Only three honorable mentions for me today. Great category and one that I tend to be incredibly picky about. I like my romantic suspense to be suspenseful, unpredictable, and fast-paced.
Anonymous 11:30 am -- Save the Last Kill for Her
Hadiya ran her boat close to the undersea shelf, and cut the engines. A heavy stillness seemed to descend on the night, as oppressive as the cloak of equatorial humidity.
She was alone, apart from Ovimbi who hunkered silent on the prow watching the black blot of mainland.
There was no breeze.
Just the spatter of Milky Way across the dark vault of African sky.
Then she felt it. A silent surge beneath the hull. A sway. The life of the sea transferring motion into her body as her boat listed gently. Hadiya’s pulse quickened.
I fought this one, I’m going to be honest. I think an international setting can be very tricky for this genre. In the end, though, I was riveted by this opening and really couldn’t pass it up. I liked the atmosphere on this and definitely felt the suspense. Really great work.
DL -- The Contract
As Cassandra wriggled through the underbrush, wisps of fog snaked like malignant tendrils up her nostrils, filling her throat and lungs, squeezing the air out of her in short, sharp gasps. In vain, she tried to fight the panic, tried to convince herself that the fog was her friend, muffling her awkward movement and concealing her in its clammy grasp. But, her irrational mind feared it, like it feared the muzzle of her tormentor’s gun, taking her back to that earthen cell she’d so recently escaped. Damp. Suffocating. Like a grave. Her grave. Only she wasn’t ready to die.
An interesting setup and I was intrigued enough to want to read more. I’m curious about the earthen cell and who Cassandra is running from. Curious enough that you would have me reading more.
Anonymous 8:20 pm — Unlock the Truth
Dena Roman stared at her reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall of the elevator. The evening Criminal Justice classes were taking their toll. The desire to find her sister's murderer--to walk on Cabrera's land where Carli's body was found--had become an obsession.
She stepped out at the penthouse level and grimaced at the gold lettering on the doors: Steven Brennan & Associates, Public Relations. Her days here would be numbered when conservative Steve found out what she'd done. She shrugged. If Zeke Cabrera called back, if he fell for her plan, she'd deal with being fired.
I like the feeling of an average, very normal woman taking on such a huge job and I like the danger this has seemingly put her in, the simple thought of losing her job to possibly losing her life. Really intriguing premise and I would definitely want to see more.
Anonymous 2:00 PM
“Do you love me?”
I liked the sound of his voice on my body. It tickled in the right places, the dead places.
“Tell me you love me.” His command was soft, terrifying.
I shook my head, slowly; the flint of anger in his eyes flared. But these were not his words to have, not from me. His long fingers wrapped around my neck, and I breathed the deep, hard breath of ecstasy. Whether orgasm or death was irrelevant, the year past had left me empty and prepared for either. And the bitter taste of ending was near.
I really loved this. There’s so many open questions. This guy sounds very dangerous, yet he still turns her on. Why are parts of her already dead? Is she really about to die? Part of me hopes not, because I love this voice, but her chances aren’t looking good. I’m dying to know more.
Jules — Dark Revenge
The coolness of fall languished in the stale, rotting leaves at his feet, as the tall male threw his satchel to the ground. Quivering nostrils inhaled a fresh, crisp shot of air, and blew out a fine mist of warmth in return. He was well over six feet in height, and moved with a sinuous grace that was uncommon for one as large as he.
It did not bode well that Jaxon Castille was working.
In his particular area of expertise, it meant that someone was going to die.
It wouldn’t be pretty; death never was. But it would be quick.
It’s not uncommon to open with a killer’s POV. I think the reason this particular example struck me was because the prose is lean, but also very descriptive. I was immediately drawn in and am eager to learn more about Jaxon Castille.
Anonymous 5:23 pm -- Golden
We lie here on our dark liquid blanket, and the bugs crawl all around us. I hear their legs lick the earth, wings whisper against the leaves and grass.
During those moments when I go silent, he asks me: Don’t you come babe? but I don’t answer. I only laugh in secret at the question. He thinks he’s the greatest lover in the world. He’s seventeen, yet he’s Casanova.
Doesn’t he know what a cliché we are? A cheerleader and a jock?
Tomorrow, I’m going to tell his girlfriend everything.
Your boyfriend rapes me. Have a nice day.
I’ll be honest. I usually hate anything written in the present tense. And I’ll admit that I’m hoping that the narrative switches over soon after this excerpt ends. As I read it now, the tense feels like a way of differentiating this voice from the rest of the book. But obviously I don’t know that for sure. I’m just rather fascinated by this bitchy character and I want to see what happens to her. I have a feeling she’ll be coming to a bad end. . . .
That wraps up our honorable mentions!! Look for some contest musings in blogs to come. . . .