Wednesday, January 22, 2014

First Two (Adult Fiction) #4

GENRE: Romance / Women's Fiction

Eight in the morning wasn’t what Lettie Gold considered the ideal hour for a sexy Skype call with her fiancé, not even close. But it would raise more than a few perfectly-tweezed eyebrows if she wasn’t behind her desk at Last Word by 9:30. There was nothing celebrity publicists did better than spread gossip—about their clients and each other. Anyway, it wasn’t like she and David had a better option. By the time she got home from work it would be the middle of the night in Berlin.

Lettie turned her profile to the bathroom mirror and marveled at her half-clothed reflection one last time. Victoria’s Secret was either run by engineering geniuses or practitioners of dark Wiccan magic, there was simply no other plausible explanation for the gravity-defying effects of this bra. The pale pink wisp of fabric performed not just a push up on her minimal cleavage, but a whole Presidential Fitness Award’s worth of athletic achievements.

Actually, Lettie didn’t really think her body really needed a lift, pagan ritual-induced or otherwise. She’d always liked her smaller size chest, or at least the lifelong freedom from underwire it had afforded her. But she could take a hint. And, as far as hints went, the pale pink demi-cup with the built-in padding David had given for her birthday may as well have been skywriting.

She brushed her dark hair forward so its ends curled softly just below her sternum.

There, perfect.

Lettie hurried into the bedroom where she’d already drawn the curtains closed and positioned the laptop on the bed for the most flattering lighting. Arranging herself in front of it in a slightly uncomfortable—but, she hoped, smolderingly alluring—position resting on her left hip, she clicked the icon MusicMan86. The inelegant buzz-buzz of the Skype ringtone droned loudly.

MusicMan86 did not pick up.

Again? Adrenaline clamped its angry fingers tight around Lettie’s chest. She felt a fresh wave of loathing for the stupid Volkswagen execs who had hired him on this job. It was just a dumb advertising jingle, for crying out loud. They kept him chained to his keyboard like he was cracking the code on world peace.

She killed time for a few minutes on social media, then tried Skype again. On the fourth ring, the black rectangle on her laptop screen finally lit up with David’s scruff-covered face.

Relief flushed away the last trace of her annoyance. God, he was gorgeous. Even after three years together (four, if you counted that year of friends with benefits back when they were just undergrads at NYU…) David’s slightly disheveled good looks still took her breath away. The faint shadow of stubble on his jaw, the shaggy blonde-brown that looked like he’d hacked into it with a pair of scissors, himself. He’d had that same rough-around-the-edges appeal ever since she’d known him. As if he’d stepped off the pages of Rolling Stone just so he could slide into the empty seat beside her in Music Theory III.


  1. This is a fun opening and I wanted to know David's reaction. And how complicated things are going to get when it isn't the one she expects.

    You did very well with the mirror scene. I would just end the Victoria’s Secret sentence at "dark Wiccan magic" then start a new one with "there was simply" so the sentence isn't too convoluted.

    Good luck!

  2. Definitely a fun set-up. I didn't like the line about adrenaline clamping its angry fingers but I liked the one about world peace.

  3. I am anxious to see what happens next. I'd read further and I generally stay away from Romance books.

    Just a few things you might have missed, the 'but' isn't needed at the start of the second sentence and at the beginning of the third paragraph you two 'really' close together.

  4. I love the first line. It might even work to have "not even close" as its own line. When Last Word is mentioned, it might be helpful to tag on what type of company it is; Last Word Publicity, Inc. for example.

    Personally, I am not a fan of the character-described-in-a-mirror moment, especially on a first page. This section can be omitted for now, and instead show her arranging herself in front of the laptop with a quick mention of the bra, to keep the pace moving.

    I was also a little thrown by the adrenaline line. Points for creativity, but it felt a little too intense for just waiting for her fiance (who she knows well) to pick up on Skype. Maybe omit "its angry fingers" and it's a little easier to take. You can also take out "she felt" in the next line and just start with "A fresh wave..." and then add in a verb like "washed over" or "surfaced." In that line, I would also clarify who "him" is with the name of her fiance just to keep it clear since she was the subject in the previous line.

    I like the descriptors of David and how they connect to a little backstory. It's not overdone. A great example of adding in those details while something current is going on. I think this opening fits well with other contemporary romance I've read. Nice job!

  5. As an additional note on genre, I would suggest choosing Romance OR Women's Fiction since they aren't the same thing. Romance has a Happily Ever After (or Happy For Now) while Women's Fiction does not need to result in a couple's happy union. There are other romance "rules" but that's the most basic.

  6. I don't usually read Romance, but I found this rather charming, and I think the voice is probably just right.

    At times it seemed you were tiptoeing along the edge when it comes to 'telling' and filling in the backstory. But just when I thought it was going to be too much, you'd say something cute that pulled it back to the moment. So as far as successfully weaving in the information about her situation, I think you've just managed to pull it off.

    And when you said David was gorgeous, I confess I was expecting a corny romantic description to follow! But instead the details were believable and quite endearing, and I could easily see him. (Though you need to take out that pesky little comma after 'scissors'.)

    And I really like the last line; even if the idea of the sexy 'rock star' type might be a bit of a cliché, the way you phrased that has a nice authentic feel.