Snippet #5: The Runaway

Hello! I’m Jenna Blue, the newest member of the Violet Femmes. Although we’ve been all twined up this past year (forming fast friendships, critiquing like mad, and just generally enjoying the camaraderie of pals who ‘get’ this writing journey), I have finally taken the plunge and accepted their invitation to blog regularly. Thank you, Femmes! I’m touched and honored, and will strive to do you proud!

As most of you know, it’s Snippet Month! Before you sink into reading for pleasure, however, please take a moment to enter our contest by following the link below. We can’t wait to award one of you a brand new NOOK SIMPLE TOUCH!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d514c70/

Today’s snippet from The Runaway, is not one that highlights the heat between my sexy heroine and hot alpha hero, or even one that foreshadows the danger that crackles in a romantic suspense… Instead, in honor of my fellow Femmes, I’ve chosen a scene that speaks to FRIENDSHIP. Because no matter the form, the start, or the length—to celebrate joyous times and bolster you in the bad—there’s nothing like good friends.

Although they both search for Mitch’s runaway sister, Charlie has stonewalled the sexy detective who arrived asking questions, believing she knows nothing that could help—and fearing her own secrets will come to light. After he leaves, Henrietta, who has witnessed the heated altercation in the middle of the busy San Francisco soup kitchen, gives Charlie a piece of her mind—as good friends are wont to do.

 Charlie glared daggers at the man’s back as he stormed out of Glide. When he stepped over the threshold, she pivoted and marched back to the kitchen without a glance to the left or right.

Henrietta held open the swinging door for her by casually leaning against it, while she fanned herself with a plate. “Quite a show,” she murmured.

“I suppose you had a front row seat,” Charlie muttered as she slid past. She didn’t want to talk about it, so she attempted to adjust her tone to sweet, “Another hot flash, Henry?”

“Woo yes. Brought on by all the excitement.” She ambled in, the swoosh of the door just missing her as it returned.

Charlie headed for the far counter and slammed empty tins into the industrial-sized washbasin. She yanked down the oven door, and reached in—

“Ow!” She jumped back and lunged for the sink, pulled the cold faucet handle, and shoved her hand under the rush of water.

Henrietta grabbed two mitts and slid out the tray of chicken. “A little rattled, are ya?” she needled.

“Just not paying enough attention, that’s all,” Charlie grumbled.

The older woman set the food under the warming lights without looking at Charlie. “My mind’s lingering on that hunk of a man, too.”

“Henrietta!”

“Well, he is a looker.” She returned to the oven for some warm dumplings. Charlie rolled her eyes and caught Henrietta’s smirk.

“What’d he say to make you so angry?”

“Nothing really,” Charlie eyeballed the pad of her index finger, found it slightly red, and stuck it back under the stream of cold water. “He just rubbed me the wrong way.”

“What’s he want?”

Charlie huffed out a breath, turned off the faucet, and grabbed a towel. “He’s a cop. He’s looking for his sister.” She faced Henrietta. “Tiffany Scott.”

Henrietta stared. “Then what was all the yelling about?”

“I wasn’t willing to give him any information without a warrant.”

Henrietta put her hands on her hips. “Why ever not, child?”

“Because how do I know she wants to be found? That he’s who he says he is? That he’s not the cause of her trouble, or that he’s doing what’s right for her?”

Henrietta cocked her head. “Isn’t this the very girl you been worrying over?”

Charlie nodded, sheepish.

Henrietta shook her head. “You are somethin’ else, if you withheld information that could help that girl. From an officer of the law, no less!”

“A job or a title doesn’t make a person automatically trustworthy, Henry.” Appearances could be deceiving—a truth she’d do well to remember. “Besides, if I knew where she was, I would have helped her myself.”

“Mmm-hmmn. Just by looking at that fine man, I can tell he’s on the up and up, and I bet you know it, too.”

Charlie frowned. Maybe, except if he was Tiffany’s brother, then he was also from Pennsylvania. Add that to the fact that he’s in law enforcement, and the chances of him recognizing her skyrocketed.

She threw the drying towel on the metal counter. “What I know,” she said, “is that the good-looking ones can be the worst kind.”

Henrietta clucked her tongue. “What I know is that a good man could be just what you need to force you out of that box you live in.”

“You rent me that box!” Charlie stomped her foot, then immediately regretted the petulant action. A landlady who acted more like a mother naturally brought out her inner child.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” Henrietta raised her chin in challenge.

Charlie blew out another breath hard—this one forceful enough to make her short bangs move. “Stop pushing. I have everything I need.”

“You most certainly do not! You serve at this mission and you waitress at night. Otherwise, you hide out in your apartment. No friends to speak of—”

Charlie began, “I have you and Cleo—”

“No friends your own age—real girlfriends! Never a date, no hobbies, and not a lick of fun as far as I can tell.” Henrietta had started fanning herself again in the middle of this tirade with a work-worn hand.

“You should talk,” Charlie said.

“I’m old! I’ve lived life, child!” She flapped both hands in exasperation and her generous bosom heaved. “You deserve more.”

Charlie shook her head. “Please, Henry. This is the only way for me.” Tears threatened, so she clenched her jaw. “I promise you, I’m content. It might not seem like much from the outside looking in, but this life is a blessing.”

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18 Comments

  1. Welcome, Jenna. Glad you are officially a Femme! Love your post. A perfect choice as we brace for this crazy storm. I love the way you portray Charlie’s friendship with Henrietta. For Charlie, Henry is her family. Both friendship and family are sacred in my book. It makes me thankful to have great friends like you four ladies plus many others who I’ve met at/thru NJRW. Stay safe in this storm!

    Reply
  2. Jenna Blue

     /  October 29, 2012

    Thank you, Maria, & you are exactly right! Henry IS family to Charlie as much as a friend. Like you I’m counting my blessings this week after a loss last week and danger of impending storm. Family and friends are everything!
    Stay hunkered down & safe!
    Jenna

    Reply
  3. Nicole Doran

     /  October 29, 2012

    Woo Hoo..way to go Jenna!! Good luck as new part of the Femmes. I loved this snippet of your story..and the the spunk of your heroine and her friend. Can’t wait to see what kind of hunk the hero really is too!
    Hope everyone stays safe and dry in weathering this storm. Be careful.
    Nicole

    Reply
  4. Jenna Blue

     /  October 29, 2012

    Thank you, Nicole! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I love these characters, and yes, the hero is a major hunk!–of course!
    You too–stay safe and dry with your family! Wishing you all well!
    Jenna

    Reply
  5. Hi Jenna. And a big, official WELCOME! I love your character, Charlie. She’s such a strong heroine, a survivor who still thinks of others ahead of herself. And Henrietta is my favorite secondary character – who is just full of character!!! Wish you could post more because readers are being cheated out of reading such a terrific story. Guess they’ll have to pick it up on the bookshelves (or download it).

    Cheers on such an ominous, whats-to-come-next kind-of day.
    Michele

    Reply
  6. Jenna Blue

     /  October 29, 2012

    Thank you, Michele! Someday, we hope, the story will be available to buy–can you imagine? : ) You’re right, Henrietta is FULL of character, and Charlie is ultra strong. Thanks, so much, and again, I’m so pleased to join you ladies!
    Jenna

    Reply
  7. Jenna, I love this snippet! Secondary characters add so much to a story, when they are done right…and yours are done right. And even though you successfully highlighted the friendship between Charlie and Henry, you also managed to convey two important things: 1) that Mitch is one hot guy; and 2) that there are depths to Charlie’s past life that will be revealed that really up the ante in this novel.

    So glad to have you “officially” join us!

    Hugs,
    Jaye

    Reply
  8. Jenna Blue

     /  October 29, 2012

    Thank you, Jaye! I’m so pleased to be official! And I’m so glad that what I’d hope to convey came through…
    In the meanwhile, there’s also a big hint that my poor Charlie will get so much more than she believes she deserves or needs. She’ll get her happy ending—which includes Mitch of course!
    Wishing you safe tonight!
    Jenna

    Reply
  9. Lori

     /  October 31, 2012

    Nice snippet Jenna. Makes your reader want to meet the man. I love reading strong friendships (reading is all about seeing what you don’t have, at least for me it is.)
    Hope everybody is rebuilding after the storm. I look forward to following five of you now on the blog.

    Lori

    Reply
    • Hi Lori! We tweeted about accessing archived guest posts to “meet the man,” however, when I tried to find it here for you, I realized it had been posted as a snippet for JeRoWriMo on the loop….sorry! Hopefully someday you’ll be able to enjoy their whole journey in the form of a book! : )
      Thanks for your steady support, Lori!!!
      Jenna

      Reply
  10. R.A. DeFranco

     /  October 31, 2012

    Hi Jenna! Great snippet selection! It really pulls the reader in. I love that you chose to highlight friendships. I especially LOVE the last word of this snippet. I think right now in the aftermath of the storm we are all counting our blessings and certainly friends are among them. I look forward to many more blog posts to come.

    R.A.

    Reply
  11. Jen Sampson

     /  November 2, 2012

    Finally getting a chance to read your snippet, Jenna. It’s wonderful. Sounds like a great story.

    Congratulations on joining the Femmes. It’s a great blog. I’ve been enjoying seeing what wonderful writers the Femmes are. Can’t believe it’s been a year already.

    Reply
    • Jenna Blue

       /  November 11, 2012

      Thanks, Jen! It was hard to check out the snippet when nobody had power, huh? : ) Appreciate you taking the time! Like you, I cannot believe it’s been a year already!

      Jenna

      Reply
  12. RoseAnn,
    Like you, I’m counting blessings here. No power yet (and likely not soon), but I’ve got our health, family, friends, and still an intact roof over our heads. I’ve also got my writing–and as frustrating as it can be, it fills that well inside that nothing else seems too.
    Thanks!!!
    Jenna

    Reply
  13. Love this snippet, Jenna! We are all so glad you’re officially here. You’ve been such a source of inspiration for all of us. Someday soon, I’m sure readers will be buying this story. It’s wonderful, and I love the emphasis you’ve put on secondary characters here.

    Reply
    • Jenna Blue

       /  November 11, 2012

      Thanks, Joanna! I do love my secondary characters!!! I’m so pleased to be here too! Don’t know what state my writing or my confidence would be in without you all!
      Jenna

      Reply
  14. Fabulous, Jenna! You did an amazing job with Henrietta’s voice; I could hear her so clearly in my mind. I have a heroine named Charlie too–in SHOWER OF STARS. Such a great name! Glad you survived Hurricane Sandy!

    Reply
  15. Jenna Blue

     /  November 11, 2012

    Thank you, Nancy! Henrietta is one of my FAV’s. And Charlie’s name sure fits her! I picked up Shower of Stars at conference and can’t wait to read it! Also ordered Take Me Home, so you’ll be on my mind lots coming up! ; )
    Jenna

    Reply

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