Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Best-Laid Plans by Addison Albright Release Blitz

A death that wasn’t what it seemed...
A kidnapping that isn’t what it seems...
Time is running out.

The morning after his wedding night, Prince Marcelo thought he’d be embarking on a journey to his own personal fairytale happily ever after with his husband Efren, the crown prince of Zioneven. But when news arrives indicating his sister’s death wasn’t as accidental as previously thought, that journey becomes fraught with danger.

Enmeshed in political intrigue, death, and a kidnapping that might not be what it seems, will Efren untangle the web of misleading clues in time to save the naïve young man he’s already come to admire? Or will Marcelo dig deep to discover a previously untapped inner strength and determination to facilitate his own survival?

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Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
JMS Books


Efren blinked rapidly as he came awake with a start. He stared into the darkness and mentally shook the cobwebs from his mind. What had awoken him? Marcelo lay softly breathing in his arms, as relaxed and peaceful as only the innocent can truly be.

Around him, the night was silent. Too silent? He strained to hear the patrols rustling through the grasses, or the faint trills of their signals to each other.

A breeze swirled through the branches of the trees in the distance, rippling the leaves. Crickets chirped, apparently unconcerned about whatever either was or wasn’t going on in the meadow.

And footsteps. Quiet, approaching footsteps. It must be time for the shift change. That’s what had awoken him. Efren relaxed and nestled Marcelo tighter against him. One at a time, the guards would come in and wake their replacements.

Except—Efren tensed, then maneuvered his arm out from under Marcelo’s head and eased himself from under the blankets—the footsteps, furtively stopping and restarting, were approaching from multiple directions.

Efren shivered as goosebumps rose on his naked skin in the chilled night air and soundlessly slipped his broadsword and knife from their leather scabbard. He glanced at Marcelo, still sleeping, although less serenely with the sudden loss of the warm body next to him.

Guilt pinged his core as he shook off a strong desire to waken and forewarn Marcelo, but he pushed it down. Marcelo, completely untrained in warfare, would be safer in here. He seemed a heavy sleeper, likely incorporating outside noises into his dreams, unused to a need to be readily alert. He might even doze through the skirmish.

Or was that just wishful thinking? Because there’d be no hope that Marcelo could escape unseen, if it came to that.

Surely it would be better for such an innocent to be killed in his sleep, or with scarcely a brief moment of shock beforehand than to spend minutes quaking in terror, unable to defend himself.

Efren shook off his doubts and quickly pushed out the weighty flap, sword raised ready, and opened his mouth to yell an alert to awaken any of his warriors who hadn’t already sensed the looming danger, same as he had. But the breath he drew to strengthen his voice instead choked him.

He’d never before smelled these fumes, but the pungent, wet-dog odor had been described to him. The material of their tents was heavily treated to keep the toxin producing that odor from permeating the walls and closed flaps.

Icy apprehension slithered across Efren’s skin before settling in the pit of his gut. This was a completely unexpected development. The alchemists from the kingdom of Proye who’d developed this toxin—and unfailingly guarded the recipe—called it “Knockout.”

As Efren’s sword arm dropped, followed swiftly by his eyes rolling back in his head and his body slumping in a boneless crumple, a corner of his brain recognized how fittingly it was named, and hoped that enough of it had entered the tent through the briefly opened flap that Marcelo would succumb before Proye agents executed whatever they had planned. They’d been married for less than two days, and already he’d failed his innocent, young husband.

Copyright 2019 Addison Albright

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This follows on directly from The Contingency Plan, and you really do need to read it to understand the dynamics and the reasoning behind much of what happens in this installment.

Efren is very excited to be taking his new spouse back to his kingdom. Even though Prince Marcelo has obviously not been educated, he is clearly smart, and would seem to be as interested in Efren as he is in him. Life is looking good, but as always enemies threaten the peace.

In an adventure worthy of any of the classic fantasy tales of knights errant are derring-do, this story manages to convey the tension, and the environment using sparse words, but plenty of action to give the sense of the time and the place. Where there is description it is used wisely and Albright's writing imparts all the emotions with perfect emphasis.

Writing a really good short story is a skill possessed by few – I am delighted to say that Addison Albright is one of those few.

I cannot even begin to express the absolute delight I felt when I learned that Addison Albright had written a sequel to The Contingency Plan. I absolutely adored Prince Marcelo and his honest reactions to being thrust into a marriage designed to seal a peace treaty between his country of Sheburat and his soon-to-be husband’s country of Zioneven. A marriage that was supposed to be between his twin sister and Prince Efren. A marriage that suddenly elevated him from a relative no one as a rare royal son in a matriarchal society to an individual of utmost importance as his marriage would be the first of its kind for Sheburat and cement the peace between the two kingdoms. I enjoyed The Contingency Plan so much that I actually went to the author’s website to read bonus scenes from the book, which is something I almost never do. So, the joy and happiness were accompanied by grabby hands upon my discovery of The Best-Laid Plans.

True to the format of the first installment, The Best-Laid Plans is set over the course of two (maybe three) days and picks up the morning after the royal wedding. But before the newlyweds can begin their journey to Zioneven, Albright ratchets up the tension with the discovery that Princess Marcela’s death wasn’t accidental after all… and that the responsible party isn’t done trying to prevent peace between the kingdoms. And that’s pretty much all I’m going to say about the specifics because I don’t want to spoil the adventure for other readers.

Albright does such a wonderful job of making Marcelo seem real. His feelings of inadequacy as he compares himself to others, especially his husband, was a little heartbreaking. Were it not for his fierce determination to expand his knowledge and develop new skills to be better prepared for his new life, Marcelo’s self-doubt might have tainted the story a bit for me. But it’s his unwillingness to let his self-identified shortcomings define him that made the self-doubt easier to read. Marcelo’s ability to constantly surprise others had me grinning more than once, even when the scene wasn’t particularly pleasant. His determination and resourcefulness were sources of major character growth over such a short period of time. Unlike book one, Albright gives us Efren’s point of view as well and it not only makes the story even richer, but it left me feeling as though I knew and understood him better as well. At the end of The Contingency Plan, I loved Marcelo and liked Efren, but at the end of The Best-Laid Plans, I loved both men. I can only hope that Albright is inspired to write another sequel because I NEED to know how Marcelo is adjusting to life in Zioneven and see how the couple continues to grow.

Also Available in the Plans Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
JMS Books

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on The Contingency Plan Release Blitz.

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. 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.

Connect with Addison

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Best-Laid Plans (Plans #2) by Addison Albright to read and review for this tour.

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