Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Excerptstravaganza! Day One

(Will someone please help me! I'm locked into this "--stravaganza" thing and I don't know how to get out!)

Okay. First of all, thanks to everyone who's entered the conest so far, I'm gotten such a lovely strong response! Remember, though, you can enter more than once! So keep tagging, listing, and blogging about the book--you get an entry (or whatever is specified) every time!

Second, I want to let you all know that the entire first chapter of this book is up on my website, here.

So here we have our first excerpt!

Megan is at dinner with Brian Stone, Hot Spot reporter, when an unwelcome guest turns up...

“Oh, I do love jokes.” Greyson Dante stood by her side.
“Hello, Mr. Dante. I’m afraid this is a private conversation, so you will, of course, be going now.”
His grin widened. Was there no way to insult the man? “Why, Dr. Chase, if I didn’t know better I’d think you didn’t want to see me.”
“What makes you think you know better?”
“I always do.”
Brian looked from one of them to the other. “Don’t you want to introduce me to your friend, Megan?”
Dante still stood there smiling, his wineglass in one hand, looking like Cary Grant on a luxurious cruise. She hadn’t been wrong in her first moonlight impression; he really was handsome, with dark hair and eyes and smooth, lightly tanned skin. She’d always liked dark-haired men, probably to contrast with her own blond paleness. Megan often thought she looked like a ghost. A dark man seemed to anchor her to earth, somehow, or perhaps it was just her obsessive childhood crush on Burt Reynolds.
Before she could disavow friendship with Dante and say no, Mr. Tall Dark Handsome and Annoying was shaking hands with the reporter.
“Dante. Greyson Dante.”
Brian smiled. “Mr. Dante, then. Sit down. I’d love to talk to some of Megan’s friends. Get some more personal information, you know?”
“I’d be glad to share what I know.” Greyson grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table—without asking the table’s occupants, Megan noticed—and pulled it to theirs.
“Which isn’t much,” she said under her breath.
Brian glanced at her. “What?”
Dante grinned. Megan wanted to stab him in the hand with her fork. Of course he was grinning. She couldn’t say anything to him. She couldn’t yell, or claim he was a crazy stranger, or be nasty to him. Brian was a reporter, a man with the power to make or break her reputation. Radio Counselor Can’t Remember Names of Casual One-Night Stands . . . Power-Mad Host Turns Her Back On Friends Now That She’s A Success . . . Fame Drives Radio Counselor Insane . . .
“And how do you two know each other?” Brian was either trying to figure out what was wrong between them or, innocently unaware, was just trying to make conversation. Megan hoped it was the latter. She opened her mouth to speak, but Greyson got there first.
“I’m a counselor, too. From out of state. We met at a conference last year.”
Megan would have bet her car that the closest Greyson ever came to counseling was recommending it for his clients in the hopes they would get larger damages in court.
If he was a lawyer. Which she had to admit she wasn’t certain about. It was just a feeling she had, but without being able to read him she couldn’t be sure.
“Our methods are very different,” Megan started, but Dante cut her off.
“But we both love helping people. I think ‘help’ is Dr. Chase’s favorite word.”
“And what’s yours? ‘Malpractice’?”
“Oh, no.” He folded his hands on the table and leaned forward. “Sin is my favorite word, Dr. Chase. Sin.”
His eyes caught hers, held. She leaned forward before she realized she was doing it, and sat back so quickly she knocked her knife onto the floor.
Dante tsked and picked it up, nodding to his pet waitress, who leapt to their table as if they were the only customers in the restaurant. Megan calmed herself and started studying the room, trying to avoid even looking at him.
Perhaps it was fallout from earlier, but the steak that had looked appetizing now made her throat close, and she made no move to use her new knife. She thought if someone made a loud noise she would jump right out of her skin, and it wasn’t just the tension of the last day or so catching up with her.
The men continued chatting, unaware of her lapse into silence. “Oh, Megan is highly respected,” Dante said. “She’s a real counselor’s counselor.”
A counselor’s counselor? Where was he getting that shit?
Trying to soothe her churning stomach, Megan reached for her Coke and took a long swallow.
Something hovered in the air over the right shoulder of the woman at the next table.
The shadowy form lacked definition but as Megan watched she caught a flash of what looked like dark green before the color disappeared. The shadow stayed, rippling at the edges but hovering in place.
The woman didn’t notice, but Megan stared transfixed. Blurry edges of darkness reached out and passed over the woman’s face, then slipped back into the semi-solid mass.
The image made her gorge rise, but she kept staring, unable to move or blink. If she looked away, would it disappear? Or would it move, leaping to one of the other diners, as if trying to gain entry to someone’s body? It felt so wrong, so . . . evil. Her skin prickled and itched.
While the woman laughed and ate her food, the blurry form twisted and darted around, staying in the same space but writhing as if trying to burst through some kind of membrane.
Megan’s stomach gave up the battle. She leapt from her chair, knocking it over in the process, and ran for the ladies’ room. She barely made it in time.

...come back next Wednesday for more!

***Pre-order the book from Amazon here!


Sam said...

Great excerpt!!!

Robyn said...

"Cary Grant on a luxurious cruise."

I love that. Not just an observation on his looks but a character study, and it sets a whole mood. Beautiful job.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks guys! :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Very nice dialogue. Sharp and witty. Like two fencers at work.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I can't tell you how much I hate Amazon right now.

I got a GC from my CP last year, havent' been able to use it. It never goes through. Finally I ask, they tell me it's for not .com even though the email came from .com and says .com and includes a link to .com I have to order through .ca and I can't find your book on .ca


Great exerpt though.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks so much Charles! That's exactly the effect I was going for, although the concept wasn't quite as elegantly worded in my head. :-)

Aww! Try here, Seeley. I'm mad at Amazon right now. They take forever to ship stuff out lately.

kirsten saell said...

“Sin is my favorite word, Dr. Chase. Sin.”

Ooh, mine too!

Angie said...

I pre-ordered! [wave]

I really want to smack Greyson -- he's even more obnoxious here than he was later (which sounds weird, but anyway) and he needs a good thwap. Thinking about it, he's behaving pretty much the same, more or less, but since their acquaintance is so slight at this point, it's coming across as much more of a rudeness and imposition. I'm sure he knows it, too, the brat. :D


December/Stacia said...

Hee, kis! I love that line. :-)

Thanks Angie! I thought you liked him?

Angie said...

Stacia -- I do on the whole, although if he were my boyfriend I'd kill him and that's the truth. [wry smile] But seeing him behaving this way with someone he's just met is very different from seeing him behave this way with someone he's been in a relationship with for however many months. People who are friends and lovers, and have been so for some time, get more leeway, you know? They're assumed to know you and to have developed their snarky habits in response to your own. I mean, I know he's a demon and that means he's not a particularly nice person, but his attitudes come across differently when I know that the two of them have been a couple for however long, than they do when I know (as here) that they're hardly acquainted. Does that make sense? [ponder] IOW, an intimate friend is assumed to have been granted certain liberties; if the other person found him too obnoxious, we figure they'd have cut the acquaintance, or at least that they would keep the other person as distant as they can. Someone who's just met someone else, though, who behaves the same way, can't be assumed to have permission, tacit or otherwise, for his behavior.

So when I read the second book, I just assumed that Greyson and Megan had already worked out their relationship, and what I saw was the result of two people having gotten to know each other and become comfortable with one another. Megan must not mind his behavior too much or they wouldn't be lovers. Reading the excerpts, though, and knowing that these two people have barely met, gives me a whole different view of how he behaves, because right now I know that Megan does not like him and is not at all comfortable with his behavior. That makes it feel very different to me, as a reader. Right now, he doesn't get any of the free passes or Friend Assumptions I made reading the second book.

I'm really looking forward to reading this one, not just because I'm expecting to enjoy it in general, but because reading the excerpts has given me a different view of Greyson. I like him less in these early excerpts from the first book than I did after reading the manuscript of the second. It's an aspect of the whole "reading the second one first" thing that I hadn't thought of. I'm still figuring that by the end of the first book they'll have worked things out, and have gotten their relationship to where I saw it at the beginning of the sequel; I'll definitely let you know how it all comes across after I've read this one


PS -- I'm having a hard time getting this across, but hopefully that's mostly comprehensible. [squints up] My only excuse is that I just now rolled out of bed and all my brain cells aren't firing in unison yet. :P

December/Stacia said...

Ahh. Okay, I see. :-) I think Megan's feelings about him are much more clearly explained in the bits around this excerpt, than in the 'cerpt itself, if that makes any sense. But it's actually pretty cool that you're not sure if he's a good guy or not, since you're not supposed to be here! :-)

Angie said...

Exactly. [nodnod] This early on, it doesn't bother me to be kind of iffy about The Guy, especially when he's a demon and all. :D


Demon Hunter said...

Wow. That's cool. :*)Okay, now I wanna read it! :*)

Anonymous said...

Yay!! It worked!! I did a preorder!! (helps if you search for the right name apparently. Duh.)

Thanks man!

December/Stacia said...

Thanks Tyhitia! :-)

Lol Seeley, glad I could help!

BernardL said...

Fun preview, I look forward to reading the book.

Gabriele C. said...

Thanks, Angie. I was afraid I'd be the only one to hate Dante at this point, because I often have problems with alpha heroes. Some never manage to redeem themselves in my eyes and the book ends against the wall - I hope that won't be the case with Dante. ;)

December/Stacia said...

Thanks Bernard! :-) Much appreciated.

Lol Gabriele, if I remember correctly you hated him when I excerpted Chapter One, too. So I guess we just have very different tastes. :-)

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, you should ask Joely Sue Burkhardt, one of the Friday Snippet gang - I hate all her heroes. But I still love some of her stories because of the setting, plot, magic, whatever.

I'll definitely read the next excerpts. :)

Stacia said...

Can't wait to hear what you think, Gabriele!

kirsten saell said...

I don't really get the impression that he's a turd. I was seeing him through Megan's eyes, and I knew she was already pissed at him and more than likely looking to find fault with every little thing he did. Because it's Megan's POV, we're more apt to notice those things about him that annoy her, because those are the things she's noticing. Stuff she might have interpreted as a bit of dark and dangerous flirting is coming off as something entirely different because of where her head's at.

Angie said...

Kirsten -- oh, come on! LOL! He's definitely being a jerk. He's behaving outrageously, and doing it in public in front of this guy who's interviewing Megan, where he (Greyson) knows Megan can't tell him off or get rid of him without causing problems for herself. He's blatantly taking advantage of the situation to make Megan uncomfortable, and having fun while he's doing it. It's amazing how many romance "heroes" behave that way and I always want to thrash them. [wry smile] If I hadn't had the overall positive impression of him left over from beta reading the sequel, I'd be despising him right now. :D


kirsten saell said...

He's blatantly taking advantage of the situation to make Megan uncomfortable, and having fun while he's doing it.

But that's what I love about him!

Angie said...

Difference in taste then. [nod]

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this relationship turns into the one I saw later, though. :)


December/Stacia said...

Thanks Kirsten! :-)

Mark said...

Can we wait for the League book club for this discussion?