Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Love Dialogue! - Excerpt from Honoria

This novel is still a work in progress and hasn't got a proper name. I simply named it Honoria after the main character. Honoria (call me Honey) is a the new Technical Director for a small, regional theatre in Tennessee. She meets Chet, the son of the owners, late one night, when she accidentally gets in bed with him, then proceeds to scream and throw her shoe at him.

The next day, she meets his twin brother, Ed, who joins them at a start of the summer barbecue hosted by their parents. The Lighting of the Grill is a big deal at their house. Ed and Honey sit back to watch. I like this scene because, although it has some humorous elements, it's not all funny. Ed is an interesting and complex character. He's a support role, but a very interesting one, who fortunately didn't try to take over the book.

Ray was already at the main house working outside with his father and Chet's, struggling to light the grill. It was really more like a fire pit. A huge brick structure, about three feet square. It had vents and an area for wood and charcoal under a grill made from metal grid work.
"You still don't have that lit?" Chet walked over to help.
Eddie took Honey's elbow, steering her to the large back porch and deck area. There were several coolers around. He led her up to them.
"Blue is beer, red is soft drinks," he explained. "White is ice. Name your poison."
"I'll take a beer."
She rarely indulged, but tonight was special, she didn't have to drive home. He handed her a cold Heineken, dropping the cooler lid with a thump. Pointing to the men at the grill, he chuckled.
"They'll be at it awhile. Each has a very distinct opinion as to how it should be lit. It's a long debate every time."
"Who wins?" Honey was interested despite herself.
"Whoever actually lights the sucker." Eddie led her to a picnic table under a tree. "So far this year Chet and Uncle Ed are tied at two, Ray's next at one and Dad's zero. Dad's usually at zero."
"Bummer. What's your score?"
"I don't actually enter the debate," Eddie explained. "I sit around and make caustic, biting remarks, throw in my two cents and make a complete pain in the ass of myself."
"I see. So you don't offer anything constructive?"
"I function best in an advisory capacity. Excuse me for a second." He walked over, looked at what they were doing, clucked his tongue and shook his head. "If you do that, you'll set yourselves on fire."
"Shut up, Eddie," they chorused.
"Don't say I didn't warn you when the paramedics arrive."
Saluting with his beer, he sat back down languidly. He stretched out his long legs, crossing his ankles as he leaned an elbow on the table. Honey stared at his profile for a full minute before she realized she was staring. Blinking rapidly, she dropped her gaze.
"It's all right," he said without looking at her. "I don't mind if you stare at me." His dark eyes flickered toward hers. "I rather like it." He smiled, so like Chet it was disarming.
"I'm sorry. I was noticing similarities," she stammered. "You look so much alike."
"We're not identical," he explained. "But we look it."
"There are a few differences," she stammered, glancing at Chet by the grill.
"Like what?"
"Your eyes aren't as dark as his. And the shape of your mouth and jaw, not quite the same." She pointed indistinctly, feebly motioning with her finger at her own lips.
"I'm not a lot like him," he commented in a flat tone. "I'm not the warm, cuddly type he is. I'm actually rather a cold, sarcastic bastard."
"I think that's for show." Honoria observed quietly. "I think you're really incredibly insecure and use sarcasm to protect yourself from getting hurt."
He took a long pull at his beer. "Interesting observation." He wouldn't look at her.
"And I'm right."
"I didn't say that." His eyes cast angrily her way.
"You didn't have to. The expression in your eyes changed. I hit it right on the head. But admitting it would mean I'd gotten too close and you don't like that."
"I'm not disagreeing with you. Go on, Dr. Freud."
"I have to wonder what hurt you so much that your confidence is that damaged. Pardon my stating the obvious, but you're totally gorgeous. You're intelligent and you have a funny, if scathing, sense of humor. So why do you try so hard to keep people away?"
"No, really. Is that what you think? Do go on." His voice was cold, his manner terse.
"Sorry. I've offended you."
"Actually, I'm fascinated. I never knew all this about myself." His dark eyes flashed dangerously. "Don't think that because you've said all this that we'll be bosom buddies for life."
"I never thought. . . ."
"You're so sure you have me figured out. I'm not saying you're right, but I'm not disagreeing either. Life's short and full of shit." He shrugged. "People fall in love, they die, such is life." He knocked back the rest of his beer.
The fire in the grill started suddenly, making the four men around it jump back with a startled yell. Honoria's attention was directed toward them for a moment. When she turned back, Ed was gone.


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