Excerpt: Fearless, Chapter 9 (draft)

This is for you,” he said, clicking open the small velvet-covered jewellery box with a flick of his thumb, to show her the fragile silver necklace with its moonstone briolette and the tiny pearls wrapped around it.

Amber’s delicately made-up lips broke into a wide smile. “Oh, Ross…!” she breathed as she looked from the box to him. “You shouldn’t have done!”

He wrinkled his nose dismissively. “It’s a Christmas present,” he muttered.

She giggled. “That’s still almost two weeks away!”

He shrugged one shoulder. “I know,” he said, and then grinned. “But, I couldn’t wait.”

Even the bright lustre of the chain couldn’t outshine the smile she graced on him. “Well, thank you,” she whispered. “It’s lovely.”

He smiled again, and plucked the necklace from its black bed with his fingers. “Here,” he said, passing her the box as he shifted around behind her. He pushed the blonde curtain of her hair over one shoulder, then lowered the chain in front of her, settling the dangling pearl onto her chest, not far above her cleavage. He fastened the catch and smoothed it down upon the back of her neck, then paused very briefly, to lay a light kiss just above it, between the scooping collar of her coat and her hairline.

Thank you,” she whispered again, pressing back into his hands, which he’d settled on her shoulders. Then she turned about on her toes in a graceful little pirouette, and wound her arms around his neck. She didn’t say another word, just rose up and kissed him, while the rain came down upon the awning above their heads.

Recently, I’ve had several conversations about the value and necessity of depth of description in stories. Personally, I’ve always been something of a word-hound, and I like setting scene and offering details. I have been known to go overboard with my details, though. (That’s one of the reasons why I’m really enjoying the 100-Word Challenges; they really make me think about the words I’m putting down on paper.) However, I think that – especially in a genre such as romance – details are quite important.

Even though women tend to be the main readership of romance, writing from a man’s perspective has made me consider how visual men are, as a gender. They’re stimulated by what they see. Not that women don’t have that visual stimulation, too, but with men it seems to be so much more acute. The male voice also tends to be a lot more immediate than the female voice, at least for my men. So, with this story, I’ve tried to concentrate on offering details mostly when they’re warranted, and when they’re in relation to what Ross would notice in the world around him: such as the way Amber looks, feels, smells, and moves.

It’s been very interesting to find a voice for Ross. I hope that readers can sympathise (or even empathise) with him along the way. But, even if they don’t, even if I don’t find readers for this story, it’s still been a fun and enlightening experience for me.

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