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Friday, April 16, 2010

Crit Friday: Prey of the Huntress

Rochian hesitated, his ears pricked frontward. Trevin glanced around the surrounding area. His sense told him something wasn’t right.

A mountain lion leaped from an oak tree to an overhead rock. Neither he nor his mount moved, keeping their focus on the immediate threat. At the cat’s piercing roar, Rochian’s unease heightened. His ears slammed flat against his head. Trevin leaned forward and pulled the rifle from a sheath under his leg.

The edgy horse shifted with a couple of quick steps and, with an unanticipated backward jerk, unseated Trevin. He soared above the horse’s ears, spinning head over heels. Eye to eye with the damnable horse for only a moment, he could have sworn he saw triumph in Rochian’s dark gaze before he slammed against the ground. The humiliating thud pushed the air out of his lungs, temporarily stunning him.

Of all times to get dumped! Trouble loomed, and his rifle lay four feet out of reach. To make matters worse, the miserable piece of horseflesh did an about face and took off like the devil chased him.

The cat leaned forward licking his lips. Beneath the jutting granite edge, Trevin rose on his elbows and braced for the worse.

A huntress, a warrior with a sling in her hand stepped from the trees. “Don’t move!” Her voice floated across the distance on a slight breeze, feminine but firm.

He gaped. He couldn’t move. Was she reality or musings of his imagination?

With a quick swing of the leather strap, a stone slammed against the cat’s head, followed in rapid fire by two more. The wounded predator let out a high-pitched snarl. Trevin’s gut clenched waiting for the beast’s pounce, but the cat turned and scampered into the brush.

Easing to his feet, he ignored his stiff backside and stared at the statuesque beauty. She stood still, returning his stare with curious dark eyes. Her unbound, coffee brown hair cascaded down her back almost to her waist.

Needing to know if she was real, he stepped closer and ran his fingers along her soft-as-peach-skin cheek. “Who are you?”

Before she could answer the cat’s growl sounded. “Wait,” he rested his hand on her arm, “stay still.”

“As you wish,” she answered with an amused tone.

As he turned, he grabbed his rifle off the ground and walked around the area. Relieved to find no immediate danger, he turned back to find the trail empty.

“Where’d you go?” He searched for a sign that she existed, but nothing, not even footprints. Had he cracked his head hard enough to imagine her presence?

GAIL: I like this scene with the mysterious heroine. You do a fine job keeping the action flowing. I think the first paragraph lost a few words at the end, probably when the files were transferred. And I got a little confused over whose ears laid flat at first, but that may be because I didn't know who Rochian was. All in all a strong excerpt. Thank you for sharing with us.

SAMANTHA: I laughed at the line, "Of all times to get dumped!" I found it a nice tongue-in-cheek line, as if he had a relationship with his horse, which certainly is the case for riders and their horses, albeit a different sort of relationship, ofcourse. I liked your description of the heroine too and could picture the coffee brown hair cascading down her back. I agree that knowing Rochain was a horse in the beginning would have made the second paragraph less confusing, but I suspect the reader knows who Rochain is before this excerpt. I really did like the section and have nothing to suggest. Thanks for sharing this with us.

AMY: Very, very interesting. I had to re-read this because I didn't realize Rochian was a horse at first. From your descriptions I could see the place and the mysterious female. I would love to know where she came from. Otherwise, I have no suggestions.

CATHERINE: There is a lot of action here! Great job with that. Just a few little nitpicks: first, the saying is "for the worst," not for the worse. Second, you might want to brush up on how to use speech tags vs. how to use action tags. I noticed in one place, you used an action tag where it should be a speech tag ("he rested his hand on her arm").

LYDIA: This was action packed! Loved the line about looking in his horse's eyes for a brief second. Very nice image. Now if you knew me, you'd know that names are one of my most favorite things in the world. I know that sounds strange, but it's also true. ;) So, the first thing that jumped out at me was Rochian and Trevin. To me they sounded too similar. I'm wondering if they're twins. Even if they are, you might want to consider changing one of them so they have a different feel. Does that make sense?


  1. I think the wordage used with Rochian pricking his ears clued me into his being a horse - but I've had horses all my life and read horse books avidly for years so those are words that tell me he's a horse. But - that's something that's probably well established by this time. And I'm very curious about the mysterious woman!

  2. LOL. Thanks for your comments, Cid. Apparently not many of us know beans about horses. :)

  3. Wow. Blogger is being a real bugger today. My comment isn't showing up as being here, so I'm going to leave another and see if it shows 3 comments.

  4. Great writing! Must be my background but I picked Rochian was a horse and felt myself flying with Trevin over the horses head. Very well described! Now I just need to repress that memory again. LOL ;o)

  5. Thank you for your comments - and yes, Rochian is his beloved stallion (it means ruffian in my Scottish dictionary). I can see I must be more clear about who he is. :)

    Marlene w/a Paisley Kirkpatrick

  6. So you're saying their not twins then. I'm so embarrassed. :)