Wednesday, November 4, 2009

40 Secret Agent

TITLE: Lucky in Love
GENRE: Contemporary Romance

Trouble. Cassie knew it right away when her hospital cell phone vibrated in her pocket. Couldn't be her patients, she'd just checked in on all of them. Had to be the office calling about some kind of emergency.

She rushed down the hall of the psychiatric unit in New York City Hospital to the nurses' station. Behind the locked door, she clicked on her message and stared at the screen.

Brett asked me to marry him and I couldn't refuse.
Flight leaves this afternoon.

Stunned, she swallowed hard and tried to digest the message. Her boyfriend and her roommate? This had to be a nightmare.

Those simple words on the phone squeezed her heart into a painful ball of misery. She reread the message and tried to figure out how Lola and Brett had time to manage an hour together, let alone a whole courtship.

Forget how. What about why?

Before she made any sense of either, the rest of the message forced its way into her brain:
P.S. The apartment is yours.

Blood roared in her ears, the hair on the back of her neck stood up and, her knees quivered. Not being able to afford the apartment rent by herself was the reason she'd taken on Lola as a roommate in the first place.

To compound her bad luck, she spied Dr. Daniels, the head of psychiatry, or Dr. Roving Hands as the nurses called him. He raised a cultured eyebrow above gray eyes and sauntered toward her, his well-formed lip curled into a characteristic leer.


  1. I kind of like this, though it's hard to say why, since romance is definitely not my cup of tea (or cup of anything). The writing's pretty clean, perhaps a little overwrought. The only thing I might complain about is her angst over losing a rent-paying roommate -- seems pretty small potatoes compared to the rest.

  2. I like this, too. You've done a nice job showing how busy she is (and therefore oblivious to what's been happening behind her back). The only little nit for me was the "cultured eyebrow" phrase. The word choice (cultured) didn't sound right to me. But that's a minor detail and my own personal view. In all though, I liked it. I'd keep reading to see where this goes!

  3. I like this too. You've opened up several problems right off the bat: her boyfriend running off with her roommate, her inability to pay her rent on her own, and the Dr. Roving Hands. (Nice nickname by the way.)

    I did notice a few too many adjectives: painful, cultured, characteristic for instance. The words they're modifying can stand on their own in my opinion, though maybe the eyebrow could be modified to indicate he's well-groomed.

  4. I thought it was odd that she ran down the hall to get to a locked room to answer an emergency page because if I think its an emergency I'll stop in the middle of the library to answer it. But then Dr. Daniels was in the same locked room? Or did she leave. Sorry, I'm sure I'm being too nitpicky but I'm having trouble in the picturing.

  5. I like the set up as well. Any of us who have been betrayed by a best friend with our significant other or even just a prospect they really shouldn't have touched can relate. I even had a little visceral response -- burning in my gut. Nice!

    That last paragraph threw me a bit, too. Seemed to morph into a different voice somehow.

    I'd keep reading.

  6. Yes, it wondered why she'd have to go behind a locked door to read a message. Also, it seemed to me that she was more angry about the apartment than the boyfriends betrayal...

    I was a little confused about the last paragraph and wondered if she had left the room... I love the nickname for Dr. Daniels...

    Cassie has definitely been hit by a ton of bricks... I would read more...

  7. I have a problem with where she is. Secure behind a locked door at a nurses station? A little half-door? And yet the doctor is in there too? And if she just checked in on all her patients, she assumes it couldn't be one of them but possibly her office? And if it's her roommate calling, wouldn't she call her personal cell and not the hospital-issued one? I don't know. It's just not working for me.

    It also seems strange that she's an intelligent woman who didn't realize her roommate and her boyfriend had something going on. Also, the name Lola made me think she had typed in LOL. Like it was a joke. I read it wrong the first time.

    This seems cliche: Blood roared in her ears, the hair on the back of her neck stood up and, her knees quivered.

    Sorry. I hate to pile it on, but you could have a great story if I could get past these details.

  8. I like this and would like to read more. However, I feel as if she cared more about the apartment than being betrayed by her boyfriend and roommate.

    Though I haven't worked in the psych ward, I did rotations there while I was getting my degree. I assume things haven't changed much. Psych wards are locked--main doors and several areas in the floor.

  9. Great hook. Love the conflict. The character introduced in the closing paragraph though seemed a little cartoonish.

  10. I don't know. I felt like the boyfriend and roommate thing came in a little soon, before I really felt a connection to the main character. Good writing, otherwise.

  11. The roommate's lack of remorse is pretty harsh and I think that's what is leading to people's reaction of the message being too abrupt.

    I can see what's going to happen: Dr. Roaming Hands is going to roam with his hands, and her rage is going to make him stop. I'd read on to see what that propels her to do.

  12. I totally agree with what florincaid said. I think the boyfriend/roommate thing does come a little soon and would have had more oomph if we'd known the protagonist a bit better first.

  13. I'm on the fence about this one. There's good tension right off the bat, but at times feels a little melodramatic and cliche (ex: painful ball of misery).

  14. I agree with the others.

    I would have thought her first reaction should have been shock rather than the a ball of misery, and I agree that her rent issues seem trivial in comparison to the betrayal by BF and RM.

    Dr Daniels description seems very formulaic 'bad guy' at the moment, so we have a pretty good idea this is where the sparks will be flying.