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Friday, April 16, 2010

Crit Friday: To Resist a Rogue

Tama Phillips followed the butler down the corridor of the London townhouse while she focused on maintaining that all-important calm exterior, so necessary if she were to survive the coming interview.

The butler opened a tall, heavily carved door. "Your appointment has arrived, my lord."

Ushering her into the room, he stepped out, closing the door behind him.

Tama found herself in the most impressive gentleman's office she'd ever seen. Her body relaxed slightly in the heat from the great fireplace. Yet she didn't focus on the room.

Sunlight streaming through tall, multi-paned windows across the room glinted, not only off polished furniture and mahogany bookcases, but off the raven hair of the person silhouetted against those windows. With his back to her, stood the man she needed to convince to hire her.

She braced for an explosion of anger as soon the earl of Braedonford transferred his gaze from the window to her.

As he turned, her breath froze, for he suddenly stilled. Set deep in his hawkish face were those cat-green eyes she clearly remembered from her come-out years ago, pinning her like a butterfly on a board. They first widened, and then narrowed as the earl stared at her in silence.

With those cat-green eyes and dressed in an impeccable, black coat of Bath superfine over a golden yellow silk waistcoat, he resembled nothing so much as the Indian tiger she'd read about, waiting to pounce on his prey.

That he appeared shocked was – well - understandable. After all, he faced, not the male scholar he'd expected to hire to organize his libraries, but a woman well past the first blush of youth at age twenty-three.

As for him, in spite of the crippling injury to his left arm from Waterloo, he remained stunning with broad shoulders, a strong yet elegant body, and an intriguing face. Dark, arched brows emphasized the devilish sensuality for which Devlin Le Claire had always been notorious.

She shivered as she recalled the warning from Lady Castlereagh those many years ago not to become involved with such a notorious rake. That memory she clung to now for she wasn't, under any circumstances, going to be this rogue's prey.

"So you are T. M. Phillips. Is it Miss or Mrs.?" The sharp, growled question ratcheted up her tension.

He gestured toward the chair facing his desk. "Whichever it is, please be seated."

"I'm a widow and would rather remain standing, my lord until we are both sure I won't be ordered to leave."

He arched one eyebrow at her tart reply.

"I won't send you away - at least until the mystery of why you applied for the position is explained to my satisfaction. So indulge me." Waving again at the empty chair, he ordered, "Sit, so I can talk to you without straining my neck."

When she hesitated, he added, "Please."

"I would not want you to suffer, my lord." Keeping her voice steady, she sat but her back remained ramrod straight.

SAMANTHA: This sounds wonderful. I'm really intrigued and would love to read more. I have very little to suggest. The only line that strikes me as maybe out of order is the last one. 'Keeping her voice steady, she sat...' Since she has already spoken, it didn't flow for me. I wonder if you moved this sentence before your dialogue. One line I really liked was 'she braced for an explosion of anger'. It stood out to me. You do a very nice job with description, too. Thanks for sharing this with us.

GAIL: I really liked this excerpt. You've got some great description nicely woven in with the emotion of the scene. You also did a fine job sprinkling the backstory in without slowing down the story. My only suggestion was on the cat-green eyes. It's wonderful the first time, but I wouldn't use it twice. Still, a delightful passage. Thanks for sharing it with us.

AMY: Great setup and I want to keep reading. We know where she is, why she is there, and gave us a little history without an info dump. I agree with Gail on the cat-green eyes and thought the same when I read it a second time. Otherwise, I nicely painted scene.

LYDIA: You've used some great imagery. Indian tiger and pinning her like a butterfly on a board. Very nice. What most jumped out at me was the cat-green that Gail and Amy both mentioned. So I'd pick something different for one of them. Otherwise it seems like a great opening! Good luck.

MELISSA: I would just like to add in the first few sentences you have an excellent oppertunity to really get into her deep pov. She's walking behind the butler and you "tell" us that she's going for an interview she's nervous for. And this is agian just my opinion, but I'd like to see her nervous twitter in her hands or damp palms and have her think: Now focus Tama, this is the interview I need to survive.
Or something to that effect. But introduce us to what's she's doing by showing it to us rather than telling us in two sentences. Other than that, I am facscinated by what will happen next and am really eager to see his reaction. Great hook. Excellent writing. My only pet peeve is the phrase
The sharp, growled question ratcheted up her tension. I think its the ratcheted part, it didn't really flow for me and pulled me from the story. Beautiful set up though! Loved it.

JULIE: This is a great excerpt. It got my attention right away. I did notice you used the decription of "cat-green eyes" twice, and I think once is plenty to get your point across. Also, I would like to see a bit more of deep pov. What are her internal thoughts. Overall, though, good job.

JERRICA: What a wonderful excerpt! Thanks so much for sharing! Your descriptive passages are lovely. I felt like I was in the room myself. You may want to have someone go through for itty bitty grammar things, but other than that, it's very well written. Best of luck with it!

1 comment:

  1. Very late to the party this week because of travel.

    I'm with Jerrica about feeling as if I were in the room. Such wonderful rich descriptions. Aside from what the other ladyscribes have already mentioned, I got snagged on the "crippling injury". The exerpt reads as if they had not been in each others company since the accident so what she knew about his injury would be hearsay or gossip. I would describe what she sees a little differently. Show how he holds himself now. Great writing!