Drum roll please:
1.After all this time, it was finally happeningâ€“that quiet, maddening tumble into insanity.
Annie closed her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them, the man sitting at her kitchen tableâ€“the man who looked like Joel, but couldn’t be Joelâ€“would be gone.
Unfortunately, when she looked again, he was still there. Joel with hair as dark as sin and eyes of the devil. Eyes that were watching her with a mixture of amusement and sadness.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered, curling her fingers around the edge of the counter so she wouldn’t fall over. She had to be seeing things, because this really wasn’t happening.
Joel DeLuca wasn’t sitting in her kitchen, because…
Because Joel DeLuca was dead.
2. The alley stretched ahead, dark and ominous…yet Antoinette moved forward, one deliberate step after another. Perspiration beading on her upper lip, she ran a hand across her face to wipe it away before the saltiness slipped unwelcome to the corners of her mouth.
Damn this heat.
Sweat trickled down her back, robbing her of more precious moisture and she tugged the damp t-shirt away from her sticky skin. “Found it yet?” Nici’s voice buzzed through the comms headset attached to her ear.
“No,” she whispered.
“Intel just in has him entering a nightclub on the other side of town about twenty minutes ago,” Nici said.
After following his trail across three states, she’d hate to lose it now.
“We’re running out of time,” she said looking up at the dark starless sky, or at least the strip of it she could see between the impoverished Liberty City buildings.
3. Somewhere between Heaven and Hell, Nick Winters decided to live. There was something about lying in a pool of his own blood that made him think God wasn’t finished with him yet. Maybe it was the floating sensation of hanging on then getting go, or the woman.
Nick had pulled her from the wreckage and now, lying on the soaked ground, he watched as both cars disappeared into the Cumberland River below.
Blood filled his right eye as the scene blurred, the storm a chaotic buzzing. Nick reached for her hand as labored breaths merged and formed, linking two spirits, while she beckoned him to come and play.
“Am I dying?” she gasped, dispelling the image of a far more beautiful world and slamming him back into his pain-soaked body.
He shifted his leg and felt the fires of hell, but leaning into her faint, whispered breath he managed, “You gotta stay with me…help will come.”
Gathering her close, he blinked against the rain’s gray lashing, while his sins paraded across the river, some bold and some hidden beneath layers of deception.
4. I am justice.
I am vengeance.
Is there any difference?
The whimpers, the cries—those I could have ignored. Along
, where I live and work, the faÃ§ade of students, tourists, and alt-trendy shops never quite hides the muck of the city. If you want to see it, the pain and squalor are evident in the drug litter kicked to the gutters and in the stench of every urine-coated doorway. If you want to see it.
Personally, I prefer to ignore it.
And perhaps if I were normal—a sane, ordinary twenty-two-year-old, hurrying to class, wrapped up in thoughts of dorm life, young-whatever politics, or the whims of professorial opinion—I would succeed.
5. Men lie.
As a dues-paying member of the species, House depended on this fact, subscribed to it—gloried in it.
They lie about who they are, what they do, and how much liquor they can handle. About their women, their prowess, their dicks. How big, how long, how thick, and how much coochie it’s conquered on the playing field.
But just this once, on this very special occasion, House discovered his friends had not lied to him.
Leyla Cheval was every bit as hauntingly beautiful as they’d claimed.
She wore wire-rimmed glasses, ruddy-red lipstick, and she’d come to save him from sin.
So naturally he hardened the moment he saw her, determined to have her and offer as much of his salvation as she could swallow.
Congradulations!! Whoo Hoo! Throwing confetti!!!! Ladies, prepare your best first ten pages beginning with your first lines. I’m not sure if Lauren wants them via snail mail or email (she’ll let me know),but either way the entries will go through me to her, markedUrgent READ NOW!!!
Congrats again, and thank you so much everyone for participating. Kensington editor, Hilary Sares will be judging the next First Line Contest in January. But stay tuned here for some good stuff on the horizon.
I have a group question for you all tomorrw, and would love any and all input.
I will keep you all posted on how our finalists fair with Lauren McKenna at Pocket.
Take care, and good luck finalists!