First Page Feedback – Animal Instincts

Here’s a Superromance submission. Lauren James knows pets are always appealing! 
Straddling a sexy hunk of a man on the freshly mown grass of her local park should be a dream come true for Charlie Morgan. Instead, she wavered between pissed off and turned on. But that’s the thing about dreams, reality never meets expectation.

In her dreams, Mr Perfect is a handsome fiancé, or even better, a husband – a fellow dog lover and all round Prince Charming. He’s organised a romantic picnic for three with gourmet deli items for the deliriously happy couple… and a lovingly cooked piece of porterhouse steak for their fur-baby, Daisy. And of course, Charlie is stunning in a cute sundress, her crazy curls tamed to cover-model sleekness.

That was the dream.

Cut to reality.

The man beneath her was hunky alright, but Prince Charming he definitely was not. Having just crash tackled the man for attempting to steal a friend’s dog, Charlie was harbouring less than romantic feelings for him, and was looking less than gorgeous in lycra jogging pants, an old AC/DC tour t-shirt and an unzipped hoodie from her animal welfare centre, New Beginnings. And she was pretty sure she had doggie drool smeared in more than one place.

“As fun as it is getting a free lap dance, sweetheart, maybe you wanna tell me what the hell just happened?”

The deep timbre of his voice sent a shiver down her spine, making her wriggle against him. It took a moment to register his question as her gaze roamed his face, taking in arresting deep blue eyes, a shaggy mop of brown hair, a sexy scar through his eyebrow and some sort of tattoo playing peek-a-boo through the neck of his shirt. At her obvious  interest, his lips formed an impossibly sexy smirk, revealing an even sexier dimple.

Ignoring the flutter in her stomach Charlie focused on the issue at hand. This arsehole was a dog-thief. She’d caught him luring her friend’s dog away from the park. She narrowed her eyes at him. It wasn’t fair that the world’s scumbags could be so attractive and charismatic. She wouldn’t be fooled so easily this time.

“Don’t think you can flirt your way out of this, mate. You were committing a crime!”

He quirked a brow, seeming more amused than unsettled by the accusation. His smirk stayed in place… and damn him, it was like a direct ‘on switch’ to her lady parts. She
squirmed again which elicited a stifled groan from him.

“I was joking about that lap dance. You might want to stop moving right about now. I prefer to take my women out on a date before it gets this far.”

Her jaw dropped at his audacity. Cocky son-of-a-bitch.

Stop lusting after the criminal.

First page feedback from Piya Campanya

A great opening line prefaces this fun first page. You have a very intriguing set up here, and there are already a lot of questions open to draw the reader in. Was this guy actually committing a crime? How does the heroine always find herself “lusting after criminals”? In a short time you have effectively conveyed the situation at hand, as well as many facets of the heroine—she’s a loyal friend, a lover of animals, she has a strong moral compass and she’s a little impulsive (and it looks like this is a quality that has gotten her in trouble more than once).

While we’re treated only to the heroine’s POV so far, we also get an impactful first impression of the hero: he’s basically been attacked, but he can’t turn off the charm nor hide his amusement. It’s immediately obvious that these two have chemistry, and this first page makes us want to see more of their banter and interplay.

As the story goes on, I would keep an eye on the portrayal of the heroine, making sure her reactions are believable in the context of the story. Her impulsive nature is a promise that it will be fun to learn about her, but it should never lead her to overreact or be needlessly reckless. In order for the reader to root for the heroine, she needs to be able to understand her decisions even if she doesn’t agree with them.

Just watch your tenses–the opening lines are almost a synopsis than something happening in the here and now!