Feedback Friday - Meet Hannah Bolero

Happy Friday! I wanted to try something a little different. I've still got Amelia Grace Book 3, my 2nd Kaley Kalua book, and the next Darcy Harbinger book in the pipeline, but instead of posting updates on official projects, I thought I'd start sharing scenes from other stories that I've started to see if y'all are interested in what happens next. Feedback from readers on scenes like this could help me decide which manuscripts to leave on the shelf and which to keep writing ;)

To kick us off, here's the first scene from a paranormal story I started writing back in the fall. This isn't the full first chapter, but it does end in the middle of a twist ;) It's also rough draft, so please forgive me for any typos you might find. If you like what you read below and would want to know what happens next, let me know in the comments section!

I can't wait to hear what you think!

-AM

Feedback Friday Excerpt #1, Untitled

Meet Hannah Bolero, the main character for a potential new series I'm considering

*This scene contains some language and violence.

“I’m going to miss you, Hannah.” My best friend, Molly Green, wrapped her slender arms around me in a tight hug. “Promise you’ll come back and visit soon.” Her whiskey-scented breath stung my nostrils. She released me and stepped back, teetering slightly as she stood next to the entrance of the bar.

I flashed her a bright smile. “Of course I will--as soon as I’m settled in Michigan.” I was going to miss Molly. Though we’d only been friends for just over a year, she was the only real pal I had in Brenton, California--or in the world, for that matter.

“Are you sure you don’t want to split the fare and ride with me?” she asked, brushing her dark bangs out of her eyes as she opened the car door. She glanced nervously down the street. “It’s not safe out here on your own at night.”

“I’ll be fine,” I replied, my gaze moving past her to one of several MISSING PERSON notices hanging in the bar’s front window. “I’d rather walk. I live close by. Plus it’s nice out, and I could use the exercise.”

Molly knitted her thin brows but didn’t push the issue further. She climbed into the backseat and looked up at me one last time. “Call me anytime, okay? And take care of yourself.”

“You too.” I waved one last time as her driver pulled away from the curb. Shadows stretched across the empty sidewalk as I began my trek home from the Crooked Cactus. The little hole-in-the-wall bar was located in what was considered by most Brenton residents as the ‘bad part of town’, but they served what were arguably the best margaritas this side of San Jose. I’d bid farewell to Molly and left the bar with an inflated sense of confidence fueled by too much tequila. Twenty minutes into my journey, I began to sober up, and the ache in my calves made me regret not climbing in the car with my friend. Hoofing it two miles to my apartment in a pair of brand new, three-inch heels had been a terrible idea. I was also alone on a dark street at nearly two in the morning. Not exactly the best situation for a single, twenty-six year-old to find herself in. Then again, I wasn’t like most women my age.

I had about a mile left to go when another pair of footsteps joined my own. Casting a wary look over my shoulder, I found the sidewalk was deserted. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat, but the excess booze had given me a wicked case of cotton mouth. I continued on my way, trying to appear more relaxed than I felt. The other footsteps followed and even matched my speed when I doubled the pace.

Just keep going, I told myself, rushing past a row of closed storefronts. I’m almost there. No sooner had the thought left me than my heel caught in the cracked cement. I pitched forward, the skirt of my little black dress flying up as I sprawled across the sidewalk. I hissed as bright pain radiated from a fresh scrape on my left knee. Dazed, I dusted myself off and cast another look over my shoulder. My breath caught in my throat.

A man stood a mere ten feet away, watching me with dark, eager eyes. He was tall, with a muscular torso that stretched his too-tight black T-shirt to the brink. A tattoo of a dagger on his bicep peeked out from under the sleeve. His right hand was balled in a fist, and he gripped a switchblade with the left.

The Brenton Ripper. My pulse raced. It had to be him--the mysterious man who’d been murdering young women on the south side for the past two months. Judging by the hungry gleam in his eye, he’d picked me for his next victim. I had to run.

Kicking off my heels, I abandoned them on the pavement and raced barefoot down the street. Heavy footsteps smacked the sidewalk as the large man chased after me. My heart was pounding in my ears as I skittered around a parked car and sprinted across the street.

The Ripper followed, closing the gap between us. “No use runnin’, girlie,” he growled.

He lunged for me, but I dodged to the right at the last moment, slipping into a dark alley. I hurled myself into the shadows, pressing my back flat against the wall of a brick building. I waited there, panting, as my attacker entered the passage.

“Come on out, bitch.” His words echoed down the alley. “I’m not interested in playing hide and seek.”

Neither was I. My stomach rumbled loudly, and the man’s footsteps stopped about a foot away from my hiding place.

“What the hell was that?” He sounded confused.

The grumbling in my belly grew louder. All that running with a stomach full of alcohol didn’t mix. I needed something to sop up the booze. The noise had given away my position. The Ripper stepped toward me, his face bathed in moonlight. “Gotcha,” he said, his hand shooting toward me in the darkness and gripping my arm. A moment later, he howled in pain as I snapped his wrist.

I stepped calmly out of the shadows, a wide grin curving my mouth. “You messed with the wrong girl tonight, buddy.”

He clutched his arm, his face tight with pain. “Who are--” he began, but his words died in his throat as I dug my claws into its soft flesh. He sputtered, choking on the blood that filled his mouth. His dark eyes bulged from their sockets as he took in my rows of long, razorlike teeth. Staggering backward, the Ripper crashed into a trash bin and crumpled to the ground. My stomach growled again as I watched the life drain from him, but I forced myself to turn away. Left as he was, the police might rule that the Ripper’s throat had been slit during a mugging or drunken fight. If I were to snack on a limb or two, that’s when things would get complicated.

Maybe just one little taste.

I licked the blood off my fingers and walked quickly out of the alley.

took my phone out of my pocket, dropped it onto the sidewalk, and smashed it with my heel. Then I kicked it through the nearby sewer grate. Sadly, Molly would never see or hear from me again, and I wouldn’t make it to Michigan. It was time for Hannah Bolero to disappear.

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