Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween Choose Your Own Adventure - Day 2

Maven Darcy BurkeFrom now until Halloween, the Manuscript Mavens are running a Choose Your Own Adventure® story, in which YOU vote on what happens next! Every morning brings a new author, from the Mavens to the just-sold, to the best-selling. And every night brings a new twist!

Get your Choose Your Own Adventure® votes in by 8:00pm EST (5:00pm PST) and you'll be eligible for random prize drawings. Vote every day, and you'll be eligible for the Grand Prize--autographed books from Maven pals and Guest Mavens! Don't forget to post your title ideas! The winner will receive a special prize!

Yesterday's tale...

Another vicious crack of thunder rattled the rocks beneath her feet. Her heartbeats quickened with the increasing fury of the swirling black sky. She sprinted for the front step. Her feet slipped and slid on the slush-coated dirt. She'd lost both her bonnet and her breath by the time she reached the rotted wooden door. She knocked until her cracked knuckles bled. Despite the stench of acrid smoke above the decaying thatches, no one answered.

Mary twisted her chapped fingers around the icy brass doorknob, and the door wouldn't budge--the bloody thing was locked tight.

And so our story continues...

“Oh, stuff!” She kicked the base of the door, bringing a jolt of pain to her otherwise numb toes. Hoping someone had come into view to aid her plight, Mary turned to search the lane again. Nothing. No sound. No people. Slushy snow blew into her eye and she turned away from the wind, blinking profusely.

“May I be of assistance?” The deep baritone cut through the air as surely as the chill stole through her threadbare cloak. Mary swung about with a gasp…and stared into eyes the color of ice.

“V-V-Viscount Nightshade,” was all she could manage. How had he approached so silently? A moment ago the road had been devoid of life.

“Your fingers are bleeding.” He took her hand from her breast – for she had grabbed at her chest in her surprise – and studied her battered knuckles. Mary couldn’t tear her gaze from his face. The nostrils of his aquiline nose flared. His pale lips parted and she heard his intake of breath.

Mary pulled her fingers from his leather-clad hand. “I am fine.”

“You are freezing.” He swept her with an assessing look from her bonnet-less head to her shoddily clad feet. “Miss Mary Goodweather, isn’t it?”

“How do you know my name? You hardly ever leave Blackcliff.”

He arched a brow as black as the night sky. “I am a recluse, not a simpleton. I know everything that goes on in Cotswold.”

She opened her mouth, but he took her arm and began walking her toward his ancient barouche. “Come, I’ll take you home.”

No! She mustn’t get into that horrible vehicle! The last person he’d taken for a ride—Mary tripped. Strong arms caught her and pulled her against an even stronger chest. He was wide, she realized, and not frigid as she’d expected him to be. Warmth emanated from beneath his flowing black cloak.


“I’m fine. You must let me go.” She stared into his pallid face, his odd gray eyes boring into her, making her feel as if he saw much more than anyone else. The moment stretched and the world, even the storm, fell away. Finally, she found her tongue once more. “Please. Let me go.”

“Nightshade!” a high-pitched voice wailed from behind them. Mary spun in the viscount’s arms, but saw nothing. She was sure the scream had come from Hemlock House.

“We have to go.” The viscount grabbed her more firmly.

“No. I want to go home.” Panic unfurled in Mary’s breast, spreading its frantic tentacles until her entire body shook.

“You can’t go on foot.” He steered her toward the carriage, even though she tried to dig her heels into the frozen ground.

“Nightshade!” The eerie shriek sounded again, closer, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else about, save the viscount’s gnome-like driver.

“No.” Mary pulled free, but he swept her into his arms and tossed her over the side of the barouche onto the wet seat.

“Don’t you understand? She’s coming closer. We must find shelter. You haven’t forgotten the tragedy have you?” His stare was accusing, intense, terrifying.

Nightshade climbed into the barouche. Mary shook her head and...

A) from the corner of her eye, saw a zombie staggering off Satan’s Fury. She screamed and the world went black.

B) jumped from the barouche. A banshee floated up from the Dire River.

C) gasped at the sight of her sister running from Hemlock House. Nightshade whispered, “Isn’t she dead?”

D) the barouche lurched forward. Mary pitched forward, knocking the viscount onto the opposite seat and sprawling across his lap.

YOUR TURN: You decide what happens next! Leave your vote in the comments by 8pm (5pm Pacific) every day between now and Halloween---Tomorrow's story continues with the twist YOU choose!

Today's continuation brought to you by Darcy Burke.


Erica Ridley said...

I killed myself laughing over the choices!! OMG.

I'm going to pick C. Awesome.

(A and D were close seconds. *g)

Maggie Robinson said...

D again. I love those carriage rides. But with zombies once again on the menu, I fear for Mary's life.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Okay, I really liked the romance aspect of D, but I'm going to pick C. I want to know what happens next.

Gimme the spooky sister who's supposed to be dead.

Tessa Dare said...

I can't resist them twice. Today, I'm going for zombies. A, all the way.

Great episode, Darcy!

Bill Clark said...

Darcy, this is fabulous!!

Gotta go with D. Need to know more about the lap dance. ;-)

Diana Peterfreund said...

I'm all about C. And what is up with the zombies?

CrystalG said...

My choice is D. :)

lacey kaye said...

D! Sprawling in a man's lap is always a good choice.

Great job, Darcy :-)

Jennifer Linforth said...


Dead sisters always screw up a good time if you ask me. Especially when they want to borrow your sweater.


Darcy Burke said...

Great responses this morning!

A) Zombies = 1
B) Banshee = 0
C) Dead sister = 4
D) Nightshade's lap = 4

Looks like we're in a dead heat for C or D. Bwa! "Dead" heat!

Vicki said...

I'm going with D but C is really an interesting plot twist as well. :)

Mary said...

Ooh, looks like the results are going to be close. My vote is C. An unexpected twist.

Jacqueline Barbour said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki M. Taylor said...

Dead sister beats zombie or banshee. Gotta go with C. From the description of the viscount, I wouldn't want to be sprawled in his lap. Yuck!

Jacqueline Barbour said...

C, please!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to go with C, though the banshees and zombies were close!

Jenn said...

I thought the dead sister angle was spookier in a less bizarre way than zombies. lol Does that make sense? I'm voting "C".

Ruth M. said...

Hmm, sis or a mystery scene with the man of the hour??

Love the sis, but gotta go with the man. I vote D.

Darcy Burke said...

Keep up the voting! Looks like dead sister is pulling ahead!

A) Zombies = 1
B) Banshee = 0
C) Dead sister = 9
D) Nightshade's lap = 6

Ann Aguirre said...

I'm voting D, just to keep it close.

Darcy Burke said...

Voting's closed! And the dead sister wins! Lacey, you're up!

Thanks everyone for participating! Keep playing as we have spectacular guests starting Thursday!!

Marnee Jo said...

I am going to have to go with C too. That has so much possibility. Though D was a close second....

Marnee Jo said...

Dang, I didn't read the comments before I posted cause I didn't want to be swayed. So, I didn't realize I shouldn't vote. Though, my choice won so I suppose I'm not so sad that my vote didn't count, or maybe it did....

*Confused* I'm not even sure what I just said.

Yay dead sister.

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens