#WritingChallenge: Alpha Heroines!

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by Deirdre

A while back we asked you to show us your Alpha Hero. You gave us some fabulous scenes and character sketches that truly balanced the hero’s alpha traits with believable flaws. This week, following up on Monday’s post from Kayla King on the Top 5 Reasons to Write a Smart and Savvy Heroine, we want to meet your Alpha Heroines!

Your heroine is at the top of her game. She’s strong, confident (some say arrogant) and sexy. She excels at her profession and knows what she wants. She could be a soldier, (maybe one of the first Navy SEALs) a firefighter, a billionaire, a rancher or a bodyguard. She might have lived up to the expectations of her high-achieving family or flouted her family’s cultural traditions to make it where she is. Let us know! In a brief description or short scene, show us your Alpha Heroine.

Tip: Your heroine’s alpha qualities aren’t in and of themselves a barrier to romance (they should be what the hero’s attracted to), but as Harlequin author Stefanie London points out in How to Create Leap-Off-The-Page Characters, “Vulnerability goes a long way with getting the reader to fall in love with your characters.”

Post your Alpha Heroine character description in the comments any time between now and Sunday, April 30, and we’ll check in with you on Monday!

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  1. “Goodnight Ms-, I mean, Jennifer.”
    Jenn looked up at her new admin. The woman had been working here a month now, replacing her long time admin who was on maternity leave. She still looked frightened every time she had to speak to Jenn.
    “Goodnight, Avril. Enjoy your weekend.” Jenn smiled.
    Avril scurried away. Jenn sighed. She’d been nothing but reasonable with Avril this past month, but Avril knew Jenn’s reputation, and hadn’t been able to see past that. Jenn was known as a ball-buster. And she was. Ten years ago she’d started this agency with a mission statement to help women in the entertainment industry reach equal status with men. Men were the producers, directors, and had the bigger paycheques as actors. Jenn had started her own talent agency because that needed to change. And to do that, she had to be tough.
    She’d been tough in negotiations. If you wanted to sign Jenn’s talent, you had to pay as much as you’d pay a man, and you had to hire women on your films as well. Her pro-woman stance had been interpreted as man-hating, and she’d expected that. She also knew that to be seen as equal to the men she competed with, she’d have to work harder, do better…and she had.
    So this weekend, while everyone else was kicking back, she’d be working, even though her agency was now one of the major players. But it wasn’t like there was a lot of competition for her free time. Dating? Hardly. There were men who thought they had to show they were a bigger ball buster than she was, or others who wanted their balls busted, but what Jenn wanted was exactly what her mission statement said: equality. She wanted a partner. And until she found that person, she wouldn’t risk her reputation and all she’d worked for by being seen with anyone else.

    • Deirdre

      Jenn sounds like an interesting woman! A high-powered agent who also advocates for her female colleagues makes an intriguing heroine. And I liked how you showed us something about Jenn’s reputation from the reaction of her new admin – nicely done!

  2. Ruby Mae O'Dell

    SAR volunteer, Hannah Sawyer had been through some tough situations before. Including natural disasters and non natural disasters. As a member of SAR she had to be prepared for anything. But being thrust into motherhood was not a situation she had anticipated, nor was she prepared for. Especially not after being told she couldn’t have children and being dumped by her fiance because of that fact. But that was exactly where she found herself after a fire evacuation in a nearby town. But the deceased mother shared a deadly secret with Hannah before she died, and now someone will do anything to silence Hannah and take away her newly adopted son. Her supervisor wants to help her but she has sworn off men and vowed to keep her independence since her ex-fiance broke her heart. Can she open her heart enough to depend on God and this man before tragedy strikes?

    • Deirdre

      I love the potential for emotional conflict in this situation, with a heroine who’s had to suppress her tender side in a tough career now faced with motherhood and all the caring that role demands. Great premise!

    • Ruby Mae O'Dell

      Thanks Deirdre! This is actually part of the third installment of a series I’m writing. It’ll be twelve in the series. Hannah,I think is my favorite heroine so far. Thanks again for the feedback and God Bless!

  3. Living all her life with a boy’s name, and her father’s disappointment at not having a son to inherit the family farm, has made George Parker not just an overachiever but a serious competitor. Always academically clever and athletic, George has worked hard to become one of the best architects in Sydney, Australia, specializing in renovating heritage buildings. In her spare time, she plays women’s hockey. But all that time studying and playing hockey has come at a personal cost to George’s private life. So, when the opportunity arises, George hires Jackson Williams, a seriously good looking personal assistant who just happens to be a man too! Maybe working in close proximity in a business setting will help George overcome her clunkiness, and give her more confidence in dealing with men on a personal level. She is the boss after all, and she will just carry on as she always has, taking the lead, and being in charge and in control of everything around her.
    The first meeting with a client, which Jackson attends, goes well. When the client mistakes Jackson for George and then objects to working with a woman, Jackson keeps a low profile and allows George to deal with the situation. No doubt about it, Jack recognizes George as the boss.
    Even when George is asked to meet a looming deadline to look at a heritage listed house in a remote location, she is not to be put off by a severe weather alert. George views Jackson’s hesitation and reluctance to take a risk as something to be overcome rather than regarded. George isn’t going to let a little thing like a weather warning stop her taking the wheel and driving the hired four wheel up a steep cliff when a big career opportunity is at stake.
    Will three days stuck at the top of a mountain in an old heritage listed house in severe need of renovation allow George to admit that maybe being in charge in every situation is not always the best choice? And why has Jackson Williams actually taken the job as her personal assistant in the first place? Is there some important piece of information to do with her family farm which caused Jack to overcome his genuine reluctance to join her in such a risky circumstance? Could it be that he knows a little bit more about farming and four-wheel driving than he is letting on? Finally, can George overcome her awkwardness and find a way to relate to Jackson on a more personal level which would allow them to reach an agreement and survive a storm together with no electricity and no heating?

    • Deirdre

      Love your choice of name for the heroine, Jennie! You’ve also given George a great combination of “alpha” qualities with her brains and athletic ability. I would suggest you could push it even further and eliminate her “clunkiness” with men and the hint that Jackson has “allowed” her to deal with potential conflict in her client meeting. Maybe her vulnerability stems from her need to control everything – that could provide some interesting emotional conflict while maintaining George’s alpha persona. Thanks for writing this intriguing setup!

  4. Jocelyn

    There were worse ways to make a living than getting paid to take pictures of well-built men in tight, body-molding clothes. Rachel Sutton’s lips curved as she snapped a few more shots. As the last down hadn’t provided any momentous photos worth tagging to send to the paper at halftime, she took a few quick close-ups of cut biceps and spectacular thighs. They looked like an anatomy lesson. They looked…well, they looked very fine. She blinked at the long absent rise to her heartbeat.
    The next down was another quick pile up of very large linemen whose uniform material was probably measured in acres instead of yards. Not the ones causing the accelerated thumping in her chest. Rachel brought the high speed Canon back up to her eye and focused on the quarterback as he took up his position behind the center.
    Now there was a man who could do justice to body-molding clothes. The curve progressed into an appreciative smile. Or do justice to no clothes at all. The smile quickly faded. A controlled exhalation brought her errant heartbeat back to an accepted professional speed. Rachel knew well how a perfect exterior could be only a thin veneer hiding major imperfections. Following the quarterback’s movements with the Canon, she immortalized his actions with twelve pictures every second as he fluidly slid into the backfield. She captured the pump fake, the connected screen pass, and the few gains in yards before the receiver disappeared in a pile of humanity.
    Rachel checked the shots again, acknowledging that beauty may be only skin-deep, but the QB wore that skin amazing well. Glancing up, she saw a man on the sidelines raise an arm encased in what looked like an orange, elbow-length oven mitt to signal a commercial break. The enthusiastic season-opening crowd roaring their approval over the home team’s progress didn’t even notice him.
    “Looks like McGregor is everything they were hoping, and paying, that he would be.” Tommy Chin, a photographer for the rival paper in the city, was thumbing through his shots beside her. “Heaven knows they needed him to put something together offensively for the season.”
    “Looks like. So far, anyway,” Rachel murmured in agreement. They were only into the second quarter of the first game of the regular season. The much-hyped, newly obtained quarterback had more proving to do for her. “I wonder what his signature look will be with his helmet off. The dazed look of Watkins, or the pout of Leadman. I’ve got files full of those.”
    “From what I’ve heard, his off-helmet look will be beside a beautiful woman. I think he went through most of the single actresses and a good share of the models in his time at LA.”
    Rachel’s full lips frowned in distaste. “Well, Chicago doesn’t have as many actresses, but there is a plethora of beautiful women.”
    “You should know. You run in that herd.”
    “I take pictures. I’m not in them anymore.” The orange mitt was still up. It was a long televised break. Hopefully they were at least running a Geico commercial in it. She respected their cleverness. She respected Tommy as well. He was a good photographer and a decent guy to hang with – as they both covered the Raptors and ended up at some of the same assignments in the city – but she didn’t talk about this topic. Tommy liked to tease. He generally knew when to stop, but the stopping point was very early on this subject.
    “The guy’s worth millions. Not hard at all on the eyes. Said to be a charmer if he wants to be. You should make a play for him.”
    “I don’t date athletes.” There was edge in her voice, an edge Tommy didn’t deserve. Rachel blew out another breath through pursed lips and flipped through the last set of photos, tagging a few of the new quarterback to send in a halftime. Please let this break be over quickly.
    “Oh, that’s right. You were married to one.”
    “Yes. One was enough.” One was more than enough. One was devastating to recover from. The orange oven-mitted arm came down and play resumed. Rachel automatically lifted the camera to her eye again. If some construed it as hiding, let them.

    • Deirdre

      Jocelyn, I like how you’ve hinted at Rachel’s emotional vulnerability without taking away from her confidence and talent. In a few lines you’ve created a strong, likeable heroine, and you’ve let her dialogue and reactions do the work of showing the reader her character without over-explaining. Very well done!

    • Jocelyn

      Thank you, Deirdre. Greatly appreciate the feedback and the time you take to give it, which helps us improve our writing. Thanks again.

  5. Melanie

    Autumn pulled her hand from the front pouch of the backpack to reveal she held the picture of a bright eyed, red headed baby in her hand. She smiled past the flashlight held in her teeth, and felt tears forming in her eyes. Her forefinger traced the outline of the little girl, while the name Maddie whispered through her thoughts. The creak in the hallway drew her from her moment of sorrow, and alerted her to the fact she was not alone in the abandoned farmhouse.
    Laying the bag gently back on the couch and shutting off her flashlight, she turned her body to face the entrance to the dank living room that anyone approaching from the hallway would use, and slid back a bit to be just out of their line of sight to give her the element of surprise. She still held the picture in her hand, like a talisman against harm, and waited.
    It was mere seconds before the large figure of a man making his way cautiously through the debris of a house forgotten for years except by partying teenagers and squatters came into view, and without hesitation, Autumn swung out her fist to connect with his strong jaw, followed by her other fist which caught him from the other side. Her long leg followed, planting a flat footed kick to the man’s gut and sending him backwards and into the wall with a grunt. As she stepped towards him and raised her foot for a strike to his face sure to render him unconscious, she was stopped by his calling out her name.
    “Detective Lane?” she asked, finishing her intended strike by lowing her foot to the floor again, and flicking on her flashlight again. “What are you doing here? I told you I could handle this.”
    “I know you can, that’s obvious enough,” he stated, stretching out his jaw where she’d struck him and standing up with his hand on his gut, “but you shouldn’t have to. It’s one thing to hunt some random bail jumper, but your ex? That’s pretty heavy stuff.”
    Autumn sighed, and felt her fingers tracing the image of the picture she still held in her hand, before nodding and turning back towards the mess she’d been rummaging through in the living room.

    • Kayla K.

      This was really exciting, Melanie, and left me with so many questions in a great way. In a short scene you packed a lot of tension and detail. She’s a heroine after my own heart – she wants to take control of a situation and handle it even when a former relationship could jeopardize her judgment. And here’s a supportive hero in the form of another detective, wanting to share the burden! So what happened to her ex? Who is Maddie to her and where is she now? So many questions! 🙂

    • Melanie

      Thank you! Autumn is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever created, and I’ve been working for a few years to get her just the right story to shine in all her glory. We’re getting there!

  6. “Gwen, these are better, but you are still too slow. For this office to function properly, you have to be able to handle twice the work load you’ve been handling.”

    I swivelled my chair toward the slender woman as she spoke. Her form-fitting casual slacks and blouse made her look taller, so too did the French twist that held her flat brown hair. But it was the tight lines around her mouth that drew my attention. Something was up.

    Hilda looked over my right shoulder and gave a slight nod, before looking back at me. “We’d like to talk to you please.” The office manager waved a hand toward the meeting room in the corner of the floor.

    “Sure,” I said, hitting control, alt, delete to log off my PC. I stood slowly as the hint of lavender wafted over me. Norma was behind me. “After you,”I said without turning. I watched Norma’s rotund shape preceded me to the meeting room, Hilda held the door until I entered.

    I knew my second day, this meeting would be called. I had worked exactly eight days in this office. For Hilda, that was long enough, she wanted me gone. That was fine, I only three days for my purposes.

    The office manager, the comptroller, and me, the new part time accounts Payable clerk, eyeballed each other briefly before the three of us sat around the glass topped table. The other women shared one side of the table. They were united, this felt like a tribunal.

    “You’ve been with us a month now,” Hilda began. “And yet you still can’t do the job. Your accuracy is improving, but you still make too many mistakes.”

    My eye brows rose at this. “How do you calculate a month out of eight days? I’ve only worked two days a week.”

    “You’ve been here a month,” she said emphatically.

    “I see.” I knew what was coming and yet, my cheeks burned. I breathed slowly in and out, this situation shouldn’t bother me, but it did. Saying nothing further, I leaned back in my chair and waited.

    Hilda glanced at Norma for support, and Norma gesture to the office manager to get on with it. So she looked back at me. “We’ve given you plenty of time to learn the job, but this just isn’t working out.”

    “I see,” I said again. I was giving them no reaction to work with, and I could see this annoyed Hilda.

    “You can pick up you cheque tomorrow…” Her words dried up, probably from my hard stare.

    I narrowed my eyes at her, willing her to say it, but she won’t. Coward.

    “So you expect someone to learn all the tasks, all the details of each process, and be fully trained in eight days?” I had to ask, even if it didn’t matter now.

    “You had a month.” Norma spoke for the first time.

    “Actually all I needed was three days.” I said with a shrug.

    Both women frowned at me in confusion. Heh, just wait, I’ll clear that up for you.

    “Hilda, you were intimidated by me the moment you read my resume and have been angling to get rid of me, from the get-go,” I continued. “You thought I wanted your job.” I watched her as I spoke and her body language confirmed my assumptions.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She had crossed her arms defensively over her chest.

    “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve quit better jobs than yours.” I reached behind my and pulled my phone out of my back pocket. After tapping in a number, “come and get them.” I said, and hung up.

    “What are you doing?” Norma demanded.

    I ignored her.”You both got greedy, you do know that was a mistake?” I said as I stood and opened the door for my partner.

    Jack strolled in, leading a couple of uniformed city police.”The theft of customer credit and debit card numbers might have gone unnoticed if you’d stuck to the handful you stole every month.” I said as the officers stood the two women up, to cuff them. “Going bigger was your mistake. Your boss, Mr. Humphries, noticed the amount of complaints from the banks and credit institutions had risen significantly.”

    “That’s when he called us.” Jack flashed one of his deadly smiles at the women. “That’s also when you made a stupid decision, you decided to steal Gwen’s debt card number.” He came to stand next to me, his familiar presence was reassuring. I frowned slightly, realizing I had become used to the hostile, combative workplace.

    “Merely for spite.” I put in, that fact still pissed me off. Everyone thought they could trust their co-workers.

    “No doubt,” Jack looked down at me. “You handled it well.”

    The male cop was reading the women their rights.

    “Thanks, that change in their process is what did them in. I merely had to back the charges. Norma here, used my cheque get account to pay for her Netflix account on-line. Everything was easy after that.”

    “This is ridiculous,” Hilda snarled as the female cop propelled her toward the door.

    Jacked grinned at me like he invented me. “I never thought I’d warm up to a forensic accountant, but I have to admit you do good work, Gwen.”

    “I’m glad you finally decided to trust me to handle the investigating myself, undercover.”

    “I’m not sure I’d go that far,” he waved me toward the meeting door.

    Ah, we were back to banter again. Jack wasn’t comfortable talking about feelings or relationships.

    “I trust you.” I said, mostly to make him uncomfortable. We found the office being inventoried, documented and photographed. The next step in gathering evidence. Mr. Humphries stood in a corner rubbing his hands over his face and looking worried.

    And I did trust Jack, didn’t I? With my life, but not my hear

    • Kayla K.

      I love what you did here, Yvonne. You set up the power dynamic at the beginning of the scene in such a way that I was worried about the heroine – until she turned the tables and revealed that she was holding all the cards from the start! We tend to see more SEALs than forensic accountants, but you’ve made an amazing case for them here. The dynamic between her and Jack is very interesting, too, and makes me wonder what sort of history they may have had together…

  7. Jacqueline Burrows

    Carla Martinez, Professor of Medical Oncology, was just getting used to her new title when she saw a patient in her outpatient clinic who reminded her of all the downsides of her chosen profession. The lady was eighty and had just been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Her quivering smile was stoical as she listened attentively to what Carla was trying to explain to her about her illness. Her husband sat beside her, holding her hand tightly with one hand and wiping his eyes with the other. They had just celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary, they told her, and had never been apart for all those years.
    What must it be like to be loved so completely, Carla wondered. She had little time for men and none whatsoever for long-term relationships. She was married to her work. Gender shouldn’t matter in the modern world, but unfortunately, it did. A woman still had to work harder than a man to be thought as good. Carla didn’t want to be as good – she wanted to be the best. In order to achieve this, she had developed a hard and sometimes ruthless persona. She was a mover and shaker and got things done.
    After the clinic, she was attending a meeting in Trust HQ to fight for more nurses for the Treatment Centre. And they would pay attention. When Professor Carla Martinez spoke, people listened.
    But for now, she needed to refer her patient to her colleague, Dr Dan Calloway. The lady wasn’t well enough for chemotherapy so radiotherapy, Dan’s specialty, was the only option for prolonging her life. She wanted to keep that little couple together for as long as she could.
    She knew Dan well; they had gone through medical school together, until he went overseas for ten years. But now he was back and she was delighted they were working together again.
    When Carla stuck her head around the door to speak to him, Dan experienced the familiar surge of lust he always felt when he saw her. One day, he would find the courage to tell her. Carla was beautiful. She had a Spanish father from whom she had inherited her black hair and dark, soulful eyes. Her mother, an English rose, had passed on her height and willowy physique. Carla walked with a sexy sway that stopped men in their tracks. Most of them hadn’t got the guts to do anything more than stand and stare.
    Carla was direct to the point of bluntness, but she was a brilliant doctor who worked tirelessly for the welfare of her patients. But she was also a sensual and passionate woman who needed a man by her side; a man who was able to satisfy her and not be intimidated by her strength and commitment to her job. Dan knew he was that man. All he had to do now was convince Carla.

    • Kayla K.

      You brought up a great point here, Jacqueline – often in STEM fields women have to work at least twice as hard to be thought of as good, let alone as the best, so it’s no wonder that Carla has dedicated herself tirelessly to her job. But Dan could provide a nice work/life balance! And the nature of Carla’s profession actually does show some vulnerability from the start. She’s clearly compassionate, and it would be lovely to see some of that break through her hard shell that she’s had to develop!

  8. Kathryn

    The décor in the bar was stark, low lights showed a room in chrome and marble with a view of the Manhattan skyline that let you know you were on Wall Street in New York City. If you spent without checking your bank balance, eventually, you came to Marco’s on Top, which made it a good place for an undercover cop to look for someone who could steal millions with a couple of clicks of a computer. Detective Riker settled back to observe and let the single malt whisky ease the pain behind his eyes.
    The flash from the diamond on the right hand of the platinum blonde sitting at the corner table nearly blinded him. The rock on her finger wasn’t the only thing to get his attention because the rest of her was worth a second look. She sipped something pink from a straw and looked at a screen, her concentration focused on a moving chart of stock prices. If she was waiting for someone who had not shown up, she gave no sign of it. For now, she watched gold prices fluctuate on her screen, and from where he was sitting, she was making money right there. If this was the woman he was looking for, he wasn’t sorry at all that her looks matched her brains, or was it the other way around?
    There was no way that she could avoid looking at him. He only had to wait and start up a conversation.
    Riker had read the file. He was looking for Samantha Smart, 25 years old, single, born to an alcoholic mother and an absent dad, degrees in economics, business, and computer science. She graduated from Princeton, despite foster care and bruises as a child. If she was breaking the law no one had found evidence that had stood up in court to account for the million dollar losses. He never lost to a woman before, but there was a first time for everything.

    • Kayla K.

      Oooh, a billionaire heroine who may also be the criminal this detective is hunting? You build an intriguing atmosphere in this scene, Kathryn, that almost has a noir feeling to it. Samantha is clearly a powerful woman with money, beauty, and (perhaps criminal) intelligence. I’d love to see a high-tension scene where she’s facing off with the detective!

  9. Fiona Marsden

    What the hell was he doing? The last person he should be speaking to was Nina Yang. Her daughter was his client and it was supposed to be a secret. He should be making a quick exit but this woman was far more intriguing than expected. Everything he’d read about her contradicted the woman in front of him. She was supposed to be a hard-arse in business, yet she’d blushed like a kid when caught out in a lie. No way could she be thirty-six or seven. She had an adult daughter. Not that he blamed her for lying. It was tough being a woman in business and the older your were, the tougher the criticism. She certainly didn’t look on the wrong side of forty. Nina Yang looked like she took care of herself. The thick, straight, shoulder length hair was cut simply, but he bet it cost a fortune to have it styled so the glossy black locks looked perfect even after half a day in the office. Her clothes were deceptively modest with that individual something that screamed money. He had enough clients in that price bracket to recognise designer suits and a silk blouse.
    Her tone was cool. “What do you want to know?”
    She perched on the corner of the desk, the narrow skirt splitting at one side to show a glimpse of stockinged thigh. *Stockings or tights?* He’d guess stockings. Maybe some pretty underwear under the severe suit. His libido needed to settle down. No way a woman like her would be single. Most professional women were Ms even if they were married. Not that she wore any rings. No jewellery at all apart from discreet gold hoops peeking out from her long hair. “What made you call the agency?” It would help if he knew what kind of agency. Maybe a temp agency though surely she would get her personnel officer to deal.
    “I have some events coming up.” Her eyes met his squarely. “Christmas parties. I need an escort who won’t cause problems.”
    “Problems?” He suspected anyone who tried to out-stare him. She must have something to hide. He dropped his gaze to her hands. The fingers were tangled, almost white as she gripped tight. *Nerves or embarrassment?* “What kind of problems?”
    “I don’t want to be seen as having favourites among my staff. I prefer to bring someone from outside.”
    Someone had caused this woman problems in the past. “So you called an agency. Don’t you have any friends outside work?”
    Her smooth brow wrinkled enough to prove she didn’t rely on Botox for her youthful complexion. “That’s not your business. You’re doing a job and getting paid for it. My reasons don’t concern you.”

    • Kayla K.

      You’ve set up some really fun power dynamics here, Fiona! I like how the heroine exudes a sort of cool strength – she doesn’t have to be flashy to make it clear that she’s the most powerful person in the room. But the hero is clearly not all that he seems – is he undercover, working for the heroine’s daughter? And now the heroine plans to hire him as an escort…which leaves us readers to wonder what all she may have in mind for him.

  10. When Mr. Damien called out their names, Kristie smiled at her partner
    before getting up. This was her moment, she had worked
    for almost four years in the police department. Although most of her colleagues
    were men, they waved amiably as she walked
    towards the front of the auditorium.

    They respected her because they knew she was the best investigator;
    the last case she had solved was sufficient proof of her talent.

    She and her partner had dismantled a criminal organization that
    was stealing personal information about famous people to blackmail them.

    Now that Jeff, her partner, was retiring, she knew she would finally
    get the promotion for which she had fought all this time;
    It was not that she didn’t like going out on the streets, but it would be much better
    to command a team from within a comfortable office, drinking coffee and
    watching the falling snow from inside a cosy building.

    While waiting for the words that would change her life, she looked
    at the faces of her colleagues, they were all there, applauding
    her… She barely saw him, but when she looked into the shadows, he
    was there. Wearing a black suit, his arms crossed in front of his chest,
    Eric was almost like another shadow, even his blue eyes
    looked black.

    She didn’t look away; she had always met his gaze as if on a
    challenge since her first day at work when he had tried to tell her
    how to protect herself, as if he didn’t approve of a woman in uniform. She was waiting for
    that scornful smile he always reserved just for her, but Eric
    lowered his head, something he had never done before.

    She continued looking at him for a few more seconds––he looked tired, his shoulders
    were bowed, his posture was completely different for a man
    who was always taking risks and who was her main competitor
    for the next promotion.

    It seemed that the tragic death of his partner had really affected
    Eric.
    She didn’t know all the details, but she had heard that Eric and his partner, Charles, had been ambushed
    a few days ago, and four men riding on two bikes had tried
    to assassinate the two officers. Miraculously, Eric had escaped, but
    Charles had been critically injured and died two days later on a
    hospital bed.

    Being a police officer meant taking risks,
    but losing a partner was always terrible. Kristie looked again at her partner and
    she was almost happy to know that Jeff would retire, for at least he
    would go home without any
    serious injury, that he would finally live in peace, with his wife and
    his children. She didn’t know what she would have done without him. Jeff had
    been much more than a partner, he was the father she had lost,
    he and his wife were her best friends.

    Mr. Damien was still talking, but she hadn’t heard half of what
    he had said; only when she heard her name again, Kristie tried
    to pay attention to his speech:

    “We are all happy with your work, you all know how
    our department was being pressured by the press to solve
    this case; you’re both invited to a dinner at the
    governor’s house next week. Jeff, there’s nothing I can
    offer you as you will not be here next week, but for you,
    Kristie, we have a special mission….

    As you all know, we lost a dear colleague. Charles was
    cowardly murdered, and although Eric fought bravely to carry
    his wounded partner out of danger, Charles gave in to his injuries.
    But the guys who killed him are still out there and it’s our duty to track
    them down. So Kristie, from now on, Eric will be your
    partner, and as the best police officers in our department, together
    you will fight to cleanse our city of this terrorizing gang.
    They are threatening our citizens and killing our colleagues.”

    • Patience Bloom

      Oooh, I really like this, Eli! Nicely done. The heroine really does seem like an alpha with her job and her ambition to be a leader within the force. And I like how you weave in Eric and his backstory. Well done! I want to know what happens next.

  11. Chrissie

    Caroline Wright is tough. She was raised that way. No more tears to shed, not over her late father and not over her husband who disappeared at sea. She has an island resort to run and there is no time for nonsense. From carpentry repairs to hauling fish to market, she does it all. There is her close circle of friends, people she grew up with whom she trusts with her life and that of her young son. The same people whose livelihood depends upon her to keep the island running profitably. When she discovers her uncle is trying to sell the island from beneath her feet, she fights back with vengeance. Deceit and laziness are two things she loathes. She is suspicious when she meets a visiting stranger who seems a little too nice and a little too interested in her affairs. Pretending to be a tourist, the laid-back stranger is billionaire Michael Matthew Marsden II, hotel resort entrepreneur and the man who hopes to buy Roger’s Island—with or without her permission. All he needs is her signature on a few papers her uncle has already approved and the island is his. If it takes a bit of trickery on his part, so be it.

    • Chrissie

      Their cute-meet:
      Caroline Wright bumped her head on the hardwood edge as she scooted out from beneath the counter. It was about time for a new cash register for the Old General Store. This antique was the oldest cash register on Roger’s Island, Maine, and a beauty to be admired—when it was working. But that fact didn’t make the lump on her head hurt any less.

      “Damn it! Marsha? Where the hell is that screwdriver? I have to get this cash register fixed before I take the fresh fish over to the market.” She rubbed the new formed lump and her temper soared. “Marsha?”

      Where had that girl gotten off to now? Caroline glanced down at her long braided ponytail and the front of her worn coveralls, both equally spattered with ink. She scowled and brushed the grime away, only to add dirt and grit from the floor’s surface to the damp ink on her braid. Crap! What else could go wrong this morning? She swiped a stubborn hair from her cheek and reached for her rag on the floor.

      A deep chuckle confirmed she was not alone. “Need some help?”

      She straightened and swiped her fingers across her forehead to wipe the moisture beading there, then realized her mistake at the twinkle of humor in his eyes. She grimaced at the grimy feel of grease on her skin. “Isn’t that what I should be asking you? After all, you’re the customer.”

      Mr. Perfection stood on the other side of the counter. Far too close. His tight t-shirt caressed the curves of his muscled chest and upper arms. His eyes were the color of the sea, a deep blue-green that matched his shirt, and his pearly white smile sent a ping to her heart. Well, she wasn’t dead yet. No reason not to admire a handsome man.

      He cleared his throat. “Okay, then. I need a few things and would like to run a tab. Can I see the manager?”

      She rubbed at a tickle on the tip of her nose. Why did everything have to itch when your hands were dirty? “You’re looking at her.”

    • Patience Bloom

      Definitely a cute-meet, Chrissie! They both seen to be a little alpha and this seems fine to me. I do love an independent heroine who can fix things and if she encounters another fixer, then all the better. This definitely seems to be on the right track! Well done.

  12. Laura Hodges Poole

    Chimney Rock on Oregon Trail
    “It wasn’t enough that you tried to drown me during that last river crossing. Now you’re saying I can’t leave my wagon? For how long?” Anna Morgan took a step away from the tethered horse; her green eyes flashed like the lightning storm they’d trekked through the night before. Loosely-braided auburn hair flowed down the back of her once cream-colored dress dotted with cornflowers. Now it was mostly mud-colored, giving testimony to the wagon train’s excursion through the river.
    William sighed and twisted the brim of his hat between his hands. “Sorry about that, ma’am, but you didn’t follow the rules, and you remember what I said when we left Independence?”
    Her eyes softened, and her cheek dimpled.
    He drew a deep breath, guarding himself against whatever tactic she would try next. He’d seen both sides of her—angry and gentle. Both sent a tingling up his spine, but given his preference, he’d take the softer side. Except…somehow she seemed more dangerous then.
    “Mr. Hughes, you know that wasn’t my fault.” Her smile bloomed fully now.
    He widened his stance and crossed his arms. “From where I stand, it certainly was. I told everyone to stay together, and you chose to drag behind, leaving me in a precarious position of having to come after you. Hence…” He studied her clouding eyes and sobering mouth.
    He cleared his throat. “…you almost drowning.”
    “I told you my steamer trunk had worked itself loose and was hanging from the back of the wagon. What was I supposed to do? Just let it fall into the river?” She rolled her eyes.
    “I expected you to call for help.”
    Her eyes narrowed, and he braced himself. He had to stand firm. Otherwise, the others in the train would think they didn’t have to follow the rules either.
    She took a step toward him. “Call for help?” Her voice raised, and she shoved her fists onto her hips.
    Stand firm, William.
    ####
    Anna considered doing what she did to her brothers when she got angry back home. Except…she was a lady now, according to her mother’s speech before she set out on this harebrained idea of traveling west, also part of her mother’s departing words of wisdom. Anna needed no help last night in securing her wayward trunk and likely could’ve gotten back into the wagon, if the current hadn’t been so strong—and William Hughes hadn’t felt the need to play savior.
    When she’d left Independence to get out from under her domineering father and away from an ex-fiancé with similar traits, she’d vowed never to let a man control her again. Even a handsome man like this.
    Anna sucked in a breath and studied the wagon train master standing in front of her. Mr. Hughes towered over her with his six foot tall frame, but his blue-gray eyes that smoldered like charcoal when he tried to be tough amused her. She certainly wasn’t intimidated by him. She gulped. At least, not much.
    She ran a hand over her hair while she tried to steady her nerves. “You haven’t said for how long.”
    “Until we get to Fort Laramie.”
    Fireworks went off in her chest and spread up her neck. “You can’t be serious.”
    “Oh, but I am.”
    “That’s a good six days, maybe longer, if we encounter more bad weather.” She took another step toward him and lowered her voice. “Look, I know you have to be tough because of the rules and all.” She waved aside his words. “But that is unreasonable. I cannot stay in my wagon that long. I’ll…I’ll go crazy.” Her voice shrilled, and she glanced around to make sure no one else heard.
    “I suggest you give Mrs. Dawson your list of supplies before we head into town to shop for the wagon train. You’ll do as I say…or else…” His eyes narrowed, pinning her where she stood.
    Her lip quivered. “Or else what?”
    Mr. Hughes gaze settled on her lips, and the crease between his eyes softened. “Please…just stay.”

    • Patience Bloom

      Laura, This was fun to read. I especially like seeing the alpha heroine through the hero’s point of view. It seems more authentic somehow and the reader can see how he understands her no matter how cranky/stubborn she is. Really enjoyable and like the historical setting.

  13. Michelle

    Grace Bentley wouldn’t think twice about going to the movies by herself. She can fix a clogged toilet in one minute flat, and she started a catering business in Toronto that’s the go-to for upscale events. She’s clever, capable, and savvy, albeit a bit on the impulsive side. After finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of his co-workers, she responds by packing up her things and moving to Sunset County, a stunning cottage and resort community north of the city where wealthy Torontonians vacation. With the proceeds of the sale of her catering company, she buys the Briarwood Inn, an outdated waterfront estate that’s in serious need of a total overhaul and is dripping with potential. With her culinary background, her keen eye for style and her business know-how, Grace is certain that she can make the Briarwood Inn into a popular and profitable luxury retreat.
    Grace arrives in Sunset County with the keys to her new property. As she drives towards the inn, she’s cut off by a maniac driver on a motorcycle: not quite the small-town welcome she’d been expecting.
    Later that afternoon, one of the local contractors arrives for his appointment to give her a quote on the renovation project. Grace opens her door to find Noah Crawford, a rugged, handsome carpenter with clear green eyes and a hint of attitude. In one hand he holds his leather folio. In the other, the candy apple red helmet she’d seen on the motorcyclist who’d cut her off earlier. She instantly decides, despite his positive online reviews, that she dislikes him and won’t be awarding him the contract. Besides, all she needs at this point is a gorgeous man around her house for the next few months- she’s sworn off men, vowing to focus singularly on her success and asserting her independence as she works towards the opening of the inn.
    She decides to give him the tour of the house anyway; she’s not out to earn a bad reputation only hours after arriving in town. So what if he’s a bad driver? Or, that he’s drop dead gorgeous? She needs a great contractor. And, she’ll be his boss, making a relationship totally off-limits. Just the way she needs it.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Michelle, Grace is a very independent heroine, which I love. There might be a fine line here between her alpha-ness and how she treats the hero. Can he handle her or is he too Beta? Just some things to think about as you’re writing. An intriguing setup overall. Nicely done!

  14. Lakisha friday

    You’re the meanest woman I ever met!
    I’m not mean! Honesty managed to pin CJ down on the mat. He in turn grabbed her by the legs making her hit face first unto the mat. CJ got on top of her and pinned her down.
    You know nothing about me. You just think you do.
    Well help me to get to know you better. CJ said getting off her.
    You don’t need to know me. Honesty was able to free her hands and landed the perfect punch to his jaw. He wenches in pain as he fell to the floor. She half smiles at him tracing his masculine lines with a finger. She flet his chest rise and fall. His heart racing. They been learning self defense techniques and they were worn out. They both had been bruised quite a bit. Honesty was ready to go home and when she tried to leave. CJ grabbed her by the arm but she was quicker and slammed him down into the mat where everyone saw.
    Have dinner with me. He requested.
    Honesty laughed and got close to his face whispering, you can’t tame who don’t want to be tamed. With that said she kissed him on the lips and ran out the gym.
    T
    You think you can tame me. Is that it?
    I know I can. He replied.
    I doubt that. Honesty said, no man has ever tamed me and one never will.
    I’m not some caged animal you can control with a whip. You got me?

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Lakisha, Wow! You definitely show an intense alpha heroine. I can see the scene in my mind. There’s nothing like a good sparring match to show chemistry between a hero and heroine. The only part that confused me a little was the lack of quotation marks around dialogue, but otherwise, keep writing!