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Topic: Need Criticism on Romantic Suspense

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Subject: Need Criticism on Romantic Suspense
Date Posted: 7/12/2012 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2012
Posts: 7
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This story is a romantic suspense entitled Whisper Lake. This is only the first draft.





  He raised the gun slowly and aimed, closing his ears to the doomed man’s pleas. There was no one in this isolated place, no one to hear the shot that echoed a half second later.

  Save one.

  Lowering the smoking gun, he risked a glance at the trees. It wouldn’t be long now. Cole Nichols would be here any moment now, in answer to that shot. He was the only one around. And when he arrived, hopefully at the same time as the police, they would draw the obvious conclusion. Especially when they found the gun with Cole’s fingerprints all over it.

  He flipped open a prepaid cell phone, stripping off the gloves he wore as he did. When the dispatcher answered, he kept it brief, speaking in low, guttural tones. “There’s been a murder,” he told the woman, then rattled off the coordinates. “I saw Cole Nichols do it. Better hurry, before he gets away.”
  The answering sirens in the distance a few moments later were sweet to his ears. Cole would take the blame for the murder, and no one would ever be the wiser.

  He turned and fled, the wet, sticky ground of the slough erasing his footprints as soon as he made them.



  Stan Nichols put the last suitcase in the trunk of his dark blue Mercedes. Snapping it shut, he walked around to the front of the car where his girlfriend, Eloise Landers, waited.

  “Stan, honey, I do wish you wouldn’t go,” she drawled in that adorable accent he loved.

  He pressed a kiss on her pouting lips. “I’ll be back before you know it, Eloise. You know how important this is to me.”

  “Oh, I know all right. I’ve heard of nothing else these past few weeks.”
  Stan chose to ignore her petulant tone. “I’ve got a surprise all planned out for us when I come back…”

 That seemed to pacify her somewhat. “Call me when you get to Indiana, darling.”

  He kissed her again, briefly, before climbing into the car. As he backed out, he waved at her, and she wiggled her perfectly manicured fingers at him.

  That diamond ring was burning a hole in his pocket. When he got back in a few weeks, he was planning to take her to a formal restaurant, one of the best in L.A. Then he would propose, they could have one of those big-city wedding Eloise had been hinting about, and he could get on with life.

  Sometimes he had to wonder if Eloise was just after him for his money.

But did it matter? He was one of the most well-known lawyers in L.A. He made more money every year than she could spend in a lifetime. He’d look good with a lovely woman like her on his arm, anyway. Tall and blonde, with blue eyes and striking figure, Eloise could easily be mistaken for a fashion model.

  The part of his heart that still clung to what was left of his faith protested. You’re marrying the wrong woman for all the wrong reasons, it told him. She’s not a Believer.

  But then, neither are you, he reminded himself. He’d left his faith behind when his father was convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.

  He reached over and turned on the radio. George Strait was singing about getting wrapped around someone’s pretty little finger again.

Stan had the funniest feeling that he was in the same boat.

Only his predicament was for real.

He switched the station and drove down the L.A. freeway to Clint Black singing “Killing Time”.

How appropriate.


  Jennifer stomped into the newspaper office and slammed into her editor’s office. “What happened to my front page story?”
  Her editor, a balding man named Jack Lewis, cocked an eyebrow. “That’s the question I should be asking you, Ms. Reynolds. What did happen to my front page story?”

  Jennifer was so mad she could spit. “There’s nothing wrong with my story.”
  “No, there was nothing wrong with it. But it wasn’t exceptional, either. Lisa’s was.”
  He leaned forward. “You’ve got one more chance with me, Jennifer. Give me something good, or find another office.”
  Jennifer could think of nothing to say to that, so she spun around and stomped back out.

  Outside in the August sunshine, she headed down the street to her apartment. Her emotions had quickly changed from angry to upset. If Mr. Lewis fired her, then she didn’t know what she’d do. She’d always known she was meant to be a reporter. There just wasn’t much happening in Whisper County, Indiana – aka Small Town, America.

  She hurried past the little coffee shop on the corner. Glancing inside, she stopped and did a double take.

  Oh, my goodness…is that Stan Nichols?
  Dark hair combed low and wavy, those ruggedly handsome features, casual but expensively elegant clothes, which smoothly complimented his broad shoulders and trim waist. Dark sunglasses hid his coffee-colored eyes, and he toyed with one side of them as he spoke to the proprietor.

  It was Stan Nichols, all right. The last person in the world she wanted to see.

She stood there with her lips parted, studying him. The years had been nothing if not kind to him. He looked better than he ever had, if that was even possible. He’d always been a hunk, even just out of law school all those years ago. She’d loved him with everything in her.

  But he deserted you, reminded that stupid little voice in the back of her mind.

  Jennifer turned away from the scene and rushed away, away from the sight of her old fiancé and the bad memories.


  Stan checked into a hotel and carted his luggage up to his room.

He hadn’t gotten very far today. This tiny, close-knit town was loathe to give up any secrets it harbored. He was determined to get to the bottom of this, however.

  He knew they’d pegged him as a hotshot lawyer. He’d left town barely after law school, in fact the week after he graduated.

The week his father had been convicted of a crime he hadn’t committed.

  As he unpacked silk ties and designer suits, he realized his choice of clothes weren’t helping.

Maybe he could hit the stores tomorrow, buy some really casual clothes. Stuff like button-up plaids, jeans, boots – things he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing in L.A.

  Stan closed the last drawer and picked up the phone. He was too tired to go out, so he ordered pizza through room service. How many years had it been since he’d eaten pizza? The thought made him laugh.

  While he was waiting for his food, he called Eloise.

She picked up on the third ring. “Hey, babe,” he greeted her.

  “Stan!” she squealed. “I’ve been so worried, darling. I expected you to call hours ago.”
  “I got held up at the airport,” he admitted. “Then the car rental agency took forever. I’m just now getting settled in at the hotel.”

  “I’ll let it go this time, but don’t let it happen again,” she teased him playfully. He could envision her in her living room, relaxing on the sofa, phone cord twisted in her fingers. The image made him long to take her in his arms, to bury his face in her hair and smell that expensive French perfume she always wore.

  “I’ll be looking forward to that surprise,” she cooed, her voice dripping with honey sweetness.

  Stan grinned, even though she couldn’t see him.

  “No use playing me for a hint,” he warned.

  “Aw, Stan, just a little, teeny, tiny hint?” she pouted.

  He shook his head and then remembered she couldn’t see him. “Not a chance, El.” He looked at his watch and realized his food would be arriving soon. “Hey, babe? I’m going to let you go now. I’ll call you tomorrow night about nine. Okay?”
  “All right, Stan. Love you, darling. Goodbye.”
  “Love you too, El. Talk to you tomorrow.”

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2012
Posts: 62
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I would  like to know how long ago for the prologue..  10 years later....   Lowering the smoking gun THE  Shooter  - He used too many times. .  My  first two  thoughts  when I read  this.    Also,  maybe  a  little about Stan going home- I was a little confused when Jennifer  recognized him  but if i knew it was his hometown   I would have expected him to bump into someone from his past. .   


I think the prologue was a good hook.    Good  luck