Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Secret Agent #8

TITLE: Breathing in Darkness
GENRE: Adult romance

He had plenty of practice invading other people’s lives, slipping under their skin to hear the pace of their heart, the cadence of their breathing, their lies shaped as truth. Surveillance was an act so personal it forced Kane to face only one conclusion: he couldn’t stand women like her. 

Kane Raithby stretched his long legs as far as he could in the confines of his Land Rover, a sweat trail working its way down his spine. Tired of the smell of cheap coffee and stale air and even staler recriminations, he opened a window. It didn’t help. Dry African air, heavy with dust and exhaust fumes, snuck into the car. And on a blistering Friday afternoon in December, a typical summer’s day in Johannesburg, hot air was the last thing he needed. He had enough of that just looking at Amy Hutchinson.

Kane had spent most of this week bored out of his mind while following Amy into boutiques whose names he couldn’t pronounce and watching her eat at restaurants whose prices he refused to pay.
He knew that tomorrow was going to be pretty much the same routine. He knew because he’d been watching her for three weeks. It was his job to understand as much about Amy as he could: what she liked, hoped for, dreamed of. What she feared.

Shifting in his seat, he scratched at the beard he’d forced himself to grow.


  1. I'm intrigued. The first page makes me think I'm going to like Kane. I would definitely turn to the next page. I like how you describe the woman by her actions and not with adjectives. Similarly with Kane, we have a detailed description of him through his actions/thoughts instead of adjectives - nicely done.
    I would suggest working on the second sentence. I love the impact it eventually had, but I had to read it three times to 'get' it. Just needs to be more succinct.
    Personally, I like the setting. I haven't visited, but I think South Africa is interesting.

  2. I really like the setting here. In particular, I thought that the line 'And on a blistering Friday afternoon in December, a typical summer’s day in Johannesburg, hot air was the last thing he needed' painted a wonderfully vivid picture.

    In terms of improvement I thought that the second sentence of the second paragraph felt a little jerky to me, possibly due to the repeated 'and'. That aside though, I really like this. Kane intrigues me.

  3. Not my genre, but I love your writing style here. You made me feel Johannesburg and took me there pretty seamlessly, I thought. And you packed a lot into this opening. I am intrigued by why he's tailing Amy, why he's in So. Africa (there's something about this that makes me feel as if he's an outsider, but maybe it's just in terms of money?). I would read more to find out. A.Wells

  4. I love your style. It flows well, and your descriptions and characterizations are seamlessly woven into the story. Good job!

  5. So I like the very beginning of this, but I think it would be stronger if you shortened the first sentence - the first half of the sentence is really strong, but you lost me at "the pace of their heart, the cadence of their breathing, their lies shaped as truth" - it goes on a bit too long and takes away the impact of the sentence.

    By paragraph two you introduce Kane, but I don't see the woman - is she in the car with him? Is he on surveillance? How has he gotten close enough to her to know that he can't stand her?

    So in paragraph three I now understand that he's watching her, which is all the more reason why I'd cut the second half of the first sentence as I suggest above, because he's clearly not close enough to her to hear her heart or her breathing and that threw me off.

    But all in all I'm definitely intrigued and I'm curious to see what happens between these two!

    Thanks for entering!

  6. Great opening line! The second line is a bit confusing. I don't see the correlation between surveillance and the description of it to the women. I appreciate the abrupt switch, but I think it needs to be more related somehow.

    Great setting description mixed in with action afterwards.