Six Sentence Sunday – Her Dark Knight

 

Fire scorched his skin and burned his insides. He tossed one way then the other. His lids fluttered open only to see the bright flames leap at him.

A face appeared before him, stern in its expression, black eyes shuttered. Cool water poured over his body. “Am I in hell?” His voice was rough, his throat raw.

“Nay. Not hell, but close to it.”

 

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Sweet Saturday Sample – Her Dark Knight

She shook her head, but the words wouldn’t come to deny the charges. The nightclub would be an excellent cover for a drug operation.

“I’m not dealing drugs, Madelaine. I’m not involved in anything illegal,” he said sadly.

She winced at his tone. She didn’t mean to hurt him. “Then what?”

He ran a hand through his hair. “Something far bigger and far more evil than drugs. But not illegal. At least in the eyes of the law.”

“Unethical?”

“Possibly. But I’m on the side of right here. You have to trust me in this.” He stood and paced to the windows. The bright sun shone behind him, creating an aura of light that surrounded him. Like an angel. Her angel.

What was she thinking? Of course he wasn’t doing anything illegal. This was Christien. The idea of him dealing drugs or negotiating arms with terrorists was ludicrous and she’d been an idiot to think it in the first place.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I know you would never do anything illegal.”

Sharon Cullen 267

He laughed, but the sound was cynical. “Don’t be so sure. At times I’ve done what I had to.”

“You had your reasons.” Just like he had his reasons to believe she was in danger. Proven twice now.

“I’m humbled by your faith in me,” he said sarcastically.

His words bit, but she absorbed the pain. It was no more than she deserved for doubting him when he’d done nothing but take care of her and try to protect her.

“Forgive me.”

“Ah, Madelaine. There’s nothing to forgive, mon coeur. You have every right to your doubts after what you’ve been through. I never meant for you to get hurt.”

She stood again to join him at the window. Her legs wobbled a bit. “It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have known.”

He touched her cheek, his thumb grazing her jaw. “But I did know. From the moment I saw you in my club, I knew you were special and I knew nothing good would come of this.”

She swallowed, suddenly nervous. “This?”

His hand dropped and he turned away from her to stare out the window. “Us.”

What was he saying? They had no future? Surely he hadn’t brought her all the way to France to break up with her.

She stepped away and raised her chin. “What do you mean?”

268 Her Dark Knight

His harsh expression softened. “Only that I should have walked away when I had the chance. But I never had the chance. One look at you and I’d found the other half of my heart.”

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First Lines

First lines are so important to a story. It’s the reader’s introduction to you, your characters and your story. It has to be just right. Authors struggle over their first lines, sweat over them, lose sleep over them, change them, rework them, rip them apart, rewrite them and, yes, sometimes cry over them.

Below are the first lines from my books. As a reader do you have any favorite first lines? If you’re an author, what’s the first line of your current release or work in progress?

“No good ever came from opening a door without looking through the peephole. Or so Kate’s mom always said.” – From DECEPTION

“I hafta go potty.

Aiden’s alarmed gaze swung down to the China doll standing in front of him. He’d been sitting in the shadows of his porch, so engrossed in studying the fine legs of the woman in the driveway next door that he hadn’t seen the munchkin arrive on his step.” – From NIGHT SONG

“The guy at the convenience store told her to take the old logger’s road. Said it wasn’t marked, but she couldn’t miss it. That had been twenty minutes ago. She hadn’t counted on the steep, winding hill, the sheer drop to nothing or the snow the weathermen were saying was a blizzard in the making.” – From REDEMPTION

“Alex Juran’s breath condensed on the cold night air. He adjusted the brim of his John Deere cap and tucked his chin into his thin coat, straining to hear past the sounds of traffic a few blocks away and the mournful horn of a barge chugging down the river.” – From OBSESSION

“Sizzling heat reached out to her. Retreated, teased, scorched. A horrible shrieking sound filled her head. She tried to cover her ears but her arms wouldn’t move.” – From WHEREVER YOU ARE

“The fever was catching up to him. Slowing him down. Killing him.” – From HER DARK KNIGHT

“The babe was dying.” – From A FOREVER KIND OF THING

Six Sentence Sunday

“Go inside, Madelaine. Before I change my mind.”

“Change your mind about what?”

“About taking you back to my place and making long, slow love to you.”

He waited, breath held, hoping she’d take him up on the offer. To his great disappointment, she unlocked the door to the building and stepped through, closing it
firmly behind her.

Nook | Kindle

Sweet Saturday Samples

Since the weather is so beautiful here in Ohio I thought I’d give you a snippet of Her Dark Knight, which also takes place in the spring. Enjoy and if you get a chance, follow the other authors’ Saturday Samples

He wasn’t going to be the one to tell her she didn’t get the job based on her resume but based on her eerie likeness to a dead countess. He steered her onto the entrance to the River Walk.
Normally Christien barely noted the changing of the seasons. When time held no meaning, seasons were inconsequential. He’d lived through hundreds of them but today he could feel spring in the air. The breeze was warm upon his face. The sun seemed brighter. He was aware that this new appreciation had nothing to do with Mother Nature but rather Madelaine at his side.

She brought new awareness to his life, an edge to a dull existence.
“I need this job more than anything. I have to succeed.”

“Why do you have to succeed?”

“Well. For the same reasons everyone wants to succeed.”

“Generally people want success for money or

power or to rise above bad situations. Which reason is yours?”

“Money,” she said softly.

Nook | Kindle

 

Sweet Saturday Samples

Happy Saturday to everyone! Here’s hoping your weekend is off to a great start. Today’s sample is from Her Dark Knight, a paranormal romance. Enjoy!

“You are needed here.” Michael’s expression softened, as if he felt his patient’s pain and longing. “You are charged with protecting the treasure for all
eternity.”
“Nay.” Nay. He did not want this.

“If the treasure is discovered by the wrong people, there will be war as we have never seen, pestilence and death. Everything as you know it will be gone.”

“You are speaking of the Apocalypse?”

Michael did not answer. His silence was answer enough.

He would not accept that he was the only man standing between life and the end of the world. The only man for the rest of eternity? Nay.

“You will encounter those who want to take the treasure from you, who will do anything to have it. You alone know where it is buried, but only the key
can break the seals.”

“What is this key you speak of?”

“You will know when you find it.”

He shook his pounding head. “You speak in riddles again.”

Michael lowered himself to one knee and folded battle-scarred hands over his bent leg. “The key will reveal itself in time. For now you need to protect the treasure. You have been given eternal life to do so. Death cannot claim you.”

He stared at his rescuer turned jailor, anger and desperation and defeat churning inside him. “You lied.”

Michael cocked a brow in question.

“This is hell.”

Nook | Kindle | Carina Press

Cutting Room Floor

I’m a writer (well, duh, you say) which means that every single word I put on a page is my baby. Every. Single. I birthed those words and sometimes, a lot of times, it hurt! But not every word makes the final cut. A lot of them–a LOT–have to go. Either because they slowed the pace down, the scene changed or it was out of character. But I can’t simply hit the delete button on those babies. Good or bad, they’re my words. So I keep them, and for every book I write I create a folder called “Cutting Room Floor.Insert name of book”. That folder stays with me because sometimes, not often, but sometimes I’ll use those words again.

They’re good words, sometimes really well written paragraphs that make me want to cry when I can’t use them. So I decided to make a use for them. Each week (I’m thinking of Wednesdays, but we’ll see how it works), I’m going to post something that made it to the cutting room floor. And I’m going to encourage other writers to post their cutting room floor snippets (because most of us simply can’t let loose those babies).

Today’s cutting room floor comes from my newest release, Her Dark Knight (where I have a whopping 85 pages of cut scenes):

“Are you certain of this?”

She hesitated before nodding and he took satisfaction in the small hesitation. It gave him hope. It seemed lately it was the only thing he could keep hold of—his hope.

“You will call if you need me?”

“Your number is programmed into my phone.” Her whiskey-colored eyes were huge and moist with perpetual unshed tears.

“I hate to leave you here alone,” he admitted, but stopped before he begged her to return with him.

“I’ll be fine.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. A sisterly, affectionate kiss that seared his skin where her lips had touched and left him wanting more.

“I’ll be fine.” She stepped back.

His cue to leave. He moved toward the door, hesitated, then walked through, closing it firmly behind him. For long moments he stood in the hall, listening to her move about. He even placed his hand on the door, but felt only cold wood.

We’re very much strangers, she had said and Christien had to fight to keep his breathing even, to keep her from seeing how much her words had hurt. Yes, to her they were strangers.

But to him, she was everything.

 

Reader Rally! ***CONTEST***

***CONTEST CLOSED!***

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Come join us and WIN PRIZES! That’s right, I said WIN PRIZES! Tons of great blogs are giving away awesome prizes and Romance at Random is giving away a grand prize!

I’ll be giving away a download of my newest release, Her Dark Knight, to one lucky person. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me one other blog you visited.

Winner will be drawn at random using random.org and will be announced on February 1, 2012.

Good luck!

Madelaine Alexander is on a mission. When her boss sends her to the hottest nightclub in town to meet with the owner, she won’t be deterred, even if that means standing in line for fifty-eight minutes in torturous heels while she’d rather be home in her pj’s with a bowl of popcorn.

A Knight of the Templar, Christien Chevalier was given immortality along with the responsibility of protecting the treasure of the Templars. He’s been unwavering in his task for centuries until his one true love—who died seven hundred years ago—shows up in his club, demanding his attention.

Christien couldn’t protect Madelaine when they first fell in love. She was married to a lord and he was simply a knight. Now, through some unknown miracle, she stands before him again and they have a second chance. But Christien fears that Madelaine is being used as a pawn in a dangerous game, a game of good versus evil that could affect all of mankind…