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Thursday, June 19, 2014

NEW! Cliff Hanger Thursday

Our new Thursday meme is all about the cliff hanger. How do you leave your characters and readers dangling?

In comments, and in 300 words or less, share a bit of suspense from your story. Make us want more!

Don't forget your buy link and website/blog link. Have fun!

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Come see my snippet on Exquisite Quills' Cliff Hanger Thursday!    


Victoria Adams said...

From my about to be released - as in tomorrow - new adult contemporary romance - A Guy and A Girl
Sighing, Hunter returned to the reception, locating his new roommate standing near the food table. His spiked, short, blond hair was easy to spot. He and Rod stored their equipment in their assigned lockers, got their player passes and loaded Hunter's gear into Rod's dad's car.
As Rod drove to their apartment, Hunter watched the cityscape pass by. Great. I'm bunking with a kid and riding in his father's car. Monday at school, we'll probably all be wearing cute little "Hi. My name is" labels. He rubbed his forehead. Hopefully, this time, nobody'll die.

E. Ayers said...

This is from WITH THIS RING my newest release.

There was something about a man wearing a tailored vest and it caused that little fire to glow brighter. Then he grabbed her and they started again. It was the same basic steps done over and over. Some were closer and slower and some were faster and at a distance.

The music was inside of her. She was thirteen and dancing in her bedroom. Closing her eyes, she raised her arms above her head. She found herself smacked against his hard body. His breath was on her face, his hands on her waist. He lifted her into the air, and then slowly returned her feet to the floor as if she were a little feather. Her heart pounded as the music died.

Still against his chest, Bless the Broken Road played as she found her breath during the slow dance. Her one arm rested over his shoulder while her other hand was entwined with his. His free hand pressed against the small of her back. A few minutes later, she rested her head on his shoulder and swayed to Elvis Presley singing I Can't Help Falling in Love with You. The trance began to break and she realized she was on a dance floor with Cody Montgomery.

He escorted her back to their table, then out of the hotel, and into the freezing cold. “My place?”

Instant red flags rose in her. “No, take me home. I'm not some desperate female looking for a hot night. Besides, where’s your wife? Away for the weekend?”

He chuckled. “Oh, you are quite safe with me. And you don’t have to worry about the last female in my life, I dropped her in the compost pile years ago.”

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great idea - thanks! This is from The Adonis Touch by Romy Gemmell, the 2nd novella in my Aphrodite and Adonis series set on Cyprus.

They stood staring into the opaque depths of the water when a voice startled Katie.

“Welcome to our special pool.”

Katie stared across the surface at the finely muscled man now watching them and recognized Donas, who had massaged the sun cream into her back. The beautiful woman stood to his right, watching with equal interest.

“Thank you.” As the couple walked toward them, Katie took Mike’s hand again, seeking reassurance against an indefinable qualm of unease. “It’s different from I imagined.”

“Visitors tend to have their own expectations of our legendary places.” The man smiled to take away any thought of censure, and Katie relaxed at his open admiration.

Later, Katie couldn’t recall how she ended up so close to Donas. They had no sooner spoken to the couple when he offered his hand to Katie and led her toward the edge of the pool.

“Come, my lovely lady, the water is cooling and will soothe your cares,” he murmured.

Anna Markland said...

Scene from Dance of Love, featured in anthology Magnificent Medieval Men (#1 Amazon medieval romance). The hero is afflicted with arthritis in his hands.

“Faraaah!” Izzy screamed, galloping onto the bridge. She dangled like a rag doll perilously close to the edge, held there by some Spaniard wearing a ridiculous hat who would soon be dead. Izzy had already drawn the shamshir when the terrified pilgrims had come running up the path towards them, waving their arms in warning, screaming murder, ambush, bandits in several different languages. He had known in his gut the danger was to Farah.
Now he whirled the blade over his head, the pain in his hands spurring him on. He slashed at anyone who stood in his way and heads rolled.
The Spaniard holding Farah shouted something. A man who looked like a giant crow appeared, swaggering towards Izzy, snarling, slicing the air menacingly with a large dagger. Izzy leapt from his horse and flicked the shamshir, lopping off the crow’s arm below the elbow, sending it and the dagger cascading into the river. The man looked in dazed disbelief at the blood gushing from the stump. His eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he dropped like a lead weight.
The man holding Farah turned around, using her body as a shield. He braced his legs against the low stone wall and yelled something Izzy could not hear. Farah looked ready to swoon. She clutched at the arm clamped tightly around her neck. Her eyes were full of pain, hopelessness, love, gratitude. Izzy saw all this in the blink of an eye. He was a man possessed. His hopes for a future with Farah were at risk.
“Alto! Alto!” the man screeched, his eyes fixed on the shamshir. Izzy was close enough to hear him now.
Without breaking stride he turned his wrist, grasped Farah’s hand and skewered the Spaniard in the ribs. He swiftly withdrew the blade and pulled Farah towards him, but as the wide-eyed nobleman fell backwards over the wall he held on to Farah, taking her with him.
Izzy dropped the shamshir and lunged to save her, still holding one hand, reaching for the other. He braced his thighs against the low wall, the rough edge slamming into his chest as he peered over. The man was gone. Farah dangled over the side like a dancing marionette, feet kicking inches above the water, her life in his useless hands.

Rose Anderson said...

From Enchanted Skye by Rose Anderson ~ A story based upon one real family's ancient oral tradition about Selkies.

Setting the scene: Alex searches for Jenna who's lost in the hurricane.
Soaked to the skin, Alex fought the wind and torrential rain and proceeded to make his way from the sea cave to the lighthouse. Unbelievably, he saw Jenna’s small red car on the gravel path leading to the MacNeal house. Unable to fathom why Jenna would be in the valley, he headed there instead. It was all he could do to remain on his feet.

Coming to Jenna’s car, he opened the door and the wind nearly tore it from its hinges. She wasn’t inside. Determining where he was on the road, Alex headed west. Opening his mind to hers, he suddenly felt her fear. He ran, stumbling, with the wind driving hard at his back and wild panic growing in his gut. He called above the roar of the storm, “Jenna! Jen-na!”

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JoAnne Myers said...

This cliff-hanger blurb is from my crime/mystery "Murder Most Foul".

Chapter Four

Even at work, Jackie couldn't escape the murders. She tried using her heavy schedule at the hospital for therapy, but found it still not enough. Her co-workers discussed the murders in every department, in the restrooms, and during lunch breaks. They even wondered: Did Lorena's always stringing guys along and Shaun's partying too much cause their deaths? Though few recognized the victims' faces on the front page of the newspaper, many were amazed they were dead. Yet Jackie found some allies who also suspected Terry Jenkins.
The investigation intensified even more and soon brought other horrifying factors to light. Then...Jackie was targeted again.


Margo Bond Collins said...

I had just stepped inside the doorway when a hand came down over my mouth. I was jerked backwards, hard up against the body that had been waiting behind the door.

Greg buried his face in my neck and inhaled deeply.

Then he let out one of those creepy vampire hisses, and I could feel his breath brush against my shoulder.

“Did you think I wouldn’t recognize you? You might look different, but you smell exactly the same.”

Legally Undead
by Margo Bond Collins

Rose Anderson said...

These are great! So much suspense. Nicely done. :)

Susan Macatee said...

Here's a cliffhanger scene from my time travel romance, Thoroughly Modern Amanda.


Before he reached for the knob, the handle turned. The door opened inward. Jack’s heart thundered. He jumped back, expecting to be ambushed.

After a long moment of silence, he crept to the doorway.

“Anyone here?” he asked. “I won’t give you any trouble. I’m just looking the house over.” A vagrant squatter might panic and rush him to get away.

He eased himself through the doorway. “I won’t hurt you or force you out. I swear.”

Nothing but silence. His breath caught, and the back of his neck prickled in the eerie quiet. He raised his hands but wondered if he shouldn’t just get the hell out of here.

Forcing himself to breathe, he crept into the room, fully prepared to ward off any attack. But none came. He checked every corner of the room. No built-in closets to hide in, so who opened the door?

He stepped to the window and gazed out. Too high for someone to have escaped this way. He glanced back at the door, half expecting it to slam shut, trapping him inside.

He rubbed his arms. A sudden chill gripped him.

Must be nerves.

He circled the empty room, running his hand along the walls. In spots, the wallpaper and plaster had literally rotted away, exposing rotted wood beams. If only he’d had the chance to restore this house. He’d have done Mrs. Grayson proud.

“Enough self-pity,” he said aloud. “Time to go.”

He stepped to the doorway, but a creak followed by a groaning and a loud crack, stayed him.

Something hard and heavy clipped his head. Pain radiated like a white-hot light, and he fell.

Linda McLaughlin said...

This excerpt is from my Regency romance, LADY ELINOR'S ESCAPE.

Elinor pondered her choices. It was either Stephen Chaplin in a closed carriage or back to Aunt Sarah's cottage where, at best, she would be locked in her bedroom after today's escapade. And at worst...

She remembered Aunt Sarah's pistol and promptly made up her mind. Stephen Chaplin was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils.

"Very well, sir, I accept your escort."

"Would you care for some breakfast first?"

The inn was warm and she'd like nothing better than to settle near the fire and break her fast. Her stomach felt like it was stuck to her backbone, but she shook her head, afraid to stay a moment longer.

Scant minutes later, Mr. Chaplin led her outside to a closed traveling carriage standing in the inn yard. He must be a gentleman of some means, she mused, to have his own carriage. He supervised the loading of their luggage then held out his hand to help her into the carriage. As she stepped up, the wind caught her veil and blew it upwards. For a second she had a clear glimpse of his startled face.

He had seen the bruise.

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Juli D. Revezzo said...

From my newly released New Adult Paranormal romance, Changeling's Crown

“That’s right, sir. It’s all settled. Hunt’s on,” someone said.
She almost missed the implication. Hunt? That didn’t sound good. Ianthe paused behind a tree, listening.
“And they don’t suspect?” said another deep voice. “He made that very clear. They mustn’t interfere.”
“Oh no, sir,” said the first man. “They have no idea we’re coming.”
Ianthe frowned hard, counting back days. She was sure there was no Wild Hunt scheduled for tonight. Traditionally, the Hunts fell twice a year—and this was not one of those months. She strained to hear their conversation.
“You sure he’s cleared it with the border guards?” asked the first speaker. “You know how Norwegian guards can be.”
Norwegian guards?
A shiver crawled up her spine. What were they talking about? Norway. Hunt. Briak. She felt tugged and stretched in two directions. Should she warn the council of the out of season hunt? Or protect Briak?
“How’s this going to affect the balance?” said the first voice. “You know how he feels about that.”
“What do I care?” the second speaker said. “It’ll be great, you watch! Good King Heath and his queen won’t know what hit ‘em.”
She drew up as if a rod thrust down her spine. The king and queen?
No point in debating further, she turned and fled for the Everland Central offices. Briak could take care of himself for one night.

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E. Ayers said...

Oh, I've just added this to my TBR!

Margaret Taylor said...

From To Light The Dragon's Fire - Book 1 of the Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! Series:

Her younger siblings frown darkened. “Terra, what are you talking about?”

She smiled patiently, squeezing Lanni’s upper arm. “You did this for me and I just wanted to say I appreciate how much the program must have cost you.”

Lanni blinked in confusion. “Ter, no. This isn’t me.”

She gulped and jerked a thumb toward Draven. “You, mean, he’s real?”

The man in question snorted again and she caught more smoke coiling from his nostrils out of the corner of her eye. “Of course I am real. Why would I not be?” He turned toward the man beside him. “Is she mad?”

The other one’s thick brow dipped, his weirdly golden eyes narrowing slowly. “I am unsure. Anything is possible.”

She sputtered, striding forward with the intent to test her theory that he was nothing more than a fantasy, despite her sister’s words. Vid-helmet programming could only go so far. Usually the subject participating in them was too engrossed to question it. Most were more than willing to go along for the ride, so the designers hadn’t tried to enhance them much further than a detailed 3-D projection sent directly into one’s brain. She wasn’t an expert on such things, but she had been through one or two in her years, mostly out of curiosity.

She lifted a hand, expecting it to pass through his body and prove her point. But very real heat coiled around her outstretched finger a scant second before she touched his chest. An unexpected burst of energy sent her flying backwards. She landed on the roof, arms and legs flailing, the air ripped from her lungs in a whoosh as she slid toward the edge…


She bounced against the low wall at the far end, momentum sending her feet over head in a dizzying spin. She scrambled to grab the wall but missed, her fingers clutching at empty air as she began to fall.

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Kalea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clare Dargin said...

Caitlin tried in vain to stifle the resentment building within her. Every day she served, she gave it her all. Not once holding back even to the detriment of her marriage and still it was not good enough.

She folded her arms. When will it end? The threats, the recriminations? How much blood do I have to spill before I get some respect?

“Follow your conscience, your kind has one, though you may not use it. Just tell me. Why did you kill the nurse? Did she figure out you are working for the other side?”

“Fuck you!”

“Maybe while administering your meds, you talked too much. Said something you shouldn't have. Admit it you're feeding intel to the enemy.”

“That's a lie!”

“We know all about you. The O-cryo rebellion. You hate humanity. And you'd do whatever you can to get back at us.”

“We have given our lives in service to our country and our planet. How dare you cheapen the sacrifices we made. We earned our rights!”

“And you're getting back at us by helping the other side. But Ms. Driskoll, you picked the wrong team. The Verneans will kill you as soon as look at you. Once they get what they need, you will be tossed aside like the garbage you are.”

Blinded by rage, she grabbed his neck. Gadison grunted under her grasp. The pain of watching her best friend Beller die surged through her. Hurt and anguish ripped through her body making her squeeze harder. The harder she gripped, the more she wanted someone to pay for the misery inflicted upon her.

“Chief Driskoll stop!” someone said behind her, grasping her hands and pulling her away.

“No!” she wailed feeling the sting of tears in her eyes.

“You're going to pay for this!” Gadison yelled scrambling away from her. “Sargent take her back to her cell.”

“Let go of me,” Caitlin cried feeling her knees give way.

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