The Historical Romance Winner . . . and the Thriller/Suspense Contest!

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 19 2008

It was bound to happen sooner or later. . . . There were so many terrific entries in the historical romance category that Jessica and I managed to each pick five without having any matches! So we’ve decided to do something different this time. We each chose a winner and two runners-up. That’s right! We’re awarding two critiques this time. Neither one of us were willing to compromise on our choices, so this seemed the best solution.

Jessica’s thoughts:

I’m so excited that Kim and I could not agree on a winner. First of all, that means two critiques and four honorable mentions, but it also shows how completely subjective this business is. Crazy! Two people who love so many of the same books and authors have such different tastes when it comes to those first 100 words. There were so many great openings here that I really had a hard time picking, but in the end I’m required to pick a winner.

So my winner is . . .

Devon Matthews —Wild Texas Rose

Texas – 1885

Trey Delaney stood amid the cinders next to the iron rails and watched the Southern Pacific fade into the shimmering heat veils on the horizon. What did he expect? That the train might suddenly throw on its brakes and start rolling backward because one last passenger had forgotten to get off?

Not likely.

He’d never been much of a praying kind of man. He figured divine intervention was reserved for those who were too helpless to help themselves, but as he’d watched the few passengers disembark at the depot a whispered, “Please, God,” slipped from his lips.

She hadn’t come.

I even surprised myself by picking this one. As you’ll see, most of my picks are Regencies, but I was really excited by this voice and in the end this was the stand-out for me. The agony that Trey feels when she doesn’t get off the train comes through easily and makes me want to hear more. And of course I’m dying to know who he’s waiting for. I also think this opening was a little different from the rest. It stood above the others in my mind.

Kim’s winner is . . .

Anonymous 12:04 am — Myddleford

London –1486

The soles of his boots were roasting. He could feel it. He could smell it. That wasn’t a problem; Ranulf wanted to die with warm feet. The problem was the fat bishop who waited for an answer like a dog waits for table scraps.

Life in return for loyalty.

For too many months Ranulf had watched as old friends were dragged off for execution. Death had become his only reliable companion. Death had become a friend.

“Sounds like a poor bargain to me.” He stamped one smoking boot on the stone floor. His feet were warm enough.

I love that we’re being thrown into the hero’s dire situation right off the bat. But what’s even better is the character’s sense of humor about the whole thing. “Ranulf wanted to die with warm feet.” I can tell that this is a hero I’ll love reading about from beginning to end . . . I’m dying to find out what will happen next. Why have his friends been executed? And how the heck is he going to get out of this mess? I’d definitely keep turning the pages!

Congratulations, Devon and Anonymous! When you’re ready for us to critique your query letters, synopses, and first chapters, please just e-mail us from the blog link.

Moving on to our runners-up . . . I have to say that I had a really hard time picking a winner out of my top three choices. There was something I absolutely loved about each one of them, and I think Jessica would agree. We felt that they were so strong, we each had to pick two runners-up this time. This means fewer honorable mentions tomorrow, but we really just felt that these entries deserved the added recognition.

Jessica’s runners-up:

Lanie Foster — Eyes on Me


It was just a whisper said into the wind, something not meant to be heard, but Lucia had heard it. She had heard it, and when she did, wished that she was deaf.

The man tapped his cane in an impatient manner, lips curled into a supercilious sneer, as he watched her pull out the small vial from the depths of her cloak pocket.

“Hurry up. I haven’t got all night.”

These words had a real air of sadness to them. Who is this woman and what has she gotten herself into? Is she really a whore or just a drug dealer? I think it says a lot about my tastes though when two of my picks use the word “whore.” Of course, I’m not sure what exactly it says, but it says a lot. I also like the fact that, at least in the opening, it doesn’t seem that your heroine is going to be the typical society girl. I’m always interested in reading about those on the other side of the tracks.

Anonymous 11:36 pm — Masquerade

The Vatican, 1503

The stench of death filled Marcello DiAmante’s nostrils, his stomach turning over in protest. The torch light flickered through the gallery storeroom, dimly illuminating the fresh corpse. Marcello glanced up at his companion, he could smell the Pope’s fear.

“My friend, believe me when I tell you this is not what I brought you here to see.” The Pope, Pius III, swept his arms across the area, indicating the priest’s splayed body. “I do not know what evil dares to lurk in this holiest of places.”

The two men knelt beside the twisted and badly beaten body, his throat cut.

Even though this opening read nothing like historical romance I had to add it to my list as a bonus. Is this romance or a historical thriller? Because it reads much more like a thriller. Of course anything to do with the Pope will make most readers think of The Da Vinci Code, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Great opening.

Kim’s runners-up:

Vicky Dreiling — The Duchess Competition

London, 1816

The belles of the Beau Monde had resorted to clumsiness in an effort to snag a ducal husband.

Tristan James Gatewick, the Duke of Shelbourne, conceded he’d contributed to this national disgrace. Ever since the gossip rags had declared him the most eligible bachelor in England, Tristan had rescued twenty-nine lace handkerchiefs, three kid gloves, and twelve fans.

If only it were possible to select one’s wife based on the inelegance of her fumbling, he’d have wedded and bedded the most inept candidate by now. Alas, even he wasn’t desperate enough to settle for Her Gracelessness.

Just plain wonderfully written. I can see Tristan standing there and smirking. Another hero I’m dying to hear more from. From this short excerpt, we know that he plays his role as a society gentleman, but he recognizes the silliness of it all and doesn’t take himself too seriously either. I’m dying to meet the woman who will catch his eye and get past his jaded perception on the fairer sex.

Steph — Stolen

Madeline Thorne was blessed with the kind of beauty that could, quite frankly, cause a man to overlook the fact that she was a complete bitch.

The only child of an impoverished country sir, she possessed (in abundance) two of the least attractive qualities in a future wife: she was spoiled and poor.

But she was very, very pretty.

“There is only one option for a lady such as she,” the Duke of Clarence lamented. Feeling quite charitable, he made her a proposition.

She slapped him.

Outraged, His Grace ruined her.

And she ruined him right back.

This time it’s the heroine that’s caught my attention. I’m not sure I’d like Madeline Thorne, but she certainly intrigues me. There’s something to be said for a writer that can describe a character as a spoiled bitch and yet still leave the reader rooting for her. I want to know how she ruined him right back. Such a great last line. Nice work!

Congratulations to our runners-up! We really enjoyed reading your work. Another reminder: Don’t be discouraged from querying us if we didn’t pick your entry. As I said, we thought this batch of entries was especially strong, and there’s a good chance you could hook us with a great query letter. The first 100 words isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Time to announce another contest!

TODAY IS THE THRILLER/SUSPENSE CONTEST! (Please note that a romantic suspense contest is still to come, so if you think your book is better suited to that category you may want to wait a week or so.)

Here are the rules:

1. We’ll only accept entries that are posted in the comments section of this blog article. No e-mailed entries will be considered.

2. Include your title and the first 100 words of your book. Now, we’re not saying to leave us hanging mid-sentence here. Stop wherever the previous sentence ends, but do not exceed 100 words.

3. The same work cannot be entered in more than one genre. If you think your book straddles more than one genre, you’ll have to pick one. We will, however, accept multiple works from the same author in the same or different categories.

4. Once the material is entered, it’s your final entry. We won’t allow revised versions of the same work.

5. We’re accepting excerpts of both finished and unfinished works.

6. The deadline is tomorrow, March 20th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

And in case you’ve forgotten, the prize is a critique of the query letter, synopsis, and first chapter of the winning entry! The winner will e-mail us the additional material and we’ll provide our notes privately, not on the blog. We will, however, discuss what we liked about each winning 100-word entry on the blog, and will pull out a few honorable mentions to highlight other excerpts that came close and why.

We’ll post the winners in a few days and then move on to the next genre. Keep an eye out for your category!

145 responses to “The Historical Romance Winner . . . and the Thriller/Suspense Contest!”

  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Did I miss the women’s fiction contest?

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Yes, there were WAY too many good entries for this one.

    Your choices tell me this however (which is something is always good to know about an agent when deciding to query them) where your tastes run.

    Jessica seems to like the more emotional themes when it comes to historicals.

    Kim seems to also be drawn more to the intrigue, but does seem to have a penchant for the more amusing ones too.

    When I look at the HUGE list of agents and try to decide who to query, I’m always thinking, will they like my voice, will they like my plot? If I can (because they have a website), I’ll jump on to see who they currently represent in my genre and try to figure out whether I think their tastes will run to my books.

    I always wish that an agent would actually be more specific to what their tastes run to. Like, love intrigue historicals more, not to crazy about the lighter stuff. LOL.

    This little competition gives just a little more insight into your specific tastes. Thanks for doing it girls!

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    The boy was buried nearby, and she would find him. She stood on the bluff overlooking a field of wild grass. The ground beneath her was ancient. Blood had soaked it in the past; blood from tribal wars, from massacres and from hunts. But the earth had not yet been sated. Blood still soaked the ground. She could feel it. It was a strange and terrible certainty.
    She shifted, thoughts flitting through her mind. She could sense the policemen standing nearby, just out of sight. She chased those thoughts away and concentrated. There had to be an echo here, an echo of murder. There had to be…she felt it now. The bones in her forearms suddenly started to vibrate.

  4. Avatar Lorra says:


    Holy crap! Virginity was actually good for something. Bursting with that mind-boggling discovery, Stephanie skidded into the
    cave- like room, a whorl of frosty air and a boyfriend named James trailing her.

    She shook her sleeping roommate. “Mari, wake up.”

    Bathed in a halo of light, Marianna slept the dreamless sleep of profound exhaustion, tumbles of coal black curls veiling her face. Medical textbooks standing on end fanned out around her, sentries keeping watch.

    Squinting, Mari raised her head. “Whaaa?”

    Stephanie stabbed the circled listing in the campus newspaper. “Your virginity. It’s worth a hundred thousand dollars.”

  5. Avatar Terry Stone says:

    Congratulations to the winners of the historical romance contest. I have to admit that Kim’s list included two that I really liked and hope will be published soon-I can’t wait to read those stories-so keep writing, ladies!

  6. He loved elevators. In an elevator you could stand in a woman’s space, inhale her essence and no one cared. The more crowded the better. The wood feel of the small box, four walls closing in, a moving crypt of pleasure. Women close enough to eat. He could close his eyes and imagine being in a coffin with them. A glimpse of how they would be in death.
    He walked the mall. Weaving in and out of stores, prowling the food court, and now loitering outside of the ladies room. They always smelled best when they left the ladies room. Wafting scents of hairspray and perfume traveling in their wake. A shudder of excitement ran through him.

  7. Congratulations to the winners and runners-up! What an excellent variety!

  8. Oh, this is an excellent selection. I knew this was going to be tough because there were so many good entries.

    Congratulations to all.


  9. Dancing Horses

    Colton’s fingers chased the wedge of tongue around the basin of the horse waterer. It slithered and darted through the pinkish water as if it were still alive, deftly avoiding his grasp. A few drops of diluted blood trickled through his fingers when he finally captured it, but most had already drained into the water, leaving only pale blue flesh behind.

    Turning from the waterer, Colton held the tongue up to the light. It was easy to see where the horse’s teeth had bitten through.

    Another accident. Another dead champion.

  10. Avatar Kim Lionetti says:

    Anonymous 6:42:

    No — you haven’t missed it yet. We have two contests left. Romantic Suspense and Women’s Fiction. Not sure which will come first yet, so keep an eye out!

  11. “He loved elevators. In an elevator you could stand in a woman’s space, inhale her essence and no one cared.–“


    Yeah, that opening would keep me reading.

    “Stephanie stabbed the circled listing in the campus newspaper. “Your virginity. It’s worth a hundred thousand dollars.”

    Oh, man. Fun opening.


    I see already this is going to be a tough category.

    Dr. Matt Newman was running on fumes. His eyes burned. His shoulders ached. His mouth was foul with the acid taste of the coffee. Night call was for someone younger—much younger. But all that was about to change. Then maybe Diane would stop carping at him. Maybe this would make her happy. Maybe.
    As Matt moved from the brilliance of the Emergency Room into the mottled semi-darkness of the parking garage, he felt the weight of responsibility begin to slip from his shoulders. The hissing of the pneumatic doors closing behind him was like an auditory exclamation point.

  13. Avatar Anonymous says:


    IT IS SO much easier to hunt when the prey doesn’t even know it’s being hunted.
    The Hunter stopped writing in his journal to study the little girls playing in front of the funeral home. The children played tag, giggling in the bright sunlight, obviously relieved to escape the adult gloom inside the house of death.
    When their age, his father taught him to hunker down until an unsuspecting animal was lured clear of the mesquite scrub forest. Then the whispery twang of the bow.
    It was the first time he felt warm blood on his hands.


    Step three, stand over the victim.

    Amigal slid black gloved fingers onto her belt pouch.


    She ignored her victim’s continual muttering. They wouldn’t sway her from her job.

    Her gaze fixed on the dark hair splayed on the pillow, half hiding her victim’s face. She clasped a glass vial in the right hand pocket of the pouch. Sliding it out of its leather cocoon, she placed it in her palm, using the other to unscrew the lid.

    Step four, with the specified tool, kill the victim.

  15. Avatar beverley says:

    Congrats to all the winners. I have to agree and say that of the many I really enjoyed, Kim did pick two which really caught my eye.


  16. “But the earth had not yet been sated. Blood still soaked the ground. She could feel it. It was a strange and terrible certainty.”

    This is a powerful line and premise.

    Good thing there aren’t many posted yet or I would be late for work.


  17. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Congrats to the winners! Thanks for holding this contest, it’s been great fun and an awesome learning experience.

    Here’s my suspense entry, title TBD:

    Laura locked the front door then slipped on her head phones with a wince. Three hours holding the phone with her shoulder while fixing a system glitch on her laptop had turned her neck into one big cramp. She was losing faith that walking would ever get her in shape, no matter what the fitness magazines said. After eight weeks she had killer calves and a burning sensation in the bottom of her feet. And she was still a size fourteen.

    It was just after 10 p.m. One benefit of walking so late – she’d offend fewer people with her singing.

  18. Title: Smart Cookie

    It all started with a plateful of cookies in the teachers’ room. The recipe was left in this day of nut allergies and carb counting on a fingerprint-free index card next to the Saran-wrapped paper plate. The poisoner took a chance with the almonds sprinkled on top, but there was nothing else too objectionable about 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of oil, 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 cup of all-purpose flour. 350 for half an hour in an 8×8 pan and you were all set with a tasty if possibly deadly snack.

  19. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Did you guys up the word max for Thriller/Suspense?

  20. Title: Nine

    The rain had turned to snow as night descended upon the nation’s capital. A gust drove the snow at a slant that transected the buildings around her. Aspiring poets, the kind Eve had met in college, might liken the winter wind to a knife that dug deep. If they’d ever been stabbed, they would never have confused the cold with a blade.

    She slowed down and took a breath, smoothing invisible wrinkles from her leather jacket. What she had on didn’t project the right image–cool, impenetrable and professional–but the Agency had insisted she report to the headquarters ASAP.

  21. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Scars of the Prophet

    They’d sent me home too soon. I wasn’t ready and home wasn’t ready for me. It’s not about the brutality of war; it’s the consequences of what that imbrued violence left behind. It felt like I had exposed some subconscious nerve to the cold touch of darkness. In my dreams I was still in Iraq where devil dogs roamed and ruled the dark grotto’s of Hemingway’s world.

    I went off to war and came home expecting Jesus to take me back. The nailed prophet laughed down from his perch and gave me a new set of rules to follow.

    That’s when it started.


  22. Avatar green ray says:


    If you could discover the great secret of life and death, would you do it—even if it meant losing your mind? I’ve had very few fears in my life, but one of them’s been that I’d lose it someday. Do most people worry about this kind of thing? I don’t know; I don’t know what most people worry about. Love, I guess, or when they’re going to get married.

    Or maybe they worry about finding a good job. And when the weekend comes, you can go out and party and get drunk and laid and have a swell time.

  23. Wow! What a surprise! I’m in shock. I was sure I wouldn’t even get a mention because there were so many great entries, and so many with killer first lines. Thank you, ladies, and especially you, Jessica! :o)

  24. Avatar Donna M says:


    A lurch. Commuters on the Friday 5:30 express got only that much warning before the train rolled down the embankment.

    One minute, Parker Sheffield was reading the The Journal’s NYSE pages. The next, he’d been jerked roughly to one side, into the scruffy neighbor he’d been trying to avoid. A metallic shriek sliced through the chatter of homebound suits and college students.

    Then the roll lifted Park, slammed him into the aisle and over a seat to the ceiling, finally landing him back on the floor atop a hairy wet leg, with someone’s hiking boot rammed against his forehead.

  25. Avatar HollyD says:

    Title: Rose’s Obsession

    “Oh dear God, please, please don’t let me throw up.” She muttered under her breath.

    The last thing Rose Donnelly needed was to appear weak in front of the officers. Many of them were already convinced she was not fit for the job after what happened the last time. She had to appear calm and in control, even if she wasn’t.

    How was she supposed to do that when the entire room was covered in blood?

    “Damn it, Rose! What the Hell are you doing in here?”

    “It’s always so nice to see you too, Detective Quinn.”

  26. Avatar honey says:

    The Honey Project.

    The CORNELIUS JANSEN turned at the mouth of the Columbia and began pounding its way upriver, loaded with a city’s worth of incendiary death. Five miles away, a rowboat splashed into the water near the support pier of the Astoria bridge.

    Fifty yards from the channel, the town of Astoria woke up, dressed, and ate breakfast, preparing for another quiet day.

    The rowboat bobbed in the water, tethered against the river current. Its concealing gray tarp, printed with green, blue, and brown, stretched from gunwale to gunwale to keep out the rain. It snagged up against the side of the bridge pier.

    In the channel now, the CORNELIUS JANSEN slowed. The top deck of the massive Liquefied Natural Gas tanker . . .

  27. Thriller: VENGEANCE

    It came without warning. Like a bullet. The crack of a whip. A bolt of lightning.

    Calen Grant smelled her own fear. Like rotting pus spewing from her pores. Saw nothing except the twisted grin of maniacal pleasure plastered across the man’s face in the other car.

    Heard nothing but the sick crunching metal. Not the whoosh of traffic. Not the thump thump of the bass on the radio. Not even horns blaring.

    She spun. Colors blurred. Silence screamed and filled the air.

    Calen sucked in breath. Eyes wide. Fingers clenched around the steering wheel.

    Then everything stopped.

  28. Avatar Walter says:

    Thriller (YA)

    Rick Hunt fought to keep his eyes focused on the swaying blond ponytail attached to his best friend as she walked out the front door.

    Don’t look at her butt, don’t look at her butt, don’t look at her—GAAAAAHHH!—you looked at her butt! Okay, don’t panic. Oh, crap, she’s turning around. Mayday! Mayday! Abort-abort-abort!

    Hunt forced his eyes down to the floor.

  29. Avatar Darlene Ryan says:

    The Other Mother

    It was only one sentence, one of those headlines that crawl across the bottom of the television screen during the morning network news shows.
    “Mother in adoption-kidnap case dead.”
    I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I put out a hand, found a chair behind me and dropped into it. My legs had stopped working properly.
    The rest of the headlines slide past; more soldiers dead, more jobs gone, a celebrity doing the wrong thing with the wrong person, sports scores.
    It’s someone else. It’ll be someone else, don’t over-react, I told myself.

  30. Avatar Darlene Ryan says:

    God Bless the Child

    “Everyone thinks it’s my fault. They always blame the mother, right? Well Kyle ain’t been right in the head since he was a baby. God, he’d scream, and scream, and you couldn’t do nothing with him.

    “See, I didn’t know it then, but there’s crazy people in his daddy’s family. His sister tried to kill herself—took a bunch of pills and ended up at the outdoor. And even Daryl—that’s Kyle’s daddy—one minute he’s all ‘baby I love you,’ and the next he’s—”

    She stopped and leaned forward. “Is it okay to say ‘bitch’?” she whispered.

  31. Avatar Daryl says:

    Chessa could barely breathe. Couldn’t open her eyes. She smelled Shalimar, pine trees, blood. She tried to move, but a dead weight was on top of her. If she didn’t get out from under it, her chest would explode.
    She pushed up with her hands, her fingernails pressing into folds of taffeta and silk and metal-studded suede. A woman was lying on top of her.
    Revulsion swelled in Chessa’s stomach. What had happened wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t a gruesome dream. But it was a blur. A man in a mask had chased her along a path slashed with moonlight.

  32. Avatar Cindy says:

    Woo hoo! Congratulations to the winners and runners up. I know the writer of Masquerade and I’m so happy for her!

  33. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Secondary Targets

    MCAS Cherry Point
    Present Day

    To say that General Michael Hendricks’ days were numbered was not necessarily accurate. Hours–maybe. Seconds–probably. Days–doubtful.

    Midnight had crept upon him in silence, bringing with it no viable solutions. A small desk lamp cast a faint glow over his worry-ridden face.

    Damn. How could I have been so careless? The words poured over him like a scalding hot shower. Reality had barged it’s way in, pulled up a chair and sat down.

    There was nothing left. No time. No solutions. No easy or quick fixes. And certainly not a smidgeon of luck.

  34. Avatar Anonymous says:


    The vast landscape before me is a barren place where none has set foot before. Or so I’d like to think. But of course people have set foot here before. Heathen Moor is one of the more popular destinations in the area. There’s just no one around right now.

    Now is Monday. I’m supposed to be at work. Instead I’m here. At the brink of this moor, a dead body in the trunk. Do you say dead about a body? Or is that implied? If the person in the trunk would still be alive, you wouldn’t say body, right?

  35. Avatar Cujo says:

    My husband is a monster.

    She was on the bus when the realization hit her, mentally checking off a grocery list of things she needed to replenish, like tea for herself and cereal for her son. But nothing for her husband. Again. Each time she went shopping for food she’d make an obligatory gesture of asking what he wanted and he’d shrug in response. He wasn’t hungry and he never ate, not in her presence anyway. In all these years it finally made sense. And it was comforting to know while she wasn’t crazy, she was slowly headed that way.

  36. Avatar Fred Limberg says:


    A moment of weakness? Tenderness? Confession? Jim had to tell Iris something.

    “Okay, you asked. The first time I saw, or rather, didn’t see, what happened when I twisted the damn ring I was nearly run over by a truck. Right then I said to myself: ‘Invisibility has nothing to do with invincibility, podna. Be careful.’ True story. I’ve repeated those words almost daily ever since.
    I once thought of getting a tattoo that said that but, y’know, who’d ever see the son of a bitch? Advertising like that could be counterproductive, dangerous even.
    I’m a sneak thief, after all.”

  37. A STUDY IN FEAR – Psychological suspense thriller/WIP – 100 words

    The sight of the armed guard outside Monroe Hall made her stop and wonder if the threat was, in fact, real.

    Another possibility: the school wanted to relay a false signal of danger – reporter bait. Not a first. At a university fundraiser, Caroline had cautioned the provost against garnering publicity for the active criminal cases analyzed by Rhys and his team of young profilers. The provost insisted: Press keeps the university in the spotlight. He squeezed her shoulder and said: Spotlight is money, dear. Escaping from beneath his hand, her stiletto heel connected with the toe of his Gucci loafer.

  38. Avatar Cujo says:

    The children’s chorus was sweetly out of tune, their little faces like wild eyed kittens yawning and snarling in fear as they screeched a vaguely recognizable version of “Silent Night.” Parents strained to get a glimpse of their child, adjusting cameras to record the occasion, unaware they were being watched just as closely. The diversion was already there, now all that was needed was an opportunity. She timed it just as the crowd stood on their feet to applaud, her smoldering green eyes meeting his startled brown ones.
    “Come mere you little shit” she hissed, dragging him off.

  39. Avatar Joanie says:

    Suicide Watch

    Gloria Ramirez’s grip tightened on the steering wheel, as her fire engine red Mustang flew over the hilly, three a.m. streets like Steve McQueen in “Bullit,” and landed in the lot by the Golden Gate Bridge. Her braking screech, worthy of Daytona, turned every head.

    She sighed. The Golden One–San Francisco’s shining jewel for tourist seekers and suicide testers. Police cruisers and an ambulance held camp in the shadow of the towering spires, blocking off the hot zone, emergency crews ready for whatever came next. She crawled out of the car and strapped on her life belt.

  40. Avatar Vicki says:

    Club Illusions

    “You won’t get away with this.” Tom Emerson, soon to be a dead CIA agent, worked to keep the fear from his voice.

    “Really? Who’s gonna stop me? You?” The gunman behind Tom jabbed the muzzle further into his spine.

    “Please. You’ll be caught. Your kind always is.”

    “Is the big man begging for his life?” His laugh echoed in the alley. “Everyone always begs. Doesn’t stop me though. In fact I kinda like it.”

    “We can work something out.”

    “What? A deal? Too late.”

    “Tell Stone—”

    “On your knees.” The gunman pulled a thin cord from his pocket.

  41. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Lost Soul

    Stella knew she was going to die, but she would never know why.
    When the doorbell rang, she put the book she was reading down on the bedside table and waited. When it rang again she jumped out of bed and headed for the door genuinely believing the great love of her life had forgotten his keys – again! She was smiling calling out his name as she pulled the door open, the smile disappearing quickly as fear mushroomed and exploded in her chest. They asked for him by name, but he could never have known these people.

  42. Avatar Margery says:

    Here’s my entry, as yet untitled.

    I sit apart from the other inmates. Even in this house of monsters, they know I am special.
    Men wander about, some alone, others in packs, each staking out their own claim in the empty space surrounded by tiers of cells rising fifty feet. A guard station on each level watches every move we make, either with the naked eye or through the lenses of the cameras that pry into every moment in our lives.
    Nothing is private. Nothing is personal. Nothing but our thoughts and fantasies. The guards can’t pry into those, can’t take them away.

  43. Avatar Flick says:


    “Tell me you love me and I’ll let you live.” Viktor ran a gloved finger over Galya’s cheek.
    His lover, Galena Petrovna Mazarov, hung naked in the centre of the warehouse. A rope slung over a beam had been wrapped around her wrists so her feet just touched the floor. Her toes brushed a line in the dirt as she swung. Viktor stripped the tape from her lips and Galya took a gulp of air.
    “No words of love?” Viktor asked.
    She spat at him. The ineffectual missile dribbled onto her breast.
    “No? Well you don’t need your tongue then.”

  44. Avatar J. C. says:

    Title: Gumshoe

    When I walked in, I knew Heather could help me. She gave me this look – a stern, wise look.

    Of course, back then, I didn’t know anything about her conversation with Herb seconds later, or what it was about to mean for me:

    “They can’t both be our clients! They’re investigating each other!”

    “Herb, its divine justice. She’s screwing with us, we’re screwing with her.”

    All I heard was:

    “Margaux Davis –”

    Then the secretary shrilled, “Ms. Fox is eavesdropping!”

    Heather and Herb stormed over. I was getting a new look now. It said plainly, “You’re dead.”

  45. Avatar Flick says:


    For a brief moment Kate thought something had exploded. The door slammed into her, striking her arm and shoulder, propelling her backwards. Unable to regain her balance, she fell to the floor, flowers tumbling over her. Her brain registered that the fair-haired delivery man was inside her apartment, that he’d closed the door, that this wasn’t an accident. Before she could even draw a breath to scream, he dropped down by her side and brought his face close to hers.
    “Marry me, Kate.”
    The shock of his words killed the scream in her throat. “Who are you?” she gasped.

  46. Avatar j.c. says:

    Title: Untitled

    “Look, okay, she doesn’t get it. This guy is bad news. So, to convince her,” I frowned, “I printed just a few articles about girls like her, who go off with guys like him and never come back.”

    My friend, Eric, tilted his wine glass, catching light from the lamp by his knee. I could tell he was laughing. On the inside, of course. Gentlemen always do.

    “Now she won’t come out of her room.” I said. “Instead of being afraid of him, she’s afraid of me.”

    Eric took a – far longer than necessary – sip of wine.

  47. Avatar Janet K says:


    She went out in the boat alone — that was her first mistake. Her second was not bringing a cell phone. Her third was fighting back.


    Molly Travis popped open a beer. “To me,” she said, holding the can in toasting position. “For defying the odds, achieving the impossible, and, against all expectations, pleasing the biggest son of a bitch in Chicago. Bottoms up.”

    She drank deep, all twelve ounces glugging down her throat. Plain, watery, cheap American beer. God, it tasted good. She tossed the can into the rental boat’s small cabin and laughed from simple happiness.

  48. Avatar Anonymous says:


    Lacey Campbell stared across the hazy field of snow at the big tent pitched against the rundown apartment building. She inhaled a breath of icy air, letting it fill her lungs, strengthen her resolve.

    There. That’s where the body is.

    Her stomach knotted as she trudged toward the site. Snow was great, unless you had to work in it. And six inches of new snow covered the grounds of her current assignment. This weather was for skiing, sledding, and snowball fights.

    Not for investigating old bones in a frosty tent in Boondocks, Oregon.

  49. Congratulations to the winners, well deserved. I was impressed with all of the entries, and am not surprised the ladies had a tough time choosing.

    It’s actually very encouraging to see so many strong writers in the genre closest to my heart, one I love to read as well as write.


  50. Avatar Lou says:

    Across the deserted and winter-blasted wastes of the caravan and camping ground in the northwest alps, Tallagra’s lights bobbed and flickered between heavy-leafed branches of lashing gum trees in between.

    Sleet had fallen and left a sharper tang of cold in the air.

    Julie and Hannah Carey edged out into it from the only lit caravan in a block of on-site vans. They picked their way past the sightless eyes of dark, uncurtained windows along the puddled gravel track, through other pools of darkness to the better-lit camp office.

    Both hunched inside their parkas.

  51. Avatar Anonymous says:

    THE ULTIMATE GAME/Vicki Lockwood
    I lay in a bloody heap, warm mud oozing around my broken body. Excruciating pain stabbed my lungs as I tried to breathe. The coppery taste of blood filled my mouth. I shivered, struggling to get air through my broken nose, missing that musty Louisiana bayou smell I’d enjoyed most of my life.
    The egrets had settled in, but I couldn’t see their white feathers against the black of night. I couldn’t see anything. “I’m coming, Ace! I’m almost there!” The voice was that of my back-up, transmitted through the receiver behind my ear. Or was it God?

  52. Avatar vicky says:

    Congratulations to the two historical romance winners and the other runner up entries. I’m thrilled Kim picked my entry, THE DUCHESS COMPETITION, as a runner up. Thank you!

  53. Avatar Anonymous says:

    MORDANT SCHISM/Vicki Lockwood

    Intermittent flashes gave SSA Trey Fontaine ugly glimpses of the scene–cobwebs–a broken shovel–a roll of rusty wire. And the body. Quick flickers of light enhanced visual details as the camera clicked–the body lay in a semi-fetal position on bare dirt.
    Click–knees tucked up, back to the door.
    Click–naked and bruised, blood-matted hair.
    Click—green, camouflage-mottled skin, swollen and distorted with gases.
    Forcing a smile on his face to avoid losing his breakfast, he realized that fourteen years of this hadn’t made him immune to the horrors humans could inflict upon each other.

  54. Avatar Idea Man says:

    RIDE-ALONG, Suspense

    Never killed a cop before. Never had to.

    But I was on a mission now that Jimmy had been murdered by a cop. A dirty one. Framed with a throw-down piece and a baggie of drugs. Internal Affairs conducted an investigation, clearing the officer in the shooting. What did I expect? Cops covering for cops, protecting their own. I knew it didn’t happen like they said. My cousin Jimmy would never draw a gun on a cop. No way. He was set up. And I was going to get even.

    I waited inside the squad car for my quarry.

  55. Avatar 150 says:


    The Citadel of Evil, the one on Fourth and Maple, was ticking down toward self-destruction.

    Chaos shook the skyscraper from sidewalk to roof. Above, Doctor Maniac was fighting off the Watchman, outclassed in strength, speed, and general charm; below, Maniac’s robot army was putting up a poor showing against the local riot squad. I’d warned him the robots weren’t ready. And then there was me, one man in a disheveled business suit, running around the penthouse office with a flamethrower, doing what I do best: cleaning up the good doctor’s mess.

  56. Avatar j. c. says:

    Title: You and I

    One last kick. He crumpled beneath my boot. “Don’t make me come back again. If I have to come back again, someone’s going to die.” I nodded my head at his family, huddled by a beat-up Buick.


    He grabbed my knee, hugging it. Normally, I’d have socked him. Today however, I didn’t even notice. I was still staring at his family – at his daughter.

    She was smiling.

    Out of her coat pocket, she pulled a Polaroid. She turned it so I could see: me, as a little girl.

    She didn’t say anything, just smiled broader.

  57. Avatar Lonestar2008 says:


    Her ability to perform sexual magic had paid for her print autographed by Pablo Picasso, but Margo had transformed her business so she could afford investment grade original watercolors. The magic now happened in the dark alley where men – and one woman – hungry for power and recognition became willing to pay for anonymity. She personally serviced the clients most likely to appear on the front page of The Washington Post if anyone learned they visited a prostitute.

    The door bell rang. She undid a button on her blouse, looked through the peep hole and unlocked the door.

  58. Avatar jkazimer says:


    She probably didn’t mean to kill me.

    Or maybe she did.

    I’m not sure it matters anymore.

    Chapter 1

    “My name’s Sam and I’m an addict. I’ve been clean for two years.” Sam licked his lips. A sure sign of a life spent in the pursuit of dope. There were other signs too, like his yellowing eyes and trembling fingers.

    “Hi Sam,” echoed a smattering of people seated in the basement of the church.

    I lifted my head from my hands and mouthed the mantra. Like saying hi was gonna keep Sam off the juice

  59. Avatar CGraham says:


    On the fourth day Anthony slept later than usual, waking long after dawn handed off the day’s responsibilities to afternoon. Lying fetal in the bottom of the raft, he recognized a shadow for the first time since their ship sank and he squinted to clarify its source. A large bird perched on the far edge of the life raft, where the collapsed sidewall of the inflatable offered easy purchase. In silhouette the bird stood roughly the size of a hawk, with a regal head, long beak and a wingspan as wide as Anthony was tall.

  60. Avatar Paty Jager says:

    Congratulations to all the winners, and big hugs to Devon!

  61. Avatar Margery says:

    Did it hurt to die?

    Water rippled around her, lapping against her chin. The warmth should have soothed her. Instead, it made her blood pulse harder. Faster.

    What would happen when she could no longer breathe? Would she struggle? Resist? Or simply give in?

    Soon she would know.

    And what of those she left behind? Would they miss her? Would they even notice she was gone, other than reading an obituary in the local newspaper and the inconvenience of wasting a summer afternoon attending her funeral?

    Somewhere in the distance, a male voice spoke, soft and low. Another voice answered.

    Then silence.

  62. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the winners. Kim picked my favorites too.

    Eyes on Me, really caught my attention and The Duchess Competition, really made me want to read more.

  63. Avatar Anonymous says:

    (by rbc)

    Death washes over you like a wave, pulling you from existence. Your body drifts in the surf, and for a while, you’re there but not there—like a voice-mail from a dead man. By the time that wave reaches the beach, you are no longer with it—every trace of you is gone—even your last voice-mails deleted.

    Unless you’ve managed to leave something behind before the wave took you, somewhere in that great ocean of life. Lucky Zalton knew that ocean well—‘I’m a marine biologist in the sea of life’ he would say–and he had done just that.

  64. Avatar Anonymous says:

    (by rbc)

    “Get in.”

    Lemmy hesitated. He peered into the Mercedes’ trunk, inspecting the space that would become his nest for the next four hours. He tossed in a black bag and then seemed to reappraise the space, as if he had moved a piece of furniture into a room and now had to consider its impact.

    “Get your ass in, Lemmy!”

    “I just thought of something.”

    New voices echoed through the cavernous room. Footsteps approached, keys jingled. With a last glance around the new car showroom, Lemmy clambered into the trunk, letting it close over him automatically with a soft hum.

  65. Avatar Anonymous says:

    (by rbc)

    Life has the potential to be both a wonderful, rewarding experience one wishes would never end, or a tortuous, disappointing one which is altogether too long. For some people, aerospace engineer Dr. Robert Task among them, it can be both in succession.

    Unfortunately for him, however, the wonderful part had passed, and the tortuous part was coming up. He just didn’t know it yet.

    While the remarkable systems he had designed to achieve his ultimate goal thrived, his own most personal system—that fragile world of blood and tissue and arteries–had begun to fail.

    He prayed for enough time.

  66. Avatar Anonymous says:


    Billie Shakespeare could charm anything, even birds from trees. Just watching his twin strut across the street reminded him of his own polish, his own charm. Life was a bowl of cherries, and Billie meant to savor each one.

    No need to rush things, he’d done the tricky part. What remained was pure entertainment. Best keep things light and easy. There would be a tug when the moment hit, Billie knew that, but it would be brief.

    Then he would assume his brother’s life, the perfect chameleon. But he wouldn’t eat broccoli, not even for his new hotty wife.

  67. Avatar Anonymous says:

    “I always wish that an agent would actually be more specific to what their tastes run to. Like, love intrigue historicals more, not to crazy about the lighter stuff. LOL.”

    Why? If they say they’re currently accepting queries for your genre, then query them. It’s not rocket science. Trying to predict the whims of a person you don’t know is pure silliness. Query widely. Don’t exclude agents because you *think* you know what they want or don’t want–you’d only be hurting yourself. Don’t worry about the agent. Worry about yourself.

  68. Congratulations to the winners and the runners up! 🙂

  69. Avatar Anonymous says:


    My gift first came to me at the funeral. It was a cool day for late summer, the sun shone, but not too hot, and the trees retained their color. It would’ve been a rather pleasant day at the cemetery if it wasn’t for the funeral. I stood next to my mother and what’s-his-name. The services had a strong turn out. I glanced down at the tiny coffin—too tiny to look at; I turned away and that was when I noticed the butterfly lying smashed at my feet.

  70. Avatar Anonymous says:

    A Time to Die

    Saif Yasin stared into the blackness, straining to see through the icy rain, silently praying to Allah to help him control his anger and decide if the American should die tonight. He parked the rental car on a dead-end street between rows of deteriorating warehouses, isolated from prying eyes. Raising his arm, he angled his stainless steel Breitling watch to catch a dim beam of light from the lone streetlamp; it was almost midnight.

    Headlights blinded him briefly as they reflected off the streams of water cascading down the windshield. With his left hand shielding his eyes, his right hand instinctively slid beneath the overcoat to feel the cool textured steel of the nine-millimeter Israeli-made Jericho handgun. He slipped it out of the leather shoulder holster, pulled the knurled slide and listened as the hollow-point bullet snapped into the chamber. With the safety off, the gun disappeared into the map pocket near the floor in the driver’s door.

  71. Avatar Brenda says:

    A Bone To Pick

    Humorous Mystery thriller set up in diary form

    March 20th 2000 zip
    Notes to self:

    1. Phone newspaper. Cancel yard sale. Front lawn dug up, thanks to finding corpse in it. Oh yeah and phone my lawyer.
    2. Look for new job, write resume, don’t think mine at the DA’s is going to be much good anymore.
    3. Find a good plumber and somehow tell him/her that my six-year-old thought it was cute to flush the monkey god down the toilet. I could have told her you don’t shit with Hanuuman.
    4. Find myself a new journal. It looks like I’m going to need one…

  72. Avatar dramabird says:

    The Campus

    The gates of the Emerald City were rotting.

    No one was likely to find the Lost Boys, now that Kiley had torn apart the dilapidated treehouse Peter Pan called home. Prior to that, she had relegated the deadly barber chair from Sweeney Todd to the junk heap because of a broken trapdoor mechanism. And termite damage had rendered Juliet’s balcony as doomed as her star-crossed love life.

    But now, standing before the giant Wizard of Oz set piece, Kiley was a reluctant executioner. She kept her hammer at her side.


    Paul shook his head in disgust once he recognized it was an old Pontiac driving towards him. The car’s chassis bounced and shuddered through one dirt rut after another. Nobody who knew anything about the Tanzanian wilderness drove in less than 4-wheel drive.

    The engine sputtered off, but Paul didn’t bother standing up. He could see Barry’s Hawaiian print shirt tucked around a fat belly just fine from his own driver’s seat.

    Barry huffed his way over to Paul’s open door and stuck out a pink fleshed hand. “I’m Barry and I’ve had one helluva morning so far.”

  74. A Reason For Terror

    Pete Robinson teetered on the bar stool contemplating the grizzly war zone. He wanted it all to be over; the war in Iraq, the terrorism, the death, the killing, but he knew it wouldn’t stop. Explosions rocked a large market in Iraq, disrupting a diplomatic visit by two ranking House leaders. The scene played out on the plasma television above the bar, caught on tape by CNN cameras. The in-country reporter looked nervously over his shoulder at the chaos behind him as he searched for something to say. The details on the forty-something U.S. soldiers killed that day scrolled along the bottom of the screen.

  75. A Reason For Dying

    “There are over one hundred-eighty species of chameleons in the animal kingdom. They survive by camouflage; approaching by stealth to destroy their prey, then melt into their surroundings before becoming prey themselves. There are chameleons in the world of humans as well. Using the same tactics for different reasons.”

    The ’67 Mustang rumbled through the dark maze of streets that made up Washington D.C. as if on auto-pilot, while Laura Daniels’ mind pondered another crappy day. It had been nothing but a string of crappy days since arriving in D.C. a couple of months ago.

  76. Avatar Maura says:

    Title: Restless Nights

    Calloused hands closed around Meghan’s throat and forced her head against the cold, cellar wall. She fought back the panic building inside her and tried to reason with him.

    “Please. Don’t do this.”

    His frigid laugh resounded in the empty room as his fingernails pierced her fragile skin.

    “I didn’t know. I–”

    “It’s too late to lie now.”

    His words were soft, the calculated whisper untying her last thread of calm.

    “I’m not lying. I swear! Please…No.”

    He tightened his grip and she could only claw at his hands as she gasped for her last chance.

    “No. Daddy. No.”

  77. Avatar Sally says:

    Kahuna Bones:

    The night had drawn late when she opened her eyes. Pain immediately pulsed at her temple and she winced in agony as she tried to get to her feet.
    She attempted to pull herself up but the break in her bone caused her to fall back to the floor.
    When she managed to get herself to her knees she saw that there was a mirror above the mantelpiece in the room she’d been left in and as she looked into it she wasn’t able to recognise the beaten face staring back at her and all she saw was the blood that stained her porcelain skin.

  78. Avatar Anonymous says:


    “I will help you escape” –the frail Chinese girl searched his eyes— “on two conditions.

    “Conditions?” Seth Winder’s brow creased.

    “If I am captured, you must end my life.”

    Her eyes were warm as fresh tilled earth. Seth found them gripping. “You don’t know what you’re asking.”

    “If not, the prison guards will rape me.”

    Fighting off the mental image, he hunched his shoulders.

    “Your freedom, for mine,” she said with a quiet smile. “It is not too much to ask.”

    Far from convinced, Seth narrowed his eyes. “And the second condition?”

    “You must save the heir apparent inside me.”

  79. Title – Where it Wanders

    In the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, in a moonlit forest clearing where a tiny breeze rilled among autumn’s dead leaves, two men faced each other.

    “Dig,” the thinner man said, tossing a shovel at the feet of the other.

    The second man, heavier by a hundred pounds, and looking unhealthy even beneath the kind moonlight, chuckled.

    “A bit melodramatic aren’t you? You seriously expect me to dig my own grave?”

    “Did I mention a grave?”

    The heavier man laughed. “You kidnap me, drive me into the national forest, throw a shovel at my feet. One naturally makes assumptions.”

  80. Avatar benwah says:


    “Is there supposed to be this much blood?”

    The medical student struggled to hold the camera steady with a shaky hand. The image bounced on the monitor, and he had to bring up a second hand to keep the instrument pointed at the pulsing flow of red in the middle of the screen.

    With no answer forthcoming, he simply held tight and tried not to pass out.

    Half an hour earlier it had begun as a fairly straightforward surgery. “Just a tired old gallbladder in a tired old lady,” the attending surgeon had said. “She asleep?”

    “Yes, sir,” said the anesthesiologist.

    The attending looked across the table and nodded his approval to the surgical resident. She took up the knife and cut four tiny holes in the woman’s scrawny belly.

  81. Avatar Anonymous says:

    A Shame Too Great
    Nolan Spencer witnessed his first murder when he was eight. He wasn’t supposed to be skulking in the dark crevices of an alleyway, he was supposed to be carrying out the deed. Initiation. Was the killing of the naked lady, sprawled listlessly in the snow covered street, a part of this initiation? Nolan nibbled on his frozen knuckles and pictured his buddies huddled together in conspiracy. They were tucked safely away in the abandoned basement of the Iron Works. Be brave, he thought, this is what it’s all about. The killer turned and locked eyes with the boy.

  82. Avatar Ray says:

    Jake Black stretched in his car seat and imagined the suspected terrorist charging out of the house across the street, AK 47 spewing bullets. Anything to break up the boredom–in Jake’s business, drowsy equaled dead.

    His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He flicked it open–damn, he’d made it clear that his daughter’s nanny was never to call him on the job.


    Gretchen’s whisper shook. “Your wife–she’s here.”

    Impossible. “How?”

    “I don’t know. The doorbell rang, and there she was.”

    Dear God. “Does she have Amy?”

    “I tried to stop her, Mr. Black, I tried.”

  83. Avatar Ray says:

    Oops. Forgot the title for the above from ray.

    We the Enemy

  84. Avatar Shirley says:

    I love your choices.

    Not too bad you picked five out of my seven top picks.

    These contests are great!

  85. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The Humbling of Vladimir

    One man watched the troublesome reporter leave her townhouse. The moon hung like a reliable ally, a storm brewed in the western sky. Vladimir reclined in the backseat of the Mercedes Maybach, enjoying the views.

    He sipped from a flute limited-production, Clos du Mesnil 1995. At seven hundred dollars, the champagne was an extravagance. As was the Maybach at four hundred grand, but he could afford luxury.

    The family treated him well, and he treated the family superior, better than those who ruled before him did. Vladimir recalled how he suffocated the previous Russian don, a man he very much admired.

  86. Avatar Lori says:

    loved your hero and the humor!

    Loved yours! that last line is brilliant.

  87. Avatar Jen says:


    “You need her help. Don’t lie to her. She’ll know. She always knows.” Patrick speared a tomato out of his salad. “She might not even let you know that she knows. Then BAM! She’ll fire a list of fibs you’ve told, mowing you down where you stand.” He sniffed the tomato. “You need to be careful around her.”
    Michael Blake wasn’t sure if he heard respect or fear in his old friend’s voice as he talked about this mystery woman. “But she’s a friend?”
    “Right now, you don’t have any friends Michael.”
    “What about you?”
    Patrick didn’t reply right away.

  88. Avatar Cindy says:


    Dr. Ava Monroe listened intently as the subject screamed in pain. She held the man’s hand in place and watched his face contort in response to the stimulus. Suspicious, she let go of his hand, scribbled a few notes, then leaned back in her chair.

    “On a scale of one to ten tell me how much it hurts.”

    She continued to scrutinize him as he looked anywhere but at her. When he opened his mouth to speak she sat up straighter and raised a hand to stop him.

    “And don’t lie to me.”

    “The more it hurts the better, right?”

  89. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Say Goodnight to Fear

    Lily needed to hide, to shrink into the darkness and disappear. In the shadows, she wondered if the intruder could hear her breathe.

    She had hidden under the sink, a place she hoped the man wouldn’t think to search. This hiding place might keep her safe—maybe. Women should always, and she smothered in her mind the degrading word rape, have a place to hide.

    She rubbed her hands together, left them clenched for warmth and watched through the gap between the doors the man whip open cabinets. With each swing of the overhead kitchen light, he came closer.

  90. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Title: Train Wreck

    Tarnation! Penelope didn’t know why, but this word had appealed to her of late. In her younger days she cursed like a marine, but she was a mother now, and had to watch herself. Tarnation had a dated charm about it while still conveying the proper amount of angst.

    “Holy mother of goddamn fucking tarnation!” she screamed, but only in her head. She didn’t want to give the psycho any satisfaction. She’d underestimated him and now stood trapped, watching the hunting knife he held twist this way and that, as if anticipating the moment when it would enter her gut.

  91. Avatar Cindy says:


    I waited for the sound of the music to die down. Soft gurgles. Gasping for breath. Then silence. I went back to the body, tucked a limp blonde lock behind Anne Jack’s ear. I would make it easier for them this time. Stupid bastards. Still hadn’t figured it out. The only smart one on the task force might put it together. But even Kara Murphy had proved disappointing. If they’d figured it out Anne wouldn’t have been alone tonight.

    With one last glance at my masterpiece, I placed two crayons on the marble countertop. Red and green. My next victim.

  92. Avatar Cindy says:


    The ringing of the phone spurred Bethany Eden into a run. With a flick of her hand she shut the front door, barely noticing the thud as it slammed closed. The unnatural quiet of the house at five-thirty on a weekday made the sound of her heels banging on the hardwood floors louder. A twinge of disappointment closed her throat. Claire usually ran into the kitchen as soon as she heard the door.

    “Frank! Claire!”

    On the fourth ring she dropped her grocery bags on the chair. She snatched up the phone.


    “We have your daughter.”

  93. Avatar Chuck says:

    The rusty orange long-bed 4X4 sat parked in the safety lane at the crest of the highest I-610 bridge in Houston, facing south, light rain sprinkling through the open passenger window on faded and cracked vinyl. The driver, a freckled, wiry little man with matted, rusty hair didn’t care. His attention was out the window: the Houston Ship Channel. As he slowly scanned left and right, he gnawed on a Cuban cigar and gave an ear to talk radio going nuts about the weather.
    Stupid radio screamers. So what if Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island is under water?

  94. Avatar Chuck says:

    The petite young woman’s smile torched me with the power of a thousand candles. Her onyx eyes sparkled like none I had seen before. Could diamonds be black? The combination was exhilarating – and scary as hell.
    “Hel-lo,” I said, my cadence a bit protracted. Regaining my composure by recalling last year’s knee surgery, I gave her hand another shake, then returned to the pre-programmed, “Good morning. Welcome to the Chamber. I’m Charlie Evans.”
    “I’m Yvette Nouveau. We’re glad to be here,” were the word spoken but the diamond eyes said much more. I want to talk to you afterwards.

  95. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Shooting Brides

    The bride was young, beautiful, and dead.

    Christie Trent adjusted her camera to refocus the image, but it didn’t seem to work. She pulled out a cloth and wiped the lens, then framed the viewer once more on the bride’s exquisitely decorated hand. She lowered the camera after the shot. It wasn’t a fault with the lens. It was her tears.

    This was why she had quit her job as a forensic photographer.

    The last time she documented evidence was for the murder of a small boy. His clenched brown fist had started the nightmares that plagued her still.

  96. Avatar Chuck says:

    When it gets long about mid March around here, most folks, myself included, figure five o’clock Friday afternoon is a massive concrete barricade between the dull, necessary stuff of life and the fun outdoor things, the ones that make all that necessary stuff bearable.
    Sure, there’s a lot of room for interpretation there – which is exactly the point. Me, the auto insurance agent in the next office, the receptionist down the hall, the cop out front watching from his patrol car – we each get to decide what crap we’ll do in trade for what’s fun.

  97. Avatar ESW says:

    Title: Stranded

    There was a hole in the plane’s window where Blake Nicely’s body was forcefully ejected. Sam could see where the lifeless body of the pilot had landed, in fact for two days now he could see the body, but with his injuries and the steep terrain it was impossible to get to him.

    Sam cursed himself thinking of how he would compromise his morals and his vegetarian lifestyle for just one taste of the pilot’s flesh. He didn’t see the man as a fellow human being, he saw him as a meal, a heaping plate of chicken fried Blake.

  98. Avatar Anonymous says:


    She was gone. Only the scent of vanilla remained to prove she’d been there at all.

    I smelled it before when I searched her house. The scent clung to her clothes, lingering in the master bedroom and bathroom, fainter in the other rooms. I smelled vanilla again when Frank and I caught up with her husband and his mistress. It was slowly being overwhelmed by the mistress’s own flowery scent–a mixture of hairspray and cheap perfume.

    Behind me, the motel desk clerk exhaled loudly, shifting her weight from foot to foot, her nylon windbreaker rustling.

  99. Avatar Rachel says:


    Jeannie found me in the ladies room, standing in mountain pose, trying to breathe like my yoga teacher.

    “Jesus, Emily. Look at you.” She smelled floral and cheerful but sounded grim.

    I didn’t have to look in the mirror to know why. My mascara had been wiped away and I knew my eyes would still be pink and glassy. I closed them and took another three-part breath.

    “Richard’s in the lobby,” I said. “Don’t make me talk about it.”

    “He can’t see you like this.”

    I inhaled. “Then fix me, please.”

    And exhaled. “And bring me some of that perfume.”

  100. Avatar JLT says:

    JLT: Fatal Blow

    Becky Miller assumed that she was in no way responsible for the fact that her husband had chosen to nuke their marriage vows by jumping into the sack with a cocktail waitress who was dumber than a box of rocks.

    It was true, of course, that Becky had cut him off almost completely from the marital privileges he assumed to be rightfully his. But as she saw it, Walter had no one but himself to blame for that either.

  101. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Kathryn Skelton

    A chop saw seemed so impractical. The wiggling protest, the uneasy angle, the fine, tacky spray.

    There had to be an easier way to hack off a man’s head.

    A paperboy found Lloyd Fletcher oozing on the sidewalk, one hand thrown up over his abruptly naked neck. Rose petals were strewn in a trail from the body to a shed behind his house, the murderous confetti of some macabre parade.

    I gripped the steering wheel, drove in the opposite direction of headless corpse and ground my teeth against two Tums. God damn it. Jack got all the plum assignments.

  102. Avatar Picks By Pat says:


    Later, after he’d had time to think about it, he started to shake so badly that he spilled his first drink. Because he realized that if he’d lingered a few more moments to talk to the girl, it would have been him lying on the boardwalk with four bullets in his chest, instead of the other guy. And the thought tossed him into a mild state of shock. He asked his buddy to drive back to the hotel. Then he went down to the bar and drank until he couldn’t remember what he wanted to forget.
    But that was later.

  103. Avatar Anonymous says:


    My writing partner’s voice was shrill over the phone. “Think of a suspense plot. And hurry.”

    “Earth to Stinky. I just got the Regency thing down. Do you know they didn’t use contractions?”

    “Must be why they didn’t choose our submission. We used bushels.”

    “Not so. Jessica likes whores. And Kim’s into hot feet. Who knew?”

    “Stop bellyaching and get plotting.”

    “Look, let me shortcut this for you. We can’t write.”

    “I’ll be damned. Really?”

    “Never mind, I’ll get back our old jobs.”

    “Oh holy day, we get to steal again. Who’s first?”

    “That’s easy. You got that agency’s address?”

  104. Avatar Jim says:

    South of the Deuce

    Dinner was almost ready when Beverly Thompson was snatched from her garage on a beautiful Wednesday evening early in February.

    On that Wednesday evening, Beverly was twenty-seven months into her second marriage. Her first—to a fellow law student—had gradually run out of gas and sputtered to an end seven years earlier. Thankfully, it had produced no children.

    Through the first four years that followed the divorce, she had dated gingerly, dedicating the bulk of her time and energy to her career as a medical malpractice attorney in a large firm in downtown Phoenix. But then she met David.

  105. Avatar ESW says:

    Did you ever wonder what happened to the high school slut? The girl who would open her legs for any bad boy with a heartbeat, low moral standards and a penis. I will tell you what happens to her, she ends up in a nursing home, neglected by her family and giving handjobs in exchange for extra pudding cups during dinnertime.

    That reminds me, my arthritis is acting up and the extra pudding is reeking havok on my diabetes and waistline.

  106. Avatar Anonymous says:

    “To hell with them!” Jessie Pepper shouted above the roar of his pickup’s engine. “They can all go to hell!”
    Sirens wailed behind him, coming on louder. But then he was forced to decelerate, pumping the brakes, approaching the knot of steaming vehicles, coming to a virtual stop, hemmed in by crawling rush-hour traffic on the Katy.
    He checked the rearview, saw the bar lights of the blue and whites playing hide and seek as they wove in and out but coming at him, closing the gap. He cursed, hit the horn and muscled his way two lanes over toward the inside lane. Then found himself blocked by a late-model BMW

  107. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Against The Fall Of Night

    “To hell with them!” Jessie Pepper shouted above the roar of his pickup’s engine. “They can all go to hell!”
    Sirens wailed behind him, coming on louder. But then he was forced to decelerate, pumping the brakes, approaching the knot of steaming vehicles, coming to a virtual stop, hemmed in by crawling rush-hour traffic on the Katy.
    He checked the rearview, saw the bar lights of the blue and whites playing hide and seek as they wove in and out but coming at him, closing the gap. He cursed, hit the horn and muscled his way two lanes over toward the inside lane. Then found himself blocked by a late-model BMW

  108. Avatar Anonymous says:

    (by rbc)

    If there was a Hell, Sky Taylor was going to it. Of this he had no doubt, and for this he made no apologies. But for now he was alive, navigating that gray zone between What Came Before and What Comes After.

    While he was here, he would kill only enough to allow comfortable, safe passage though the gray. Rather like a fisherman who doesn’t catch more than he can eat within a reasonable period. He got no sadistic thrill out of it; it was simply his means of support—his profession.

  109. Avatar spyscribbler says:


    I sometimes imagine things had ended differently. I imagine the special smile he gave me, the way he always knew when I slipped into a room. I imagine the way he undressed me, his hands just grazing my skin, his eyes gazing at me in wonder, as if surprised I was his.

    I was only ever partly his.

    It started the way it ended, with the door of my apartment crashing open. The man looked angry enough to kill, but his gun was still a bulge under his jacket.

    “Who are you?” I demanded.

    But I knew. I already knew.

  110. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Dark Side of Amova Prime

    Drowning, Aaron DiStelsey thought, I must be drowning. Struggling against the black fog surrounding him Aaron pushed his face towards the light. Reaching out he felt warm hands clutching back. He tried pulling himself up.

    “He’s coming round,” a voice whispered.

    The breath, warm and sweet washed over his face. Aaron’s eyelids flickered catching a face shrouded in mist.

    “Do you know who I am?”

    “Mother,” he mouthed before sinking back against the pillows, letting the darkness take him again.

    “How will we know it’s finished?” a darker voice asked.

    “When he stops fighting,” replied Aaron’s mother.

  111. Avatar Anonymous says:

    (by rbc)

    When my next-door neighbor, friend, and sometimes babysitter for my kids threw an open bottle of beer at me, I knew that what I’d been saying all along had to be right. And that, more than anything—more than the sting of being assaulted by a trusted friend, more than the discomfort of a sore cheek and cold ale running down my white silk shirt in front of a yard full of guests—worried me. Because people don’t react like that unless you’ve struck a nerve.

    And I, least of all, wanted to believe that what I said was true.

  112. Avatar Ana says:


    The therapist with the security clearance says I have a unique advantage in this world. She says I’m free from societal pressure. Easy for her to say. She doesn’t have to think hard before introducing herself.

    Hello, I’m…

    It’s not that I’m without a name. I’ve had fifteen. They tell me my name is “Jeanne”, but Jeanne only lives in a secret file. I’m only a character in a story that a terrorist, a starving spy and the US Marshals began when Jeanne was three.

    I could kill the authors of my story. But someone else had the same idea.

  113. Avatar leesmiley says:

    The Visible Man by Lee Smiley

    She was beautiful. Blonde, five-four, tanned skin. Her legs, starting at the designer three-inch heels, rose in a pillar of sculpted flesh to rival anything produced in the Renaissance and disappeared into a short, beige skirt. The skirt joined a matching jacket and a pristine blouse to compliment her figure as only finely tailored clothing could.

    It was a shame I was hired to kill her.

    Some would call me an assassin, a term that once carried a note of respect now long forgotten in a world of sociopaths and suicide bombers. If asked, I say I am a contractor.

  114. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Killing Rites

    He could smell her. Lifting back his head, the young man’s nostrils flared as he sought to gather her scent, her essence, and make it his.
    The woman, late twenties, tall, lithe, long blond hair, jogged past him on the trail.
    His sly gaze followed her as she powered past him and two other joggers. He studied her, his lidded eyes focusing upon her retreating figure, drinking in the movements of her buttocks rippling beneath black spandex shorts. Muscled legs pounding the tarmac, pumping like pistons as she attacked the slight rise of the trail as it curved ahead.
    She was his.

  115. Avatar Ana says:


    The silence tightened Audrey’s heart like a thousand vises. She shattered the stillness with more pounding on the splintering wood of the apartment door. “Open up, Wyatt!” The deathly quiet mocked her. No clattering scramble to the fire escape, no snoring, no measured breathing on the other side of the door.

    This murderer needed a taste of man’s justice before God took a turn. She’d watched his apartment all night to ensure nothing happened to him before Judge Atkins sobered up enough to sign the warrant.

    But a smell like rotting hamburger from hell proclaimed her failures. Another suspect dead.

  116. Avatar Cindy says:


    The bus jerked to a stop. That’s when he noticed her. Passengers swayed out of the way. She held onto a pole, knuckles white. Her charm bracelet caught the sunlight streaming in through the window. She wasn’t tall. Maybe five-one or five-two with a petite build. She had thin lips, not much of a chin, high cheekbones, sunken eyes that looked like they were being swallowed by her head. And her nose was just slightly too big for her face. He found himself wondering what her insides would look like. Then he decided to find out.

  117. Avatar claire says:

    I had an uncanny knack for finding the kind of people who usually didn’t want to be found. Sam Weber had been no different, except that when I found her she was dead. I should never have broken my own protocol and taken the job. When I started seeing orange I ought to have trusted my instincts and quit.

    “You came then.”

    Harvey Lee Reynolds. Brother of the deceased and philandering ass hole.

    “What‘s that supposed to mean?”

    I felt naked without my gun. It had seemed right not to bring it to the funeral, now it just felt foolish.

  118. Avatar Anonymous says:


    There was no air conditioning in the whorehouse.

    Abe wiped sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his shirt. He reminded himself he’d been in worse hell holes than this third-world brothel and done more despicable things than barter for female companionship. As a Navy SEAL, he’d trekked through feces-choked sewers to put a bullet in a dictator’s head, he’d slogged through leech-filled bogs in order to slit a terrorist’s throat, and he’d jumped from crumbling buildings after setting explosive charges in a drug kingpin’s office.

    But this… this was different.

  119. When I think how the creep is in so many of our wedding pictures, I just want to hurl. I should chuck the whole album in the trash right now, because I never want to see his stupid face again.

    How does a guy go from being best man at our wedding to the worst human being I’ve ever known?

    The pictures he sent at Christmas made me feel like I knew her. So why did he do it? And make it so horrible? Couldn’t he have just poisoned her? Dave Forlie, notorious FedEx murderer! The letters in today’s paper are absolutely right, the media’s coverage went way beyond the limits of decency; the details are too graphic. I’m not reading another word.

  120. Avatar crapshooter says:

    There was no doubt the woman had been following him and the certainty of the fact was a disturbing turnabout for someone like Bart Strong. For all of his professional life he’d been the hunter in the Washington, DC, but never the hunted.

    Strong had first caught a glimpse of the redhead that morning as he retrieved the morning editions of both daily papers from the steps of his Georgetown townhouse. The woman had driven by in a customized Mustang and had looked in his direction, her eyes lingering for just a moment too long.

  121. Avatar Anonymous says:


    As the elevator glided to the 40th floor, it dawned on me that I’d forgotten to stop by the ladies room to pee. Now I would have to feign interest in a meeting I didn’t want to attend, with a man I didn’t like, all while trying not to think about water. I strode past office doors that encased Nate’s latest collection of sycophants and mistresses, otherwise known as the Executive Leadership Committee. It struck me how quiet this floor seemed compared to the Legal Department that was always buzzing with the chaos of phones, faxes and secretarial chatter. Perhaps the executive tasks of manipulating your subordinates and covering your ass didn’t require a thunderous din.

  122. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Violets Are Blue
    DM Gordon

    The binoculars caught the first splash of water against the window, sending his heart stampeding, forcing his body to keep the pace. Move. Now, it said. He clambered from the van into the late morning sun. All his life he’d been cold; in his heart especially, where true warmth must first radiate.
    Even lacking his binoculars, he could make out the face and dextral side of the house from here. The back yard was the only fenced area on the acreage. She showered every morning for exactly fifteen minutes.
    Fourteen minutes remained.
    Plenty of time to grab the children….

  123. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Behind the Wall
    DM Gordon

    Twilight tossed heavy shadows across her bedroom floorboards like discarded blankets, lending darkness to obscurity. How many times had darkness been the only thing standing between her and death? Sometimes, God help her, she’d prayed for death. Karen, Tess, bruised and beaten on the inside, Remmy, inside and outside. Broken dolls on a forgotten shelf. Fragmented as the sentence that described them.
    Remmy was going to change that. Just need a little more time…
    Eyes swollen nearly shut, she leaned toward the screen, and typed, ‘Karen, if I die, remember this key: Fre—.’
    Downstairs, the front door creaked like a coffin lid, sealing her fate.

  124. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Running on Instinct
    DM Gordon

    Ariel Jessamine moved swiftly from window to window, silent as a feline predator, pale shadows chasing her heels like obnoxious, nipping mongrels. The moon’s silvery glow filtered through the dream web as she secured it to the pane, casting a luminescent kaleidoscope across her fragile-thin hands. She pulled back from its ethereal touch and continued.
    He was coming, his terrifying presence in her mind’s eye thick as quicksand, pulling her under. Children’s laughter pattered the outer windowpane, bearing an otherworldly quality to her ears.
    Tonight, two children would go missing. Two people would die.
    Her black-walled bedroom awaited.
    Hurry Ariel…

  125. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The Cutting Room
    DM Gordon

    “Get everyone back and out of here. I said back! We got kids and evidence all over hell, what’s the matter with you people?” If they didn’t get this circus under control, they could blow a sweet kiss goodbye to their death scene. “Back. All of you!”
    No one was listening. No one gave a damn. Cops, media hounds, everyone fighting for front row, screaming questions no one could answer. Frantic layers of disjointed voices and the chaos growing madder by the second. Microphone cords dragging through pools of blood….
    Christ. His evidence was almost as dead as the victims.

  126. Avatar A Writress says:


    The grass burn your naked feet even though the sun is rapidly sinking behind looming pines. In minutes, dusk will rule. The trees create a circle around the clearing, a gathered guard on watch. The tiny cottage in the middle is a secret known only by the initiated, the graying walls with their trimmed beards of lichen closer to nature than to man. As close to it as you.

    Quietly you peer through the window. A warm smell of resin swells your heart. Only here is the smell this strong. This warm. Only here so filled with promises.

  127. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Light of Judgment

    Malcolm Rable had killed his last victim. He didn’t know this, of course, as he dragged the girl’s fair-skinned body up the stairs. Her hair was just the right color blonde, her nose thin, but not too flat, and her eyes a brilliant shade of green. He’d moved to Los Angeles ten years ago, knowing women like Laura—or was it Lena?—populated the sunny landscape like so many weeds in a meadow. One newly arrived beauty wouldn’t be noticed, and as her eyes stared at him in what he interpreted to be pleasant surprise, Malcolm couldn’t help becoming aroused.

  128. Merciless Truth
    Cara believed in the inherent goodness of man and fighting for monetary reward didn’t fit her profile of an honorable person. Her brain dealt poorly with incoherencies and she was determined to put the world to rights, at least to the satisfaction of her own desire for order.
    She was a journalist with the London Observer and was intent on debunking the mystique which had attached itself to a particular breed of fighting man – the mercenary.
    The air was stinking hot as Cara stepped off the plane in Elizabethville and walked across the tarmac to the terminal.

  129. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Thriller Title: Blowback

    I was recruited by the NSA at fifteen.

    It seems young, I know. But, I was ripe for it. All they needed was the carrot.


    As I lay in the cold sterile hospital bed, anonymous government men whispered, “Come work for us.”

    I ignored them, lost in a haze of agony…and grief. The beep of the machines barely registered. Constant pain splintered through my leg and arm.

    Help us catch the terrorists who killed your family. Your mother, father, brother.

    All dead. Even with my eyes closed, damn, I could hear the whoosh as the armored car fireballed.

  130. Avatar Midge says:


    Manny’s Bar squatted at the corner of Main and Temple in Shanty Town. The clock just struck noon when Dean strolled in and mounted the barstool. Not his favorite place, but a guy could always grab a tall cold one at the seedy club. Dean banged his fist on the bar that had seen better days, much like the joint itself. Smelling of cigarettes, burgers, and beer, Manny’s is a hot spot for streetwalkers. His luck is holding out. The bartender slid the tall cold one towards him, Dean caught Lacey’s glance and smiled. She returned the smile.


  131. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Title: Betrayals

    Something snuffled in the corner.

    I curled my arm protectively around the meager bowl of whatever. No stinking rodent was going to touch my daily ration.

    The dank smell of urine-soaked sand, feces, and sweat filled the hot fetid air. A thin layer of grit and despair coated everything, including my tongue. I vowed never to set foot on a beach again.

    Probably wouldn’t anyway. I was going to die in this Godforsaken rathole of a prison. I scooped the cooked until mush rice into my mouth greedily, careful not to spill a single grain.

    Hard to believe a month ago I’d been dining on spice-rubbed porterhouse and garlic mashed potatoes in D.C.

    That life was long gone.

  132. Avatar David says:


    Miracles can’t be trusted.

    They shatter things.

    Renee knew that now. Brisk and cruel as lightning, the misery of her salvation swept over a sick little girl eavesdropping in the dark.

    “Just tell me who to kill,” whispered Mommy.

    “Stop it,” Gamma’ Annie pleaded. “They’ll hear, and Renee’s counting on you.”

    “She’s about to. Cross my heart…”

    They thought she was still asleep. That simple lie let the truth knife in–-she shouldn’t have prayed. Not with the careless faith of a child, blind to the obvious answer.

    Mommy was going to die in her place.

  133. Avatar Shirley says:

    Title: The Heist

    “Stupid freaking woman’s got a death wish.”

    Jake Mullein’s powerful muscles braced for action as the blonde ran towards him. Beyond her he caught a glimpse of a male silhouette.

    He never paused to consider he might blow this sting.

    This lady was dead meat unless he intervened. Paz Santos left his victims in pieces.

    Jake leaned out of his black hidey-hole, wrapped a muscular arm around her waist and dragged her close, breathing in her ear, “Follow my lead, Daisy.”

    Before she could scream his mouth covered hers in a kiss that plundered hard and deep.

  134. Avatar Anonymous says:


    My mother called me six days before my ex-best friend died. I hadn’t seen him in seven years, she told me that he was desperate to see me to make things right between us before he left this world. It took me another five days of wrestling with my conscience to go against a promise I had made to my dad never to visit him again. He was hospitalised inside the walls of Rampton, a high-security establishment for those declared mentally insane a place that was far too good for him my dad had often commented over the years.

  135. Avatar Anonymous says:

    First Born

    PERCY KILBOURNE studied the girl’s soulless eyes.
    “Stupid Heather!”
    Only a few seconds before, they had been pale blue, and filled with rage that was swept away by a terror so sweet he could still savor it, and finally, there was listless resignation. As the machete sliced flesh he visualized blazing sparks flying from the child’s inner core, and into his throbbing psyche. It was a fiery sunburst flushing his bulky frame with its raw power. Violet eyes blazed as the girl’s head came free to dangle in his greasy hand.
    “You die–ed?”

  136. Avatar Anonymous says:

    A Midsummer’s Revenge

    Sam Russell’s hands trembled as he pulled on the ski mask.

    There. The damn thing must be made of wool, it was so scratchy. He could’ve worn a Halloween mask or clown make-up, but he was going to beat the lawyer up, not ask him for candy. Besides, the poor bastard might die of fright if he saw a deranged clown waiting by his car.

    No, don’t think like that. Hollingsworth isn’t a poor bastard, he’s a grinning snake who stole your wife and got you arrested.

    And now he’s living in your house.

    Sam’s skin burned thinking about it.

  137. Avatar Anonymous says:


    IT SOUNDED like a string of firecrackers: sharp reports out of sync with the rhythmic cadence of marching bands parading through downtown San Antonio.
    Luke Oeding shook his head. Fireworks were outlawed, but kids loved to break rules.
    Pop . . . pop … pop. The woman standing in front of Luke grabbed her daughter’s hand and began to push backward. He stepped out of her way, offering a smile.
    “Don’t worry. It’s just some . . .”
    Luke swiveled to see one of the pops rip open the chest of a hefty police officer directing traffic.

  138. From ‘Paranoid’

    For Tom Jaglom, it began on the November afternoon when the Mafia killed Al¬fredo Blasi. He didn’t know it, of course — we often don’t know when things begin until after they’ve ended. Besides, on the day in question he had something much more important on his mind.
    He was falling in love.
    He was walking in Central Park with Amy Elwell, feeling truly happy for the first time in years. He felt too large for his skin. It was almost painful. The park was deserted in the bitter cold and it felt like their private estate.

  139. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Untitled YA Thriller

    It wasn’t odd that Rock, Skinny, Spider and Max lived together under one roof with ratchetdy Hilda Peabottom looking after them. And it wasn’t odd that Rock’s dad kicked town ten years ago or that Spider’s mom was serving time in jail.

    What was really odd was the power they possessed and the downright scary way they got it. But when someone hands you a fantastic gift and tells you you have to use it to save the world, you don’t say no. At least that’s what Rock and Spider insisted. And boy were they right.

    Janice Gable Bashman

  140. Avatar Anonymous says:

    time check

  141. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Lots of good ones here too, but people it’s 100 words or less…

    Jessica and Kim, do you include the 100+ word entries in your decisions?

  142. Avatar Anonymous says:


    They look longer if they have a lot of paragraph breaks. Also, don’t count the title or author’s name or anything else besides the actual story in the word count.

  143. I’ve already said I thoroughly agree with the winners, but I have to comment on Myddleford.

    I love this author’s sense of humor and the premise. We hope he will escape so we see more of him and the author’s story telling.

    In the new batch, Back To The Old Grind sounds intriguing. Can’t wait to see what happens.


  144. Avatar JDuncan says:

    Well fiddle. I been off from blogosphere for the past couple of days and look what I miss. That said, I can’t pass up throwing in my own, since it is the category of fiction I’ve actually finished something in.

    Title: Deadworld.

    Jackie woke to the serrated grating of sand against her bare breast. She groaned and turned, feeling it abrade between her thighs, her shoulder, the cheeks of her butt. The abrupt and shrill peel of the phone threatened to rupture the tenuous strands of sleep that still held her head in one piece. Hangovers were such a bitch.
    The phone blared again, announcing to her along with the blinding slice of light beaming between the curtains, that it was indeed morning. Or midday maybe. Again the phone teetered dangerously close to making her head explode. A deft fling of the pillow that had been covering her head from the glare was rewarded with a soft thump and a meow. Bickerstaff, the captain of all things comfort, blinked at Jackie from the end of the bed, a decidedly distasteful look on his face.

  145. Avatar Vicki says:

    Kim – Question for you. Is this one ‘Thriller/Suspense’ contest the same for Romantic Suspense? For some reason I thought it was the same and entered what I consider to be romantic suspense.

    Now, I’m thinking I’ve entered the wrong one. If so, is it possible to take out the one that I have here and wait until the RS contest?