Here are the standing 55! You all know the drill, post your original lines here plus a fourth line by midnight Pacific time this Friday! Good luck!
And for what it’s worth? My judge told me she has never had to make such tough choices. And as an aside from me, some of these lines are so well written and so engaging I can’t wait to read more. I’m really impressed with the talent here. Keep writing!
1.It was feeding time and humans were the only thing on the menu. Krystoff’s acute vision took in the deep crimson that covered the gray cracked sidewalk, the smell of blood thick on the air. Krystoff stopped to inhale, “You can’t hide” he said mockingly, his words echoing off the cold concrete.
2. I wobbled into my apartment, legs wide, as if I’d spent the last seven hours on a horse. Instead, I’d suffered through the inhumane treatment masochistic women endured—a Brazilian wax. “It feels like I fell asleep while sunbathing…in stirrups.”
3. The warmth of the desert vanished under a shroud of bone-chilling twilight. And Jackson Neale, cautious now after four bloody years of war, slipped deeper into its murky, concealing cloak. Anyone he’d befriended on the trek westward from Virginia could be counted on one hand, and he knew with absolute certainty that the person riding into his camp tonight wasn’t one of them.
4. She was going to die.
What cruel twist of irony would take her life at the hands of the very people she’d tried to save? It wasn’t fair, certainly unjust, but as she dropped her head to her knees, she knew it was the truth.
5. They had been in the interrogation room for twelve hours straight. He hadn’t left, not even to get coffee or a donut or to tag team in his partner for that whole good cop-bad-cop game. Mia’s eyes were dangerously heavy and though she had propped her chin in alternate hands for the last few hours, both of her biceps were beginning to feel like three day old spaghetti.
6. Sitting in a graffiti-smeared cell on a Sunday afternoon wasn’t what Molly Hicks would call a good way to end a weekend.
“Dammit, Molly! Even if you believe I deserve being shot, it’s against the law, a federal one for that matter.”
7. Even after he was dead, my father’s obsession with magic continued to color my life. He hadn’t been dead so long that I didn’t have many memories of him, but my strongest were of slight of hand and illusion. I still had a perfectly clear picture, even at seventeen, of being four and my father reaching behind my ear for a coin, myself laughing in delight.
8. “Who—What—oh God!” Susan shouted, bolting up in bed. “Why are you here?”
Goddamn itâ€“she wasn’t supposed to wake up.
9. Thick clouds of steam puffed out of manhole covers and sewer grates, making it extra hard for Henry to see while driving in the dark. The radio sputtered and he reached outside the cab’s window to give the bulky antenna another twist.
“Damn new-fangled gizmo has more kinks than a pad of steel wool,” Henry told Mystic.
10. Fate had painted a bull’s-eye on my back. The ironic thing, I didn’t believe in fate or karma before my brother left a message on my office’s answering machine that was the equivalent to Armageddon dropping a line just to say hey. Being the self-designated, birdie-flipper of fate I had to know if listening to the message would be like Darth Vader—Phoenix, I am your brother.
11. I squeezed the trigger, the noise of the gun deafening in the confined space of the elevator. My legs trembled as I made my way over to where he lay, sprawled on the parking garage floor. Blood seeped from the four gaping holes in his chest, while his eyes stared unseeing up at me.
12. “Zeus has summoned you.”
With a growl, Markus rolled over on the giant four poster bed and scowled at Octavious, who stood at the entrance to his chambers, arms crossed over his chest like the arrogant bastard he was. As usual, he wore a long blue velvet robe that trailed to the floor, and his white-blond hair fell straight to the middle of his waist, giving him the appearance of a serene and youthful Merlin.
13. Jill tried to stand straighter, though the handcuffs bit into her wrists. If this was to be her last moment alive, she was determined to go bravely.
Panic clawed at her throat, but she refused cry out as the huge machine bore down on her, its massive treads sending a stomach-clenching, teeth-gritting tremble through the earth beneath her.
14. I hissed when I saw it, my gut coiling, hide crawling in alarm. Skin, damn it, not hide; I hadn’t transformed yet. But the increase in my symptoms and the arrival of this innocuous looking envelope meant it wouldn’t be long.
15. The piercing pain in her chest grew worse, but she couldn’t stop running. A flash of lightning split the darkness once again, temporarily blinding her as thunder roared in her ears and her racing heart felt as if it would burst. The pounding of the horse’s hooves continued to beat the dirt path behind her, closer this time.
16. Lacey knew the moment she opened her eyes that something was wrong. The fact that the sun was coming through a window where there should not have been a window, was her first clue, the black cotton sheets covering her naked body was the second. She looked over at the man that lay beside her, a very naked, dark haired Ewan Stevens and that was her final clue.
17. It came to Nick Holloway, gradually, that he was lying on cold, hard concrete. Something above held him fast. His shirt was hooked on the undercarriage of a car.
18. Guilty or not, Leonardo faced a death sentence.
Alone in his father’s house, he paced his room, fearful that any moment the Governor’s guards would pound upon the door, drag him to Florence. His knees buckled at the thought, and clammy hands grabbed the doorway for support.
19.A handâ€“oh God, she hoped it was a handâ€“gripped her ankle like a vise and tugged. Tina clung to the rope for dear life and winced when its nylon thread chafed her leather gloves, but her grit and determination was no match for the sheer force pulling her downward. Silently swearing and left with no other choice—other than a crash landing to the rain-deprived ground which would bruise more of her than just her ego—Tina loosened her hold and did a half-slide, half-fall down the rope and right into the arms of—well, hell—Kent Nicholson.
20. The man holding the gun to her head didn’t know what she was capable of.
Tess Damon braced herself in the open doorway of the airplane while shivers raced up and down her body. The frigid temperature stole precious air from her lungs.
21.The culinary Casanova was at it again. No way would she go next door for breakfast no matter how tempting the fare. And damn, but Cory Traven surpassed enticing.
22. Megan Trent jerked out of a deep sleep at the sound of her clock radio turning on and off by itself in a rapid beat of white noise and eerie silence. She watched as the red display numbers flickered in and out with a frantic Morse code lightshow. Gasping in an ice-cold breath, goose bumps pimpling her skin, she knew he had come again in the deep, pre-dawn hours of the night.
23. The Lord of Harmeswood was a madman and a murderer, and Alexandrina Whitsett was headed straight for his house.
Well, that wasn’t exactly true — she and her brother, James, were returning from a weekend house party in Kent, and were about to drive past Harmeswood’s ancient moldering pile, but even that was too close for comfort. In dread, she glanced out the carriage window at the ominous scenery.
24. The mansion loomed eerily through the swirling mist, a sinister shadow against the backdrop of a storm darkened sky.
Destiny Ryder hunched over the steering wheel and stared through the car window in awe even as apprehension skittered down her spine.
“This is beyond insane,” she muttered as she put the car in gear and coasted through the beckoning wrought iron gates.
25. “I am the Keeper of Paradise, Purgatory and Hell.”
John Parker realized his tone was over-harsh when the shipping clerk backed away, stammering, at his response.
He wasn’t used to being challenged.
26. Cold trembling fingers reached out to trace the letters engraved on the headstone, the chilly marble slab the only tangible link to the family Jolene still missed. Ten years hadn’t even begun to numb the pain or take away the gaping hole in her heart. Or answer any of the questions still screaming to be answered.
27. “I suppose there’s no turning back now,” Lady Emma Caulfield whispered.
“You should have thought of that before you put the story in the Post,” Mary Lambert whispered back.
The two young women peeked between the fronds of a potted palm in the corner of the Markingham’s crowded ballroom.
28. “That man would have taken you off my hands had you shown one iota of intelligence.” Every one of Uncle John’s hate-filled words was a lance piercing Desiree’s flesh and she didn’t have the armor necessary to withstand the pain.
“I-I am s-s-sorry.”
29. “You want me to do what?” Ainsley asked, nearly choking on her tea at her mother’s announcement. She knew the invitation was not for a pleasant chat, but she had no idea her mother would stoop to this.
“It’s very simple, Ainsley,” her mother answered calmly, tapping her Montblanc pen against her leather planner.
30. “We have a visual on the boat,” Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jake Carver reported. Her gloved fingers tightened around the helicopter’s control stick and she increased air speed.
The chase was on.
31. His life consisted of death. In fact Lucas Sinclair knew many ways to die. Living was the bitch.
32. He brought four items to their first date: a spray of orange roses, because he knew they were her favorite flower; a duffle bag containing a change of clothing; three condoms to capture any stray DNA; and a freshly sharpened hunting knife.
With anticipation fizzing through his veins—as effervescent as the finest batch of imported champagne—he plowed through the sprinkler mist dampening the walkway and took the steep steps to her porch two at a time. The sheath strapped to his ankle pinched with each step.
33. Jackson Taylor’s toes clenched as he came abruptly awake, the left side of his body shivering. A soft weight held his shoulder down, the feel of a woman’s curves pressing hard against his chest, keeping the right side delectably warm. Cold water tickled his feet, wet sand dug into his butt and the tangy, salty smell of the ocean filled his nostrils.
34. The blood on her hands trickled down between shaky fingers. Slowly, Marisol curled her fingers into fists, resting them on her knees, and looked down at the dead man before her. The spent gunpowder from the pistol still singed her nose.
35. It may sound odd, but sometimes moments in life seem to have a distinct smell. At any moment, of any day, a plethora of aromas can summon a wealth of emotions and memories. To Grace Riley, life’s happy moments were tinged with the perfume of sunshine and fragrant grass.
36. Seven lockers down, my boyfriend was making out with Cheryl, the way-too-perky head cheerleader.
I tried not to stare, but when his hand slid past her waist and over her hip, I slammed my locker shut and stormed off in the opposite direction. Not that anyone noticed.
37. “Even Jane Eyre found her Mr. Rochester.” Lucy Bennett caressed the spine of Charlotte Bronte’s novel and released a sigh.
“I thought you wanted hot and uncomplicated.
38. The best thing about being an heiress â€“ the low expectations. Dad still ran the company, and the stockholders would freak if she even started to show an interest. And forget the concept of drawing “more” media attention – she’d maxed out.
39. “Oh, hell,” Brit Roberts snapped when the ringing phone on her kitchen wall stopped her in her tracks at seven AM. Already late leaving for work, she turned away and reached for the doorknob, then paused at the second ring. What if the call is important, like Julie in a panic, a sick car, or a family emergency?
40. “What do you mean, ‘You can’t be alone with me?'” Saari planted her hands on the edge of the desk and leaned closer to her laptop’s webcam. “Start explaining, Brogan.”
41. The hate mail started Monday morning.
If Parker Kennard had known about it, she might have just stayed in bedâ€“or at least stayed away from the office.
She’d woken early, partly because she always woke early.
42. Traveling through time hurts, at least for the broker. But I’ve grown resistant to the pain and that makes my bounty hunting services invaluable.
Mickey, my apprentice, and I have tracked our latest time-jumping fugitive back to the year 2010, which is why we’re hoofing it around New York City in the dark.
43. Darkness did not fall gently this day.
It scourged the land like a rolling plague, leaving shadow where there had been shapes—a predatory hunger not unlike his own.
He smiled at his conceit, cradling his cracked rib with one arm, and plunged into the heart of the night.
44. Ephraim MacNeill would kill anyone who stood in his way. Still not believing his luck at locating Elizabeth’s current place of imprisonment, he feared the rumor a ruse, or worse—a calculated attempt to draw him into the spider’s web. Then the sight of a woman paralleling his path in the deepening shadows drew his attention.
45. If she’d been a bad girl when she had the chance, she probably wouldn’t be dying right now. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. When she sucked in a breath, the metallic scent in the air made her gag.
46. The young prince was going to die. When the angry mob of outlaws and outcasts finally realized who it was that had fallen into their clutches, they would tear the young nobleman to shreds, and there was nothing Shallah could do to prevent it. Blood caked his face and hands, obscuring his features, mute testament to the fact that he had not been captured without a fight.
47. The man slouched on the edge of the bed, his fingers clutching the deadly syringe hidden in his jacket pocket. Despite the timpani drum pounding in his chest and echoing in his ears, his face was expressionless.
He stared at the naked, unsuspecting woman asleep on the bed, her slender body seductive even in slumber, her blonde hair a halo on the pillow.
48. Even two hundred yards away in near-whiteout conditions, Locklen Roane saw the red Accord careening too fast down Highway 145. Had to be a tourist—who else would risk driving in this blizzard? He shook his head, about to continue trudging the steep hill home when the Honda lurched once then slipped sideways on the highway.
49. My name is Isadora Macleod and I am haunted. Take it from me, a life where the dead are your regular clientele is nothing like Hollywood would have you believe. I’d love to claim some saint-worthy purpose, that it’s my calling to guide lost souls to a better place, but that would be a lie.
50. That’s where the body is.
Amelia’s stomach knotted as she trudged toward the recovery site, carefully watching where she placed her feet in the snow. She yanked on the sides of her wool hat and tucked her chin into her scarf as she strode through the fluff, blinking away the swirl of snowflakes
51. She expected the ragged skeletons that thundered through the orchard on their will o’ the wisp chargers, expected the slow parade of pale eyed ladies with their gossamer hair and butterfly wings, expected even the raven with the broken tail feather that flew among them, darting and swooping through their insubstantial forms to send them whisking skyward like so much smoke, but the heavy hand on her shoulder, the warm breath tickling her ear and the soft, masculine voice whispering “Jane” â€“ these were the trappings of nightmares, the first indication that her life was about to change for the worse.
“It’s done,” he said. “Your uncle is dead and Edward has inherited all.”
52. Nadia Reynolds’ cheatin’ SOB of a husband had dumped her for a twenty-something with plastic tits, telling Nadia he didn’t find her attractive any longer. Whatever. She had a brand new divorce decree, would turn forty in a month and was ready to move on.
53. So very close, Nate Benson thought to himself, trying hard to keep his mind on the purchase contract he was proofing. It was way too soon for celebrations. Way too easy for something to come along and screw things up.
54. Looking back, my mid-life crisis began on a Tuesday in March, right there on aisle twelve of the local supermarket between the laxatives and the condoms. That’s the day I confronted an assortment of tampon boxes and wondered if my diminishing egg production warranted the forty-eight count economy size. See, I worried about a future when the half-empty box, now faded and kinda tattered around the edges, still sat beneath the sink ready to mock me every time I reached for a hair dryer or fresh roll of TP.
55. I wish alcohol didn’t exist. I shook my head as I watched the chubby chick in the short skirt slurp the dredges from her half gallon carton of orange juice. She had been sitting in the first aisle seat when I jumped on the train in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Have a great week, everyone!