First Page Feedback – Changing the Narrative

Here’s one from a Kimani Romance! Office romances are always popular. Thanks, @QuinniePoo!

Kayla sat in the huge chair behind her desk, glancing around one final time at the office she’d sacrificed so much to get. Everything looked as it always had: books tucked neatly on shelves, stacks of papers piled high on her desk, and her collection of handcrafted African masks hanging proudly on the walls. She didn’t see many people who looked like her on a daily basis, and in some ways, they helped remind her of where she came from.

For four years, the place had represented her personal and professional triumphs. And, today, none of it meant shit.

By the end of the day, all of it would be gone. Wiped clean and readied for the next ladder climber. It would be like she’d never even existed.

Her gaze fell on the empty cardboard container sitting in front of her. How the hell was she going to fit all of her achievements into such a tiny little box?

“Need some help?” Her assistant–no, make that ‘former’ assistant–Renee peeked around the door jamb, ducking in before Kayla had a chance to answer her question. Closing the door behind her, she leaned back, her body acting like a barricade against anyone who dared to intrude. “Kayla, I am so –“ Her voice trembled as she tried beating back the tears that threatened to spill over her lids.

“Don’t you dare say it,” Kayla warned.


Kayla rolled her eyes and blew out an exasperated breath. Planting both hands on either arm of the chair, she hoisted herself to her feet.

“Really, Kay, I’m so damned sorry,” Renee said despite the warning. Shaking her head from side-to-side, she continued. “I know you want everyone to think you’re fine. But how can you be? This is not right. He is not right.”

Kayla put a stack of papers in the box and smiled weakly. “This is all my fault, Renee. I let him take me there. What I did was unprofessional, rash and stupid.”

Renee looked up, a knowing glint in her eye. “I bet it felt damn good, though.”

“Better than that,” Kayla answered. A hint of a smile ghosted across her lips. Letting go of the doorknob, Renee practically stumbled over to Kayla. “Oh, my god,” she whispered. “The look on his face.” She twisted her features into a mock grimace and the two women dissolved into a fit of giggles. “Forget about my birthday and Christmas,” Renee snickered. “Every now and again, remind me of that face and it’ll be gift enough.”

Hushed laughter continued a little longer until finally Kayla was able to regain her composure. Serious once again, she looked at the other woman. “Thanks for having my back.”


Cocking an eyebrow, Kayla jabbed her well-manicured finger at her former assistant. Promise me you won’t put yourself in a bad spot because of loyalty to me. Journey and I have been on a collision course for a while now. It’s my fight, not yours.”


First Page Feedback from Caroline Acebo

 This entry drops readers into a very interesting place in the main character’s life, but I was curious about how this situation came to be and also when, exactly, we’re tuning in. Specifically, does the story open immediately after Kayla’s confrontation with Journey? Or does this scene take place a few hours—or days—later? Also, what is Kayla’s last name, and in which industry does she work? Since her office is a representation of her achievements, it would be important to go into a little more detail about the layout, whether it’s a corner office with windows, etc. Finally, we don’t really get a strong sense of what she is feeling. Renee reacts more emotionally than Kayla does. If Kayla is trying to mask her feelings in front of her assistant, we need to see the effort behind her stoicism. Overall, though, this is a great place to start because readers will see Kayla rebuild herself and her life during the course of the story. Very exciting!