Thursday, May 04, 2006

Excerpt--Storm Warning

So right now I'm doing a final read through and edit of Storm Warning. I'm never completely happy. I always find something to change (remember that perfection thing Eve?). Now that it is finished I guess it is a contemporary ghost story. Somehow calling it a paranormal seems wrong, so essentially it is an old fashioned gothic love story with a 21st century twist.

Somebody said that door from the other day needed a story. Here it is :)


The stranger maneuvered himself around the rocks to stand on the other side of the body and even though he shook with effort, sweat running down his temple, he ignored her, and hefted the dead man across his shoulders.

Sorcha stood and opened her mouth to argue that she could help, but the Yank was already striding away. Her hands balled into tight fists, frustration burning inside her like acid.

Why did men take over like that?

“Bloody hell.” Sorcha winced as she cursed, figuring the American couldn’t hear, but she wasn’t so sure about the dead.

The stranger strode swiftly across the perilous rocks in his fancy hiking boots and crimson Gortex jacket, the corpse strung easily across his shoulders, like he carried dead bodies every day. Wrapping her arms tight across her chest, she tried to get warm as she followed reluctantly. She slipped in her sodden trainers, letting out a yelp of surprise.

The American turned back to face her, the dead guy streaming water down the front of his jacket like fresh flowing blood.

She forced the image away, lifted her gaze to meet the American’s eyes.

“Need help?” he asked.

Away from the violent surf he’d relaxed a little, his expression unlocked by the barest degree. He didn’t smile, but the edge of his mouth twitched and he looked like he wanted to.

Great. Just what I need. A sadist.

Eyes sore from sea-salt she glared at him. Pinched her mouth so tight together her lips hurt. Dragging a hand through hair crunchy with salt, she pushed it back from her face and gave him an unfriendly glare.

He got the message, raised one short brow like a question mark before turning to continue on up the beach.

Free from his intense gaze, she began to shiver. Stumbling onward, barely able to feel her feet, so bloody cold from the icy water, the cruel wind and the ghosts of her past.

Her eyes latched onto his red jacket like a lifeline. He headed to the old Johnstone cottage, the one closest to the beach.


Old memories assailed her, but she forced them away. She didn’t want to remember the last time she’d been in that house. Twenty years was a long time, but maybe not long enough.

Part of her wanted to go home; to continue walking up the beach a few houses and forget she’d ever found another dead man in the rock-pool.

Instead she followed the American past where rocks turned into coarse sand, and salt-tolerant wildflowers encroached on the sea’s territory. Up three stone steps and through the newly painted blue door, set in the old stone wall. Each step bringing with it a keen sense of déjà vu that she shied away from. He laid the dead man on a thin strip of grass that constituted a lawn.

The corpse shone brightly, despite the shadow of the coming night.


  1. Oooh, I like it. Made me want to smack the american, even though I am one!

  2. LOL thanks Brandy! He's a hard-nose so and so to start with. I'm worried I soften him up too much--don't want him becoming a wimp LOL!!

    Brits call Americans 'Yanks' all the time, wherever they (Americans) are from. I'm a bit nervous I've insulted the entire population!!

  3. I'm guessing this hard-nosed Yank is hot underneath the red Gortex jacket. I mean hot as in oh baby, not hot as in how hot a Gortex jacket can get.

    I like the images, particularly the streaming water from the corpse. Ghoulish and vivid.

  4. I kind of like the term Yank. Besides, I wouldn't concern yourself with insulting anyone. It's the truth of it that matters, and the author is not necessarily the character speaking. I love your writing style by the way.

  5. Rene, the guy is hot as coals.

    Scott--why thank you. I like the term yank too. :)

  6. Excellent, Toni! Kept me captive. Loved it. Especially the "Sorcha winced as she cursed, figuring the American couldn’t hear, but she wasn’t so sure about the dead". Caught me attention.

  7. Love it, Toni! And I do so love those pictures, too. I can see why you love Scotland so.

  8. Dear FBA,

    Only in the Deep South could there possibly be even a smidgen of a problem - but any intelligent human being knows that the British always refer to American's as Yanks and always have since the Revolutionary War. I wouldn't worry about it - the story wouldn't be true to itself if you changed it. And it's a wonderful story - I too loved the imagery of the corpse trailing water down the jacket like blood - you do wonderful imagery. I like your hero so-far. Don't worry about having softened him up too much, most of us like a little edge, but we also have to find something to fall in love with.

  9. Ooohhh LOVE it. I think you were able to portray their personalities really well, and made me feel like I was right there with them.

    The American sounds like MY kinda book hero. LOL

    Love it Toni, can't wait to

  10. Excellent my friend. You've changed the opening haven't you? It reads really well. I can feel the pounds (or is that Canadian Dollars) ringing already....


  11. Shoot, Toni .. now I'm torn between this opening and the previous one :)


  12. You had me hooked right off the bat! I'm with Brandy, I'd like to hit him too. LOL

  13. LOL--well thanks guys. I really appreciate the sentiment.

    It isn't the opening though--don't get me worried I started in the wrong place :) I wanted to include my door without putting people to sleep!!

  14. Like Eve said, the only way Yank is an insult is if you use it down South talking about someone from up North. Then it's Yankee!!

  15. LOL--I'll remember that Brandy.