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First Page: Insecure – Contemporary Romance

First Page: Insecure – Contemporary Romance

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.


She waited till he was alone. She leant across the desk and said three words in a dirty low whisper. “I want you.” Then she walked away. The heels, the legs, that black suit, and the no nonsense hairstyle that should’ve made her look sexless, forbidding. She was so freaking gorgeous she couldn’t hide it in all that stiff expensive tailoring.

He laughed, louder than was sensible and earned a sharp look from Nolan.

She didn’t want him for his ability to code a program or provide IT support. This was a bad idea, but the city was burning, so if the girl was on fire he had a duty to put her out.

He followed her across the empty hotel ballroom, Nolan’s eyeballs stuck to his back. She waited, but she wasn’t in a socialising mood. “Look Mason, you either want this or you don’t.” She spoke softly in that you will obey me voice, looked him dead in the eye, daring him to misunderstand.

He was hooked. He’d been snagged by her from the moment she’d stood at the front of that meeting room, explained the game plan and called him on not paying attention in front of nineteen other people. She didn’t care if she’d embarrassed him. He didn’t care enough to be embarrassed. But if he didn’t find his tongue now he’d lose his chance. And it wasn’t the most disciplined organ. It either sat thick in his mouth and refused to move, or said inappropriate or ill-timed things that irritated people. “Mace.”

She frowned. “What?”

There it was, irritation—and he’d only said one word. “No one calls me Mason except Nolan, and he’s an idiot.” Which she was smart enough to know.

“Get too cute and I’ll start thinking this is a stupid idea.”

No point not saying it. “It’s a monumentally stupid idea.”

She let out a sigh, noisy with attitude. “That’s all you had to say.” She stepped around him to leave.

If he wanted her, he’d have to suck up the tough bitch programming. “I’ve got nothing else to do.”

She stopped. She was so straight backed, so crisp in her movements there was little left over for loveliness. She was military, her own parade. He was cannon fodder. If he did this, he’d get to see her without the armour, without the authority that kept her separate, like another species of woman, one without warmth or softness. He’d get to see her stripped of all that made her a corporate machine, the heiress apparent. That alone was worth the snark.

She turned back to face him, fixed him with a hard stare. “Changed your mind?”

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“Why?”

“Maybe the world will end tomorrow.” Yesterday that comment would’ve earned him too cute points and he’d be going home alone. After what just happened, he’d scored a break. Why me?” Jacinta Wentworth could choose anyone she wanted, but it was risky choosing someone she worked with, even if two office towers and fifteen layers of authority separated them.

She raked his face with eyes so stunningly certain, so sure of what she wanted, he didn’t need her answer, but he got it. “Because you’re hot.”

He laughed, too loud again, and across the ballroom Nolan scowled at him, a hundred censures radiating from under his mono-brow. Mace was fraternising way above his pay grade and for that there’d be words.

She stepped closer. “Because it’s been a long campaign, an awful day and I’m pissed off. And maybe an asteroid will smack down, cause a tsunami and the world will end. If that’s the case, I’d like to go out with a bang. You look like you know how to handle that.” One hand went to her hip and he couldn’t stop his eyes going there too. “Good enough?”

He nearly laughed at her phrasing, but she was fierce with it, so he checked it in time. “Almost.”

“What do you want—a contract?” She’d lowered her voice and upped her sarcasm.

“I want to hear you say this is no strings, we go our separate ways afterwards and we—”

“Can work together without it being weird.” She eye-rolled her impatience.

He grinned. Word was she was always wound tight. He could see that the failure of the shareholder meeting, the collapse of the takeover, the wrath of the CEO, had her pulled taunt like a muscle about to snap. “It’ll be weird.”

She slapped a hand on her thigh and looked down at the carpet. “This is over.”

“You have no sense of humour.”

Her chin jerked up. “And you have no sense of self preservation.”

That wasn’t news. He wouldn’t be in this conversation now if it was. He leant towards her, a little too close to be collegial. “And that’s exactly why you hit on me.”

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First Page: Pacific Passion – Contemporary Romance

Welcome to First Page Sunday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

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Chapter One

Champaign bubbles burst on her tongue while sunshine reflected on the waters of the Pacific and penetrated her skin. Soft gaze set on the horizon, Alexa Black vaguely listened to the voice of the man next to her as inspiration untangled a character complexity she was working through for her upcoming film.

“You know what I mean?”

Alexa—tall, tan, blonde and grateful for it—took in a breath of ocean air that surrounded the bow of the yacht she was perched on then glanced over at her friend, the wild boy Thane Davenport III, British heir to oil money.

“Not really. I was in a zone.” She said, unapologetically. “Warm today. What month is this again?”

Thane laughed. “How you managed to direct the American blockbuster of the summer last year is beyond me.“

“I’m an excellent director.” She said, lifting her glass of champagne to the sun, her imaginative blue eyes peering through the bubbles, envisioning little worlds trailing up to the surface, bursting out at the top.

“With the body of a sultry surf goddess.” He added, only slightly distracting her from the creative flow that perpetually meandered through her.
Her own easy laugh lingered above the beat of an Ellie Golding dubstep remix coming from the main cabin of the yacht.

“Then cheers to my mother who gave me this body.” The champagne brightened in her mouth, at once silky and citrusy. “Cristal? 2006? Yeah, it’s not a Methuselah but it’s got a good peachy dance to it.” She said, having answered her own question.

“Oh, you’re good. A cheeky champagne goddess.” He amended.

“Learning the art of drinking is something that comes with the territory of touring with one’s rock star mom, but apparently I’m not a very good time-keeper. What month is it again? February? March?” Alexa fidgeted with her string bikini strap. Sun, wine, boat, boy. All were fun but she itched to return to her brother’s cabana where she currently resided, plotting, and planning—well, her version of planning—the film she’d written and was set to direct beginning in June.

The familiar propulsion toward creating, producing, satiating her never-ending curiosity moved in at the same rate as the afternoon clouds, shadowing the northwestern coast of Kauai.

She accomplished more by the age of twenty-four than most but she did it with such ease and grace—and lack of regard for silly linear things like dates and times—that people saw her as lazy, spoiled, and blasé. She was spoiled, she admitted, in that she had love and support from her legendary mom and superstar brother, but never lazy, never blasé about things she cared about.

Deepest Blue was her film—finally she was going to direct a script she’d written, one that had come from her spirited surf and wine goddess soul, she thought with a quick tug of smile. The last film was exciting—loud action and punchy angles—but this one was her baby and she could see it all play out on the screen of her mind. Again an action flick, but one with depth, heart, intrigue, and rich, intoxicating, colors, philosophical twists and, for the fun, some sneaky and smooth ass-kicking. Plus, she was doing it on her own with no help from her family, no riding on their coattails. This one was hers, she’d hustled on her own name, her own time, her own sweat to get funding, a studio to distribute, a co-producer to deal with the details that she hated doing, a stellar director of photography and cinematographer, and a cast that mixed both big names and solid newbies. She beamed bright with eager pride and active anticipation. June was fast approaching—depending on what month it was—and she still had much to do.

Thane rose at the first drop of rain. “Oh, I bloody well hate the rain. Why does my brother always insist on coming to Kauai? Aside from seeing you, which is fantastic by the way, it rains every blessed day. How do you stand it?”

While he grumbled and wandered back to the galley where his brother and a group of girls danced drunkenly, Alexa welcomed the change—in weather and in energy. She relished it—if the wind didn’t naturally blow through stale moments, bringing in new, she’d go out of her mind.

She was made to direct action movies—they moved fast, stuff blew up and then it was onto the next, and she loved every moment of it. Even the hard parts—keeping schedule, being patient when details like lighting inevitably went wrong—those things were tolerable when each day was wild, imaginative, and different. She was twenty-four and living the life she’d always known was hers with nothing and no one holding her down.