Sunday, July 31, 2011

Clash Of The Titles - The Champion Announced!

guest post by April W Gardner

Clash of the Titles is proud to announce that author Marianne Evans with her novel, Hearts Crossing, is our newest champion!

About the book: 
Collin Edwards, a former parishioner at Woodland Church, has renounced God without apology, his faith drained away in the face of a tragic loss.

Daveny Montgomery cares deeply about her relationship with God, and the community of Woodland. Lately though, she's been in a rut, longing for something to reignite her spiritual enthusiasm.

A beautification project at Woodland seems the answer for them both. Daveny spearheads the effort and Collin assists, but only with the renovations, and only because he wants to know Daveny better. Despite his deepening feelings for her, even stepping into the common areas of the church stirs tension and anger.

Can Daveny trust in Collin’s fledgling return to faith? And can Collin ever accept the fact that while he turned his back on God, God never turned his back on him?

Marianne competed with the 
Adam and Andrea Graham, and their YA book Tales of the Dim Knight.

What readers said:
  • I'm amazed--can't wait to read more!
  • These books have very different plots and backgrounds, but both sound as though they are great books. Congratulations to the writers.
  • Both were so well done and packed with emotion. This just keeps getting harder and harder!
A glimpse at Marianne's winning excerpt:

Officer Lance Edwards banged hard on the front door of the home. A cacophony of sound increased. “Saint Clair Shores PD. Open up.” Seated in the squad car, Collin Edwards watched his brother cast a quick glance back at the squad car then up and down the street.
Lance trotted back to the vehicle, opening the door. “I'm calling for back up.” He was laser focused. “Stay where you are, and keep alert.”
“Yeah. Got it.” Collin frowned as Lance barked into the car radio and activated the roof top light bars. He left the car to return to the front door.
This time the door was yanked open. A hulking, angry man filled the entrance.
“Step outside, sir.” Lance rested a hand against the butt of his gun.

About her Clash Marianne said:

It has been an honor to "clash" with such a worthy opponent! :-) I love Clash of the Titles.

Next week, April Gardner hosts a special "Author's Choice" Clash. Anything goes with this one--authors chose their favorite excerpts from their own works to submit, and we narrowed it down to the top two for readers to vote on. Spread the word!

-April W Gardner is the Sr. Editor at Clash of the Titles 
and author of Wounded Spirits.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Style Sheets, A Writer's Best Friend

My Actual Manuscript - Eeek!
When I was first writing, I heard from a fellow author about the Style Sheets that editors use when going over manuscripts. Editors use style sheets to maintain consistency. For example, spelling of names.  

What I've found though, is that a "Fiction Project Style Sheet" is very helpful in keeping track of things while I am writing. This is an especially helpful  tool for you "Pantsers" out there who rarely have extensive notes beforehand.

This can also be particularly useful to the science fiction or fantasy author who often use made up spellings for people and places. As a suspense author, I use them to keep track of red herrings and misdirection in my plots. Here is a simple one I made for 1st draft revisions.

The way a style sheet is usually set up is by dividing a few pieces of paper into 8 boxes. I like to do this on a word document, but drawing it out on notebook paper seems to work for my friend. Editors have a lot more on their style sheet, but I use an simplified version for writing.

You will label the boxes with things like: Characters, Dates, Time Spans, Places... That way there is consistency throughout your entire manuscript.  

A style sheet will help you catch things like starting a conversation in the morning and then describing the glorious night as your character walks home.  (Yes, I've done that.) 

Or for example, you say a certain person died two years ago (time span box) but then you write that its the first anniversary of her'll catch it.

Also, for anyone that writes military thrillers, details like rank, type of weapon, and specialized equipment can be hard to juggle so make a box for those types of things.

I like to have a miscellaneous box for things like character quirks. Not only do I keep them straight, but while revising, I realize that they may have stopped with a distinctive trait halfway through. Because the style sheet helped me catch it, I know to add it in.

I include a box for romantic interaction so that I can list how the hero and heroine begin to get closer and if I am escalating the tension, physical proximity, etc.

For thriller writers, a box for the ways your killer is devolving may be helpful in pointing your protagonist to clues.

Punctuation is a very important one here. Decide if you will use ellipses or an em dash, whether or not you use Ms. or Miss, that sort of thing.  Do you spell out your chapter numbers or use a numeral?

Style sheets can be a really helpful reference guide when revising your own work or to give to a critique partner when asking for edits. They're fairly easy to make.

What are your revising tricks? If you have tip or method that makes your life easier, then let me know.  Until next time...Go Write!

Photographs by: Laurel RusswurmrestlessglobetrotterMild Mannered Photographer.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Anniversary and Contest Winner!

I started blogging three years ago this month! I can't believe how much I've learned from all of you during that time. I think my first post was basically a picture of my kids and like..."We went here for the summer." 

Yeah, I had no clue.

But thanks to all of you and your blogfests, contests, awesome posts on craft and the industry...I've come to not only enjoy blogging, but have made friends with many of you.

From celebrating a positive reply to a query to feeling your pain when we get a "No," its been so lovely to connect with other authors and lovers of the written word.

I'm looking forward to the coming year and can't wait to see what all of you do with it!

Until next time...Go Write!

Congratulations to Gail M. Baugniet! You have won the Detective's Surveillance Kit Giveaway!

Prizes include; goodies to eat and drink during your "stake out," an Amazon gift card, a cool gadget from and copy of Purple Knot!

Thank you all for entering and for being so supportive with your blog posts, Tweets, and "likes" for my book!

Photograph by Squeaky Marmot.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clash Of The Titles - Gut Wrenching Scenes

Guest post by Michelle Massaro, Asst Editor for Clash of the Titles

This week COTT is focusing on gut-wrenching passages, which are some of my favorites! So it got me wondering, why do we so enjoy reading those scenes that tear our hearts out and end with an empty box of tissues?
Most of us already know about stress hormones and how they build up in the body, causing all kinds of problems. According to one article I read, emotionally-induced tears contain protein-based hormones as well as leucine enkephalin, a natural painkiller. So "a good cry" flushes all those stress hormones out of our system.

Well, the science is all fine and dandy but I still wanted some experiental answers. Here's what some of you had to say:

Diana Prusik: Tears are cathartic. There's nothing like a good cry during a touching scene . . except for a good cry followed by laughter. (Think Sally Fields' stellar graveside scene in Steel Magnolias. Poor Ouiser!) Something about reading or watching a scene like that feels emotionally cleansing.

Brian Heffron agrees: Catharsis
Barbara Robinson: Because a book has to touch us emotionally or it's nothing to us. It must evoke reader emotions. If I don't feel anything when I read a book, the book is not any good, and I wouldn't finish it.

Christine Lindsay: I think we need to cry as much as we need to smile and laugh. Although when we cry, it's because we are always reaching out for hope. That this sad situation will not remain, but that the sun will shine again. It's about hope.

Jessica Patch: God designed us to connect with others. The bible says rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. We're built to care. We want to. Real life or fiction, we're drawn to it and good writing makes us feel like it's real even when it's not.

Those are some great answers! What about you? Why do you love those gut-wrenching scenes? (Or if not, why don't you care for them?)

~ Connect with Michelle at her blog, Adventures In Writing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Madame Bovary's Daughter

Today I have a guest post from author Linda Urbach. Her novel, Madame Bovary's Daughter, is receiving rave reviews and I wanted to have her tell us about her process.

The research and writing process of writing Madame Bovary’s Daughter.

When I encountered the novel Madame Bovary for the first time in my early twenties thought: how sad, how tragic. Poor, poor Emma Bovary. Her husband was a bore, she was desperately in love with another man (make that two men), and she
craved another life, one that she could never afford (I perhaps saw a parallel to my own life here). Finally, tragically, she committed suicide. It took her almost a week of agony to die from the arsenic she’d ingested.

But twenty- five years later and as the mother of a very cherished daughter, I reread Madame Bovary. And now I had a different take altogether: What was this woman thinking? What kind of wife would repeatedly cheat on her hardworking husband
and spend all her family’s money on a lavish wardrobe for herself and gifts for her man of the moment; most important of all, what kind of mother was she?

It was almost as if she (Berthe Bovary) came to me in the middle of the night and said, “please tell my story.” This is the first historical fiction I’ve ever written so research played a big part.  My first two novels were al all about me but my life had gotten very boring which is why I turned to historical fiction. I used the Internet almost extensively. I found sites where I could walk through Parisian mansions of the times. Sites that not only showed what women wore but also gave instructions on how to create the gowns that were popular.  I bought this great book, Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management which gives you details of absolutely everything you need to know about the running of a house in the 1850’s.  You want to serve a 12-course dinner, she’ll tell you how. She’ll also tell you how many servants you need and how many pounds of paté you need to order.

The thing about research is you have to be careful not to let research get in the way of the writing. I tended to get so interested and involved in reading about the Victorian times and France in the 1850’s I would find the whole day had gone by and I hadn’t written a word. So the important thing for me is making sure I’ve got the story going forward. That’s the work part. The fun part is then filling in the historic details.  It’s like I have to finish my dinner before I’ve earned my dessert.  The other thing about research is that I learned to keep room open for a character I hadn’t thought about before.  For example, I suddenly came across the famous couturier Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman who went to Paris and revolutionized the fashion business. He jumped off the page at me and insisted on being part of my novel.  So my advice is always keep a place at the table of your book for an unexpected guest.

An intriguing tale, I encourage you to check out Linda's book and see for yourselves. 

...Brilliantly integrating one of classic literature’s fictional creations with real historical figures, Madame Bovary’s Daughter is an uncommon coming-of-age tale, a splendid excursion through the rags and the riches of French fashion, and a sweeping novel of poverty and wealth, passion and revenge. -- Booklist

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Time Mishaps

I've been writing for over a decade. In fact, I wrote a series, three books, before my fourth book got published. This is pretty common. Writing is sort of a "learn as you go" type of gig.  Sure you have to have a great premise. Yes, its important to take workshops and classes. Definitely read books on the craft.


You will never know what you will face when writing a novel until you're 50 thousand words deep and don't know where this is going. Or you get to 40 thousand words and figure out your story was better suited to novella.  Here's my favorite...You get to 120 thousand word and realize...this should be two separate books.

You have to write. Everyday. Give yourself time to get better. Face, overcome, and learn from your own trials during the process.

I'm giving a workshop for beginning fiction writers and I get a lot of the same topics during the question and answer period. There seems to be common problems that crop up with first novels. So I thought I'd list a few of them and see what you other writers and readers have found in your own journey.

  • The middle sags - you get to a certain point and realize that your characters aren't really doing anything.
  • Your secondary character became more interesting - the whole Luke/Han Solo phenomenon. Sidekick takes over plot.
  • You finished your story too soon - Everything falls into place according to plan and BAM!...the end -- on page 150.
  • Your story is too long - You're on page 800 of your hero's journey and he still hasn't rescued the babe.
  • You have a series of pointless battles and/or car chases -  Because...well you like to write those. And that's conflict, right?
Over the course of the next couple weeks, I will go over each reason a first novel hits these snags and methods to overcome them.

And for those who have completed a novel...what was the hardest part? What roadblocks did you hit and how did you deal? What did you learn from the experience?

Until next time...Go Write!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Apparently I'm Shallow...But I'm Okay With That.

So I've been reading a lot about character motivations lately and I've come to realize that initially I am a shallow, shallow, gal.  Well, not really because I intend to layer more noble motivations for my heroine to be attracted to the hero, but really...he looks at you like this...

Are your first thoughts about anything other than those eyes? Yeah, mine either. But the great part about writing a hero, especially a dark hero like the one in my next WIP, House on Raven Hill, is that you can infuse all types of noble, dangerous, and compelling reasons for your heroine to fall in love with him. 

I tend to list towards a hero that is witty and can duel both physically and figuratively with the heroine. He must be more than nice to look at. If I'm going to spend months of writing and editing with this guy...I have to like him.

My question to my fellow authors out there is this: Do you start with a list of qualities for your hero to possess or do you start out with qualities you hope he gains by the end of your novel?  How do you balance the need to move him along an arc of change with needing to make him initially attractive and a believable hero?

And for readers of romance...what are you favorite qualities in a hero?

Photograph by Lucy BurrLuck.  Photograph of Henry Cavil.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back With the Living

So I'm back with the living! So sorry I've been absent from the ether this week. I missed all of you, but I'm finally turning the corner on this terrible summer flu and I can't wait to see what you all have been up to.

I am almost at the 60 K mark in my first draft of Whispers on Shadow Bay and I've finished revising the 2nd draft of my plot blocks. I'm still iffy on the actual location of the final scene, but that's not due for a bit.  Its during this point that I start to imagine what the cover might look like and the font...I think its my brain's attempt to cajole me into finishing on time.

I have a July 30th deadline for this book. I mean to finish it before the school year begins and all kinds of craziness ensues on my home.  This will give the Beta Readers time to go over it. I may have to sweeten the pot with doughnuts to get them done in time.

On the bright side, I am feeling well enough to drink coffee again -- my brain fuel -- so things should start cracking soon on the WIP again. 

I'm putting together a list of Blogfests on my sidebar so if you know of any, let me know.

I'm off to read your posts now...mwah!

Photograph by Moggs Oceanlane

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clash Of The Titles

-guest post by COTT Senior Editor, April W Gardner

Since we’re in the middle of Clash of the Title’s two week summer break, we thought we’d introduce you to the book club COTT has recently begun. All this month we’re delving into The Stones written by COTT champ, Eleanor (Ellie) Gustafson.

The Stones is a historical/biblical novel based on the life of Kind David. Most of us know how the story ends (wink), but Ellie presents the details in such a fresh and unique way that I find it’s almost as if I’ve never read the story before. It’s hefty reading, but I’m really enjoying it. Ellie’s prose is lovely and almost poetic. It’s enchanting. And the historical detail simply fascinates me. Actually, I’m quite in awe of all the research she’d done.

My favorite so far in the book is Abigail, David’s third wife. She was always one of my favorite female Bible characters. I think it’s rather romantic that saving her retched husband’s life earned her the (future) king’s love. Her dead husband was barely cold in the ground before David took her to wife. Talk about making an impression!

Quite the colorful character in The Stones, she’s strong-willed (which wasn’t a gift in those days) and usually the cause for tension. But it’s generally because she’s fighting for what she believes God requires of them. David’s standing before God and the people is more important to her than her staying in his good graces, which she doesn’t lose for long anyway. David loves her too much.

Care for a tiny peek into her personality? Here she is chiding David for bringing booty home from the Amalekites he’s just raided and killed.

She says, “Did you consult Abiathar and the Urim and thummin to find out if you’re the man to do it? It seems to me you’re tearing off this ‘vengeance’ thing, when it’s the Lord’s business to—”
 “Enough, woman! You have a find hand on my faults and don’t hesitate to say so.” (great line, by the way) The flare died quickly, and David sighed as he wrung a cloth and wiped his dusty face. “Abigail, Abigail, you don’t understand. We have our reasons. We—”
 “You mean Joab has his reasons. This was his idea, wasn’t it?”
 “Yes, and it’s a good idea.” His voice grew irritable again. “We must get Achish to trust us. Once he thinks we’ve made ourselves odious to the Israelites… And besides, I thought you’d like clothes and jewelry.”
 “They’re soaked in blood. I’d never wear them” (Wow. A scene with this feisty gal is always interesting!)

Historical/biblical fiction is my all time favorite genre, but I can’t help but wonder the entire time that I’m reading--Which parts are real and which are made up? In a book club setting, I get to ask the author questions as I’m reading. How fun is that?!

If you’ve ever had a question about the life of David, Ellie’s your gal. She will be available all month long at the Clash of the Titles Book Club to chat with her readers and anyone who would like to meet another of our amazing COTT Champs!

Clash of the Titles, is on the search for a new staff member! If you are a writer who’s looking to gain exposure, connect with other authors, add bullets to you professional bio, and have a blast doing it, we would love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit. Please contact us for more details: contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com.

--April W Gardner is the award-winning author of  Wounded Spirits.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Getting it Right - Accuracy with Real Settings

This is a picture my brother took of the view from Columbia Tower in Seattle. It is one of the places that I visited when I stayed with my brother last year. It was taken at night with some sort of fancy-pants filter that he uses on his bazillion dollar camera. I have one taken from my phone that I was going to use until he found out and sqwaked with indignation over it. Apparently it didn't do the city justice. His city.

I included a description of this view in my romantic suspense, Purple Knot, as sort of an interesting tidbit a character notices. It happens to be the view from a bathroom stall in the building. The stall's outer wall is floor to ceiling tinted glass so that you can look out over the city while you take care of business. This is a real thing locals show visiting friends.  I got a huge kick out of it.

That got me thinking about accuracy in writing. I've received emails from readers that live in the areas I write about and are so happy I got details correct and mentioned small establishments they frequent. It makes them feel like I've taken care with something dear to them...their home.

My current WIP takes place on Noble Island, a fictional setting based on the San Juan and Orca Islands off the coast of Washington. The photo to the left, taken by my brother, is of a lighthouse there and it is a place I use in my story. I hope to visit it in the winter.

Do you as a writer do anything to ensure you get the setting details correct? Sure, there's Google Earth and word of mouth, but have you found anything else that works short of visiting?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Is There No Fixing This? - Romantic Friday Writers, Forgiven

The Romantic Friday Writers are posting their answer to Challenge No. 9 - Forgiven

I opted to enter a scene I'm working on for Bayou Blue, the third book in the Shades of Hope series.  In it, Jake has just had an argument with Riley, an auburn-haired spitfire that everyone in town calls 'Red'. She did something that jeopardized the investigation into a tragedy everyone believes her brother caused.

Verona is Jake's best friend since childhood. They grew up on Bayou La Fourde together and she pulls no punches even if he is the parish's sheriff.

Bayou Blue
Coming August 2012
Sheriff Jake Ayers wants his parish to heal from the tragic bombing that left his town in mourning, but with Riley Drake back in town, that’s not going to happen. Jake cares for the beautiful, determined reporter, but Riley is causing no end of trouble. Most of the people want her dead. Emotions run deep in the bayou, and Jake’s are no exception. Keeping a level head and an indifferent heart is going to be as difficult as keeping Riley alive.

Jake stood at his desk, stretched, and grabbed the sheriff’s star from the desk top.

“You weren’t a stupid boy, Jake,” Verona’s voice called from the front counter. “How is it that you’re being such a stupid man?”

“Evening, V,” Jake said back. “Come as part of the goodwill committee again?”

Waving the question away, she lifted a section of the counter, clicking her gum as she walked over. “Where’s Red?”

Ignoring her question, Jake leaned back on his desk, half sitting, and crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re not supposed to be back here.”

“She’s just as stubborn as you are, you know. Someone’s got to bend for you two to have any sort of chance.”

Comment?” Jake tried to shrug off her words. “How do you mean?”

“You know what I mean, Jake.” She sauntered back toward the desk, her head cocked to the side looking at him with a worried smile like she used to do when they were kids. “You planning on hiding out here all night? There’s a party outside in case you hadn’t heard.”

“Oh, I’ve heard,” Jake nodded to the cells down the hall. “I’ve got a few revelers here for company already. And I’m not hiding. I’m on duty.”

Verona stopped in front of Toughie’s desk, scooted onto it, and sat facing Jake. “You hiding from her?”

Jake stared at her for a beat and then shrugged. “I have no—”

“Oh, please, Jake. I saw you with her, remember?” She pointed to his face. “I’ve seen that look on you before.”

“Don’t do this, V.”

“You going to deny there’s something there?”

“No.” He answered simply. No point in lying to her. “Doesn’t matter what I want though. It’s a bad idea. Her brother blew up the town, Verona. Besides, she and I fight whenever we get within ten feet of each other.”

“Maybe you should get closer,” she drawled.

Jake grabbed his hat from the rack pointedly ignoring the comment.
“I told her to leave town.”

“Like that’s never happened before.”

Jake turned to face her unable to hide the sorrow swirling in his gut and her smile faltered. He plopped the hat on his head, stared out at Verona from under it, and shrugged.
“I don’t know. I told her I was freezing her out of her brother’s investigation. That I couldn’t trust her, so yeah, I think she’ll probably leave.”

“Is there no chance of fixing this?” Verona asked quietly. “You think she’ll just…leave again?”

“I’m not sure if I can charm her into forgiving me for this one.”

She nodded at him, her eyes boring into his. “Is there some reason you’re refusing to see that this woman is the one good thing to come out of all of this? That she just might be what you need?”

If you'd like to take part in the weekly challenge, go to the Romantic Friday Writers blog and sign up! 

You can also find links to all the other awesome excerpts there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

JC and the Blog Tour De Force!

J.C. Martin is joining me during her mini blog tour to promote the release of the Stories for Sendai charity anthology. 

Raquel: I'm so delighted to have you stop by, J.C. Can you tell us what your Tour de Force is all about?

J.C.: Stories for Sendai is a collection of 20 uplifting and inspirational short stories that all share a common theme: they encompass hope and the strength of the human spirit. All proceeds from sales of the anthology will go towards helping victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Raquel: What a worthy endeavor. You really put your talent to work for the good of others. Can you tell us how long you've been writing?

J.C.: I’ve been writing all my life, but have only decided to seriously pursue writing as a career last August. To allow more time each day for writing, I had a change in career. As a kung fu instructor, I LOVE writing action scenes, and I believe my knowledge of the martial arts come in very handy when writing fight scenes. 

Raquel: Do you have a favorite book on the writing craft? If so, how has it helped you?

J.C.: Stephen King’s On Writing is one of the most inspirational books on writing around! The part memoir, part how-to book discusses elements of style, and how less is often more. He provides examples of his first draft and then shows us how he edits it—absolutely priceless advice! Hopefully I’ve managed to put his tips to practice in my contribution to the anthology, a short story entitled Tommy’s Legacy.

Raquel: Is there a way that we can help the disaster victims in Japan?

J.C: Why not purchase a copy (or two) of Stories for Sendai? You get a lovely little book of wonderful short stories, plus you also contribute to aid efforts in Japan! As an added incentive, there is a prize draw, with awesome prizes like books, gift vouchers and critiques! 

All you have to do is to buy a copy of Stories for Sendai and email us a copy of your receipt at storiesforsendai (at) ymail (dot) com. One entry per purchase! Winners will be announced on July 15th!

With Michelle Davidson Argyle, J.C. Martin is co-editor of the Stories for Sendai charity anthology. A displaced Malaysian living in south London with her husband and three dogs, she funds her writing obsession by working as a martial arts instructor. Her short stories have been published by New Asian Writing, Pill Hill Press and Static Movement, and she is the winner of IFWG Publishing’s Short Story Contest in 2010. You can find her online ramblings at For shorter, 140-character versions of her ramblings, find her on Twitter @JCMartin_author (!/JCMartin_author).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lies - Romantic Friday Writers

~This Week's Challenge~

This week's challenge for The Romantic Friday Writers is Lies! I thought I'd enter an excerpt from my soon to be released romantic suspense, Ruby Dawn.  

The second book in the Shades of Hope series, Ruby Dawn introduces us to Ruby, a former foster kid, who reunites with her first love as they battle a vicious gang. Tom, now in the DEA, reappears in her life after going missing ten years ago bringing with him a secret Ruby thought was long hidden...

Ruby Dawn ~ 

He stared, and then his face changed from concern to suspicion. “Y – You were there?”
I nodded.
“Let it go, Ben. It was a long time ago.”
Ben wrapped his hand around my arm and leaned forward.
“Ruby, this guy has brought nothing but destruction since he got here. What am I supposed to do, just let things fall apart?”
I pulled my arm away, irritated.
“That’s not fair. Tom didn’t do any of the damage. Antonio Llave got one of his boys to do it. It was the Culebra.”
“You’ve known all along who was behind the vandalism, they killed Dakota too.” It was a statement, not a question. Angry, he closed the file abruptly.
“Does Tom know who did it?”
I nodded.
Ben’s expression hardened.
“I was afraid you’d go after him, Ben. He’s a dangerous guy. Antonio is with the Culebra street gang.”
Ben looked at me like I was a stranger. When he spoke, it was with bitterness. “I thought I was doing you a favor, Ruby, letting you know what you were getting into, but apparently you already know what kind of guy Tom is and don’t care.”
“He isn’t like that,” I argued and pushed the file away. “He…you don’t know the whole story.”
 “Then enlighten me, Ruby. Explain how this kid, this killer, can turn into your white knight.”
“He’s not my white knight, Ben.”
“Then tell me you’re not in love with him.”
I hesitated, then looked out the window. “I…I can’t.”
Ben picked up the file and waved it. “I don’t know how you can justify what he did, Ruby. I don’t know how you can want to be with him.”
“Just because I have these old feelings for him resurfacing doesn’t mean I’m going to throw myself back into a relationship with him,” I spat. Guilt for leading Ben on and giving in to Tom’s magnetism burned in my gut.
“You love him, but you don’t want to be with him,” Ben looked at me with suspicion. “Explain that one.”
“Tom and I obviously have a complicated history,” I said quietly, fighting for control.
Ben’s gold-flecked eyes darkened. He waved the file at me again. “Explain how something like this doesn’t make you run the other direction.”
“You don’t understand what it was like, Ben.” My voiced hitched.
“Tell me, Ruby. What happened that night?”
There was no way I would talk about that. Not here, not anywhere. Ben wouldn’t understand.
“Fine.” Ben got up from the table, grabbed the file, and stalked out the front door. He never looked back. He just drove away, from me and the mess that was left of my life.

I hope you pop on over and check out the other excerpts and entries from my fellow Romantic Friday Writers.  If you'd like to participate, sign up and join in the fun. Every Friday is a new challenge and new things to share.