Here’s a Kiss/Presents entry from NLH–it’s definitely catchy! 🙂
Katherine Holt hated these things. After a performance, all she wanted to do was
go home, soak in her tub and read her new book. But this was all part of what she
did, the public face of the famous and well-respected ballet company she danced
with, The National Ballet.
Having reached the level of Soloist after six years of hard work, she was expected
to meet and greet the wealthy patrons of the company. Most of them had
absolutely no idea about ballet, but they had money and that’s all that counted to
the Board. As was the norm for most of the arts in Australia, even the best
company in the country had to beg for funding each year. The people around her,
dripping with diamonds and dressed in designer clothes, made her dream of
becoming a professional ballet dancer possible, so she had to grin and bear it.
Not being much of a drinker, Katherine had been nursing the same glass of
champagne for the last hour. She was politely smiling and nodding as one of the
regular patrons, prattled on about the night’s gala performance.
She looked elegant tonight as most of the senior artists in the company did. Her
dress that she had borrowed was a creation of royal blue silk that was
deceptively simple but its lines could only have been from one of the most
expensive design houses in Melbourne. Her natural long blonde hair was pulled
up into an elegant twist to show case her graceful neck, which was adorned only
with a simple diamond pendant.
She had only just brought her attention back to her companions when she felt a
presence behind her and a voice whispered in her ear ‘I really hate these things,
Small shivers went down her spine and she realized that the voice belonged to –
Jake Ryan. The boy next door come national football hero, her brother’s best
mate who she had had a crush on since she was eight years old. She swung
around and found herself staring into the same steel grey eyes that had featured
in so many of her teenage fantasies.
Katherine had only seen photos of Jake in the past few years, not crossing paths
even though he was Evan’s best friend. He was as devastating as ever – his six
foot three frame radiated strength and power. He had obviously kept in shape
after his rugby career had finished.
She let her eyes drift back up to his face and studied it, comparing to how she
remembered him. Still the same thick brown hair, although much more
expensively cut than she remembered it. His nose was a little crooked from been
broken a few times on the football field but not in a bad way. He was what you
would call ruggedly handsome and he had a charisma that made men want to be
his friend and also made him completely irresistible to women.
Feedback from The Presents Team!
Although you’ve got a great set-up here – an intriguing heroine, shared past and a glamorous first (re)meet for the hero and heroine – these first few pages are weighed down by exposition, which makes it difficult for readers to connect with your characters. Remember that you want to throw the reader into the heart of the action, grabbing their attention and never letting go! It’s so important to show rather than tell (especially in these crucial first pages!) so get the characters talking – use the dialogue to let the readers get to know your fab characters. Our suggestion would be to start with Jake’s opening line and to get Katherine talking to him rather than having her lost in introspection. Is she flustered? Does she play it cool? The sooner you get their unique dynamic out onto the page the sooner the reader can start investing in them!
One other thing to keep in mind is to watch for inconsistencies in their characters – was he a football star or a rugby hero? – and to make sure you’re establishing steady voices and characterizations for both right from the get-go.
Thanks for the opportunity to review this story–definitely some promise here!