Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love At First Sight Blogfest Today!


Happy Valentine's Day! Spice it up with Courtney Reese's Love At First Sight Blogfest.
This is an excerpt from an adult urban fantasy, currently "shelved." I've never put up such a long scene before but it's the best I've got for this fest. Brief background: A day before this scene, Felyne was beaten by unseen assailants, likely of the supernatural kind.
Felyne wandered on the pier, past the steel roller coaster. She glanced up at the Ferris wheel, the first solar-powered one in the world, according to the sign. The sun was low, a golden backdrop to the amusement rides.
"You like Ferris wheels?" asked a male voice close to her ear.
She whirled to face a guy, who had a shaved head, muscular neck and eyes so blue they reminded her of periwinkles.
"Sure. Doesn't everyone?" Had he followed her? Was he a threat or just a guy with a strange pick-up line?
"I had a girlfriend once who said they make her dizzy. Me, I love looking down from nine stories high, seeing the coast as far as it stretches. Best part is when it stops at the very top." He tilted his head back to gaze up at the giant wheel.
Felyne snuck a better look at him. He wore a gray sweatshirt, faded jeans and flip-flops. Like a surfer. No neck tattoos or piercings. He had really defined cheekbones.
He caught her checking him out. "Wanna ride with me?"
It was a simple question but unexpected. Her heart increased its tempo. She stuttered a lame excuse about getting home.
"The sun's about to set, best time to go up," he said. "It doesn't take all that long, and, hey, I'm paying."
He dazzled her with a smile that seemed to light his entire face.
She didn't protest as he led her to the ticket booth. In a hazy mix of confusion and anticipation, she climbed into the grape-colored gondola with him. The ride operator shut the small door. The gondola inched off the platform and stopped a few yards off the ground as an older couple settled in the next car.
"I'm Bryan." He looked at her expectantly.
"Oh, hi, I'm Felyne."
The Ferris wheel jerked and swept upward. Then it hit her. She had gotten into a ride with a stranger, and they would soon be at neck-breaking heights. What if his dazzle was just that, a means to catch her off guard?
She clutched the seat, white-knuckled, and looked around, wondering if she could escape if necessary.
He stretched out a foot and nudged her tennis shoe. "You seem really tense. Scared, even. You sure you like to ride these things?"
Make him talk. Find out who he is.
"I'm fine. So what about you? Surfer or party DJ?"
He laughed. "DJ? Not ever. I do surf. Grew up here," he gestured at the town that sprawled along the shore. "I run my own landscape business so I can surf when swells hit."
"I always wanted to try it. Surfing, I mean."
The sun was just a sliver of red on the horizon and quickly gone. In its place, the sky glowed like a huge crimson curtain. The ride stopped. All was still. Then a seagull shrieked.
Bryan said abruptly, "Come here."
She was only a few feet from him. What did he want?
She slid over a bit. He pointed up the coast to the Santa Monica Mountains. A line of pelicans glided close to the water with the grace of dancers and the precision of pilots.
She pulled off her sunglasses and leaned closer to Bryan to watch them. He smelled salty like the sea and fresh as a morning after rain. It made her want to inhale deeply, and she inched a little closer.
When he turned to look at her, flashing that bedazzling smile again, he was so close she noticed one of his teeth had a chip out of it and his chin was bruised, as though he'd been hit hard in the mouth.
Had he been in a fight?
She slid away from him, wincing from her own bruises.
"Man, you are as skittish as a stray cat," he said. "You know, I'm the one who should be nervous, approaching a looker like you."
Her heart sped up another notch. A lot of people found her looks more unnerving than attractive.
His long fingers drummed against his denim-covered thighs and then began to fidget with a woven Tibetan bracelet on his wrist. He had big, strong hands.
The Ferris wheel moved again. The fading sunset and carnival lights whirled.
Bryan studied her. "You have the most amazing eyes I've ever seen. Amber like a lion's but with golden depths."
Damn. She wasn't wearing the contacts and had taken off her sunglasses without thinking. She pulled them out of her pocket and put them back on, dimming what light there was.
"Who are you? What do you want?" she blurted, ready to defend herself.
The smile vanished from his lips and eyes. "I wanted to ride the Ferris wheel with you. I guess that was a fatal error."
The rode in silence until the gondola came to a halt. The operator held open the door.
She got out, knees wobbly, body aching. She'd been more scared than she realized.
"I don't know what your deal is, but good luck with it." He stared at her a moment, shook his head and walked away.
She watched him go with relief. And regret, she had to admit, as she saw his back disappear in the crowd.

52 comments:

Andrea Cremer said...

Oooh! I love this excerpt. My vote: unshelve it :) Happy Valentine's Day!

Stephanie Thornton said...

This is great! I'm a sucker for scenes set in carnivals!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Ohh, I liked it a lot.

I'm so curious about why it's shelved. It looks to be a great premise and an engaging story!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

awww he leaves? Id be scared to death btw, I don't do well with amusement park rides. I think Ive only been on a ferris wheel once and it wasnt that big. scaredy cat!

Amalia T. said...

Awww! I'm so sad that he leaves! I hope he comes back, or she chases him down or something!

I LOVE the grape-colored gondola, and the crimson curtain of sky. You have so many vivid colors and images in this scene! The Pelicans too! Beautiful.

Donna said...

So sad . . .

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Andrea: Well, that comment made my day!

Stephanie: Yay, fun and games for all!

Amber: So many stories, so little time. This one needs a lot of development--maybe some day.

Frankie: Yeah, she's got a way to go to be able to trust and relax.

Amalia: Glad you like the scene setting. While she might want to chase him down, she's not ready for that yet.

Donna: That's me--make people sad on Valentine's Day, what can I say? My love stories are bittersweet.

storyqueen said...

Oh, he's a good guy, I just know he is! I like how you described him, not like he's some big cup of perfect, but like he's real, slightly chipped tooth and all.

I think those little details make him seem hotter.

Well done. Tell Felyne to get off her butt and go after him. (Kidding, of course.)

Shelley

Elle Strauss said...

Ferris wheels scare the crap out of me. That would be enough to get me running, but sharing the ride with a strange guy, too?

Well done.

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent scene. Can't believe you shelved this! What I find most compelling is how Felyne's assault from the previous day completely changed how she interacted with this stranger. Had she met him prior to the attack, her response to him would likely have been very different. It says something about the randomness of circumstance in our lives. Most poignant though: "She watched him go with relief. And regret..." Beautiful!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great scene - love the back and forth of her thoughts :)

sarahjayne smythe said...

I love the descriptiveness of this. I can see and feel all of it. I love the back and forth of their meeting mirrored in the Ferris wheel ride. And I felt more than a little bad that it all ended the way it did. Regret indeed.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: Ha! Felyne doesn't chase him but smacks into him again. He's too good to lose, you know? Thanks for thinking so. ;)

Elle: Oh, I'm glad that tension worked, too.

VR: It's funny when something is shelved and then the scene popped into my head for this fest. So it's not shelved in my memory, I guess. Yeah, she beats down the attraction towards him due to the circumstances in her life. She can't relax. I'm so pleased you liked it.

Thanks, Jemi!

Wen Prior said...

Aww she let him go. *sniffle* Darn it. He was all sweet and everything. She could get ready to find him later though, couldn't she? Huh? aww!

Denise said...

I hope she saw him again!!! I love this scene and I vote that you reconsider unshelving it.

Donna Hole said...

Very emotive. I was completely drawn in. I hope this doesn't remain shelved for long; I'm dying to find out if they get together.

And walking away like that, very intriguing.

........dhole

Laura Canon said...

I love that this is a nice realistic scene that just briefly captures what might have been...

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sarahjayne: Welcome! and thanks for the comment. I liked the Ferris wheel as a character in the scene, too.

Wen: Yes, she has to let him go. She is in danger and can't afford to trust anyone, let alone a stranger. But, of course, he comes back in the story. He's too good to really let go, right?

Welcome, Denise. Maybe someday, I'll return to this one. I like both these characters so much, I hate to abandon them.

Thanks, DonnaH: I'm so glad you liked it.

Laura: Thank you, and, yes, for now it is only what might have been. :(

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Emotive and realistic.
She is drawn to him but has the sense to consider more than what she feels. I would love to know more about how this meeting of two well painted characters develops.
Elaine

Kelly Lyman said...

I was nervous the whole time reading this! I thought for sure something awful would happen at the top of the ride!! I think you should unshelve this- I would love to know the backstory and see if these two meet up again!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Love a good amusement park scene! I agree with some of the others. You should take this one off the shelf. :)

laurel said...

I'm with Kelly. I was totally drawn into Felyne's nervousness and was beginning to feel rather anxious about this incident. Great job making the emotion feel so real.
I also love your alliterative descriptions of colors like crimson curtain and grape-colored gondola.

laurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurel said...

Sorry Tricia! Blogger is being a bit temperamental and published my comment three times. I'll remove the other duplication too.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

The writing is just so...sensual. It felt so alive, so vivid. What strong images. The shaved head, the way he fingers his Tibetan bracelet, the salty scent of him, the cry of the sea gull, and the fear in her...all of it--it's like a banquet for the senses. But I should have known your writing would be filled with such strong imagery because your blog posts always are. So nicely done, Tricia! I would love to see what happens with these two. Perhaps you will pull it off the shelf someday?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Welcome Elaine, and thank you so much for the comment. I am so pleased that people like these two characters. I may go back to their story some time in the future.

Kelly: This sounds awful to say, but I am excited that I made you nervous. I guess I got something right in that scene.

Karen: Thank you! It's getting kind of crowded in my WIP space. ;)

Laurel: I don't care if you say it 50 times when you say such nice things. *grinning* It really means a lot to know the emotion rang true.

Carolina: Wow. Thank you so much. I should print out your words and keep them to inspire me when I'm feeling down on my writing. Really, thank you.

Sharon Gerlach said...

I'm very curious about this story: why was she beaten, what he's all about. If she doesn't want him, I'll take him. :-)

Very well done, tense & aware, with barely repressed sensuality.

DawnB said...

Great excerpt. I loved the detailed descriptions, and you did such a wonderful job with the emotion. I could really feel her nervousness. Well done!

Bish Denham said...

Oh that's a great scene!

Nisa said...

Oh man, I so want to read more. Not just on, but what happened previously too. Very cool character and just from this one scene, I'd say you'll be published soon. Awesome, Tricia! I was completely sucked into this!

Merissa said...

Really great scene. I was completely stressed out for her, and hoping for him to be a decent guy at the same time. Very nice!
Merissa

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Sharon: *grinning* I'm so excited to hear you are intrigued by both story and man.

Hi Dawn: Yay, I'm feeling so good after hearing that the scene has punch.

Thanks, Bish!

Nisa: *gruns wider* I can't say how wonderful it is to hear you say this about something I'd set aside. It gives me new energy.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hello, Merissa: You snuck in while I was typing. Welcome, and thank you for the super comment.

Mary Campbell said...

I loved the detail and I was completely sucked in. Want to know why she is so nervous. Great job. Thank you for your comments on my blogfest piece.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Great imagery and I love that she's smart enough to be wary of the guy. And thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Jon Paul said...

Tricia--nice tension in this scene. I thought the ferris wheel worked very well to place them in close proximity together and keep them there--and the dialogue carried it off without seeming forced.

Not sure what the status is on this project--why you shelved it--but for what it's worth, I was interested in finding out what happens next.

Thanks for stopping by my place too, BTW, and thanks for the follow!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

NISA! I don't want to take down the entire comment but I meant *grins* of course. I am sooooo tired.

Hi Mary, thank you so much!

Roni: She's got plenty of bruises to make her wary of everybody at the moment. Thanks for coming by, and I loved your sizzlin' scene!

Jon: Thank you. The ride did trap them, didn't it? Sometimes the most tense moments are when we can't get away for some reason--the awful waiting for it to end. Your scene just wowed me, really.

Nisa said...

No worries, Tricia. I speak Tired and Typo quite fluently. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Nisa: Perfect. :D

Jackee said...

I vote unshelf! Gorgeous. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Jackee. :D

LenaLothanas said...

I agree with everyone else! Beautiful, emotive and REAL. I didn't want it to stop.

roxy said...

Really enjoyed this. You set the scene so well. I was drawn in right away. Thanks for a great post!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lena: Welcome and thank you! Being real is one of the challenges in fiction, so I appreciate that comment.

Roxy: And thank you, so much. :)

Livia said...

Aww, so sad! I hope she sees him again!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Livia: Welcome! And if she sees him again it will be because I take the dang manuscript off the shelf. ;)

elizabeth mueller said...

Wow, Tricia!

This was so awesome! I actually tasted her fear. There is so much implied history here that I would LOVE To know more about her eyes and who she is. And maybe if he was significant to the storyline?

You did a great job and making me want more. I do. I want more.

Unshelve the book, girl, and finish it!!!!

elizabeth mueller said...

PS--thank you for commenting on my post! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Elizabeth: Ooooo, I like you saying you could taste her fear. Thanks for the great comment and interest. Maybe I'll put it in line behind one or two others.

Tara said...

Oh, you really sucked me right into the setting. Fairs=romantic in my book.

I felt bad for poor Brian.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Tara!