Danger in WIP Wednesday

Box setAt the cover reveal party for the Bluestocking Belle box set yesterday, we talked about heroines, and whether people preferred heroines to be rescued or to rescue themselves. Opinions varied, but it set me thinking about moments of danger. My novella for the box set is Gingerbread Bride, and my heroine is a strong-minded and determined young woman. Which doesn’t mean that she is always able to rescue herself!

So, for this week’s work-in-progress Wednesday, please post around seven lines that show your hero or heroine in a tight spot. The danger could be physical or emotional. You could show the rescue or just the crisis. You pick.

To kick us off, here’s mine. Mary is in a post chaise, the horses are bolting, and she has climbed out to see if she can stop them:

As she edged her way cautiously back to the door, a flash of movement behind the hedge to her left caught her eye. A rider? The hedge thickened again, and she couldn’t be sure. Another bounding lurch prompted her to move again, and she swung herself back inside to rejoin Polly—though not without a few extra bruises.

“The post boy is gone, and the horses are bolting,” Mary told Polly. “Stay in your corner and hold on tight. And pray that they run themselves out before we reach a bend in the road.”

Following her own advice meant she couldn’t see whether the glimpse she’d caught was a rider. Someone riding to their aid would be wonderful, but unlikely. Might as well wish for Rick to save her once again!

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22 thoughts on “Danger in WIP Wednesday

  1. Loved reading everyone’s snippets. Here’s one from my romantic mystery, Death of an Island Tart.

    I stood at the cave’s mouth, waiting for the tour to start, when I saw this man checking me out. I’d brought this short slinky slip dress to seduce Terrence, not sightsee alone, so I couldn’t blame the man. If you wave meat in front of a dog, you shouldn’t be surprised if he tries to bite you.

    This wasn’t the first time a man had undressed me with a look. But this brother made me feel like he’d stripped me bare. I understood why he’d enjoy the view, but not why I’d enjoy showing him. Despite the ninety degree temperature, I shivered. What was wrong with me? Island men hit on anyone with a pulse. When had I become that needy?

  2. I don’t like helpless females, but I don’t need a heroine to do all the rescuing either. I rather like it when the split the heroism. As to danger, here’s a bit from Dangerous Weakness.

    Scarface snatched off Lily’s headdress and lifted an ancient but deadly looking flintlock pistol to her head. Her red hair tumbled to her shoulders and swirled in the wind. Their captors pushed them forward to the edge of cliff.

    Richard forced his attention to the spectacle below. A fully rigged ship of the line had pinned the pirates’ frigate in the cove. It lay broadside, the island within range of its 32-pound guns. Marines lined the deck—armed, red coated, and ready for action. The Union flag snapped in the wind.

    Can they see us? He looked down at the rags he had been given with which to cover himself. No one looks less like a marquess than I do. If they see us, will they recognize us? Lily’s hair, flying in the wind brushed his cheek; Richard smiled grimly. Surely no Berber has hair that color—or the color of mine for that matter. The captain must make out that much in his spyglass.

    Hamidou, who had hopped up onto the highest rock to Richard’s right must have the same thought when he forced them forward. He stood with his feet planted wide apart, one hand on his hip, and waved his sword in circles above his head.
    Time froze.

  3. Here’s my WIP – Captive Hearts – Book 2 Hearts series

    “Same time tomorrow?”

    “If I can walk.” She grinned and hiked up her gym bag on her shoulder.

    His eyes widened, and he lunged at her.

    “What the hel—” Her butt hit the mat and she found herself pressed under the length of his body. His shoulder length hair tickled her nose as she buried her face into the side of his neck.

    A gunshot shattering the warehouse window interrupted her thoughts.

    “What was that?” Her words ruffled Tommy’s brown hair from her panting. “Westridge?”

    “No.” He pulled back slightly to look at her. His frown deepened, but didn’t move. “If it had been anyone he paid, they’d have used a scope and not missed.”

    “Great. Who have I pissed off now?”

    “Don’t know. But I intend to find out.” He pushed up to stand. “Stay here.”

    Like she’d obey when someone just tried to kill her.

    • Wow! I was thinking Caroline’s people were in the most dramatic of dramatic situations, but then I read yours! And you tell us a lot about the personality of your heroine in just a few words.

  4. Here’s a snippet from Under the Mistletoe in the same box set with Jude:

    His horse began to slug up and down the muddy streets of town. At last, he espied Margaret with her nose practically pressed up against the window of a bookstore, of all places. Eh gads! Is she actually thinking of going inside?

    “I say, Miss Templeton,” he called out, loud enough to get her attention.

    “My word, Captain Morledge,” she answered as she approached the hitching ring, where he brought his horse to a halt. “I did not expect to see you here.”

    Sander dismounted and reached for the hat box she was holding. “Surely you would not enter such a place, Miss Templeton? I would highly discourage you from making such a scene.”

    “A scene?” she said with pursed lips. “I am not causing a scene.”

    “You shall if you go into such an establishment. I forbid it,” Sander grumbled.

  5. Thanks, Jude. Nice vigorous action scene. Apparently the danger has a very different effect on the two characters. It makes Polly unable to try to stop the coach. It makes Mary do nothing else.

    Here’s a snippet from the first chapter of my WIP, “The Weeping Dragon” (historical fantasy romance). It’s a romantic-triangle-turns-violent scene. My heroine Dorrit is in danger and must rely on the hero. She cannot save herself. Yet.

    Suddenly William’s eyes grew wide. In a flash he grasped Dorrit by the waist as a figure clad in red burst from the bushes.

    It was Joan. Coming at Dorrit with rage in her eyes. And a dagger in her hand.

    “Damn you!” she cried. She ran toward Dorrit and raised her knife.

    Dorrit almost died of fright. Her heart raced. All she could see was Joan’s dagger. And it was aimed straight for her heart.

    But swift as Joan was, William was swifter. He pulled Dorrit behind him, then grabbed Joan’s wrist. Though she fought, he shook her so forcefully she had to drop the dagger.

    Dorrit grasped it as he slapped Joan. “Are you mad?”

    Joan shrieked, “You traitor!” Then she glared at Dorrit. “You whore!”

    It was a great release party. Good luck with the boxed set!

    • Thank you for your good wishes, Mary Anne. I’m glad you enjoyed the party. You have a lovely dramatic piece there. I’d love to know what happens next.

    • Dorritt is a lucky girl to have a hero who will fight for her. 🙂 I am curious as to the triangle. It would be lust like a man to lead poor Joan on, then slap her when she tries to take him back… LOL

  6. From ‘Tis Her Season, in the same box set as Jude’s. 🙂

    With a slippery smile, Jeremy asked her to dance, his voice a statement, not a question. Once settled into the minuet, he spoke into her ear each time the dance brought them close. “You will say not a word except how happy you are to see me in London.” He stepped away before she could respond.

    “For if you do,” he continued, the next time he was close enough to whisper, “I will send a letter back to Evercreech this eve with news of your direction.” At her stifled response, he only smirked.

    A few measures later, he added, “And I will tell my father it is time for Bella to return home where she belongs.”

  7. From ‘Jacob’s story’ historical
    She squared her shoulders. She had no time for female weakness.
    “May I have a word?”
    “No.” His heavy frown sent a warning chill down her spine. Taller than her by a full foot, he easily ignored her pleading gaze.
    When he turned away she placed a hand on his bare forearm. When the muscle hardened like stone, she knew she’d made a mistake. A burning sensation raced up her arm. Her fingers dropped away.
    “Please.”
    “Ye’re a bold female. Yer man needs to take better care of you.” His narrowed gaze swept across the open deck. “Where is he?”
    “He’s dead,” she said baldly. “The flux took him an hour ago. Once his body is under the waves, I will be alone.”
    “No ma’ concern.” His eyes flashed blue ice at her boldness.

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