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Thursday, July 3, 2014

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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Discover great reads on Exquisite Quills' Cliff Hanger Thursday!    


Rose Anderson said...

Loving Leonardo - The Quest
~by Rose Anderson
(In this scene Nicolas, Ellie and Luca meet a Parisian fortune teller who hints their future brings changes)
The last card was the king of cups. She looked up into his face and for the first time I realized she had a glass eye that didn’t quite move with the other. The real eye looked him up and down, and the perusal made me very uncomfortable. I couldn’t say why that was, even if I’d been asked. She suddenly scooped up the cards and declared the reading completed.
Luca chuckled. “Madam, you’ve not read my last card.”

The baby fussed. The older woman turned to the younger and said something in a language I did not recognize but possessed rounded syllables found in the Latin languages. Romanian, perhaps. The young woman nodded and replied, then bared her breast to suckle her babe. She said, “The king of cups tells of a powerful man—”

The old woman voiced something that effectively stopped the younger mid-sentence.

How strange. We looked at one another. Ellie dug into her reticule and set a coin on the table. “I’d like my fortune read too, if you please.”

The old woman shook her head.

“Why not? I’ll pay.”

Chuckling, Luca set another coin on the cloth. Obviously deliberating, the old woman stared at the coins and pursed her lips. In the end, the prospect of more money won out. She shuffled the cards and set the deck on the table. Her one eye moved from person to person, at last settling on Ellie. She told her, “One card only, lady.”

Ellie turned over a single card and set it on the scarf. The lovers in reverse. The old woman said, “Separation,” and quickly scooped up the deck and scarf and snapped the folding table closed. The card reading was officially over.

“Wait, what does that mean?” Ellie asked obviously confused.
Sample the first chapters

Get to know Rose

James D said...

Thanks for this great opportunity!

This is from book #5 of the Dream Series, "Waking Dream"...

The cave goes on and on, gently curving. The only sound is the very troubled breathing, and as Sara approaches it, she sees more light in the distance: a lamp, or perhaps a torch. She’s almost there now, and in just a couple of steps, as the curvature of the cave sharpens and she turns a corner, she’s nearly blinded.

There are probably a dozen torches blazing in brackets on the walls of a large, roughly rectangular chamber, in the center of which is a king-size bed.
A bed that Sara recognizes, just as she recognizes the man lying on it. It’s her father, on his bed, and she knows it’s his dream. For one moment, Sara panics, whirling around, looking for a way out. She doesn’t want to see what either of her parents dreams about. But the moment passes, and she realizes what she’s seeing. Her father is alone; her mother isn’t here, nor is anyone else. And he is the source of the distressed

Even in the torchlight, Sara can tell that his color is all wrong, and, though he appears to be asleep,there are beads of sweat on his brow and his face is contorted in pain. And – Sara blinks, and it’s still there – a fifty-pound weight, a free weight, the same kind Brian uses at the gym, is pressing on his chest.

As Sara watches, a shadowy hand reaches up from underneath the bed, holding another weight, placing it on her father’s chest. His breathing is extremely shallow and labored now. His eyes open. His right arm reaches up to his chest, but he can’t lift the weight off with one hand. She sees him try to raise his left arm and fail, gasping in pain. Sara can see the arm throbbing, from the shoulder on down.

Her father is trying to speak, but no words are coming out and the words wouldn’t be for her anyway. He doesn’t know she’s here. He thinks he’s alone, Sara realizes. He’s trying to cry out for help, but he knows there’s no one to provide it.

Sara knows exactly what’s going on, and she also knows she’s the only one who does. He can’t hear her, but she calls out to him anyway: “I’m coming, Dad!”

She turns away from him and begins to run back the way she came…

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the opportunity to list a little teaser from The Pride of Lions:

"I love you, Alexander Cameron. More than common sense or decency should allow. Your strength frightens me and your stubbornness angers me, and I believe you to be a truly dangerous threat to a woman’s inbred gentility, but there you have it. And unless you are prepared to give me several honest and convincing reasons why I should do otherwise, I intend to remain here at Achnacarry as your wife, as your lover if you will have me, as the mother of your sons, of which—please God—there will be many.”
His eyes widened and he started to push himself upright, but Catherine was already at the door. She heard him call out, but she dared not stop or go back. She had said it and she meant it, and it was up to him now whether they used the smuggler’s ship to send out a second explanatory letter to Damien or a bound, gagged, and screaming Catherine Ashbrooke Cameron.
Her heart was pounding and her hands were shaking as she ran through the long gallery and down the narrow secondary corridor that opened into the courtyard. On impulse, she ran across it and through the judas gate into the rose gardens, slowing down only when she entered the path she normally followed to the tranquil solitude of the shoreline.
When she was into the small band of trees that fringed the banks of the loch, she heard footsteps coming swiftly up behind her. She took a deep breath to brace herself for the inevitable arguments and turned steadfastly to confront her husband—but it was not Alex who came to a grinning halt behind her. It was not Alex who reached out his arms to her, and it was not Alex who clamped a brutal hand over her mouth to stifle her scream of horror.

Visit my website:

Savanna Kougar said...

His Claimed Bride

Happy New Year On Another Earth

A Flash-Scene Erotic Romance Novel

From Chapter One ~


Sylva froze in terror, the scream in her throat failing to pass her lips. Desperately, as time slowed around her, she looked for a way to escape becoming a bloody broken *okay, sexily-dressed* pancake. The headlights glared like devil's eyes. The grill suddenly reminded her of a dragon's face. When a blast of light struck her, then formed into a mirror-bright circle, Sylva dived toward it, not knowing what else to do. The first thing she noticed – she'd landed on her butt in a shallow mud puddle. Then she noticed, the air smelled heavenly despite the drift of fresh horse manure.


Zeke reined Smoky down to a slow trot at the edge of town. With excitement charging through him like a bull, he scanned both sides of Main Street, looking for the rowdiest celebration. A woman wanting marriage would make herself available there. Yep, he'd decided against Merlinda. He hadn't confided in anyone either, cherishing the notion he'd have his pick of fillies – without the two local women chasing him, scaring any newcomer away. As a shooting star appeared, Zeke halted Smoky, taking in the celestial beauty and making his wish for a woman he could love with his whole heart.


Sylva glanced back and forth, completely bewildered. Illumined buildings that were no more than three stories, looked as if they'd been the victims of an all out war between an old west movie town and the elongated elegance of art nouveau. Not only that, horses adorned by silver-laden saddles stood at hitching posts while some manner of flying automobiles were parked on rooftops. Where in the freaking hell was she? Swivelling her head in slow motion, she nursed the hope she'd wake up at any moment. Even the music sounded like a strange mix of honky tonk and a waltz.

Blurb-Excerpt-Buy links:

Have a happy Fourth of July...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Helen Henderson said...

Happy cliff-hanger. Here's a snippit from Dragon Destiny by Helen Henderson.

The trees thinned out providing a glimpse of a gray ribbon snaking alongside the hill. He flew along the marker, praying he would not arrive too late. Seeing movement, he dropped lower until the black marks resolved into groups of fighters. Dread tightened his chest until his long vision located Anastasia with her back against a wagon. Uaine and Oran formed a protective line before her.

An anger Branin realized came from his twinned soul added to his own rage.

Llewlyn’s voice boomed in Branin’s mind.

A flashing evaluation later, Branin decided the best way to support the trader caravan. The trail was too narrow for him to maneuver along the road. However the steep drop-off provided the necessary space. And if some of the attackers happened to fall over the edge, so be it.

Screaming his defiance, Branin folded his wings and plummeted earthward. His tail lashed out as he fell past the wagon. It ripped the sword from a burly man about to stab Yunka. Back the tail whipped and wrapped around the attacker’s waist. A tug sent the man, arms flailing, out over the chasm. With great sweeps of his wings, Branin soared upward toward the next group of fighters.

Loud cries of “For Clan Miller” reached his ears as the traders rallied, turning the tide of battle. Above the bedlam, Branin heard Broch screeching, urging her men to turn and fight. Then a male voice cut above her orders with a stentorian “retreat.” Those actively engaged in a fight broke off. In a panicked rout, they scrambled up the hillside, dragging wounded comrades with them. Although every instinct called for him to follow, Branin hovered above a wagon and initiated the change to human form. His great sword, Mt’wan Comraich, filled his hand before he even dropped onto the wagon’s roof. He searched the battlefield for Anastasia. A cold chill rippled through his nerves at the sight of Anastasia on her knees.
# #

Wing into adventure and love at for more information about this action- and romance-filled fantasy. Paperback available at Ebook Available At: Amazon / Barnes & Noble. A complete distribution list, excerpts or a free read of the first chapter, available at

Andrea Cooper said...

Here's mine from Son of Dragons Book 2 Legends of Oblivion - fantasy/ paranormal romance. The heroes think they have defeated the Warloc and his protege....

Like a snail changing houses, her spirit coiled inside the life-less body.

She must concentrate. The final words must be spoken before the second breath in the new body. A weight fell over her and she struggled to breathe.

So close, she felt the air upon her skin, but could not grasp it into these lungs.

Thinking of the Warloc, she willed this new body to breathe.

At last, sweet air rushed into her lungs. Her muscles convulsed to breathe again. She must not. Not until the final words were said aloud.

She struggled with her new mouth and tongue while the body around her screamed for air.

As she exhaled, she spoke the words. They were a whisper at first then became a yell.

After pushing her dead body off, she rose. “This one will do. Strong, and skilled.” She plunged outside of the cavern within the body of Jeslyn.

She’d force the Drows to her plans. Then Landon’s blood added to her potion, to bring his death, for rejecting her and the Warloc. Or maybe she would keep him as a pet, bring as much suffering as she could to his lover.

Her father must be reborn as well. Aye, she would journey past Cape Seyechell to the other side of this land of the dead.
Because of what she must do, she could not afford to use anymore magic until they reached their destination, or the witch might sense it.

In the hands of the abominator, she would reclaim her father. She would become the Warloc’s mother. In less than a year, she would give birth to him, yet he would be as he was before he died. Once he was reborn in the flesh, no one would stop them.


Mary Marvella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria Pinder said...

Chaperoning Paris Excerpt

“Don’t look down,” she told herself.

Her eyes stared out the window. Her eyes went wide.

“Geegs, Look at me.”

“You’re safe.”

Her shoulders hunched together and she took a deep breath.

Finally the color returned to her cheeks. “I should have given you a chance to say something I’m sorry. My habit is to run.”

“You’re sorry?” Am I supposed to be okay with ‘sorry’?” Her perfume swirled around in his lungs, and rose in his throat. He choked on the air and breathed fire to stop the smell. “No. You don’t get to apologize for what you did with just ‘I’m sorry.’”

“What else am I supposed to say?” She gnawed her lower lip. “I should have been able to say no? I wish I had.”

He took a step toward her and she held firm. He inhaled her sweet berry soap. And his mouth watered. He’d intended to speak his mind, but instead, his fingers stroked her back. Then a fire consumed him, and he lowered his mouth hers.

Her hand played with his hair, then drew him closer. She tasted better than homemade cookies sprinkled on a sundae. Her dewy lips stole away his anger. But he couldn’t let himself go. He’d not forget or forgive her. Instead, he tore himself out of her arms, and wiped his lips. She panted and he clenched his jaw. He had no right. She had left him.

“Why did you kiss me?” Her words came out breathy and unsure.

At first he had no answer. He wanted to lash out or kiss her again.
Then he replied, “It was either that or kill you, Gigi. I’m not sure I made the right choice.”

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Jana Richards said...

Here's a cliffhanger from FLAWLESS, my WW2 romantic suspense. In this snippet, Madeleine and Hunter are about to make their escape from the Nazis and a burning French chateau:

“We have to get out of here, Hunter,” she said.

Hunter nodded. She put her arm around his waist, and he leaned on her as they left the stable and slipped quietly through the woods. In the distance the fire at the chateau raged out of control. The sounds of people shouting and sirens blaring filled the night. A thick blanket of smoke hung over the woods.

Madeleine led Hunter to the spot where she and Anne Marie had hidden the bicycles. She pulled away the branches and retrieved her knapsack from its hiding place, slinging it across her back in one elegant motion, and then hauled one bicycle upright and set it in front of Hunter.

“I’m sorry to make you do this, but there’s really no other way. A plane is waiting for us.” She sounded as if his pain hurt her as much as it did him. The thought gave him hope.

“I know. I’ll be fine.”

Madeleine took his hand and kissed his palm. A shaft of desire flew straight from his hand to his loins. The timing was all wrong, but he needed to tell her how he felt, how he wanted to spend his life with her, loving her. He touched her face.

“Madeleine, I—“

“Isn’t this a cozy scene?” General Dietrich aimed his Luger at the middle of Madeleine’s chest. “Monsieur and Madame Lemay sharing an intimate moment. It’s really too bad you will have no more moments to share.”

FLAWLESS can be purchased from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and other ebook retailers. To read a blurb, please go to my website at

E. Ayers said...

This is from my upcoming River City novel, CAMPAIGN. River City novels do not need to be read in order. The glue holding them together is the city. But it's fun to read them in order. :-)

Visit my author page on Amazon where you will find the complete collection of River City novels starting with WANTING.

She turned onto the winding road and touched a button on her steering wheel. Music filled her small car. Thrilled at the thought that she might be pregnant, her spirits had risen high, and she mouthed the words of the song on the radio. Just over the next rise lay the small town of Treeberry. Life was good.

The hot black pavement sent distorted waves of heat over the crest of the hill. She waited for the view of the sleepy town on the other side. The road seemed to rise higher. It was the roof of another vehicle. In one split second, shiny chrome and black metal filled her windshield. Her gut clenched as she inhaled, her hands tightened on the steering wheel, her foot stomped on the brake as she yanked on that steering wheel and laid over the passenger seat. The vee-shaped pattern on charcoal-black rubber was imprinted in her brain. She closed her eyes and heard an engine roar, and the unmistakable sound of metal crunching and glass shattering. Someone threw a pillow over her. As her body moved of its own volition, pain wracked her shoulder, and a bolt of lightning flashed in her head. Cloudless blue sky, green leaves, then everything was quiet.

Maggie Le Page said...

Thanks for this opportunity. Am loving the excerpts :)

This cliffhanger is from A HEAT OF THE MOMENT THING:

“Don’t worry, you’ll still make your lecture. We’ll find a way out.”

“Super,” I said, but my heart wasn’t in it. This lift looked impossible to Houdini out of.

“Hey!” I said, suddenly excited. “I’ve got my mobile.”

“Great stuff, Becky.” He patted my back as I ta-dah’d it out of my bag.

Our enthusiasm was short-lived, though: no reception.

“Damn.” I dropped my useless scrap of technology onto the floor, slumped against the wall, closed my eyes and tried to magic myself to the Greek islands. Hell, whatever worked. Just get me out of here.

No genies came to the rescue. I opened my eyes and we were still in a metal box, stuck in limbo I-don’t-know-how-many feet in the air.

Matt reinspected the buttons. Nothing. I inspected the ceiling. No CCTV.

“This is ridiculous,” I said through gritted teeth.

How were we going to escape? Because we would, right? Cold fear trickled down my spine. We had to. I couldn’t take much more of this.

A quick scan of the elevator’s fitness certificate confirmed it was serviced and good for another six months. Funny. I turned my attention to the roof, looking for the trapdoor you see in the movies. Not that I particularly fancied surfing on top as the lift went into free-fall, but if we were about to free-fall I didn’t fancy being in here, either. Surfer or cave-girl? I felt dizzy with the enormity of the choice.

But there was no trapdoor, so no choice. Ridiculously, I felt disappointed.

I faced the doors again. This was it. Our one and only exit.

Only not today.

Hope you enjoyed that! Want to read more? A HEAT OF THE MOMENT THING is available at any of these outlets:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

Visit Maggie Le Page at
Facebook page
See you there!

Mary Marvella said...

Thanks to the person who spotted my error,I am re-posting this from Protective Instincts.

“Dad, Dad?”
“Yes, son?”
“I need to go to Ms. Roberts’ room and get a book for my project. If I get an A on this project I can make an A for the semester.”
“Do you have to get it now?” Sam didn’t think he’d be able to look at her violet eyes without thinking about the fear he’d seen in them. He didn’t think he’d be able to leave her again with his cool in tact. He certainly didn’t need Sean watching him.
“She’s probably gone, anyway.” Sam’s hand was on the door handle, his keys in the lock, already.
“No, Dad, her car’s still here. That real old Mustang over there is hers. Tough, huh?”
“Yeah. She wasn’t happy when I followed her home last night to be sure she made it.”
“Dad, you didn’t!”
“Well, it looks like car trouble waiting to happen.”
“Dad, she’s had that car since she was in high school.”
“She basically told me to mind my own business. That she could take care of herself. But she didn’t even have a cell phone in case of any kind of trouble.” Sam left out mention of the late night visit and the reason for it. There was no reason to worry his son with information the teacher might not want spread around.
The hair on the back of Sam’s neck was suddenly charged. Stupid feeling. His gut hurt. He was light headed. Damn! This time he was near panic. This premonition was a bad one. Oh, shit!
“Come on, son,” Sam called over his shoulder as he headed back toward the school building. “Let’s get that book and see that she leaves with us. She doesn’t need to be here alone this late.”

Anonymous said...

This is a awesome idea! The excerpts are great. Here's a cliff-hanger from my romantic suspense book, A Matter of Trust.

The coal-black SUV sped down Peachtree Street, suppressed power throbbing beneath the hood. Mac turned onto West Paces Ferry Road. He opened her up, speeding past the Governor's mansion, and continued west toward the Knight estate. High wrought-iron gates marked the entry.
Gates that should have been closed stood open, allowing anyone entry.
Crap, this was bad, real bad.
He parked the SUV near the barn that housed Knight's exotic car collection, pulled his Glock from the side pocket of the door and slid from the seat. Mac knelt beside the vehicle. His special forces training decreeing caution, he inched along the wall.
Crouching low, he crept toward the house. Body flattened against the barn wall he rounded the corner, Glock held ready.
He found the first body on the lawn outside the house. The second lay sprawled in the garage, just outside the kitchen door. The security team. Both had a single gunshot to the back of the head. His fifth speed dial was to 911.
"Damn," Mac cursed. No time to wait for back up, he had to find Mrs. Knight and Rachael Anne, now.
Body tense and weapon drawn, he entered through the open mudroom door.
Professional security guards wouldn't have been taken out so easily. He'd warned Knight that as a high-profile executive, he and his family were prime targets.
Mac hugged the garage wall and advanced. Inside more chaos reigned – showroom perfect kitchen trashed, dishes smashed across the floor, living room furniture overturned and shoved askew.
Worse, the petite body of Lora Knight sprawled on the polished marble floor in front of the wide sweeping stairs that led to the upstairs bedrooms.
He switched the Glock to his left hand and knelt, touching his fingers to her throat. Some of the tension left him when he felt a steady pulse.
Caution and dread brought a steely determination to Mac's steps. Slowly he climbed the stairs headed toward the child's room.

Mary Marvella said...

So, What did that mean? grin

Mary Marvella said...

What a nightmare!

Elaine Hopper said...

This is a cliffhanger excerpt from "Cooking Up A Storm" by Ashley Ladd available at Totally Bound:

“What in hell are you doing? Come on!” Rique slid to a stop down the hall and glared at his lover.
“Trying to lock the door, slow them down.”
“It’s glass. They’ll shoot through it. We have to hide.” As if Rique’s words invited danger, bullets riddled the door, shattering the pane.
Jumping like he’d been electrified, Brooks rocketed down the hall after Rique. “Why do they want to kill us? I haven’t done anything.”
Hating himself, Rique said, “They’re after me. Split up. Hide. They should follow me and you’ll be safe.”
“Why? What makes you think they’ll follow you? Do you know what’s going on?”
Rique started to open his mouth to growl, “Later” when he recognized the lead man.
Following his gaze, Brooks sighed in relief. “Thank God. Ax is here.”
“Get them.” Ax lifted his rifle and pointed it at Rique. “We’ll feed their remains to the sharks.”

Dr Bob Rich said...

Here is one of many snippets from "Ascending Spiral: Humanity's last chance

I had a special bond with my father’s best horse, Harry, a large young gelding who was as happy pulling a cart or a plough as being ridden. He was the first horse I’d ever trained, under Da’s supervision. One summer day I was up on his back, returning from a message for my father from the next village, when somehow I felt uneasy. I looked up at the scrub on the hillside above, and out to the right over the sea, then turned to look behind. A yellow dust cloud rose above the hill I’d just descended, and that was when I noticed a vibration in the ground. Before I could do anything a group of galloping riders burst over the rise, two abreast along the narrow road. The lead man’s arm moved in a circle, then a terrible sting along my side, and Harry jumped, crashed into something, and I was falling off the edge, falling, down toward the sea.
Over the drumming of hooves, I heard laughter.

Kayelle Allen said...

From Forbid My Heart, by Kayelle Allen
Izzorah rose to his knees, grabbed Luc, and flattened him against the bed. He clamped his fangs on the tip of Luc's chin.
Purring in response, Izzorah kept his teeth against Luc's skin.
"This bite's good?" Luc's mixed scent revealed curiosity.
Izzorah released him and sat astride Luc's waist. He tossed his head to move hair out of his eyes. "Ehh nim shree."
"Ah. A love bite. You're being playful."
Gaze locked with Luc's, Izzorah bent forward and lightly nipped Luc's lower lip, nibbled the upper one, and then scraped his teeth across the tip of Luc's nose. He kissed it, then moved back to hover above his mouth, their gazes still linked. "I was bite-thanking you."
"You're welcome. What did I do to deserve that exactly?"
"You listened to me. I was missing Purkinje, and you helped me feel better."
"I'll always listen. I'm sorry about your horse, love. Buying you another one might not help, because it wouldn't be Purkinje, but maybe we..." His voice trailed off as Izzorah slid claws through Luc's curls. Luc sighed in pleasure. "Mmm. I like it when you do that." He went completely still.
"I like touching you." Izzorah bent down and licked the width of Luc's mouth. He brushed his lips across Luc's, gave another gentle nip, and then licked him again. "I think you need to be thanked some more so you know how much I appreciate you. Maybe I should tongue-thank you here." He slipped his tongue across Luc's right nipple. The scent of warm brown sugar and melting butter revealed Luc's rising desire. "You taste of salt, sex, and male. I need to bite-thank and tongue-thank you all over."
Forbid My Heart is available at Loose Id