The theme for this week is dialogue. I typically have quite a bit of dialogue in my writing, but when I went looking for a scene, I couldn’t find a good example. In the end I decided to post the very first scene from Scarlet Woman, the first book in the Middlemarch Mates series. It’s one of my personal favorites, and I just adore Emily. There’s a reason why she makes an appearance in every Middlemarch Mates book you know!
Scarlet Woman by Shelley Munro
“Please stop staring at me.” Emily Scarlet grimaced at Maggie, her sister-in-law and best friend. She scanned the faces in the line leading to the marquee, concentrating on the male ones before turning back to Maggie. “I checked my makeup in my compact mirror five minutes ago. I know I haven’t colored outside the lines so quit with the bulging eyes. It’s not attractive. Don’t you want to catch a man?” Emily’s hips swayed in time to the catchy beat of the song the band played and mentally checked off the faces while eagerness built. No. No. Possibly…
“I can’t help it,” Maggie muttered. “You look so different.”
Her eyes were full of confusion as she checked out Emily’s radically changed appearance. Emily knew she looked different. Better. The vision she’d seen in the bedroom mirror this evening still had the power to surprise her. The sexy, layered haircut and the new golden highlights that shot Emily from mousy to head-turning. The figure-hugging red dress that ended mid-thigh and showcased Emily’s recent weight loss. The strappy black heels that made her legs appear long and toned. The blue contact lenses to correct her shortsightedness. And the breasts that were pushed up and out by the incredible strapless bra she wore.
Maggie’s brow crinkled in distress. “You’re not the Emily Scarlet I know. I don’t think Michael—”
“Michael is dead.”
Pain darkened Maggie’s face. “It’s only been six months. Don’t you think you should take some more time before you make changes?”
Emily bit back the cutting reply that leapt to the tip of her tongue. Michael had cheated. He’d lied. The morning of the car accident, Michael had told her he intended to leave her for his secretary. Boring little Emily didn’t compare favorably with the glamorous Tessa. Too frumpy. Too predictable for Michael’s taste. He hadn’t even given her a chance! Impotent anger grew when she replayed the painful scene. Emily gripped her black clutch bag so tightly the box of condoms inside buckled beneath the pressure of her fingers and the cellophane wrapping gave a telltale crackle. She relaxed her grip and inhaled slowly, trying to push away the ugly past.
Bottom line. He hadn’t loved her.
Emily fixed a smile on her mouth. She didn’t want to argue with Maggie or blurt out the truth about Michael in a burst of temper. Not after keeping quiet and protecting the family’s illusions for all this time. They had loved Michael, and she wasn’t about to hurt the people she cared for even if their son and brother was a dirty, cheating scumbag.
She’d suffered enough for them all.
Emily spied a tall, dark-haired man standing with a group just inside the flower-bedecked marquee. Her gaze strolled the length of his body, coming to rest on a very touchable butt. She sighed with appreciation and wished he’d turn around so she could check the whole package. He remained standing with his ass pointing in her direction. Delectable. She put him on her mental list and glanced back at Maggie.
“Coming to Middlemarch is about having fun.”
The line moved forward and Emily tugged two tickets from the depths of her clutch bag before draping the long strap over her shoulder.
“It’s all about sex,” Maggie snapped. “They have a shortage of women in Middlemarch. I’ve read the papers. This isn’t a dance. It’s a meat market.”
“Yeah, great, isn’t it?” Emily chuckled, attracting the attention of the same group of men she’d just ogled. She winked at them before turning back to Maggie. “You didn’t have to come with me. I told you I was happy to come on my own. I promised to turn into a pumpkin at midnight, catch the train back to Dunedin and stumble into a taxi at the other end, tired and all danced out like a good Cinderella. But you insisted on coming. The least you can do is enjoy yourself. Dance. Let your hair down. Come on, you know you love to dance.”
“I don’t know you in this mood. You’ve changed.”
Laughing, Emily gave Maggie a quick, reassuring hug. “I’m just the same. And tonight we’ll dance the night away with some cute country boys before heading back to the big, bad city. Okay?” She handed over their tickets with a bright smile toward the elderly woman sitting behind the wooden desk at the entrance to the marquee. Maggie was right. She had changed. She wasn’t the same doormat Michael had walked all over before discarding. No longer the little homemaker. The drudge.
This Scarlet woman planned on having a little fun.
To purchase a copy of Scarlet Woman.
To read other Snippet Saturday excerpts follow the links below: