Plotting to Win
Contemporary Romance, Reality TV Show
In New York City, seven writers compete for a hundred thousand dollars, a publishing contract with Bright House, and the title of the next bestseller. One is Felicity James. One is Victor Guzman.
Drama, plagiarism, and trash talk play out to enthralled audiences across the country as all seven contestants compete against each other in a range of heated challenges, with tensions reaching breaking point. As Felicity and Victor start up a show‐mance, their relationship burns up the ratings.
Will this sizzling fling escalate into a vicious battle for money and fame, or will these two authors manage to write their own happy ending?
“A head-hop is a sudden point of view switch.”
“What?” Felicity glanced up from the book she was reading — one of Nicole Roberts’s. She’d actually packed it, having no foresight whatsoever that the woman she’d long admired was going to be judging her.
Victor sat on the edge of her bed, turning his body just enough to face her where she was propped against the headboard. “Like, if you are in Mookie’s point of view and you’re telling us how Mookie feels … that Mookie desires Dookie with a fierce passion he’s never felt before and then you suddenly switch over and tell us what Dookie is feeling … you’re switching POV. It can be jarring to a reader. Some publishers allow it. Some don’t. It’s something to watch for in your genre of writing.” He watched her intently as though waiting for her response.
Her book discarded in her lap, Felicity didn’t know what to say. She was unnerved by his sudden kindness and also by the fact he was on her bed, next to her, and he looked good enough to … no, no.
He blinked at her and apparently assumed she didn’t comprehend, because he continued, “Mookie and Dookie are … are eating sandwiches. Mookie is thinking his salami tastes too peppery and doesn’t Dookie look funny with her hair all messed up? And then suddenly Dookie is thinking Mookie looks like he’s tasted something bad. Basically, you have to choose one point of view, Mookie’s or Dookie’s, and stick with it. Say you choose Mookie. If Mookie can’t see it, hear it, taste it, feel it, touch it, he can’t tell us about it.”
Throughout his explanation, his hands moved animatedly, pantomiming different things: eating a sandwich, having messy hair, the act of hearing, but Felicity couldn’t get past one thing.
“Where the hell do you come up with your character names?” She chortled with laughter. Her insides hurt she laughed so hard, and her spirits lifted. Tears ran down her face. He looked bewildered momentarily and soon joined in, his dimples flashing.
“I mean, those names are sooo unromantic. I have no words,” she finally gasped out when she got control of her wits.
“Well, I don’t know. I’m a guy.” He spread his hands out, palms up.
Felicity turned serious, thinking about what he’d said. “So, the five senses? Like, if I’m narrating a scene and you don’t convey something, I can’t know what you’re thinking, unless you say it aloud or something in your body language tells me. I have to hear it or see it myself to tell the reader about it.”
“Exactly.” And suddenly, before she could react, he reached out and tenderly touched her cheek, brushing away an escaped tear.
Felicity held her breath. His touched burned a trail on her face. She fought the urge to close her eyes and just savor it, this second of … of … whatever was between her and this guy. If she could capture the moment and bottle it, she would. She’d dab the feeling all over her body every day.
She cleared her throat as his finger left her face. “Why are you helping me?”
“I don’t know.” His voice was strained, tired. His expression was one of bewilderment. What was going on behind the brown depths of his gaze? “But I’m not in cahoots with Tiffani. I want to just get that out of your pretty head right now.”
He thinks I’m pretty? Aloud, she said, “Then what was that about? Yesterday? What Tiffani said?” She crossed her arms over her chest, the only barrier she had at the moment, but what was she protecting? Her pride? Her heart?
He sighed and stared at the floor next to her bed. “I was a fool and ended up hurting myself more than you. The extent of our corroboration is switching beds. I thought my nearness — yes, arrogant ass, I know — would throw you off your game, ’cause, frankly, I see you as the biggest threat.”
“Um…” He’d managed to insult her and compliment her at the same time. Felicity couldn’t stop the wrinkle marring her brow. “Okay, well, ‘thank you’ and ‘what the fuck’ both come to mind.” She released an uncomfortable laugh and fingered the pages of her novel. They’d all be dog-eared by the time she was done. Hopefully, Ms. Roberts wouldn’t see it.
He offered a sheepish grin.
“So you thought my game could be thrown off as easily as that? I’m not some high school girl. I’m a grown-ass thirty-year-old woman, and I’m not easily sidetracked.” Well … she bit her lips to stop the smile that threatened to emerge.
His t-shirt pulled against taut muscles as he pushed himself off the bed. The urge to reach out and grab him, to pull him down until his long body covered hers almost overwhelmed her. Hot fire built in her lower belly, and she was grateful for her dark skin. If she’d been a pale woman, the heat and desire within her would be evident as it burned through her flesh.
“I realize that now.” His voice was low and husky. He had his hands in his pockets as he turned away from her bed.
“Wait,” she called after him. “How did you end up hurting yourself?”
“You snore,” he said over his shoulder. “I can’t sleep a wink with all that racket.”
“What?” Felicity gaped at his retreating back and before he got too far away, she hefted her pillow and threw it in his direction. It landed on the floor next to him, and he laughed all the way out of the room, great, shoulder-moving gusts of laughter.
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Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, dog mom, writer, and editor. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.
Tara is addicted to Law & Order: SVU, has a crush on Cary Grant, laughs at her own jokes, and is constantly modifying recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Her theme is Strong is Sexy. She writes about strong women facing obstacles—in the military, with their handicaps, or just learning to accept themselves. Her heroines can stand alone and take care of themselves, but they often find love in the process.
You can connect with her on Facebook or follow her blog.