One of the downsides to being a slower writer is that BIG EXCITING NEWS only happens in sporadic spurts. So a couple months into this Patreon journey, I have no idea what to share with you all. Staying silent of course isn't an option—it wouldn't be at all fair of me. As a result, I'm going to do something terrifying.
What, you ask? Well, I'm going to share the opening of my WIP. This is different, however, from when I shared the opening chapters of Fallen. How's that? Because this is the completely raw, unedited first draft that no one has ever seen (aside from me, obviously).
See with Fallen, by the time I posted early chapters here, they'd already gone through multiple rounds of revisions, been read by critique partners, and even been sent in as part of a fellowship application. They weren't perfect, but they were far from raw.
This time, I'll be cleaning up the draft to get rid of things like strike-through portions, but that's it. You'll notice that not all the characters even have names yet. There's no guarantee that this scene will make it into the published version of this story—or that there will even be a published version, since the draft isn't complete. Still, your feedback is very welcome!
I have talked about this story (working title "Summer Seduction") before, so for a refresher, click here.
Okay, ready? (I'm not, but...) Here we go:
Taralynn Harwood breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped out of the stuffy event room. After an intensive Q&A and signing over fifty autographs, the cool quiet of the hotel lobby was like finding freedom. As much as she loved her fans, engaging with an endless stream of strangers was still, in a word, exhausting. Thank goodness for NAME1, her kickass assistant who’d handle all the wrap-up from the signing. Which meant Taralynn could grab a well-deserved cocktail.
The strappy stilettos she wore to every signing clacked on the polished lobby floor as she strode over to the dimly lit hotel lounge. By the time the bartender slid her pear martini onto the reflective black bar, Tracy had almost entirely shed the constrictive second skin of her alter ego. If you didn’t count the glammed-up outfit, that was.
She pulled out her phone to check any missed notifications, skimming through tagged photos from the signing—already up online—as she lifted the chilled glass to her lips. The martini was the perfect balm after the hours spent socializing. Taralynn might be all about the bawdy jokes, double entendres, and candid conversations about sex, but Tracy preferred the invisibility of sitting in a quiet bar. Splurging on a delicious drink after a book signing had become her little tradition, ever since there’d been no one to celebrate with after her first one. One of the trade-offs of being an erotic romance author.
Tracy regrammed a particularly fun shot of Taralynn with a group of readers who’d come decked out in some (fairly mild) BDSM accoutrements, then turned her phone over. She leaned back in the bar stool and sipped the perfectly balanced drink, her eyes shutting in pleasure as the hint of pear washed over her taste buds. Sometimes, it really was the little things.
“You make that look,” said a male voice to her left, “like the most amazing drink ever.”
And just like that, Taralynn was back. Yes, she had male readers, too, which meant tonight, everyone was only meeting Taralynn, just in case. She swallowed nonchalantly, opened her eyes, and gently lowered the martini glass to the bar, all while curving her lips up in a sultry smile. “Let’s just say it hit the spot.”
The man who’d spoken sat a couple barstools away, the collar to his button-down shirt flipped open above a loosened tie. So maybe he was at the hotel for a business thing, not her “Tantalized by Taralynn” event. He was cute, if nondescript, at least in the muted lighting. Brown hair, just long enough to run her fingers through, clean-shaven, eyes of an uncertain color, a flawlessly straight nose. Forgettable, if not for the slightly protruding ears, the lovely cushions of his lips, and the intense—almost predatory—gaze.
“I’d love to buy you another,” he said, fingers fanning toward her drink.
“A bit premature, don’t you think?”
His eyes dipped to her lips, then lower, to her artificially pushed-up bust, before meeting her gaze again. “G-d forbid,” he said, a new hoarseness underlying his voice. Was that a blush caressing his cheeks, or a trick of the lighting?
He shifted in his seat, revealing a tumbler with the remnants of a dark drink that he promptly drained. “I’ve, uh.” He cut himself off, shaking his head at the now empty glass before setting it aside. “I’ve read almost all of your books. Those I could find.”
Ah. That sounded like her cue to finish her drink, sign another book—or napkin, or whatever—and head home. “Then I certainly hope you enjoyed them.”
Okay so tell me: what do you think??