Have you discovered the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook yet? I’ve recently become active there again in hopes that it’ll motivate me to stay active working on this WiP!
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!
Efren, the crown prince of Zioneven, blinked himself awake and studied the soft curls of beautiful strawberry blond hair haloing the head of the young man slumbering in his arms. Seemed like Efren should have a headache if he’d drunk enough spirits to forget bringing this one home to his bed.
But his head didn’t ache, so his personal servant, Dru, must have brought the man in after Efren had fallen asleep. Except, Dru had only ever brought him a gigolo upon request before this, never as a surprise.
He blinked again and shook the remaining cobwebs out of his head. He’d probably forgotten about an earlier solicitation he’d made to Dru when he had drunk more spirts than he should—a habit he needed to break despite his desire to “forget” about his upcoming wedding.
Odd that Efren hadn’t woken up, but his subconscious must have known he was safe. Likely he’d come half-awake or worked the action into a now-forgotten dream. Obviously, he’d done enough for Dru to feel safe leaving the man with him.
Heat swirled through Efren’s bloodstream as his gaze traveled the length of that lithe body. He wasn’t fooled by the lean physique; strength and a combination of agility and flexibility likely simmered in those beautifully toned limbs.
A lovely surprise to wake up to. He would have to give Dru a bonus…along with a caution to verify Efren was truly and fully awake before leaving a man in his bed. He drew in a lungful of berry-scented hair mixed with a clean, masculine scent.
“Wake up, my lovely.” Efren gently shook the man’s shoulder and landed a light kiss to his forehead.
The man’s eyes didn’t open, but the movement of his lids gave the impression of blinking without actually taking a peek, and his body stiffened. Perhaps he wasn’t a professional, and waking up in a stranger’s bed, he would be scouring his memory, processing where he was and how he’d come to be here.
Efren ran a finger along the man’s jaw then tipped up his chin for a proper, although still light, kiss. “Come, my lovely. Let’s make the most of this glorious morning, hmm?” He pressed his arousal against the man’s own to augment his words.
Stunning blue eyes that would beautifully reflect the Zioneven summer sky snapped open and stared in horror as if he were shackled in a Proye dungeon with Efren approaching, wielding instruments of torture.
Efren smiled reassuringly. Perhaps the young man had drunk more spirits than he was used to when he’d allowed Dru to coax him to Efren’s bed and couldn’t remember how he’d gotten here. But no, Dru would never bring him a man who was visibly drunk, so the man must be able to hold his liquor well even if it eventually affected his recall.
“You are in friendly hands, my lovely. You are free to stay or go, whichever you’d rather.” Efren held his breath and cut off his desire to plead for the man to stay.
With wide, stricken eyes, the man pushed away and scrambled out of bed. Efren huffed a heavy sigh and ran a hand over his face. He hefted himself to a sitting position as the young man stumbled to where two sets of clothing lay folded across the backs of chairs.
What had Dru been thinking? Efren gave a mental shrug. This man must be one of those whose personality changed completely when he’d been drinking to be so horrified upon realizing what he’d agreed to while under the influence.
The man sifted through the garments as his breaths grew louder and quicker. His head swiveled as he searched Efren’s bedchamber. “Where is my clothing?” His voice wafted out from between quivering lips in a breathy whimper.
More beauty than brains, perhaps? “My lovely, I’m sure they must be the smaller of those two sets.” Efren’s tone was more sardonic than he would have liked, but it was too early in the morning to deal with this level of rejection before his first cup of tea.
But he picked them up anyway and quickly but jerkily stepped into the smaller set of leather leggings before slipping the tunic over his head. His brows came together as he peered down at himself as if perplexed by the perfect custom fit.
Efren snorted, stood, pulled the bell rope to summon Dru, then stepped into his own pair of leather leggings. He held his shoulders back although his inclination was to slump. He was weary of this disappointing scene.
“As I said, my lovely, you are not a prisoner here. You need not panic so. I have plenty of enthusiastic partners available, and I feel no desire to force myself upon unwilling lovers who’ve changed their minds.” Efren waved a hand toward the door. “No doubt Dru knows to bring tea and toast for two in case you’re inclined to break your fast before rushing out, but you may leave now if you’d rather. Dru will show you out if you don’t remember the way.” Efren’s tone possibly conveyed his preference for the latter option, but basic civility and deeply ingrained diplomacy demanded he at least make a passing offer of refreshments.
The man’s breath quickened further, and he spun before rushing to the window to throw open the heavy draperies. The sun was reflecting off Zioneven’s majestic mountains to the northeast with the sun just clearing the horizon south of where the range tapered off.
Objectively a beautiful sight, but the young man recoiled with an alarm that had ratcheted up several notches. He wobbled as he whirled in place. “Where—?” He gulped. “Who—?”
A twinge of concern prickled Efren’s neck. The man’s distress went beyond what one would expect from waking in a stranger’s bed.
Far beyond. He’d reacted as if the scenery was completely unfamiliar.
The door swung open, and Dru and another servant whom Efren didn’t recognize entered bearing trays.
“Erich! Thank goodness!” The young man expelled a breath that also deflated some of the terror that had stiffened his slight frame.
“Sir?” Erich sedately placed his tray on a small table, and his brows raised in a manner that conveyed a calming, “How may I be of service,” rather than a reflection of the young man’s panic.
“Yes, thank goodness.” Efren rolled his eyes and turned to Dru. “I appreciate the effort, Dru, but next time, please find a bed-warmer who isn’t so deep in his cups he won’t remember how he came to be here.”
Dru came to a full stop with his laden tray halfway down to another table. “Sir?” Dru’s brows, unlike Erich’s, came together over widened eyes. In fact, Erich’s countenance now mirrored Dru’s. They both stared at Efren with a concentration that brought Efren’s twinge of concern back to life…and amplified it.
Dru carefully laid the tray on the table and took a deep breath. “You don’t know one another?”
The worry in Dru’s eyes clearly conveyed that they should. They should each recognize the other.
Efren’s blood chilled as he and the mysterious young man both shook their heads. Surely it wasn’t…no…it couldn’t be. That toxin was strictly outlawed, and nobody had dared use it in years.
This Week’s Snippet:
Change of Plans - Chapter 1 - Snippet 10
Dru gulped and walked stiffly to the bell pull and yanked it three times, signaling an alarm.
“No,” Efren whispered as he sat heavily on the edge of the bed.
“I’m sorry, sir.” Dru’s eyes mirrored his words. “I fear you’ve both been dosed with Forget-Me-Not.”
Forget-Me-Not was banned in all four realms with a very stiff penalty to anyone caught using it. It had originally been developed in Sheburat, but the formula had been discovered and also used by the monarchies in Zioneven, Gagel, and Proye. It hadn’t taken long for each to conclude that they were better off if they all agreed to ban its use.
Forget-Me-Not wiped a couple moon cycles worth of memories from its victims, activating during the first sleep after dosing. Those memories were never regained.
Blurb ~ Limerick ~ Haiku
I have a blurb now (still subject to further tweaking) 😁:
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?
…and a limerick 😁:
There once was a handsome young prince, whose naïveté made himself wince. He was a huge fan of “The Contingency Plan,” till a drug turned his memory to mince.
…and a haiku 😄:
They fell in love once. But can they do it again? Forget-Me-Not, dear.
About the series…
Although I always try to write sequels so random readers won’t be completely lost, this series will be best appreciated if all the stories are read in order. Look for Change of Plansprobably sometime in July (coming to JMS Books). In the meantime…
In case you missed the beginning of Marcelo and Efren’s relationship, here are some handy links:
12 thoughts on “RAINBOW SNIPPETS – Change of Plans – May 22-23”
😳 Don’t worry, my beta reader, who was Very Concerned after reading chapter one, ended up loving it. 😁
Oh, awesome twist! Cannot wait to see how this plays out. Write faster!
Thank you! It took forever, but it’s finished now and contracted at JMS. Waiting on a cover and edits, but the story itself is complete and will probably be out in July. ❤️
The forget-me-not potion explains a lot.
~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~
Yep. Explains away the apparent problem, but creates a whole new one. 😁
Ooo, what a delightfully mysterious and menacing plot hook!
Thank you! 🥰
Ooo I’m curious now as to who would do such a thing
Thanks! Yep…that’s pretty much the book’s mystery. ❤️😁
I knew something horrible had happened!
Yep. Probably clear to everyone except Efren that something was amiss. ❤️