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Thursday, July 24, 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!

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Discover great reads on Exquisite Quills' Cliff Hanger Thursday!    


KD Austin said...

“That was too close,” she said aloud, just to hear her own voice. The gun allowed her to remove the curse of daemons from the world, at least temporarily, but it had made her overconfident. Tonight that had almost killed her. For the past several years, she’d had to plan carefully how to ambush the evil creatures, so as to kill them before they killed her. She had relied on elaborate traps and plans. Since she’d acquired the gun, though, she’d allowed herself to plan less. The Colt removed the need for some of her planning, but not all of it. It wasn’t a mistake she intended to repeat. In fact, she probably wouldn’t survive another error like tonight’s.

She stood up, furiously brushing the dusty remains off her black leather pants and jacket, and stepped through the far door.


Against the back wall of the five-by-five room stood a desk with a flat piece of black glass attached to a brushed metal stand. Beneath the glass on the desk sat a thin sheet of metal with human letters and numbers on it, though they weren’t in alphabetical order. It was just as the lesser daemon she’d briefly detained in the town of Rustville described it. Though it looked nothing like she’d imagined or like any of the crude drawings she’d ever seen, Lace guessed this was the computer that the daemon had told her about unwillingly. For some reason he had believed Lace wanted it, but she couldn’t imagine how the piece of junk could have ever been useful. However, what lay next to it caught Lace’s attention. This is what she’d come here for. A book!

A boot scuffed behind her.

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Barbara Mikula said...

From Kaylin’s Pursuit, Book 1 of The Black Iris Club by Skye Michaels

When Kaylin got to her street, she automatically slowed down and checked the neighborhood looking for anything out of place, cars that didn’t belong there, or kids hanging out where they shouldn’t. She didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but she knew she was distracted. Damn and double damn. She was not a person who thrived on conflict in her personal life. She got plenty of conflict on the job. This was upsetting her more than she should let it. Jack had seen her to her car and had opened her door like the gentleman he was, but he hadn’t kissed her good night. That stung. It was the first time he hadn’t done that.
She parked the SUV in front of her house, grabbed up her overnight bag, briefcase, and purse and headed up the walk to the front door. She was fumbling with the key because she had too many things in her arms. When she finally got the door unlocked she felt a presence behind her, but before she could react she was pushed into the house, fell to her knees and dropped her keys and bags. Damn. Her gun was in that handbag. She scrambled toward the bag, but the dark presence kicked it across the foyer and out of her reach. What the hell? She tried to see her attacker, but his face was in darkness, or perhaps he wore a ski mask? If she could get close enough, she might be able to kick his legs out from under him and get to the gun.
“Don’t even think about it, Kaylin.” He pulled a gun out of his waistband. “I’m the one in charge here.”
“Who are you and what do you want?”
“Why, I want you, of course. My name doesn’t matter. You can call me Master. I’ve been watching you for weeks—since the Evans bitch’s crime scene. Didn’t see me there, did you? Not paying very close attention. Shame on you.”
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Teresa Reasor said...

Though exhaustion dragged at her limbs and she longed for sleep, they needed to talk. She needed to tell him, though the dread of it made her want to throw up. Just saying the words would make things real for her, for them both. And change things for them—between them—forever.
Ten minutes later, Oliver wandered into the room and paused at the coffee maker to pour them each a cup. He added cream to hers, then sauntered over to the table. The deliberate way he placed his feet, the measured distance between steps, was a SEAL thing, perpetuated by their training. She would recognize him in a crowd of a thousand other men just by the way he walked.
He slid the cup in front of her. “Are you sure you want to drink coffee? Since you’ve been up with the baby all night, I can hold down the fort while you sleep.”
“I may in a bit.” She concentrated on the cup in front of her to keep from tearing up. “There’s something I have to tell you. I couldn’t while you were on your training rotation, but now you’re home—”
Oliver frowned and placed a hand over the one she clenched on the kitchen table. “What is it?”
She studied his features…so strong, so masculine. She’d seen him smiling like a fool all the way through their wedding. Seen him grimace in release when they made love. Seen him luminous with pride and joy when he’d first set eyes on Lucia when he’d come home from a deployment. What would his expression reveal when she told him?
She swallowed. “Three weeks ago I found a lump in my breast and went to the doctor. I may have cancer.
Breaking Ties in ”Hot Alpha SEALs:Military Romance Megaset $.99

Susan Macatee said...

From Civil War romance, Confederate Rose.

"I'm hating to have to say it, since I'd accused you of being a thief, but I stole something from you." She looked away.

"What could you...?" He racked his mind trying to figure out what she could have taken.

"I went through yer pack."

"In Patrick's tent?"

"No, weeks ago back at the cabin. I went through it to try to learn more about you when you were in the stable. I found a letter and took it but didn't have time to read it until now."

Alex swallowed.

"It was a Federal dispatch. Yer a Yankee."

His chest tightened. No wonder he'd been unable to find the dispatch. She'd had it all along. "What do you intend to do?" He hoped she wouldn't discover his real motive. He could never harm her.

"You lied to me the whole time," she said, disbelief marring her delicate features.

He exhaled the breath he'd held. "I had no choice."

"If I'd known you to be a Yankee, I'd have shot you the first chance I got." Her eyes glittered in the light of the fire. "You touched me...pretended to care fer me. And all the while, you lied to me."

The raw hurt on her face broke his heart. He'd deceived her. He couldn't deny it. "What do you intend to do?" he asked again.

She shook her head slowly. "I'm sorry, Alex, but 'tis me
duty to turn you in."

Maggie Le Page said...

This is from A HEAT OF THE MOMENT THING by Maggie Le Page

“Becky,” said Gary, “meet Matt, London’s biggest caffeine junkie and your course supervisor.”

Matt’s eyes locked with mine. Deep, chocolate-brown, come-to-bed eyes. Under the fluorescent lights they looked almost black.

He shook my hand. “Well, hello again.”

My stomach did an elevator-swoop down to my toes and back. Oh God. That voice. Rich, compelling, familiar.


Every droplet of moisture on my tongue dried up, rendering it a useless blob of flesh.

“I know you, right?” he prompted, still holding my hand.

I watched his lips as he spoke, my mind replaying for the zillionth time those unforgettable minutes after I’d regained consciousness; leaning back against his chest, cocooned by his hard muscular strength, his arms holding me close, his heartbeat strong at my back, the warmth and gentle power of his hands, his deep chocolate-y voice a caress in my ear, tempting me, enticing me, seducing me . . . and stop! This had to stop! Right now!

I dragged some air into my lungs and it fuelled the fire in my cheeks. A few more degrees and I’d spontaneously combust.

Which, all things considered, might not be a bad option.

I withdrew my hand and licked my lips. “Um, no, I don’t think we’ve met; no.” Liar, liar.

I moved to inspect the coffee machine, every hair on my head aware of his gaze. Why had I just said that? What good could it possibly do?

“Oh. I could have sworn . . . Hmm. Sorry, my mistake.” Matt cleared his throat. “It’s good to have you on board, Becky. I’ll catch up with you later, once you’ve had a chance to settle in.”

He paused. “Nice scarf, by the way.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

I couldn’t turn around. I daren’t turn around. He’d read the truth all over my face.

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Helen Henderson said...

For a human, a dragon form comes with more than just the freedom of the sky.

Dragon Destiny by Helen Henderson

The battle-trained steed bulled his way to the stricken woman, knocking down one attacker after another. Uaine, his sword flashing in vicious slashes, rode up on Anastasia’s left. Side by side they fought toward Bevina. With their mounts’ help, Anastasia and Uaine broke through the chaos and reached the wounded clanswoman, who now slumped against the wheel of a wagon. Anastasia leaped from the saddle. Uaine dropped to the ground and spun to guard Anastasia’s back. The horses formed a protective line, defending their riders with hooves and teeth.

Sticking her sword into the ground, Anastasia used her boot knife to cut the bloodied tunic. A long shallow gash bled profusely, but Anastasia could see the cut missed vital organs. With deft movements, she bandaged the wound. Standing, she turned to survey the battlefield. In the short time it had taken to administer aid, a dozen men armed with pikes neared her small sanctuary. “No,” she moaned. Uaine could not hold out alone against that strong a force. The horses could not continue their attack without being hurt themselves

Available in paperback at Amazon. In ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere. For excerpts or a free read of the first chapter visit Find Helen on the web at