Prince Stephan and his manservant-turned-lover, Warren, have managed to escape from Seveihar and find refuge in the city of Varta. For the last six months, the men have lived quiet lives where they can be together fairly openly, unlike their more conservative homeland. Stephan can also indulge in his pleasure in dressing in women’s clothes without much notice. While they don’t live in the luxury they once had, Stephan and Warren are enjoying their peaceful lives together. That peace is shattered when it becomes clear that Stephan’s brother, Robert, hasn’t given up his search for the men. As they face new trouble, Stephan and Warren must stick together in order to escape with their lives.
The Exile Prince is the second book in the Castaway Prince series. The book opens about six months after the end of the first story and catches us up with Warren and Stephan since we last saw them on the run. Given the jump in time and circumstances, I think this book could stand alone, but the stories will work better read in order.
Adler does a nice job here setting up the idyllic life these men are now leading. They are not wealthy, but they are happy and comfortable, finding a place they can be themselves without fear. The men are clearly in love and committed to one another, so it was nice to see them in a good place. Of course, all of that is shattered when they begin to suspect Robert is still after them and their lives are on the line. There is some nice, light suspense as the men must stay one step ahead of the bad guys and they have some near misses before making it to safety.
This is a fairly short book and it sort of feels like we are just dashing into their lives for a bit before things end. There was not a lot of time in the first book to develop the relationship between Stephan and Warren, and by this book, they are already together and happy. Then each man has some fears — Stephan that he is too weak and unable to be a strong enough partner, and Warren that Stephan will tire of him — but I didn’t really feel like we have spent enough time with them to really understand where these insecurities are coming from.
While the story does wrap up the immediate conflict, the larger issues are still looming and the men are in a place of big change. I will be looking forward to the third book to see what is next in store for our couple.