I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. From their description: “Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).” Pretty cool, eh? Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page and/or my Facebook profile while you’re over there checking out this fantastic group!
I’m continuing a thread from my short story/novelette, The Contingency Plan. This isn’t the first scene in the story, but you don’t need much in the way of context beyond the blurb.
A sheltered prince. A sudden death. An unexpected choice. How will Prince Marcelo react to discovering he’s The Contingency Plan?
For eighteen years, there has been peace between Sheburat and the kingdom of Zioneven. The untimely death of a princess throws the marriage arrangement—the final phase to complete the terms of the treaty—into disarray, and the contingency plan is put into motion. Now the Crown Prince of Zioneven gets to make his own choice from among the princess’s younger siblings.
As a rare royal son in the matriarchal sovereignty of Sheburat, Prince Marcelo grew up knowing he would never marry. Never. Royal sons did not marry. Period. Except, Prince Efren isn’t from Sheburat, and he has other plans.
Told from Prince Marcelo’s 3rd-person POV.
Click the spoiler tags below for a quick and easy refresher of earlier scenes in this thread:
The Contingency Plan – 10-March-2018
Straightening his back, Marcelo stepped into place in the entryway. The servant proclaimed, “His Royal Highness, Prince Marcelo of Sheburat,” and Marcelo strode into the packed room.
The royal family and nobles of Sheburat lined one side, and the entourage from Zioneven flanked the opposite. Being male, he stepped into place at the lower end of the row of Queen Giselle’s offspring, rather than in age-order amongst his sisters.
Surprisingly, considering his whole life he’d heard whispers of what backward brutes the people of Zioneven were, they looked much the same as the people on the Sheburat side of the room. The ambassadors from Zioneven with whom he’d conversed at state dinners had been civilized enough, but he’d considered that an aberration—a skill and front that went with their position.
The Contingency Plan – 17-March-2018
The men and women varied in size, and although the details of the styling of their clothing was distinctive, the basics were the same: long, silk-trimmed tunics made of a finely woven cloth with a colorful strong fabric belt. Coming from a chillier climate, their trousers were tailored tighter than those worn in Sheburat, and were leather rather than linen, but the leather footwear was much the same. Their cloaks were fastened at the left shoulder by a round brooch.
Marcelo scanned the faces on the other side of the hall. The tranquil openness of their expressions suggested honesty and integrity. Certainly, an individual could excel at feigning a disposition that didn’t reflect their true nature, but an entire body of people? They were doing the same, sizing up the nobles of Sheburat. Marcelo stood straight and tall and lifted his chin. They would find no sign of weakness in him.
The Contingency Plan – 24-March-2018
The man in the middle of the Zioneven lineup was a little taller than average, but not in the same league as the intimidatingly large warriors who had accompanied them. He had short dark brown hair and piercing dark eyes. His bearing set him apart from the rest. The proud tilt to his head, the authoritative demeanor that stopped short of appearing pompous. This regal man had to be Crown Prince Efren. And he was staring directly at Marcelo.
The Contingency Plan – 31-March-2018
Marcelo blinked in surprise, but tightened his jaw and held the look. He refused to avert his gaze first. After a long moment, one corner of the prince’s mouth quirked up, and he nodded faintly before turning away.
Marcelo’s youngest sister, Suky, standing beside him, peered oddly at him. “That was…interesting,” she whispered.
Perhaps. Curious that the crown prince would take note of the member of the royal family with the least status, but nothing of particular importance. All-in-all, he felt a little less concern on Kemble’s behalf.
The Contingency Plan – 7-April-2018
With everyone now in attendance, Queen Giselle stepped forward. “Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Lords, and people of Zioneven, please accept our warm welcome to Sheburat, and I hope you’ll accept our sincere apology for the chaos in which you find us today.”
Prince Efren inclined his head. “Of course, Your Majesty. On behalf of Zioneven, I offer our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved daughter.”
“Thank you,” Queen Giselle replied. “Sadly, our loss yesterday affects more than simply causing us private pain.”
“Indeed.” Prince Efren kept his reply short, perhaps diplomatically leaving it to Queen Giselle to either further the conversation toward whether or not he was ready to choose his alternate, or to wait for a time when her grief would be less immediate.
This Week’s Snippet:
The Contingency Plan – 14-April-2018
His mother would put diplomacy first, Marcelo didn’t doubt that. The conversation may or may not happen today, but it would occur during this visit. Diplomacy always came ahead of personal concerns.
“Although disappointment caused by the cancellation of the wedding we’d expected tomorrow is unavoidable,” Queen Giselle said. “I hope you’ll find a small comfort in knowing that you may now make your own choice of your future bride from among my younger daughters rather than the arrangement made on your behalf at the tender age of five.”
Again, Prince Efren inclined his head. “Sibling.”
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC Cover: Written Ink Designs Release Date: April 14, 2018 Length: Short Story/Novelette – 8,040 words Genres/Tags: Fantasy Gay Romance, M/M Pairing, Virgin, Arranged Marriage Heat Level: 3 flames – Moderate – While physical details are described, they are not graphically depicted.
Note: The Contingency Plan is 20% off at the publisher’s site through April 20.