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Excerpt of Heart Over Mind

For those of you who haven’t bought my book and wonder if it’s something you’d like to pick up, I’m posting this excerpt. Read to your heart’s content. Share, drool, love. And if it spurs you to buy the book, you can find it here. Can’t wait to read comments! Check back for future excerpts of my two new books, coming soon.

~~~

 willow tree

The night was cool and clear, and the moon shone bright, surrounded by millions of stars. Nala walked along a riverbank, the dirt soft and cold beneath her bare feet. She was looking for someone. Through the hanging limbs of a weeping willow tree, and over a fallen log. Then, in the darkness, she made  out the silhouette of a man. He stood with his back to her, naked. Just like her. She gasped as she looked down at her own exposed body. She felt unaffected. She kept moving towards the mystery man, her  hand outstretched.

Her fingers brushed his tan, muscular shoulder and his body tightened. Then he turned around. He was such a handsome man; the most beautiful she had ever seen. Muscles corded his thick arms and jagged scars crisscrossed his left bicep and right forearm. Puckered white marks from what looked like bullet holes dotted his chest and stomach. There were dozens of other scars along his ribs, knees, thighs, and even one on his foot. Nala spent time studying each of them, using her fingers and then her tongue. Each flick seemed to push the man a little further into arousal.

His hand shoved into her thick, dark hair and jerked her head up. She watched, dazed, as his mouth began to lower towards hers. It seemed to take an eternity. Just as she thought she would die of deprivation, his firm lips covered hers. His tongue thrust past her lips, into the moist cavern of her mouth as his hands began an intimate search of her body. He stroked her in places she had never expected to be touched. Her breasts ached as he caressed them, his thumbs flicking over her hardened nipples. As his fingers dipped towards her throbbing center, she arched towards him.

He burrowed through the curls concealing her womanhood. Moving with slow purpose, he slipped a
finger inside her wet, throbbing center. Waves of heat curled throughout her body as he thrust with alternating pace. Her breath caught as an unfamiliar feeling took over her body. Muscles clenched
around the man’s finger as spasms took her away to a place of ecstasy. Nala clung to him as her body spiraled out of control. When she came back to earth, he was watching her, desire burning in his  eyes. He reached for her hand and guided it down his stomach to his rigid male member.

Nala gasped at the size and hardness of it. Going by instinct alone, she began to slide her hand up and
down. His eyes glazed over and his head went back on a groan. She increased her pace and smiled when he began to squeeze her arms. The faster she went, the tighter his grip became. He began to pant and then he stiffened up. “Oh Nala. I’m about to cum.”

Her hand kept working up and down his long, thick shaft as he began to get his release. “Do it
Gabriel. I want you to.”

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Guest Post with Nicola Cornick

Today, I’m being visited by Nicola Cornick. I’ve had the chance to interview Nicola for Night Owl Reviews,as well as review her new book Notorious. Click the links to check these out. Be sure to comment on her post for a chance to win a copy of Notorious.

Notorious by Nicola Cornick

Notorious by Nicola Cornick

Famous First Words – Hot Starts versus Slow Burners

 A couple of months ago on one of my writing loops we were discussing hot starts, those first lines of books that grab you and draw you in right from the off. I love hot starts; maybe it’s because I can be an impatient reader, wanting something to happen, wanting to be swept away at the beginning of the book. There is a school of thought that says that modern life has trained people to have such a short attention span that if you don’t grab them within 10 seconds you’ve lost them. I’d hate to think that I had the concentration span of a gnat but maybe there is something in this.

 We all want to write a first line that is so memorable that people instantly recognize it and are drawn into the story from the off. Or, as a reader, we want to be grabbed by that unputdownable page-turner. One of the most famous and most intriguing first lines of all time is: “Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again…” It’s mysterious and atmospheric. It pulls the reader right in.

 Here are a few of my favourite first lines, taken from books on my keeper shelf:

“She was willing to die, of course, but she had not planned to do it so soon…” Joanna Bourne, The Spymaster’s Lady.

“It had been too long since he had bedded a woman.” Lisa Kleypas, Lady Sophia’s Lover.

“She really should not be doing this. It was a terrible, imprudent idea.

But that had never stopped her before.” Laurel McKee, Duchess of Sin.

“No one noticed the man who arrived last.” Caroline Linden, What a Gentleman Wants.

Every one of those first lines makes an impact. They make the reader sit up and pay attention. They GRAB you.

In my most recent book, Notorious, I started with: “James Devlin was twenty-seven years old and he had everything that he had ever wanted.” Somehow you just know (or I hope you do) that everything is going to go spectacularly wrong for him.

A story begins at the point where things are about to change. Something is happening. There’s a mystery or a crisis. The first line raises the reader’s expectation and sets the mood and style of the book. Big newspaper stories always start with the headline, not ten pages of back story. That comes later once the reader is hooked.

One way to tackle this as a writer is to keep it simple, sharp and direct. There may be an element of danger or something unexpected. Death, birth, marriage, separation are all big life events that make the perfect moment to kick off a story. Weddings, for example, are a moment of change. And the change must be unexpected. Someone might come in and interrupt the service or the bride might run off. The wedding can’t possibly go smoothly or there is no tension.

So intriguing opening lines and hot starts are attention-grabbers. And yet in the historical novel or historical romance, and maybe in other genres too, perhaps there is also room for the slow build up. It doesn’t seem to be popular with editors to write slow-burning starts at the moment but one of my all time keepers, Daphne Du Maurier’s book Frenchman’s Creek, has twenty two pages of description before anything actually happens. It’s incredibly evocative and atmospheric; you can taste the salt on the sea breeze and feel the wind against your skin and hear the seabirds calling on the Helford estuary. And all that description contributes to the feeling that you are slipping back in time to the seventeenth century. It calls to the imagination; it envelops you and draws you in, slowly but surely. Perhaps slow burners will come into fashion again one day.

What are your favourite first lines? Are you a fan of the hot start or do you prefer a slow build up at the beginning of a book?

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Be sure to check out Nicola’s website for other great books, including the rest of the “Ton” series.

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