“Alex … I’m warning you. I will kick you if you make me run.”
His brow went up, but he didn’t look nearly worried enough. “You’d have to catch me first, chief.”
That did it. I charged.
We hit the grass at the same time, him on his back and me on my stomach. I tried holding him still with my arm but he wriggled away. Like a snake. I caught his ankle when he wasn’t expecting it. He flopped back on the ground. I threw myself over him, trying desperately to get a grip on him before he escaped.
“This part of training doesn’t start until tomorrow,” he said between blocks.
I hated that I could feel him laughing. It made me struggle harder. I landed a fist in his gut and felt his muscles tense. He let out a growl. I felt his demeanor change from defensive to offensive. Within seconds, he had me pinned underneath him. His hands held mine above my head and he straddled my torso.
“Get off me,” I said.
Alex grinned, his face inches from mine. My pulse sped.
“Tara? The others are …” My mother’s voice went from neutral to confused, to decidedly pissed before it trailed off.
I stilled. Alex rose and dusted his hands off looking completely at ease and un-guilty. I on the other hand …
“Just finishing some offensive moves,” Alex said.
I got to my feet, thankful the flush from my run covered the heat rising to my cheeks.
“Riiight,” she said. She didn’t sound convinced but she didn’t argue it. Her lips pressed together in a tight line, and I realized why she’d let it go.
George stood behind her, with Wes.
I saw the idea for Stomp vs. Romp and my first thought was, “OF COURSE romance is going to win.” There are only so many of us who’d rather read about blood and guts and killing people (my stereotypical idea of action, apparently) over the mushy, warm fuzziness of a good romance—or a HOT, sexy scene if you’re reading “adult” instead of YA.
But then I thought about the action specific to my books—and so many other good ones. (Rose & Dimitri from Vampire Academy: awesome action!) That action serves two purposes. One, it shows people getting their ass kicked who deserve to get their ass kicked. (i.e. the bad guy.) Two, it builds tension. And when done correctly, can be HAWT.
For example, in the excerpt above, Tara (the MC) has just gotten back from a run with her trainer, Alex. Only, Alex has a smart-ass mouth and a “jump-your-bones” kind of body and Tara has a habit of channeling passion into anger. She also has a habit of trying to kick Alex’s ass in said moments of passionate anger. Which is why she tackled him and tried to beat the snot out of him—again—which never quite works out for her. And that guy at the end, Wes? That’s her boyfriend.
I did say tension, right?
Right smack in the middle of … ACTION.
Then there’s the action that builds to the tension, making it even more, er, tense. Can we invent another word so I don’t sound like a broken record?
In Cold Blood, Tara gets attacked by a pack of nasty-looking Werewolves and almost gets killed before Alex saves her. (I know, her boyfriend sounds really absent, huh?) She gets injured but Alex shows up and kills them all. Bad. Ass. Then he takes her back to the hotel and cleans her up. Tension ensues. Lots. And lots.
The sandy wolf was waiting.
He leapt toward me the moment my feet hit the ground. I knocked him aside with my free hand and sent him sprawling. Another one was there to take its place, and I used a combination kick-hit move that I’d learned in Professor Flaherty’s class. I was so pleased with myself when it worked to knock the wolf aside that I almost missed the one coming at me from the other direction. At the last second, I kicked my foot out and nailed the wolf in the shoulder. I spun, using my body’s momentum, and pushed the stake into its chest as I came around. It slid in and out in a clean motion and the wolf dropped to the ground, breathing heavily. It made no move to get up.
Six to go.
… Then an arm–a human arm–grabbed him from behind and yanked.
The Werewolf went sprawling backwards and the arm let go. A shadow fell over me.
… I glanced over, wondering what had happened to the rest of the Weres who’d been about to take a bite out of me, and found the ground littered with furry bodies. Some of them had gaping wounds that seeped red. Wooden stakes protruded.
… Alex walked right up to the Were and stood over it, and even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I had the distinct impression that if I could, I would see the same killing intent there that I had in the pack.
He didn’t hesitate or give the Werewolf any chance at last words. He simply reached down and plunged his stake into the Were’s shoulder, yanking on it to move it through the heart.
The Were jerked once and opened its mouth in a silent growl and then went slack. Its eyes were open but unfocused and pointing towards me.
Which all builds to this:
His eyes opened slowly, almost lazily, and met mine. Something in my stomach leaped into my throat. I couldn’t speak. “Your clothes are over there,” he said, nodding his head towards the bathroom counter.
“Right. I’ll get dressed,” I said, scooting away and turning my head before he could see the redness creeping into my cheeks.
I felt his hand close over my wrist and pull me back to the pillow.
“I wasn’t telling you to get up,” he said.
“What are you telling me?” I asked, hating that I’d even voiced the question at all; afraid of the answer.
He didn’t respond with words, though. He leaned in and closed the gap, quick enough that neither of us had a chance to change our minds. Our lips met and held for a long moment and then his mouth moved against mine. This was bigger than the first time we’d kissed. That had been almost chaste, the way his lips had planted themselves on mine, unmoving and hard. This was different. Like a dance, starting slow and building into something heavier, something I wasn’t sure I could stop.
What happens next? Guess you’ll have to read for yourself and find out. *smirk*
The point of all this is to say that my characters wouldn’t be what they are without the action. They thrive on it. It’s how they think. It’s part of who they are.
What do I think? I think action is underrated.
The question is what do YOU think?
I am a wife and mother of two adorable children who are both so much like me, I’m scared of their teenage years and open to six-figure offers from anyone who wants to handle the 13-17 age range.
I live in coastal Virginia and I work from home, part time, as a property manager. I write YA paranormal romance and I read it, too, so if you know of a great book/series, feel free to suggest it.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m helping the hubby with DIY projects in our home (he woodworks – I paint) or I’m lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
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I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.
Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And Two, I was born to kill them.
Wood Point Academy is not at all what I expected. For one thing, it looks like a cross between military school and Buckingham Palace. Everyone stares, the floors shine so bright you can see your reflection in them from a mile away, and no one smiles. Unless they’re kicking your butt in the process.
At least I’ve got plenty to take my mind off the fact that my psycho cousin, Miles De’Luca, keeps calling and declaring his love and promising to come for me just as soon as he’s destroyed anyone standing in our way. Wes isn’t going to like that idea. So between Miles, Wood Point’s evil welcoming committee, and the drill sergeant hottie trainer from hell, I just keep asking myself, how did I end up here?
Coming August 31
If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my problems, this would be it.
Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to watch my best friend slowly becoming a monster. Without hybrids, I could let go of the mentality “hunt or be hunted.” CHAS wouldn’t be scouring the Earth, intent on slaughtering and using Alex to do it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to be on guard that losing my temper meant losing my shape. There would be no monster inside me, struggling to get out.
Then again, without hybrids, I wouldn’t have Wesley St. John.
Read Amanda Ashley’s ROMP post and then VOTE via the poll on my sidebar on who you think should win today’s showdown!