Elizabeth Amber Love book cover

AMBER LOVE 24-NOV-2015 Before I get back to working on this novel’s draft, I putzed around the internet and noticed that Josh Neff posted something he was working on for NaNoWriMoAmber's NaNoWriMo Diary; he posted his update because of the TerribleMinds blog where author Chuck Wendig asked people to post links to excerpts of 1,000 words of what they’re working on whether or not it’s NaNoWriMo.

I already have excerpts posted on Wattpad and on the novel’s tab at the NaNoWriMo site, but since Chuck asked for our best words not just the opening scene, I decided on this passage below. It falls somewhere around Chapter 26. This isn’t the best of the draft, but I think it’s one of the better examples where I have my two amateur sleuths trying to connect the dots of the murder of a cosmetics company CEO. Was it BARN, the radical eco-terrorist animal rights group? Was it Brad Dubray, the next in line for his job? Was it Derek Davis, the man punished for not getting the China contracts signed and who has spent time wooing our main character?

Derek left her hanging there without the kiss she craved. He went back down the two steps and walked backwards away from her until he finally pivoted and headed west towards one of the side entrances.

Farrah’s inner voices screamed at her for the continuous urges that made her feel out of control. She wanted to want to keep her hands and lips to herself. The problem was that she felt like she was never going to be able to say no to him. She let things go to far already and now, when she thought she could back track, she found him too hard to resist. Had he hypnotized her somehow? She couldn’t blame vodka all the time. He certainly hadn’t drugged her because she remembered every single thing they did together.

“Where have you been?” June looked up from the comfort of the plush chair in front of the fire place. Farrah found her in the seating area with the carnage of pastries, hot cocoa, and whiskey next to her on the maple end table.

“I was giving my liver a rest and went out for fresh air and exercise.” Farrah took the seat on the other side of the small table. She kept sipping on the eco-conscious refillable bottle of water she carried around. “I’m starving. Did you eat?”

“I did, but I could eat more. You know that.” June’s great genetics kept her looking fit and healthy even though she endlessly dumped garbage into her body. “I’m in the middle of something though. Can you grab you some sandwiches and come back here?”

Farrah agreed. She went back to her room first for a pit stop. She traded her jacket for lighter yet still toasty warm blue flannel shirt with a moose on the breast pocket. She looked down and felt how worn the fabric was. It was a shirt she commandeered from Jackson many years before.

She returned to the cozy nook with veggie paninis for them to snack on. June took her plate and swapped it for the laptop. Farrah had no other option than to put her plate on the table and see what cyber antics June was up to.

“You’ve been chatting with Whitney this whole time?” Farrah kept her voice low in case Caressa Lamour staff in the area could overhear them.

“I kept in touch with her after I brought her to security. I felt bad for her. I know she’s caught up with those nutjobs, but she seems like a good person. Her heart was in the right place. And I can’t help but have sympathy for her after she slept with her boss and he ghosted on her.”

Farrah waited for some people to walk by behind their seats before continuing. She took a couple bites, savoring the roasted garlic olive oil. “She say anything good?”

“She’s the one that gave me the idea to look up Derek’s ex-wife. Maybe she has an active imagination, but maybe she’s observant and it gets her into trouble. She told me Dr. Jennifer Singer disappeared and was never heard from again.”

“Oh that’s nonsense. His ex-wife got a promotion and transferred to the headquarters office in Europe. There’s nothing suspicious about it.”

June finished her sandwich then studied the remainder of the no longer hot cocoa in the mug. “If it’s not suspicious, then why isn’t there any sign of her?”

“I have no idea. Maybe her work is so classified the company doesn’t allow her to be online.”

“It’s cosmetics, sweetie, not CERN.”

“CERN is in Switzerland, not France.”


Farrah wanted to get back to the subject of Whitney Gallagher. She was likely in a ton of trouble legally for leaking the video to BARN. June didn’t know much, only that BARN was asked to provide a lawyer for her. They didn’t jump at the chance. But if they didn’t, Whitney’s plan was to set up a crowdfunding account to cover her defense.

“She mostly talked about Brad and her broken heart.”

“What do you think he got out of that relationship?” Farrah longed for something more potent than the lemonade she picked up to go with her lunch. She knew saving any chance at being tipsy was best left for dinner or later when most of the people at the lodge would be doing the same thing.

“Other than a nubile piece of ass? I don’t know. I’m sure it made his ego bigger – among other things. Probably made him feel younger too. At a certain point, you don’t want to be reminded that you’re aging. I can’t imagine they had anything substantial in common.”

“He got laid and she got to believe they were in love? That’s it? God, I hate men sometimes.”

“Sing it, sister.” June pulled the laptop back and put it on the table between them. She navigated to a different browser tab to show Farrah something she found intriguing.

“Besides Whitney, did you know someone else was connected to BARN?”

“June, that’s what we’ve been trying to figure out. Who did you find?”

“Pay attention – this requires some thinking. Remember that woman Sandra you worked on?”

“The gorgeous one? Sure.”

“Before becoming an account manager for Caressa Lamour, she worked for four years at an ad agency. And before that, she worked in a department store in New York City which was when she volunteered for an animal shelter doing all their graphic design and brochures, things like that.”

“Not all shelters are connected to BARN.”

“No, but it’s something. It’s the best lead I found. Tons of people post cute pet photos or share links of animals that need homes, like after so many were displaced from the hurricane. But this was the first employee I found besides Whitney that has actually volunteered for an animal organization.”

“Good work, babe. Let me know if you find anything else. Are you still convinced Brad killed Milton now?”

“Our first night here, we saw two men arguing outside. I bet that was Brad and Milton. So, yeah, my money is still on Brad.”

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Lake Wallenpaupack

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