Today, I welcome my dear friend Addison Albright and her new release Change of Plans to the blog. Wohoooo, finally the third book about my favorite princes Marcelo and Efren. I’ve waited and waited and now the day is finally here!! 🎉
Thank you so much, Nell, for having me here on your wonderful blog today! Hello, Nell’s fabulous readers! I’ve got a new release out—my first in over a year—and I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit about my story.
First of all, I should point out that this story completes a trilogy. I carefully inserted enough background information so that a random reader picking it up would not be completely lost, so the story can stand alone, but it is definitely not written as a standalone.
Since my new novella, Change of Plans, contains a few of my favorite tropes, I’ve written a trio of guest posts for fellow JMS Books writer-friend’s blogs, each highlighting one of those tropes. Today let’s discuss Hurt/Comfort.
First of all, what is Hurt/Comfort? It possibly means slightly different things to different readers and writers, but to me it involves one of the protagonists experiencing pain/distress and the other protagonist caring for them. Maybe it’s an injury that happens on page, or maybe it’s an old injury. Perhaps it’s an illness. It could be an emotional, rather than a physical, trauma. This pain/distress can be used to develop the protagonists’ relationship and/or showcase their characters/personalities to varying degrees as needed for the story.
Hurt/Comfort has always been one of my favorites, but I thought of it as a guilty pleasure because it felt wrong to enjoy someone’s pain (even if it is a fictional someone). But I’ve come to realize I appreciate the trope because of what goes with that pain—comfort from a loved one (or future loved one), and/or the character development—not the pain itself.
The Plans Trilogy is laced with bits of Hurt/Comfort throughout:
In The Contingency Plan, naïve young Prince Marcelo is overwhelmed with emotional distress when he’s unexpectedly chosen to replace his recently deceased twin sister in a marriage to Crown Prince Efren of Zioneven, his realm’s former enemy. In fact, he faints dead away when he hears the declaration. Although it was his nearby younger sister who caught him before he hit the floor, Marcelo is surprised (and moved) to later learn that it was Prince Efren who carried him upstairs to his bedchamber.
In The Best-Laid Plans, Prince Marcelo is again on the “hurt” side of the Hurt/Comfort trope when he is abducted on his and Efren’s journey to Zioneven. Efren and his security team are initially led astray on the hunt to save Marcelo, who must discover hidden depths of strength and ingenuity to save himself. Efren knows just how to pamper Marcelo as he recovers from his injuries/trauma.
In the opening scene of Change of Plans, the princes wake up one morning after both being dosed with a mind-wiping toxin. It is, of course, distressing to each of them when they discover they’ve lost a couple moon cycles of memory (taking them back to before the beginning of The Contingency Plan), but especially to Marcelo, who awakes in a strange land, naked, in bed with a stranger eager to “make the most of this glorious morning,” and is “rebooted” to the naïve man he’d been before his new life in Zioneven. Efren steps up to ease Marcelo’s re-assimilation to his new life. There might (😉) also be an injury scene closer to the end of the book presenting more Hurt/Comfort opportunity, but I wouldn’t want to get too spoilery about that 😁.
What are some of your favorite Hurt/Comfort stories? Why do you enjoy them?
Look for my upcoming discussion on the Arranged Marriage trope on A.L. Lester’s blog (https://allester.co.uk/blog-posts/) on August 9, and look for my upcoming discussion on the Memory Loss trope on Ofelia Grand’s blog (https://ofeliagrand.com/blog/) on August 13.
(From Chapter 8)
Marcelo, present day
Why, oh why, with all that was going on, was Marcelo finding it so difficult to focus on anything other than Efren’s fingers as he manipulated his utensils? And Efren’s mouth as he opened it to take bites then slowly chew?
Deliberately slowly chew his food, if Marcelo wasn’t mistaken.
Had Marcelo been obvious in his observations? Were Efren’s actions in response to Marcelo’s interest? Or had Efren purposely drawn Marcelo’s attention in the first place?
Or was Marcelo reading too much into Efren’s simple movements?
Marcelo swallowed a bite of his own and told himself the reason he was so distracted was because the royal family had ceased to talk about the drama going on in the castle since it was their policy not to discuss politics at the table, and there was nothing more to do other than baselessly speculate until they gained more intelligence from the people out making inquiries anyway. Attending to the everyday chitchat between Rolland, Merewina, and Tristan as they attempted to maintain a sense of normalcy didn’t take too much concentration.
Sure, that was all it was. Marcelo’s newfound obsession with another man’s hands and eating process had nothing at all to do with memory flashes of Efren’s unshaven skin rasping tantalizingly around Marcelo’s mouth when they’d kissed in the not-dream. Marcelo stilled his hand that had started toward his mouth to rub a phantom tingle and suppressed a self-depreciating snort.
“You are each enamored with the other.” Once again, Erich’s words echoed through Marcelo’s mind, and despite everyone’s assurances that Marcelo had previously conducted himself in some kind of brave, heroic manner, regret churned in his belly that he hadn’t had the courage to open his eyes during that kiss.
Or better, to have tossed caution to the wind and embraced the moment…and Efren.
But to be fair to himself, not being able to ascertain how he’d come to be in a stranger’s arms in an unknown place was what had been so terrifying, rather than the situation itself. Surely thinking one had somehow lost their mind would be spine-chilling to most.
When Merewina’s ill-disguised snicker broke his reverie, Marcelo’s fork slipped from his fingers and landed with a clink that seemed unnaturally loud.
“Really, Efren,” she said, “it’s all I can do not to break all semblance of decorum to toss a sticky bun at you.”
“Do I want to know why?” The deepening lines around Efren’s eyes answered his own question. If Marcelo was reading his husband correctly, he already knew why, yet had no objection to hearing his sister’s explanation.
Marcelo turned his gaze to Merewina.
Her eyes narrowed at her brother. “You are utterly merciless.”
Efren’s eyes widened theatrically. “Me?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. You are shameless, teasing poor Marcelo like that.”
Marcelo’s face warmed. Yet a thrill coursed through his veins. He’d been right about Efren’s actions, and just as Erich had said, this handsome and powerful man was also drawn to him.
Efren’s lips quirked into a smile that curled Marcelo’s toes. “Dear sister, I assure you”—he winked at Marcelo—“I’m detecting no displeasure from my lovely young husband.”
Marcelo’s cheeks had to be flaming red, they felt so hot, but he held Efren’s gaze, and his own lips twitched into a sheepish grin.
Change of Plans
Fantasy Romance: novella / 32,026 words / 108 pages
Once upon a time, two handsome young princes fell in love, faced down adversity, and lived happily-ever-after … until one romantic evening, they unwittingly ate a confection laced with a mind-wiping toxin.
Crown Prince Efren of Zioneven blindsided Prince Marcelo of Sheburat when he used The Contingency Plan embedded in a peace treaty to marry the naïve young prince. Now, Marcelo is shocked again when he awakens in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar land, in the arms of a stranger who’s taking such liberties!
Will that ignominious new beginning to their relationship doom their chances at rekindling their love? Or will Efren’s giddiness and the less formal surroundings of Zioneven propel them toward a more teasingly fun rapport?
Marcelo and Efren have forgotten more than their love. On their journey home to Zioneven, their Best-Laid Plans went awry when Marcelo was abducted. Now, neither remembers the unexpected strength of character and ingenuity Marcelo manifested to survive his harrowing ordeal, or Efren’s frantic search for his new husband.
Were Marcelo and Efren specifically targeted for the Forget-Me-Not poisoning, or were they the victims of a random assault? Is this new attack related to Marcelo’s abduction and his sister’s death? Will Marcelo revert to his old mild-mannered, unassuming self, or will he step up to prove he’s the same brave man his new family claims he is amid the fresh danger swirling around them?
Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a dash of drama/angst, and a sprinkle of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.