Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #14

TITLE: Conduit
GENRE: Paranormal

After asking Vivienne, a soul-reaper, to do a job for his demon, Asher explores the strange way his touch affects the only woman ever to drive him crazy. The story is told from her POV.

“What does it feel like, when I touch you?”

His question catches me off guard. “A forbidden temptation. An illicit ecstasy.” The words fall out in a rush of truth.

Both of his hands are on me now. One is tangled in my hair. The other is underneath my jacket and sweater, pressed against the skin on the small of my back. I’m held in place. Even if I wanted to, which I don’t, I couldn’t leave.

“And when I stop?” His breath tickles my lips as his forehead rests on mine.

“Desperate anguish.” My body responds to his. It wants to be closer than clothes and decency will allow.

He growls, affected by me too. “You told me that I hurt you, that touching me hurts you.”

“It does. I suffer.” My amber eyes lock onto jet black and then hazel. “Every time.”

He wets his lips as he cups my chin in his hand, forcing my head back. I know what he wants. I know what he’s going to do. I just can’t figure out why. And right now, I don’t care.

Except I do care and all of the reasons I said no the first time come crashing in, the most important one counting on me in this moment.

“Vivienne,” Asher whispers, his lips grazing my nose.

"David,” I say, my heart breaking for the betrayal I’m causing him.

Like a tidal wave or a flash flood, icy air rushes into my lungs, shocking my system. I have no concept of how long I lie flat on my back in the leaves and dirt, staring at the grey sky overhead, or how many times I beg, coax, and try to force my body to move.


  1. I wasn't crazy about the beginning. The dialogue felt unnatural, and the exposition was telling instead of showing, especially 'his question catches me off guard'.

    I did warm up to it as I read on, though, and I loved the reversal at the end.

    I think readers have little patience for cliches, especially in paranormals. You'll have to work extra hard to turn the reader's expectations on their heads. Good luck.

  2. I'm intrigued by what is going on, who each of the characters really are to one another.

    You have strong, lyrical prose. I do understand the prior comment about the dialogue feeling a bit unnatural. It gave me the impression that these characters were from another, more formal era--which may, in fact, have been your intention.

    However, the line to catch me, the one that held the most punch, as it were--was the one about his touch "hurting" her. This is a simpler description, but in my opinion much more effective.

    Overall, I think you did a great job.

  3. Nothing like a good paranormal love triangle! I like the it-pains-me-but-I-want-it aspect (in an un-sadistic way).

    Some questions/comments:

    "He growls, affected by me too." Not sure I get why he growls. POV: How can she know he's affected by her?

    Confused by "My amber eyes lock onto jet black and then hazel." Do you mean his eyes change color?

    Why can't she figure out why? isn't it obvious?

    Could delete "the most important one counting on me in this moment." You say it in the next to last paragraph (my heart breaking for the betrayal I’m causing him). But she doesn't actually cause a betrayal. Her action IS the betrayal. She betrays David.

    Last paragraph: Could delete "Like a tidal wave or a flash flood". // I have no idea what happened. Did he kiss her? Seems like you need a blacking out moment before the air rushes in. And maybe a faint burning on her lips (or some kind of pain from his touch) that is all that remains after the supposed kiss.

    Good luck!

  4. I'm very intrigued by this, the desperate want of intimacy despite the pain. I want to know the reason behind both of those things.

    I almost wish I had one sentence back to know if he is touching her when he asks the question, "What does it feel like …"

    You could cut: Both of his hands are on me now, since you show us with the next two sentences.

    I'm held in place is a little vague, what holds her in place? Simply his hands or something within herself?

    Consider: Even if I wanted, I couldn't leave. That pretty much conveys that she doesn't want to.

    Consider: My body aches to be closer to his, closer than clothing and decency allow. (In other words, show me how her body responds to his.)

    His growl pretty much shows how he feels, no need to say he's affected by her.

    The jet black and hazel is a little confusing? His dilated pupils and then the iris?

    I just can't figure out why-why he wants what he does or why he's going to do what he's going to do?

    Consider deleting And right now, I don't care and the immediate contradiction Except I do care and start with All of the reasons I said no the first time…

    I like the betrayal at the end, but also am a little confused. Does she betray him, or does her behavior force a betrayal on him?

    I definitely want to read more, because that last paragraph leaves me wondering what exactly happened.

    Also, try to reword to get rid of the ing words to ramp up the action/tension.

    Nice job.

  5. Hi everyone! Thanks for your comments.

    Honestly, to really capture the essence of the scene, I needed 460 words.

    Yes, he's touching her when he asks if it hurts.

    One eye is black, the other hazel. Asher has heterochromia.

    The whole "I can't figure it out" thing is that Vivienne knows enough about Asher to know he ALWAYS has ulterior motives behind anything he does. You don't work with demons and have an altruistic outlook. She doesn't believe that he wants her simply because he's attracted to her. So she's trying to figure out why he's doing this.

    So, the reason she ends up flat on her a$$ is because Asher lets her go because she says David's name. That feeling is the absence of his touch.

    Thank you everyone for the amazing suggestions :-)

  6. I didn't get any of this from the excerpt. As I read, I was thinking Asher's dialogue sounded more demon than human, and I wondered what Asher was. According to the blurb, Asher was the person who asked Vivienne to do a job for his demon, so to me, that said, Asher wasn't the demon. But it seems that he is the demon? This probably wouldn't have been a problem if I had been reading from the beginning.

    Vivienne, on her part, seems to answer his questions as if she's rattling off facts. Perhaps include some emotion here, as well as some internal thoughts. Is it embarrassing to answer his questions, to say the things she says? Is she hesitant? What's going on in her head while he's touching her?

    I didn't get whether they kissed or not, so I wasn't sure why she landed on her back. Was it because they did kiss? Or because they attempted to kiss? Or because she pulled away from him? I know now because you explained above, but without that, I wouldn't have known, so perhaps add something that lets the reader know it was because she said David's name. (But that might already be evident somewhere in the previous text that we haven't seen.)

    Your statement that you needed 460 words makes me wonder if this is the result of cutting in order to fit the word count, and perhaps you cut some of the things we really needed to know or see. (That generally doesn't work because you don't get comments on what you actually wrote, you get comments on the edited version, which defeats the purpose.)

    I did think the strongest part was Asher. He sounded like a demon to me, he had a bit of a creep factor going, and he did things. You show us what he's doing and how he reacts, whereas April is just being acted upon. We don't really get her actions and reactions. Maybe add more of that.