you would think it should get easier for them. And once again, Lilah Pace's intimate knowledge of all the inner workings of the royal family and all the protocol blew me away. It either means she's either really, REALLY good at researching or... she's a princess. That question is answered after my review in an interview I was lucky enough to score with her (*fist pump*). So, keep reading!

James has decided to come out of the royal closet and Ben has decided to do it by his side. They are both going into this knowing that the revelation is going to cause waves on both sides. James is aware that there are parts of his royal life - like the affiliation with the church - that will have major problems with his being gay. He may even be prevented from being King, a position for which he's been groomed all his life. And, Ben knows that this will take away his quiet, private life forever. Even if he and James don't stay together, the press will dog him for a very long time. And that's just not his thing. 

But, both James and Ben think that their love can conquer all of that. Admittedly, they were a bit naive and idealistic. 

From the very beginning, nothing goes as planned. Although, for James, things are more positive than he had hoped for. He's still able to do his job, and despite the church still potentially interfering in his succession to the throne, the support for his sexuality is remarkable. 

However, for Ben, this is his first taste at wealth and living a life in the public eye. While James has lived with this since birth, Ben isn't used to having to answer to others, or not be able to go out to eat at a restaurant, or get harassed by the paps when he simply tries to go to work. He now has to dress a certain way, say certain things, associate with certain people, and it heaps stress upon an already volatile situation. 

Ben knows he loves James. Adores him, even. But, he starts to question whether even the love of his life is worth all the sacrifices that come with it. And Ben isn't delusional - he knows that James is as good as it's going to get. He's his soul mate. And, if he walks, he will never love anyone like that again. 

Did I mention the angst? His Royal Favorite broke my heart again and again. James is suffering because Ben is suffering and he doesn't know how to fix it. He feels guilty and desperate and it all comes out on the pages. I wanted to hug both of them - I know I cried for both of them. It all just seemed so hopeless unless Ben could find some glimmer of positivity in his new living situation. 

The side characters in this book are wonderful. I loved James' PR woman - she is a shark and a sweetheart all in one package. Ben's only friend from his life before James is also pretty wonderful. And, we can't forget about James' sister Indigo. Her story definitely is an important one and is told with dignity and respect. 

James and Ben are an established couple by now (although, they still discover new things about each other - some good, some disheartening), and are going through some serious emotional stuff. As a result, sex is relegated to the back burner. There isn't quite as much sexy times between the two men, but their feelings for one another are played out in other ways - with tenderness and thoughtful gestures and passionate words. 

This was an awesome conclusion to an intriguing and passionate story. 

Lilah Pace is the author of the sexy and emotional m/m adult contemporary romance duology His Royal Secret and His Royal Favorite. I’m so excited to welcome her to Krista’s Dust Jacket to talk to us about this series! I’ve had some burning questions about it, and now I get to have them answered - so of course I’m going to share them with you!

Lilah, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to satisfy my curiosity!

Thanks so much! This story's dear to me, so I'm always ready to talk about it. Maybe too much!

In both HIS ROYAL SECRET and HIS ROYAL FAVORITE, we see two very different worlds - Ben’s global media world and James’ royal one. You write both sides as if you’re intimately familiar with them. Do you have a background in journalism that gave you insight into Ben’s life?

…kind of? I've worked as a journalist, but my career was very, very unlike Ben's. However, some of my former coworkers have gone on to do very similar things, so I drew on some of their experiences and advice.

Since I know you’re not a princess when you’re not writing (or are you? *raises eyebrow*), how did you manage to paint James’ world of royal structure and protocol so vividly? What sort of research did you conduct to make it so believable?

Sadly, no, not a princess. But I've been an avid royal-watcher for a long while, probably because Princess Diana's wedding hit when I was at a very impressionable age. It's been a subject I've read a lot about, that and the English tradition of being in service, which intersects with royalty a bit. My friends back in Great Britain did some Britspeak reads for me, too, and shared what they knew about the royals as well. Some liberties are still taken, and I'm sure there are huge blunders I can't even guess at—but at least a little genuine detail got in.

What was your inspiration for Ben’s and James’ story?

Really it came from being overly interested in the royals, right at the point in time when the country was beginning to seriously discuss legalizing gay marriage. I began wondering what would happen if you had a gay heir to the throne, what the legal issues would be, how it would affect the Church of England, et cetera. One day I was driving along thinking about this when I caught myself and felt silly—I went, Why are you obsessing about this? How can this ever matter in your life? And immediately I knew the answer: I had to write about it.

This duology is very different from your Asking For It series, and not just because the romance in this series is m/m and Asking For It is m/f. Do you have a preference for which type you like to write more?

Between m/f and m/m—probably m/f is my preference, but it's not a very strong one. I find both kinds of romance very compelling emotionally and very hot. (My being exclusively attracted to men means that f/f doesn't really register as sexy to me in the same way, which makes me unlikely to write it, but the emotion in f/f story arcs can still work for me as a reader.) I just want to dig into what draws two people to each other and makes it completely, utterly necessary that they be together from that day on.

Did you find it difficult to get inside the heads of two men?

It didn't seem difficult to me, though I guess male readers would have to be the last word on that one! Really, emotionally, when it comes to falling in love, I don't think men and women (and the genderfluid) are so hugely different and separate. Those feelings are ones we can all connect with to some degree.

So, what is coming next?

My editor's about to get proposals for both some m/f and m/m ideas. We'll see what she says!

And, because I like to ask one fun question, out of all the places you’ve lived, which was your favorite and why?

New York City. I'm not sure I'd ever move back—I'm at a different place in my life now—but I loved the whirl of it, the incredible diversity of people I'd meet, the incredible art and culture, and the sheer energy. The city can be rough, but it made me get my act together. I'll always miss it a little.

Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author, so she can’t give away too much about herself here, but she has lived everywhere from Italy to the United Kingdom before putting down roots in the American South.

She’s addicted to Diet Coke, loves her dog, and daydreams about several British movie stars (though usually no more than two at a time).

And while it took her a long while to get up the courage to write books, now she hopes she’ll never stop.

Learn more about Lilah --> Website * Twitter * Facebook

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