The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Firsts for Seconds:Or, The Heroine's Not the Only One Who Gets a Guy

Welcome to the First Ever MFRW blog hop! Click on the button here to move from fabulous blog to blog.
A few years ago several authors got into a discussion about what kinds of excerpts readers liked the best.  The general consensus was the scene in which the hero and heroine first meet.  That little twinge, that spark, the pulling sensation as though a wire were drawing them together, may be the most exciting part of the whole romance. To be sure, the happy ending is always satisfying, but does it give you that thrill that only occurs the first time two people destined to be lovers come in contact?

The intoxicating first encounter doesn’t always happen to the hero and heroine, however. Often, they don’t recognize their destiny right away, and may even actively dislike their soon-to-be lover. Sometimes they have to be nudged a little, or even learn from example. So here I’ve presented two excerpts that illustrate how a secondary love affair can be just as romantic.

The first is from my latest novel, Mai Tais and Mayhem. The heroine Tessa has discovered a dead body, the police have been called, and the detective, Sculpin, is taking names and numbers from the witnesses.    He turns to the heroine’s friend, Esther.
“Okey doke.” Sculpin seemed unaffected by the tension. He turned to Esther. “And you?”
Esther blushed deeply and took off her heavy, black-rimmed glasses. When she brought her dark green eyes back up to meet the detective’s, Tessa felt a jolt of electricity cross the short distance between the two. She watched her friend carefully, glancing at the detective now and then for any evidence of reciprocity. “Esther Williams, Volunteer Coordinator. I’m the one who called the police.”
“Esther Williams.” He looked toward the ceiling. “Why is that name familiar? Oh yeah—the swimmer. Esther Williams.” He gave her an inquiring glance.
The blush deepened to an unbecoming purple. Tessa rescued her friend. “Yes, she gets that a lot. No relation.”
“I see.” As Sculpin kept his gaze locked on Esther, her complexion gradually paled to a more attractive pink. Tessa noticed that without the thick lenses her eyes sparkled like well-cut emeralds. “Uh, could I get your phone number, Ms. Williams?”
She whispered it. He leaned toward her to hear, his shoulder brushing hers. A hush fell over the group, the corpse and technicians forgotten in the little scene unfolding before them. The detective broke the spell. “Thanks, Miss Williams. Okay, the rest of you can go, but not too far.” At his words, the kind of sigh you normally hear at the end of a particularly romantic play drifted from the gathering.

My second example comes from my fourth novel, Triptych. This is the story of three sisters. The principal romance is between the middle sister, Miranda, and Luc, a mysterious Frenchman. However, the other two sisters, Honor and Sybil, manage to find true love while Miranda and Luc work out their differences. As the story begins, Honor, the eldest, is a recluse who spends her time in her tower writing listless tragedies, but when their old friend Dieter begins spending more time with her, romance blossoms. Miranda, caught up in her own troubles, has no clue:

“Honor, you spent all last evening with Dieter. I presume you came up with a plan.” Miranda looked out over the tops of the oaks and hickories occupying the ground between the houses. A slight breeze jiggled the wisp of smoke coming from Dieter’s chimney. He always had a wood fire going, even in the dog days of a Washington summer. Must be a German thing. “He acted as though he had one this morning, anyway.”
“Oh dear.”
Miranda swung around. “Oh dear? What do you mean, ‘Oh dear’?”
Honor blushed. Miranda didn’t remember ever seeing her older sister blush. She also noticed that her normally pale face and limp braid seemed somehow more vibrant this morning. The gray’s gone, yes. But there’s something else…“Honor? What’s going on?”
Honor spoke confidentially to her computer. “We…we had such a pleasant dinner. Dieter cooked it himself. Sausages and peppers. And a nice wine—he said it was Alsatian. Very gris…We—”
 She ignored the interruption and continued to address the keyboard. “We ate in his sun room. He’s put in a huge skylight. Did you know you can see the whole sky from that room? Orion was right over our heads! Then he built a lovely fire.” She must have heard the rumblings from Miranda’s throat and her words tumbled out faster. “Anyway, we got to talking—about my book, about Dieter’s family in Germany…all kinds of things. He’s been away so long, I’d forgotten what a good listener he is.” She looked up at Miranda to reveal a heavily flushed face and radiant smile. Unfortunately her sister had neither the time nor the inclination to understand their significance.
“So, you didn’t even discuss what we’re going to do about Luc?” Hysteria crept into her voice. He’ll disappear along with the paintings and I’ll never see him again. I mean, we’ll never learn the truth about him. I mean…
“I told him about Polly and the Hals, Miranda.” Honor could barely muster her defenses. “But…you see…well…I’m afraid we became a bit…er…distracted.”
“Distracted?” Who is this woman and what has she done with my sister? “Distracted? What on earth are you talking about, Honor? We’ve all agreed this is serious business. If Luc is a swindler we need proof.”
“And figure out what we’re going to do about it. Yes, I know.”
“Do about it? Why, call the police, of course. We’ve no other choice.”
Honor blinked. “I suppose.”

If you enjoyed these, please be sure to click on the covers in the left sidebar for full information. One lucky reader here will win a copy of your choice: Mai Tais and Mayhem or Triptych.
To continue the hop, click here:


Anonymous said...

Great excerpt! Thanks for participating. :)

Coleen Kwan said...

Mai Tais and Mayhem is such a good title.
coleenkwan at gmail dot com

Marlie Bridges said...

Loved the excerpts! Yes, there is something so special about that first meeting.

laurie said...

Great excerpt! Thanks for participating. :)

M. S. Spencer said...

Welcome everyone! Hope you enjoy the hop and my excerpts. M. S.

Nancy Famolari said...

I like your excerpts. Nice Post.

Karen Cote said...

Just wanted to stop by and say great job everyone. You all have done MFRW so proud!

Tina Gayle said...

Enjoying the blog hop so much fun to see different author sites.

Christine London said...

Sometimes even more exciting is when the first meetings are hero and heroine in hate. Working through animosities builds such delicious tensions...Ooooooo.

Thanks for the great excerpt.
Warm regards,
Christine London

Jennifer said...

Excellent job of showing a different twist to firsts!

Sheri Fredricks said...

I like when secondary characters also have a love connection. Call me weird. LOL Lovely posts.
sherifredricks @charter .net

M. S. Spencer said...

yes, Sheri--who says the hero/heroine get to have all the fun! Thanks for reading! M. S.

LKF said...

I love your title and your excerpt. This is fun reading so many books others have. My kindle is going to be full of many fun reads.
Thanks for sharing

veRONIca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for the excerpts. I think people thrive on firsts...gets our adrenaline going and helps us grow!

bn100 said...

Very nice excerpts.


Shadow said...

Sounds great! Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the awesome hop and giveaway!

Sandy said...

I know the hop is officially over, but wanted to drop by and take a peek. I really enjoyed the excerpt. (And, I love the little birds.)