As I’m ringing in another, hoping there are still plenty of “firsts” ahead of me, I thought I’d share with you some of the first lines in my books. Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky–one page to grab you, the reader and keep you turning pages. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?
1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.
2. Nicholas Gradin III splashed three more finger of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the antique desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage. At this moment, he needed straight up, balls-to-the-walls confidence that everything would work out in his favor.
3. Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield. The steaming coffee hadn’t helped dislodge the hot coal of despair burning her throat or soothe the quiver of her bottom lip. Mercifully, the front receptionist’s desk of Summit Rehabilitation and Wellness Clinic was empty at this hour of the morning, giving her hope that she just might be able to reach her office and pull herself together before anyone could question her misery.
4. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
How could this have happened to someone so young? Julie Tilling dabbed at the tears ruining the makeup she’d meticulously applied to her rounded cheeks. She stared at the coffin suspended eerily over the marred earth of the cemetery, not sure what to make of this farce.
5. Sara Lancaster had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed. Eight hours ago, excitement had fluttered in her stomach as she’d left Boston, overjoyed to accept the invitation. Hell, just two hours ago she’d been giddy with anticipation as she’d collected her bags at the Key West airport and caught a taxi to the boat landing. But her tiny apartment and the bungalow where she currently stood weren’t merely thousands of miles apart—a whole world separated the comfortable life she’d finally made for herself and the fantasy she was standing in.
6. It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse Professor Paul Morgan from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply imagined the sound. But when another muffled bang was followed by a whoosh of air—he had no doubt the commotion coming from the first floor had nothing to do with his mischievous tabby, Zeus.
* UNCONTROLLED BURN *
7. Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door, her palm caressing its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair. How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.
8. Jesus. Even though Jonathon Brierton wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. It went against his baser nature to sit back and wait rather than walking over and convincing the copper-haired beauty leaning over the railing across the way to put on his collar and join him in one of the private dungeons below.
9. Lilly D’Angelo wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. Except for the clientele, the owner had managed to replicate nearly every detail right down to the blue haze of cigarette smoke and the soft crooning of a jazz band on the corner stage.
* A TOUCH OF LILLY (An All Romance Ebook BESTSELLER!) *
10. Deirdre Tilling slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth. She’d been working the flowerbeds around her farmhouse since noon. And though the sun stretched the shadows of the maples long across her lawn, painting their leaves a deeper crimson, the hours of heavy labor hadn’t helped ease the pain of loneliness.
Every author knows that we have one line, one paragraph and if we’re lucky one page to grab the reader. I can spend days tweaking and reworking the beginning of my stories. So I thought today I’d share with you the first lines of my books (with the names removed). When you look at them individually what do you think? Does the line make you want to keep reading or not so much?
So here they are in no particular order. Can you figure out which book they’re from? (And I included a line from a book that isn’t currently available at this time.):
1.) She slammed the spade into the soil. Her booted foot thumped down on its metal edge, driving it deeper and transferring her frustration to the wounded earth.
~ Deceive Her With Desire
2.) Margaret Callaghan hid her heartache behind dark sunglasses and the Starbuck’s double-double mocha latte she carried like a shield.
~ In His Eyes
3.) She wasn’t expecting a trip down memory lane when she sauntered into the dingy tavern, but the acrid stench and gruff hum of the Friday night crowd carried her back to one of the seedier establishments on Chicago’s south side nonetheless. ~ A Touch of Lilly
4.) She had definitely made the wrong decision. Less than twenty-four hours ago she was sure this weekend was just what she needed.
~ Invitation to Ecstasy
5.) “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” How could this have happened to someone so young? ~ Blind Her With Bliss
6.) It wasn’t much of a noise, just an inconsequential thump in the night that was enough to rouse him from his dreamless slumber. Still cradled in the gentle arms of sleep, his blood thick with sleeping medication, he wasn’t sure if he’d simply
imagined the sound. ~ Shadows of Fire
7.) He splashed three more fingers of thirty-year-old scotch into the crystal tumbler sitting on the mahogany desk, not bothering to add ice. He didn’t need some watered-down version of liquid courage.
~ Divine Deception
8.) She sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern, wanting only two things—a cold beer and a hot body. ~ Bonded Souls
9.) Jesus. Even though he wasn’t particularly religious he prayed for Divine intervention. Not that he wanted any lightning strikes or halos of light illuminating the shadowed corner of the club where he’d hidden himself, but a little more help in the patience department would certainly go a long way at the moment. ~ Maid for Master
10.) She raced through the shadows, her claws digging deep in the damp forest floor. Lush ferns of summer slapped at her muzzle but didn’t slow her speed.
~ Bonded by Need
What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Do you think any of them missed the mark?
And my latest book news? Well, I’m happy to announce all of the books in the Dangerous Affairs, sexy romantic suspense series, BLIND HER WITH BLISS and DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE and CHEAT HER WITH CHARM are now available in audio format. What a kick-in-the-pants to hear someone else reading my stories! I hope you’ll check them out:
I am soooo excited! It’s been an awesome week. I just got the latest designs for my Romance Trading Cards and they’ve been ordered and will arrive early next week. Check them out…
…these characters have layers like onion. Each time Nina peels away more skin we learn something we didn’t know, or expect. Nina has a way with mystery. She tells the reader just enough to make them think they have the puzzle solved. Only to turn around and reveal they were dead wrong. Blind love has it all. A romance that ranges from sweet, to sensual, to holy crap my eyes may fall out of their sockets. Characters that are well develop and a setting you relate to from the first paragraph.
This book surpassed my expectations and I would def recommend it as a read.
Oh, and I have a release date for INVITATION TO ECSTASY, the second book in the XTC Resorts series … AUGUST 10! When I have a cover I’ll share it with you along with the first look at an excerpt.
Welcome to the annual Just Romance Me Holiday Blog Hop. Is there a better way to do a little early celebrating of 2013 than with some hawt excerpts, sexy men and fun little stories? I hope you’re enjoying the hop so far. If you’ve stumbled here without jumping on the bus and grabbing a flute of champagne, just head over HERE to make sure you don’t miss a chance for any of the wonderful prizes being offered along the way. And of course one lucky person completing the whole tour will be chosen at random to win the grand prize of a Kindle Fire HD 7″!
2012 was certainly the year that so many women (and men) discovered the naughty side of romance in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. Dominance and submission worked their way into every day vocabulary (even if they were whispered at bridge club meetings, hair salons, and the quiet of our bedrooms *g*). In that vein, I thought I’d turn the temperature up with a hot excerpt from my BDSM Ecstasy Resorts series. Here’s a little dungeon scene with Sara and Derek from INVITATION TO ECSTASY. Please enjoy:
Inhaling deeply, Sara filled her lungs with the seductive aromas of leather and sexual musk, overlaid with the lemon scent of disinfectant. Her nipples tightened in anticipation, sending frissons of desire straight down her core. The door shut behind her with a quiet click, tightening the hungry knots of need pulsing at the apex of her thighs.
“Bend over that spanking bench in the corner,” Derek said as he removed his black T-shirt, carelessly throwing it over a bondage chair. “We’ll start your punishment there.”
Testing the limits of Derek’s patience, she met his steely gaze. “I prefer to be flogged.”
“I’m not amused by your impudence, Sara.” His voice filled with the danger she’d seen in the hall. She froze in place as he stalked toward her, the push and pull of bronzed skin over sinewy muscle barely containing the power he had every intention of using on her. Derek stopped in front of her, his chest pressed against her breasts, his breath the only thing separating his lips from hers. “I won’t be topped by a submissive. You won’t like it if you continue to push me.”
“Yes, but I—”
With the speed of a feral cat attacking his prey, Derek spun her around and pinned her to the wall. The solid planes of his chest pressed hard against her back, both her wrists trapped between their bodies in the steel grip of his hand. Power sluiced off him in waves that buffeted her and stole her breath. Adrenaline and desire heated her blood, kicking her heart rate up several notches.
This was what her body craved. What she needed more than her next meal. His insistence she give up everything for his pleasure. She hadn’t trusted anyone enough since Marc’s death to give in to the dark desires swirling around her. But as Derek pressed his thigh between her legs, she couldn’t stop her back from arching and rubbing her swollen sex against his jeans.
He swept the hair from her cheek, burying his face in the crook of her neck. “No, Sara. There are no decisions for you.” His tongue licked just below her ear and moisture dampened her sex as she canted her hips to ride his thigh. “I am your Master. This is about what I want. You are my toy. To use as I choose.” His teeth dug into the soft flesh where his tongue had just traveled, startling a cry from her lips.
The pain was exquisite, flaming the fires of hot desire jolting over her nerves. Sara stiffened against his weight, the first tremors of pleasure quivering over her muscles.
And just like that, as quickly as he’d held her down, he released her and stepped away. She groaned at the loss of security his body’s heat and weight had offered her.
“The bench.” He nodded his head toward the black padded piece of furniture on the other side of the room. “Now.” His voice was thick and rich as honeyed molasses, forcing her body to obey.
The slip of lacy thong between her nether lips teased her heated flesh as she crossed the room. A rush of cream seeped from her folds to dampen her thighs. From the corner of her eye, she saw him watching her. Derek’s heavy gaze followed Sara’s every move, hunger darkening his eyes to the deep green of the forest. Her nipples strained against the soft bodice of her dress as if seeking the attention her Master was giving her ass.
“Stop. Take off your dress for me.” He swallowed hard, the first sign of weakness since taking control from her. “Slowly.”
Yes, control me so I don’t have to think.
She turned back to face him, her eyes submissively aimed at the floor. With nervous fingers, she pulled the front zipper down her torso, the tight leather parting and exposing the creamy swell of her breasts. Emboldened by Derek’s sharp intake of air, she pulled it slowly over her belly, each rasp of the zipper exposing more alabaster flesh. Cool air kissed her skin as the butter-soft material parted and gooseflesh rose, tingling along her sensitive nerves.
With exquisite leisure, offering Derek time to enjoy the visual display, Sara slid the narrow strip of leather off her shoulder, completely exposing her left breast, the areola and nipple tightened to a sensitive bud. Her breath sawed from her lungs as she slid the other side down. Caught on the flare of her hips, the leather clung to her skin. She hooked her thumbs under the material and rolled her ass, pushing until the dress dropped and pooled at her feet. She reached to undo the garter around her waist, intent on stripping off the thigh-highs and boots, but Derek’s whiskey-rich voice stopped her.
“Just the dress, Sara.”
He said nothing more, and only years of training kept her eyes cast at his feet. She couldn’t see him, but every shuddering breath he took quivered over her skin as if his fingers traced hot trails along her flesh.
At this moment, she couldn’t remember why she hadn’t believed in Derek’s ability to command her. Power pulsed around them. Energy vibrated along her nerves and heated the thick air, making her skin flush. With only his presence, he’d immersed her in the hypnotic push and pull of his domination.
And just like that, the simple word echoed off the walls, shattering the magic.
The voice, no longer Derek’s, was a faded memory come to back to haunt her. A cold rush of fear slid down her spine, pulling her back from the tenuous edge of trust. Derek’s heavy biker boots moved toward her, and it took all her willpower not to cower from the memories his compliment had conjured.
Mentally, Sara shook herself, trying to reorient herself in the here and now. She could do this. She’d done it in Chicago and she could do it here with Derek. The fact was she wanted to submit to him, if only to prove she was stronger than the past. A past that was currently crashing down around her and eroding away the wall of confidence she’d erected. She was suffocating in doubt, unable to completely fill her lungs.
“So very beautiful and all mine.”
Cold bands of memory continued to snake around her chest, making it hard to catch her breath. Though a warm hand curled around her neck, it was the chill of history that gripped her, pulling her back into a nightmare she’d barely escaped.
Sara’s back went rigid, even as Derek molded himself around her body.
I’m hoping 2013 will introduce even more people to the sweet and sexy seduction of erotic romance. I’m hoping to get settled in a new home we’re currently building. I’m hoping my muse finds her way back from the tropics and whispers sweet little sexy nothings of stories in my ear. And of course I wish for world peace … or at the very least for congress to stop bickering and get some actual work accomplished. LOL!
What are your hopes for 2013?
**** THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED ****
Anyone commenting on this post between now and midnight (EDT) DECEMBER 31 will be eligible to win a $10 Amazon gift card
and their choice of one of my ebooks.
Oh, and I wish someone sexy like Mr. Nina would cook your
New Year’s breakfast. 😉
Derek’s heavy boots pounded along the tile floor of the lower hall, the steady cadence never changing as he spoke, “You’re well trained, Sara and you know better than to talk or look at me that way.”
He stopped abruptly, and Sara forced herself to take three more steps before casually turning and offering him a lackadaisical arch of her brow. Despite how hard she pushed, the man held tight to his control, waiting for her to acquiesce. They were in a pissing match, still she felt compelled to push him and prove his worth. Squaring her shoulders, Sara’s eyes met the annoyance sparking in his, mutely challenging the obedience he demanded.
Buy for your Kindle or Nook
Click HERE to check out other authors participating in SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. And thanks so much for all of you who leave comments each week. I really appreciate them.
One of the things I love about being an author is the power I have to construct a setting, create a hero or twist a plot. And just a choice word here or there can make things dark and dangerous or sexy and passionate.
Let me use a scene from my erotic romance, Invitation to Ecstasy to show how I give a scene life and depth.
Sara had paddled the kayak for nearly thirty minutes to get to the private beach on the backside of the island. She wasn’t sure she really wanted to do this.
The above paragraph is adequate. But it doesn’t paint much of a picture. An author’s job is to put the reader in the scene. What’s the weather like? What kind of beach? Sandy? Rocky? And what the heck didn’t she want to do?
How about if I give the reader some of that information?
Sara pulled the red kayak up the sandy beach and out of the gentle wash of the surf. Though it was only a thirty-minute paddle around the backside of the island to the private lagoon, it had taken her well over an hour to get here.
Trepidation and fear had battled her determination to face her past. She’d turned back nearly as many times as she’d pushed forward. But stubbornness to finish what had begun had gotten her this far. And now that she was here, her bare feet shifting nervously in the warm sand, Sara wasn’t sure why she thought she could take this final step alone.
Ah, now we’re getting an idea of what’s going on. She’s forced herself here to face her past … and she’s doing it alone. Now what?
Sara could see the bungalow from where she stood. It was filled with some very bad memories that had taken her two years of therapy to get over. She only needed to go in and face the terrible things her late husband had done to her in that space and she could move forward with her life.
Oh, so we find out she’s come here to confront the horrible things her husband … who’s dead … did to her in the cabin. But the reader has no idea how this makes her feel. Is she afraid or happy to finally be making this journey down memory lane? And what did her husband do to her? Add those details and you have this …
The secluded bungalow, barely visible through the lush tropical foliage, had been both her paradise and her hell. It was the purgatory of memories that Sara had intended to purge when she’d left the main lodge. All she had to do was go in, slay the dragons causing her nightmares and close the book on one ugly-ass chapter of her life.
But two years. Two years of intense therapy. Two years simply putting one foot in front of the other. Two years battling to survive the ghost of her late husband had taken its toll.
The manacles Marc had put around her soul imprisoned her as completely as any physical bindings that had held her captive. If she could manage this one last task, this one last look at the ugliness Marc had made of their marriage, then she could banish him once and for all into the dark corner of her heart where life’s other hard lessons had left their scars.
Ah, now that tells the reader soooo much more. Using strong emotional words like trepidation, fear, stubborness, battling to survive certainly brings the reader into her frame of mind. Purgatory of memories and slaying dragons continue the feeling that this is not a happy place for her. Also, notice I used repetition to drive home “two years”. Repeating a word or phrase three times in that second paragraph makes a point with the readers. But use this writing device judiciously. Too many times and it will pull the reader from the story.
So now what?
But she wasn’t ready to go inside the bungalow. She wanted to go for a swim instead. Sara stripped naked, grabbed her snorkeling equipment from the kayak and jumped into the ocean. As she was swimming the cool water stroked her body turning the swim into an erotic experience.
That paragraph “tells” the reader everything they need to know, it doesn’t show the reader anything about Sara’s actions. But there’s nothing there to connect the reader to our heroine and make them care what’s happening. How about if I add some of those details?
But the little excursion down memory lane seemed impossible to face at the moment. She needed to work off a little nervous energy before braving the bungalow, and a swim in the warm Atlantic seemed to fit the bill.
Feeling the need for a little adventure, she slipped off her red tankini bathing suit and dropped it on the sand. Though she knew from experience this secluded cove was usually deserted, Sara felt delightfully naughty as she grabbed the mask, snorkel and fins from the storage compartment in the back of the kayak.
The salty breeze danced with her hair and slid wantonly over her skin like a lover’s caress as she walked into the ocean. When she dropped into the surf on her back, the normally serene water rolled into gentle waves that cradled and rocked her. Comfortable in the water, Sara easily slipped on her swim fins and mask, putting the snorkel in her mouth before rolling onto her stomach.
With practiced kicks of the fins, her thighs rubbed pleasantly together and water drifted over her breasts, belly and mons as she headed out into the lagoon. Cool water stroked heated flesh, steepling her nipples. Despite the heartache that had driven her here, the simple swim to clear her head and shore up her courage had turned into an titillating experience that had her libido humming. Her laugh echoed strangely through the snorkel at how proud Ethan would be that his paradise caused such salacious thoughts.
The awful trip down memory lane could definitely wait until she’d experienced a little pleasure.
So there you have it. Intermingling emotion, internal dialogue and backstory into your action keeps the story moving forward and your reader turning pages. What makes a great read for you? Anything in particular that will keep you turning pages?
Buy INVITATION TO ECSTASY from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
“I’m a very patient man. You may only have here and now Sara, but I can wait an eternity to work through this. I demand everything and expect even more,” he said as he rummaged through the equipment.
The man rifling through the closet was right–he wasn’t her late husband and she wasn’t the same naïve woman she’d been six years ago when she’d met the abusive asshole. She wasn’t the innocent woman who’d taken vows of fidelity a year later that had meant something only to her. And Sara sure as hell wasn’t the submissive who’d lost her voice in the rigors of hell.
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Click HERE to check out other authors participating in SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. And thanks so much for all of you who leave comments each week. I really appreciate them.
It’s been awhile since I caught you up on all the news. So I’ll start with a sharing a 4.5 STAR Review from Dark Diva Reviews. Jae said:
A roller-coaster of emotion and some of the most emotionally dramatic BDSM scenes I’ve read in quite a while are contained within Invitation to Ecstasy by Nina Pierce. Ms. Pierce’s writing is very enjoyable. There’s a terrific balance of down-to-earth narrative, humor, and intensity that draws the reader along from the very first page.
The book is available at Ellora’s Cave and Amazon
And Deceive Her With Desire has recently received two accolades.
It came in third in the suspense category of the Judge a Book by it’s Cover Reader’s Choice Contest hosted by the Houston Bay RWA. I would like to thank all the readers who took time to vote in this wonderful contest. Of course all the credit for the beautiful design goes to my cover artist DAR ALBERT. She’s the bestestest! I shout her praises everywhere because she’s so very talented!
This same book has also FINALED in the Gulf Coast STAR Contest in the novella category (which they define as any book under 40,000 words). w00t! w00t! I’m honored. I’ll find out next month exactly where it placed.
And the print book for all three Tilling Passions stories titled DANGEROUS AFFAIRS has finally met all the proofing requirements and should be available on Amazon by the end of the week and available in a bookstore near you by mid-April!
And on a personal note, Mr. Nina has a couple of job interviews this week. One of them is near our family in Maine. (Totally crossing my fingers that that one results in a job offer.) So there you have it, all the news and more. So what’s new with you? Anything worth dancing over?
This week I received a 4.5 STAR review from DARK DIVA REVIEWS for the second book in the XTC Resorts series, Invitation to Ecstasy. *see me snoopy dancing around the house*
Jae said …
“A roller-coaster of emotion and some of the most emotionally dramatic BDSM scenes I’ve read in quite a while are contained within Invitation to Ecstasy by Nina Pierce. Ms. Pierce’s writing is very enjoyable. There’s a terrific balance of down-to-earth narrative, humor, and intensity that draws the reader along from the very first page.”
So glad you enjoyed it, Jae! This book came out last August and I think it sort of got buried in the busy-ness of the summer. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite lines from the book. In no particular order…
1. But heartache? Heartache ripped at the soul, leaving gaping holes of emptiness that nothing could fill—-not even pain.
2. Something had triggered Sara’s retreat, and it was his promise as her Master to let the pain shatter the walls surrounding that fear and release the darkness clouding her eyes.
3. Though she worked out regularly, thirty-seven years of gravity were working hard to sink the parts of her body Sara was trying to keep afloat.
4. It was the purgatory of memories that Sara had intended to purge when she’d left the main lodge. All she had to do was go into the cabana, slay the dragons causing her nightmares and close the book on one ugly-ass chapter of her life.
5. “It’s a rough gig, living here in paradise with beautiful men and women running around half naked.” Ethan shrugged. “But hey, someone’s got to do it, and I’m willing to take one for the team.”
6. He leaned close, overwhelming her senses with the spicy scent of him. “Keep it up, Sara,” Derek whispered, his breath feathering heat across her cheek. “Punishing you for your defiance will be entirely my pleasure.”
7. Derek’s instincts had been right about this wounded bird, the one who made his heart race and his libido scream for mercy. The scars on her heart had been inflicted by a man who had promised to love her.
8. A cold rush of fear slid down her spine, pulling her back from the tenuous edge of trust.
9. The tranquil ocean had become a maelstrom of chop. The wind whipped it into a foamy frenzy that seemed intent on drowning her.
10. Spreading open her robe, Derek laid his palm between her breasts. “Here. It’s going to hurt here.”
“Tell me who broke your heart.”
Hot pain seared across her chest as Derek deftly attached jeweled clamps to her nipples, the chain between them dangling to tickle her belly.
His mouth was on her neck, his teeth sinking deep. The sensations toppled one over the other, keeping her off balance, not allowing her time to contemplate the fear.
“Give the pain to me. Trust me to help you heal.”
Click HERE to check out other authors participating in SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. And thanks so much for all of you who leave comments each week. I really appreciate it.