Wednesday, October 14, 2009

24 Secret Agent

GENRE: Historical Fiction

There were two things in the world Evan MacAllister found irresistible—an exquisitely-shaped woman and an exquisitely-shaped diamond.

Of course, those weren’t the only things that Evan enjoyed. He adored pressed duck, American bourbon and the tawdriest form of burlesque theatre. He read The Queen as eagerly as any housewife and gambled at the races like a laborer on a Bank Holiday. And he had an unexplained weakness for Norfolk jackets.

But nothing compared to his love for women and diamonds. Two vices that could get a man into trouble more quickly than others. And, incidentally, the two responsible for Evan’s current predicament.

When he first spotted Sarah Purves in the drawing room at Alexander Darling’s house, pale and poised and sporting that flashing rectangle of carbon on her second finger, the only word that came to mind was, “Exquisite.”

Both were guests at the Darlings’ country house for the last hunt of the season. Sarah was lonely and bored; Evan was willing to entertain both Sarah and her diamond. Without much difficulty, he enticed her into a dark corner or two. Sarah began eagerly looking for Evan every evening and then, just as eagerly, looked for an unoccupied room.

One night Sarah was stretched across the billiards table, Evan sucking each of her fingers teasingly. He slipped her ring off with his tongue and, just as quickly, pushed on another ring that had been tucked inside his cheek. Whenever she next looked down at her ring, however often it was she did that, she would see a clear rectangle glinting with rainbows, the same as she always saw.


  1. Good writing, smooth. Love the voice. Not quite sure I believe the mouth acrobatics, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'd definitely read on.

  2. I would read more. Nice voice and writing. However, there's a lot of telling, and I'm not sure where the MC is or in how much trouble he's in.

    I assume this is England. Season is with cap "S."

  3. Like the voice and the lead in. I agree that I don't quite buy the mouth bit, but it lends itself to the swap. I'd read on. Good luck!

  4. You have a great voice. I didn't read the Genre but knew in your 2nd paragraph that this was historical fiction with your word choices. Nicely done! There were some telling moments that could be punched up some, but overall I would definitely keep reading.

  5. I agree with Linda about the trick with the mouth, but apart from that, it reads very well.

  6. I love the voice here. There's something humorous and witty about the set-up and I definitely would read more.

  7. This is very well written! I love Evan already; sneaky and cunning, yet there's something very endearing about him.

  8. I love the voice, humorous.
    Got to love a man who can do more than just tie a cherry stem!
    I would read more.

  9. Great voice. I like Evan immediately. Randy rakes always get my vote. Especially one with mouth aerobic skills!

    "flashing rectangle of carbon" is a great description.

    I'd read on

  10. Hooked. Good voice and flow. I feel an immediate connection to Evan.

    Watch your adverbs: teasingly, quickly, eagerly (twice), incidentally, lonely.

    Overall, I would read on to see what happens.

  11. Love a man with a talented mouth! Hooked~

  12. I don't normally read historical and I almost passed this up. I'm glad I didn't.

    I really loved the voice and yes I'm hooked.

  13. I liked the voice but I'm not sold.

    The last paragraph should have started to draw us in closer to the character's instead it pushes away from them. The fix is easy.

    Delete One Night. Period after table. Have Sarah look at her ring instead of guessing at her future behavior.

  14. I enjoyed this one, and I'm hooked! I hope Sarah finds out and decks him, though.

  15. Hooked. Great voice, and very in keeping with Evan's character.

    My one problem is that all of this reads like back story. I love your first three paragraphs, but when we arrive in Alexander Darling's house, we're seeing a bunch of stuff that's already happened. You may consider fast-forwarding to the present story and then filling in these details later, or telling us about these events in real time.

    Your call, of course. Good luck with it.

  16. I am somewhat hooked, and would certainly read on. Personally, I would move the second and third paragraphs down and focus on Evan's first sighting of Sarah.

  17. Great character and premise, but it's all flashback. You start with him somewhere else (although we don't know where.) and then you take us to the past.

    If you're going to start the story with that event, why not simply start there, instead of making it a flashback? Then we'd get to hear and see Evan and Sarah play this scene out as it happens, which would let us get to know them. And everything you told us in the opening parg. about him and his love for women and diamonds, we'd get to see first hand.

    Which is more exciting? Being at the party yourself, or having a friend tell you about it? That's the difference you could make in the story.

  18. Hmmm, good characterization at the start but then the action went so fast I felt a little thwarted: I wanted to know more about him than just his love of diamonds and women. I guess we do learn he steals too...
    Anyways, I'm hooked because of that last sentence

  19. I'm somewhat hooked. Agree with the others; this is all telling, as if you were literally sitting across from me telling me a story about a guy named Evan: a John Robie/Cary Grant diamond thief type of guy. I'd much rather watch how he charms Sarah over the billiards table and seduces that ring off her finger -- especially if this particular switch starts his predicament. Your writing is strong, but when does the show start?

  20. I was going to say exactly what Krista said, so I'll settle for seconding her comment.

  21. I enjoyed the sardonic tone here. Your MC is a cad and a bounder, but one who will be very entertaining. I would read on.

  22. I like this guy, and I like the way he’s written with humor. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s clearly charming and talented. I want to know more!

    Even though the first three paragraphs are “telling,” they’re a brief enough setup and I think they work. They’re interesting. Yet they may need to be cut anyway, because there are too many time periods going on in this brief opening. Your story might start with “When he first spotted…”

    If I read on, I’d be hoping that very soon we’d be in an actual scene. I hope this little bit of backstory was worth it.

    I didn’t care for the repetition of “exquisite” – title, twice in the first paragraph, again in the fourth paragraph.

    Still, I’d read a little more!