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Lexi Ryan lives in the Midwest with her family. When she’s not chasing after her young son or cheering on the Colts with her husband, Lexi enjoys losing herself in fun, sexy stories featuring mouthwatering men, smart women, and happily-ever-after. She loves to hear from readers.
Her latest release is FLIRTING WITH FATE:
Heat. Passion. Sex—precog Stiletto Girl Josie Bovard sees little else when she touches the charming and handsome Tanner Wiley. But she needs his help in her investigation, not in her bed. After discovering that her dead mother’s journal contains encrypted messages involving DNA manipulation, geneticists, and threats to non-Specials, Josie is determined to carry out her mother’s plan, but to be successful, she needs Tanner’s help.
Special Intelligence Agency operative Tanner Wiley knows Josie is withholding information about her latest investigation. He agrees to help her, intent on filling in the blanks himself. What he discovers is a decades-old Ascendant scheme for control, and Josie’s outrageous plan of self-sacrifice. But what will they do when the answers they seek threaten to destroy life as they know it?
Lexi’s giving away an electronic copy of FLIRTING WITH FATE to one person who can answer the following question:In FLIRTING WITH FATE, Josie Bovard makes a unique request of Tanner Wiley. What does she ask him for?
Reading the opening of a novel is like peeking inside a restaurant before sitting down for your meal.
What’s the ambience like? Will you dine by candlelight or by an over-size television? Does a melody from a string quartet float through the air, or the laughter of a rowdy party? Are the tables covered by crisp, white linen or littered with ketchup bottles and various containers of hot sauce? It’s not that one setting is better than the other, but these elements establish certain expectations.
As a reader, I look to the opening of a novel to learn the tone of the book and to get an idea of the protagonist’s personality and the author’s voice. As a writer, I want my readers to know from the first page what kind of book they can expect from me—sexy? funny? suspenseful? All three?
Because I’m a reader, I understand why introductions are so important. Because I’m a writer, I understand how hard it is to write a good one. Achieving that goal often requires several rewrites, not to mention gobs of frustration. For inspiration, I look to my favorite openings in novels. Now, for me, an “opening,” is more than the first line, but for the sake of space, I’ll share examples that achieve the above in one line (pretty much). In no particular order, here are five of my favorite openings:
1) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
2) Phoebe Somerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father’s funeral. –Susan Elizabeth Phillips, It Had to Be You
3) If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. – J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
4) The first time I saw Dex Wilder, I was wearing a bed sheet and body glitter and serving hors d’oeuvres on the lawn in front of the world’s only full-scale replica of the Parthenon. – Bethany Michael’s, Nashville Heat
5) One hot August Thursday afternoon, Maddie Faraday reached under the front seat of her husband’s Cadillac and pulled out a pair of black lace bikini underpants. They weren’t hers. – Jennifer Crusie, Tell Me Lies
All of these lines manage to both set the tone for the book but also suck me into the story. (I should add that you could put just about any Jenny Crusie opening line in that list—if you want to see effective openings, she’s a good one to study.) I immediately want to know more about the characters and their situations.
What about you guys? Are openings important to you? What are some of your favorite openings?