The Psychology of Hurt/Comfort Romances

When most people think about romance novels they focus on stories that work toward a HEA or even HFN ending. But recently, Hurt/Comfort (H/C) stories are becoming more and more popular, where the journey to that HEA is painful, torturous, and downright gut-wrenching. These are the epic love stories that make you hurt so bad that you keep on reading in the hopes that the characters will find that HEA, because, Damn it! They deserve it. But what makes this antithesis journey to romance so desirable?

Defining Hurt/Comfort

Hurt/Comfort stories are defined as stories that have one character who has physical/emotional/psychological trauma and another character who heals/nurtures/comforts them through it.

H/C stories go beyond your average alpha male/spunky female couples (or whatever tickles your fancy), in that in there is an intensity and an openness with which the hurt protagonist’s pain and struggle through that pain is explored. It gives the reader an all-access pass in to the character’s world of pain, and their struggle to overcome or deal with that pain.

They showcase how pain is seldom experienced alone. That the ones around us, the ones who care, have a deep-seated desire to comfort and nurture us through the pain. How the nurturing protagonist learns about themselves in comforting the hurt protagonist.

H/C stories are about the reciprocal nature of hurt and comfort, neglect and nurture, and weakness and strength.

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Fanfiction Review: You Can Do This by osointricate

McDannoYou Can Do This

Author:  osointricate

Genre: McDanno M/M romance & family

Warnings: Typical Hawaii Five-0 violence, serious Rachel bashing, and past child abuse

Rating: MA

Length:  111,845 words (novel)


“What’s it about? Steve and Danny start dating each other, then they start a family, and then they freak out because they realize they are dating each other.” -Kono Kalakaua, age 31

“Uncle Steve and Danno are idiots, they are such idiots, they drive me crazy because what the [“Grace Danielle! Watch your language!”] took them so long?” -Grace Williams, age 13

“‘Mander and Danno are the best except Daddy is pretty cool too. (“Can they all tie for best?” “Yeah, sure.”) They all tie for best.” -Charlie Edwards, age 4

“The motorcycle stuff is my favorite part. The rest is just an exercise in frustration because they should have been dating years ago.” -Chin Ho Kelly, age redacted

“Turns out I get a happy ending, imagine that.” -Nahele Huikala, age 15

Featuring: Giant sharks, family bonding, a bazooka, frustration, idiot fathers, purple casts, mothers that just don’t understand, New Years confetti, and Grace facepalming way more often than she would like it. Rated T for “Throw them in a closet until they make out.” “Grace, no.”

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Book Review: On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

On His WatchOn His Watch (Search and Rescue 0.5)

Author: Katie Ruggle

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Warning: Children in potentially life-threatening situations

Rating: PG13

Length: 84 Kindle pages


In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he’s the first in line to bring them home—even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.

Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it’s too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Three Books to Read if You’re in the Mood for Paranormal Romance

Top Ten Tuesdays (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. Given that they are many, and there is only one of me, all Top Ten Tuesday posts will really be Top Three Tuesdays.

This week’s topic is…

March 1 2016 TTT Topic Title

This week was a book recommendation week, and as you lovely people know, I am obsessed with paranormal romance. Why? Because you get the edge of urban fantasy with the awww cuteness of romance. So here are three books you should definitely check out if you’re browsing around for your next paranormal romance read.

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Book Review: Pumpkin by Ines Johnson

Pumpkin by Ines JohnsonPumpkin (Cindermama Book 1)

Genre: Fairytale Retelling Romance

Warning: pseudo-adultery and sexy-times

Rating: MA

Length: 266 pages

Please note that I received an ARC of this book as I beta read the second book in the series for the author.


Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliché for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the Richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

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Book Review: A Matter of Time Vol. 2 by Mary Calmes

A Matter of Time Vol. 2 (A Matter of Time Books 3 & 4)

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Warnings: Violence, kidnapping (or adultnapping), and a creepy serial killer with peeping tom tendencies and mommy issues

Rating: M

Length: 298 pages (novel)

Related Books:  Piece of Cake by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 8); Parting Shot by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 7); Ears, Eggs and Bunnies by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 6.5); But For You by Mary Calmes ( A Matter of Time Book 6); Just Jory by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 5.5); Bulletproof by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 5); Book Review: A Matter of Time Vol. 1 by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Books 1 & 2)


Three years ago, Jory Harcourt changed his name and shut the door on a past full of pain, only to emerge stronger on the other side. He has a new career, a great working partner, and a satisfying life—except for the hole in his chest left behind when police Detective Sam Kage walked out with his heart.

Now Sam’s back and he knows what he wants… and what he wants is Jory. Jory, who doesn’t know if he can survive another break up or losing Sam to his dangerous job, resists returning to the arms of the only man he has ever truly loved. But when a serial killer with a score to settle targets Jory, he will have to decide if love is worth the danger as he tries to solve the case and keep Sam safe.

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Book Review: A Matter of Time Vol. 1 by Mary Calmes

A Matter of Time Vol. 1 (A Matter of Time Books 1 & 2)

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Warnings: Mild violence & the threat of rape

Rating: M

Length: 280 pages (novel)

Related Books:  Piece of Cake by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 8); Parting Shot by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 7); Ears, Eggs and Bunnies by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 6.5); But For You by Mary Calmes ( A Matter of Time Book 6); Just Jory by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 5.5); Bulletproof by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Book 5); A Matter of Time Vol. 2 by Mary Calmes (A Matter of Time Books 3 & 4)


Jory Keyes leads a normal life as an architect’s assistant until he is witness to a brutal murder. Though initially saved by police Detective Sam Kage, Jory refuses protective custody—he has a life he loves that he won’t give up no matter who is after him. But Jory’s life is in real jeopardy, especially after he agrees to testify about what he saw.

While dealing with attempts on his life, well-meaning friends who want to see him happy, an overly protective boss, and a slowly unfolding mystery that is much more sinister than he could ever imagine, the young gay man finds himself getting involved with Sam, the conflicted and closeted detective. And though Jory may survive the danger, he may not survive a broken heart.

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Book Review: Sultry Sunset by Mary Calmes

Sultry Sunset (Mangrove Stories Book 3)

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Gay Romance

Warnings: Off-screen heterosexual sex, and detailed-yet vague- reference to periods

Rating: M

Length: 78 pages (short-story/novella)

Related Books: Quiet Nights by Mary Calmes (Mangrove Stories Book 2); Blue Days by Mary Calmes (Mangrove Stories Book 1)


Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.

When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.

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Book Review: Just Desserts By Mary Calmes

Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook Book 5)

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Gay Romance

Warnings: Part of the Tales of the Curious Cookbook series. However, each book can be read as a standalone and in any order.

Rating: M

Length: 103 pages (novella)

Related Posts: Book Review: Cookies for Courting by Amber Kell (Tales of the Curious Cookbook Book 4)


Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.

Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.

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Book Review: Owner of my Heart by Valentina Heart

Cover for the 1st edition of Owner of my Heart

Owner of my Heart (Mending the Rift Book 2)

Author: Valentina Heart

Genre: Gay fantasy & fairytale

Warnings: Male pregnancy, part of a series

Rating: M

Length: 133 pages

Related Posts: Book Review: King’s Conquest by Valentina Heart (Mending the Rift Book 1)

Please note that I read the first edition of this book, which was published by Silver Publishing in 2012. A second, revised and re-edited, edition was published with Totally Bound Publishing in 2014.


Can King Merin face his loss, save his husband and protect his kingdom, or have his enemies finally found a way to defeat him?

When an enemy Merin thought defeated takes his unborn children away from him, he’s at the end of his rope and still has to find enough strength to save his husband Rin from the clutches of sorrow. Unable to find peace, they must deal with an aggressor who plots to ruin any chance of happiness they might have. To make things worse, the newly united countries must prepare for a war against a vicious invading army that’s using the weakened state of the kingdom for its benefit.

How will Merin and Rin recover from their terrible loss and give their people heirs? Will the newly united countries work together as one to save Merin’s kingdom—and his family—from the ongoing dangerous challenges? Can love truly push through all obstacles, or will their enemies discover their weaknesses and finally achieve victory?

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