Royal Exposé by Jenny FrameRoyal Exposé by Jenny Frame is a romantic thriller set in the fictional near future world of Denbourg.

Undercover reporter Casey James has gone so deeply in for her last assignment she wonders if she has finally embraced the evil she works to expose. Worried about losing her identity entirely she tells her boss she’s retiring and going for a motorcycle ride through Europe to get her head straight. But her boss talks her into just one more job. What could be easier than an exposé on the royal family?

Poppy King is coming home to start a new life after working against poor conditions in the garment industry. She intends to further tackle the problem by starting her own business using fair practices and charging fair prices. First, though, she has to learn about running a business and takes a course at school.

A threat from notorious mob boss Thea Brandt looms over the entire royal family, including the little sister of the queen consort. The only thing more irritating than being shadowed by the royal guards is dealing with the arrogant biker in Poppy’s class. She shouldn’t like the woman or her winks but she’s always been a sucker for a wounded soul, and those winks just do something to her.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

The author’s simple prose moves the story along at a steady clip, and the looming threat from the mob boss keeps a reader on their toes. There was a red herring that fooled me and I liked the pace of revelations about Casey’s past and her growing reservations about lying to Poppy for the sake of a story. Big bad Thea Brandt, who has been a regular evildoer in the series, makes things hot for everyone she hates, especially the royal family.

Casey’s swaggering butchness is no match for Poppy’s sweetness. The emotional torture she is going through, worrying about herself turning toward the evil she’s been surrounded by for too long, and hating that she has to lie to Poppy to get close to the royal family makes her romantic fall even more fun.

A romantic side story is between Roza, Queen of Denbourg, and her consort Lex King, Poppy’s protective big sister. The two have been together for nearly a decade, but they have to work through a fairly serious issue. I liked the couple in an earlier book and was happy to see even more of them and watch them work through some things that had been left hanging a bit.

The science fictional aspect, most notably the very handy and sexy Intelliflesh, returns along with a nifty new gadget that allows chemical analysis with the wave of a hand. All of the futuristic gadgets are woven so easily into the story that it barely feels like science fiction.

Cons And Heads Up

The bad guy is really bad, so there are some murders.

The Conclusion

This is a fine addition to Frame’s catalogue of work. The author has a nice touch pairing emotionally tortured butch women with sympathetic femmes. It’s easy to let up on an antagonist, but Thea is seriously evil, powerful, and never stops in her quest to harm her enemies. This lightly science fictional near future is well drawn and beautifully lesbian rich.  The story is about truthfulness in a relationship and having trust, especially in yourself.

Excerpt from Royal Exposé by Jenny Frame

She put them around her neck and quickly put on a T-shirt and jeans, then packed up the discarded Intelliflesh and the prison uniform. Now she had to get far away from this place. She was in no doubt there would be people looking for her soon.

After all her tools and hair and make-up equipment were safely in her rucksack, she grabbed a baseball cap and placed it on her head. She stopped briefly to look at her new appearance.

“I’m Casey James.” Even to her own ears, Casey sounded like she was trying to convince herself of that fact. She opened the bathroom window and dropped her bags outside. There was no way she was going out the front in case she was seen.

Casey jumped out the window into the alley at the back. She looked around and saw nobody about, so she got the bag with the Intelliflesh and prison gear and stashed it in the motel trash bins.

Then she headed off into the night, not knowing if Casey James was still part of her soul.

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Royal Generations

Royal Exposé

Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-63679-166-1

Publisher: Bold Stroke Books

Jenny Frame Online 

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