Here are Jessica’s picks:
Amy Nathan—Every Other WeekendWhat’s interesting is that a lot of my picks had a definite women’s fiction feel to them. This one included. The first time I skimmed the entries, this one caught my attention. Who doesn’t love divine justice? The second paragraph didn’t grab me in the same way that first line did, but I had read enough to know that I wanted to read more.
I got dressed for my first date in 16 years at the same time that my ex-husband was across town passing a kidney stone. Divine justice.
For the first time I could remember, a pleasurable selfishness enveloped me. It wasn’t about Richard’s pain; it was about Richard’s pain not interfering with my plans. I wanted to go on this date, but I didn’t realize how much until the moment I thought the evening could be in jeopardy. What if Richard had to be taken to the hospital? Who then would watch the kids?
Annette—Caught in the Middle
I was twelve the first time Jamie O'Rourke kissed me.
If I could rewrite history, I'd say that even back then he knew I was the girl for him. But the truth is, I know the real reason he did it. Why he chose to kiss me instead of his girlfriend, my sister Lauren.
Looking back, I realize this is the moment when everything began to go wrong between my sister and me. How all our problems have hinged on this one event, this one stolen kiss.
But even if I could, I still wouldn't change a thing.
Another entry that had potential for woman’s fiction (of course, what can you really tell from 100 words?), but I liked the complexity that this entry alluded to. The relationship between the heroine and Jamie O’Rourke and of course the relationship between two sisters. I definitely wanted to know more about all of it.
Anonymous 12:33 pm—For One Weekend Only
When your entire future rested on your ability to seduce a man into doing the unthinkable, you needed to look the part.
Maggie Richardson was pretty sure she didn’t.
She leaned against the bar, her clothes too casual, her posture too stiff, and her overall appearance looking far less “fun professional” than “crazed librarian.”
This would never work. She was supposed to show up in four days — four! — at a no-holds-barred Southern wedding... complete with full hoop skirt, parasol, and her long-term, much-discussed, forever-kind-of-love boyfriend, Dave Andrews.
Except, Dave didn’t exist.
Which was a bit of a problem.
There are so many great questions left unanswered with this submission. Why did she lie? Why is she wearing a hoop skirt? And what’s next. Obviously this leads into a story we’ve heard before (at least we assume), the story of finding someone to pose as the boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, but the voice has me wanting to know more about how this particular tale is going to play out.
“Go fuck yourself.”
Louisa Buznewski did not believe in cursing… but exceptions must be made, and despite her lack of experience the word shot from her mouth with enough conviction to rival the saltiest of sailors. Over ten years ago she’d used this exact phrase, directing it at the same man… although he’d been more of a boy then. It was the last time she’d seen or heard from him - until today. Now repeating it all these years later, Louisa realized this crude phrase was a type of “aloha” - it could mean both hello and goodbye.
Honestly, the last sentence is what really sold me. I thought it was hilarious. I love how the author’s explaining how universal that particular expletive can be. Obviously, I’m also curious about who this guy is and why they parted on such bad terms. I’d definitely keep reading.
sl—If It's Not One Thing - It's Your Mother
“The Lodge called. Your Mom has taken all the “N” bingo balls hostage until her demands are met.” Daniel relayed the message almost gleefully I thought and instantly felt hurt. And pissed.
“I guess this seems funny to you now that it’s my Mom huh? Wanna bet your mother is sitting on the couch with a colander on her head as we speak? Why don’t you take her for lunch today, or are Wednesdays when she rendezvous’ with the mother ship?”
“Honey, are we really fighting about whose mother is craziest?” he asked gently.
“You started it.” I snapped.
Here again I was lured by the humor. In fact all of my honorable mentions demonstrate a sense of humor. In this particular instance, I was charmed by the image of an old lady hijacking a bunch of bingo balls. This book also sounds like women’s fiction to me (since a husband is mentioned), but more than anything I’m looking forward to meeting the feisty woman who’s holding up the bingo game!
Elyssa Papa—Lay All Your Love on Me
It wasn’t every day that an heiress landed at his feet.
Especially one who wore Hello, Kitty underwear.
With her dress flopped over her head and her back to him, the only thing Noah Harper saw was her ass.
And if he did say so himself, it was a great ass.
Then, her dress righted and straightened. Noah took a step back, his camera banging hard against his chest.
He rubbed a hand over his jaw, not quite believing who he was seeing.
Because he’d long stopped believing in ghosts… until one came back from his past.
I’m immediately drawn to both of the characters introduced in this short excerpt. I sympathize with “Simone,” who’s found herself in a rather embarrassing position. I can relate. In 11th grade I fell and slid down the Math hall to the feet of my high school crush. Fortunately, I wasn’t wearing a dress (or Hello Kitty underwear). At any rate, the reader can find the situation humorous, but cringe for the poor woman at the same time. I also get an immediate “sexy” vibe from the narrator. I have a feeling this opening promises one hot novel.
Thanks to all who participated, and congratulations again to all of our top picks!