Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Valentine's CYOA, Chapter 5

From now until Valentine's Day, 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 7:00pm EST (4:00pm PST) and you'll be eligible for random prize drawings, where you can win books by our Guest Mavens! Vote every day, and you'll even be eligible for the Grand Prize. (More info: here.)

For yesterday's installment, click here. To read the previous chapters in order, click here.

Chapter Five

D) His equally snappy reply was cut off by the sick cough of a dying engine. I sputtered right along with the car.

"You have got to be kidding me."

"I rarely joke. Jump!"

Why do the pretty ones always have to be so crazy? I curled my fingers around the door handle, took a deep breath, and pushed it open. “For the record, I think this is a very bad idea!”

“Lady, if you don’t jump...”

“What? You’ll kill me?” The car slowed and started to jerk. “This has a huge suckage factor!”

He shoved me then, and I started plotting his murder the second I landed on the ground. I hit the side of the embankment seconds before he rolled on top of me. Breathless, I closed my eyes at the sickening sound of metal crunching.

“Get off me, Bucko!” I shoved my shoulder into his chest.

He groaned and rolled off me. “Are you alright?”

“You pushed me out of a moving car, Jerk Face.” I pushed myself to my knees and glanced around. “Is she gone?”

“I’d rather not wait around to find out.”

I took the hand he held out and let him pull me to my feet. “Look, pretty boy, I don’t know what you are into here...”

His hand clamped down over my mouth as he shoved me backward against a tree. The heat of his body was almost enough to make me forget how much trouble we were in.

“Why do the beautiful ones always have be to so mouthy?” he asked softly.

I clenched my teeth into his hand, but let go abruptly when two men with ginormous guns jogged past us and headed toward the tangled mess of the car.

Our eyes met in the darkness. I’m sure I looked like a co-ed in a slasher flick, wide-eyed and waiting to die, but his were hard, determined.

He tucked his face close to mine and spoke softly. “We’ll have to move fast. No complaining, no bitching. I promise when we’re safe I’ll let you bitch at me the rest of your natural life. But, now, I need quiet. Do you understand?”

I could only nod. Amateur, yes. Scared, yes. Too stupid to live, big fat no. I wanted to survive. I wanted to find out if Mr. Too Sexy for Words lived up to his nose.

I closed my eyes as his hand lifted from my mouth and was replaced by his firm, warm lips. Tears slipped past my eyelashes as I opened for his gentle exploration. My fingers dug into his forearms, I wanted to hold onto the moment as long as I could. What would come next was just too hard to think about.

All too quickly, he lifted his head. “Ready?”

“Yes,” I whispered. The man gave excellent reassurance.

He brushed the tears from my face, grabbed my hand, and pulled me away from the tree. Our pace was swift, and I did my level best to be quiet, but I’m certain I sounded like a heard of elephants moving through the forest all by myself. Stealth had never been a gift of mine.

“Where the hell is she?”

I jerked at the sound of the stripper’s voice and Mr. Dark and Dangerous pulled me close and sought cover behind a large tree. Pressed between him and yet another tree, I sighed softly. “I hate nature.”

He buried his face against my neck, a soft laugh escaping his lips. “Shh.”

I was going to hold him to his promise. Bitching had always been a hobby for me; but after tonight, I was pretty sure I could make it an art form. The sharp sound of wood breaking to the left of us made him jerk against me, and he lifted his gun. Another movement, another breaking branch, and he fired.

The sickening thud of a body hitting the ground followed the report of the weapon, and I turned my head. The last thing I ever wanted to see was a body. A dead body. A bloody, dead body.

Okay, so I was getting a little fixated.

He moved, jerked me forward, and we started to run. Secret Agent Man was fast, and considering the death grip he had on my hand, I had no choice but to be fast right along with him. Screaming and cursing followed us, and it took everything I had not scream right along with her.

I was never ever ever answering my doorbell again as long as I lived. If I lived. The forest suddenly thinned, and I heard the sound of rushing water just seconds before we broke through, and I saw the river.

“Damn it,” he swore.

The fun just kept on coming, didn’t it?

A) “We have to cross it.”

“No way in hell.” I took a step back. “Don’t you dare push me, Pretty Boy.”

He reached out and grabbed a fist full of my shirt. “My name is Jayson Brant. Special Agent Jayson Brant. And we cross this river or we die.”

B) I started out into the water, and he grabbed my arm. “What?”

He glanced back towards the woods and then down the river. “Let’s go up and try to find another place to cross. The water is too quick here.”

“It’s not going to matter where we cross!"

His mouth tightened into a thin line. "I can't swim."

"Oh, you're shittin' me." I glared. "Dude, what kind of super secret agent man are you?"

His grip tightened. "My name is Scott Morrison, and I'm a vampire hunter not a secret agent."

C) We rushed out into the river together, the water soaked up my jeans up to my knees, and I swallowed a scream of shock at the cold water. "Hey, Roger Ramjet, you think we could manage to make this experience a little more miserable?"

He pulled me up the bank and on to blessed dry land a little rougher than necessary. "My name is James Grimm, and trust me, this situation can only get worse."

D) "Don't move." The action of a shotgun being primed made my stomach clench. "I got her!"

We turned together and he leveled the handgun at our would-be captor. "How much is your life worth?"

The shotgun swung from me to him. "Drop the gun, Jared. You've got no where to go."

"You know me, Carson." Jared stepped in front of me slightly. "You know what I'm capable of. You can drop your gun and get the hell out of here or I can kill you."

YOUR TURN: You decide what happens next! Leave your vote in the comments by 7pm EST (4pm Pacific) every day between now and Valentine's Day.

Tomorrow's story continued by Karen Lingefelt with the twist YOU choose! Today's installment brought to you by Deanna Lee. Vote to win one of Deanna's books!

Don't forget to join the Manuscript Mavens' quarterly newsletter on the right for advance notice of other exciting upcoming events!


Isabel said...

I could only nod. Amateur, yes. Scared, yes. Too stupid to live, big fat no. I wanted to survive. I wanted to find out if Mr. Too Sexy for Words lived up to his nose.

LOL! Priceless.

I go with D.

lacey kaye said...

OMFG, this is AWESOME. I can't stop smiling.

And I'm going to wait and let my vote be swayed by the crowd. What can I say? I'm practicing for Super Tuesday.


Shelli Stevens said...

I like A! How fun is this?

Debra Dixon said...

I'm liking A.

Amanda said...

I like A or D.
This is too much fun.

Erica Ridley said...

I'm torn between A and B! Be back later when I master my decision-making skills. (Or, like Maven Lacey, am swayed by the crowd. *g)

Vicki said...

This is great! I'm really torn between A and B. Love the whole vampire thought. :)

Okay, I'm going with...A, yep it's A.

Anonymous said...

C - partly because Grimm is a perfect name for the situation.

B.E. Sanderson said...

D for me today. =oD

I loved them all, but I'm out of love with paranormals right now. I could do Special Agents, but... eh. And I can't picture where C would go after they've already gotten to the other side of the river.

Keep it comin'. I love it.

Carrie said...

OMG I LOVE it! I just can't believe how this keeps getting better and better! Love the steamy, love the tension, and love all the choices -- I can't choose!

Maggie Robinson said...

B, definitely. I want to find out how the stripper-vampire is out in the daytime.

MsHellion said...

OMG, these have been so good!

D! I vote D!

Writer & Cat said...

I love the fact he can't swim in B so I have to pick B, even though I figured him for a ZOMBIE HUNTER, not a vampire hunter.

Jody W.

aBookworm said...

B or D?
B or D?
B or D?

DO I have to choose? whine whine

Sigh - B it is.

Patricia W. said...

This time, I'm going with A, although B is hysterical.

Bill Clark said...

I like A because the hero's initials are the same as James Bond. Also, Jayson Brant is a better and sexier name than Scott Morrison (booooring) or James Grimm (too grim for me!) or (ick) Jared.

Definitely A!

Mary said...

I need more! Tomorrow's entry can't come soon enough. I vote A. At least we're guaranteed a name no matter what.

Wendy Roberts said...

I like A :)

LeeAnn said...

I have to go with A

Stephanie H. said...

Wow, this is getting so good!! :) I'm torn between A and D.....but I think I'm going to have to go with A. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Amie Stuart said...

Isable Great Minds Think Alike!!!!

Too stupid to live, big fat no.

This should go down as one of hte greatest lines evah *ggg*

I'm torn but I'm going for C

Stephanie Dray said...

I vote C because I desperately, desperately want the action to stop now and have some relationship building reaction scenes.

Deanna Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deanna Lee said...

I vote C because it gives the next writer room to play.

And hey- this time I spelled everything correctly.

Darcy Burke said...

C was my initial response when I read this last night and I'm going to have to stick with it. Grimm's not only the coolest name, IMO, but Roger Ramjet is pretty freaking funny!

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, guys-- I blogged about you today on our blog-- RidingWithTheTopDown.blogspot.com. Hope you picked up some newbies to the CYOA format!

tetewa said...

Since I love vamps I'm going with B!

byrdloves2read said...

I read Debra Dixon's blog on this and it sounded like fun. I've never heard of CYOA before so this is a new experience.

I vote for C.

Cory said...

Oh the options... D.

KimW said...

I'm going with C today.

Jackie Barbosa said...

And...it's A by two votes. I was holding off just in case there was a tie I could break. But seeing as I would've gone for C, and A had a two vote lead, it wouldn't have made a difference.

A it is...

Lynn said...

I'm thinking A.

This is too much fun!

lacey kaye said...


Uh, I mean *the Mavens*...right...

Bridget Locke said...

I think the votings over, but had to say I like both A & D. The whole vampire hunter thing just doesn't fit the story. :D

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