For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I post pieces of my novel every once in a while. The biggest feedback I have on it, is that it starts too slow. The whole first chapter was backstory. So, I am reworking it so that it delves quicker into the action. Right now, this is the new opening scene. In response to the overwhelming popularity of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, some minor changes have been name.
The character in Fifty Shades is a billionaire named Christian Grey who is dating a literature student (undergrad). He is a well respected and feared man, and most who know him call him Mr. Grey. My character is a millionaire named Ethan Grey who is dating a literature student (graduate). He works as a teacher, and so he is frequently called Mr. Grey. Go figure. I seriously did all of that without knowing it.
The title, Divine Romance of Ethan Grey, was supposed to be a play on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, and there was a whole subtheme about Ethan trading his soul for youth. But, thanks to E.L. James, the name Grey is now synonymous with chick-lit BDSM porn. And the character of Ethan Grey, again an Oscar Wilde throwback, has been tentatively renamed to Ethan Parker. I think once those changes have been made, I can keep the literature student thing.
Anyway, you need no plot introduction to enjoy this scene, as this is the new first page.
Chapter 1: The Artist’s Road
It wasn’t how either of them had planned to spend the summer of 2013. In fact, if they had had much choice in the matter, it would have been the last thing they chose. But here they were. The rural landscape of Middle America whizzed by the windows of the fifteen passenger van. Cattle farms…a dilapidated shack hosting rusting vehicles manufactured during the Clinton administration…a billboard advertising a gun supercenter six exits ahead…
Ethan Parker popped his back in the captain’s chair. Alli Montclair shifted in the co-pilot seat. A heavy silence buzzed between them. She flitted her eyes across the dashboard, and then caught his gaze. She looked away.
There was no use asking why. She shook her head. He would never really answer anyway. Her Kindle dimmed and beeped on low battery. She zoned back in on the screen. She read the same paragraph three times and had no idea what it said. In stolen glances, she studied him at the wheel.
Skinny jeans, with an untucked white dress shirt now riding up his waist, revealed the tiniest glance at the black and silver studded belt underneath. A tribal tattoo peeked out from under his right sleeve, while dark Aviators hid his intense blue eyes and silver bars poked out of his earlobes. His tediously disheveled platinum hair subtly protested its work-friendly length and the sterling rings on his long slender fingers intermittently clicked against the wheel. He drove with two fingers–cruise control with his feet in black leather boots casually slouching under the steering column. She gulped as her spine tingled. THIS was why. He caught her staring. He smirked.
“Wha?” he muttered, with one eyebrow arching over the rim of his sunglasses. “Kerouac can’t hold your attention?”
His smile made her heart jump. But she made no comment. She simply raised her eyebrows and with a smirk of her own stared into her Kindle. Why did he always do this to her? She sensed him watching her with amusement and a soft heat rose in her cheeks.
She coolly plugged it into the charger docked into the console, ignoring his ever-increasing smirk.
“We’ve been tweeted,” the single statement from the backseat broke the spell. Chris Ackerman, the band’s nineteen year old drummer. Ethan cleared his throat and Alli sat up straighter.