Guestpost, Release Blitz

Re-release Spotlight: He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd

Today, my lovely friend Ofelia Gränd is back on the blog with another of her re-releases. I haven’t read this one but I like the sound of it, so while you read this post, I’ll go buy it. Okay? 🙂


Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me swing by today. Yesterday, my story, He Melted Us, was re-released. It was first released as part of an anthology called Love Unlocked. This was waaayyy back when they removed the love locks from Pont des Art in Paris, and the call was to write a story about one of the locks.

I did. My lock was removed five years prior, though. There was an incident with an art student stealing a few locks to use in a sculptor – my lock was one of them.

This story is more than a little crazy. Delron, one of the main characters, has the idea that his and Phillipe’s relationship is tied to the padlock. As long as the padlock is in place, everything will be fine, but when it’s stolen, Delron is certain it’s a sign their relationship will end.

When I’m thinking about this story, I mostly remember laughing. Half of the things in there, my sister made up. I was on the phone with her, laughing so hard I cried, while she suggested things Delron could do to get the lock back.

Some of the ideas came from little news snippets, like when Del scrawls at one of the sculptures in École des Beaux-Arts. There was a picture of someone having written vulgar words on Aphrodite, so Delron does too LOL

So, is Delron sane? Not really. Are his actions realistic? Not very. Did I laugh while writing it? A lot 😂

Excerpt:

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

“Hey, listen to this.” Phillipe took a sip of his creamy coffee before reading out the article in Le Monde.

“In response to speculation about the Paris mayor’s involvement in the disappearance of the locks on Pont des Arts, Town Hall yesterday firmly denied having any connection to the incident.”

“They have to say that.” A light flush spread over Delron’s fair skin, and his eyes glistened with anger. Phillipe didn’t know if he should laugh or cry. Delron was way too worked up—it was just a freaking lock, a tacky symbol that had nothing to do with them. He shook his head.

“Here, they’ve asked a woman what she thinks has happened.”

“And what does she think?” Delron’s tight voice made Phillipe glance in his direction again before he continued reading. His strawberry-blond hair was standing on end. He was clenching his jaw and fisting his hands as he waited for Phillipe to continue.

Phillipe skimmed the paragraph. “She says she thinks the mayor hired someone to remove the locks during the night. That it can’t be a coincidence that Town Hall said last week they wanted the locks removed, and now they’ve miraculously disappeared.”

Relief shone in Delron’s eyes. Phillipe double-checked the text to see what might have brought on the change in his demeanour, but he couldn’t find it.

“So they’re out there somewhere? Someone has them?”

“Erm…Del? It’s one woman, a random person, who thinks that. No one knows.”

“No, I know that, but what if she’s right? What if we could find the person who has our lock? Then everything would be fine again.”

Phillipe creased his brow. What the hell was Delron talking about? “It’s just a lock, a piece of metal—”

“It’s the symbol of our love, without it—”

“It means nothing!” Phillipe hadn’t meant to raise his voice. He didn’t want to argue, but it was just a fucking lock.

Delron stared at him. For a moment Phillipe saw hurt in his eyes, but then a perfectly neutral expression chased away every indication of feeling.

“You need to hurry if you don’t want to be late.”

Phillipe glanced at the clock—the ugly cat-shaped clock that defiled the entire room merely by being there. He hated it—he hated the colour, hated the form, and he definitely hated the ugly pink bow around the deformed head. It had been a sunny day about four years ago when Delron had come home with it. He’d presented it as if it were a treasure, and Phillipe didn’t have the heart to tell him he wanted to drop it from the balcony and watch the cars below run over it. It was an urge he fought every day—to throw the darn thing off the balcony and see it shatter into tiny pieces.

The hideous brown cat swung its tail back and forth in sync with each click of a second. The body formed the round shape of the clock, and two creepy yellow eyes followed you wherever you went in the kitchen. He guessed he should be happy it wasn’t one of those models where the eyes moved as well, they were eerie enough as they were, distracting him every time he wanted to see what time it was.

“Shit.” He gulped down his coffee, left the newspaper on the table, and hurried out the door. He was halfway down the stairs before he realised he hadn’t said a proper goodbye to Delron. Argh, I don’t have the time to run back up now.

Blurb:

All Delron Chastain wants is to live his life with Phillipe, but when their love lock is stolen from Pont des Art, their relationship is in jeopardy. Without the lock holding them together, Delron is convinced they’ll crash and burn. The only way he can save their relationship is to find the stolen lock, and that is what he plans to do, no matter what.

Phillipe Lebeau loves Delron, but a padlock is simply a piece of metal, and Delron not seeing that is driving him insane. The lock has nothing to do with them. Their life was great until the night the lock was stolen, and Del’s crazy behaviour makes Phillipe question if he’s ever really known him.

Delron’s search leads him through an art-filled Paris. Will recovering the symbol of their love be enough to soothe the mistrust his quest has planted in Phillipe? Phillipe believed he’d spend the rest of his life with Del. But who can live with anyone willing to break the law simply to find an old rusty padlock?

Gay Romance / 16,930 words

Buy links

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/He-Melted-Us

About Ofelia

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Find Ofelia on social media

Blog :: Newsletter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: He Wears My Ring by Iyana Jenna

Today, I have a guest on the blog, someone who’s never been here before. Please help me welcome Iyana Jenna, who’s here with her new release He Wears My Ring. It’s a short story and you know how I feel about short stories by now, right? They rule! 🙂


Thank you so much, Nell, for the chance to be on your blog with my new release. Here is some information about my story, He Wears My Ring.

Declan Everett proposed to his boyfriend and co-actor, Killian Sawyer. They do love each other, but they each also have a best friend. Neither Declan nor Killian has special feelings toward their respective best friends, yet suspicion is always there, like an elephant in the room.

And more, there is another issue Declan keeps from Killian. Will it stay lurking in the darkness?

Gay Romance / 3489 words

BUY LINKS

EXCERPT:

“Don’t do that again.”

Lying on his side with his back to Killian, Declan frowned.

“Do what?”

“Don’t you go away like that again to William’s place or anywhere at all.”

Declan felt his spine tighten, his fists balling under the pillow. His voice turned cold when he spoke again.

“Why? What would you do if I did?” His chin was up with defiance though Killian could not see him. But he could feel the other man’s eyes bore into him.

“What would I do, Declan? What would I do? Do you really want to know?” Killian’s voice was thin and razor-sharp and cut into Declan’s heart like a flaming sword, leaving it bleeding. When Declan didn’t answer, he went on. “I would think that you truly want to stay with William, so I would keep it that way.”

Declan could not believe his ears.

“You wouldn’t want me to come back?”

“Hey, you were the one who walked away, Dec. I didn’t ask you.”

For some time there were only sounds of the two men breathing. Then Killian broke the silence.

“Will there be a next time, then?” he asked quietly, shaking Declan’s shoulder gently. “Hey.”

“I never leave people.” Declan sniffled. “People leave me.”

ABOUT ME

Reading, watching movies, and being unable to find exactly the thing she wanted to read have led Iyana to write her own stories, mostly about man-on-man romance that has fascinated her since as early as the Starsky and Hutch era. Teaching and writing English course books during the day, Iyana spends her nights mostly dreaming about love stories between two men who are protective toward each other.

MY LINKS

Blog: http://iyanajennaauthor.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://facebook.con/books.by.iyanajenna
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IyanaJenna
Instagram: http://Instagram.com/iyanajenna

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Bear Claw by Holly Day

Today, my dear friend Holly Day is back on the blog with her newest release, Bear Claw. I’m scheduling this blog post during one of my early morning writing sessions, and the pictures made my mouth water and I’m craving a bear claw and macarons and pastry for breakfast. Maybe Holly should apologize for that, too?! 😁

Nah, just kidding. No need to apologize, but maybe since we only live a couple hours from each other, she should compensate me by sending me a box of pastries? Everyone in favor, say “aye!” 😁


Hi, Nell! Hello, Nell’s readers!

Holly Day here 😊. As some of you might know, I like to celebrate things, and tomorrow, it’s Be an Angel Day. *nods* Yup, it’s true. A day when you’re supposed to act like an angel. I won’t tell you if I will or not, but I wrote a story to celebrate the day, and it so just happens that it’s released today, yay! 🥳

I’ll be over at A.L. Lester’s blog in a couple of days, and I started that post by apologising because I’d written an alpha story – Ally dislikes those. I’m thinking I should do the same here because Nell dislikes stories where one of the characters ‘doesn’t want a boyfriend’. Sorry, Nell!  Shiro does not want a boyfriend. He really, truly doesn’t 😂.

I feel like, maybe, I’ll have to apologise to everyone I visit with this story LOL.

The thing is, The Bear Claw is an alternate universe story. All supernatural characters are either dominant or submissive – not in a BDSM kind of way but in a pack-structure kind of way – and Shiro is submissive. Every dominant he meets can order him to do things.

His first mate was an abusive arse, but since he died, Shiro has been free, or as free as a submissive can be in a society like the one he’s living in. He owns a bakery and while he’s unable to shift into an animal, he can put emotions into cookies and cakes. His employee and friend, Astra, has the ability to make coffee taste divine. If only one of them had been a dominant, they could’ve lived their lives as they saw fit.

When Pitch, a dominant werewolf, takes an interest in Shiro, he does his best to fake being a dominant. When that doesn’t work, he hides in the kitchen of his bakery and does his best to avoid Pitch altogether.

It’s not working very well.

Excerpt:

Pitch kept his face blank despite wanting to frown. All he’d said was that Shiro needed someone to take care of him—all submissives needed someone to take care of them. He and Bernard were proof of it… or Bernard more than him.

Bernard came here after finishing his shift at the bar every day to walk Shiro and Astra to work. It should be enough for Shiro to understand he needed a dominant. He gave Shiro one last look before heading for the table where Astra had put two cups of coffee.

Bernard sat, took a sip, and smiled at Astra.

Pitch sat, took a sip, and almost spit it out. “Fecking shit!” He hadn’t meant to growl, and when Astra raised an eyebrow at him, he took a calming breath. “There is something wrong with my coffee, Astra.”

“No, I don’t think so. I told you it would taste like rat poison.”

“Unless I…” Left Shiro alone. He shook his head and set the cup aside. “I see.”

She straightened her back. “I know your kind.”

“Wolves?”

She rolled her eyes. “The kind who thinks that because you can order someone around, you have the right to. Shiro works ten times as hard as you do, and yet you think you have the right to harass him.”

“I wasn’t harassing him.”

Bernard’s gaze jumped between them.

“No? What did you say to make him panic so hard I could smell it?”

Pitch gritted his teeth. “Only that he needed someone to take care of him.”

Both she and Bernard snorted which made Pitch glare at Bernard. “He does. He’s working too hard, and you said it yourself, it’s not safe for him to walk the streets at night.”

“Because of stupid alphas.” Astra couldn’t meet his gaze, but she glared at his nose for several seconds. “It’s not Shiro’s fault people like you think they have the right to dictate his life.”

Pitch didn’t respond. He wasn’t dictating Shiro’s life. He could, but he wasn’t.

Bernard finished his coffee, a bit faster than could be considered normal. “I stink. I have to change shirt. Will you be okay without me for a few minutes?”

“Depends on if dickhead here is gonna stay civil or pull some stupid dominant shit.” Astra crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Pitch’s nose again. She had more spunk than he’d given her credit for.

“I’ll guard them with my life.” He’d meant to make his tone mocking, but it came out all serious. He could guard them. Crazy as it was, he didn’t want some drunken dominants to saunter in here and disturb Shiro while he was baking. He’d appeared contented while he was baking.

Bernard got up, and Astra took the coffee cups, both the empty and the full. As soon as Bernard had left, she put a fresh cup in front of him, and he cautiously took a sip. Divine. The best coffee he’d ever had.

He shrugged off his leather jacket and scratched one heavily tattooed arm before taking another sip. “Is it only coffee or can you change the taste of any food.”

“Only liquid.” She wiped away a drop she’d spilled on the table. “Shiro does baked goods.”

“All kinds of baked goods?”

She shrugged. “It’s not the same. My skill is that I can either make it the best you’ve ever had, bland, or terrible. Should Bernard have taken a sip of your coffee before he’d only taste coffee, nothing special. It’s limited to you, or you know the person I’m pouring it for. It’s a good skill when working in a place like this, but it doesn’t have a great impact on the world.”

Pitch frowned. “Don’t say that. You could have this place overflowing with customers. It could bring in a lot of money.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Money you’d take.”

“What?” He was too stunned to get angry. Did she think he’d steal from them?

“I see the way you’re watching Shiro. He doesn’t want a mate.”

“He needs—”

“Remember the taste of the coffee.”

Pitch scratched the stubble on his cheek. “He needs someone to take care of him.”

“No, he doesn’t. He needs to be allowed to live his life without dancing to the whims of his puppet master. He runs a business; he doesn’t need a dominant to sweep in and steal it from him.”

Steal it? It was better if dominants owned businesses since they couldn’t be manipulated.

Astra huffed. “You’re still not getting it.” With a shake of her head, she went behind the counter and started organizing the display shelf.

Get what?

Blurb:

In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.

Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.

Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?

Buy links:

 Gay Paranormal Romance / 46,763 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheBearClaw

About Holly

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Instagram

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: The Fog of War by A.L. Lester

Help me welcome the lovely and talented A.L. Lester, my morning writing friend and all-round wonderful human being to the blog today ❤️

The Fog of War: Lucille Hall-Bridges

Thank you so much to Nell for having me here today to talk about my new release, The Fog of War! The book is the first of a new trilogy in my Border Magic Universe. It’s a sapphic, historical, paranormal, romantic mystery set in rural England in 1920. I’m doing a bit of a blog-tour talking about the characters, settings and the history behind it and Nell is one of the stops. You’ll be able to find the other posts listed on my website as they come out this week. I’ve also had a Facebook Release Party in my group with drop-ins from similar genre authors, so please do pop over and see what giveaways and the like are still running!

Lucille Hall-Bridge (Lucy)

Born: 1895 at her family’s large country house Magenford, in Buckinghamshire, England.

Profession: None. Previously a volunteer nurse in France at the Royaumont Women’s Hospital between 1915-18.

Smokes: Anything anyone else has.

Drives: Like a demon.

Lives: At Magenford and then Bradfield, with Sylvia.

Appearance: Very smart, not quite a flapper but very chic. She has recently got her father’s barber to bob her brown hair short and it’s gone in to curls. Has a thing for hats.

Personality: Kind, quiet until she needs to speak up. Implacable at righting wrongs. Funny. Likes slapstick comedy at the flicks. Very bad at knitting.

Like Sylvia, Lucy wasn’t a difficult character to come up with. She’s a very straightforward sort of person and unlike Sylvia, she doesn’t really have mysterious hidden depths. Her depths are the quite usual ones of initially appearing very young and quiet but having the fortitude to step up and do what’s necessary.

That’s why she pushed to serve overseas in 1915. Red Cross VAD nurses (the Voluntary Aid Detachment)  were supposed to be twenty-three before they were assigned to overseas service and Lucy was only twenty. Lucy felt very strongly that France was where she was supposed to be and with the help of her mother, who knew a woman who knew a woman, she was sent to the Royaumont Women’s Hospital. She served there as an orderly for three years doing everything from scrubbing floors to emptying bedpans to holding men’s hands as they died.

It was a great shock when she arrived and she really thought she might have made a mistake. She’s a well brought up girl from a wealthy, old family and she’d never even made her own bed before she went to France. But she pulled herself together and got on with it and really felt she made a difference.

Now the war is over she doesn’t know what she wants to do with herself. She’s lucky her parents are a bit eccentric and open-minded and are simply happy if she’s happy.

Going to visit Sylvia seems like a good idea. Sylvia needs help sorting out her ramshackle house. And Lucy has time, she likes sorting things out and putting things straight and organising. She enjoys Sylvia’s company and after all, what else is there to do?

Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Editor: Lourenza Adlem
Release date: 14 Aug 2014
Word Count: 50,000 words
Genre: Sapphic, found-family, historical, paranormal romantic mystery set in 1920s England.
Content Warning: Mention of domestic violence.

The quiet village of Bradfield should offer Dr Sylvia Marks the refuge she seeks when she returns home from her time in a field hospital in France in 1918. However, she is still haunted by the disappearance of her ambulance-driver lover two years previously, and settling down as a village doctor is more difficult than she realised it would be after the excitement of front-line medicine. Then curious events at a local farm, mysterious lights and a hallucinating patient’s strange illness make her revisit her assessment of Anna’s death on the battlefield.

Lucille Hall-Bridges is at a loose end now her nursing work is finished. She felt useful as a nurse and now she really doesn’t know what to do with her life. She hopes going to stay with her friend Sylvia for a while will help her find a way forward. And if that involves staying at Bradfield with Sylvia…then that’s fine with her.

Will the arrival of Lucy at Bradfield be the catalyst that allows both women to lay their wartime stresses to rest? Can Sylvia move on from her love affair with Anna and find happiness with Lucy, or is she still too entwined in the unresolved endings of the past?

The first in the Bradfield trilogy, set in the Border Magic universe.

Buy::Buy from Publisher::Add on Goodreads::Find on author-website


About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, some hens and the duckettes. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

Facebook Group : Twitter : Newsletter : Website : Link-tree for everywhere else

Excerpt

It was a beautiful late August day when Sylvia motored down to Taunton to collect Lucy from the railway station. The sun shone through the trees as she followed the lane down the hill from the village and the sky above was a beautiful summer blue. She had left the all-weather hood of the Austin down and wore a scarf and gloves against the wind, topping her trouser outfit off with her new hat, which she pinned firmly to the neat coil of her long hair.

Walter had watched her fussing with her appearance in the hall mirror, stuffing his pipe. “Are you sweet on her?” he asked, somewhat acerbically.

“It’ll be cold with the hood down,” she said, crushingly.

“Yes, yes, so it will be.” He turned his attention back to his tobacco, face straight. “Be careful on the bends.”

“I will,” she said. “She’s a beast to drive, smooth on the straights and handles well on the corners, but I’ve no desire to end up in the ditch.”

She’d bought the big Austin coupe late last winter when she’d got fed up riding her motorcycle out to some of the more remote houses she was called to in the dreadful weather. It was huge, far bigger than she needed really, although the back seat was useful to transport a patient if she had to. She still preferred her ‘cycle, but it wasn’t exactly suitable as a doctor’s vehicle. Not very staid at all. The Austin wasn’t very staid either, in that it was huge and expensive; but one of the benefits of a private income was that she could afford it; and so why not be comfortable?

She pondered all this and more on the drive down to Taunton, mind floating along with no real purpose. She loved to drive and for some reason it calmed her thoughts and allowed them to drift.

It would be lovely to see Lucy again. As Walt had said, she was a sweet little thing. Although Sylvia didn’t want to revisit the grim minutiae of some of the worst times at Royaumont, it would be lovely to reminisce about some of their happier moments of camaraderie. It had been four years of extreme stress and grim terror lightened with moments of laughter and fun. Working with a team of competent women all pulling together for one purpose had been extraordinary. She’d never experienced anything like it before and she doubted she would again. She was delighted some of the staff had set up a regular newsletter so they could all  stay connected.

And so what if Lucy was sweet on her. Sylvia wasn’t interested in that kind of complication anymore. She didn’t want to cause gossip in the village for a start…although she supposed people wouldn’t make any assumptions about two women living together these days after so many men hadn’t come home from France. But anyway, even if it wouldn’t cause gossip, she didn’t think about Lucy like that. And she doubted Lucy thought about Sylvia like that, despite Walter’s teasing. He was stirring the pot a little to see what bubbled up, that was all.

Those musings took her to the station.

The train was on time and was just pulling in as she got out of the car. She walked out onto the platform as the smoke was clearing and through the clouds, she made out Lucy.

She was beside the guard’s van, directing the guard and porters to what seemed like an unnecessarily large pile of luggage. Despite the clement August weather, she was wearing an extremely smart velvet coat with a fur collar over a beautiful travelling suit that hung to mid calf, topped with an extraordinary confection of a hat.

She looked competent and sophisticated and exceptionally beautiful. Not at all the slightly scapegrace young person of 1916 who had persuaded the hospital powers-that-be she was a suitable candidate for France, although she’d been only twenty-one and inexperienced as a nurse.

Well. Gosh.

Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Change of Plans by Addison Albright

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.

Excerpt

(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?

Buy Links

Book 3: Change of PlansPublisher :: Universal Link

Book 2: The Best-Laid PlansPublisher :: Universal Link

Book 1: The Contingency PlanPublisher :: Universal Link

About Addison

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.

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