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

Sweet Saturday Sample

From my romantic suspense, Redemption. Enjoy!

“What bad things have you done?” she asked.

“This isn’t about me, Hope. This is about your father.”

“My father’s dead.” Grief flashed across her face, but she contained it.

“Yes, and we need to find out who did it.” He was desperate to get the conversation back on track. Hope had a way of derailing him, making him think of things other than their purpose. He knew she did it as a defense mechanism against the emotions battering her.

“We will. You will. I trust you.”

“Don’t.” He took another step back, his hand going out in a motion to stop her words.

“Why does that scare you?” She tilted her head, the waterfall of hair sliding over her shoulder and shimmering in the late-afternoon sun spilling in from the window.

“It doesn’t scare me. It’s just not wise to trust me.”

“My father seemed to think it wise.”

“Hope, please—”

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Sweet Saturday Sample

It’s that time again. Sweet Saturday Sample. Be sure to check out other great authors and their samples as well!

Keeping to the Christmas/holiday season, this is from my romantic suspense, Redemption. Enjoy!

His hands tightened on the steering wheel, not from the icy road conditions but from the emotions inside him. Had he known coming out of his shell would be this painful, he would have braved the storm days ago and dropped her off at the police station for Mercer or one of the other guys to deal with. Just his dumb luck he’d finally found a woman to pull him out of himself and she was pregnant, possibly married, with no memory and a killer on her tail.

He merged onto the interstate and picked up speed. Out here, the salt trucks had done their work, and the blizzard hadn’t been as bad as in the higher elevations. Returning to civilization was always a tricky process for him. He far preferred the quiet of his mountain retreat to the noise and fast pace of the real world.

“What day is it?” Hope asked, running her hand down her braid and staring out the front windshield.

“Wednesday.”

“Wednesday what? I don’t even know the date.”

“December twenty-eighth.”

She shifted and he pulled his gaze from the road long enough to glance at her surprised expression.

“That means I crashed on Christmas day.”

He grunted his response, something he knew she hated, but did anyway. Doing things with the intent to irritate another person wasn’t really like him, but with Hope, he enjoyed it.

“John.”

“What?”

“I crashed at your house on Christmas day.”

“I know that.” He was well aware what day she’d entered his life.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

He blew out a breath. Not this again. She seemed to think he was purposely keeping information from her. “I guess I figured you knew that.”

“I couldn’t even remember my name, why would I know it was Christmas?”

He shrugged, still not getting why this was important. She seemed to fixate on the weirdest things.

“No wonder you were mad,” she said after too short a silence.

“I wasn’t mad.”

“Sure you were. You didn’t want me there.”

True enough, but not for the reasons she thought.

“Geez, John. I ruined your Christmas.”

“No, you didn’t.” That he could say with absolute certainty. She’d saved his Christmas. And possibly him.

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Sweet Saturday Samples

Since it’s snowing outside, I thought this sample appropriate. This is from Redemption, available in ebook and paperback.

When he reached the overturned car, he bent almost in half, swiped at the snow on the driver’s side door and cupped his hands to peer in. Damn it, there was a body in there. He tugged on the handle. The door creaked and groaned as it slowly swung open.

Flexing and folding his fingers, he stared at the unconscious woman still seatbelted in. Clenching his teeth, he reached in and wiggled his hand in search of the seatbelt clasp.

Sweat trickled down his temple as he groped for the latch and found the button. He hesitated. If he released the seatbelt, she’d fall. That meant he had to catch her.
Taking a deep breath for courage, he released the belt and shoved his arms out, grunting as he took the weight of her. She groaned. Damn woman wasn’t even dressed for the weather. Where was her coat?

To get a better hold on her, he had to lay her on the ground. That crazy-colored white blonde hair of hers nearly blended with the snow and her head rolled to the side. Blood from her temple soaked into the ground reminding him of some macabre snow cone.

He hitched her up into his arms, ignoring the inner voice screaming at him to back away. Unfortunately for her, he was her only chance. Poor girl. As he trudged toward his cabin, kicked the door open and walked through the living room into the only bedroom, she remained unnaturally still. He placed her on the bed, then looked at her, hands on his hips.

So what now?

Blurb:

Running for her life…to a man who’d given up on it.

“Go to Callahan.”

Pregnant, alone—and with no memory of who she is—these words are the only thing Hope can hang onto as she drives through a blizzard, searching for the reclusive Callahan. And when she finds him, she’s not sure which of them is more in need of help and healing.

Haunted by the brutal murder of the woman he loved, the last thing John Callahan needs on his hands is an injured pregnant woman. But with the storm bearing down, he has no choice. Opening his home to her, though, turns out to be far from simple. Her unconditional acceptance of him, scars and all, opens windows to his soul he thought were forever sealed.

Then he discovers Hope’s true identity, and realizes his past—and a powerful enemy—has come back to haunt them both. Even as he races against time to save her, John has to wonder…

Is Hope his redemption? Or his downfall?

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Sweet Saturday Samples

Welcome to Sweet Saturday Samples where authors post excerpts of their writing. My excerpt is from my romantic suspense, Redemption. Enjoy! And if you want to find more excerpts from some fabulous authors, click this link –> Sweet Saturday Samples.

Absently rubbing his aching thigh, he once again tried to put the pieces together. But instead his brain chose to think of the fire shooting from Hope’s eyes as they left Daniel Webster’s house. Damn but that spurt of life inside her had done something to him. Didn’t matter that he was the target of her anger, he’d been fascinated. Until he listened to what she was saying.

Hell, he knew he was scared. No big secret there. But when she oh-so kindly told him what he was scared of, he’d about run off the road. His feelings? Impossible. He didn’t have any feelings. Hadn’t felt anything worthwhile since Peru. So to be afraid of something he didn’t even feel—well, that was just ridiculous.

Your problem is you have too many feelings and you don’t know what to do with them, so you shove them behind that granite wall you’ve erected  around your heart.

That granite wall gave a loud crack, bits and pieces of it falling away, revealing what lay beneath. No, Hope Stewart had been wrong. There was no heart behind that wall. Nothing but a black hole where a heart once beat strong and sure. Before Peru. Before Angelina.

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