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Summer Writers Club 2014 Excerpts
Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:47 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1357


Summer Writers Club folks!

 

Post a short excerpt from your WIP here. Show off what you are working on this summer!

 

Lucy Silag

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager


NoellePierce
Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:36 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 226


This is for my historical romance, Reaching for the Moon. It's a new scene in the earlier half. The premise is that my heroine has decided to make her new husband fall in love with her--by using an out of date book of marital advice. The problem is that she's not in any way meek or unassuming, as the book instructs. So it's a challenge for her. Both she and the hero are very good card players. He's made a tidy sum of money gambling at his club, and she and her mother belong to a card club of their own. 

 

This is rough. I've already caught some annoying repetition. 


 

"I didn't realize you brought a cribbage board," he said.

She looked to the corner of the bed. It was the board her mother had given her on her sixteenth birthday. Made of mahogany, it featured a secret drawer in the side to hold the pegs, and hand-painted London icons along the top.

Thomas walked over and picked it up. "Would you like to play?"

"That would be lovely," she said. "What shall the wager be?"

He shifted. "I hadn't thought to play for any sum."

Damn her tongue. "My apologies. I am accustomed to playing for small amounts, but we can—"

"No, that's fine. Have you a shilling?"

"Of course." According to the Lady's Guide, she should not in any way show her intelligence, especially in areas of logic or reason, lest the men of her acquaintance feel inferior. She thought quickly. "Would you be amenable to playing Piquet instead?" Both games were played with only two players, but it would be more difficult to lose at Cribbage without appearing to lose. Thomas was too well-versed at cards and would surely notice if she was losing on purpose.  

She removed the cards they would not use,  then set the deck in front of Thomas. He cut the deck and revealed a six. Her cut revealed a Jack, and Thomas took the deck and shuffled. His hands worked the cards easily, with practiced movements and she watched his fingers. Long and sure. Those same hands, those same fingers, had stroked her hair, her skin, her most private regions, until her nerves danced. She shook her head to clear the memories. Thoughts like that would interrupt her focus, and while she had no intention of playing to win, she needed to pay attention so she didn't slip into bad habits. She was naturally competitive. It was a trait her parents had encouraged. "There's no point to playing if you don't try," they used to say. As an adult, she realized they didn't mean one must win all the time, but from childhood, that sentiment went together with their saying.

Thomas finished dealing and Anne reached for her cards. He already held his and had started sorting them, so she took a moment to look at him. Concentration furrowed his brow, but otherwise, he was as handsome as always. Those intent golden eyes on his cards, the slight twitch at the corner of his lips. If she hadn't spent a majority of her time prior to The Incident staring at his mouth, she would have missed his slight smirk. He must have a good hand.

"Do you want to play, or do you want to get ravished?" he asked without looking up.

She startled at being caught watching him without realizing it. "Play," she said, her voice wavering.

"Then stop staring at me." He smiled as he finally met her gaze. She returned the smile and then looked at her cards.

As luck would have it, she was dealt several high cards. She allowed herself a moment to think about how she would play the hand if she were in her drawing room at her parents' estate. The lowest numbers discarded, the high cards in each suit kept. She calculated the points she'd earn for her sequences and sets. Then she stopped and sighed inwardly. She wasn't playing to win. She was playing to lose, but without letting Thomas know. It would be a blow to his pride if he noticed she wasn't truly trying.

Another quick calculation and she knew what to do. She discarded all but her hearts, and chuckled to herself at the irony. To win a man's love, she was going to lose with a handful of hearts.

After Thomas discarded and drew his replacement cards, she announced the points in her largest ruff. Thanks to the way she planned to lose the game, the next two rounds were going to give her an advantage. She just hoped it wouldn't be too much of an advantage. Suddenly, this game didn't seem like such a good idea.

The sequence round gave her even more points than the ruff round, and she pegged her score on the cribbage board. Three points away from a repique. If he didn't score in the next round, the game would be over, and her plan would backfire. Luckily, she didn't have any sets with which to earn points.

Thomas didn't seem to mind, however. He still focused on his cards, but she knew he was aware of everything she did. Every movement, every facial expression. And her one problem with playing cards had always been her facial expressions. Her father teased her about it every time they played whist with her mother and Janet.

The trick hand gave Thomas nearly as many points as she'd earned in the last two rounds, and she exhaled her relief steadily to appear normal. The tricks should be easy to run. She had all but three of the hearts, and she had to lead. Hopefully, Thomas had the Ace of hearts, and she led with her King as bait.

Fate was on her side, and he took the trick. Now, all she had to do was keep from getting the lead again.

Her strategy worked so well in the first hand, she repeated it in the second. If they scored similarly, the game would be over after this hand, with Thomas winning by more than thirty points. She'd made a strong enough showing to appear to want to win, but without actually winning.

"It appears rumors of my skill were greatly exaggerated," she said, forcing her smile downward, and fishing a coin out of her pocket. "Your shilling, sir."

He stared at her hand as though she held an asp. His eyes widened, then he blinked and shook his head.

"Keep it," he said.

"But the wager was—"

"I don't want your money."

She cringed, recalling her accusation a few nights before, and shoved the coin back into her pocket. "Thomas, I never—"

He sighed and raised his hands to ward off her explanation. "Forgive me, Anne. I just meant that it was a friendly game, and no wager needed to be paid."

With a nod, she fell silent, but his reaction to taking her coin caused her some concern. Men were prideful creatures, after all. Certainly there were fortune hunters, but Thomas did not seem the sort. As her husband, he was owed the money, though he didn't marry her for that reason. He didn't compromise her—if anything, she compromised him.

They'd met in the library during a house party, to discuss new ideas to force her cousin Selina into the proverbial arms of Thomas' best friend. She tripped over her own feet, fell atop Thomas, and had the unfortunate luck of being caught in that position by a notorious gossip. One who already disliked Anne. None of it was Thomas' fault, so it was unfair for her to even consider the notion that he married her for her dowry. He was a good man.

And a silent one.

She looked up to see he'd cleared the table while she'd been lost in thought. As he reached for some of her belongings to replace them in her valise, she realized he was about to find her books—both of them. She jumped up to circumvent him.

"I can tidy up. Why don't you sit and rest?"

"I sat long enough today in the carriage." He paused to look at her. "Would you like a bath ordered?"

She blinked, the question surprising her. Why would he suggest a bath, unless…

Did he wrinkle his nose when he looked at her? She hadn't been paying close attention, so perhaps she missed his tell. Heat flooded her face and she avoided his gaze. They'd been traveling all day and she likely smelled like a…like…one of Selina's horses. She refused to consider anything worse than Eau de Equine.

"That would be lovely," she choked out.

He left, the bath arrived, she scrubbed herself until her skin was pink and raw, and dressed in her night rail to wait.

And for the second time in three days of marriage, her husband did not return to her bed.

 

--edited by NoellePierce on 6/4/2014, 9:36 PM--


AmandaVW
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:18 PM
Joined: 5/28/2014
Posts: 2


Time then acted as it always does; it begins to accelerate and somehow, the pedal becomes lodged into a position in which it is only ever hastening, ever quicker.  The long days of childhood, filled with new wonders experienced with an optimistic, curious approach at every turn, become the mid-length days of adolescence, filled with a new experience approached with the cynicism of one who knows all, and in turn, we arrive at the point which all of us inevitably arrive-the locus of existence where the days have become too scanty to approach any new experience with anything short of disdain and one comes to only hope to accomplish all that is necessary in the span of day, a once protracted period that has somehow been reduced to a compressed cacophony of moments.

 

just my favorite sentence from the last few days of writing....


Sephira
Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 8:47 PM

There's a bit longer except posted for review here, which I would love to get feedback on, but here's the current first chapter...

 

CHAPTER ONE

  

Wishes and Things Long Past

  

    On the very evening of attaining her sixteenth year Moira Kincaide dutifully climbed to the top of Wisher’s Hill, just like every other girl her age had been doing since time immemorial. She was quite positive though, that if it had been up to her, she could have come up with a much better name for it - something exotic and more impressive sounding. Of course it hadn’t been left up to her, so Wisher’s Hill it was. Ironically, named for the Mister Thaddeus Wisher who had previously owned it, and the surrounding town of Wisher’s Grove, at some point in time several hundred years before, rather than the legend inspiring activity that took young women up its gentle slopes as they turned the corner from childhood towards the slow blossom of womanhood.

  

    It was an old wive’s tale to be sure, but what girl can resist  the possibility of attaining her heart’s truest desire?

  

o’ the eve of your turning

as day kisses night

speak your true heart-felt yearning

on the first star in sight

  

Not much of a rhyme, as those things typically go, but there you have it. More than enough to fuel a fanciful rite of passage on an already special day, and if nothing else the view from the top of Wisher’s Hill was pretty spectacular.

  

No one kept any official records of course, but it was said that the wishes made, more often than not, came true. Why just last year, Miss Fenella Smythe made her trek up the Hill, and everyone knows it was granted within the year. Hers wasn’t the only story that kept the legend alive, though how long it took for each to achieve their desires varied exponentially, but even so, the long history of Wisher’s Grove was full of them. Enough anyways that it seemed sheer folly not to go and at least try, especially for a girl like Moira who had always dreamed of doing great and impossible things.

  

So there she was, gazing up at the slowly darkening evening sky - the blazing orange and pink tones shifting into the deep blue and purple hues of twilight, her back pressed against the grassy hillside, waiting patiently for the first star to appear. The prickly blades, still warm from the heat of the fading sunlight, poked at her bare arms and legs, but she did not mind. Not on this day.

  

            She’d spent years thinking of what to wish for, carefully planning out what she wanted, and what it would take to make it happen. Looking for ways to harness the magical energy that had been manifesting itself over the last few years, and how to use it to empower herself and her dreams. Today she could endure almost anything. As in this most perfect place, and at the most perfect time, she would make all her dreams come true, and that was worth any price.
 

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