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

“You may never return to police work, Mr. Juran. I’m sorry.”

Alex closed his eyes. Oh, yeah, there were different kinds of pain, and his had just taken a whole new turn.

He opened his eyes and stared at the happy-face balloons and the banners on the flower arrangements demanding he “get well soon”.
In one day, he lost his wife, his career. His life.

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Sweet Saturday Sample

Happy Saturday after Valentine’s Day! Did we all survive the big day? My sample is from my romantic suspense, Obsession. Enjoy!

Upton stepped closer, going nose-to-nose, toe-to-toe with him. “I’m saying better him than you. I’d rather scrape his sorry ass off the ground than the best damn cop in the department. “Don’t go getting teary-eyed on me, Officer Juran. That kid made a lot of bad choices long before he ended up a chalk outline, and not one of them had to do with you.”

Alex ground his teeth. “What if I had been the chalk outline? Would the case be closed then?”

Upton stepped back. “You weren’t and you should be damn happy about it.”

Alex ran a hand through his hair. “So that’s it. Case closed. No more bad guy.”

“What should we do, Juran? We’ve followed every lead. Until your memory returns—if your memory returns—our hands are tied.”

“And what about the intruder? The guy who attacked Tess?”

“What about them?”

“LT never mentioned them.”

“And why would he? They’re nothing but harmless pranks.”

“So you’re telling me Tess’s attack was a harmless prank?” He took a step closer to Upton and stopped, afraid of what he’d do if he got too close. Upton glanced at his clenched hands and raised his brows, the warning clear in the depths of his eyes. Alex relaxed his fingers, but the anger was still seething inside him. “You were there that day, Matthew. You saw her. You saw what that bastard did to her.”

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Six Sentence Sunday

This past week I’ve been laid low by a nasty something-or-other-that’s-been-going-around. I’m proud to say I’m now nearly 48 hours cough medicine free as of this writing so things seem to be on the upswing. In honor of whatever-it-is-that’s-going-around, I present my six sentences.

Tess is a baker and is extremely busy at Christmas time but she’s caught pneumonia and her business will suffer if she doesn’t get those cookies baked. To help her out, Alex, her estranged husband, has stepped in to help. Except Alex doesn’t know his way around a kitchen…

She stopped in the doorway to her kitchen. Alex sat at her desk, gold wire-rimmed glasses perched on his nose as he read a recipe card. Two days of beard growth covered his cheeks and jaw. Flour and a yellow sticky substance she didn’t want to identify were smeared over his jeans and T-shirt.

Papers spit out by the fax floated onto a pile on the floor. Othello was in the corner, scarfing down black, charred cookies while Tony stood in the middle of the kitchen, an oven mitt on each hand, looking at her with wide, innocent eyes.

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A killer’s obsession could destroy their second chance for love.

A Love on the Edge romance.

Only a year ago, Officer Alex Juran and his wife Tess had it all. Love, a solid marriage and a baby on the way. Then in one heartbeat they lost everything.

Now, Tess is doing her best to move on. She has a thriving business and while she may be lonely at times, she’s proud of the new life she’s built without Alex.

Two days before their divorce is final, Alex is shot in the line of duty and left for dead. He faces a difficult recovery so Tess finds herself postponing the divorce and offering to care for him until he can live alone again.

At first, cohabitation is little more than combat. Alex’s incapacitating injuries, the looming divorce, and his inability to remember who shot him have him lashing out at the nearest target: Tess. When someone begins stalking her, he suspects his shooter has returned. Convinced that Tess is in danger, Alex becomes desperate to recover his strength.

Because no matter how much she’s hurt him in the past, they’ve been given a second chance—and he’ll do anything to protect his wife.

Six Sentence Sunday

These six sentences are from my romantic suspense, Obsession. About a husband and wife trying to find their way back to each other. Keeping with the Christmas/holiday week, this scene takes place around the Christmas tree.

“You got rid of me. What’s a box of ornaments?”

She sighed, pulled her hands up into her sleeves and stepped closer to the tree. “Getting rid of the ornaments would have hurt more than putting them on the tree.”

“So you want the memories, just not the person attached to them.”

She spun away. Instead of mere inches separating them, a couch, a dog, five years of marriage and six months of separation lay between them.

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Sweet Saturday Samples

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples. Sorry I missed last week–Thanksgiving and all. So, I thought I’d start off the holiday season with a holiday sample. This is from my romantic suspense, Obsession, which takes place over Christmas. As you can tell, this is a very emotional story.

Her gaze darted around the room, flitting here and there, everywhere but at Alex. She settled on the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. Her attention sharpened, focused. She pushed herself up from the couch and walked with slow, hesitant steps to the tree where she touched the apple-shaped bell, sending a merry tinkling through the still house. Her gaze shifted to the bear pulling a tree behind him and then to the red glass globe painted with the Cincinnati skyline.

Memories hit her with enough force to double her over in pain. Only the weight of Alex’s watchful gaze kept her back stiff.

When she swung around to face him, his brown eyes bore into hers, daring her to say something.

“When did you do this?”

“Two days ago.”

“You had no right—”

“I had every right.”

“How do you figure? We’re—”

“Still married.”

She took an involuntary step back, startled at his angry tone. He had a tight hold on the beer bottle and his shoulders were tense. He acted as if he hadn’t known. Surely his attorney had told him she’d canceled the court date. Surely Alex had known she would never dissolve their marriage while he was in the hospital.

His lips thinned into a tight line, his eyes narrowed.

He hadn’t known.

But he knew now.

Oh, God.

“I’m sorry. I thought your attorney told you.”

“He did. Two days ago.”

The day he put the ornaments back on the tree. “I would never do that. Divorce you while you were in the hospital.” She sat on the couch.

The pinched look around his eyes softened. He plucked her hand away from her robe and held it in his. The warmth of his skin heated her in a way the flames from the fire couldn’t.

“When I moved out, I was angry,” he said. “Angry because you couldn’t accept me for who I was. But I thought, given time, you’d realize… Hell, I don’t know, Tess. I guess I thought you would ask me back.” He turned her hand in his, so their fingers intertwined and she felt the smooth band on his finger. When had he put his wedding ring back on and why hadn’t she noticed until now? “Why didn’t you ask me back, Tess? What’d I do that was so awful you’d throw me away forever?”

Her heart rolled in her chest at the vulnerability echoed in those words. For so long she’d concentrated on her own pain that she’d pushed Alex’s to the back of her mind. After all, he’d been the one who refused to compromise. He’d been the one who refused to see his faults.

Maybe she should have demanded less, requested more. Maybe if she’d asked him to go to counseling instead of assuming he’d refuse, they’d be looking ahead to a lifetime together instead of back at a failed marriage.


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