Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sample Saturday delayed

Back in August I signed up for a fall class Deep Editing over at the Kiss of Death on line chapter. I had a vague recollection the class started in September. Last Thursday I emailed the coordinator and asked real nice about the promised link thinking the class might be starting sometime soon. The efficient registration coordinator emailed me a link to the virtual classroom. The class began September first. Behind already. Jumped in and got to work on my monster editing assignment.

Today's sample is from the same story. A new and, I hope, improved version. BTW whenever I edit I wind up adding a lot of words, not necessarily a bad thing, but it may become a problem.

Man is the head of the woman. Only man is the image and glory of God.

Bella folded and unfolded the already worn note, until she caught herself and forced her fingers still. She’d hastily palmed the cheap white paper note she’d spied in her bridesmaid bouquet. The biblical words echoed in her head. It was the second such note she’d found in a week. The first one, left on her windshield Monday while she was working at the shop. She chided herself for getting jumpy over a quote from Corinthians.

The notes qualified as strange – but threatening? She tried to dismiss them as nothing more than a bazaar form of proselytizing. She was turning into a nervous old maid – silly enough to be spooked by printed words. Sticks, stones, and all that jazz. She managed an inward laugh at herself for being such a coward.

She sucked in her stomach tightening the muscles the way Nana had taught her for better posture. She refocused on the wedding ceremony.

Reverend Tom’s red hair clashed horribly with the burgundy robe he wore over his cassock, but his voice was strong, as if given extra power by the beauty of the words he intoned.
“The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God . . .”

Moments later, Rod turned to Merci lifting the sheer veil to reveal her shining eyes and trembling lips.

Every man and woman in the congregation sat at attention. Rod took Merci’s hand and began pledging his heartfelt vows. He.spoke only to her.

“My honor, my heart, my body, my soul is yours . . .”

Chills skittered along Bella’s arms. Merci’s face was so radiant all of Bella’s worries vanished. She didn’t want to ruin the professional makeup Merci insisted on. She blinked fast to keep tears from spilling. As the-maid-of-honor, it was her job to keep it together. She was not spoiling this moment for her best friend.

Her gaze stayed riveted on the newlyweds as Rod lifted Merci’s veil. He leaned closer in slow motion, pressing Merci’s mouth with his. From where she stood the kiss felt respectful and loving and certain.

Bella sighed. Their wedding was made all the more beautiful because of the emotional roller coaster ride Merci and Rod survived on their journey to true love.

Merci’s perfect white satin dress, the pristine church and, of course, the pleasing groom pledging his eternal love were all wonderful and exactly as Merci deserved. Bella blinked back more tears, brimming with poignant feelings she didn’t want to examine.

Trying to regain her composure, she scanned the church for a distraction. Her gaze homed in on Derrick Jamison. He was an easy target. Taller than everyone present, he naturally drew her eye. But he was more than tall. He embodied the lure of the forbidden with way more than his rightful share of masculine appeal.

His gaze locked with hers. His smoldered with sexual energy. A traitorous corner of her heart wished she were the kind of woman, who would enchant him. She wasn’t. She looked away from those dark eyes.

She was a realist. She was far too sensible to do anything as crazy as flirting with a known player. A man like him would have a mile long trail of discarded women.

Bella stared at her flowers to avoid looking at Derrick. He wasn’t strictly handsome. Attractive, in kind of hard-edged way, he oozed wicked masculine appeal. He was compelling, if a woman went in for tall dark and dangerous. She didn’t, shouldn’t anyway – not if she the sense to come in out of the rain.

She dared another glance. His gaze met hers. His eyes seemed to issue a challenge. His gaze seared every nerve from her head clear down to her toes. She tensed. She knew his kind, predators. She didn’t blame him for the blatant invitation. She looked right for the part he was casting. She’d inherited her mother’s striking coloring and voluptuous figure. Normally she dressed carefully to counteract the false impression of sensuality. Tonight, she was on display in the bride’s fashion choice.

The dress Merci chose for Bella was pure simplicity. A little nothing slip of peach silk that clung to every curve with a soft draping neckline that gave a man hope. If seduction were the goal, it would’ve been the perfect dress to wear. Underneath it all, the barely there bra and matching thong made her ample shape appear better than reality.

All too easily, Bella pictured Derrick undoing her lingerie, his big hands sure and skillful, knowing just where to touch to give pleasure. Heat streaked up from her breasts singeing her cheeks. Perspiration dampened her neck.

The man had said nothing more to her than “How do you do” and “Pleased to meet you” and even then, he had sounded completely bored. Here she was creating a whole seduction fantasy around a hot look. All right, a couple of hot looks. But they meant nothing. For all she knew he was near sighted.

He deserved to star in some woman’s fantasy, maybe even hers. The ease with which she imagined him naked rocked everything she’d believed about herself. A new worry, that she’d inherited more than from her mother than coloring, flared to life. She might share her mother’s fatal weakness for men. Fresh licks of fire turned up the heat on her breasts, neck, face.

Derrick watched Bella’s blush deepen and raised a brow in silent speculation. What was she thinking? Could she read his mind? Not likely. If she knew his thoughts she’d be running as fast as those long legs could carry her.

He was famous for his unreadable face. He was confident none of the erotic images playing in his mind reflected on his features. A moment of doubt prickled, maybe something had leaked. He’d never had this strong a reaction to a woman. He brought his cool analytical intellect to bear on the Bella problem.

She was pretty, in a doll like way with gold curls escaping from a topknot. Her eyes were an unusual golden brown, whisky eyes. Nice skin, creamy, a great foil for her pretty blush. A killer body, too round to be in style. Lush breasts and curvy hips were exactly they way he liked. Scent was a powerful aphrodisiac and there was no denying she smelled good – a clean fragrance with a hint of something floral. All and all a very nice package.

None of her attributes explained the strength of his response. He’d dated some spectacularly beautiful women. Not one of them had the same impact as this round little peach. Instinctively, he knew there was more in play than her appearance. She had an electric undercurrent. A whispered promise of molten pleasure only she embodied. He’d felt it when they’d shook hands and a disproportionate power surge hit nearly sending sent him to his knees.

He felt it now, a primal urge to paw the ground, beat his chest and roar his desire. At the same time everything thing he knew about staying in control was threatened by every breath she took. To become involved with her would be professional and personal suicide.


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