Scary Writing Samples: The Dark Wizard

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Princess Morgaine Brianna stomped her dainty foot on the flagstones of the king’s audience chamber and tossed her ebon locks streaked with diamond white. “Uncle!” she demanded. “I will be heard in this chamber, though I am but woman, and a magicless woman at that! I will not marry that cretin Daemon Von Aragonne the Dark Wizard!”

In the kingdom of Dragonne, only females who possessed magical powers of healing and plant speaking were considered worthy of any status but that of wife, mother or serving wench. Morgaine Brianna, though the niece of Good King Theolas, was not regarded as worthy since her only value was that of her exceptional beauty and her relationship to the king–value, yes, but not the value the she desired. She longed more than anything else to be the equal of men and to that end spent most of her time taking sword or horseback riding lessons.

Her uncle normally indulged her but not this time. He had grown tired of her spoiled fits and starts and had decided ‘twas time for her to be married off.

“You shall, too,” he said to his rebellious niece in portentous tones that be spoke no argument. “The contract has already been drawn up and the Dark Wizard arrives at midnight via portal to claim his bride. You should be flattered. The Dark Wizard has never actually taken a bride.”

“I don’t want to marry him. He is rumored to have unnatural appetites.” Brianna shivered in her flowing hunter green woolen gown that complimented her eyes and emphasized the discrete swell of her breasts, which she kept bound as their large size embarrassed her. Women in this age were supposed to be delicate and sylphlike like her mother had been, in Brianna’s mind and most of the Court’s, the epitome of womanly beauty. She had met the Dark Wizard briefly at her come-out ball last year and had been unable to get his dark piercing regard out of her mind, but never did she suspect that behind that hooded gaze dwelled unholy lust for her! No such brooding fiend would bed her, she vowed, for she kept herself sacred for her true love the old gypsy woman at the market promised would come to her.

As she oft did in times of stress, Brianna allowed herself to recall that fateful day. She had crossed the old woman’s palm with silver and in her palm the woman had read of a long life and many children, all with a man who would be her true love. She also read a dark and divided destiny to come and troubles, but Brianna had figured that would be the case for any in the beleaguered Dragonne, beset on one side by the sea and its pirates and on the other by the mountains and their goblins. “Your true love will wear two faces and only you will see the fair one,” intoned the old gypsy woman with her many scarves. “Be not afraid and be not afraid to seek your true destiny, though others will tell you it’s too dangerous.”

And now she was supposed to give up that shining future, that man who would love her despite her magiclessness and her unfashionable body, for her uncle’s politics? Oh if only her parents had lived to be king and queen but alas they had been lost in the first Goblin wars defending the borders. Her uncle was a barely competent substitute who was barely holding the kingdom together and had a son of his own, her horrid cousin Nesbitt, who would inherit now since Brianna had no magic. Any man could inherit but unless a woman had magic, she was but a druge or a possession.

Her uncle was unfair and blinded by greed for power. He thought she didn’t know but Brianna was no fool. “He has made your marriage a condition of our alliance,” the king said. “Who would gainsay the Dark Wizard, the head of the Wizard’s Kirk?”

“Then I shall…run away!” declared the saucy wench. Her uncle’s serving maids who waited to either side with grapes and wine gasped in shock.

Uncle Theolas laughed but he was not amused. He had plans for the kingdom and they didn’t include this young woman, though using her to cement an alliance with Aragonne was an admirable way to be rid of her. He’d have an alliance and doubtless with the Dark Wizard as her husband she would not last long enough to discover her true destiny. “You will not make a fool of me! We need to ally with the Kingdom of Aragonne to hold off the dreaded Goblin Hordes when they attack. You know they mass upon our borders and only the failing might of the weak border lords hold them back with incongruous magics.”

“Then perhaps I could try again to be tested and…”

“But no!” the King cried out, afraid for his plans. “You know that if a female has not evidenced her power by the time she reaches her sixteenth birthday, then it is dangerous to undergo the testing again to see if any latent powers could be made to surface with a Bonding.” Brianna, at nineteen, was long past the time for such rituals to be considered safe or fruitful though sometimes they were attempted on peasant girls whose parents had both been magical, through the Wizard’s Kirk. But Brianna was no peasant girl and had be better used as a marriage prize. “I cannot lose you to that. I love you too much,” he continued and tried to let a gentle love show in his rheumy gaze.

“But you can lose me to the Dark Wizard?” Brianna retorted, stamping her foot with anger. Her uncle’s love for her would have touched her heart had her heart not already been hard to all men. Especially after knowing the truth about what happened to her cousin Fey, her uncle’s daughter by his second wife who died long ago. Nay, she would not marry any member of the Wizard’s Kirk with that knowledge! Nesbitt was the son of her uncle’s first wife who had died even longer ago. Her uncle did not have a third wife though Brianna would have loved to have more women in the house, especially a magically empowered woman who could have spoken for her step-niece in this matter. Her uncle wouldn’t bother with a woman who wasn’t magically endowed.

“We need his strength and the Kirk’s cooperation to link our failing border stones,” the King raged. “It is your duty. Even if you were to have latent magics this late in your life, they would not serve in war except for healing and no gently bred girl needs to be healing soldiers. ‘Tis not womanly.”

“Oooh!” Brianna said angrily. “You are so sexist! I hate you.” And with that she rushed off to her room in the tower of the grand castle but her uncle, in fear of her rash actions, had his guards lock her door to await the Dark Wizard’s pleasure.

Now that the princess was gone the king cackled with glee and called for his son. “Nesbitt, my lad,” he said to the young man with a hungry look in his eyes and a scrawny frame, “the girl is as good as out of here. Nobody will suspect me since I merely want to cement the borders. It was a wonderful plan I had!” King Theolas gazed upon his son and for a moment could see the features of his first wife, a strong witch who had been his only true love. She had perished giving birth to Nesbitt and Theolas had pined all his hopes and dreams upon the boy.

“Yes of course father.” Nesbitt’s beady eyes lingered on the throne but soon switched to the serving maid. She was a comely wench with flowing black hair not unlike his tempestuous, beautiful cousin. Though he agreed that the girl could not be allowed to discover her true destiny it was a shame the Dark Wizard would destroy her. Nesbit admired the wench and would bed her anon for she was naught but a magicless female but he lusted after his cousin in his heart. He always chose dark haired woman and pretended they were Morgaine Brianna, even made them wear clothes of hers he stole. Though she too was magicless, he would have married her if his father had allowed it but his father had become too insecure in his old age. The girl’s destiny could never be discovered as long as she continued to wear the pendant they told her was her mother’s that had been left to her when her mother perished. And if he knew Brianna–and he did know her, thanks to all the priest holes in the castle he used to spy on her–she would never take off the reminder of her beloved parents.

Well, his father was old. He was the only child though sometimes he missed his sister, who had been a sweet girl not unlike his Stepmother. She had almost brought goodness and light into this dark house but had wasted away after the death of Fey in the testing by the Wizard’s Kirk that had been…too vigorous, King Theolas too desperate to find great power in one of his offspring, as Nesbitt’s power was weak. The Wizard’s Kirk had even then been led by Daemon of Aragonne, and surely it was no coincidence he wanted another Dragonne female.

Weak power had not weakened Nesbitt’s brain. Perhaps something could be arranged so Nesbitt could still have the girl for himself, perhaps after the Dark Wizard was done with her. He didn’t require the girl’s soul after all, just her body… He hastened off to alter the contract with the Dark Wizard and add a clause about if his uncle died then the girl would have to be released to Dragonne to be with her family as the only surviving female in the Dragonne line.

* * *

Daemon tossed and turned upon his soft, goose down mattress as the dream beset him. Wolves slavered at his heels as he ran through the woods, briars slashing his naked limbs and some desperate sense of transformation in his heart. He just knew he had to hurry, he had to get there before…before…he wasn’t sure but every time in his dream, he was too late. He reached the deep, still pool in the heart of the Endlesse Forest just in time to gaze upon his own pain wracked visage as it warped in the light of the moon, becoming….

Daemon cried out and his hand struck warm, yielding flesh. A feminine shriek and Daemon bolted awake and grappled with the stranger in his bed. He clasped strong fingers about the vulnerable neck of his attacker, squeezing squeezing….

“Please milord,” his victim cried. “You’re only dreaming.”

It was Betsy, the downstairs maid whom he sometimes took to his bed when the need was upon him. Betsy or Jill or Janetta or — when the need was upon him, he cared little, so long as she was warm and mostly willing. He could persuade her with his skillful lovemaking.

He let her go. She sat up in bed and rubbed her throat. A fearful look in her eye as she took in his naked form. “Perhaps I should go, ’tis nearly the cock’s cry,” she said.

His manhood rose as he gazed upon her large, pert breasts and frightened eyes. “Some cock is arising but ‘tis not the one you think,” he said, surprised at the growl of his voice. It reminded him of something…. Something that escaped him, like a lingering touch of his dream.

The maid’s gaze dropped to his monstrous appliance stirring to life at his thighs. “Yikes,” she said.

“Love me one more time, Betsy,” he said. “For tonight I wed my bride, and I doubt she’ll be such a good lay.”

The maid tittered. “Surely you could continue to…”

“No, Aragonne men are faithful to their mates. I need a son, Betsy, a son that I can’t get on a girl like you. No offense, but your parents weren’t wizards. The Wizard’s Kirk prophet says it has to be Morgaine Brianna for me, though they won’t say why.”

“I would not have wizards for parents,” shuddered the maid.

Daemon moved atop the woman and pressed her back into the pillows to dispel the last remnants of his bad dream. “Do you forget that your lover is a wizard?” he asked with a glint in his eye.

“No…no my lord,” whispered Betsy, suddenly afraid, and it was that fear that drove Daemon into her willing body with the sharp edge of desire.

Nay, the little Dragonne wench would never be this good a lay, but she would be afraid…and that was something.

All women feared the Dark Wizard. He struck fear into their hearts, not love, and it was safer that way–safer that he could never be awoken to love himself. For in his dreams, fear for the safety of his true love drove him, and it was her, his love, whom he failed in the end.

He had vowed to never penetrate or even be long around a woman who didn’t fear him, so he would never be put in that position. Now the fear had become an aphrodisiac stronger than powdered unicorn’s horn.

* * *

Brianna tightened the last knot on her rope of sheets and started trailing them off the balcony to the ground. They could almost reach and she could jump into a tree for the rest of the way. Her time spent doing boyish things would finally pay off when she escaped down the wall! She just wished there was a way to untie the sheet rope so her uncle would think she had found her latent powers on her own and turned herself into a bird or convinced a vine of ivy to serve as her rope.

Brianna had packed what she’d need for her flight and before leaving clasped her mother’s amulet in her small hand to utter a prayer for luck. The metal amulet was shaped like a dragon with a round, odd red stone as its belly, that was where the fire of the legendary beast was made. There were no longer dragons in Dragonne or anywhere else she knew of, having been hunted out hundreds of years ago, but still it was the symbol of her kingdom. She had thought it strange that her mother would pick such a red, manly amulet as her soulstone but she had grown used to the little beast and never felt dressed without it.

Then she put both her legs over the balcony and began the long downward climb, shimmying from knot to knot like a monkey from the far-off land of Affrikana. Her pack with her provisions and clothes slapped against her back. She climbed down and down, trembling with trepidation, until she reached the end of her rope. She swung to the branches of a huge oaken tree.

Unfortunately the oaken tree had a bole as big around as her tower, nearly and no branches close to the ground. Brianna hadn’t counted on this! She rubbed her scraped hands against her skirts which she had kirtled up around her waist for safer climbing. There were no soldiers as she had planned her downward climb during the change in guards. She had ten more minutes before they would come around here again, see the sheet, and find her, and she planned to be well hid by that time.

She heard a cheerful whistling from the gardens below her and looked to see a tall man in brown peasant’s garb striding along the path headed towards the palace. Who could that be? He was not from around here but he was very attractive in a large man type of way. The sun shone upon his dark brown hair which was long enough to go down past his collar, not the style of the times but attractive on him, with his manly, strong face that you would never mistake as effeminate.

Brianna summoned up her courage and decided if he wasn’t from around here he wouldn’t know who she was.

“Psst,” she said. “You there. I need assistance.”

The man glanced up, and she was swallowed into his dark black eyes for a moment, as a chill of strange desire rattled through her. Then his eyes were naught but a soft brown like her favorite boots.

“Hello there,” he said. “What have we here, a pretty little bird in a tree?”

“I’m not a bird, and you know it,” she said, not liking the tone of the rascally knave. “I merely require some help getting down. There was a kitten I meant to assist, and it has scampered off and left me. I would not be surprised to find the kitten was but a mischievous sprite that managed to find its way into the palace gardens. Little wretch.”

He stood under her and looked up admiring her legs bared so she could climb. If she kept his eyes on her he wouldn’t notice her sheet rope down the tower wall. She would have to suffer his gaze on her legs and smiled her prettiest.

“Please, sir,” she begged. “My mistress is the Princess Brianna Morgaine and she would not like for me to be late.”

“Well, if it’s for her royal highness I suppose I should help.” The man held up his arms. “Drop into my arms and I shall catch you.”

“It is too far!” she protested. She didn’t want to be in his arms! That was closer than she ever was to men, except her cousin and uncle. He didn’t look like a detested Wizard but most men couldn’t be trusted. You had to have a certain degree of power before you could join the Wizard’s Kirk although never were females allowed to join, no matter their power. Some minor wizards had been said to suck the power from witches to achieve the Wizard’s Kirk. She bit back a tear at the thought of her cousin Fey.

“Surely if you weren’t afraid to climb up the tree it isn’t too far to come down?” the man taunted.

“If you drop me,” she threatened, overcoming her momentary sadness, “I shall beat you about the head and shoulders.”

“I’m not afraid,” he laughed.

There was nothing else for it. First she threw down her pack, which he caught with a grunt. At his expression, she raised an eyebrow and explained, “I have been doing my mistress’s laundry.”

Then she carefully got on her belly on the branch and let herself slide slowly off, conscious of the fact that her legs were exposed to her short knickers and the knave below was having a great view! As she’d hoped, he didn’t notice the sheet because he was too busy ascertaining that she wore knickers and did not go with her parts abroad as was the habit of some forward wenches beneath their skirts.

Just in case he grew bored with the view when he discovered she was fully clothed beneath, she gave a little wriggle to her behind that she’d heard her maids discuss that a man much loved to see. It made her feel a bit cheap, yet also a bit excited, to know a man was inspecting her as a female instead of having the boundary of royal princess to protect her. Her uncle and cousin would have thrown any man in the dungeons who dared to eye her as the man below. She could still see him over her shoulder, having not let go of the branch, and his eyes were indeed trained on her thighs and perhaps more. He winked at her in a knowing fashion.

“Come on, just a bit further,” he encouraged, and she didn’t know if he meant for her to drop or to raise her skirts!

There was only so far a princess was willing to go to be rescued. She dropped, her heart pattering in her chest, and he caught her hard in a pair of very muscular arms.

“I think you owe me after that,” he said when she caught her breath and gazed up at him. He barely even staggered with the impact of her weight. Her green eyes widened at the suggestion in his. “I think…a kiss.”

“Nay!” she gasped, but he silenced her missish complaint with his lips.

Instantly desire surged through her just as when his eyes had seemed as black as midnight. But that had been just her imagination, perhaps her excitement at the escape, this was real, very real. She clung to him and sighed into his mouth as his hot, questing tongue awakened parts of her she had no idea were connected to her mouth and lips. She had only ever been kissed by her horrid cousin Nesbitt who had several times attempted to force himself on her, only to be convinced otherwise by a swift knee to the ballocks. It had been awful and slimy and not like this blissful erotic sensation that turned her limbs quickly to quivering jelly.

She heard the tower bells that told the hour ring and realized the guards would soon be here. She could not allow them to find her! Not only would her uncle and cousin have this man jailed but her perilous climb down the tower wall would have been for naught.

“Oh, oh, I must go!” she said, breaking off the kiss. Shame blossomed through her at her wanton actions. Yet still she did not want him to come to harm by the king’s wrath. “You cannot kiss me.” She could not tell him the real reason why as a common maid without magic would have been free to kiss as she pleased. “I…I…have not granted you permission!”

“Don’t worry, I won’t kiss you again…Princess,” he said. “At least not until tonight.”

Her lips moist from his kiss she gasped. “How did you know who I was?”

Those brown, cheerful eyes turned suddenly black again and she felt a sputter of fear like when she had climbed over the balcony and her death awaited below if her hands but slipped. “Why, don’t you recognize me, my love? I am your betrothed, the Dark Wizard, or so I’m called.” He shrugged and let her down out of his arms but still held her tightly. “King Theolas called and asked me to come early for the ceremony since he was afraid you’d run away. Looks like I was just in time.”

“You tricked me! You shan’t kiss me again!” Her scraped fists beat his chest. How could this be?

“I shall,” he said, and touched one of her white streaks, the only thing she had of her mother besides the dragon, “and you shall like it, my wee frightened virgin.” Her limbs turned to water and she felt the thrust of him against her belly, as his desire surged convulsively in response to her panic.

What manner of man was he? As evil as they said and willing to drink of human souls to increase his power…or was he the merry rascal who’d stolen her first real kiss?

He let her go but his eyes were still black as night, black and deep as the pool of truth in the heart of the Endlesse Forest, or so it was rumored. “But you’ll have to wait for that kiss until tonight. At which juncture you’ll belong to me and have no say in the matter. Too bad, so sad.”

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: Nowhere to Hide

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Detective Wolf Rivers stared at the naked, slashed body of the dead woman on the tarmac and wondered where he’d put his smokes.  Gross blood pooled in a scarlett puddle on the ground and there were no tire tracks.  It was nearly midnight.  The CSI team has found no fingerprints or identifying information on the woman to say who killed her.  But she couldn’t have been dead long because steam still rose from her body in the cold rain.

A crowd from the airport gathered around the yellow police tape.  His partner, Detective O’Malley, from a long time family of Irish cops wrote down notes in his notebook.  They had been partners for years and had learned to trust each others instincts.  Even though O’Malley didn’t know everything there was to know about Wolf’s secrets. If he had just been a beautiful woman, Wolf would have had it made, only he had little use for women, except when they had information he needed.  Or maybe a cigarrete.  He always needed a cigarrette when he was upset by a terrible crime like this one.  Where were his smokes?

Other uniformed policemen and some airport security stood around and kept the onlookers from violating the crime scene.  Like this poor woman had been violated.

“Let me go!” a hysterical female voice cried out.  “That’s my sister!”

“Let her through,” he said, instantly suspicious she should just happen to show.  It wouldn’t be the first time sister had murdered sister.  The vertical slashes in the dead woman’s throat spoke of great force.  He wasn’t sure the slight, waiflike, distraught female being led up to him by a uniform was capable of such force.  Her long, blonde curls hung in tangled waves over full breasts.  Her body was lush yet too delicate for this kind of violence.  She had beestinged lips and blue eyes big enough to drown in.  Only he wasn’t in the mood to go skinnydipping.

“You say this is your sister?” he ground out harshly.  “It is funny you would just show up.  Did you do this to her?”  She was a little thing, barely 5’2” except in those ridiculous heels women insisted on wearing.  He didn’t understand women.  Not even after all his years of experience with life.

“Oh god no, my twin sister!” she cried out.  She tried to fall to her knees but it would have gotten blood on her cream colored Anne Taylor trousers and the cop holding her made her stay on her feat.  How could this man, this tall brooding man with the piercing, mysterious eyes just ask if she done this without so much as a by your leave?  She had loved her sister even though her sister had been the black shep of the family.

“No, I don’t know” Cara said.  “I last saw her two hours ago when she was headed for the little girls room.  We were here to pick up a package that her fiance in Venezuela mailed through air post.  The plane was late.  And then she disappeared!”  Cara tried to end a big sob and failed.  They waited for her to get a grip.  A cop patted her shoulder, but she got no sympathy from the arrogant, sexy detective.  He had a Native American appearance, wide cheekbones, his hair cropped short.  His nose looked like it might of been broken.  He wouldn’t of looked out of place in a biker bar in different clothes than his rumpled suit.  In short he looked dangerous.

She couldn’t believe this was happening.  Her poor sister, though they had been estranged for years, was dead on the tarmac bleeding her life away and the detective thought she might have done it.  Yet she couldn’t help herself, she felt a stir of something deep within when he pierced her with his brooding gaze, like he thought she knew more than she was telling.  She bet he looked at all the girls like that, it was his job after all.

“Did you get your package?” he asked.  “What is in it?”  He knew it could be drugs, coming in from Venezuela.  Which would make this some kind of gang hit.  He got on his walkie talkie and had them bring in the drug dogs for flight 564 out of Atlanta.

Turning away, Cara said “I…I didn’t get it.” She wondered what had happened to the package. At the counter, they told her it had been picked up.  They didn’t know who. The person who gave it out had gone home for the night.  She thought Sara had gotten it but how could she have, when she lay here dead on the tarmac like a broken child’s doll?

The detective turned to the man with the glasses in the white coat, she guessed it was the coronor.  “What did you say her name was?”

“Sara Lytton” Cara said.  “She was 25 years old this June.  We both were, we are twins.  Our parents are dead from a car wreck when we were only eight.  We only had each other in the world, except her boyfriend Marcus.  She thought he was sending her an engagement ring!  Now we’ll never know if she was to be married and turn her life around!”  Her voice broke on a sob.

The detective and his partner took her away from the body of her sister on the tarmac.  “Miss Lytton– it is Miss, right?” said the red-headed partner. She wondered why he was trying to flirt with her at a time like this?  He stepped her to close and she stepped away.

“Yes” she answered in a shaky voice.

“You must come down to the station house and answer questions.  I would like to take you there myself and then maybe out for some coffee.”  He looked so hopeful.  Cara didn’t understand why guys always hit on her, an innocent who had been raised by their old fashioned grandparents and sent to boarding school. She had no idea of the appeal of her lush body and naturally blonde hair.  And how men loved to tarnish that innocence with their lusts.  “Do you know if your sister had enemies?”

“No, she was nice!  I mean, she could get wild but everyone liked her.  Nobody would do this to her, she was everyone’s friend, not like me” she cried out bitterly. “I don’t understand!”

Wolf tilted Cara Lytton’s chin up so she had to meet his eyes.  He had to make her understand this was no game.  He insisted, “We’ll find the guy who did this.” Not sure why he felt the need to comfort this woman.  Vampires like him had no feelings and yet, he was feeling for her. It could not be so he ignored it. What he knew for sure was it had to be a guy who did this or a very mad woman with great upper body strength.  Nobody deserved this way to die.

Just then a woman in the crowd screamed “He’s got a gun!” and a shot rang out, taking his partner O’Malley by surprise in the shoulder.

“Down Everybody!”  Wolf shoved Cara to the ground behind him to make the smallest target and chased the shooter.  But the shadowy figure in a plain brown coat was too fast even for his inhuman speed and disappeared behind some airplanes into the mechanical hanger.

Wolf rallied the uniformed policemen to search the hanger by fisting his hand and pointing three fingers down.  He walkie talkied for reinforcements.  The shooter could have been the same one who brutally murdered Sara Lytton on the tarmac.  With that kind of speed he would be dagerous, maybe even inhuman.  Maybe the killer thought they were getting too close to some clues. Or maybe the shooter was after something else entirely.

When he got back his partner O’Malley, was being carried off by the paramedics, flashing lights making his Irish face look even redder than the pain made it look.  He was going to be okay but it was never any fun to take a 9 mm to the shoulder.  Wolf had it happen once, a woman had been the one who did it.

He guessed this took Cara Lytton out of the running for suspect.  He couldn’t shake the fact that the two girls were twins and that this might be some kind of mix-up.  “We’re going to have to take you to a safe house” the detective growled out.  He had forgotten his need for a smoke as an unexpected protectiveness rose up in him.  He spend his life protecting the weaker humans but never got personal.  It was just his job to make sure the humans didn’t find out about the vampire crimes by sweeping them under the rug.

“I’ll be fine” she argued.  She didn’t want to be locked in a safe house with his man!  His dark looks and chiseled jaw turned her insides to molten lava and her knees to water.  Not a good combination because if the two substances met they made black, ugly rocks.

“Don’t fight me on this.”  Again he took her by the chin and stared into her eyes.  His smoky breath washed over her.  He smelled her sweet pulse like nectar of flowers in the summer sun he never got to see, his incisors lengthened with the urge to taste her.  He tried to hide them.  He only dined on criminals and cold blood bags not, innocent humans.  “I know what I’m doing.  You’ll be thafe with me.”  He would protect her with his unlife.

Yet the way his black gaze devored her Cara wondered, would her heart be safe.

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: The Detective and the Forger

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Detective Sean Hagger was really pissed off. He’d been put on stake-out duty again spinning his wheels watching some bimbo to see if she was connected to a 5 state check forgery scam. Like any woman who looked like the woman he was spying on would be smart enough for that.

She was truly any man’s dream–hell, she was his dream. Long, long tan legs, breasts like two perfect melons, a flat stomach, kissable lips, and a beautiful cascade of golden blonde curls that had never been touched by Miss Clairol. Sean was no beautician, but he knew all about nude women. And right now his high test binoculars were squarely zeroed in on her through her bedroom window, butt naked right out of the bath. Unless Miss Clairol was making a new kind of dye, Ariel Cynthia Collinsworth was quite blonde all over.

Okay there were some benefits to stake-outs. He lazily grabbed one of his bran muffins–no doughnuts for him, thanks–to munch as he watched the show. If his partner Barney’d been here, they’d have fought over the binocs, but Barney was combing through files at the office.

The woman could be a Playboy Playmate, but a forger who’d been illegally spending other people’s money across 5 states? He didn’t think so. And her house and stuff wasn’t even that nice. She wrapped a towel around her and it was so old and shrank up it hardly covered her heiney. Surely she’d of bought herself some new towels if she had all that money.

A dark shadow blocked out his vision momentarily before the binoculars were ripped quickly out of his hands. “What the hell are you doing, you dang peeping pervert?” His expensive high power surveillance binocs hit the pavement with a crash, thrown there by a strange, angry woman, fire blazing from her snapping green eyes.

This one was obviously nondescript enough to be a forger, but she wasn’t Ariel Collinsworth. So who was she and how had she snuck up on him? He knew the neighborhood routines pretty well after a couple nights, he knew the neighbors too and he didn’t recognize this one.

“I’m calling the police,” she seethed. “I got your tag already, smart guy.” She pulled a cellular phone out of her fannie pack. She was dressed in a jogging outfit and her brown hair was in a ponytail. Nondescript, yeah, but there was something sexy about her….

As she glared at him, he casually grabbed his badge from the dash and flashed it. “How can I be of service, Ma’am?”

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: Date with a Vampire

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

It was official. Hallie Jenkins had hit the single girl’s rock bottom. Not to be confused with an expanding bottom, a different sort of nightmare. She’d finally let her sister Serena convince her to accept a blind date with a guy “who’d be perfect for if she’d just give him a chance.”

An emphasis on the “give him a chance”. Hallie knew what that meant. She could picture this guy, this Rafael D’arngel, as clearly as if she’d taken his snapshot for one of the company’s calendars. Defying his exotic name, he’d be about five eight, not much hair, made up for it in belly. Either painfully shy or a social mutant who thought everybody appreciated his jokes about politics or quantum physics. I mean, the guy was in computers, and instead of phoning her to arrange the details, he’d sent an email with a detailed itinerary, response requested for approval.

Why, why, why had she done this to herself?

Oh yeah. Serena had agreed to pose as Miss September in the “Babes in Body Armor” calendar, saving Hallie from the unpleasant task of interviewing models yet again when the previous Miss September came up with an unsightly rash. Why did models think they were too good to be Miss September, anyway?

Most of the time Hallie loved her job as the photoshoot coordinator cum assistant artistic director at Kooky Calendars, a small company that created–you guessed it–offbeat calendars, address books, mousepads and the like. Kooky specialized in unique themes and did their own camera work instead of buying stock photography and slapping it on 8×10 glossies.

Not that there was a lot of ready made stock of attractive women wearing chain mail, Kevlar vests and various sections of plate. And that was just the current project. She was also simultaneously working on “Space Pets: The New Breed”, “Men Who Love Cheese,” “This Ain’t Yo Momma’s Momma”, “Landfill Heaven” and…what was that other one Marketing just tossed out…”Gothic House Beautiful.” It was a great job, if a hassle, but she liked to keep busy.

Too busy to date or think about the fact she didn’t have any dates. At least, not until Serena sucker-punched her with Rafael D’arngel. And what a name, anyway. Hallie wasn’t ready to go on this date, not mentally, but she was dressed and her purse lay on the foyer table along with her coat. According to the date itinerary, Rafael was arriving at approximately 7:00 pm, and here it was 6:53. She wasn’t taking any chances of letting this guy loose in her home while she scrabbled under her bed for her other black sandal.

Hallie knocked back a shot of Dutch courage, otherwise known as whiskey, brushing her teeth in case Rafael was a teetotaler and the smell of Jack on her breath offended him. 6:59. Peeking out the three staggered glass windows in her front door, she checked to see if any cars had pulled up while she was in the kitchen. Nothing.

Hallie counted the cash in her purse–enough to catch a cab from downtown plus tip. She checked her teeth in the foyer mirror–no lipstick. The itinerary indicated a meal from 7:20 until 8:45, a movie at the Crispen art theatre from 9:10 until 11:00 and a moonlit drive down the coast until 12:15, at which point they would be arriving at her doorstep, date completed.

7:03, still no unfamiliar cars. Hallie leaned against the door, sighing. The central heat and air clicked on, loud in the otherwise silent house, and in the background she heard the neighbor’s dog bark.

It had been a long week, and she wasn’t as peppy as she used to be. She glanced longingly at the cushy leather sofa in her den, quickly deciding against it.

7:12 pm. Was Rafael the Nerd Standing her up on her very first blind date ever?

No such luck. Making her stomach plummet, the doorbell rang. She exhaled a careful breath to see if she smelled Jack before unlocking her front door.

No nerd stood there. She couldn’t have been more wrong about Rafael D’arngel. On her doorstep stood a tall, swarthy man with a rakish grin who could easily have posed for their “Would You Like Fries With That?” hunk calendar.

“Hallie?” he said, his voice like an aural massage with a slight, Continental accent. “I’m Rafael, your sister’s acquaintance. I apologize for my lateness. We had some unexpected complications with a new project.” He checked his watch, a large silver affair with a raised face. “Our reservations are for….”

“7:20,” she breathed. Bless you, Serena.

“Right-o. Shall we?” He smiled, exposing very white teeth, and anything else she’d been about to foolishly babble, like “Is this a joke?” caught in her throat.

She grabbed her purse and light jacket and Rafael stood back to allow her to exit and lock her door. She smelled something like cologne, but also a little like electricity.

A sleek silver sports car with tinted windows idled behind her Toyota on the street. He opened her door first before walking around the car and sliding into the black leather seats.

“Nice car,” she said as he was pulling away from the curb.

He shrugged. “It suits my purposes.” Something high and tight started whining through the car’s speakers and he quickly adjusted a knob on a black box on the console like a taxi meter.

“What’s that?” she asked. “Old-style radar detector?”

Rafael quirked a sexy black eyebrow. “Not exactly.”

He didn’t say anything else, and neither did she. His eyes were twitching between the busy road and the little black box, no longer making noise but flashing numbers and symbols on a small read-out on the front.

“Is it a taxi meter?” she asked jokingly. “To make sure I pay for my share of the gas?”

Frowning, Rafael adjusted another knob on the small machine’s face. “Certainly not.”

Well, that joke had gone over like a pin-up calendar at a Baptist revival. Though the baby soft bucket seat was the height of luxury, Hallie soon found herself fidgeting when the silence grew oppressive. She’d never been on a blind date before, but she’d been dates back in the day, and only when she or her date had been sulking had there been such a long hush. Surely a man who looked like Rafael wasn’t shy?

“Are you looking forward to the movie,” she asked.

“Of course.” His hands were on the steering wheel in perfect ten and two o’clock position as they followed along behind a black SUV down the coastal highway east of Biloxi.

She nibbled on a nail. “Where are we going to dinner?”

Rafael waited a long moment before finally speaking. Hallie wondered if he had a quota of words and had to figure out the best way not to exceed it. “That’s a surprise.”

Mr. Talkative he was not. Her thrill of Rafael’s gorgeous appearance gave way to the urge to yank out her cellophone and call up her sister for a little talk. Maybe she hadn’t had a date since her break-up with Jonathan Ives–of the Massachusetts Ives–but these painful ten minutes were proving to her there was a great reason for that.

Finally Hallie could stand it no longer. There was no reason to be miserable for a while night, no matter that the guy making her miserable looked like Daniel Day Lewis in LAST OF THE MOHICANS. “Look, if you don’t want to have dinner with me, let’s not.”

“Why would you…” he began before his little magic box started emitting staticky sounds and the read-out flashing in frantic way. Rafael tensed, checking the traffic around them quickly, and pressed harder on the gas pedal.

“If it’s a radar detector, why are you speeding up?” Hallie, staring at the cars around them, noticed a preponderance of black SUVs. Gas guzzlers, she thought. “Isn’t the point to avoid the notice of the cops?”

“It’s not a radar detector.” Rafael swung into the passing lane, jetting around the SUV in front of them. Hallie glanced at the driver, noticing he was wearing dark sunglasses at night, as did his companion, and both of them were staring at her. It was a muggy night, and the windows of the SUV were down. The breeze didn’t ruffle the two men’s gelled hair.

The guy in the passenger’s seat shifted, aiming some kind of weapon that looked like a crossbow straight at her. Or was he aiming it at Rafael?

“That guy has crossbow!” she shrieked, ducking. “What the hell is he doing?”

“Blast!” Cursing, Rafael accelerated even more, weaving in and out of traffic as they drew closer and closer to the center of town. Hallie tried controlling her racing heartbeat. Biloxi was a midsize Mississippi town, nothing like New Orleans, but sometimes the gambling attracted an unsavory element.

Something popped into her window and cracked it but didn’t shatter the glass.

“He shot your car!” Hallie screamed. “Rafael, what the hell?”

“I did not anticipate the Hunters would locate me so soon,” he said. “Please be patient, Miss Jenkins. All will be revealed to you when we reach Sanctuary.”

Hallie had no idea what this guy was talking about, but she was definitely calling Stephanie to come get her as soon as her life was no longer in immediate danger.

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: To Gamble on Love

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Life was a dice roll, and then you crapped out.

Raela lined black cole pencil around her eyes in the mirror with round bulb lights around it, and leaned back to see how it looked. It made her big sparkling blue eyes look like a Siamese cat with the black pencil in points to either side.

Beside her, Bubbles stuffed her silicon-enhanced breasts into a red teddy and painted glitter in her cleavage. She wanted to get men to look at her chest and glitter attracted the eyes. It was an old trick she had told Raela. Raela might be an exotic dancer but she would never turn to surgical enhancements to change her long, volupus body with naturally full breasts. No her employment at the men’s Club was only temporary, until she got enough money to pay for Josh’s Medical bills.

If only Josh’s father had been around to help out with her beloved son but, no, she’d sent him a letter when she found out she was pregnant after she went back to college and he never answered. The bastard had loved her and left her after one amazing summer, one amazing series of hot days and even hotter nights. She’d been fresh out of her freshman year at State College and waiting tables at a bar and he’d swept her off her feet like an old broom.

She should of known it was too good to be true. She should of known he would just leave because she was nobody, Raela Sanders from the wrong side of the tracks while he was one of town’s high society. He was too good to have anything to do with her and her baby so she decided to raise Joshua on her own.

Raela had loved Chase, Josh’s father so much but if he could do that to her he didn’t deserve to know anything about his wonderful child. She quit college and moved to Las Vegas to get a dancing job, she’d always been naturally graceful and a good dancer and it didn’t require a degree. She wasn’t able to finish her English studies because of the baby, but she was working towards her degree here, little by little. One day she’d be respectable and show the world.

But tonight there was a bachelor party in the champagne room, her, Bubbles and Susie were going to entertain the party animals. She wondered who the guy was that wasn’t scared to commit to a future with a woman and get married. He must not be anything like Chase who had left her pregnant and destitute. She knew in her heart of hearts Chase Garrison-Smythe would never get married and his older brother Peter would carry on the family name while he ran the family business. He had no idea that he even had a family, already, one he just didn’t want.

Raela hated the private parties. The alcohol crazed partiers competed to see who could get the most outrageous. The guys technically weren’t allowed to touch the dancers, not even for a lot of money, but other girls let them to get better tips.

Not Raela. Only one man had ever touched her and she’d keep it that way forever.

# # #

Chase straightened the collar of his monkey suit. He wished he’d never agreed to fly with his old college buds to Las Vegas for his bachelor party. He really wished they hadn’t talked him into coming to one of the hottest strip clubs in town. Misty wouldn’t like it, and if Misty didn’t like it, she’d make him totally miserable about it.

Hell, when it come right down to it he wished he wasn’t getting married, but with Peter’s death it was up to him to carry on the family name and have the little grandkids his family was always going on about. The thought of his brother made Chase hate where he was and what he was doing even more. Peter would never have stooped this low. Peter wouldn’t have gotten married to somebody like Misty, either, but his cranky grandfather, the company CEO, had given him a deadline before he gave the reins to their cousin Beauregard the scumbag.

He couldn’t let that happen. So he’d suffer through these low-class dancer routines and pretend to enjoy himself before returning to Boston to marry Misty and make his family happy. Didn’t matter if he was happy. He’d been so busy making himself happy that what had happened to Peter had…happened.

Hell, man, it was the eve of his wedding nearly, he shouldn’t be thinking about that! Maybe he should get good and drunk. He held up his hand for the waitress and ordered a whiskey on the rocks with a shooter of whiskey off the rocks.

Then the dancers strutted into their room that was off in the back of the big strip club with its own little private stage and, of course, a pole.

“Yeah baby!” yelled his friend Bruce when a blonde with amazingly blue eyes shook back her hair and struck a teacher’s ruler against her palm. She had on a tight white blouse with straining buttons and a tiny black skirt.

“Where’s the bad boy who needs a lesson?” she asked. All his drunk friends pointed at him, and Chase waved. “Here, baby.”

Their eyes locked and something washed over Chase like a sledgehammer of deja vu.

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: A Cowboy’s Bride

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

The sun rose like an egg in the middle of a vast blue frying pan, and Deke knew he was in for another hot one. The beginning of heat miraged across the horizon, giving the tall grasses covering the rolling prairie hills a hazy appearance. Looked like water, but the fact was, in this part of Kansas territory, at this time of year, the air was dryer than a potato sack and almost as scratchy.

No place for a woman. Hell, it might not be a place for man or beast, but he wasn’t ready to pawn his saddle just yet.

The herd clustered around the mostly dry creek bed that was a tributary, on a wet day, to the Kansas River that flowed near to the town of Manhattan. His jackass brother Caleb ran a traveler’s store there, overcharging railroad passengers and settlers or miners headed west. And his other brother, Matt, had taken off for parts unknown as soon as he’d turned sixteen. But Deke had remained on the ranch their father and his brothers had settled years ago–before Manhattan had been more than a dusty, low spot in the prairie frequented by buffalo and Indians.

Both pretty much gone now, which was how most of the residents around these parts liked it.

Deke doffed his hat and swiped his forearm across his brow, then waved at the cowboys down next to the herd. He liked to come out early and check on the boys and the cows alike. As current foreman of his father’s ranch, he did his fair share of the work. There was too much work to do for anybody to be slacking off, much less an able bodied man like himself.

His dad was no longer able bodied, which didn’t make him any less of a cuss.

Today, however, there was a different task on Deke’s schedule, thanks to dear old Dad, one that was a lot more difficult than roping a wild longhorn, riding a bronco, or wrassling a calf to the ground on branding day.

It was more confusing than tallying a year’s worth of receipts.

And it was more annoying than chasing a polecat out from under the barn.

Today, he had to clean himself up, hitch up a buggy, and get his cowpoke ass into town to get married.

***

Peering into the polished oval of metal that passed for a mirror in the safest-looking boardinghouse she’d been able to afford in Manhattan, Kansas, Wilhemenia Jane Cartwright adjusted the tight blue bodice of her stylish gown and tipped her hat, complete with two ostrich feathers, a bit further forward. Her mother would have said that only strumpets wore their hats down this low on their foreheads, so that the feather bounced forward and almost caressed their cheeks, but her mother had been dead three years this past spring.

Which had been the beginning of the end, as far as Willie was concerned. Though blessed with their mother’s beauty and some skill with the needle, Willie had been too young and inexperienced to maintain the family millinery and dressmaking business in Boston when Mama passed and had eventually been forced to sell.

When that money ran out, what little there was of it, Willie did what she’d never thought she’d have to do: sell herself. But not to the highest bidder. Willie had contracted with a company providing mail order brides for respectable Christian ranchers out West, and after exchanging several letters with one Deke Zachariah Calhoun, had agreed to become his bride.

And that was why she was here in this sterile boarding house in Manhattan, Kansas, dressed in the starchy remnants of a once-thriving dressmaking business, with butterflies in her stomach and ostrich feathers dancing against her cheek.

A knock on the door interrupted her ruminations. “You ready in there, Miss?” called out the house matron.

Willie’s stomach did a double flop, and she opened the door a crack. The round, puffed up bosom of the house matron met her eye, and she hastily lifted her gaze to the woman’s square face. She had never met a woman so tall as Frau Gunter, whose forbidding appearance and large biceps discouraged any unseemliness in her tenants.

“He’s here,” the woman said with a sniff. “Best you get on downstairs. The preacher can’t wait around for you all day.”

“What…” Willie’s dry throat closed. “What does he look like? Does he seem like a nice man?”

“Everybody in these parts knows Deke Calhoun isn’t what you’d call a nice man,” the woman said. “Takes after his papa. The man is as hard as nails and twice as rusty.”

“I see.” Willie pressed a hand to her stomach, as if that would calm the butterflies. He wasn’t a nice man? He’d seemed nice enough in his letters, though his spelling and penmanship had left something to be desired. “What would make a man like that want to take a wife?”

“What makes any man want a wife? Someone to cook and keep house for him, I expect, and look after the old man.”

He’d mentioned his father in his letters, but not that the man needed “looking after”. Willie definitely had experience in that, gained during her mother’s wasting illness, even if she might have exaggerated her abilities in the kitchen in her letters to Mr. Calhoun. And her abilities in the household. No, pretty much all Willie could do was sew a fine seam, advise women on what hats would flatter their features, and discuss literature and poetry.

“Surely some local girl…” Willie said. Or would no fathers in these parts allow their beloved daughters to be married to this hard as nails man? Oh, what had she gotten herself into now!

“Now, don’t you fret.” The frau nodded her chin decisively. “The Triple C is a good ranch, with water rights and fine access to the railroads. A woman could do worse.”

Willie managed to answer, “I suppose I’ll find out for myself.”

It was too late to back out, after all. She had nothing to return to.

Frau Gunter’s broad face fell into a neutral expression as Willie gathered her few things. Her trunks were already downstairs, awaiting delivery to the Triple C, and she had a portmanteau for her personal effects with her.

Frau Gunter cleared her throat. “This is a respectable boardinghouse,” she began, “and I don’t often have rooms to let. But if things don’t work out between you and Mr. Calhoun, if he doesn’t treat you well, we do have openings sometimes. And I could always use a hand in the kitchen.”

“Thank you, Frau Gunter. I won’t forget that.” Willie suppressed a sudden urge to hug the stolid woman and hoped the burning behind her eyes and the tight feeling in her throat would ebb before she met her future husband for the first time.

She gathered her things as the matron watched and breathed deeply. Her mother had always dreamed of Willie’s perfect wedding and obviously the perfect wedding dress and trousseau, but she’d never gotten around to telling her what happened after the big day, between a man and a woman. She’d always said Willie’s husband would explain it all when the time came.

If only she’d been able to find a man to marry in Boston before it had come to this! But a down on her luck heir to a struggling dressmaker’s shop who spent all her time sewing, begging her seamstresses not to quit, begging her customers not to defect–and to pay their bills–and begging her creditors for one more month to set things to right–that girl hadn’t been an attractive bride to the socially conscious young men of Boston’s middle class.

She hadn’t stooped to begging any of her former beaus to court her, but advertising herself as a mail order bride was bad enough.

Willie hooked her arm through the handles of her portmanteau and follow the frau through the narrow corridor of the second floor of the boarding house. The heels of their shoes clacked on the clean, worn boards. A female head popped out of one room, her red hair in disarray, and just as quickly disappeared.

Instead of using the rough staircase that led to the kitchen and back dining room, where the residents of the boardinghouse took their meals, Frau Gunter led Willie down the front stairs that descended into the foyer off the parlor where presumably Mr. Calhoun and the preacher waited. Willie held her breath until she began to grow dizzy.

***

© 2008 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: Headhopping POV

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular is for edumacation about POV headhopping and is, in addition, a loving parody of a certain very successful romance author.)

“I quit.” Detective Eva Texas slammed her badge down on the Chief Bibble’s desk. She wouldn’t be accused of sleeping with the murder suspect in her recent investigation lying down. Doarke might be tall, dark, and dangerous, but she wasn’t screwing him.

Just screwing with him. Until he admitted he’d killed that woman. He’d learn not to mess with Texas.

“You can’t quit,” Bibble growled.

“Can too.”

She couldn’t stand men who thought they could order her around. Reminded her of her father, or what she could remember of her father. Cold chills raced up her spine. She glared. Asserted herself. It was a dog eat dog world, and she wasn’t about to be a Scooby Snack.

Bibble sighed and ran his hands through his hair at Texas’s stubbornness. She was the best detective on staff and they couldn’t afford to lose her, but the obvious attraction the buxom, athletic woman had displayed at the charity fundraiser when she confronted Doarke about his whereabouts the night of the murder hadn’t gone unnoticed. Word on the street was they’d been spotted kissing in the cloak room. Put a new spin on questioning the suspect.

He couldn’t have his best detective thinking through her pants. But he couldn’t have her quit just because Doarke got under her skin in a way he’d never seen a man do before, either.

Just then a knock sounded on the door. His secretary, Peahen, was the only one brave enough to interrupt him when he was having yet another quitting match with Texas.

“Chief?” her voice called out. “There’s someone here to see you.”

Peahen peeked in the room; Eva and Bibble’s heads whipped around to shoot lasers at her with their angry eyes. She tried not to wince. She hadn’t wanted to interrupt the tense meeting, but the man in the waiting area insisted. He looked like the type who was used to getting what he wanted. She was accustomed to demanding men in this office. Only Eva ever showed her a modicum of respect, woman to woman.

She cleared her throat nervously. “He says his name is Doarke.”

What was he doing here? Turning himself in? She hadn’t expected to see him again so soon, at least not on this side of a surveillance camera. Eva felt a blast of annoyance and something darker, lustier, punched her in the gut when her suspect strolled through the door, every dark hair in perfect array. His suit must run upwards of two thousand dollars, and he wore it like it was dungarees. Cheap. Almost beneath him.

Like he made her feel. Damn the man! He was ladykiller if she ever saw one.

“Am I interrupting?” Doarke raised his eyebrow sarcastically; he knew he was. He liked to catch people off-guard. It helped get past the bullshit quicker. His gaze scanned the room and then landed on Texas’s tits like a homing beacon.

Her chest rose and fell impressively. Everything was bigger on Texas. But she was pissed. Not excited. Not glad to see somebody with as dark a past as he had. Hell, she thought he killed that hooker. Why couldn’t he forget her?

Maybe because she kept showing up everywhere he went. And he was going to put a stop to it. Here. Now.

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: Deep Third POV

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for a POV workshop.)

Sample 1: Shallow POV

It had been a long, hard ten hours working the day shift, and Estelle was tired.  Her last customer sat in the far booth, and Ditty, the hostess, told her, “He wants coffee, hon, and he said make it fast.”

That annoyed Estelle.  She poured the dregs of the coffee pot into a clean mug.  It wasn’t enough to fill it.  She cut it with decaf and headed towards the table.  The guy sat with his back to her so she couldn’t see if she knew him.

Right when she got close, Estelle tripped over the waffle some kid had thrown in the floor.  The hot coffee balanced on her tray spilled in her customer’s lap.

He jumped up.  “Ouch!” he yelled in pain.

“I’m so sorry!”  Estelle couldn’t meet his eyes.  She hoped her manager hadn’t seen because he might fire her.  All she could tell was that he was tall and had a wet crotch.

“No problem, could have happened to….”  His voice broke off.  “Estelle, is that you?  What are you doing working at Waffle Barn?”

Sample 2: Deep POV

Estelle studied the back of her last customer’s head with something akin to hatred.  Ronnie’d promised she could go home by three, and here it was, nearly seven, and the dinner crowd packed into the Waffle Barn like it was the only restaurant in the county.  Her feet throbbed like a horse had tromped them.  Exhaustion blurred her vision for a minute, or maybe it was these ugly glasses she’d had to wear since her last pair of contacts ripped.

“Earth to Estelle.”  Ditty waved a hand in front of her face.  “I seated your last ticket.  He wants coffee, hon, and he said make it fast.”

“Make it fast, huh?  Who do you think’s waiting on him, the President?”

Ditty laughed that smoky laugh of hers, followed by the cough that always made Estelle worry she was going to hack up a lung.  Estelle wiped her hands down her stained apron and grabbed a clean mug off the counter.  She poured the dregs of the coffee pot into it, but there wasn’t enough.  Crap.  She eyed the decaf, decided what Mr. Make It Fast didn’t know would probably be good for him, and topped it off.

Each footstep a jolt of agony, Estelle wove around the other diners and waitresses.  Her customer had his nose buried in a newspaper.  Neatly cropped blonde hair didn’t come close to touching the collar of his dress shirt.  Briefcase on the table.  He wasn’t anybody local, that was for sure.  Probably some kind of engineer at the new aeronautics plant.

A crowd of truckers who came in every Tuesday rose from the table next to her customer.

“Hey, sugar, I liked that pie,” one of them said.  She smiled and avoided his ass-grab with a practiced hop that didn’t even cause the cup of coffee on her tray to ripple.

Unfortunately, she landed right on a discarded waffle some kid had tossed in the floor.  She slipped and the hot coffee slid off the tray, right into her customer’s lap.

He jumped up like–hell, like somebody’d poured hot coffee in his lap.  “What the hell?”

Oh, God.  Oh, no.  She was going to get fired.  Fired and sued.  She fixated on his crotch, a place she didn’t normally stare.  Coffee splatted across his khaki pants in what had to be burning agony.  Burning agony of the dingus.

“I’m so sorry!” she babbled.  “It’s on me.  I mean, it’s on you, but I’ll pay, I mean–“

No problem, could have happened to….”  His voice broke off.  “Estelle, is that you?  What are you doing working at Waffle Barn?”

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: POV Glitches

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these or others as a sample in a judge training workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular is for edumacation re: POV glitches.)

“You’re late, sirrah.  The appointment was for half past tea.”  Lady Candee Bellbottom, spinster, virgin, and third daughter of the Duke of Earl, licked her full, lush lips and stared at the man on her doorstep.  His greatcoat draped in dark folds about his tall form, and his face under a black top hat was dark against the gas lights recently installed on the square.  The cry of a flower seller and the clip clop of hooves echoed up and down the deserted street as the nightly fog of London concealed everything further away than the sidewalk.

The man was taken aback at her words.  In a voice rusted from disuse, he said, “I could not arrive until after dark.”

Candee was annoyed.  She had long guinea blonde curls her maid had arranged on her shoulders and tossed them back.  Combined with her wide set blue eyes, many said she looked like an angel.  She squinted, trying to make out his features, frustrated she could see nothing.

She knew that if he was hideous, it would not do at all.

Glancing up and down the square, a frown on her delicate features, Candee nervously ensured none of her neighbors could see a man enter her maiden household at this time of night.  In those times, it would have stained a single woman with scandal if caught alone with a man.

Unbeknownst to Candee, fog obscured the eyes peering at her through curtains next door.

The man frowned at her.  His dark brows drew together, displeased she made him wait on the stoop like a pigeon, and he straightened his broad shoulders in impatience.  “Are you going to invite me in, Miss Bellbottom?”

“That’s Lady Bellbottom to you,” she sniffed, insulted, and stood back for him to enter.

As he swept past her the candles in the hallway flickered.  A cold, premonitory chill raced up her spine.  Was this even the man she’d ordered from the special service for ladies with certain…desires?  She’d heard whispers of a killer on the loose, someone named John or Jack, but in her preoccupation with her hobby she had little interest in the day to day affairs of London.  She had no knowledge of the horrors Jack the Ripper was inflicting on London’s female populace and the fear that struck hearts at the mere mention of his name.

Well, there was nothing for it.  She’d sent all her servants away on holiday.  He was here, and this was her one chance.  Her once chance to change her life.

“We have a lot of work to do.”  She pointed to the drawing room where she’d arranged the oil lamps and exotic artifacts.  She thought it looked decadent.

The man removed his top hat to reveal shiny dark healthy recently washed curls.  And his face — the perfection of his features stunned her with its dramatic angles and dark Italian gaze.  He was clean, as she’d requested.

“Go in there and disrobe,” she said, disgusted she had to tell him how to do his job.

Amazed, he said, “Beg pardon?  Disrobe?  I’m applying for the position of night butler.”

Just then a knock sounded on the door.  The neighbors!  Candee was terrified.  Her hand pressed in fear against her slight bosom.  “You must hide under the settee!” she exclaimed, knowing that there was no time to burn her sketches of nude men, her preparations for her art masterpiece that would one day stun the world.  Behind her, he took off his greatcoat and revealed an old fashioned suit and lace cuffs.  Candee’s attention was fixed on the door.  Having the nosy Countess of Quinn discover the charcoals would be bad enough, but if found alone with a man in this day and age, she’d be forced to marry him.

To make matters worse, Candee realized, he aspired to be naught but a night butler!  She was in agony and uncertain which way to turn.  Again the door rattled under the onslaught…..

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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Scary Writing Samples: My Lord Spy

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Jonathan Harcourt, eighth Marquis of Lytton, crossed his gleaming black Hessian over his knee and leaned back in the Queen Elizabeth chair, albeit carefully, for fear of breaking the delicate wood. “Really, Mama,” he drawled out, flicking closed his elegant snuffbox which he’d decided not to use. “Surely it’s not as bad as all that.”

“The family fortunes are ruined!” His mother, an attractive widow of three years, pressed a rosewatered hankie to her brow and adopted a posture. She was fond of posturing. She and her hen cronies had hired an actor to teach them to posture just…so. It was all the rage.

His mother was also quite fond of declaring the family, or its fortunes, or both, ruined in some way, shape or form. And next, thought Jonathan wearily, comes the accusation.

“You simply must marry this Season, and marry rich. You have fribbled away our money in a gaming hell!” His mother pressed her hankie to her lips, as if to wipe away the word “hell”. It surely wasn’t the word “marry”, because she used it on a regular basis. Especially with regards to him.

“Must I?” he asked plaintively. He reached for one of her bonbons, but she smacked his hand with her damp hankie before continuing.

“My children are determined to send me to an early grave,” the Marchioness insisted. She set the hankie on the table and took up the bonbon, which she popped daintily into her mouth. Jonathan waited patiently because he knew she wasn’t finished with him and had no desire to leave until she was finished. Well, that was a lie; he had quite a desire to leave, but the consequences of abruptly departing amidst his mother’s marital spiel would be disastrous. The last time he’d angered her so, she’d inveigled him to a houseparty simply full of simpering, marriageable misses.

He had yet to get the cloyingly vapid taste of ingénue and ratafia out of his mouth, and it had been months.

“Mama, surely Theodore and Gervaise have been behaving themselves. Have you a letter from them that hints otherwise?” he asked hopefully. There were four Lyttons, only one girl. The Lightfoot Lyttons, they were called in the ton, as all three men were eligible, handsome and possessed of an uncanny ability to lightfoot their way out of the marriage noose.

At least, so far. Teddy and Gervaise were on a Grand Tour of the continent, having tired of their mother’s matchmaking and left him, the eldest, to bear the brunt of it.

“No, they’re quite fine.”

Jonathan tapped his chin with a long, elegant finger. What could be stirring his mother so? Was this her normal pre-Season nag or something quite different?

“Is it Fredericka?” he pondered. “Has she done something?” The youngest Lytton, likely to be billed a diamond of the first water, which would only go to her head, was anticipating her first Season and was the worst behaved. She was aided and abetted by their neighbors, Andrew and Anna Armsford. Anna would be partaking of the Season as well, but couldn’t recall if it was her first, or third, or what. Though she was fetching, he preferred lush widows or actresses who knew what was what. The only noteworthy thing about the bookish gel was she was as troublesome as Fredericka; he cursed the day the Armsfords birthed a girl so close in age to his sister, making them natural companions.

As for Andrew Armsford, Jonathan had already warned the pup not to sniff around Fredericka’s person, or dowry, with a bout of fisticuffs he doubted the young man would forget.

“Fredericka and Anna are being fitted for gowns upstairs, they have done nothing of recent. My concern, dear boy is you.” Mama paused and her face crumpled up like a discarded copy of the Town Tittle-Tattle, a waggish society gossip rag no one knew who authored but anyone who was anyone memorized each Tuesday by two of the afternoon. “Surely you don’t mean to deny me the pitter patter of little Lytton feet at Harcourt Hall? One day soon I’ll follow your father’s footsteps, may he rest in peace.”

“Father was fifteen years older than you and a drunk beside,” Jonathan pointed out languidly. “You’re not about to pop off anytime soon.”

“Then what about the money you lost? I had it from Emily Cowper herself. Will we be forced to sell the family jewels?” Mama placed a fine white hand to her throat, another posture, and gasped theatrically.

“No.” Jonathan ground his teeth. The Almanacs patroness was one of his mother’s bosom buddies and a bad influence, if you asked him. Which no one did, as most of the ton considered him the bad influence. Half his reputation was pure tittle-tattle and the other half —

let’s just say he led an interesting life. It amused him to think not even the most inquisitive gossips of the ton realized just how interesting his life truly was.

“Will you think seriously of seeking a bride this Season, dear Jonathan? You’re thirty years old and should be setting up your nursery. Lady Rothfield’s son just married and already has a grandchild on the way.”

Jonathan forbore from pointing out to his mother that the incipient grandchild was why his friend Charles Rothfield, Earl of Stratton, had married in the first place, though he seemed happy enough. Certainly his wife Dierdre was a fine woman. In fact, last season Jonathan made a half-hearted play for Dierdre and had only half-pretended to be broken-hearted when Charles had spirited her away to Gretna Green for a hasty wedding after her seedy father tried to have her offed so he could use her dowry to repay his gambling debts. The Town Tittle-Tattle, of course, had gotten the whole thing wrong and blamed him for the hasty wedding.

“Mama,” he averred, as he did every year, “I will keep my eyes open. You may count on my attendance with you at Almanacs precisely three times, and I will attend the theatre regularly.” Especially since his current mistress, the exotic La Flower, worked there.

“But what about the money,” his mother persisted. “Will there be enough for Gunter’s to cater ices at the ball? The Lytton ball has always been the traditional Season opener, and one can’t have a proper ball without Gunter’s ices.”

Ah, so that was what she was getting at. “Mama, you have cart blanche to order whatever ice you wish,” he practically whimpered, hiding a wince at what this was going to cost him. He could afford it, though not as plump in the pocket as his friend Duke Havensley. “Flowers, too. And musicians.”

Every year it was the same thing. He almost wished he were on the Grand Tour with his brothers. But there was no telling what mischief Fredericka, the Armitage gel, and his mother would get up to without a level head to offset the damage.

Considering he’d just received a missive from the General regarding a matter of state security, he’d be lucky to attend the painfully dull Almanacs Assembly the three times he promised his mother.

The next several months, he’d be seeking entirely different prey than the colorless debutantes who populated the ton.

# # #

“Anna, you can’t wear that dress to my comeout ball,” gasped Fredericka, her eyes widening in shock. “It’s…it’s too colorful.”

Anna twirled, admiring her reflection the cheval mirror. The dark red gown with its gauzy red overdrape suited her dark looks perfectly. It was high time she escaped the whites and pastels that ummarried girls in their first Season were forced to wear.

“This is my third Season,” she pointed out. “There won’t be a fourth. Think of this as my last hurrah.”

“It might be your last invitation if you show up in that dress,” Fredericka said. Her gown was blue and white satin, which perfectly matched the famous Lytton blonde looks, yet with eyes a dark, midnight blue. On Fredericka and her mother, it made them appear as dolls, while on Fredericka’s brother Jonathan, the Marquis, the guinea gold hair and dark eyes made him appear to be the very devil. Gervaise and Teddy had taken after their father, with auburn hair and stockier frames, though none the less attractive for all that.

“I’ll weather the storm,” Anna promised. “You’ll see.” What she didn’t say was, it might also be her last chance to get Jonathan to notice her. She knew what kind of women he made his mistress–she hadn’t perfected the art of eavesdropping because it was considered a genteel accomplishment–and this year?

She was going to be that woman.

***

© 2005 Jody Wallace

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