Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
The Prince and The Pencil Pusher by Kenzie Blades
A M/M Superhero Romance
(Royal Powers, Book 7)
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.
Special Tour Excerpt:
“No good will come from prolonging the lie, Xabier. You said it yourself last season. This year will be the year that you tell the Queen.”
My eyes darted around my office, as if I were the one speaking and the walls were the ears of royal spies. They swept over my leftmost monitor, which displayed the security feed. I was relieved to see Eusebio, my assistant, engrossed in a book. The monitor showed two frames—the other was the approach from the grand hallway—empty, via the frame on the right.
“I did say that, didn’t I?” My reply was absent in its paranoia.
For the moment, praise for our wine was showered solely upon Fesik. It bothered him to take all the glory. My only mark was Ichor, the name I had bestowed upon our prizewinning blend. In Greek mythology, it meant an ethereal fluid thought to be the blood of the gods. In the irony of all ironies, the labor of love which took my attentions away from my very-important-slash-boring day job was adored by my aunt, the Queen, Maialen.
“Before midnight,” I repeated then hung up the phone, figuring I’d better go from talking to doing. Fesik’s call had come in on my personal phone. In the Ministry of Powers, one had to be discreet about matters that one wanted to keep to oneself. So also did one have to do when one was a royal.
For the most part, I had whittled away servants and guards—become self-sufficient and kept supervision at a minimum. Yet there was one who stood a chance at thwarting my plans to travel to Palamos. And he wouldn’t be so easy to shake off.
“Abide your duties,” he would say, coated in his own brand of sugar that abode the rules of subordination. Zain Otxoa possessed the rare ability to deliver bizarrely respectful scoldings. He was quite tricky in that respect. He was quite tricky in other respects, as well. He was why I was loath to leave my post without covering my tracks.
I switched to my old-style intercom and watched on the monitor as Eusebio startled at my buzz. The man was grossly underutilized—fit to assist someone with a full schedule and dozens of difficult tasks. The once or twice a day that I ever actually summoned him, he nearly jumped out of his skin, too eager to oblige.
“Eusebio. I need a car for the evening, please.”
“Immediately, Your Grace?” He straightened in his seat, tossing the thick tome he had been reading onto the desk. I might have liked him better had he read something serious like Dostoyevsky, or something trashy, like gossip rags. But he only ever read the most boring book on earth: the Policies and Procedures Manual of the Ministry of Powers.
“I’ll take a pickup in fifteen minutes. Around the back, please.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” I watched Eusebio write down the simple instruction. “Shall I specify a destination?”
“I’ll give it to the driver when he arrives.” My voice was calm. If I gave a nothing out-of-the-ordinary vibe, there would be nothing for Eusebio to suspect.
“And your proxy, Your Grace?”
I was not permitted to go off duty without one, though the Day and Night Deputy Ministers were my second and third in command. Among the three of us, we worked a twenty-four-hour shift. As the Minister, I had the “honor” of taking the shifts when the most critical incidents occurred. Though I resented it, it was a great honor—a high office befitting a high royal, assuming responsibility for the most extraordinary aspect of our world: in Abarra, royals had superpowers.
“Super” may have been too strong a word for some of the abilities the gods had bestowed upon the ruling class. Nonetheless, those who possessed such powers were called “supos”. There was nothing to joke about when it came to superpowers run amok. Royals were required to register their powers. The Ministry was intended to provide guidance, education and—frankly—intimidation to discourage their misuse.
“Please ask Duke Oleander to be on call.”
“Certainly, my lord.”
It was my duty to know about incidents and to help bring said incidents to resolution. Since only royals could possess these powers, it was thought (quite erroneously) that abuses were rare. That the royal family, as custodians of the public trust, acted responsibly. Little did Abarra know how far the Ministry had to go to diffuse dangerous situations. Seeing what came in on most Friday and Saturday nights was like watching an episode of Royals Gone Wild.
“And Eusebio? I see no need to trouble Mr. Otxoa with information about my whereabouts. Should he drop by, simply let him know that I placed matters in Duke Oleander’s capable hands.”
Apart from my Deputy Ministers, he was my highest lieutenant—the man hellbent on insisting that I have absolutely no fun.
“You can let him know yourself, Your Grace. Mr. Otxoa just entered the hall.”
My eyes flew to the right half of the monitor display. As surely as Eusebio had indicated, Zain Otxoa was beating a path to my door. His timing was so uncanny, it was as if he knew.
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of The Prince and the Pencil Pusher, Kenzie is giving away:
- 2 signed Paperbacks of their previously published contemporary gay romance (US Winners)
- 5 e-copies of The Prince and the Pencil Pusher (International+ Winners)
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
Direct Link: http://bit.ly/KenziesPrinceGW
About the Author:
Kenzie Blades is a queer author of romantic LGBTQIA+ 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. Boys, too. Because—come on—they’re beautiful.
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