I'm participating in another writing challenge. This one instigated by my writing friend, Emily Ryan-Davis. I started this morning and continuing through Sunday will write, write, write ignoring all other obligations until I have 6,000 words.
Lucky for me, Nathan Bransford wrote a wonderful blog post just yesterday on the very topic of Plotting.
Also, who knew that I had to have a reason for the hero and heroine to get married in the first place??? And didn't the answer give me an even greater conflict than I'd already written for them?
I stopped at noon. 958 words so far... I need 2,000 for the day. Or more.
Nothing like using my blog to jump from one topic to the next with absolute chaos.
I'm using this weekend to do the rewrites that have cropped up during this crazy phase called REVISIONS. Including but not limited to a new opening chapter.
So, tell me what you think. Is this an interesting-enough-to-keep-you-reading opening scene?
Mark Danbury ambled down the darkened corridor. His shoes echoed the steady drumming of his heart. A small bead of sweat trickled down the side of this face. He wiped it with a shaky hand and cursed the clench of his stomach as thoughts of Maggie invaded his mind.
He’d come to this country to fight in a war. Marriage had never been in the plans. He pushed away the small measure of resentment that cropped up in his heart. His vulnerability towards her was of his own making.
Blaming her for this snafu dishonored her. He couldn’t do that. He could blame the powers that be but patriotism ran too thickly in his veins.
His own mother was the backbone in his family, though you couldn’t tell it by looking. She would have stepped up to the plate for this cause. Be first in line to do what’s right, Mark, she’d always said.
An office at the end of the hallway stood open and light spilled from the narrow doorway to the tiled floor illuminating the speckled surface as he approached. He slowed, stopped in this last instant before his life would be irrevocably changed.
There would be no going back.
The decision had been firmly made* as soon as he’d heard the rumor that Hawthorne wanted to enlist Maggie in his newly formed Special Operations for Under-Cover Extraction. Jesus, just what he needed. To worry about her safety as she traipsed through Europe meeting with the victims of war and helping them find refuge.
Mark took a deep breath, relaxed his shoulders and stepped into the light.
Cameron Hawthorne stood quickly at the interruption. His hand automatically moving to the side-arm he kept in a secret compartment at the inside corner of his desk drawer.
He’d been buried in work, unusually so. It was a rare occurrence that someone would take him by surprise. He’d lived too long to allow such a weakness to prevail.
He dropped the gun into the drawer. "Mark Danbury. I didn’t expect to see you this evening."
The young man reeked of discord. He was torn, as a man of honor would be if he’d heard that a loved one was in danger. Cameron sighed. He’d wanted to bring the matter of Maggie to the forefront in his own timing. Apparently, he’d waited too long. His people were well protected. Women even more so.
"Have a seat Lieutenant Danbury."
"No thank you, sir."
Cameron sat down and leaned into his seat. He steepled his fingers over his lap and asked for an answer which he already knew. "What can I do for you, Mark?"
Mark met his gaze with fierce blue eyes. They held a minutia of question, uncertainty. "I would be obliged if you’d allow me a few days leave, sir."
Cameron leaned in. This was not what he expected. More, he expected a dressing down in the face of objection. He studied the not-so-young recruit. Mark, at thirty held seniority over most of his comrades. A pilot, he’d been flying planes since he was eighteen, and his knowledge and skill made him a leader. But he hadn’t become an officer.
He flew for pleasure and duty.
"We’re in the middle of a war son."
"I’m aware of that Commander Hawthorne." Mark shifted his weight. He cleared his throat. "You see, Maggie and I are going to be married."
The dirty rotten… Cameron hadn’t seen it coming. He’d expected the argument, not the action nor the determination. He couldn’t recruit a married woman. It would be frowned upon… it was unheard of. The complications of married life without being a special agent were hard enough. "Maggie has agreed to marry you?"
"We’ve spoken about it many times." But Mark didn’t meet his gaze.
"Ahh." He called the bluff. "How much time will you need in order to convince her?"
A flush rose from Mark’s collar. "A few days should be enough time."
"Optimistic, aren’t you?"
"More like stubborn," The anger was back in those cold eyes. "Sir." Mark, at ease now, paced the floor in front of the desk. "Believe me when I say, Maggie will not be available for any work after we are wed. I’ll be sending her home."
"Do you love her?"
"What the hell does that have to do with anything?"
Cameron couldn’t stop the rush of satisfaction. He blocked the sympathetic vibes and instead added one more monkey wrench. "Twenty-four hours, lieutenant."
He could use Maggie. That truth was enough to through this roadblock. Maggie had seemed interested when they’d last spoke. She hadn’t said anything about getting married…or going home.
"Please, two days."
Cameron was aware of the trouble his young American friend would have finding a Catholic priest, especially in the upheaval of war times. He knew that Maggie would insist on it, though. He sighed. "Thirty-six, Mark. That’s all I can give you. If you can’t convince her to marry you in that amount of time, you’ll need to report to the Bentley Priory anyway. You belong in the air fighting the Germans not on the ground courting the ladies.
That flush appeared again at Mark’s collar. "Yes sir."
That flush appeared again at Mark’s collar. "Yes sir."
Cameron was glad to see he had some remorse for what he was about to do. If he wasn’t positive that Mark respected and liked Maggie, he’d order Mark on an assignment and away from this self-imposed obligation. But, he had a suspicion that Mark more than liked his young woman. "Go on then. You’re dismissed."
Mark saluted, his face grim with conviction as he did an about-face. He paused at the door and turned back. "Thank you."
"I hope you know what you’re doing Mark."
"I hope so too, Cameron."