A Guest Post from Rachel Hauck of My Book Therapy
Hey everyone. I’m back with My Book Therapy Live. Thanks to all who commented on the blog for a chance to win.
I picked Amy Simpson because not only did she leave a funny comment, but several of you voted for her to win, too.
Amy shows great promise as a writer and many of the craft points I highlight in her piece are craft points I see in almost every book therapy I do. In fact, I learned from doing this therapy myself.
Leave a comment if you have a question or a thought to add. Amy, I applaud your work and your bravery to be the live therapy guinea pig. Also, for your willingness to learn!
Thanks to Chip, Sandra and Amanda for lending us this cyber space.
And here is the winning entry, complete with Rachel's notes...
Log line: The only thing more dangerous than the man bent on taking her life, is
the risk of living and losing her heart to her sworn enemy.
“I’m all in.” Finn Carson shoved the heaping stack of poker chips to the center of the table, challenging anyone to cross him. The pocket aces in his possession were just about a sure thing, considering Ryker and Jones couldn’t bluff to save their lives and Wally, well, he could lift a ton, but he sure couldn’t spell it.
The past few months had been pretty uneventful. Kirkwood, the quaint suburb in West St. Louis County, was one of the few towns yet to be hit by the “5-Alarm Arsonist.”
“Jeeze, Finn, why do you always have to push it to the limit?” Jones threw down his cards. “I hate poker.”
Finn couldn’t help but laugh. “All right, any takers?” Poker always provided a nice distraction. And of course, winning didn’t hurt matters either.
Ryker folded and all eyes zoned in on a bewildered Wally.
“I, uh . . . I guess I’ll . . . call?”
Finn slapped his cards down with satisfaction, ready to rake in the spoils.
“Aww, you win. I just got these five and seven of hearts.” Wally shook his head.
Finn’s smile faded in disbelief. “Are you kidding me? You have a flush.”
“I do?” His dopey expression morphed into something akin to enlightenment. “Does this mean I won’t be on bathroom duty for once?”
Finn rolled his eyes. There was no money on the line, but he still hated to lose. And very seldom did.
The ribbing and heckling commenced as the guys scrawled “J.P. Wallace” on the wall, knocking Finn’s long standing streak off the record board.
“All right guys, I’m out. I think I’m gonna go get some shut eye. See you losers later.” Finn climbed the stairs to the room he shared with Ryker, chuckling at the insults following his retreat.
After turning out the lights, he stared into the consuming darkness, praying that a dreamless sleep would come. Most nights, get an hour or two before the nightmares kicked in. Then he’d spend the remainder of the night waking at thirty minute intervals in a cold sweat. Finn was a grown man, he shouldn’t be afraid of sleep. But he was. Fear of the terrors to come strangled his even breaths as he settled in for slumber.
He hadn’t told the captain, but the lack of sleep was starting to affect his performance, a shadow of weariness had become his constant companion. Doubt and fear wormed through the cracks in his armor, taunting him for his weakness. The only person who knew about his insomnia and night terrors was Ryker. And Finn wanted to keep it that way. He didn’t need the guys badgering or second guessing him. He was doing enough of that all by himself.
Guilt pricked Finn’s conscience, he squeezed his eyes shut and prayed that no one else would lose their life because of him.
* * *
The blaring alarm jolted Finn upright, balmy sweat glued the sheets to his legs as he struggled to disentangle his feet.
auto-pilot, he darted out of his room, wrapped himself around the pole and descended to the garage.
Fighting back the panicked rhythm in his chest, he stepped into his boots and pulled on his Turnout gear, vaulting up to his spot on the truck.
In the blur of a few moments the fire truck left the safety of the Kirkwood Fire Station and found its way to an infernal blaze consuming a small craftsman home.
Even after seven years as a firefighter, Finn knew he would never get used to seeing someone’s home burn to the ground. As he watched the flames leap into the sky, fear paralyzed him. It was the same feeling that kept him sidelined, working the hose for the past four months. It wasn’t where he belonged, yet he couldn’t find his way back. His courage had been stripped from him and his fear held him hostage.
As orders were barked to exceed the sound of the roaring flames, Finn trekked into position. Then, like a cry in the night, something tugged at him. Something beyond the realm of reason wove through the chaos and pierced his heart with unwavering resolve.
An undeniable force set his legs in motion. His heart stuttered in his chest, his skin tasting the flames even from a distance. But he couldn’t turn back, even as every fiber of his being begged him to retreat. Before he could change his mind, he radioed the chief, and entered the house.
Lord, guide my steps.