Title: The Prince and the Pencil Pusher
Series: Royal Powers #7
Author: Kenzie Blades
Publisher: Luxe Press
Release Date: 9/28/20
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Royal Romance, Superhero Romance, Paranormal Romance
Bad things happen when supos go unchecked. That's why Abarra needs The Ministry: to keep tabs on royals with powers run amok. Queen Maialen has entrusted the safety of her subjects to her nephew, Prince Xabier, placing the agency in his capable hands.
Only, the Prince would rather spend his days putting his own power to good use in the vineyards than to wither away on the bureaucratic vine. Tired of policing perpetrators and babysitting bean-counters, he schemes to groom his first lieutenant (and second cousin) the Duke of Shrubs. After months spent moving chess pieces, he is poised to convince the Queen to assign his cousin to his post.
But an unlikely pawn still stands in his way: the sexy Zain Otxoa is the pushiest pencil-pusher in all of The Ministry and head of internal affairs. Prince Xabier has plotted to have him fired at least thrice. Zain's influence over the Queen—his only saving grace—is baffling.
When a master maneuver to have Zain reassigned exposes a shocking imbroglio, Prince Xabier learns The Ministry isn't what it seems. And Zain isn't a pawn at all.
“The Queen has spies everywhere. She must have an inkling that I am not suited to the Ministry.”
“Anything is an improvement over Duke Grimaud.” Fesik threw me a knowing look. The former minister’s reputation couldn’t have been worse.
“Yes,” I conceded. “By comparison, I do seem quite competent. Though, I am reminded every day that such an assessment would be false.”
Fesik chuckled, his good spirits indelible owing to my having saved the wine. “The pencil pusher?” he asked. Fesik was not skilled at remembering people by name. He <em>was </em>skilled at knowing who was who based on what they did. I had complained enough—and specifically enough—about Zain Otxoa, that Fesik had given him a name.
“He’s become more tolerable,” I admitted. “But he still likes to hold me to task. He’s all policies and procedures.”
“That’s not your style,” Fesik murmured under his breath before piping up. “And you’re the boss. Why not have him fired?”
“I tried to have him reassigned,” I admitted with a chuckle of my own. “But he’s been surprisingly resilient.
That was one word to describe Zain Otxoa. Every other word that came to mind was too revealing to speak out loud. Zain was excellent. Unflappable. Gorgeous, with skin the color of cedar and hazel eyes. He gave as good as he got and fuck if that didn’t turn me on. I could count on one hand the people who had been quick to garner my respect. None of them had a tailor as skilled—or bone structure as flawless—as him.
It nettled me that he was also the one person who knew how unworthy I was of my post. It had always made me uncomfortable—not the sheer notion of being judged, for, to be a public figure was to be judged every day. But few others had ever made me feel so inadequate. Even more so than I, the man loathed mediocrity. He was admirable. And I was a disappointment.
“He could be an ally…” Fesik suggested. “Get him to agree you’re the wrong man for the job. Get him to back another horse. He must adore old Ollie.”
I thought of my cousin, the Deputy Minister of Powers, technically, my second in command. Why hadn’t I thought of finding my own replacement?
“He’s too by-the-book for something like that,” I mused. “Even toward a plan that would likely serve his interests.”
Zain’s life would be fathoms less infuriating were I simply gone. Less entertaining as well, I surmised. I tried to do at least that. A bit of wicked humor bettered many a hopeless situation. Though, for me, seeing him each day had become sweet torture.
“Speak to Ollie, then.” Fesik continued to think aloud. “For a man in his position, replacing you could be a big win.”
“Grooming Duke Oleander…” I repeated aloud, liking the idea better with each passing second. It wasn’t a bad plan.
About the author:
Kenzie Blades is a queer author of romantic LGBTQ+ fiction and is the alter ego of a multi-award winning author who writes other fiction under a different name. Kenzie lives in San Francisco and enjoys lots of things that start with the letter B, like bacon, bourbon and books.