A Few Winning Synopses
Does the word synopsis make you shiver with dread? If so, I hope this page will at least
bring that shiver down a few notches.
I’ve heard of writers who do the synopsis before they write a word of the novel, but I’m not
one of them. I never write my synopsis until the manuscript is complete--and usually
polished. I guess I just like to put it off. I’ve asked around and found I had a lot of
company. Sometimes you might even need to do that synopsis first, maybe for an agent or
an editor, maybe on more than one book. It doesn't matter if you do it first or last, long or
short, though, it has to get done sooner or later.
For that reason, I’ve asked around and found some wonderful authors who landed
contracts with either a big-name agent or a major publisher, thanks to their synopses.
These kind writers have agreed to let me place their winning synopses here, just to help
others who find themselves staring at a blank page trying to figure out what a good one
should even look like, what bases it should cover, how much to tell, and so on.
I’ve placed the author's names with their synopsis with a link through the name so you can
check out their sites. I also added a buy the book link at the bottom of each synopsis so
you can get the book that the synopsis was written for.
Hope it helps!
Happy writing and best wishes,
Phone number here
E-Mail address here
Book one—Pleasure Control
In order to prove to the Grant Governing board that they are close to
producing a libido suppressant, scientists Laura Manning and Jay Cutler must
use themselves as guinea pigs.
Jay fulfills his role by injecting himself with the serum. Laura’s role
requires candlelight, soft music, and silky lingerie. Her job is to entice
him. If he gets aroused they will know the libido suppressant failed.
Since Jay gravitates toward tall, waify blondes, a complete contrast to
Laura’s petite, curvaceous frame, she is both surprised and thrilled that
the man she’s been lusting after for months wants her to try to seduce him.
Hours after taking the suppressant, Jay shows up at Laura’s apartment ready
to test the stability of the serum. Clad in silky lingerie, Laura decides
that if she has to get undressed, Jay should too. After all, she needs to
see Little Jay, to observe his response. In no time at all, their
scientific pursuit turns into a sexy, seductive game. One thing leads to
another and they find themselves engaged in heavy foreplay.
Lost in Jay’s touch, his kisses, and his scent, Laura is secretly pleased
that the formula failed. During their intimate encounter, Jay’s touches
affect more than her body. They affect her heart.
Their play is halted when they get a phone call from lab security informing
them that the lab has been broken into. Laura discovers that the vials have
been tampered with and the serum Jay had taken earlier that day was a libido
enhancer, not a suppressant.
Since Jay has never paid attention to her sexually, she naturally assumes
this is why they ended up becoming intimate. Emotionally distraught, she
discusses this with her lab assistant.
Knowing Laura and Jay must test the formula again, her assistant makes a
suggestion. If Laura wants to finish what they started she should switch
the vials. As much as she wants to be with Jay again, Laura could never
bring herself to do such an immoral thing.
Outside the lab, Jay sees a whole new side to Laura. A side he suspects
exists, but is kept hidden underneath her pristine lab coat. Their intimate
encounter awakens an emotional part of him, and has left him longing for
more. All of her. Inside the bedroom and out.
Wanting to be with her again, physically and emotionally, Jay pretends to
take the serum. Later that morning they make wild passionate love against
the bathroom wall. Because Jay is so feral and aroused, Laura fears that
her assistant has switched the vials and he, once again, has taken the
enhancer. She gathers her courage and confesses this information.
Jay is thrilled to discover that Laura’s secret desire was to finish what
they had started. In turn he admits that he didn’t take the formula. When
she appears confused, Jay goes on to explain that he loves her and wants to
be with her--forever.
Laura is overjoyed to discover Jay didn’t need an enhancer to want her.
That he loves her for who she is.
Elated and in love, they decide they don’t ever want to suppress their
desires and decide to find someone else to test the potion.
Cathryn Fox sold this book to Avon. Buy the Book.
Midnight Hero Synopsis Diana Duncan
Midnight Hero - A 24 Hour Story by Diana Duncan
Opposites are not contradictory but complementary.
Riverside, Oregon SWAT team door-kicker Conall O’Rourke takes risks for a
living. So asking bookstore manager Bailey Chambers to marry him on New Year’
s Eve after only six months of dating seems a reasonable gamble. She’s the
only woman for him, his soul mate. The first time he saw her, he saw his
future children in her expressive blue eyes. Why wait? New Year’s Eve is a
time for new beginnings.
Book-lover and avid reader Bailey is wrestling with emotional turmoil. For
months, she’s danced too close to Conall O’Rourke’s fire. No matter how
appealing, how tempting those bright, exciting sparks are, she must end her
relationship with adventure junkie Conall. They’re just too different. She
analyzes and plans, fearless Con rushes in. She avoids confrontation, he’s
the first one through the door, catching bullets between his teeth. He’s the
life of the party, she’s quiet and introspective.
Bailey is terrified because Con has a hero complex. He is compelled to save
lives, at horrible risk to his own. Her fireman father suffered from the
same malady – which resulted in his death. She cannot understand or accept
the violence Con’s job requires. Furthermore, Bailey suspects Con sees her
as fragile and in need of protection. After Bailey’s father died, her grief-
stricken mom wrapped her in cotton wool and nearly smothered her. She’s had
enough coddling and is determined to find her own path and become her own
As much as she loves Con, sometimes love is not enough. Bailey can no longer
put off the inevitable. It’s New Year’s Eve. The old year is ending, and she
cannot begin the new year in a relationship with the wrong man. Though her
tender heart quails at hurting him, and her sensibilities roil at the mere
thought of conflict, Bailey meets Con for breakfast and shakily tells him
they must go their separate ways. He is fire and she is water, and her fears
will quench his spirit…leaving only ashes.
Stunned and upset, Con cannot believe Bailey doesn’t see how perfect they
are together. He wonders if the shadow hanging over his past affected her
decision. He’s learned to live with the whispers and rumors speculating that
his late father was a dirty cop, but perhaps Bailey cannot. Especially since
her father died heroically, saving many lives.
No stranger to tackling problems head-on, Con refuses to let Bailey go
without a fight. Brandishing two dozen of her favorite pink roses, he
marches into her bookstore in Riverside Mall, demanding they talk. He offers
to give up active duty and ride a desk for the next twenty-five years. She
refuses to let him sacrifice his beloved job for her. He might think it’s
what he wants now, but eventually, resentment will kick down love’s door and
bitterness will storm in. In the midst of their discussion, bank robbers
invade, take hostages and threaten to kill everyone. Con and Bailey are
trapped, with only each other to depend on.
As time ticks down to an explosive detonation, Conall and Bailey must work
together to save themselves and the innocent hostages. The situation becomes
personal for Con and he is shaken to the core when he sees the head bank
robber wearing his dead father’s watch.
Bailey’s extensive, eclectic reading habits and familiarity with the mall’s
floor plan comes to their aid. She helps Con construct creative defenses and
forge unusual weapons out of random items they scavenge from the mall. In
the process, she discovers an inner core of steel she didn’t realize she
possessed. She realizes her fears have held her back from truly living. Step
by step, she comes to terms with who she is. She begins to like herself and
trust her instincts. However, she still cannot bring herself to hurt anyone.
The siege continues, and cements Con and Bailey’s existing bond. They
reconcile their differences, discover and appreciate each other’s true
characters and learn that the other’s strengths balance their individual
weaknesses. Together, they can do more than either could ever accomplish
alone. They also come to understand how precious their love for each other
is, and how devastating it would be to lose their soul mates. To die just as
they’ve really begun to live. Each vows to protect the other, even giving up
their own lives if necessary.
Struggling with the moral dilemma of using necessary force, Bailey suffers a
hard lesson when they find the mall’s security guard near death. The bank
robbers shot her unarmed friend in cold blood. The former distinct line
between right and wrong becomes irrevocably blurred, and Bailey vows to
fight back. She finally understands what drove her father to give up his
life to save others. Heroes have to be heroes, they can’t be anything else.
And the women who love them must accept them as they are, support them, and
keep on loving them.
As the horrifying events crescendo, Bailey’s self-confidence grows. A
pregnant hostage escapes from the robbers, but goes into labor. Unshakable
Con panics. His SWAT team delivers high risk warrants, not babies! Bailey
keeps the mother-to-be calm, and Con rises to the occasion. The baby is born
not breathing, but Con gives the tiny newborn artificial respiration. She
begins to cry, and then everyone cries in relief. The grateful mother names
the infant Constance Bailey.
Con is knocked unconscious in a confrontation with one of the robbers, and
Bailey hides him, and then turns herself into the robbers in order to spare
him. Con awakens and prepares to rescue her, but he is tormented by worry.
He finally understands her fears for his safety. He faces the fact that he
does have a knight in shining armor complex and decides he doesn’t always
have to rush in where angels fear to tread. He’s got a woman who loves him
heart and soul, and a new reason to come home safe and sound every day for
the rest of his life. If they can survive the night.
A final showdown with the head bank robber, Tony DiMarco, ensues, and Con
finds out that the criminal framed his father and then murdered him in a
home invasion robbery. DiMarco knew his father and mother years ago, and
carries a grudge for perceived wrongs. He gleefully tells Con exactly how he’
s going to kill him.
Bailey holds Con’s life in her hands. The only way she can save him is to go
against everything she believes and seriously injure, perhaps kill DiMarco.
Con looks at her, and she sees the understanding in his eyes. He tells her,
“I love you for what you are and who you are. Whatever you decide, it’s
right.” He will die – his love for her unwavering – if she doesn’t find the
courage to save him. Con’s unconditional love and acceptance gives her the
strength to do what she must and she incapacitates the robber.
SWAT storms in, and Con is shot in the melee. Bailey is rushed outside by a
SWAT team member. For too many heart-wrenching minutes, she doesn’t know if
Con is alive. Finally, they are reunited, and he assures her his wound is
The couple return to Bailey’s apartment. Con dreads the coming
confrontation. He is sure Bailey won’t want a life with him after being
forced to participate in violence. Her seeing him shot and thinking him dead
was probably the final nail in the coffin of their relationship. She tells
Con that DiMarco chose his own fate by his actions. She assures him she now
understands the difficult choices he faces every day, and fully supports
him. The world needs heroes. After uniting their bodies, hearts and souls by
making love, he proposes and she joyfully accepts.
Con has learned that courage has many faces and Bailey has learned she’s a
strong, brave, resourceful woman. They’ve discovered that some battles are
worth fighting – even worth dying for. Con and Bailey’s trial has forged
them into an invincible team.
He is fire and she is water…and together, they make steam.
Diana Duncan sold this book sold to Silhouette Intimate Moments. Buy the Book.
AFTERNOON DELIGHT -- Mia Zachary
Rei Davis is a tough-minded judge who wishes someone could see her softer
side. Chris London is a light-hearted matchmaker who wishes someone would
take him seriously. After a passionate encounter at a bar, Rei walks into
Lunch Meetings, the dating service Chris owns, and the computer determines
that they’re a perfect match. With the help of email messages, afternoon
assignations and a leap of faith, maybe both of their wishes will come true.
* * *
Commissioner Rei Davis didn’t get elected to the Superior Court of
California without making sacrifices. She’s earned a reputation for being a
man-eater in the courtroom- where she’s not afraid to issue harsh decisions-
but an ice princess in the bedroom- where she’s afraid to ask for what she
wants. Rei knows better than to open herself up to criticism or rejection.
She’s never lived up to her demanding father’s expectations and a man she’d
once fallen for abandoned her when she needed him most.
As a one-year breast cancer survivor, Rei believes she’s been given a
second chance so she’s more than ready to celebrate her anniversary by going
to a nightclub with her best friend P.J. There, Rei does a little dirty
dancing with a hot blond that leads to even hotter kisses up on the darkened
balcony. No one has ever made her feel this way, so unlike her everyday
personality. But as much as Rei enjoys the moment of abandon, fantasies need
to remain just that, so she gives her name as ‘Jade’, knowing she’ll never
see him again.
Chris London is a success professionally- he runs Lunch Meetings, the
hottest dating service in San Francisco and most of his clients have found
their happily-ever-after. Personally, though, he can’t seem to make a
relationship last longer than a month. When his father walked out, he’d
shattered any illusions Chris had about love and marriage. Raised by his
mother and two older sisters, Chris respects and admires women and isn’t the
type to objectify them. So why can’t he stop imagining Jade naked?
Rei’s world is shattered when she gets the news that her cancer may have
recurred. Does life offer third chances? She doesn’t think so. She decides
to wait to retake the medical tests. One week won’t make a difference if she
is sick again, but it could mean all the difference in achieving some of the
goals on her Life List, including seducing a sexy stranger.
Despite the undeniable attraction they indulged at the nightclub, Chris is
pleasantly surprised when Jade calls him and suggests they finish what they
started. They meet at a hotel and agree there will be no strings or
complications. The sex is incredibly hot and passionate but afterwards when
Chris wants to see her again, Jade reminds him this was a one-time thing.
P.J.’s company is thinking about investing in Lunch Meetings, so as a favor
Rei signs up for the dating service. Chris is stunned to recognize the
aloof and conservative woman as the same one who came apart in his arms two
nights before. He’s with a client though and can’t confront her before she
leaves. Later, the Lunch Meetings compatibility software declares Rei and
Chris a perfect match. Now maybe he can convince her to get to know him
outside of the bedroom.
In court that afternoon, Rei believes the remorse of a boy named Bruce
Grayson and lets him off easy in a juvenile assault case. She goes home to
find several emails from potential suitors but none of them interest her
except one. DCL3 is charming and funny so she takes a chance and replies.
But even as she and ‘DCL3’ begin an online friendship, it’s Chris who
occupies her thoughts and erotic dreams. She enjoys another night of great
lovemaking with Chris, but when she goes to leave he accuses her of using
him. Realizing she’s been unfair, Rei agrees to a real date. At lunch the
next day, he’s flirtatious but subdued and finally Chris tells her that he
is ‘DCL3’, the friend she made online.
At first she’s furious that he lied and manipulated her, but then he asks
when ‘Jade” was going to be honest with him. Rei then has to admit she
enjoyed the freedom Jade’s persona allowed her. She apologizes and says she’
ll see him again, but because of her health fears she’s determined to keep
things physical. Her plan doesn’t quite work out, however. Rei has taken her
Life List to heart and over the week she accomplishes quite a few goals,
including falling in love. Chris is sweet and caring and sexy and more
patient than she deserves, so she finds herself opening up to him and
sharing parts of her life.
A few days later, Rei gets the news that Bruce Grayson has assaulted
another boy in juvenile detention. She is horrified that she gave this kid
the benefit of the doubt and was so wrong. So when Rei gets the case of
Gabriel Russo, accused of being a threat to his school, she vows to come
Suddenly faced with pressure from the presiding judge and unwanted media
attention, Rei takes the rest of the day off. After seeing her on TV, Chris
brings a picnic lunch to her house and the comfort of his arms. The passion
they share is as hot as ever but now there is an underlying tenderness to
their lovemaking. Chris is ready to tell Rei how he feels but before he can,
she gets a call from her oncologist urging her to retake the blood test and
schedule a mammogram immediately. Chris’s fear of abandonment kicks in big-
time – someone else is going to leave him alone- and he withdraws
emotionally, not realizing how much the sudden distance hurts her. Rei
believes he is rejecting her, just as her ex-boyfriend did the first time
she was diagnosed. The emails and phone calls stop since neither of them is
willing to admit their fears and feelings.
P.J. is furious with Rei for not confiding she might be sick again, but
still P.J. goes with her to the doctor’s. Rei is extremely relieved and
grateful when the diagnosis proves to be false. Her good mood is ruined,
however when P.J. shows her the newspaper. A tabloid reporter has been
posing as a dating service client, trying to dig up dirt on Lunch Meetings
and on Chris. His article runs in the Examiner with the headline ‘Dating
Service Setup- Matchmaker Pulls Strings Behind the Scenes’, with a picture
of Chris and questions Rei’s ethics after the Grayson incident.
Rei isn’t at all surprised by the accusation that Chris manipulated the
matchmaking results. She tells P.J. about Chris’s rejection and that they’ve
split up. To her surprise, P.J. thinks she’s made a mistake and accuses her
of only giving second chances in the courtroom. Rei is forced to examine her
life and relationships and admit P.J. is right.
Meanwhile Chris is wondering if he’ll be able to stay in business, let
alone open new locations. After work, he stops by his mother’s house to find
his father there. His divorced parents announce that they’re going to try
again. The angry, abandoned boy inside of Chris demands to know how she can
trust David not to leave again. However, Jeanna believes David has changed
and says everyone deserves a second chance.
Gabriel Russo’s case continues in Rei’s courtroom. After the Grayson
debacle, she refuses to believe that Gabe’s behavior was merely a distressed
teenager’s acting out. When the defense asks to call character witnesses,
Rei is stunned when Chris enters the courtroom- he’s the boy’s uncle.
Because of their relationship, she has to recuse herself and reassign the
case. However Chris corners her in a side hall and tries to convince her
Gabe deserves a second chance. Rei is sympathetic but accuses him of being
The next day, several Lunch Meetings clients appear on a local TV morning
show admitting that while Chris did coach the men, if not for him they
wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue their current girlfriends, who
wouldn’t have given the guys a second chance except for Chris’ suggestions.
Watching the program, Rei is reminded that ethics mean doing the right thing
as well as upholding the law. She has a quiet word with the judge now
handling Gabriel’s case and also asks P.J. to take a risk and proceed with
her investment in the dating service.
Rei goes to Lunch Meetings and apologizes to Chris, asking for another
chance. She explains that she’s been afraid to be vulnerable, to let anyone
inside where they can hurt her, and that she pushed Chris away because in
loving him he could hurt her the most. She’s finally realized that she doesn’
t need to live up to anything; she just has to live. It’s time for her to
believe in the future and the future is Chris.
Chris hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Rei. He missed her terribly
but he refused to chase someone who didn’t want to be caught. But now she’s
here and promising that she always will be. If his parents can forgive and
move forward, then maybe they can too. Chris realizes that love is the
greatest risk of all but he’s willing to take it. They make love in his
office, making a commitment on their hearts.
Mia Zachary sold this manuscript to Harlequin's Blaze line. Buy the Book.
I've tried to place the below synopsis into the format used for it, so you'll have a sample of
how one should look. It's a lot of extra work to add the frames and such, which is why I
didn't do it with each synopsis. Plus, the way different programs read things, it could
cause some of the frames and the text to overlap for some people.
9½ DAYS - Mia Zachary
When Jordan Gregory’s boyfriend David Navarro broke things off, she blamed
herself for their non-existent love life. Though she’s trimmed down to a
healthy size 12, she still sees herself as the shy, overweight girl she
once was. Determined to learn how to be sexy, provocative and spontaneous,
Jordan buys a sex manual called Fifty Fast Fantasies.
Firefighter Danny Navarro isn’t nicknamed, ‘Lady Target’, for nothing. But
whenever his girlfriends get too close or too serious, he bolts. He’s not
about to be trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage like his parents’. This
habit earns him a reputation as an eight-date man, but Danny’s happy
sticking to fun and games.
After reading the manual from cover to cover, Jordan formulates a plan to
seduce her ex-boyfriend into granting her a favor. David just has to
pretend to be her fiancé for the ten days leading to her grandparents’
Fiftieth Anniversary party. Acting out a fantasy called, Strangers For One
Night, she dresses in her naughtiest undies and kidnaps him for a night he’
ll never forget. Tonight there will be no names, no inhibitions and no
Jordan experiences great sex for the first time. The only problem, she
discovers the following morning, is that she kidnapped the wrong twin!
Danny’s not interested in commitment – not even a fake one. But then he
finds the Fifty Fast Fantasies book. He’ll agree to the next ten days if
Jordan agrees to sex ‘any time, any place and any way.’ Over the next
days… and nights… she experiences a sexual awakening and slowly begins to
accept her body image in light of Danny’s obvious appreciation of her full
breast and rounded hips.
Danny enjoys the family gatherings he’s ‘forced’ to attend. The Gregory’s
share a warmth and laughter he never had with his parents and he suddenly
realizes how much he wants this to be real. Later that night, when Jordan
asks about the scar on his back, he reluctantly tells her he was part of
the rescue team at the Pentagon after the September 2001 terrorist attack.
She realizes now that Danny’s bad boy facade hides a wounded and wary soul.
Jordan has fallen in love with Danny but is convinced that when their
agreement is over, he’ll want a woman like Keisha, her slim and beautiful
cousin. Danny is overwhelmed by the depth of his feelings for Jordan, and
determined not to give it to them. At a baseball game, he lets Keisha
flirt with him but when Jordan calls it quits he realizes he doesn’t want
to lose her.
Saturday night is finally here. That means their ten-day agreement is
over. Danny looks at Jordan with pride- for the first time, she’s wearing
a revealing dress and left her hair down- and he realizes how much he
loves her. Before he can tell her, though, Keisha tries to kiss him. Danny
is frantic to get to Jordan first. He tries to tell her he can’t pretend
to be her fiancé anymore, that he wants their relationship to be real, but
she refuses to listen. Jordan is humiliated and terribly hurt. With a
heavy heart, she tells Danny to leave her alone.
He is devastated by Jordan’s rejection. He tells himself it doesn’t
matter, that it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. But then a fire alarm
goes off at Jordan’s office building and Danny has to overcome his worry
and battle his deepest fears in order to find her. Thankfully, Jordan is
all right and Danny admits how empty his life has been; that you can’t go
through life afraid to take a chance on love- that’s not really living.
Danny and Jordan finally declare their love.
A month later, Danny kidnaps Jordan, telling her it’s part of a fantasy he
wants to act out. When they arrive at their destination, Danny slips a
ring on her left hand and removes the blindfold. This fantasy is called
‘Be My Bride’. Through tears of joy, she sees that both families waiting
on the steps of the church. Jordan is certain the love they discovered
over the last 9 1/2 days will last forever.
Mia Zachary sold this manuscript to Harlequin's Blaze line. Buy the Book.
The corporate Ice Queen, Zoe Lauterborn, has complete control of her life.
In funds management, she consistently outshines her colleagues. Phillip
Kingdom is fascinated with her—her skills impress him, and so do her
looks. He'd love to make their relationship more personal—much more
But he's watched her turn down date after date, and he understands she's
drawn a line in her mind. Phillip wants her to cross it—badly. He knows he
needs to offer more than a mere rendezvous to get her attention.
Phillip sees his chance one happy hour. The firm is buzzing with talk of
an upcoming promotion. Who will get it? Seeing Zoe high on her job and a
little tipsy, he proposes a bet. If she gets the promotion, she gets his
bonus. If she loses, she's his sex slave.
Even after too many martinis, Zoe knows she should walk away—or maybe slap
his gorgeous face—but she has a secret. A new client with a lot of money
is about to sign on her dotted line. She'll break all company records. She
knows the promotion is in her pocket. Besides… Zoe just watched Phillip
She shakes on it.
Zoe should have won. But the bosses didn't think an Ice Queen would make a
good team leader.
She's his for 17 hours.
Ignoring her horror, he leads a sizzling seduction, taking all choices—and
her underclothes—away from her. Dancing nearly naked at a nightclub gives
her an unexpected sense of power, and her first orgasm leaves her craving
more in Washington Square Park. The remote-controlled vibrator purchased
together at the Pink Pussy Cat does little to alleviate her growing
desire. He opens doors for her that she'd thought had no keys.
And he does it without bruising her spirit.
That night—and the culmination the following morning—change something for
her. Phillip has shown her how to embrace her feminine side. She finds
that it doesn't limit her—it expands her perspective. Her bosses and
employees respect her. And, when she lands the next promotion, her team
heads the highest-producing division in the firm. She likes who she sees
in the mirror.
When Phillip proposes, she hears 'happily ever after' in his voice.
Lucinda Betts sold this manuscript to Kensington Aphrodisia. It was
published as part of an anthology title Pure Sex. (You can find the
synopsis for this story on the Sample Query page.) Buy the book.
Betrayed Jamie Leigh Hansen Page #
Kalyss has made many mistakes in her life and a man has always been at the
center of them. She refuses to try again, despite Alex’s advice. Her
best friend and business partner is the only good decision about a guy
that she’s ever made. Kalyss only wants to go about her life as a martial
arts instructor, but a stranger’s sudden attack alters her course. Who is
he? Why is he after her? And why does he refer to killing her as a “game
Fighting for her life, Kalyss uses every bit of strength and skill she’s
gained in the four years since her ex tried to kill her, but barely holds
him off. She hears Alex and tries to call for help, but the stranger slams
her against a wall, knocking her dizzy. Then he leaves and she’s left as
confused as ever. Alex and another stranger appear as she passes out.
In 1070 AD England, in the midst of the skirmishes against King William’
s rule, one knight takes control of a keep, charged to marry and protect
that land for his king. His bride, Kalyss, has heard the rumors about
him, however. She sees the blood of her people on his hands. In fact,
with her gifted vision, she sees the blood of all his victims on his hands
and fears him.
Kalyss awakens to Alex and Geoffrey standing over her. When Alex goes
for the first aid kit, Geoffrey questions her about her attacker. When
time passes and Alex doesn’t return, Kalyss worries. Geoffrey tells her
they must leave. He pushes her to the front door.
Suddenly, Geoffrey turns toward the back of the building. Kalyss
struggles to escape his hold, but he manages her all too easily, pushing
her ahead of him and telling her Alex is dead. She grabs a can of spray
paint as they pass a shelf and prepares to use it when he turns to her.
She is in motion, ready to spray the paint in his eyes, when a sword
pierces him from behind.
The world slows for endless moments as Geoffrey presses keys into her
hand and she has a vision of a drive and a destination, a well-known
church. With his last breath, he says, “Run.’
Geoffrey falls and she completes her motion, spraying the man behind him
with the paint. Then she runs. All the way to the church in her
vision. Terrified, not knowing who Geoffrey was or why the killer was
after her, she convinces herself to find a phone to call the police.
She enters the mysteriously unlocked church, searching for the pastor’s
office, and hears someone stalking behind her. Refusing to go through the
door leading down, she tries for another exit, afraid the killer is behind
her. But it’s too late and down is the only direction left.
Through the darkness, she finds a locked door and follows the last
instruction from her vision. She unlocks the door with the extra key from
the SUV and hides inside, locking the door just as the footsteps stop
outside and the person jimmies the door. Apparently satisfied, the
footsteps retreat and she backs up, then nearly screams at a stone touch
on her shoulder. Terror mixes relief, then grief wins. She collapses.
The footsteps of her husband mark each second she has left and by the time
he reaches the door, Kalyss is huddling in a corner. Moving slow and
talking calmly, he eventually talks her out. They are married and it must
be consummated, but he doesn’t want her to be afraid.
Unfortunately, her fear has built to such a level, she’d rather jump her
death than face him. He stops her, then goes as far as tying himself to a
chair, naked, giving her control.
Kalyss awakens in the church’s basement with the dream man’s challenge
ringing in her ears. Run, die, or kiss me. The challenge was
applicable. Where could she go and what should she do? Who was after her
and who had tried to save her? Either way, she had to leave the church.
Determined to do something, not running or dying, she rises and finds the
stone touch was a statue and she’d slept at it’s feet all night.
His feet. The dream man. Alex is dead and she must run, but Kalyss
finds herself captivated by the stone man, his expression of grief and the
dried, bloody handprint over his heart. Her hand fits it perfectly and
she hears his challenge again. Vowing she wouldn’t run, letting the
villain ruin her life, nor would she die, she kisses the statue to seal
In a flash of heat, he awakens. She doesn’t want to believe his story,
but she finds it hard to deny. The killer is Karl. In 1070 AD, he killed
her and her husband, Baron, froze to stone in his grief. Every hundred
years, his second in command, Geoffrey, tried to reunite them so she could
awaken Baron. And every time, nine times, Karl killed her.
Loaded with a backpack of surprising items Geoffrey had left them, they
go to a hotel and she calls the police. Afraid they will accuse her, not
believing in a serial killer that’s killed her nine times, or a man who’s
lived nearly a thousand years, or a man who was a statue, she keeps it
anonymous and turns on the news to watch for updates.
She doesn’t really believe Baron’s story, despite her own gifts, and
refuses to just jump into being his wife. She’s been down that road
before. And nearly died from that marriage, too.
But Baron is kind. And gentle. She loves his sense of humor. He’s
attractive, downright sexy. And he wants her, needs her with an intensity
she hadn’t known existed. He hadn’t been asleep in his stone prison. He’
d spent the time hearing, seeing, grieving. Only in the last hundred
years had he dared hope they could have a future. She escapes his strange
enchantment by hiding in the shower. But her dream-vision isn’t done with
Every other road led to her death. Kalyss faced Baron and made her
decision. She was afraid, but he was gentle with her fears. Her control
was an illusion, but she’d take it. Take him. She’s tentative and slow
at first, but with his encouragement, she seduces them both.
Kalyss wakes in the shower, struggling with her feelings for Baron, both
past and present. He checks on her and he sees her body, her scars. He’d
been in battle all his life. He is covered in scars as well and sees her
as a well-tested warrior. He’d always dreamed of having a family, but he’
s since learned that what he really needs is her. If she can’t have
children, he can accept that. His comfort and acceptance of her, his need
and the very way he views her, seduces Kalyss. Accepting she wants him
and testing him with each movement, she makes love to him.
In her sleep, the dream-vision continues. Showing her a past discussion
she and Baron had about his childhood. His parents were poisoned by his
father’s wife, Maeve. Her jealousy and protectiveness for her son, Karl,
had led her to it. Years later, when he was strong enough to avenge his
parents death, he saw Maeve. Hatred still twisted her and, deciding that
was her worst punishment of all, Baron turns from her, refusing to give
her any more power over him.
Kalyss awakens and uses the TV internet to search for any updates in the
news. A double homicide with an anonymous tip would be on the news right
a way in this city. But it isn’t. Karl has deflected them. And what can
the police do with a man who never dies, anyway? She has to do
something. She’d go back to the dojo and face him.
The cell phone from Geoffrey’s backpack rings. It’s Karl, he is at the
dojo, and Alex is alive. So, shockingly, is Geoffrey. Kalyss and Baron
rush there to find he’s gone and taken the guys with him. Karl wants to
play a game. A treasure hunt through Kalyss’ latest past.
But his game is more effective than he knows. Kalyss doesn’t just
remember specific moments in her past, she sees them vividly. And Baron
insists she share the vision with him. She refuses at first. Finally,
she agrees to tell him the memories, but the memory plays for them, the
day her ex proposed. Baron experiences all of it, even her happiness as
From there, she is directed to an exhibit that marked a milestone in her
recovery from her ex’s final attack. A milestone made greater by Alex’s
encouragement and support. Next, she and Baron stand where she first met
Alex. Karl is clearly telling her to watch who she trusts. Of the men
she’s accepted into her life, Alex was her only good choice.
This point is proven at the empty house where her ex nearly killed her.
She sees that night so vividly and painfully, solid as flesh. Baron
shares the vicious attack that not only left her scarred and barren, but
also killed her baby.
Karl’s lesson has taken. She rejects Baron’s comfort and attacks him
with her pain and horror. A blooded, battle-hardened warrior, Baron lets
her. She’s suffered enough in her ten lifetimes, he won’t add to it. She
rejects his claim to her, rejects his presence in her life and rejects
him. His guilt over not saving her at any point in the last nine
centuries makes him accept her rejection, give up his dreams.
She ignores Karl’s last call when it comes, still filled with grief and
fury. And she thinks she knows where he is. The sound of a waterfall
behind his voice was a clear clue. She goes there and finds Alex tied to
a dock. Karl stands at the top, waiting for Baron.
Kalyss unties Alex, ready to leave. She’s done with men and the past.
She’s building a new life by her rules. As Baron and Karl fight, Alex
talks to her. Geoffrey told him the story. If she walks away from her
destiny, it must be a decision not made from fear.
When she hears the fighting stop, she races up the cliff, not ready to
lose Baron even if she’s not ready to keep him. Her appearance distracts
Baron and Karl takes advantage of it. A few smooth moves and he impales
Baron on his sword and kicks him from the waterfall.
Alex drags himself to the top of the cliff in time to see Baron fly off
of it. With a look from Kalyss, he stays hidden and watches Karl drug and
drag Kalyss away. Then he goes into the pond at the bottom of the
waterfall and finds Baron, frozen to stone, the sword impaling him.
Alex refuses to kiss Baron to wake him, opting instead for a tough
speech and pulling out the sword. Baron awakens, nearly healed and with a
new knowledge of his own ability. He thanks Alex - for not kissing him.
Driving to remote area, Kalyss fights to escape, but fails and Karl
cuffs her to a tree, her hands above her head. He doesn’t want to kill
her. That was never his ultimate goal. He wants vengeance for his mother’
s death at Baron’s hands.
Karl retreats to his car, leaving Kalyss alone in the cold, wet night.
Her situation looks hopeless. She had a chance for a true love and couldn’
t overcome her fear and hold on to it. She fights the tree, screams at
God and gives in to her tears. She had ten chances and ruined them all.
She could only pray for another one. And she hoped her heart wasn’t so
full of fear, bitterness and resentment that she has no room for love.
Kalyss understands that to let those go and free her heart, she must
forgive. When Baron and Alex arrive, Kalyss is the only one surprised.
Karl has enacted a barrier that allows Baron inside and closes. Alex can’
t get in. The barrier will only release when a heart stops beating.
Baron and Karl re-engage their battle. Alex talks Kalyss through her
escape. Surveying the battlefield and determined not to make the same
mistake, she waits behind Karl until Baron notices her. Though he doesn’t
know her plan, Baron doesn’t want to kill his own brother and chooses to
trust in Kalyss and her abilities.
Kalyss runs to Karl, who spins to avoid her. Baron embraces Karl from
behind and turns to stone. His hold is unbreakable. Kalyss runs to them
both, puts a hand on both of them, and calls forth more memories than any
of them expect. When Karl rejects Baron’s memory of his mother’s last
moments, and struggles, Kalyss’ hand slips to his emerald necklace, his
mother’s. All three see the truth of Maeve’s death.
Suddenly, they fly apart. Baron is freed from the visions, but, Kalyss
and Karl are still trapped. She convulses, on overload after using her
gift all day. In their minds, amidst visions of her nine deaths, Kalyss
and Karl face each other. He determines only a death will free them and
it should be his. But Kalyss won’t kill him, instead, she forgives him
again, this time for him. Karl kills himself to set her free.
The barrier drops and Alex rushes to both bodies. He has a gift of his
own, healing. He saves Kalyss and does what he can for Karl, but he’s
unconscious. Alex takes him to the hospital. Kalyss and Baron, freed
from the cycles of the past, express their love to each other. Only one
task remains. They must use Karl’s map to find Geoffrey.
Jamie Leigh Hansen's manuscript Betrayed was sold to Tor. Look on the
Sample Query page to see the query letter than landed Jamie her agent for
this story. Buy the Book.
Barbara White Daille
COURT ME, COWBOY
A week to the day of first meeting, Marissa and Gabe Miller tie the knot;
three weeks later, the marriage unravels. The big-city chef and the Texas
rancher realize they've made a mistake—but they've also made a baby. And
now they need to make a deal for the sake of their child. . . .
Marissa wants a partner on both sides of the sheets, but Gabe's refusal to
communicate forces her to walk out. Being abandoned long ago by his mother
leaves Gabe unwilling to open up. Since falling for and losing Marissa, he
vows to keep himself to himself.
As the story begins, it's mid-December and Marissa's back, telling Gabe she
never filed for their divorce—and that she's four months pregnant. She'd
believed she could walk away. . .but the pregnancy changes everything. She
wants to give Gabe and the baby the chance to forge a strong relationship.
When he demands she stay with him, she counters that he has to court her.
In her heart, she knows he'll never agree.
He thinks she's crazy. Then he's stunned by the realization that the baby
is the only heir to his ranch. Afraid of losing touch with the child, he
agrees to a sham marriage.
Logic tells Marissa this farce isn't the answer, but her heart overrules
her head. She can't let her mistakes hurt her child. For the baby's sake
only, she gives in—with the stipulation that she'll share Gabe's life but
not his bed.
At a neighborhood Christmas party, Gabe "practices" kissing her under the
mistletoe and discovers it's a real perk of this pretend marriage. He
wants more, even if he has to court her.
Even if he doesn't know how.
When each of Gabe's attempts results in disaster, he know he's looking like
a donkey's rear end. Plus, he's obsessing over a relationship that's pure
pretense! He wants to trust Marissa to stay but knows she'll take off,
like the first time. Still, he'll keep his side of their bargain. Then,
when she does leave, she'll have no reason to deny him contact with his
Gabe gives Marissa Christmas gifts, which touches her enough to let her
share some of her feelings with him.
He's astounded to learn how deserted she felt during her first stay on the
ranch and knows he's partly to blame. Right after the honeymoon, he'd
worked twice as hard and twice as long hours on the ranch in an effort to
provide for her. And to fight his fear that she wouldn't stay.
When unexpected company arrives, Marissa is left with no choice but to move
into Gabe's room. But, every morning, he wakes to an empty bed. Eager as
he is to push the issue, the thought of rejection reins him in. Because
now he genuinely wants a wife and child—he wants it all. And if he can win
her, he might just be able to get her to stay.
Eventually, the barriers down between them, they make love. This supports
Gabe's belief in the wisdom of his plan; he'd gotten close to her, but
still kept his heart. Yet he doesn't want to take advantage of her. Or
push her away. So he'll do his best to keep her happy. Satisfied, he
drops off to sleep.
Longing to relive the closeness of the night they conceived their child has
made Marissa respond to Gabe's kisses, his caresses, his love. Though
their lovemaking reinforced that closeness, Gabe's immediate retreat
afterward makes her ashamed.
The next day, he returns from the field to find the ranch house deserted.
When Marissa shows up, he blows his stack, accusing her of planning to
leave. She realizes there's more than anger behind his tirade and knows he
can never love her, because he's been hurt before and is protecting his
heart. And she lost any chance she might have had with him when she left
him after the honeymoon.
Her heart breaking, Marissa also realizes she's been fooling herself
again. She's always loved Gabe, would live anywhere with him, and truly
wants to be his wife. Unfortunately, the realizations have come too late.
He might want to be a real father, but he'll never be able to trust enough
to become a real husband. She tells him he can be the father to her baby.
But she can't accept what he’s offering because what she needs—what they
both need—is a full, loving relationship. And she won’t cheat either of
them out of it.
Left in the lonely ranch house, Gabe struggles to come to terms with his
own reality. His problem wasn't trusting Marissa not to leave him, it was
trusting himself to let someone else in. And he had, the moment he'd met
her. It just took him till now to be able to admit it to himself—and to
her. Marissa tells him that's all she needs, and she loves him in return.
In the epilogue four months later, he finds her with suitcase in hand.
She's leaving. Instead of agony, he feels only joy. It's time for her to
give birth to their son. But, Marissa assures Gabe, she'll never leave him
again—except for future trips to the maternity ward.
Barbara White Daille sold this book to Harlequin American Romance as part
of a two-book contract. The Sheriff's Son, September 2006, is the first
book on the contract. Court Me, Cowboy — which actually led to her getting
"The Call" —is her second published novel. Buy the Book
All writing on this page copyrighted by its authors.
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 1
When the local gossipmonger barges into Tracy Gilbert's apartment to
bring news that Riley Collins has returned to town, Tracy scoots the
messenger out the door and tries to ignore the message. She tells
herself that it doesn’t matter--either Riley is paying a short,
springtime visit to his grandmother, or someone saw a man who looked
just like him.
Tracy has an adopted four-year-old daughter now, as well as an
office manager’s position that she hopes to develop into a career.
She has long-term goals and an organized plan for reaching them. She
has no time to track down Riley or the truth. But before this busy
single mom can gather half a cartload of groceries, she notices an
entire shelf emptied of macaroni and cheese boxes. She imagines a
familiar man taking them, and curiosity wins out. Since Hannah is
with a sitter anyway, Tracy postpones her Saturday morning tasks and
heads north out of town. If Riley is hiding at the old house, she’ll
ask him to leave. He should know he no longer belongs in Kirkwood,
and Tracy is just the person to tell him. After all, they were once
the best of friends.
Riley doesn’t answer his doorbell, so Tracy takes time to look
around. Within minutes, he appears in his own backyard to catch her
on his swingset. Tracy knows the odd flip of her stomach has nothing
to do with the sudden halt in her reminiscent swinging.
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 2
Riley was always too handsome for his own good, but this man is
grown-up sexy. Between accusations and torrid glances, Tracy doesn’t
accomplish the one thing she came to do. The most she can manage
before she leaves is to issue a warning--don’t get comfortable. You
won’t fit in.
Suddenly Tracy, who has been dubbed Ms. Superefficient by her
boss, is bungling things she usually handles effortlessly. It doesn’
t help that she keeps imagining Riley’s attributes on every man in
her path. She rededicates herself to her job and Hannah, knowing she’
ll soon forget about Riley. Just the way she forgot about him
thirteen years ago when he ran away with her bombshell sister. Then
forgot about him again when he abandoned that same, potentially
pregnant sister out in California. The picturesque Kansas college
town Tracy calls home isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to allow a
woman to avoid a troublemaking man.
Avoiding any man who is sitting in your boss’s office mere yards
from your desk is difficult, Tracy decides a few days later.
Especially after Booker summons her inside to join them. And when
Booker and Riley dangle a consulting assignment, a promotion and a
fat commission check in front of Tracy’s nose, it’s even harder. She
wants that promotion rather badly. Hannah’s toys clutter every
corner of the apartment, and her reasonable childhood requests
threaten to overpower Tracy’s bank account. Tracy would love to the
means to buy a house, a pair of skates and a guinea pig, but not at
the cost of working with Riley Collins.
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 3
She begins an exhaustive search for any excuse to refuse the
assignment, but she meets disappointment at every turn. Not only
does Riley have the appropriate credentials, his office space is too
cluttered to traverse. And he can hardly expect certain clients to
use his business if he insists on wearing an ear stud and a bandana,
especially given his history as the town’s most notorious
delinquent. Tracy admits to herself that her skills are suited to
his needs, and that turning down the job and subsequent promotion
would be ridiculous. She confronts Riley on his own front porch,
intending to give him news of her acceptance and list a few
conditions. They will be business partners only, she insists. And he
has to agree to take Tracy and her advice seriously.
Riley always knew his childhood chum would grow into a pretty
woman, but he’d forgotten about Tracy’s spunk. She’s the only lady
who could stand there enumerating restrictions to their
relationship, while also charming him with her penchant for slipping
out of her shoes. She should know better than to challenge him,
though. In fact, when she suggests that his cherished motorcycle
doesn’t conform to a businesslike image, he works the situation
around until she rides the bike with him. And when she informs him
that fooling around is off limits, he kisses her.
Of course, at their very next meeting Tracy outlaws workday
kisses. Riley knows she’s right to do so. He hasn’t
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 4
hired Tracy to seduce her, anyway. Most of those old rumors weren’t
true, and he wants to teach her a few lessons in the perils of
misjudging a person. However, every time he tries to make a point
with Tracy, a new lesson is drummed into his own head. He enjoys
teasing Tracy into smiling those huge, wrinky-nosed smiles he’s
always loved. And he tries to get around the no-kissing rule
whenever he can. At seventeen, he recognized that he and Tracy could
break one another’s hearts.
He stayed away from her then. Why can’t he resist her, now?
Their consulting appointments always seem to overflow into their
lunch hours, and Tracy and Riley rediscover a mutual liking for one
another. Unfortunately, they also get a lot of work done. The job is
soon finished, but Riley is reluctant to end the regularly scheduled
meetings. A back alley farewell turns into a steamy kiss and grope
session, and Riley realizes what it is that he really wants from
Tracy is a romance. A future. Quite possibly, a forever.
When he meets Hannah at Tracy’s duplex, Riley learns of the child’
s adoption. He recognizes that Tracy is the sort of woman who makes
long-term, life-changing choices. He wants to be sure he’s serious
before he professes his feelings. He resolves to be patient, hoping
to start with friendship and build from there. But he also makes his
intentions known to Tracy. He’s planning to hang around and get to
know both her and Hannah very well.
On the first night of her sister’s visit from California, Tracy
worries about how Karen and Riley will react to one another.
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 5
Karen’s presence reminds Tracy that she needs to back away. She’s
beginning to care too deeply. But when Karen confesses a truth about
her past, Riley makes a gigantic leap from an untouchable man to a
potential lover. With Hannah headed out to a puppet show with Riley’
s grandmother, the only thing for Tracy to do is seduce Riley.
Their lovemaking is passionate enough to be frightening. As much
as she enjoys Riley’s adventurous spirit, Tracy knows the
relationship can never be serious. He's the hot, impetuous boy who
survived a difficult childhood; she’s the good girl next door who
needs a warm, safe man. She plays down the emotional punch of
sleeping with Riley by avoiding him for a few days. Then she attacks
him again. She can’t find the strength to sever the relationship,
but she protects herself by taking on the role of seductress
whenever they are alone.
For the citywide Independence day celebration, Tracy organizes a
picnic basket raffle as a fundraiser for clients. Since she will be
busy managing the event, Tracy leaves Hannah in Riley’s care for a
few hours. Immediately after the raffle, Tracy learns that Riley has
allowed Hannah to attend a play date in the home of a family Tracy
doesn’t know. Although Riley assures her that Hannah is fine, Tracy
is angry at the risk he has taken with her child. But her initial
fear for Hannah’s safety lasts long beyond the child's return. Her
quarrel with Riley becomes more significant when she understands the
problem--she has begun to open her heart and
K. Hagan, Hand-Me-Down Heartbreak -- Synopsis 6
her life to a man she distrusted for thirteen years. A man she has
always loved, but whom she has never considered as a true partner.
She makes an panicky attempt to revert back to sexy vamp, but Riley
tells her it’s over. This time, he’s the one claiming that he needs
to be taken seriously.
After a sleepless night, Tracy speaks with her boss on the phone.
During the conversation, she realizes that she has misplaced the
money she raised in the raffle Ð over a thousand dollars. Fearing
for her job, Tracy searches for the money on her own. During her
madcap rush around town, Tracy realizes that she is mostly upset
about hurting her best friend. Riley is now a strong and respectable
man, as well as a creative lover. Her job, the promotion and even
the lost money become insignificant in comparison to a future
without him. For the first time in a while, Tracy knows exactly
what to do. After confessing her mistake to Booker, Tracy writes a
personal check for the entire amount. Then she leaves Booker’s
office without finding out whether she’ll have a job the next day.
Tracy’s goals to buy a house and provide a future for Hannah are
still intact, but she knows they need to be adapted to fit a new
situation. Tracy speeds to Riley’s house to tell him that she’s
ready to be brave. She loves him without reservation. Her generous-
spirited man drops to one knee to propose, so Tracy kneels down,
too. She wants to look directly into his eyes, so he can see the
certainty in hers when she accepts.
Kathy Hagan sold this manuscript to Harlequin. It was published
under the title The Renegade, and under her pen name, Kaitlyn Rice.
(You can find the query for this story on the Sample Query Letter
page.) Buy the book.