This week, Raine Balkera wants to know what everyone is working on. Oooh, this is going to be fun! She wants details & conundrums, plus we get five bonus points for including a wee bit of our favorite scene. Well, that won’t be hard at all – oh, wait – favourite? I never know how to choose!
If you’ve wandered over from Katie O'Connor’s blog, what did you think of her work in progress?
As for me, my writing time is limited, so I generally work on only one project at a time. Right now, that project is tidying up WHEN TIME FALLS STILL, my fourth manuscript.
Professor Charlotte Girardet is focused on one thing – getting tenure at a large, prestigious university.
Her career is firmly on track, but her life is complicated by her attraction to rough and rugged security guard Justice Cooper. Unable to resist his confident persistence, Charlotte proposes they enjoy a short-term affair.
Struggling to balance her ambitions and her growing passion, life is further complicated by Justice’s ex-wife and several vicious attacks on female students. Her strict schedule and well-defined goals, Charlotte takes a leap of faith, and trusts Justice with her deepest secret - an operation she had as a teenager has left her infertile.
This announcement forces Charlotte and Justice to redefine their relationship. As they attempt to do so, Charlotte is kidnapped by the assailant that has plagued the university all year. Trapped and tormented, Charlotte uses all her ingenuity and strength to resist her attacker, holding strong long enough to be rescued by Justice.
Charlotte must now decide whether to follow her long held dreams or risk a new life with Justice.
This didn’t start out as a romantic suspense. But I couldn’t help realizing that many of the scenes in the first few chapters simply screamed out for a thriller sub-plot. I find writing believable suspense very difficult, especially in regards motivation for my villain. So right now that’s what I’m working on – I’m editing to give him (or her, you never know!) a good reason for his/her actions.
(This isn’t the first time Charlotte and Justice meet – but I love how this scene turned out.)
A high-pitched squeal echoed through the trees. "Damn it. Chaucer! Come!" Justice raced around the bend in the path in time to see his rock-brained dog bounding away from a dark figure supine on the ground. "I said Come! damn you."
Grinning as only a dog can, Chaucer galumphed to Justice, who quickly snapped on his leash and anchored him to a sapling.
His victim had struggled to a sitting position, dark curls tumbled about her face. Justice took a knee next to her. "Are you all right?"
The woman tossed her hair out of her eyes and stared at him. He stared back in dismay. "Professor Girardet?"
"It's you. Of course it's you." She closed her eyes briefly. "Is that your dog?" Her tone was not complimentary.
"He didn't mean to frighten you."
"He didn't frighten me. He knocked me down." She sounded breathless.
Justice glared at Chaucer, who ignored him and lifted a leg to pee against a tree. "Did he hurt you, Professor?"
"Only my pride. And since your dog just bowled me over I think you're allowed to call me Charlotte." She motioned him out of the way.
"Let me help you." Justice rose and held out a hand. She stared suspiciously before accepting it and allowing him to haul her to her feet.
She pulled free as soon as she was upright and stepped away.
"Sorry again about Chaucer."
"Your dog's name is Chaucer?" She arched an eyebrow. "As in the poet?"
He dipped his head acknowledgement. Her dark brown eyes slid from him to Chaucer—now industriously licking his butt—and back. The tip of her nose twitched.
"It was—interesting—meeting you and your dog." She edged around him. "I'd better get home."
"You live around here?" He shouldn't be surprised. Residents used the greenbelt trail often, but few strangers found their way onto it. Although he hadn't seen her before, and he and Chaucer walked it most days.
"Yes." She circled past Chaucer, who woofed as she neared. She jerked.
Damn it, his fool dog had scared her, no matter what she said. "How about a drink?"
She wasn't wearing her hat today, but a grey, bulky knit scarf puffed out under her chin. Sunlight gleamed on the dark strands of her hair. "A drink?"
"In apology. For Chaucer knocking you over." He didn't like the thought of her being scared. Of anything. Maybe spending some time with the dumb pup would help.
"I've got to get back to work."
He frowned. "It's Saturday."
"I'm doing research. Being a professor isn't only a Monday to Friday job."
"It won't take long to have a drink. Hot chocolate?"
A hint of humour creased the corners of her eyes. "With marshmallows? Mini ones?" She licked her lips.
His gaze zeroed in on her mouth, pink and unpainted. With an effort he dragged his thoughts away from how she would taste, how she would feel. "Or Baileys, if you want to be grown up."
The rapid-fire rattle of a woodpecker cut through the forest. She looked over her shoulder, indecision on her face. Her coat was thigh-length, but he could see damp patches on the backs of her legs.
"You're wet." His voice was hoarse and he cleared his throat. "From falling in the snow. You can warm up at my house."
"I really should go home." She took a step back.
"My place is right there." He pointed through the trees. All that could be seen was the wooden fence bordering his back yard, the gate in the middle propped open as he had left it.
"Oh." White teeth worried her bottom lip.
The attraction he'd been denying flared. With a tug of one hand he released Chaucer's leash from the tree. The pup reared onto his hind legs in delight. He jerked the leash firmly. "Off." When the dog was under control he pointed to the snowy path leading to his gate. "I'll keep Chaucer away from you. Watch your step." He guided Charlotte toward it, his free hand on the small of her back. She resisted at first, but then with a faint sigh gave in.
"One drink. A quick one. And then I have to go."
Well, what do you think? Let me know in the comments. And now I invite you to move on to Collette Cameron and see what she’s working on right now.