Title: Lethal Lies Author: Vicki Briner Genre: Romantic Suspense
Agent Arthur Erickson had heard the accusation many times. Ex-girlfriends, teachers, his mother—the word almost always delivered with a sneer of exasperation, sometimes disdain. In his younger years, he’d feigned pride in his ability to deceive and manipulate, but in truth, the talent produced only a brief surge of satisfaction. Regret, guilt and shame. Those were the things that lasted.
Love the set-up of the ex-USAF pilot now having to fly a charter in an undercover mission–and come up against a female co-pilot.
I’m not crazy about his innate ability to LIE or, rather, perhaps how you lay it out in the beginning. I get what you need to do and why it will work (and come back to bite him in the ass), and I like that lots. However, making the ability innate and, initially, part of his personality may well ring unhappy chimes (it rang mine) for anyone having dealt with NPD–narcissistic personality disorder, which is a bona fide mental illness. We’ve had a diagnosed NPD Manic-Depressive Sociopath in the family for 40 years. They excel at being liars. It’s their hallmark. They’re also charming, flirtatious, usually very intelligent. They’re also bitter, mean and dangerous. They destroy anyone close to them (that they can’t use for their purposes).
I get and like that he experienced regret at lying (NPDs don’t always, but they can, especially if that shame gets them attention) and that the military helped him change his ways. (NPDs *can* amend their behavior when it suits their purposes or for the proper rewards.) So just my personal two-cents. If you can find another way (excels at theatrics? Starred in school plays?) to give him that same talent without invoking the hallmarks of NPD, you might give it some thought. It makes him an unlikeable protagonist for me in the beginning, and I really like the rest of the set up, so I want to like him.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The leaky faucet in the airport’s break room kitchenette was driving him crazy. He rubbed his forehead and checked his watch. Dammit. Only two minutes since he last looked. He stopped mid-stride and sucked in a breath, regretting that third cup of coffee. He needed to relax. The mission depended on it.
Two weeks ago, the department authorized the operation. Two weeks of long days and sleepless nights. Intelligence work only, they said.
Sweat beaded on his brow. Seemed easy enough. At the time.
That was the thing about lying. It required composure. Awareness. Credibility.
He could do this.
I love his introspection and discomfort, and I love the way you work in the leaky faucet. Your using setting really well because it’s something we would notice as people. We aren’t floating heads in a white room.
Sneakers squeaked on the linoleum tile. He jolted and splashed hot liquid on his thumb. Shit. Suppressing the curse, he shook it off, set his mug on the counter and turned. His copilot—the one he shouldn’t know anything about, stood in the doorway.
Wow. He’d received only cursory intel—age, family, occupation, assets, but one thing was certain. The photo hadn’t done her justice.
Very good uses of senses (sneakers squeaking, hot coffee)! And, as well, his incomplete intel.
The whole opening reads nicely, using lots of avenues of input. She has an attitude (of course!) and (of course!) we know that’s all going to change as they fall in love (since this is a romance). He has his secrets and I assume she has hers (the reason for her attitude). They both are COMPETENT, however, and that’s a strong point for readers to latch onto. We like people who strive to be better, who accomplish (or try to) and yet are flawed (because we are).
Passing himself off as a charter pilot shouldn’t be difficult. Nothing beat six years in the Air Force to make a guy feel at home in the cockpit of a plane.
Oh, this. Not everyone in the USAF is a pilot. Granted, he’d not be reviewing his credentials because he knows who and what he is. But maybe something like… Nothing beat six years in the cockpit of an F-18, courtesy of the USAF, to make a guy feel at home in the wide blue yonder.
Nothing beat six years in the Air Force to make a guy feel at home in the cockpit of a plane. Granted, it wasn’t his F-18. But at least here, no one would be shooting at him.
//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//