Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

literary critique

First Page: Unpublished Manuscript M/M

First Page: Unpublished Manuscript M/M

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.


The world wasn’t supposed to end on a day like today, a day when the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining, the temperature so perfect and mild that the air felt…soft, caressing. It wasn’t supposed to end while children were playing in their front yards, free for the day from the confinement of school, laughing with joy, enjoying the innocent pleasures of childhood.

The world wasn’t supposed to end at all, not like this. Not while Jeremy was standing on his own front porch, the smell of the pot roast Brent had put in the crockpot that morning wafting from the open doorway Jeremy stood in front of, listening as a grim-faced police officer said words like accident and hospital and serious.

“But he just went to pick up our dry cleaning,” Jeremy said stupidly for the third time, and he wondered at the pity that crossed the officer’s face.

“Sir, you need to get to the hospital right now. Mr. Speer has you listed on his emergency info as next-of-kin and the doctors will have some questions.” The officer’s tone was gentle, almost too gentle, like he was trying to keep Jeremy calm.

Jeremy just stood there, not wanting to face it. Brent was finally doing better, so much better, and now this? A painful injury could send him spiraling back down into the black hole he’d just climbed out of, and at the thought of it, Jeremy was suddenly exhausted, so emotionally tired.

“Sir, we need to go. Let me drive you to the hospital.” The officer’s insistent voice snapped him out of those disloyal thoughts, and Jeremy was bitterly ashamed of himself. For better or for worse, he told himself fiercely, remembering whispering those words time and again in Brent’s ear while wiping the tears from the other man’s cheeks with his thumbs, doing his best to comfort and soothe.

He nodded, stepping back inside and flipping the crockpot off before grabbing his wallet, keys and phone from the little basket just inside the door. The officer waited while he locked the front door then led him to his patrol car. As Jeremy settled in the cramped passenger seat, he wondered how badly Brent was hurt. After all, the dry cleaner was only about two miles from home, and most of the journey there was on side streets, neighborhood streets. Whiplash, some cuts and bruises, maybe a broken bone? Later Jeremy would wonder at his cluelessness, should have known that a few bumps and scrapes wouldn’t warrant an officer being sent to his house to get him. It was like his mind and heart were doing their desperate best to protect him, to insulate him, for just a few more precious minutes.

After all, the world wasn’t supposed to end today, not ever, not like this.

First Page: Forbidden Suspense / Romance

First Page: Forbidden Suspense / 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.


Voices of excited Arabic people and thunderous intercom announcements echoed throughout the crowded airport’s cavernous hallway. Eliza cringed. She turned her back to the frenzy and fidgeted with her head scarf. A large man bumped into her and muttered a curse in Arabic.

Her knowledge of the complex language drove home the risk she was taking – travelling alone in a country with a history of treating women harshly.

Again, she checked the airport’s arrivals and departures digital board. ‘United Air 719 – DELAYED.
Her gut flipped. Why are they so late?

As Eliza gazed at ‘DELAYED’, she heard screams and explosions, witnessed fire blazing in a dark void. She barely contained a shriek. Stop it, just fucking stop it! She shivered as the vision faded. A sense of foreboding urged her to run. Find the next plane out of RIPT and get the hell back to Dubai.

In the Middle East, a foreigner appearing nervous could be considered suspect. Eliza had to consciously keep her shoulders down and shift into a relaxed stance. She noticed two guards. They looked at her as a hawkviews prey. She shuddered.

She felt every heartbeat in her throat. Damn! Look like you’re trying to find a place to sit. Hurry. Eliza picked up her orange backpack and hoisted it to her back. She slung the strap of her brown leather handbag over her shoulder. Just as she reached for the handle of her charcoal grey canvas suitcase, a large tanned hand got to it first.

“Come with me, miss,” the guard ordered in English. He moved onward with her suitcase expecting she’d follow him.

The second guard positioned himself close behind her. “Move,” he commanded. “Follow the guard.”

She heard him shift the AK-47 in his hands. Its metallic scent escalated her fear. She felt her backpack being pulled off. The man shoved her forward. People began to point and stare at her. “Have I done something wrong?”

“Do as you’re told and you will not be harmed.”

She heard a child shriek. Her feet felt heavy. Sounds disappeared.
Her mind began to whirl with incoherent thoughts. Focus, damn it. Control the triggers, the madness. She knew the crushing effect of her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – the loss of rationale thought in seconds.

A strong hand gripped her shoulder. “Move!” the rear guard shouted. “Now, or you will be arrested for being uncooperative. Understand?” He shook her hard. “Understand?” he shouted.

She jerked her shoulder away from his hand. Ratcheting up her bravado, she glared back at the man. Her daring appeared to have surprised him momentarily. “Fine. Where are you taking me?” she demanded.