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First Page: Pacific Passion – Contemporary Romance

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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.

First Page: Untitled Manuscript – Contemporary Romance

First Page: Untitled Manuscript – 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.

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The women in my life have condemned me to a slow and painful death. I feel like a character in that Alfred Hitchcock movie, the one where the killer birds terrorize a town, because each word that flies out of my younger sister’s mouth pecks me, gouging my flesh and tattering my clothes.

“The bridesmaids’ dresses are in, and tomorrow I’m meeting with the caterer to discuss the place settings,” my sister Izzy says. Her mass of curly light brown hair bobs and weaves around her shoulders, trying to keep up with the jerky movements that accompany her incessant chatter.

My mother, meanwhile, is flapping her hands together like a seal. “What about the veil, sweetie? Has it come in yet?”

“Yes! Yes! Yes! I love it,” Izzy gushes. “It’s a bouffant veil, and it’s perfect. The tulle looks exquisite, and, well, you’ve seen the gown, mom. And just wait until you see the nosegay bouquets. Everything’s going to come together beautifully. I just know it!”

Peck, peck, peck. This is excruciating. There’s more to come, too, judging from the wedding checklist Izzy sent me by email two weeks ago. Do we really need to rehearse the act of eating dinner? This crap is beyond any sane man’s ability to comprehend. It’s time to get them off topic. “Where’s my future brother-in-law, by the way?” I ask Izzy. “I thought he was attached to your hip?”

Izzy dismisses me with a wave. “Very cute. He’s meeting with the kids at the community center. They’re competing in a basketball tournament today.” She turns to my mother. “So, mom, about the cake. Dragées or edible pearls?”

“What the hell is a dragée?” I ask. Izzy ignores me, so I look across the table at my younger brother Brice. He’s studying his iPhone with the focus of a brain surgeon in the operating room. And my stepfather, Dale, who’s sitting to Brice’s left, is hiding behind the Sunday sports page. Why didn’t I think to bring something to distract me from this madness?

“Gentlemen,” my mother says. Oh, yes, that’s why.

My mother’s voice is loud and firm, alerting everyone that she’s not pleased. The men whip their heads in my mother’s direction. She might look like the quintessential suburban housewife, but I’m almost certain she carries a shank, and if you gave her a couple of cocktails, she could snag a walk-on role on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Be afraid, be very afraid.

“I thought I made my views on reading at the table clear,” she says. “This is family time. All I ask is that we have one Sunday a month to gather and catch up. Can we do that, please?” She spares me the evil eye.

“Sorry,” Dale says. “You’re absolutely right.” Hearing the appeasing tone of Dale’s voice, I can’t help but grin. He’s a tall, imposing figure, with a full head of salt and pepper curls and smooth, dark skin; he’s not the kind of man to back down from anyone, but my mother’s not just anyone, and he chooses his battles wisely. In an effort to deflect any punishment for his minor transgression, Dale turns to Brice. “Son, put that iPhone away.”

Brice smirks at him. “Sure, dad.”

Izzy directs her button nose toward Brice. “So, Brice, are you bringing a date to the wedding?”

Brice scoffs at the suggestion. “Izzy, it’s a wedding. What single man in his right mind brings a woman to a wedding? I intend to show up unattached and ready to calm the fears of the unmarried ladies in distress.”