Thursday, November 29, 2012

CONTEST! FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES!

by Deb Werksman
Editorial Manager,

Sourcebooks Casablanca

HI everybody, you know how much I prefer to hear from you than to hear from myself. SO--post the first page of your manuscript!

I will critique every single one, and I will request full submissions.

ROMANCE AND WOMEN'S FICTION ONLY, PLEASE.


Please include this info:
TITLE
CATEGORY/SUBGENRE
WORD COUNT
ARE YOU PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED OR SELF-PUBLISHED?

Thank you! Can't wait to read your writing!

53 comments:

  1. Now that's a Christmas present! I'm off to tell the aspiring authors that I know!

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  2. What a great opportunity! I posted it on FB and so forth!

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  3. Black Irish
    Romance - Suspense/Contemporary
    58,239 words
    Self Published


    “Soul sucking hellhole!"

    Abbey slumped into the threadbare seat of her Chevy Cavalier and slammed the door. She exhaled hard as she yanked open the glove compartment door and fumbled for her sunglasses and cell phone among the car manuals and oil change receipts. Abbey threw one last agitated glance over her shoulder at the building she had just left as she threw the car in reverse to back out of her parking space.

    As Abbey pulled onto the highway she picked up her cell phone again and flipped it open. Five texts, two messages. She sighed angrily. Abbey’s supervisor demanded that cell phones be kept off the calling floor. She already had her phone confiscated twice followed by a stern talking to about company policy. All she had been doing was checking the time. She found it easier just to leave her phone in her car and risk it being stolen.

    It had been another impossibly long day for Abbey – endless phone calls taking endless orders from endless customers with endless complaints. If she had to debate the color choices of clearance cardigans one more time she would lose it. And she was done helping women older than her grandmother choose underwear. It was disturbing. Very disturbing.

    Abbey glanced at the fields alongside the highway as she flew down the road. It was early spring and soon the fields of corn would surge and fall in the summer breeze like the waves of the ocean. Abbey would give anything to see the ocean. She had never been out of Iowa.

    Abbey pulled into the first convenience store she came to and flipped off the ignition to her car. She shot a half smirk at the “No cell phones” sign as she flipped open her phone while she unscrewed the gas cap. Abbey fumbled with the nozzle as she slid it in then turned on the pump. As the pump chugged to life Abbey checked her messages.

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  4. Obviously, you're looking for finished manuscripts - wish I could play, but have shared it on the my blog. Great opportunity, thanks Deb :)

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  5. Touch Me
    Romantic Suspense, 80,000 words,
    Chapter 1

    Awareness grazed. She wasn’t alone.
    Several floors beneath the five-star hotel, Grace tilted her head, opened her senses, but found only silence, stale air, and the dull glow of artificial light on expensive cars and smooth concrete.
    Residual edginess, she thought, half-shrugging, time to get a grip. Fear couldn’t be allowed to win. She’d stay calm and go back up to the grand ballroom. Borrow a car from her mother, or one of the others.
    A warning chill ran up her spine when she grabbed the doorknob and it wouldn’t turn. She sucked in a steadying breath, circled the enclosed elevator room to try the other door, but it too was firmly locked. She refused to concede, shoved panic aside, clenched her fists and began the trek. Narrow spiked-heels assaulted the concrete. Echoes pinged and bounced.
    A tingle crept up her spine.
    #
    Logan waited, perched in spotter position at the van’s side window, adrenalin banked and ready. Warning flickered like fingertips feathering beneath his collar. He edged the black curtain open a fraction and for a fleeting moment he was more man than special agent.
    The woman was stunning. Long, lean, and golden brown. Sexy curves were barely concealed by a dark silky dress.
    “Son-of-a-bitch,” he growled.
    “Say again?” The disembodied voice rattled through his earpiece.
    “Security breached.”

    thanks for the opportunity,
    Kathryn Jane
    www.kathrynjane.com

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  6. oops, forgot to add... one book, self-pubbed two weeks ago titled,

    "do not tell me No" by Kathryn Jane

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  7. Lady Adel's Captain
    Romance - Historical
    65,000 + words
    Traditionally published


    Adel Fitzhugh believed in miracles, but in all her twenty-one years on this sweet earth, she had never actually witnessed one. What she needed most on this bleak February afternoon was a true act of God.

    From a beloved younger daughter—at least by her mother—to a cast-off sister who was no longer loved; how have I offended Reggie so deeply as to find myself discarded like a piece of unwanted rubble?
    She placed her finger against the window and traced a single raindrop’s path as it meandered down the pane. She envied the water’s freedom to blend and mingle at will.

    She stepped back as lightning fingered across the sky and thunder vibrated the windows. Her brother’s voice broke the ominous silence that followed.

    “Adel?”

    Her eyes flashed with indignant rage when she turned to face him. Her brows were drawn together, and her hair pulled back too tightly, making her face appear taut and gaunt for one so young.

    Murmuring a curse word under her breath, her temper exploded. “No, Reggie, for the last time. I will not marry Baron Wishy-washy.”

    “You’d do well to hold your waspish tongue, sister. Since you’ve refused everyone at court, I’m afraid you’re out of eligible bachelors. Besides, Baron Wishingham is quite wealthy. He can afford to keep you in the custom you so richly enjoy.”

    Adel straightened her posture and jutted her chin forward. “What law is there that states a woman must marry, dear brother?”

    “The one that says, if you wish to eat, have a roof over your head, and new gowns for the season--that law.”

    Adel ground out the words. “I have my own money. I will not marry. The summer house in Kensington, small that it is, will serve me well.”

    She watched the scowl on her brother’s face grow as he placed his palms on the desk and leaned forward. “You have no money, dear sister.”

    She swallowed back the sickness building in the pit of her stomach. “What. . . do you mean? There is my dowry.”

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  8. Thanks for this opportunity, Deb!

    Sonata for a Scoundrel - Historical Romance
    75k words


    London, 1830

    The melody threading through Clara Becker’s mind faltered, snipped by angry voices penetrating the study door. She sat back in the cracked leather chair and set down her pen, musical notes wavering on the page before her tired eyes. The ache in her shoulders and hand—distant when she was caught up in composing—now pulsed distractingly, vying with the landlady’s shrill tone to shatter her concentration.

    “If you don’t deliver the rent tomorrow, you’re on the street. Out, I say! You’ve been late one too many times, Mr. Becker. I’ve a mind to send my sons over tonight to pitch you out!”

    “We will have the money,” Papa said, his cane thumping the floorboards for emphasis. “Now, you will leave.”

    Clara covered her ears with her cold hands and hummed under her breath, trying desperately to recapture the melody. If she did not finish this piece, they were ruined.

    “Please, Mrs. Tench.” Her brother Nicholas spoke, a pleading edge to his voice. “We promise that by tomorrow afternoon you’ll have two months’ rent in hand. You know we’ve always managed before.”

    The voices faded, thank goodness. Nicholas was moving the landlady toward the front door. Clara let out a breath and closed her eyes. The door slammed, and blessed quiet filled the house. It was a strained silence, but it was enough.

    The music sprang into her mind once more, bright strands of melody flung against a somber background. She took up her pen and bent to the page, letting the act of composing transport her to a distant, splendid place. A place far away from the reality of their cramped lodging, the worry that shaded her days, the hoarded coals that barely kept the chill of November from biting to the bone.

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  9. By the Light of the Moon
    Paranormal Romance
    79,800 Words
    I have signed with a publisher for a historical romance, but it's not out yet.

    PREFACE
    It was an indistinguishable night, almost identical to the night before. The empty street loomed before them, as dangerous and unforgiving as always. Although the full moon allowed their surroundings to be more visible, it did little to provide comfort from its presence.
    Sean cautiously drew his sister, Kellie, forward, anxious to be within the limited safety of the nearby homeless shelter. Even with the normalcy pulling at him, Sean’s heart raced as an overwhelming sense of danger closed in around them. Not wanting to alert Kellie of his apprehension, but unable to restrain himself, he kept a hold her hand in his until she pulled away.
    Unable to shake the uneasy feeling, he quickened his pace hoping to ward off the premonition. Looking down at the ten year old, he was struck by the urge to protect her from this harsh world.
    Six years before, he was given a difficult burden to bear. On that dreaded night when his mother failed to return home from work, he vowed to not only care and protect his sister, but ensure they stay together as a family. He fought ever since and, against all odds, they were here, together and surviving.
    Sean saw a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye drawing his attention back to the present and their destination. He opened his arms out to Kellie as she closed the distance between them. Sweat beaded on his forehead. The shelter stood so close, less than a block away now. He was desperate to take the last steps to guarantee safety for another night.

    Thank you for this opportunity!
    Jennifer Landreville
    jenniferal@sbcglobal.net

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  10. Appreciate the opportunity - thank you, Deb!

    On the Fly
    Contemporary Romance
    85,000 words
    Published


    Brody Clark’s right side stung like a bitch. He rotated his shoulder, which bothered him less than his ribs only because it had started to go numb instead of stabbing him with breath-stealing pain. When the team captain stopped at his stall, Brody gritted his teeth and acted like he hadn’t just taken a battering from the National Hockey League’s toughest enforcer.

    “Good game, Brody. That was a hell of a hit you took in the second. Shoulder okay?”

    “It’s the ribs, not the shoulder. They’ll be fine. Just need to rest them tonight.”

    He shrugged out of his pads and barely managed to repress a wince. His side would already be black and blue. After unwrapping the tape and peeling off his socks and shin guards, Brody stripped off the rest of his equipment until he stood in his compression shorts, shirt, and socks. He twisted and rotated at the waist, unable to hide a grimace, and Thom shook his head.

    “Good thing we’re off tomorrow. Gives you an extra day to recover.” Thom slapped Brody’s uninjured shoulder. “See you on the bus.”

    “I’m meeting the boss for a late dinner. I’m hoping it’s about my scoring bonus.”

    “Nice. You deserve it. You were hotter than hell out there tonight.”

    “I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. It’s only the second week.”

    “Ice those ribs and take it easy. We can’t afford to lose you so early in the season.”

    “I will. Thanks.”

    His teammates offered congratulations and inquiries about his shoulder as he headed toward the showers. When he returned to his stall, most of the other players had already dressed to leave on the bus back to Hartford. He wished he could put on jeans and a T-shirt, but the team had a strict dress code that required him to wear a suit to and from all games. Plus, dinner was in the executive dining room of Madison Square Garden, so he should at least dress the part.

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  11. Union Jack Dolls
    Young Adult/Romance
    400 words
    Self Published

    Manhattan - Present Day

    Waves licked the sides of the ship as it swayed slightly in the tide, La Antonia was anxious to see the Atlantic but her body was still tethered securely to the dock. Her rich mahogany floors were hidden under the Manolo Blahniks of the glitterati and warm bodies were being thrown together on the dance floor while the hipster band of the moment played their next radio hit. There were politicians and millionaires and beautiful dresses and bad nose jobs. An outsider would find it difficult to know what sight to see first. On deck a knowledgeable pair of brown eyes avoided the glamour and glitz. Locking onto a woman with a short blonde bob and a horrendous red pantsuit Taylor took a deep breath and ran after the woman, “one sentence is all I need Senator!”
    The senator ducked behind a waiter and Taylor continued her pursuit, undaunted.

    “You ran on a platform of women’s rights, how do you feel about the accusations of unfair pay in the post-office?” Taylor stuck her recorder in the woman’s face.
    “Ms. Winthrop, please. This is a party.” The senator pleaded.
    “One sentence,” Taylor tucked a rogue brunette curl behind her ears and focused her unwavering stare on the official.

    “I believe that if any discrepancies in pay are found the issue should and will be dealt with according to state law. Since the issuance of the original report an investigation has been launched.” The senator backed away, putting a throng of guests between herself and the reporter.

    “Why hasn’t this investigation been mentioned before? Senator?” Taylor shot after the woman, steadying herself as the boat rocked. She saw a streak of red run into the ladies room and she bolted after it.

    Before she could push her way in a familiar shriek cried out.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Just found your follow up on my original post. Will be pitching it more as a Contemporary Fantasy with Romantic Elements. Thank you! (and contacting you for future opportunities to showcase on my blog. :-) )

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  14. THE TO-DO LIST
    Single Title - Romance
    80,000 words

    Freaking fired. For being late. Holy fart.

    Moxie Wells wrenched her fifteen-year-old Ford into a parking spot two blocks away from her apartment and made a covert dash through the back alley to her home. Inside, she eased the door shut and hyperventilated into an empty McDonald’s bag. Thank God they used paper, and not plastic.

    And thank God her hungry-for-rent-money landlord hadn’t spotted her slunking home.

    And thank God...

    Coming up blank on another thank you, she gave mouth-to-mouth to the bag one last time and slid to the floor.

    No job, no paycheck, no rent money.

    Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.

    This was Linny’s fault. A good-for-nothing thief of a boyfriend. How could she have been so wrong about him? Never again would she trust her own judgment or a pretty man.

    And what in hell’s name was she supposed to do now?

    She glanced around the room, willing the answer to magically appear. Her gaze fell on the picture of her fake family hanging on the wall. Her photo-shopped mug-shot smiled back at her.

    If they were her family, would they help her? Or would they be all like, “Poor Moxie, fired. We always knew she’d be nothing more than a perfume-spraying, bathroom attendant in a bar frequented by Spanxs and skanks.”

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  15. His Long-Stemmed Rose
    Historical Romance
    75,000 words
    No publication credit

    1943-Tuskegee, Alabama
    Chapter One
    “I’m going to have a baby.”
    Slightly slouched on a bench in the quadrangle, Solomon Morson slouched down further as Amy Bennett stood over him and gave him this wonderful news. Geez, he had only one date with this chocolate baby--just one stinking date from a couple of weeks ago and now this?
    Even though he sat on the bench and was a large guy, his neck cricked a bit as he tilted his head back to look at her. Yeah, he remembered right. A looker. On that night, she had worn some kind of flower in her jet black hair. The heady fragrance from her flower, and those long, brown stem-like legs of hers attracted him to her as if he were a bee himself. And when he had first touched her, mercy, her taupe-colored skin slipped through his fingers like velvet cream. Or a petal.
    Today, her jet black eyes regarded him with disgust. Women did not look at him that way and Solomon sat up straight in the face of this unfamiliar look. From his college days at Lincoln U to his present at the air base at Tuskegee, he was El Sol, the high-flying, high-yellow sun god, headed for medical school before this sorry war business began. A catch. Well, he was sure enough caught now, as he faced the jury in the face of this nineteen-year old, who indicted him with her eyes and did not regard him with the least bit of awe or respect. “Are you sure about this?”
    “What kind of response is that?”
    “The kind of response when someone is not sure. In medical school, part of my training says,…”
    “Oh, can it.” Amy snapped at him and his body nearly jerked to attention out of habit, just as if Sarge Alfred had spoken to him. Geez.

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  16. Working Title: As Long As There Is Chocolate
    Contemporary Romance
    Projected Word Count: 80,000
    Unpublished Author

    I set the tripod down between two bistro tables covered by brightly-colored umbrellas. The Italian deli, Mangia, hadn't opened yet, so I had plenty of space in which to maneuver, and time to finally get this thing done.
    The golden light of early autumn on the mountain ridge outside of town provided the perfect backdrop. I raised the camera about a foot, tightened the knob to hold it in place and leaned in to frame the shot.
    "Hey, lady! What are you doing?" Gio DiMarco the deli's owner, who never failed to add little extras to my antipasto, poked his head out the door.
    It was obvious what I was doing. I was sure he'd been looking at my backside thirty seconds earlier and just wanted to startle me for kicks. He'd been laying on the charm for weeks, but I refused to encourage him. I didn't need any messy complications right now.
    Without looking up, I answered, "I'm taking a picture of my baby. Is that all right with you?"
    Across the street sat my baby. High on the wall "Mon Petit" (my little one), was scrolled in shiny gold and black letters. Just below the sign hung a tan and black striped awning with the word “Chocolatier” woven into its border. The unique metalwork over her windows was scattered with ornamental floral sprays. I was told there had once been a flower shop here. Luckily no one since had decided to take down this beautiful, historic, wrought iron piece of art.
    Ignoring my rudeness, Gio persisted. "She's looking great!"
    I looked up then from the camera to make sure he was looking at my shop and not referring to me. Not that his continual use of poorly disguised double entendre wasn't flattering--it actually sort of made my day—but I tried my best not to show it.
    He eyed Mon Petit with obvious appreciation. "You did a first class job, Kate," he smiled, eyes disappearing behind thick lashes. "First rate, all the way."

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  17. Spanked – Complete Submission Book One

    Erotic Romantic Suspense
    Complete Submission is a four part series with the first book, Spanked, approximately 15,000 words.

    I’ve been published with small and large e-publishers with two books making it to print and two other books ranking within Amazon’s top 100 Erotic category. I am also a winner of Ellora’s Cave 2012 Superstar award with the book Darkest Sin also being featured in RT Book Reviews Magazine and nominated for book of the month with Sizzlin Hot Reads.

    It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure ~ Marquis de Sade

    Prologue

    “Are you ordering me to sleep with him?” Brenna Landry asked her smug boss as she stared across the conference room table at him. She loved her job as an FBI agent and has worked for the bureau for three years, but she’d never gone undercover before. Nor had she ever been told she had to have sex with man she didn’t know—work requirement or not.
    “I’m not saying that,” Tony, Mr. Smug himself, hedged. “Mason Showalter is the newest partner and latest target at the brokerage firm that has been under SEC investigation, which as of today we are now assisting in. We all know the SEC has cracked down on Ponzi Schemes after the Madoff embarrassment. The enforcement division has been investigating Feldstein and Baxter Investments for two years and has asked for FBI support. We are going to play nice and help out with this inter-agency task.”
    “But their investigation has already identified Showalter as a Dom at the highly exclusive club Scene, and you want her to go undercover as a sexual submissive? I might lead a pretty vanilla sex life, boss, but even I can guess what happens at a sex club,” Darrell Childers said as he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. Brenna could always count on Darrell to have her back. He’d mentored her from day one since joining the bureau.
    Tony took a sip of the thick, black coffee he always drank and placed the Styrofoam cup next to his notepad. “Her objective is to gain his trust and see what intel she can garner. We don’t know if he’s privy to the illegal behavior at his firm. If he is, we can’t tap his house or office without enough evidence against him. If he isn’t, then maybe he can be an asset to us by getting information from the inside.” Tony turned toward Brenna. “You’re not to go in and arrest him. Just get enough on him so we can get a warrant. The SEC will do the rest. This is their operation. We’ll do our part to make the directors happy and then get out.”
    “Bet you’re glad you are a blonde, eh Samantha?” Mark muttered. Mark Tobin and Samantha Lane rounded out the FBI investigative team pulled to help the SEC. The enforcement division hadn’t only discovered Mason’s need for sexual domination, but also that he had a penchant for brunettes.
    With long flowing locks of the stuff, it was easy for Brenna to understand why she’d been chosen to work on the team. She’d been singled out for this particular assignment from the beginning. And not because of her mental assets.
    “Yeah, that, and I’m married. How would I explain to my husband that I have to get nasty with a suspect?” Samantha shivered.
    God, Brenna didn’t know if she could do this. She wasn’t a virgin, but she was the type of person who had no qualms with the basic military position. What had Darrell called his sex life? Vanilla? Yes, she was a big ol’ bowl of vanilla. Not even with sprinkles.

    ~~Thanks for this opportunity!
    Mandy Harbin
    www.mandyharbin.com
    mandy@mandyharbin.com

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  18. This is a great opportunity, thank you.

    Last Chance to Run
    romantic suspense
    word count 89752
    First book, Rescued from the Dark contracted, set to release February 2013.

    Chapter 1
    Crouching low, backing into the shadows Ron checked his watch, five more minutes. No mistakes this time, Tracy’s life depended on it. Sweat soaked his T-shirt as his shoulders strained against the weight of the backpack. He struggled to hear over the pounding in his ears, but the alley echoed every movement around him. Dwayne wanted more money, but that’s not what he was going to get. The bastard will be lucky to walk away with his life this time.
    The stench of decaying fish hung in the dark alley, clinging to the muggy night air around him. Damn, Kingston New York used to be pleasant in the summer. What he wouldn’t give for a cool breeze right about now. He wiped the beading sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand and leaned against the concrete wall. Ron Daily had been the head of the FBI Counterterrorism Department for over 30 years and survived many stakeouts, but none as important as this one. His daughter was alive and Dwayne was going to tell him where. He had been an informant, and pretty reliable until now. He even attended Tracy’s funeral. That son of a bitch. Ron’s face heated up as his anger burned inside him. Two years. He lost two years with her, and for what? He crammed his hand into his back pocket and pulled the manila envelope out. The corners were wrinkled and the top was torn, but the contents were intact. The pictures of Tracy holding a newspaper, verifying the date, and that fucking letter that stated why he took her, and what they expected to get for her return.
    Pealing back the top he peered inside then stopped. He had to stay focused and seeing the dark circles under eyes and her hollow cheek bones will not help with what he had to do. He shoved it into the inside pocket of his jacket, close to his heart, where he has held her all this time.


    This is complete, yet in the editing process right now. It can stand alone but it is also part of a series. The Guardians's of Hope series.
    Thank you for your time.
    Lynda Frazier
    www.lyndakayefrazier.com
    lyndakayefrazier@yahoo.com

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  19. Thank you for the opportunity, Deb!

    For All to See
    Romance/Suspense
    70,000 words
    Published - Short story, anthology


    Prologue

    “Why are you doing this?” Kira’s ragged sobs and horse pleas elicited no response from the madman, except perhaps pleasure.

    The edges of his mouth turned upward in a dark smile as he continued his task.

    Her body lay draped over a small wooden table to which she was bound at ankle and wrist to its opposing ends. Her favorite yellow sundress, the one she had picked up at the roadside market a year ago, lay in tattered pieces on the worn wood of the table and floor. Her undergarments matched the condition of her dress and rested on the floor with it. Her dignity mirrored her tattered clothing. Now more naked than the day she came into this world, her attacker had taken everything. Time and time again he brutally ravaged her.

    She prayed he’d already had his fill when he jerked loose the knots that bound her to the table. He was untying her. Her mind dared to hope. Maybe, he would let her go. Maybe, she could escape.

    Kira wanted to get back to her kitchen. The one sacred room in her house. The room that held good memories. The gathering place. The common ground. The room neutral to the craziness and hurt in her life.

    Having been abducted from that room and brought to a place her mind vaguely recognized, bleeding and broken she knew the room too was lost to the madness. But how she longed for a plate of neutrality to erase the chaos, to erase the blood and pain.

    She pleaded, “Please, just...please. Let me go, please! I won’t say anything. I promise.” She sobbed and prayed he’d listen.

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  20. Thank you for this opportunity!

    Inheriting the Groom
    Historical Western Romance
    92,000 words
    Not published

    Chapter 1
    Kansas Territory, 1858
    Amanda stared at the cook stove and tried to remember the last time she'd actually used one. It was probably when she'd been at Miss Miller’s School where learning how to be the best society wife took precedence over arithmetic and history. Of course, the ultimate goal was to marry well and hire a cook, among other servants, so Amanda thought it all a giant waste of time.
    “I supposed I should have seen whether you could cook 'for I agreed to marry ya,” Jim's deep voice startled her out of her memory. Amanda turned to face her...husband and raised her head – partly to look him in the eye and partly to demonstrate how he annoyed her.
    “But of course I can, Mr. McConnell I can cook. I was educated at the finest finishing school in the East,” Amanda spat out.
    “And what would they have taught you about the situation you now find yourself in?” Jim asked, taking a step toward her. He seemed to enjoy infuriating her.
    “I am in this...situation...because you refused to behave like a gentleman,” Amanda declared daring to raise her nose to him a little higher even has he took another step closer.
    “I wouldn't keep raising that nose of yours Mrs. McConnell, since your agreement to hold up your end of the bargain was hardly ladylike.” Amanda fought against childishly stomping her foot, preferably squarely on his, even as his closeness stirred something foreign in her. As if he could sense this, he moved closer so that his chest was brushing against her own. Before she knew what he was doing, he had her left hand in both of his own – his work worn fingers caressing her palm. Sensations unfamiliar, yet not unpleasant shot through her body. Not that she'd give him the satisfaction of succumbing.
    “You need a ring, Mrs. McConnell,” he stated. “We'll take a trip into town tomorrow,” he said, distracting her with soft touches against her knuckles. Amanda came to her senses enough to step away. She smoothed her hands down her dress to try and rub away the lingering feel of his hand on her own.

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  21. Soul Catcher
    Paranormal Romance
    75,000 words
    Unpublished

    In the last eight hours, I had totaled a company car and lost the soul of a serial killer. The car accident alone was enough to get me knocked down to mopping floors at the Department of Reclamation and Reincarnation for the next two or three lifetimes; losing the soul of a serial killer, that was the sort of thing where the big bosses upstairs made sure you never saw another lifetime. I stood outside the offices to the DRR as long as possible. Upstairs I knew my supervisor, Martin, a weasely puckered troll of a man, was waiting.

    I considered taking the freight elevator up to the third floor. The news of my latest screw-up was probably already on some internal bulletin board and I wasn’t interested in being the brunt of the usual jabs and jokes. From the outside, the offices of the Department of Reclamation and Reincarnation looked like any other building in the industrial district of Seattle. After you got through two sets of double doors and a security guard named Thomas, a Roman Legionnaire in a past life, you entered another world.

    When I’d first been recruited, I had assumed the offices would feature rooms filled with ancient tomes full of spells and rituals, dark wood, leather chairs, and cigar smoke. Instead it was all glass and chrome and rooms that rivaled anything found at the software giant across the lake. Now all that faded from my vision as I made my way down the final hall to Martin’s office. His bellows could be heard a floor below as he berated one of the secretaries for misrouting a recent batch of cleaned souls. They’d ended up in India instead of Indiana. Sounded like a simple typo if you asked me. There was another ten minutes of yelling before the woman fled Martin’s office red-faced tears streaming down her cheeks.

    “Warner,” he looked me up and down. “Well, get in here.” Martin’s office was a study in disorganization and chaos. Scraps of paper littered the floor along with files and books. The cleaners were afraid to touch his office beyond emptying the trash. Right after Martin transferred from the Athens office, he’d threatened to throw one of them out a window when she’d straightened his office.

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  22. Divorce of Convenience
    Contemporary Romance
    57,000
    Published fiction and non-fiction


    Regan Rourke stood in the archway between her living room and kitchen wearing red spike heels, a smile and nothing else.

    She heard the door of her husband’s truck slam shut and his footsteps on the front porch. She poofed her freshly curled hair so it hung down over her shoulder and readjusted her stance trying to steady herself on the heels.

    Seducing her husband was new to her. He pursued her. He’d always, even in the beginning of their relationship, been the one to initiate dating, than sex. But, tonight after a trip to the mall and a splurge on heels she’d probably never wear again, she was going to celebrate their relationship, the one she’d been so against in the beginning. A cop’s wife had to deal with such crap from the department, but being married to Colin was much easier than she’d expected.

    Now she was going to let loose with him and be the wild woman he never knew she was. In all honesty, the wild woman she didn’t know she was.

    Her heart began to pound as she thought about her husband’s reaction and desire pooled between her thighs. She leaned her elbow up against the wall and struck a sexy pose, her hip cocked out and the heels wobbling just as the front door opened.

    “Regan, I’m home.” Colin dropped his gear and a duffle bag on the floor just inside the door. “Regan, honey. Where are you? We have to talk.”

    He looked up. His eyes met hers and he did a double take. Stripping off his jacket, he dropped it on top of his gear and crossed the room in the amount of time it took her heart to thump in her chest.

    Regan’s smile grew larger at the wolfish look on her husband’s face. Her confidence soared and she grinned back at him. Thrusting her hips forward, she beckoned, ignoring the defeated look he’d worn and the serious tone of voice he used when he’d first walked through the door. There were words no one wanted to hear - newlywed or not. Work talk could wait.


    Thanks for the opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Title: BOUND
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Word Count: 70,000
    Unpublished

    Chapter 1 - In the beginning there was life and she said it was good.

    So she thought.

    Janelle vowed Dara and Cecily would owe her big time. She mulled over how she even let herself get roped into this. Her annoyance grew to astronomical levels as they pulled into the parking lot; the entire outside of the movie theater looked like a fan convention. Even Comicpalooza didn't have lines as bad as this.

    Bound was your typical book turned big-screen movie and it blew up out of nowhere. Janelle had never even heard of the book until the promos for the movie came out. She wasn't much of an avid reader like her friends Dara and Cecily; being a marine biologist her free time was spent with her dolphins. But every now and then she needed human companionship and would get coerced into movie nights with the girls.

    “That's Daegan; then there's Nigel, Mac, Alaric and Finn,” Dara said, pointing out each person to the corresponding movie poster. She rattled them off like they were long lost family members.

    “Am I going to need some sort of movie companion book to keep all these characters straight?” Janelle quipped.

    She rolled her whiskey colored eyes and laughed. “I'll just keep them all to myself then, I have no problem with that.”

    “You have to play nice and share, Dara,” Cecily piped up. “I stake a claim on Daegan. You can have Mac.”

    They merged in with the rest of the hormone-surged women and listened to the room filled with chatter all about this book and movie. There was not one conversation that wasn't related to some character in the book.

    “It’s like being in a study group of researchers discussing theories. These women could probably hold an entire seminar on their plot theories and character analyzation. If only they put as much thought and effort into something like chemistry or biology maybe we'd finally find the cure for cancer,” Janelle muttered.

    “They're just passionate,” Dara chided.

    “They're delusional lemmings,” Janelle smirked. “This is why we have ever narrowing options in the gene pool.”

    “Spoken like a true scientist. Someone's going to hear you and pick a fight, Janelle,” Dara said.

    “What, they're going to beat me with a cardboard cutout of Finn?” she touted back.

    Dara and Cecily chuckled shaking their heads. Dara was on the shorter side, like Janelle, and for that she was thankful. It was nice to be able to look someone in the eyes when having a conversation with them. Compared to Cecily, they were like hobbits.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the opportunity, Deb.

    Shadow Dance
    Romantic Suspense
    86,000 words
    Published and Self-published


    Chapter 1

    Banging. Loud. Obnoxious. Irritating banging. Katherine couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Each thud echoed the throb in her temples. Her nagging headache from earlier had developed into a full-blown migraine. With enormous effort, she forced her eyelids open. The throbbing in her head turned into a rocking crescendo of pain as sparkles of light danced across her retinas. Wincing, she held her temples and willed the pounding to stop. It didn’t. She realized the front door was under assault by what sounded like a battering ram.

    “I’m coming, for crissakes,” she growled. Staggering down the hallway, she shrugged into an old flannel robe and yelled louder. “Hold on. I’m coming.” Squinting through the peephole, she didn’t recognize the flushed face staring back at her.

    “Who are you?” she demanded without opening the door.

    “Katherine Parr?”

    “Maybe.” She was suspicious by nature. “Who the hell are you?”

    “Jack Horner, OCPD Homicide.”

    She almost choked on her swallowed laughter. “Yeah, sure. And I’m Mother Goose.” Louder, she growled, “Lemme see some ID.” Cracking open the door, she focused on the leather case held up to the slit by chubby fingers. The guy was a homicide detective and his name really was Jack Horner. Her gaze trailed from the photo ID to the cop’s face. They matched. She opened the door. He didn’t look friendly. Neither did she. Stepping back, she let him in and closed the door.

    “Make yourself at home, Detective Horner. I need coffee.” Katherine waved to a chair in the living room as she stumbled through on her way to the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Lost and Found"
    Women's Fiction
    52K words
    Pieces of my work were published in the anthology "Precipice" by Write On Edge, an on-line writing community

    I woke up sweating in my cold bedroom. I had been dreaming of the day Peter died. In my dream I try to do things differently. I try to keep him from walking out of the garage. I damage something in the car so it won’t start. But it always does. I tell him I’ll drop off the toys next week. No matter what I try to do in the dreams, Peter gets in the car and never comes back.
    When he first died, I had these dreams almost every night. They faded with time and a prescription sleeping pill that knocked me out so I didn’t seem to dream at all. As the months went on I managed to ween myself off the pills and the dreams stayed away—until now. The spring air must be reminding me of that day. It will be exactly one year next week.
    It was five a.m. according to the clock on my nightstand. I tried to get a little more sleep before the kids got up. It felt like I drifted off only moments before they stormed into the room.

    “Mommy! It’s Saturday!” Paige shouted. “Is it almost time for Laverne to get here?”

    “Not just yet Sweetie,” I told her. Why don’t you go get your bathrobe and slippers on. I’ll be down after I get dressed.”

    I heard my son Brian in the bathroom.

    “Did you remember to flush and put the seat down?” I asked when I heard the door open.

    The sound of the toilet flushing and the lid carelessly falling answered my question. Brian came into my room wearing nothing but Star Wars briefs. His recent growth spurt left him skinny. His knees and elbows looked too big for his body.

    “Hi Mom,” he said as he crawled into bed next to me.

    “Hi Pal,” I said pulling him into my arms. “You look like you could use some breakfast. You hungry?”
    “I’m always hungry,” he said. “Remember? I’m an eating machine!”

    I laughed remembering that I called him that a few weeks ago. I had ordered a large pizza for the three of us to share. It had always been plenty for the three of us. This time he was so hungry I had to make him a sandwich when the pizza was gone.

    “Well we better get you something to eat then. Why don’t you put some sweatpants on so you aren’t naked when Laverne gets here.”

    “Cool!” he said. “I forgot it was Saturday.”

    He raced out of my room and down the hall. I dragged myself out of bed and pulled on a sports bra, a pair of running shorts, and an old tee-shirt. My friend Laverne had started coming by every Saturday since last summer so I could go running. The grief was so fresh back then, there were days I barely got out of bed. I remember staring blindly at the Saturday morning cartoons when she rang the doorbell that day.
    “Good morning Sunshine!” she said when I opened the door. Any other time in my life I would have been embarrassed by my appearance. I hadn’t quite shaken the pill induced sleep from by brain and it had been days since I last showered. The kids had been living on fast food and I barely ate anything.


    Thank you for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for the opportunity!

    Her Wicked Captain
    Historical Romance
    87,000 words
    Published


    Mississippi River, Missouri, 1850

    The only thing worse than dying from a gunshot to the stomach was being the one carrying the pistols.

    For that reason, Rory Campbell felt a flicker of envy for the man as he dropped. When the smoke cleared, Harold Best’s toes were pointed skyward, the open wound above his navel pumped ichor down his side, soaking the sand of Bloody Island, while a pair of startled ducks complained overhead.

    The gambler should’ve known he was dead before he ever stepped foot on the Mississippi sandbar.

    Best’s wife screamed the moment he went down. His lawyer, the second, suddenly broke his shocked spell and scrambled along with the lady to the man’s side.

    The breeze tugging Rory’s hair helped to revive him. He glanced down at the embossed case clenched tight in his arms and remembered his role in the grisly affair. “You’re the second. You must tend the first!” He’d received those instructions eight years ago in his first duel a l’outrance, right after Quintus Moreaux smacked his head with the butt of his Colt.

    Now twenty-six, Rory’s chest felt hollow, his spirit weary, but he knew the procedures. Snapping into action, he went to aid his boss.

    Moreaux’s tall form made a dapper silhouette, garbed in a black vest and breeches, against the peach sunrise over the river. With the still-smoking gun in his left hand, he rolled down his white shirtsleeve and smiled slightly while the witnesses were preoccupied with the fallen man twenty paces away.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Josie said,
    Appreciate the opportunity.

    Family Values
    Contemporary Romance
    80,000 words
    Published

    Sullivan Barlow glanced from the handwritten, make that scribbled letter in front of her to the typed version on the computer screen. She’d thought the high school students during her last practicum had crappy penmanship. So, did this guy. She squinted at the signature block again. Yes, it was Master Sergeant Patrick Murphy - - if she ever met him, she’d suggest he repeat third grade and learn cursive.

    No, she wouldn’t. She was a Staff Sergeant after all. She’d be polite and recommend he find a pharmacist to decipher his hieroglyphics – okay it was official. She was definitely having a bad day. She pushed back from the desk and leaned down to rub her aching left leg. She’d worked in worse conditions than General Harper’s office. For a moment, she remembered dust, sand and overwhelming heat. Then, she shook her head.

    No, Sully. Concentrate on the moment. Think about here and now.

    The room was large with two desks facing each other. August sunshine filtered through the mini-blinds on the windows to her right, laying patterns on the carpeted floor. The American flag stood neatly in the stand to her left, accompanied by the California state flag and the one for Camp Roberts. Looking at the Stars and Stripes always reminded her of that last flight home and the tri-folded flag on her lap. So she avoided looking at it and the glassed-in bookcases behind the stand. File cabinets lined the wall that held the same door to the hall and the break-room where she could find a cup of coffee. That was if she wanted to try walking that far when her ankle throbbed in its own rhythm, pressing against her combat boot.

    Okay, she’d upgrade the day from being bad to officially sucking.

    Her leg hurt. She had a stack of reports from a moron to type. She repeated her mantra. Don’t complain, things can always be worse. At least nobody is trying to kill me.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Timeless
    Romantic Suspense
    Approx 60,000 words
    Published a short story

    Daria Roberts died skydiving.

    She told herself this over and over as the plane coughed and sputtered its way to deadly heights. Some things should be wiped off a bucket list.

    Her nails dug into the edge of the seat as the plane moved as if it was hopping clouds, moving up and kind of bouncing as it settled at 1000 feet, 2000 feet.

    The grey haired pilot reassured her he’d been flying for years. In fact he was a military pilot and if she could have gotten to her computer she could have looked up his entire history, tax returns, etc. Just as she’d done Tai Coleman, the owner and dive instructor of this small skydiving business.

    She knew computers. She knew how to plan highly dangerous and classified missions. She did not know planes.

    The plane shook again and she jerked her gaze from the window and stared into the sexy blue eyes of Tai.

    “Are you ready?” His deep voice washed over her making her shiver from an uncontrollable attraction as well as fear.

    No. Her mind screamed. But as much as she wanted to empty her stomach right there, a strange tingling began in her limbs as her instructor began to strap himself to her rig. They toddled to the edge of the plane’s door.
    She couldn't believe it. She actually wanted to do this. Years of being stuck in an enclosed space typing away at a computer, she wanted to feel reckless, free.

    Might as well, since she had only months to live.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Exile
    Women's Fiction/Historical
    74,000

    Petra and Marina’s safety hinged on the old widow disguises they wore. If the disguises failed, their fate would be worse than Petra could imagine. She’d been warned. She crossed herself, praying that the approaching Turkish soldier wouldn’t realize she and Marina were young women. With a shudder, she reached for her niece’s cold, damp hand and pulled Marina even closer behind the single barrel. Her thighs cramped from sitting on her heels. She tucked their skirts tight about their bodies. They clung to each other.
    She held her breath, in fear and against the stench in the alley. The pungent odor of rotting, abandoned food in looted homes made her eyes water. At least, she hoped it was food, and not bodies, in the homes. Petra bit her lower lip at the thought of dead Greek bodies in the empty houses.
    Crack! His horse stomped a glossy hoof on the cobbled stones, ebony tail carried high like a banner. In the small alley surrounded by rows of two-story rock buildings, the sound reminded Petra of her brother-in-law’s rifle when he went hunting. Marina flinched against Petra’s body. She squeezed her niece’s hand, as if a squeeze could reassure the younger teen against her fear of the Turkish soldier.
    Petra averted her gaze to the horse so the man wouldn’t feel her watching him. Deep breaths inflated the horse’s body beneath a chestnut coat that shimmered from fastidious grooming. What kind of people valued horses above humans? Sides heaving, it stood still, awaiting the soldier’s next command. Petra’s hatred for the soldier sent waves through her body.
    Why did he stop so suddenly in the alley? She hazarded a glance at the soldier again. His attention was riveted on something in front of him, toward the left. Her breath caught in her throat. Could he sense their presence?
    She recognized the uniform from the newspaper. He was one of the Lancers of the Imperial Guard. One of the feared Turkish soldiers she’d heard so much about. While his interest was elsewhere, she studied him. Gold buttons glittered on the scarlet chest piece of the Turkish soldier’s royal blue tunic, and his fez was a truncated felt cone of the same royal blue.
    Almost imperceptibly, the rider tapped the horse’s side with a gleaming black boot. Petra’s gaze followed the boots upwards. A black and gold-trimmed scabbard rested on his leg. At the thought of what rested in the scabbard, she shivered.

    ReplyDelete
  30. TROVE
    Romantic Suspense
    Word Count: 97,582
    Not Yet Published

    Present Day
    Katie Walsh, investigative mythologist at the Nordstrom Institute in Boston, arrived in London twelve hours after she’d checked in for her non-stop flight from Boston. What normally would’ve been a five-hour trip had turned into a half-day ordeal. They’d departed nearly three hours late due to crew problems. The rumor spreading through the gate much like the incoming tide surrounding Boston’s Logan Airport, had the co-pilot suffering the after effects of a liquid dinner and the airline was waiting for a substitute to arrive. The delay was compounded when they landed. It seemed as if Customs was carefully screening almost every passenger from every flight. She just wanted to grab a quick nap before the conference began, but it was already late afternoon by the time she checked into the hotel.

    After a quick shower and before she dressed, she turned and checked herself out in the full-length mirror. Definitely holding up well for thirty-five, she thought, as she slipped into her favorite red silk dress. She did a quick twirl, loving how the sensuous material flowed around her lower body and layered gentle, teasing folds against her legs. She smiled, satisfied with her appearance and left her room, ready for a drink at the meet-and-greet social. Once she downed a drink or two, she was sure she could smile warmly at her colleagues as they tried to regale each other with their daring exploits in the research stacks. She had to admit that every once in a while she’d hear an intriguing snippet of information that she’d tuck away for future reference. But that didn’t happen too often.

    Checking in at the reception table, she found herself raised off the floor in the vise-like grip of two linebacker-sized arms. A deep baritone laugh enveloped her, rumbling through the arms holding her then coursing through her body like the remnants of distant thunder. “Katie my Little One, when are you going to grow taller so I can look you in the eyes without lifting you high in the air?”

    “Eric the Red,” she said between breathy giggles. “How I’ve missed you. Do you know how special you are? You’re the only one that I let call me Little One. Anyone else tries to call me that and I’ll—”

    “Aye.” He laughed as he set her back down. “I remember when Greg Wilson tried that. You slapped him so hard his face wore your hand imprint for two days.”

    “Can’t say he didn’t deserve that. He actually grabbed my butt as he said it, like he was playing with a toy. And that was after I gave him fair warning.”

    “Katie,” he said, smiling, “you are many things, but you are not a toy, a plaything maybe, but not a toy.”

    Eric Murray, or Eric the Red, as Katie called him, was a beefy copper-haired Scotsman standing a shade under six feet and weighing about 230 pounds, almost all of it muscle. He was a formidable foe when it came to the caber toss and though he could speak the Queen’s English, he would revert to his Gaelic accent at any moment and particularly after a few drinks.

    She shot him a withering look which quickly morphed into a grin. “I need a drink. Join me?”

    “Aye, absolutely mae wee bairn.”

    ReplyDelete
  31. StarWay to Freedom
    Futuristic Romance
    95,000 word
    e-pubbed moving to self pub

    “Branded.”

    Rocc tensed at the shock and venom in the single word. The unappealing whore who had swept the hair from his neck to expose the red mark slipped drunkenly from his lap and backed away, hands lifted as if to ward herself from evil. Relieved the woman’s strong odor no longer surrounded him, Rocc took a deep breath and shifted the hair back to cover his neck.

    Chair legs scraped across the wooden floor. A wave of anger and anticipation flowed from the slavers and bounty hunters filling the crowded tavern. Despite a need to be around others, he’d made a mistake entering the settlement.

    “Branded. You’re mine.” A heavy hand came down on his shoulder.

    Before Rocc could shrug away the weight, the man was shoved back; his tall form replaced by a stockier, more drink-soaked man.

    “No, branded. Ya’s bounty is mine.”

    A scuffle broke out behind him as others struggled to claim a bounty worth more than the reward for a dozen escaped slaves. Rocc rose and turned toward the door. While the men argued over him, he could slip away.

    “Goin’ somewhere, branded?” A fist slammed against his jaw, snapping his head back. “Master slaver Archeros will want a word with you.”

    Rocc rubbed his jaw. Swirls of faint red curled at the edges of his vision, his breaths grew short and fast. Anger pushed at his senses. Keeping a wary eye on the slaver, he took a backward step. Rage would not overtake him, not here where many could be injured. He wouldn’t harm innocents--he snorted softly--as innocent as any of these could be. Rested from the journey to this planet, he could maintain limited control.

    Succumbing to his curse was not an option.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Echo UnMarked
    Paranormal Romance
    80,000
    Published and self-published

    Deb,
    Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness — Carl Jung

    “Drugging and hand-cuffing me won’t get you a date.” Echo’s words slurred while her head pounded.

    The man behind her didn’t say a word, hadn’t said a thing to her since she’d regained consciousness.
    She was on the bed with her knees against her chest, ankles tied and wrists cuffed behind her back.

    Through a part in the curtains of the bedroom, rays of sunshine peeked in.

    She blinked several times, her eyes tearing from the sun’s brightness.

    “You didn’t have to attack me,” she said, her words becoming clearer as the drugs wore off. “Give me some chocolates and a bottle of red wine, and I might’ve considered getting to know you better.”

    A chair creaked as though her kidnapper shifted in his seat either from discomfort or . . . guilt?

    “I didn’t attack you.” His voice was deep and sultry, disguising the dangerous edge she detected beneath the word “attack.”

    “You shot me with a loaded dart then yanked me off my motorcycle. The last thing I saw was my ride careening into a wall before I woke up here, tied and cuffed. How is that not an attack?”

    A rustling noise then footsteps told her he made his way to her. She lay in a vulnerable position, her backside facing him while her arms were bare. He had taken off her leather jacket.

    He skimmed a finger over the back of her arm, bumps rising along her skin, every single nerve suddenly tingling with awareness. “I was given orders to bring you in and to do it without letting you touch me.”

    “But you have a right to touch me?”
    “Cage said you would need it. That you go too long without physical contact.”

    Echo shook her head. “You’re lying. Cage would never tell a soul about my curse.”

    A slow ache churned in her chest. Cage was her boss, but most importantly, her friend. He couldn’t have betrayed her. “Once I get a hold of him, this misunderstanding will be dealt with, and you’ll have hell to pay —”

    “The devil wouldn’t want me, darling. I’ve sinned too much and have killed too many men and monsters. And Cage won’t come to your rescue. He’s in Europe.”

    ReplyDelete
  33. Captive of Her Heart
    Historical Romance--Regency Period
    105,000 words

    1805
    Bristol, England

    If a child were guilty for the crimes of one’s father, then Georgina Patience Wilcox was going to burn in the eternal flames of hell.

    Piteous moans echoed from the other side of the wood panel door until Georgina wanted to clamp her hands over her ears and drown out the man’s pleas for help. The angry purple bruise on the inside of her wrist throbbed in pained remembrance as a subtle reminder of what happened when she questioned her father.

    A groan echoed from within the room. I cannot bear this.

    The floorboards creaked and
    Georgina spun around, her heart climbing into her throat.

    Jamie Marshall stood staring at her through his thick, golden lashes. “What are you doing, Georgina?” the faintest hint of an Irish brogue leant his words a lyrical quality.
    With his tall, lean physique and golden crop of curls he had the look of an angel. She knew only too well, however that he had a soul black enough to rival the devil. To those in his traitorous circle he was The Hunter, enemy to the Crown, but to Georgina who’d known him since his Irish parents had been killed by English soldiers and he’d been taken in by her father those fifteen years ago; he would always be simply Jamie.

    “I-I…” she gestured to the door. “Who is in there?”

    Jamie strode toward her. “I asked you a question.”

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for the opportunity, Deb.

    Title: A Soul Divided
    Word Count: a little over 90,000

    Greenwich, 1534

    Tristram Deverell, seventh Duke of Ancroft, sat in the Wailing Wench, deep in his cups, contemplating his life and came to the conclusion that he was a man cursed.

    Whether it was from a slighted gypsy, the misfortune of having been born under a misaligned star, or the simple fact that he was a Deverell he did not know. What he did know was that death and devastation followed him wherever he went, consuming those he held dear.

    Destruction ruled the Deverell family and his late father, the sixth Duke of Ancroft, had been the great destroyer. With his ill-thought schemes and ill-fated alliances David Deverell had reduced the once might dukes to nothing more than indebted traitors. Tristram often wondered how his father had managed to keep his head attached to his body.

    The Deverell family had never been on Fate’s good side and now it seemed that even God had turned His back on the Deverells. No, that was not right; it was he who had turned his back on his faith to ensure the survival of the dukedom of Ancroft.

    Tristram had inherited the sins of his father and they claimed their fee by taking the only woman he had ever loved. He took another swig of the bitter, watered-downed ale trying to erase the image of the emerald-eyed lass that plagued his thoughts.

    Her memory had roamed freely through his mind for nearly a year and he dare not speak her name aloud for fear it would conjure up the visions of her that haunted him.

    At first, they had been contained to his dreams but during the last few months, they had somehow managed to materialize during his waking hours. They had been so vivid—so real —it was almost as though he could reach out and wrap his arms around her. On one occasion he had done just that nearly frightening a poor servant girl to death.

    He had apologized profusely, paid the lass generously, then made haste to the nearest taproom where he tried to erase all memory of the woman who had stolen his heart and soul in Cappoquin. Yet it seemed, no matter how much he drank, that the memory of her lived inside the part of him that strong drink could not reach.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Sorry, forgot to say that it is Historical Romance

    ReplyDelete
  36. AN EARL'S LADY
    Historical Romance
    80,000
    Unpublished

    Lockerbie, Scotland, 1815

    It was the single best and, simultaneously, the single worst moment of Eleanor Margaret Janice Severson nee Winston, Lady Kettering’s, life.

    It was the best moment because Ella knew the reason she felt so ill was because for the first time in over seven years, the toxins from alcohol were leaving her body and were not being replaced anew by another drink.

    It was worst moment because she was curled sideways, lying on the floor, vomit dripping from the corner of her mouth. A chamber pot filled with the previous upheaval of her stomach adjacent to her head. Her body was wracked with shivers and she had a splitting headache.

    Until this exact moment, she reflected, the previous moment that was both the best and worst had been when she lost her virginity nine years ago to her late husband, Lord Kettering. It had been the worst because she had lost something that she’d been taught all her life to value, taught that it brought her value. And it had been embarrassing and painful and messy and business-like.

    But it had also been the best moment because Ella knew incontrovertibly that there was no longer anyone or anything that could keep her from making love to Marcus.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm not sure if I'm too late, but just in case...

    SHE'S GOING HOME
    Contemporary Romance
    77,000 words
    Debut novel releasing November 2013

    Just perfect. Five minutes in Easton and sirens announced her homecoming. She could still see the official welcome sign in her rear view mirror. This was definitely not how she had planned her big arrival. Her chest constricted with the familiar worry. Money. A speeding ticket hadn’t been on her budget for the move or for the next few months.

    Moving back had not been a strategic decision. Going by instinct alone, she had made a plan and refused any thoughts to the contrary. She was determined to find a safe place to settle down and for some reason, Easton was still her only home.

    The figure in her side mirror reminded her exactly why she was pulled over on the side of Easton’s main road. The salty East Bay breeze greeted her as she slid the window down. She simply needed to convince the officer that there was no need to give her a ticket for speeding down the winding shore road. It had been a momentary lapse of judgment. It had felt so good to open up the cherry red sports car on the coastal road.

    She reached over for the tan Coach satchel and the matching wallet. If need be, she could always sell the set on eBay to pay off a ticket. It was one of the few things that remained from her old life. With the license in hand and a plan in mind, she turned around, only to find herself in line with a very male crotch. She couldn’t help but notice it before tearing her gaze away. The first step in talking her way out of this ticket was not sexually harassing the cop.

    Thank you for the opportunity, Isabelle Flynn
    isabelle at isabelleflynn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I forgot to add my email address: bnickerson1231@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  39. I forgot to say I'm published with The Wild Rose Press. My email is lisawellsauthor@gmail.com


    ReplyDelete
  40. Forgot to add my e-mail - tricia@triciaandersen.com

    Thank you again for the opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Loving the Enemy (working title)
    Romance - Comedy/Contemporary
    55,000
    Unpublished

    “Ivey, hand me that pencil. I’ve got an itch again.” Aunt Lucy squirmed and wriggled on her swanky Italian leather couch.

    Ivey handed her aunt the pencil that was no more than a foot’s length from her aunt and watched as she shoved it deep into her leg cast and thrust it back up and down.

    Aunt Lucy grimaced for several seconds and then sighed contently. “When I get this cast off next week, I might just kiss Dr. Stein.”

    “Please don’t.” Aunt Lucy had embarrassed her enough when she asked the doctor how a person was to have sex with a cast on her leg, and if he could recommend what position might work best.

    “I’m just kidding, dear. He’s not really my type.”

    Not at all. He was at least thirty years older than her type, which lately tended towards thirty-something year old unemployed men. That would not be a bad thing except for the fact that her aunt was fifty-four.

    “Here’s the remote control. Your pain pills are right next to you. Remember not to take more than two at a time. I’ll only be gone eight hours. You’ll be fine without me.” Ivey placed a full glass of ice water on the coaster next to the bottle of Tylenol with Codeine.

    “Only eight hours? I could get in trouble in two. Don’t forget to keep your cell phone on you at all times.” Aunt Lucy fanned herself with the latest issue of People magazine.

    “Right.” Ivey whipped it out of her backpack and checked the battery. Fully charged.

    “Are you sure you have to go back to work? I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d pay for all your expenses. And haven’t I done just that?” Aunt Lucy’s face reddened with irritation.

    Ivey sighed. Her Aunt would never understand that she didn’t have to go back to work, but she wanted to. She hadn’t spent the last two years obtaining her midwifery masters just so that she could fill in as her Aunt’s live in nurse indefinitely.

    Since Aunt Lucy had won ten million dollars in the California lottery, her work ethic had taken off for parts of unknown – just like her first husband. Since then Aunt Lucy had acquired three more husbands, each one wealthier than the previous, and finally informed Ivey that she was too much of a free spirit to be tied down to any one man.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Working Title - Just Beachy
    Romantic Suspense
    65,000+
    Not Published yet...
    www.bettydresserleonard.com

    Emily stepped out through the dockside door of Ole Bob’s Fish Market and Restaurant. Fried oil and lobster pot aroma followed her into the open sea air. The seagulls swooped in and out of the boat masts docked at the marina, their cries echoing across the water. The large motors inside of the red brick cannery down the wharf rumbled and in the distance, large waves crashed against the seawall. The sun was shining in a blue cloudless sky and the boardwalk was empty of life other than a couple of splotchy gray-colored seagulls.
    She was headed to the bookstore, her favorite place in Ilwaco on the southwestern edge of Washington State. She strolled past the outside picnic tables and approached the alleyway that ran between the two buildings.
    A man burst from the opening, yelling at someone in the shadows. He pulled a gun from his back waistband and pointed it toward whoever was between the buildings.
    Emily recognized the gun as a semi-automatic and the way he held it suggested that he knew how to use it.
    “Hey, what do you think you’re doing,” Emily shouted as the man took aim. In that split second, he turned and fired at her. She felt a blast of air as she flew backward. The echo of several shots reverberated as her head connected with the concrete walkway. Then everything went black.
    Emily slowly came out of her fog enough to realize she was being cradled against a warm, hard chest. Her midsection burned like it was on fire. The light hurt as she slowly opened her eyes.
    “Lady, what the hell were you thinking?” a deep masculine voice asked.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks for your generosity!

    STEEL BENDER
    STEAMPUNK
    95,000 WORDS
    UNPUBLISHED

    Springs and wheels and other odds and ends scattered across Harry’s workbench. She lunged to contain them, sending a hold still at the metal bits and pieces. As the last wheel spun to a stop she shot a glare at her brother.

    “You did not just say that.” She studied her brother warily from beneath lowered brows.

    “What, that you have to wear a dress? You heard me right. And you do. You know you do,” Young Jos replied. He shifted his weight, leaning toward the workbench.

    “Stop.” Harry glanced from the table top to her brother, relieved when he stepped back.

    “When are you going to get the wobble taken out of this table?”

    She laughed. “When it wants me to. And don’t change the subject. Why do I have to wear a dress?”

    “Because he’s a duke.” Young Jos’s voice held that exasperated tone he’d used since she was a child, all sigh-y and drawn out. “And you’re twenty years old now. A young lady. And because you’re going to be the Apprentice. Face it. If you want the position you’re going to have to make them forget your unfortunate beginnings.”

    “Jos, nobody is ever going to let me forget I had the plague. Nobody is ever going to let me forget you walled off Mewside rather than turn me out.”

    “Someday they will. If they don’t? Then you take the position anyway. Rub their snooty Townside noses in the fact that the Professor would rather have you than any Townsider. Hell, Harry, you were a babe. A tiny squalling stinking infant. Maybe it was the way you smelled.” He grinned at her.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Heart of Stone
    Romance - Historical Fantasy
    123,721 Words
    Traditionally published

    The carriage ride down from London has been brutal, but we dare not shift in our seats as long as Mama is watching. I must do something though, because my left side has gone numb to my toes. Supposing highwaymen were to overtake us, stop the coach and have us all out on the road! I shouldn’t be able to climb down on my own, let alone run for my life, should the opportunity arise.

    Of course, it is highly unlikely that anything like that will happen. Nothing thrilling has ever happened to us in the entire course of our lives. Even this journey, this move to a respectable house in a quiet village in the south of England isn’t likely to provide much in the way of excitement. Life shall go on as it always has done, only now without Papa and—consequently—without a good bit of the money that made life, however boring, at least decorative and comfortable.

    This is not to suggest that we did not love Papa and do not miss him, but he was always more of an abstract idea than an active principle. And just now—well, Papa’s troubles are all over and ours are just beginning, and as selfish as it might sound, we need to take care of ourselves first and think of Papa later.

    At the moment, though, my most pressing problem is the pain in my left side. Mama or no Mama, I must move or go mad.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Ranch Retreat
    Romance - Contemporary
    91,000 Words

    The group went better than she could have hoped. A couple of the tighter-lipped teens had actually opened up. Finally. It was gut-wrenching to listen to at times, but no one knew better than she that they could become so much more than the circumstances they came from. She jotted down notes pausing only to replay portions of the conversation in her head. Abuse, drugs, alcohol, neglect, hunger, loneliness, anger, and violence all played a part in the stories. However, glimmers of hope and aspirations were starting to break through. These were the notes she really focused on. The small moments that could grow into passions that could inspire these kids to take a different path. One with a happier ending. It was those interests she hoped to draw on to move them forward out of the dark patterns.

    Addie checked her watch. “Shoot,” she exclaimed, “They are going to kill me!” Scrambling for her coat she threw it on, grabbed her bag, and bolted past the laughing teens.

    “Bye Miss Morrison”, they chorused. No one would ever believe the tough-looking group could be capable of such bright, lovely smiles— never mind the laughter that accompanied them. She grinned to herself as she ran out the door of Homeward Bound.

    As Addie made her way down the busy street she thought about the past few weeks. The hours had been long. She worked Monday through Friday from seven in the morning until five in the evening. Okay, well sometimes seven— like tonight. And if she was going to be honest with herself, when there was an emergency, it might even be ten. Plus if the need was great, she might add in a partial Saturday. It was hard to not be there for the teens. She felt an intense need to save them. If Lynda Morrison hadn’t been there for her, where would she be?

    Right now she was walking as fast as possible along the downtown Seattle street to meet her friends at the new tapas place. The wind and blowing rain was doing nothing for the mop on her head as she tried to hold her hood on. In her scramble to get out the door she had left her umbrella at her desk. It was probably best anyway since the mid-January weather would render it useless by whipping it inside out.

    For the first time in a long time things were going well at Homeward Bound, and her thoughts turned from work to the potential of some time off. She had been there for two years now with no real respite, except for an occasional sick day. With her hearty constitution those were few and far between.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thank you for this opportunity:

    Dr. Sedgewick told me to write down as much as I can remember about my life leading up to the events of the summer of 1984. He said I should make it my goal to remember what really happened. He doesn’t believe in ghosts - especially not animal ghosts. I told him I would ask Rose if I got stuck. At first he didn’t want me to, but after he thought about it he said it was ok. I wonder why he doesn’t like her. Anyway, I figure that anything is worth a try if it will stop the nightmares.
    **************************************************************
    My family, at least the women in it, comes from a long line of mediums and psychics. My grand-mother could remember her grand-mother holding séances in the early 1900’s in their parlour in the south of England; and Grand-ma’s grand-mother told her that her mother and grand-mother had, in turn, done the same.
    Unfortunately, the gift of second sight seemed to have stopped with my mother. My grand-mother said it was because my father was a foreigner. She could trace our family tree right back to William Penn and there had never been anything but English blood in the family until my mother had decided to rebel.
    According to Grand-ma, my mother had always been rebellious and when she was 28 years old, in the year 1954, she gave birth to me and died two days later without ever revealing my father’s identity.
    Since Grand-ma was psychic, she took one look at me and just “knew” that my father was Canadian. So in 1956, my grandparents sold all of their possessions, bundled me up and immigrated to Canada aboard a Greek passenger ship.
    Before we left England, Grand-ma concentrated on a lock of my mother’s hair and picked Toronto as the place my father had absconded to.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Sorry, I forgot to tell you all the information you asked for:

    Annie's World
    Paranormal Woman's book
    84,000 words and counting
    Not published.

    Here it is again:
    Dr. Sedgewick told me to write down as much as I can remember about my life leading up to the events of the summer of 1984. He said I should make it my goal to remember what really happened. He doesn’t believe in ghosts - especially not animal ghosts. I told him I would ask Rose if I got stuck. At first he didn’t want me to, but after he thought about it he said it was ok. I wonder why he doesn’t like her. Anyway, I figure that anything is worth a try if it will stop the nightmares.
    **************************************************************
    My family, at least the women in it, comes from a long line of mediums and psychics. My grand-mother could remember her grand-mother holding séances in the early 1900’s in their parlour in the south of England; and Grand-ma’s grand-mother told her that her mother and grand-mother had, in turn, done the same.
    Unfortunately, the gift of second sight seemed to have stopped with my mother. My grand-mother said it was because my father was a foreigner. She could trace our family tree right back to William Penn and there had never been anything but English blood in the family until my mother had decided to rebel.
    According to Grand-ma, my mother had always been rebellious and when she was 28 years old, in the year 1954, she gave birth to me and died two days later without ever revealing my father’s identity.
    Since Grand-ma was psychic, she took one look at me and just “knew” that my father was Canadian. So in 1956, my grandparents sold all of their possessions, bundled me up and immigrated to Canada aboard a Greek passenger ship.
    Before we left England, Grand-ma concentrated on a lock of my mother’s hair and picked Toronto as the place my father had absconded to.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Did anyone get a request or a response? There are several entries I enjoyed reading and would like to read more of some day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. If you read Annie's World by Theresa and want to comment, here is my email address.
    Sorry: theresa_koenig@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. I haven't seen or heard of any responses yet either Lisa. But I also didn't put my email. If it is needed it is janetwrenn@yahoo.com, my entry was BOUND, By Janet Wrenn.

    ReplyDelete
  51. All right, I'm jumping on the clarification bandwagon, just in case there's some confusion.

    I posted "As Long As There Is Chocolate"
    My name is Tana Essary
    My email is tanaessary@gmail.com
    My website is http://tanaessary.com

    Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  52. DON'T COME BACK
    Contemporary Single Title
    85,000
    Unpublished
    *Please note that I can not italicize within this format. If something sounds like internal dialogue, it is.


    "It's A Boy!"

    Trey froze in the doorway of Sue's hospital room. The proclamation danced on a balloon floating above a bouquet of blue carnations.

    Who in the hell would give her something like that? Hasn't she suffered enough?

    The privacy curtain blocked the view of her bed. Maybe he'd find her asleep and could remove the monstrosity before she woke. He quietly headed for the painful reminder, and that's when he saw her.

    Saw them.

    Sue was sitting up in bed, a bundled baby in her arms. Trey's heart stopped. Why would she have him? Weren't they supposed to take him after the birth?

    The baby nursed at her breast. Sue didn’t look tired or sore or sad. In fact, her face glowed as she cooed to the baby. With one hand, she stroked the infant’s dark hair.

    Just like mine.

    Trey's gut knotted. He didn’t want to see this. Didn’t want to notice details like hair color or the size of the tiny fingers that clung to Sue's breast. The miles that had separated him from Sue had helped him distance himself from the baby, even the idea of the baby. This was too real. He turned to leave, but Sue caught him.

    "Trey, you’re here!" She smiled wide, her eyes full of joy. She looked younger than he remembered. So different from the last time he’d seen her, when he’d headed back to college, leaving her alone and scared.

    ReplyDelete