First Page Feedback – Potential Wife

One of our first Harlequin Romance entries I believe!

Troy Charles slumped in his chair with one long leg draped over the padded arm, the other thrust out in front. “If you want me to marry, you find me a wife.”

“I might just have to do that.” His father looked up from the Sunday newspaper. “Fulfill your dearest Grandpa’s last wishes, and soon.” Liam Charles sipped the excellent coffee brewed moments before on Troy’s verandah. Adelaide sprawled to the west, then Gulf of St. Vincent beyond, and Australis Island to the south.

“Dearest Grandpa. I’m eternally grateful for the responsibility.” Troy slumped further. His hangover was not letting up.

Liam leaned forward to eye his son. “It is your responsibility.”

Troy met his father’s gaze. “We’ve been over this a hundred times.”

“And a hundred times more until you get it. Abide by the conditions or we both lose.” Liam took up his newspaper. “Unless your nuptials happen within six months, the inheritance will go to some Home for the Bewildered.”

“That’s not funny any more.”

“Neither is your reticence. You wedding by October twenty-eighth this year or I go to the poorhouse.”

Troy squinted. “You could’ve re-married again regardless of Grandpa’s will.”

Liam dropped his chin. “You well know my not re-marrying is because of your grandfather’s will. Carol and I are happy enough as we are.”

Troy closed his eyes. His grandfather Petronius, or Petny to family, had ensured
that Troy’s inheritance would be greatly reduced if Liam remarried.

Naturally the deaths of Troy’s mother Angie and his brother Marc in a traffic accident were devastating. Liam didn’t give a toss for himself and his father-in-law’s millions but for his remaining son Troy, he wanted the best, and Grandpa Petny had bequeathed a lot of money.

“If you don’t marry the share to your cousins is greatly reduced as well.”

“I know all that, but they’re not the ones doing something against their will.” Troy clapped his hands to his head. And man, that was a mistake. His head protested a clanging thump inside. “Why me?”

“You know ‘why me’. Because your brother died, too. Because your mother was Petny’s only child.” Liam slid a look at his son. “I know you want to get married one day. No-one wants to live a solitary life.”

“Then you better get off your butt and find me a wife in a big hurry. God knows you’d be good at it.” Troy thrust on sunglasses, closed his eyes and leaned back in the deck chair.

“That’s my boy.”

“Find me a good woman, that’s all I ask.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Troy lifted the sunglasses with a finger. “I don’t like that look.”

“I might have a plan.”

“I definitely don’t like that look. What is it?”

“Unorthodox. Old fashioned. A business partnership, something which would satisfy the terms of the will.” Liam shrugged.

“You’ve already got someone in mind.”

“Just thinking.”

“You don’t just think. You connive.”

A shake of the newspaper. “You are so right.”

First Page Feedback from Laurie Johnson

This is a great opening! You set up the key hook – a marriage of convenience – straight away and introduce a delicious, alpha hero in Troy. The family dynamic between Troy and Liam adds an element of fun, but is also a clear way to build the initial tension of the emotional conflict ahead. The reader is completely intrigued and left wondering – who is Troy going to marry? What’s going to happen between them? And how is Troy’s ‘convenient’ bride going to become the love of his life? Can’t wait to see where this story goes!

One or two points to think on–does Troy come across as a bit petulant and childish? And at first Liam almost seemed a more heroic type with an interesting potential dynamic. And if Troy’s mother was an only child, how does the share to his cousins get reduced?  But there is some snappy patter, so that is appealing.

5 replies on “First Page Feedback – Potential Wife”

Thank you, Laurie, for your feedback – I was so excited to read you liked the first 500 words of Potential Wife (WT). I will revisit Troy… he does have just a bit of a peev until he meets the heroine, and Liam does have his own hero story in the book.

As the story belongs to a ‘family history’ the cousins are an important part. They too have their own stories, some of which have been published as novels and novellas.

Thank you again – your feedback has encouraged me no end!

Starting with dialogue is always a good way to draw readers straight into the story, and this dialogue is very revealing of the characters. I have to agree that Troy comes across as a little petulant but this could easily be changed without altering the thrust of the conversation. Troy having cousins could be explained by them being the offspring of Liam’s siblings, but it would have to be explained why Petny would then include them in his Will.

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