Friday, June 1

Show Me Your Dark Moment

Today is launch day! I'm so excited. My new book, Life After is up for sale! One thing I love about this book is the twists and turns it takes. There are three "dark moments." Here's one:
         There at the altar was the love of her life, Ryan.  He looked so handsome in his morning suit. His short black hair was freshly cut, his face clean shaven. His large brown eyes looked lovingly at the woman by his side.

            The church was full of people. White Casablanca lilies covered the stone arches and wooden pews. Kalyste recognized several of Ryan’s family members. His parents were in the front pew, his mother silently weeping tears of joy, his father’s arms around her. Both of his brothers were standing up for him, beaming from ear to ear. The bridesmaids and the rest of the guests were strangers to her.

            The bride was in white. Her satin gown, covered with pearls, clung to a perfect body. A sheer veil covered her face.  

            “Why didn’t you tell me?” Kalyste couldn’t tear her gaze from the woman at Ryan’s side. The pang of jealousy that tore through her belly was so intense, she had to catch her breath. Another woman was marrying her fiancée, was going to live the life she was supposed to have.

             “Why did I need to? All you wanted was for him to be happy, remember?  You’ve told me that a thousand times.”  Jude’s voice was calm. Almost soothing. “He looks pretty happy to me.”

            Kalyste glanced up at Jude. For a fleeting instant, pure joy crossed his features. But it was gone so fast, Kalyste thought maybe it was her imagination.

             “I, Ryan take you, Chantal.” Ryan’s words sliced through Kalyste. 

             Chantal? Kalyste leaned forward and squinted at the woman behind the veil. It couldn't be. Tears ran unchecked down her face. “No.” The word came on an exhale.

     “I thought you meant what you said.” Jude’s voice was suddenly harsh. He folded his arms across his chest. “I just want to make sure he’s happy. That’s what you said. I believed you.”

            “You don’t understand.”  Kalyste started down the aisle toward the smiling couple. Her heart slammed in her chest. “She stole my life.”

            Ryan placed a thin gold band on Chantal’s finger. “No, Ryan.” Kalyste screamed, sprinting down the remaining length of the aisle. "No!" She stood between Ryan and his bride, unable to  look away from the face behind the veil. That beautiful smiling face. Skin the color of café-au-lait, jet black hair sleeked back to a tumble of curls down to the nape of her long, slender neck, hazel eyes shining bright.

             Kalyste recognized the look in Chantal’s eyes. She was a woman in love. The woman replacing her. Kalyste placed a hand to Ryan’s face, but could feel nothing.  “Please don’t do this, Ryan.”

            The preacher pronounced them husband and wife. Pain ripped her apart when Ryan's hands and body passed through her to lift the veil and plant a long lingering kiss on the woman she hated. The woman who had deprived her of her life.

Now it's your turn. Show me your dark moment. It can be in your own book, wip or a book you've read.
 BTW, Life After buy liks can be found on my website: www.shawndaltonsmith.com or http://eredsage.com/store/LifeAfter.html


16 comments:

  1. Launch day...Exciting! Enjoy!

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  2. Congrats on your release day! That's always an exciting day :-)

    Here's my dark moment from Two Mr. Rights, a m/f/m menage:

    Jonathan stretched and reached for Emily. When he came away with empty air, he forced his eyes open. No Emily. Hell, Ben wasn’t even in the bed. Rubbing the gritty sleep from the corners of his eyes, he slid out of bed. Maybe they were goofing around in the living room.

    “Ben? Emily?” The glow of the living room lights drew him down the hall. “Hello?”

    “Jon, we have a problem.” Ben entered the room from the direction of the deck. Clad in jeans, a Wisconsin University sweatshirt, and sneakers, he could pass for a typical college student except for the weight of the world that lined his expression. “Emily’s gone.”

    “What do you mean, gone?” His chest tight, he glanced around the room. The bags she’d brought back from the spa still rested in the entryway, along with her purse. Emily was nowhere.

    “I mean, I can’t find her.” Ben shoved a hand through his hair, leaving it sticking up in all directions. “The door slammed and woke me, so I came out to investigate. She’s not in the cottage. I checked the beach. She’s not there either.”

    The panic on Ben’s face sent Jonathan’s stomach pitching. Ben was never upset. Between the two of them, he always acted as the voice of reason, not counting his meltdown the day before. “Her stuff is still here. She can’t go home without her purse, right?”

    “Jon, we gotta find her and convince her to stay, or at least do the long-distance thing for a while until she’s sure. I don’t care what we do as long as we don’t let her slip through our fingers.”

    “Okay, let me think.” What the hell had gone wrong?

    Ben rubbed a hand along his jaw. “Did we scare her off because of last night?” Shadows haunted his eyes. “We can’t lose her.”

    “We won’t, I promise, but you have to stay calm.” Jonathan paced in front of the sofa. “We’re talking about Emily, so we already know she has a tendency to overthink things. I’ll bet she needed to debate the situation and couldn’t do it while we were nearby. And no, I don’t believe the sex last night spooked her. She enjoyed it.” Watching her experience sex with both of them together had been a moving experience for Jon. If she hadn’t wanted to do it, she would have called it off.

    “Then where is she?” Ben’s voice sounded dull and lifeless.

    “I don’t know. Let me throw on some clothes, and we’ll go search.” He’d never dressed so fast in his life. He pulled a green argyle sweater over his head, shimmied into a pair of jeans, and hopped down the hallway as he fastened the fly. Ten seconds later, he jammed his loafers on his feet and grabbed a jacket off the back of the rocking chair. “Let’s go.”

    “Where?” Ben shoved his hands into the sweatshirt pockets.

    “Did you check the breakers? She liked that area. It’s dark, so if she’s wandering around them you might have missed her.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Maybe she went down the shore to one of the bars or restaurants.”

    “Without her purse? I guess if she didn’t take that with her, she hasn’t ditched us.”

    Jon’s reserve of patience broke. “Hell if I know.” He turned on his friend. “Look, I get that you’re scared, all right? I am too, but until we know what happened, we don’t have time to freak out.” When had they had a role reversal? Yet in some strange way, Jon was glad he had to focus on Ben’s insecurity. It allowed him no time to deal with his. He’d had a lifetime of that. Finally, he could be the man he’d always wanted to be.

    The guy who went in, figurative guns blazing, won the girl and saved the day.

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    1. Good one Sandra! Got me wondering what happened to her.

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  3. Love that moment, Shawn! Good luck with the book - headed over to get my copy in just a second!

    Here's my dark moment from my debut, What a Texas Girl Wants, out on Monday:


    "If I say I'm sorry, will you stay?" She hated the pleading note in her voice and wished the words back.
    "Sorry for what?" Jackson turned away and shoved his tennis shoes into the suitcase before zipping it closed. He headed into the bathroom and began filling a smaller case with his toothbrush, razor and personal items. "I got us into this mess by planting that stupid marriage idea in your head."
    "But I'm the one who proposed and sent us down the beach in search of a justice of the peace or minister. And when I realized Mitchum was there I begged you not to rat me out like some kind of scared kid. I shouldn't have begged you to stick with the marriage when it was obviously what you didn't want. You were right at the Soddy."
    She stepped toward him, reaching out, but he simply stepped around her. Like she wasn't even there. She took a deep breath and pressed on. "I've been so worried about not getting the ranch that I wasn't listening. To anyone. If I had been, I never would have felt so smothered that I had to run away to Mexico for a few days. I wouldn't have poured tequila and rum and any other hard liquor I could find into every drink I made." Never would have seen you again. Life would have gone on as it always had.
    Boring, but the way she thought she wanted it. Now, she couldn't face the ordinary life she always thought she wanted. She wasn't sure she could face these rooms if he really left. Jackson had shown her how exciting life could be, just by being in her life. She wasn't ready to give it up.
    "You don't need me here now. Mitchum as much as gave you the ranch, you just have to wait for your birthday. And I don't need to keep going to San Antonio looking for answers that aren't there." Small bag filled, he tossed it next to the suitcase and carefully began unpacking his camera case. Repacking it more securely as if the camera was the most important thing in his life. "We'll both be better off with a few fun memories and none of the hurt that we know will eventually come if I stay in Texas."
    Kathleen placed her hand over his. "I do need you here, Jackson. And I'd like you to stay for my birthday party. For as long as you want to stay. Not because you need a place to stay while you search San Antonio, but because you want to."
    He eyes shuttered. "It would only pause the inevitable, Kath." He put the camera case down and caressed her cheek. "Staying together, even for a few more days, isn't what either of us needs. I don't want to be married or tied down to anyone. I like my life the way it is. And you're tied to this ranch. The land, the horses. Your dad and Mitchum. They tether you here and that connection is what lets you fly." He kissed her forehead. "I've never had a connection like that. I'm not sure what I was looking for in San Antonio, but all those days in the city showed me one thing: I like my solitary life. Being part of a family would clip my wings when I needed them most." With that he gathered his things and left the room before Kathleen could tell him he was lying. "If you are pregnant. . .We'll figure that out then, I guess," he said and closed the door.
    She sat heavily on the bed, burying her face in her hands. She won the ranch but lost Jackson. That had never been her plan.

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    1. Oh, Kristi, I feel so sorry for both the hero and the
      heroine! This is so good. 3 more days, right?

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  4. Congrats on your release day! You need to get your new cover up here!

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  5. I don't have a dark moment ready to share, although there are several in my upcoming release, "Weathering Rock," but I had to pop on and send a huge congrats on your release day. What excitment! And the book sounds wonderful. Wishing you much success!

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  6. Shawn, congrats on your pub day! Happy sales to you.

    Here's my dark moment from Bix towards the end:

    The night I forgot. It was Dr. Storm all the time. But why? And what does he want me to forget this time?
    I can’t let him know that I’m onto him. I have to resist but do so in a way that he is none the wiser.
    “It’s a lovely scent, isn’t it?” Dr. Storm’s voice is a lulling cadence. “Very relaxing, I think. Soothes the soul.”
    I need to say something. “Yes, the soul,” I repeat in a dreamy, trancelike voice.
    He wheels around the chair, the smoke lingering all around me. I breathe through my mouth but try not to be obvious about it.
    “Are you feeling better now, Bixby? More relaxed?”
    “Yes. Relaxed.”
    “Your mom is going to be okay.” He tells me. “Isn’t that good news?’
    “Good news,” I agree in my vacant voice. “Good news.”
    “You’re going to believe the story tomorrow, Bixby.” Dr. Storm’s voice takes on more of a commanding tone. “And you won’t ask any questions. No questions.”
    “No questions.” I repeat. Except for the ones swirling in the haze surrounding us. What story won’t I question?
    “And soon, Bixby—”
    I don’t like how he keeps reiterating my name in full.
    “I will need your help.”
    He pauses so I take that as my cue. “Help.”
    “Without question.” His voice grows even sterner. “You must ask no questions.”
    This guy wants utter surrender. He doesn’t know me at all. “No questions.” I repeat and think of Caitlyn upstairs. Her father is a monster and it will be up to me to save her. “No questions.”

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    1. Wow, Marige! My interest is peaked. Niiice!

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  7. Congratulations and happy release day!

    I'm enjoying the excerpts here.

    Here's part of a dark moment from my contemporary romance, Clear As Day:

    A cold weight filled the pit of her belly as if she was seeing his back for the last time.

    Nate raised the sails. The hot breeze gently filled the bright canvas and sent the Whisper gliding off.

    Kay turned away, unable to watch him disappear. She had done the right thing. Nate needed to be able to come and go and travel the world without a neurotic, jealous woman fretting over what he was up to on his travels. He needed to focus on the brilliant upswing of his career. And she needed to focus on her career. She sold desert paintings. Watercolors of rocks. She was a one-trick pony. She wouldn’t be left alone and miserable in a place she didn’t understand, making him miserable.

    She faced her tidy camp and the soothing earth tones of her belongings.

    No, you’re going to be alone and miserable in a place haunted by the past because you are a gutless wonder and unwilling to compromise and change, just like your parents. At least your mother fought for what she wanted.

    Mother had fought, and lost. Kay had not fought, and lost. No answer there.

    The calm of her empty camp should have pleased her. Hadn’t she longed for her quiet? Too quiet. Too empty. Her table empty of his camera equipment. His beach chair gone. His gaudy swim trunks and T-shirts gone from the drying line. His goofy hat gone. His rock collection gone. All the cheery splashes of his life, gone.

    Nate was gone.

    Her belongings all waited in quiet order. She had ruined everything. He wouldn’t come back next year. Ever. Her perfectly sterile camp blurred. She blinked hard, blaming the dry breeze.

    No pining. Pining fixes nothing. Remember?

    The next moment she was ripping the towel from the ice chest and she hurled it blindly, a sob cracking from her throat.

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  8. This is so sad Babette. It will be interesting to see them get their HEA!

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  9. Happy release day and what a good idea. I'm hurrying!

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  10. Slow down, Liz! LOL ypu're on vacation!

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