First Page Feedback — And Be My Love

Here’s a First Page Feedback for And Be My Love. @FionaMMarsden is aiming this for Harlequin E Contemporary!

“Shaken not stirred.” The phrase filtered across Kate’s brain and sharpened, taking in the arrogant maleness of the dark suited figure already in the lift. Obviously a local rather than one of the ubiquitous holiday makers that swarm the Gold Coast in the spring and summer. Cold, almost black eyes swept down her body stirring something primal and she turned away, catching sight of her casually dressed figure in the mirror. From the sublime to the ridiculous. She smiled to herself wryly. It really is true that people think in cliché’s.

He was a walking cliché. The fitted jacket and narrow trousers screamed rich
professional. With a penchant for James Bond style three piece suits, skinny silk ties and
Blackberry smart-phones. The tailored cut showed off his trim build and lean muscular
thighs. His tanned face was narrow, the hand holding the phone to his ear long and slender
with neatly manicured nails.

Absently, she wondered if he had them professionally done. His hair was over long,
the black, glossy waves swept back and nudging the collar of his pale blue shirt. Altogether
too polished and sleek an animal; the straight, finely sculptured nose and predatory glint in
those eyes more hawk than dove. The low husky voice on the other hand, was pure melt in
the mouth seduction, even with that hint of asperity as he spoke to whoever was on the

“Look, I’m in a meeting. I have to go.”

What a louse. She quelled the odd sensation of disappointment. He was a stranger
after all. Not worth her interest if his conversation on the phone was any indication. First of
all, giving a million and one excuses not to go out with her. Then when he’d given in, the
blatant untruth. Typical, deceitful, cheating male. Memories stirred painfully and she pushed them down, focusing instead on the present perpetrator.

“You couldn’t even be bothered to think up a decent lie, could you?”

He looked startled at first, as if he’d forgotten her presence. The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. The incipient smile was suppressed, replaced by a sneering twist. “Was it a

Hands outspread, she indicated the small space. “Hardly the usual boardroom

“Perhaps not. But it is a meeting. I’m meeting you, aren’t I?”

She gaped at him, wondering if it was a come on. Not likely. The lift slowed and the
doors opened with a chirpy ping. Saved. Halfway to the door of her holiday apartment, a
metallic rattle alerted her to an alien presence. Her heart thumped painfully as news reports of single women being attacked on the Gold Coast popped unbidden into her mind.

She whirled around, gripping her keys like a weapon. The man from the lift. The
disinterested gaze rested on the keys in her outstretched hand and one corner of his mouth
twitched. Kate planted herself firmly in the middle of the vestibule, confronting him. “Look
Mister, I don’t know who you think you are…”


First Page Feedback from Mary-Theresa Hussey

I admit the opening line did pique my interest, but it didn’t really pull into the rest of the scene. The sentence with James Bond was just a fragment and didn’t seem to tie in to anything else going on. So it was a catchy opening, but spoke more to the writer’s style than the story. (Too, for me, James Bond has an edge of danger/physicality, and this guy seemed very sophisticated. But that could be personal interaction!)

 I’m not sure if the line with clichés is effective in the opening. If it was in the middle of the story I might accept it as more humorous, but talking in—and about—clichés right in the opening lines might turn others off.

 And speaking of clichés, having the heroine look at herself in the mirror can be a writerly one as well!

 That said, there were some very appealing lines—the description of the hero was specific and powerful, so that is very good.

 I’m actually not quite sure if he was meeting her or just using it as an excuse, but that would come out in the next bit, I guess!

 And it ends in a great way—I do want to know if he’s following her or if there is a room mix-up or where the story is going.

Overall, though, it was a clean and catchy opening. Good job!

 Thanks, Fiona for sharing, and hope it was useful. Any other thoughts? 

17 replies on “First Page Feedback — And Be My Love”

Loved this opening! Loved the description of the hero too! Amazing chemistry between hero and heroine! Would love to see more of this story.

Great first page. I’m so glad she called him on his arrogance right up front. Clearly he’s going to have a feisty heroine. You did a great job of giving their full personalities in just a few words of dialogue and description. I agree with Mary-Theresa regarding the cliche’ lines. I’d just leave those out. Maybe more that he seemed an actor playing James Bond than the real thing. I could totally picture him and of course she has to meet a guy like that when she’s frumpy, ha! Her confidence was likely down and his is over-the-top. I have a feeling she’ll turn the tables on him asap, and he’ll never be the same again. Just as it should be. Well done!

Fiona, I loved your description of the hero. I so can’t do that, I’m in awe of anyone who can. Anne Stenhouse

Well done Fiona. I loved the opening line and you have set up nicely for a hunky hero and a feisty heroine. Would like to know what happens, so that’s a good thing.

I think he sounds extremely hot. I would avoid word echoes as in Cliché twice, and also “His hair was..’ His face was… etc…
I wish I could read on though, because it does sound like a sexy read.


I agree that the opening would probably be stronger without the word cliché in it. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this descriptive bit of male goodness…or badness if the Hero’s attitude is anything to go by! Love the feisty little heroine. I’m hooked and would read on, definitely. Excellent job, Fiona!

I think Richard is extremely attractive and engaging ~ the type of hero the reader wants desperately to have a happily ever after! So fun to finally read more than a short flash! I love the James Bond reference, I see him that way… 😉 Great writing!

Richard 🙂 Wonderful to see more, and he does stand out so well. It’s great to see a larger piece of this!

I like how he sounds. Dangerous like you’d expect James Bond to be, yet seductive, which is equally dangerous to a vulnerable heart. Shame it had to end there.

You’re always so great at creating characters that are uniquely your voice. I agree on the word echoes – this broke the flow for me.

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