Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #40

TITLE: The Strongest Chain
GENRE: Adult Romance

They were breaking the rules. Meredith Davies’ ten rules of the road said you do not stop at a gas station in a crappy part of town, you do not stop for gas late at night, and you do not let the tank get below a quarter to avoid breaking rules one and two. But here they were, at the Gas and Grab in freaking Chelsea on fumes at one AM. Kennedy looked out the window and watched her mom finish filling up. Meredith replaced the pump handle and then looked over to the little store attached to the station before opening the car door.

“Hey, I’m going inside to grab a pack.”

“Don’t you have any at home?” Kennedy asked, hoping that maybe she just forgot.

“No, my delightful daughter I do not. And Woody’s will be closed by now. I’m all fired up after hearing that lecture and I think I want to write tonight. That means I’m going to be ready to kill someone for a cigarette at about three AM. You don’t want that to be you.” She said with a smile and a wink while grabbing a twenty out of her wallet. Kennedy watched her mother walk confidently into the station on her three-inch heels with just a pashmina thrown casually over her thin white blouse and silk skirt as if the December night wasn’t freezing.

“You should quit smoking.” Kennedy said aloud to the empty air around her. “And put on a coat.”


  1. This is a good, strong start although it read more like YA to me than adult romance. However, I liked the back and forth between the mother and daughter. It was almost a role reversal. I don't think you need that first sentence. The rest of the paragraph shows that they are breaking the rules. Otherwise I think this is a great start.

  2. Interesting first page. Grabby. I liked the breaking the rules part. Would like some indication of how old Kennedy is to get a feel for the duo. Not knowing that makes it difficult to peg who the romantic heroine is intended to be. Still, there's enough questions for me to keep reading. Nicely done.

  3. Great writing. It makes me feel uneasy straight away, as if something is about to go horribly wrong -- a consequence to breaking the rules. The combination of the young girl left alone in a car, a smart/smart-mouthed mother dressed in heels and a sheer shirt at a gas station late at night raises all the red flags for me. I agree. Give us a sense of Kennedy's age especially because it's in her point of view. Unless it switches POV later on, I'm curious how this adult romance told through the child's eyes will work out. It's definitely new for me. Will definitely read more. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I like how you convey information about both characters in amount of short time. Your first two lines aren’t as strong as the rest however, together it creates a clear image of where they are, and hints at what’s to come. Having only read this short extract it’s unclear if Kennedy or Meredith will be the main character though I’m guessing it might be Meredith. The dynamics between the two are strong and promise an unconventional mother/daughter relationship.

  5. I love the lines about breaking the rules. Like Joy Writer said, it sets the story up for (possible dire) consequences. From the voice, I also had the feeling it might be YA, so, assuming Kennedy is the MC, it might be good to add a touch more adult thought or dialogue when Kennedy talks to her mom. I liked the role reversal of the final lines too. Good luck!

  6. I really liked the rules. Great setup for dangerous things to come.

    I also think this is YA, unless the mom becomes the narrator or something. So that was jarring for me. I'm used to a certain type of narrator in adult romance, and this wasn't it.

    I also found it strange that the MC calls her mom by her real name. And I found the first few sentences (until "Kennedy looked out her window..." to be sort of a different narrator. Almost omniscient. Or actually Meredith's. I don't know. The narrator obviously gave me a lot of trouble! :)

    But I loved the setup of the mom going into the convenience store, all dressed up to the nines at 1 AM.

  7. I liked how the daughter/mother dynamic is flip flopped here.

    In this section-You don’t want that to be you.” She said with a smile and a wink while grabbing a twenty out of her wallet.- Should the dialogue end with a comma and the she said with a smile... be the tag?

    Also, the "three AM" in the dialogue seemed stiff for the mom's character. Seems like she'd probably just say three.

    I'm thinking this may be a prologue since Meredith seems to be young as the main character, and it's labeled as adult romance.
    Nice voice here too.

  8. The first half felt stronger than the second half for me. I thought Meredith was out breaking rules with a man on a road trip, perhaps making her way through all ten rules and breaking every single one with antics ensuing. But then the daughter was an unexpected twist, and a bit confusing too for how old the MC is, how old her daughter is, and where exactly this is going as a romance. The romance angle isn’t clear from the sample, and perhaps this is all important setup, or perhaps this is starting in the wrong spot.