Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Secret Agent #37

TITLE: Don't Come Back
GENRE: Romance - Contemporary Single Title

"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.


  1. I like that your POV is from the guy. Intriguing.

    One quibble: it took me until the end of your excerpt to figure out that Sue was supposed to give the baby up for adoption. At first I thought the baby had died. Maybe you can clarify that a little more in your first 250. Also, with the quotes around "It's a Boy," I thought someone had said it. Italicizing it instead of quotes would clear that up.

  2. I agree with Shannon that I also was confused about someone saying "Its a boy" and at first, I thought that there was something genetically wrong/ill with the baby, and that was why Sue wasn't supposed to have it. I do love the male POV, but I think you could rework this to make it clearer. I would keep reading for sure if there was more to read.

  3. Way to go establishing the conflict on the first page!

    Initially, I wasn't sure if there'd been a stillbirth or miscarriage that would have made the balloon distasteful, so I had an uncomfortable realization as I read on - he doesn't want the baby and she changed her mind.

    I like being duped every now and then, and I have a special fondness for "baby ever after" stories, so I'm curious to see how this one would play out.

  4. I agree that "it's a boy" should be italicized for clarity. But I wouldn't listen to the complaints about not knowing if the baby died or was given up for adoption. It kept me reading to find out. And it is explained in the first page. A story doesn't need to have all the questions answered in the first paragraph. We are finding out what's going on in a natural way. I want to know more about these people and their relationship so you've done a great job hooking the reader.

  5. Love the writing. Very strong opening. I guess I'll go down the path of saying that I think there's a way not to have people immediately think the baby died without changing it much. Just subtle shifts...

    I think if you take out the sentence that says "Hasn't she suffered enough?" and if you pick something slightly less strong than "monstrosity"...maybe even "stupid balloon"... then it doesn't feel as if the worst thing ever has happened.

    Would like to read more:)

  6. Initially, I didn't see the genre of your book, and thought the "monstrosity" was referring to the baby - ie that it was an actual monster(obviously I read too much sci-fi/fantasy!). Your readers wont have that problem!

    I think it's totally fine to keep readers guessing re: whether or not the baby died. You hooked me!

  7. Your writing it strong and you definitely hooked me (although I agree with the others to italicize "It's a boy"). someone who writes, and also reads, contemporary single title romance, this doesn't read like a single title romance to me. If they are college students, I'm thinking maybe it should be New Adult?

    For romance sake, it seems like a strange place to start with the birth of a baby (not going to be much sexual tension, etc., for her at least lol). But again, I did love the writing, and I would read on to see where this goes! Good luck.

  8. I think your writing is strong. However, there was one thing that threw me off. I didn't feel the relationship between the characters was clear, and so I was a little confused when he thinks "just like mine." This makes me think he could be the baby's father, or is just noticing the similarity.

  9. I have the same "It's a Boy" critique as all the others.

    I also thought the baby had died, but having that clarified pretty quickly was fine.

    I felt the relationship was inconsistent... He left her alone and scared, obviously was on board with the adoption idea, but she greets when with a beaming smile.

    I realize she's all glowing and in Baby Love, but it confuses me as to where they left things.

  10. Like other readers, I thought something had happened to the baby, but this only made me connect with the story even more. I would read this book as is, and don't think rewording is necessary. Even if people briefly think the baby died, it evokes stronger emotions.