Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Valentine's CYOA, Chapter 6

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 Six

“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.”

I howled in pain. He’d grabbed more than just my shirt. Let’s just say I should’ve worn my padded push-up bra this evening. And I would have, too, had I known a hunk as gorgeous as this one was going to ring my doorbell—only without all the guns in tow. But no, I was wearing my skimpy lace bra that hooked in the front and offered zero protection to my poor nipple.

“Quiet!” His breath blew scorching hot in my ear as he nearly pressed his lips against it. “Now they’ll know just where to find us.”

I gritted my teeth, if only to keep from screaming in agony. “Nice to meet you, Agent Brant. Now would you please let go of my nip—I mean shirt!”

He released his death grip. I rubbed the flat of my palm over my sore shir—I mean nipple.

He lowered his head as if to look at my hand, and I self-consciously snatched it away. Sheesh. I’m not exactly in the habit of feeling myself up in front of hot-looking guys. Or anyone, for that matter.

But maybe he didn’t notice—it was getting pretty dark now. “Listen to me, Cara—we have to cross that river.”

I gazed across the expanse of water to the opposite bank, as panic swelled in my throat. “How? I can’t swim. And aside from it being February, did my scummy backyard pool look as if I’d taken a dip recently?”

“Maybe I was too busy trying to avoid getting shot to notice the state of your pool. Never mind. We’d be sitting—or I should say paddling ducks anyway. What’s to stop those maniacs from shooting us while we cross it?” He glanced around. “All right, let’s keep following the river this way until we can figure a way out of here.” He grabbed my arm, his knuckles barely grazing the side of my breast. Hot excitement shot through me as I followed him, panting like a hound.

Was I lusting for this hunk, or was I just sweaty and out of breath from running for my pathetic life?

“Can’t you go any faster?” he asked.

“Hey, be thankful you rang my doorbell!” I shot back. “Maybe you’d rather have old Mrs. Peterson trying to keep up with you in her fluffy pink bunny slippers.”

“Mrs. Peterson doesn’t have the package,” he ground out. “You do.”

“Look, I’m telling you for the last time—” Though I had the bleckiest feeling I wasn’t even close to telling him for the last time, “—I don’t have ‘the package’!”

“You should’ve gotten it this morning. A big red, heart-shaped box delivered by a driver in a pink van.”

My heart tripped as I lurched to a halt. “Did you say a pink van?”

He let go of my arm and turned to face me. “Yeah, why?”

A )“Because I saw one pull up in front of Mrs. Peterson’s house this morning.” The driver, dressed in a bright red jumpsuit and red cap, had delivered the old lady a big heart-shaped box of chocolates. And to think I’d hoped that delivery was for me!

B) “Because I think I saw one—” I broke off my words as he swayed and clutched a hand to the side of his head. “Agent Brant, are you all right?”

He gasped for breath. “Cara . . . remember when I was bleeding from the head in . . . the car . . . ? Well, I think . . .”

C) All I could blurt out was, “Who in their right mind drives around in a pink van? What sort of dumb secret agency do you work for, anyway?”

“The same one that’s been watching that little sleep clinic where you work. It seems they’re also into—” And then a gunshot cracked through the woods.

D) I stared at him in shock.

“Cara, answer me. Did you see a pink van, or didn’t you?” Irritation simmered beneath the surface of his hot, sexy baritone.

“Yes,” I whispered.

He grabbed my arm again, only this time his knuckles didn’t brush the side of my breast. “When, Cara? Where?”

And then a glaring light suddenly flashed in our faces. “Freeze, both of you!” bellowed a man’s voice.

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 Maven Erica with the twist YOU choose!

Today's installment brought to you by Karen Lingefelt. Vote to win one of Karen's books!

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


lacey kaye said...


Isabel said...

Karen, this was great! :) Way to go!

Oy, it only gets harder to decide as the story moves on.

I'm torn between A & D. I'd like to see the romantic side of the relationship develop, we're halfway through, right? I'd also like to see evidence JB is attracted to our Cara as she is to him.

I'll take A.

My vote is for "A".

Bridget Locke said...

I like C. :)

Kelli Estes said...

I vote for A.

This is a fun idea! Way to go Mavens and guest authors!

Amanda said...

A & B look interesting, but I think A adds a nice twist while B reminds us the guy has a bleeding head wound. Hmm. Decisions. Decisions.

I'll vote A.

Maggie Robinson said...

Since Lacey's writing next and picked D, I'll be nice and go with that--- and it mas my choice anyway. :)

B.E. Sanderson said...



byrdloves2read said...

Hmmm, so many votes for A but I'd like to see her get a little control. I vote for B.

Writer & Cat said...

Karen, those were horrible! Horrible because they all work so perfectly that I can't choose.

Oh hell. I choose A. Let's see what that naughty poodle has done to the package...

Jody W.

Kelly R. said...

Way to go, Karen. Great Job!! I think I like C the best.

MsHellion said...


Bill Clark said...

I think Mrs. Peterson and her pink bunny slippers rock! Gotta go with A.

Mary said...

More tough choices! Ummm.... I'll go for 'A'. :-)

Stephanie H. said...

I'm going to vote for D!

Patricia W. said...

D gets my vote!

Jill James said...

I think I'll pick A this time, kinda funny that they are running through the woods and the old lady with the bunny slippers probably has the package.

Debra Dixon said...

A or D, hmmm...

A it is.

LeeAnn said...

I vote for A

aBookworm said...

C is the best!

Julia Buckley said...

I vote for A. I think we've had enough bullets ringing out as transitional material. :)

tetewa said...

I'm going to go with B!

KimW said...

I'm choosing C and wondering what will happen next.

Erica Ridley said...

I vote A!

Amie Stuart said...

I"M TORN!!! I don't know which to vote for. C....D....C....D....

Jackie Barbosa said...

C or D, C or D?

OMG, I hate making decisions. Hey, I'm a Gemini, okay? And yesterday, I flipped a coin in the parking lot before I went to vote in the Democratic primary (so NOT kidding).

After further coin-fl--er, reflection, I say D.

Darcy Burke said...

And the winner is A! I'm so glad you all decided, I was too torn and never did make up my mind!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment written by our own Maven Erica Ridley! I guarantee you it's a must read.

lacey kaye said...

OMG, people... I just got a sneak peek at tomorrow's installment. Get your corsets on, because it's going to be a side-splitter!

Vicki said...

I'm way to late to vote...that's the kind of day I had. But I wasn't going to miss reading today's 'chapter'. Way to go Karen. You crack me up.

I know it doesn't count, but I couldn't decide between A or D, so it's all good. :D

Karen Lingefelt said...

This was a lot of fun to write, and I think "A" was my favorite twist, too--if only because I'd love to get my hands on a big, red, heart-shaped box this Valentine's Day.

Many thanks to the Mavens for inviting me to the party!

lacey kaye said...

And we loved having you!

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