Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Secret Agent #47

TITLE: The Last Stop
GENRE: Adult Romance

Lily paused, turning the key in her hand, half sad, half angry that it made its way there like a stowaway. She drew in a big breath as if keeping her world intact depended on it. How could such a small thing feel so heavy?

"I need some air," she muttered, tossing the offending object onto the table before walking out. It spun noisily for a moment in a last ditch effort to catch her attention.

At the intersection, early traffic performed their green-yellow-red dance while pedestrians waited their turn at the wings. Lily caught the eye of a driver who slowed down at the curb to make a right. A hint of panic shot through her when his gaze lingered a little too long. Did he know her? One of many failed blind dates? Impossible. This was a new town, she thought and pressed the walk button rapidly. While the car inched to make his turn in front of her, she saw another one that was coming just a little too fast. Instinct told her to run. A squeal of tire against pavement followed by a crash, sliced through the thick, sweet, morning air while the smell of rubber stung her nose. When she looked again, grey smoke had tarnished the otherwise blue-sky day. Lily made her way quickly back to the corner. Inside the car, the driver stirred head back, eyes closed, and the now deflated air bag hung limply off the wheel.


  1. Small note - "traffic" is singular. That jumped out to be as a reader.

    Otherwise, I like the voice here. It's probably not my kind of thing (I'm not a romance reader) but I could see it appealing to the target audience. I want to know who the key is, who the key belonged to, who he (or she, for that matter) was....

  2. I am all for openings with action so this appealed to me. Like the commenter above I tripped over "early traffic". I like the key element as well but tripped again at reading the key spun - I would have expected it to clatter or something. I am totes a reader of romance and this kept my attention. Would definitely keep reading.

  3. Adult Romance is my thing, and the key element kept me interested. I want to know what that is and why she has it at the moment.

    Just a small suggestion: I think you could make this line (“A hint of panic shot through her when his gaze lingered a little too long.”) stronger if you rearranged it. Something like: “His gaze lingered a little too long. A hint of panic shot through her.”

  4. Overall I liked it and it made me curious to read more. I think you could cut out a few adverbs. I thought the sentence that starts "A squeal of tire against pavement followed by a crash, sliced through..." could be broken up. The crash part is kind of buried in there. I kind of stumbled over the line "the driver stirred head back, eyes closed..." I don't know if you need a comma after stirred or if you'd be better off rewording that part? Otherwise, good job in introducing quite a bit of tension in so few words!

  5. Your action was good, and you’ve set up a mystery that makes me want to read on. I was a little confused at the setting and had to re-read it. I think it might have been the jump to the intersection that threw me a little.

  6. I had to reread the first two paragraphs again but once I did, it all came together. I really like your use of description in the third paragraph: "grey smoke had tarnished the otherwise blue-sky day" and "now deflated air bag hung limply off the wheel."

    I think someone else mentioned this, but the part about the key spinning on the table was a little jarring because I expect a key to clatter or clank or something. But when I reread it, I realized you probably meant that it slid and spun at the same time. Am I right? Anyways, something to consider if your reader is a little confused.

  7. I think that the key bit is pretty interesting. It gives a good moment to establish a little bit about the character. I agree that the key spinning is bit weird, as that's not really what I expect keys to do.

    I actually like a bit more of an introduction and setup to the MC -- a snapshot of their life "before" -- before the action starts. So this car accident comes too soon for me. Not everything has to be explosions and guns to draw a reader in. I did think this might be a romantic suspense at first, especially when she wonders if the driver knew her. And I love a good romantic suspense!

  8. This opening is a bit confusing. I can tell you’re trying to build suspense here, and it’s okay for us as readers not to completely know what’s going on. But I think it’s a little too far in the direction of not knowing. We go from her holding a key, which seems very important due to the emphasis, then paranoid in traffic all of the sudden, and then cars are crashing. This could be a simple fix to lean it toward the suspense side of the line rather than the confusion side.