Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway:
The King’s Delight
By Sarah Honey
Tales of Lilleforth, Book 1
King Leopold of Lilleforth rules his kingdom well. He’s handsome, intelligent, and charming. It’s no wonder the neighbouring kingdoms are eager to provide him with a princess to marry. There’s just one problem—Leo has no interest in princesses. His tastes tend more towards handsome young men who enjoy a good spanking.
Felix Hobson left the kingdom of Lilleforth as a teenager to train as a groom. While he was away he learned a lot, and not all of it had to do with horses—although riding crops were definitely involved. Now an adult, Felix is home to take up the position of royal groom, where he hopes he’ll have plenty of opportunities for a roll in the hay.
When Felix mistakes Leopold for a horse thief and attempts to seduce him, Leopold is delighted by the irreverent, attractive lad, and sparks fly. Their arrangement is all fun and games, right until they both fall hard and fast. But while what they have together is a delight, there’s no way it can last—can it?
They’ll have to navigate a visiting princess, an assassination attempt, and a kidnapping if they want a chance to find out.
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It wasn’t all that uncommon for like to be attracted to like, and most people didn’t seem to care what other people did in bed, but it wasn’t something Felix had ever explicitly shared with his father either. He stared at the ground as he walked, his chest tight.
Janus gave a noncommittal hum, and when he spoke there was no judgment in his tone. “I had wondered. A good-looking boy like yourself, living in a kingdom the size of Fortescue, yet your letters never once held any mention of romance.” Felix risked a sideways peek and found his father regarding him with a soft look. “It’s all right, son. You’re in good company.” Janus lowered his voice. “Royal company, if the stories are to be believed.”
Felix almost stumbled over his own feet at that. “How do you know that?” he asked, intrigued. “Has the king said—”
His father chuckled. “Nobody has said a word. The castle staff have been the very soul of discretion, as they always are when it comes to lovers. But I didn’t become the captain of the guard by failing to see what’s in front of my face. And the fact is the king has turned down seven marriage proposals from princesses in surrounding kingdoms in the past two years since he took the throne.”
“That doesn’t mean anything, though.”
“Not on its own, no. But very occasionally I’ve admitted young men to the castle for private meetings with His Majesty, and I do not believe that there is any business so urgent that it needs to be discussed in the king’s bedchamber at midnight.”
“There might be other reasons. Maybe it’s espionage and he’s meeting his spies.” Felix wasn’t sure why he found it so hard to believe that the king held the same inclinations as him, but even considering it made his heart flutter in his chest.
“Yes,” his father said drily. “Pip, the baker’s lad, is highly trained in espionage. That must be it.”
That startled a laugh out of Felix. They approached the small side door to the castle that led in through the wet room and laundry area to the kitchens. “Fine. Your explanation makes more sense.”
It was cool inside the stone walls, the shade a welcome relief from the midday sun, and Felix and his father both splashed cold water on their faces at the washbasins that were set on a wooden trestle for just that purpose. Janus wiped the sweat from the back of his neck with a damp cloth. “You keep what I’ve told you quiet, mind,” he said. “Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s nobody’s business but the king’s.”
Felix nodded. He could be discreet when the occasion called for it. Felix had no desire to jeopardise his father’s position by failing to hold his tongue. Besides, if anyone could appreciate the freedom a little privacy afforded, it was him. Still, he was glad he’d shared with his father today. It meant that if whispers did get back to him about Felix bedding the occasional lad around the castle, at least his father wouldn’t be too surprised.
“Are you moving into your cottage today?” His father’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.
Felix nodded. “I’ll finish moving my things after lunch and then spend the afternoon with the horses.” Felix’s new position as the king’s groom came with his own small cottage adjacent to the stables, and after six years of bunking in shared quarters at Fortescue, he was looking forward to the privacy.
“And when are you meeting the king?”
Felix made a face. “Matty said—”
“You mean His Excellency—”
Felix rolled his eyes. “Fine! His Excellency, Chancellor Mattias Allingdon, says he’ll arrange something next week, but that Leo—His Majesty, I’m trying, all right?—is snowed under for the rest of this week with some sort of quarterly meetings. But Matty also said there’s no rush because Leopold won’t have time to ride this week anyway.”
His father was obviously fighting to hold back laughter. “You really do struggle with titles, don’t you?”
“I swear, they’ll be the death of me.” Felix let out a frustrated sigh. “Maybe when I meet the king, I’ll just nod and smile and stay silent.”
His father did laugh then. “I’m remembering now why we kept you away from King Leopold when he was still only a prince.” He patted Felix’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. “Try not to worry, son. As long as you take good care of Blackbird, I suspect the king will forgive you anything. And Felix? It’s good to have you back.”
He pulled Felix into a rough hug, and Felix returned it wholeheartedly.
It was good to be back.
Felix was looking forward to settling into his new position, getting to know the horses and the other grooms, and being able to see his family more often than his previous annual visits to Ravenport had allowed.
And from a personal viewpoint, now that he was home for good, Felix was in a place to entertain the possibility of maybe finding someone for more than a casual stroll in the meadow. While he’d enjoyed sowing his wild oats over the past few years, waking up next to a different body every morning was losing its thrill, and he was starting to yearn for something more than a fling.
Felix knew that, objectively, he was attractive. His past lovers had praised his long limbs and lean build, his honey-gold eyes and long lashes. There had even been a hasty, filthy ode composed by a lusty bard that sang the praises of his soft skin and thick, dark hair, and how perfect it was for tangling fingers in during a quick rut against a wall. He’d been told he had a mouth made for kisses and sin.
And that was all well and good, but surely there must be more? What he really wanted was to find someone with shared interests that went beyond the physical.
Surely, in a city the size of Ravenport, there must be at least one available man who’d find him attractive and intelligent, someone who would look past his surface good looks and see the person underneath…someone who was willing to while away more than a single evening with him? Perhaps there might even be someone who worked at the castle.
He could only hope.
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of The King’s Delight, Sarah is giving away a $15 Amazon Voucher!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cc0f2a57619/?
About the Author
Sarah started life in New Zealand. She came to Australia for a working holiday, loved it, and never left. She lives in Western Australia with her partner, two cats, two dogs and a life-size replica TARDIS.
She spends half her time at a day job and the rest of her time reading and writing about clueless men falling in love, with a dash of humour and spice thrown in along the way.
Her proudest achievements include having adult kids who will still be seen with her in public, the ability to make a decent sourdough loaf, and knowing all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.
She has co-authored both the Bad Boyfriends, Inc and the Adventures in Aguillon series with Lisa Henry. Socially Orcward, the third book in the Aguillon series, was runner up in the Best Asexual Book category in 2021’s Rainbow Awards.