Royal Powers #1
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Shared World
Royal dukes from rival countries, shipwrecked on a deserted island. The grudge match of the century—or a love story of super-heroic proportions?
Sander Fiala, Duke of Roses, is fourth in line to the South Abarran throne, even though his rogue power earned him the nickname “The Monster of Roses” and got him banished from the Castle. But right before he’s about to set off on his annual birthday sailing trip, the Queen asks him to meet with the notoriously volatile North Abarran Duke of Arles.
Tarik Jaso, Duke of Arles, expects the worst from people because—let’s face it—people are the worst. His superpower bombards him with any and all electronic transmissions, which…yeah, people suck. So when he’s attacked and wakes up in the cabin of a stranded boat, he knows he’s royally screwed. Because the man looming over him—the man he’d gone toe-to-toe with right before the attack—is the infamous Monster of Roses.
Tarik is positive the Monster is behind his kidnapping. Sander is sure the whole thing is Tarik’s fault. As they work toward rescue, Tarik realizes that the disturbingly hot Sander is no monster, and Sander discovers that Tarik’s temper masks a caring soul wrapped in a cantankerous (though undeniably sexy) body.
For their burgeoning connection to endure, they’ll have to duke it out with political factions, dark conspiracies, and centuries of traditions that keep them on opposite sides of the border.
But first? They have to get off this damn island.
Duking It Out is a 46,000-word M/M enemies to lovers, opposites attract, superhero rom-com, featuring Only One Bed, a grumpy duke who should know better than to jump to conclusions, a self-doubting duke who’s good with his hands (heh), gossipy seagulls, competent assistants, a guaranteed HEA, and (unfortunately) capes.
I loved the mix of royalty and superpowers. The Incredibles cape reference was totally the icing on the cake. As a long time reader of anything superhero I loved that the powers were a little different as well. The characters are interesting and layered, and I liked that the story also dealt with the downside of having powers.
I liked this not quite usual take on the forced proximity trope, and loved Sander and Tarik’s attraction to each other, and realisation as to who each other really is underneath the stories told about them. I liked how they both struggle with their powers, and complement each other, not just in personality but in the powers too. Sander’s power is very cool, and cleverly thought out, and I loved seeing him come into his own. The scene is with wine barrels is very sweet.
I enjoyed how, while this story is about Sander and Tarik, it’s also about their two countries, and the politics that come with that. I liked Bastien, Tarik’s cousin, and hope to see more of him.
The world building is fabulous. I loved the idea of powers and royalty, and the Ministry of Powers sound like a bunch of bureaucrats who don’t want to do much in the way of work. I’m looking forward to reading more stories set in this world.
5 out of 5 stars.