First Page Feedback – A Man’s Business

Here’s another First Page Feedback. Gina Rochelle (@GRochelle1025) has sent in a Special Edition story, titled A Man’s Business. Read and comment!


As the limousine turned onto SR 82, toward Aspen and the glitzy Paisley Hotel, Lexi Scott was understandably anxious. The stormy panorama outside the car window mirrored her emotions. She wouldn’t be surprised if her mother had stood her up at the airport on purpose. Certainly, that was the only plausible reason for Bridget Scott‘s no-show to their long overdue reunion. At least, Lexi hoped that was the case. After all, their relationship had been all but severed years ago, when Lexi fled to New York. She’d almost convinced herself that her lucrative modeling career had kept her away so long, monopolizing all of her time. That is, until she heard his name again.

Jameson Mann. Lexi’s reason for leaving.

Jameson Mann sent the limousine in lieu of her mother‘s absence. The driver offered no other explanation and, judging by the brief, mostly one-sided conversation Lexi had with him, the driver was obviously sworn to silence. Typical. Lexi’s head began to throb as the minutes and miles ticked past at an agonizing snail’s pace. Jameson Mann, owner of the Paisley Hotel. Owner of the Highland Casino.

Owner of his ruthless heart.

A bolt of lightning illuminated the majestic horizon. In the flash of light, Lexi could see they were nearing her destination. Her anxiety grew and she said a silent prayer as the glamorous hotel she’d called home for twenty of her thirty years came into view. It was certainly impressive, and still beautiful…just as she remembered. But it was surprising to Lexi how, even now, the towering sight of her family’s heritage could take her breath. She was older, even hardened now…yet, suddenly she felt like a young, uncertain girl again as they pulled into the elegant driveway.

The driver opened Lexi’s door and escorted her to the entrance, placing her bags in the opulent foyer of the Paisley. “Would you like me to carry your things to your mother’s suite, Miss Scott?” He stopped in front of the grand staircase and waited for her.

“Yes, please,” she answered, her eyes feasting on the plush surroundings. It was as if time had stood still, she thought. It looked like nothing had changed. But it had. The Paisley was no longer controlled by the Scott family. Lexi’s father had turned the majority of his shares over to his young business partner just days before he passed away. And her mother now owned only a ten percent share. But where was Bridget Scott? Lexi’s attention was drawn to the muffled sounds of music and laughter coming from behind the carved mahogany doors leading to the elegant ballroom just beyond them.

“There’s a charity function being held tonight, miss,” the driver said. “Wouldn’t you like to change first?” Lexi stifled the urge to tell the driver to mind his own business, and enter the ballroom right now, in her jeans and satin blouse. She wanted to find her mother, but she didn’t want to make a scene upon her arrival.

 Feedback from Mary-Theresa Hussey

I admit this opening hits a few of my concerns. It’s a “travel” opening with the heroine in a form of transportation reflecting on how she got there. While it can be done well, it’s not as compelling or immediate as it could be. It allows the author to convey info, but as info, not really as part of the story. That said, a lot of good details are in there! But maybe too much? We get her career, her age, the life status of her parents, location of w here she lives and where she is and hotel description in a few paragraphs. That might be a lot for a reader to take in with just the opening.

There were some good emotional points–the heroine nervous about meeting her mother, coming back to her family heritage, hints of the conflict with the hero. These elements help the reader identify with the heroine. We understand her being torn between just getting to her mother and not making a scene and can root for her.

Actually, the tone of the writing felt a bit more Desire/Presents than Special Edition, but that could be changed as the story develops.

Though there are appealing elements, I think overall I’m not as captured by this story as I’d like and I’d suggest starting in a different place. Perhaps when she sees her mother? Enters the ball in jeans and blouse? Something that has a touch more drama, since the story seems to be building to it. And weave the details in a little at time rather than all at once.

Hopefully this is helpful!