Book Review – King’s Ex by EJ Russell

Royal Powers II #1
Publisher: Reality Optional Press
Pages: 154
Characters: Bastien/Nico
POV: 3rd
Genre: Paranormal, Series

To escape an arranged marriage, the king needs a fake fiancé. Stat.

King Bastien’s father locked him into an ironclad betrothal contract with Lady Helena Rey when the two of them were only seven years old. Bas and Helena have never been friends—and not only because she marked their first meeting by dropping a frog down his shirt. He’s been unsuccessfully petitioning Parliament to annul the damn contract ever since he took the throne nine years ago. But with the deadline for officially confirming the engagement rapidly approaching, Bas is getting desperate.

Enter commoner Nico Pereira, manager of the Royal Crest Vineyards, who nurses a secret crush on the king. He’s at the New Palace to unveil a wine that’s the first joint venture between North and South Abarra. No problem, right? Except Nico has a secret: He has a superpower. Not a very strong superpower, but because powers are a privilege reserved for Royals, it still puts him at risk for arrest and prosecution. Nico can usually mask his limited foresight gift under the guise of being an incredibly efficient administrator. But when King Bastien asks him to be his fake fiancé?

Well. Nico never saw that coming.

Nothing if not loyal, Nico accepts the faux-posal, although close proximity to Bastien makes him more than a little… uncomfortable, and the increased scrutiny of government officials threatens to expose his illegal ability. Good thing this engagement is temporary, because being the king’s ex will be a lot less onerous than prison or exile.

Or, if the attacks from a shadowy conspiracy continue, with being dead.

King’s Ex is a 52,000-word M/M superhero rom-com featuring a fake engagement, class differences, improbably pristine clothing, dueling secrets, a guaranteed HEA, and a kitten.

Buy Link


I love this series, and am very happy that there’s more books to look forward to. I’d loved Bastien when he first appeared and loved his and Nico’s story. These two are very sweet, and the fake boyfriend, or in this case fake fiancé trope, was wonderfully played out. I loved the twist with their powers.

I liked how each story in this series adds to the world building. I also enjoy the cameos, and appearances of other characters from previous books. I love how Bastien’s power seem to be one thing, and then strengthens into something very cool. He tries so hard not to fall into the trap of his ancestor then falls in love instead. I liked how both Bas and Nico try very hard to keep everything fake, but fail completely. It’s obvious from their first meeting that they’re smitten with each other. I liked how they got to know each other, and how the story showed that royal life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Nico’s power was an interesting twist on foresight, with a little bit more to it than just seeing the future.

The supporting cast is wonderful and I enjoyed catching up with Tariq and Katalin in particular. I love Corin and hope he gets his own story. I thought the reveal and identity of the villain was very nicely done, tense, and exciting.

Polita the kitten needs a mention. Not only is she cute, but a force to be reckoned with.

The ending was perfect, and I hope to see these guys playing a part in future stories.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
This entry was posted in book review, gay romance reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Book Review – King’s Ex by EJ Russell

  1. ELF says:

    Fun story. I love this author’s worlds!


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