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So the title was HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION and now it’s ATONEMENTS and it will probably change a hundred more times between now and when I actually finish the novel. Good times.

The following is my submission to Lydia Sharp’s contest, with comments. One should know that this passage has been through 8 revisions. Yep. 8.  I may not be a prodigy, but Lydia’s comments have helped me see that with enough work I can create some great writing. A huge thanks to Lydia!

Feel free to add any thoughts in the comments. I welcome your input and suggestions!

***Genre: Urban Fantasy

Baltimore City. My damn city. Tonight she seemed alive with the electricity of human emotion, shoved into my personal space through blaring horns, racing engines, and screeching tires. An energy of excitement, exhilaration, anger and frustration. “I hate you!” communicated through one long honk followed by one short and another long, like mutated Morse Code. “Suck this!” beeped right back as the cars screeched and zoomed their way between red lights. {absolutely stellar opening paragraph}

I could have watched the interplay forever, fascinated by the raw emotion displayed when we are separated by metal and mechanics. Things we’d never say or do if confronted with the same person over a coffee pot at work. We’re different when on stage. Polite. Accommodating. Raging emotions neatly contained in a box.

I hated boxes.

I glanced at the oily waters of the Chesapeake as I made my way around Inner Harbor. The surface seemed still, romantic in its reflection of the city lights, and yet I could see the hidden current churning beneath.

You and me both, I thought.

I flipped up my collar and continued towards Pier 5 where the city nightlife pulsed like a beating heart. The buildings blinked down at me through thousands of glass eyes, countless witnesses indifferent to those who flowed in and around them. Just watching and beckoning “come closer” to any passerby until the beat of the music bleeding from doorways enveloped one’s body and caressed them forward. I of all people should have been immune to the seduction of the rhythm and the arousal of the beat—or at least been able to resist it—but I wasn’t and I couldn’t. It pulled me through the crowds and into Rams Head where flashing lights echoed the call of the bass.

My body pounded with the music. Sensual. Seductive. Primal. My hips rolled and moved and yearned for a partner, an invitation that was quickly answered by more than one person. For one moment I could forget who and what I was. Under those lights and wrapped up in the rhythm I was another me—a more powerful me, if that was even possible. A power given and taken not because of my job title, but because I was a woman and they were men and they wanted me.

I sighed and released the fantasy. They wanted me—the black suit with all the curves, not me—the girl. And I was here for a purpose other than a one night stand.

I continued to move with the other bodies even as I searched for one very specific man. Both my instincts and my source told me he’d pass through Rams Head tonight, a seemingly average guy participating in a seemingly average social ritual.

But he was anything but average; unless you’re talking scum of the earth. Then he fits the bill perfectly. Your average, every day pedophile whackjob-sicko preying upon the helpless to quench his lust and his greed, though neither could ever really be satisfied. Satiating any of the seven deadly sins only leads to wanting more of the same. I know.

© 2011 by D.B. Smyth

{…Love, love, love with a capital L. I would definitely keep reading. Excellent voice, descriptions, writing style, tension, everything.}