Red Pencil Thursday
I don’t have a volunteer today, so I’m plopping myself into the RPT hotseat. The opening of the story I’m going to share today is different from my usual fare. It’s a new adult/romantic suspense mash up. The title is still up in the air. I’m hoping you’ll help me with some suggestions.
My heroine lost her hearing to a bout with meningitis while she was in college. Then she lost her marriage when her deafness changed how she and her cop husband communicated. His affair was just the final straw. The new man in her life signs like a Deaf guy even though he hears just fine, but she’s not sure how far she should trust someone with family ties to the Irish mob. When she accidently speechreads a hitman talking on his cellphone about a contract, she becomes his next target.
If you’d like to submit your first 500 words for the Red Pencil gang to critique, please check out the details here. And now to my opening:
Twenty-three hits and no questions asked. The Valenti job was textbook. Flawlessly executed.
But the deaf girl threatened to screw it all to hell.
Anger crept up Neville Rede’s neck like a rash. Anyone could whack a guy. Give a sixteen-year-old a Glock and a couple hundred dollars and you’ve got yourself a hitter.
But to engineer an accident takes an artist. And the Valenti job was a work of art.
A bloody Sistine Chapel.
Until the deaf girl turned up.
Neville leaned on the cold metal rail and looked down at the Orange line platform. His nose twitched. The air in the T station was always a stale fug of diesel fumes and too many bodies in a confined space, not all of them terribly clean. A good-sized crowd was beginning to gather for the outbound train.
A flat smile tugged at Neville’s lips. Picking the right location was the first task in the art of an accident.
Irritation fizzed along his spine. This was a waste of his talents, but it couldn’t be avoided. Unfortunately, it was his fault. Damned sloppy of him.
He drew a deep breath and shook off the anger. There was nothing personal about what he was about to do. This was about pride of workmanship.
He’d been careless. He had to clean it up.
A hit was a tapestry. Leave a loose thread and sooner or later someone would notice and give it a tug. The entire work could unravel. He’d left something dangling in an otherwise perfect job.
Neville scanned the commuters below. There she was, right on time, her scarlet trench coat a dash of color among the blacks and grays. Whoever said redheads couldn’t wear that shade had never seen Megan Kelley on a rainy day. Even though her figure was a little too round for high fashion, she was still the best looking skirt he’d ever off.
A tingle of desire rippled through him. He tamped it down. He wasn’t some freak with a fetish. He was a professional.
It wasn’t dominance or the buzz or even kinky sex that drove him. It was the connection with the victim, that delicious moment when the soon-to-be dead recognized him as the harbinger of the great dark.
Even in this crowd, he hoped to see that glint of terror-filled awe in Megan Kelley’s green eyes before the spray of blood and crunch of bone and squeal of the train’s emergency brakes.
In that slice of a moment, Neville would feel like God Almighty.
“Outbound train approaching,” a computer-generated voice splatted over the loudspeaker. “All trains terminate at Oak Grove Station.”
“And some commuters terminate sooner,” he murmured.
Megan Kelley shifted her weight from one foot to the other, on the yellow caution line.
The air stirred in anticipation of the coming train. Neville descended the stairs, his tread silent.
Even if she wasn’t deaf, she’d never hear me coming, he thought, pleased by the symmetry. This was art, after all.
Time to tie up his little loose thread. Permanently.
Now for the most important part of Red Pencil Thursday–YOU! Please leave your suggestions and critique.
Oh, and in case you missed it, Sourcebooks is running a sale on Waking Up with a Rake, Book 1 in my Royal Rakes series. Just in time for Valentines Day, Rhys & Olivia’s romance is only $2.99!