Well all, I’ve decided it’s time you saw Bria in her own book and not the many various ‘scribbles’ I’ve dragged her into. This is a couple page long excerpt, not my best but a good one to start with because it’s fairly early in the book. There are some descriptions pulled from it and since it isn’t in context the beginning is a little off, but oh well, it’s rough draft!
Please tell me if you spot any punctuation errors, I especially struggle with that in dialogue, which is the main focus of this scene.
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Every line of him contradicted another. He was built like a farmer—strong but lean—and his tan, muscled body agreed with that. However his looks suggested otherwise. He had the expressions of a prince, an arrogant set in his jaw and a strong, cocky brow. His arms carried the faintest of lines from habitually wearing arm bracelets. His messy blond hair suggested hours of sun-bleaching though. What was he? Not a nobleman, he couldn’t be. But he didn’t look like a farmer. He was too self-assured.
There was a bemused look in his eyes as he watched her and she knew instantly that he was very aware of her own gaze taking him in. Still she didn’t drop her eyes, even when he moved toward her. He walked like a nobleman, perfectly balanced with a smooth stride and in no great hurry. But he was still too lean to be rich. He was probably just a successful farmer with too much spare time and a good mirror. Obviously he was aware of his good looks.
He was exactly the type of person that was a little bit too much fun to outwit, cocky and far too confident of himself, so she let him saunter over. She didn’t care if he thought her bold, her gaze wouldn’t drop and she wasn’t going to move away as wisdom asked her to.
“Do you always make a habit of staring at strangers so…” he searched vaguely for the right word as he leaned on the wall beside her.
“Boldly?” She filled in for him. “No, I don’t. I confess I was thinking that you are a walking contradiction.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Oh? How so?”
“Most young men of your class would deem me too lowly to stare at.”
“Oh and what is my ‘class’ by your best guess?”
“It doesn’t matter. Any class is higher than me. Unless you’re a slave…?”
He looked unbothered by her suggestion. “Perhaps I am. But what slave bears no scars from previous beatings?”
Bria inwardly frowned, he had a point and this was not going the way she had thought. She continued anyway. “So you’re not a slave. What are you?”
“Perhaps I’m a great lord, out of my palace for the day to escape the demands of my life. And perhaps I was so entranced by your beauty I decided to come see if your personality matches your charms.”
She smiled sarcastically, “And does it? Or do you find that my guttersnipe manners bore you?”
“No. In fact I’ve decided to sweep you off your feet, rescue you from your hard life, and ride off into the sunset with you.”
He flashed her a hurt look, “What? You don’t believe me?”
“One, no lord wants to be rid of his pampered life and two, I wouldn’t let anyone spirit me away in the first place.”
“Okay, you caught me,” he wasn’t the least bit sorry, “I lied. Of course I’m no lord, however I’m enjoying the idea of spiriting you away more every second.”
“My apologies sir, I believe you’ve overlooked the fact that I could well be previously engaged.”
“I was hoping the ring you wear is only decorative.”
Bria shot him a look of feigned horror, “Oh, so you admit to seeing my ring, but still you attempt to spirit me away?”
He grinned but made no reply.
“Not only do you admit it, you refuse to be embarrassed?” Her eyebrows went up suspiciously, “I ought to tell my fiancé, and you can be sure he’ll straighten you out.”
He folded his arms and his grin grew wider, “You forgot one crucial detail.”
“And what’s that?”
“You don’t have a fiancé.”
Bria had to admit, he was good. Most wouldn’t have guessed. “Oh? How are you sure?”
“No engaged girl would ever stare at a stranger so boldly. And if you were engaged, you’d be wearing nicer clothes than street rags.” His eyes sparkled with amusement.
“Is there something wrong with street rags?” She batted her eyes innocently. Stop flirting with him! Her thoughts cried out at her instinctual movements. He probably thought she wanted him to run away with her after her behavior.
“Not on a guttersnipe. But if you were engaged you and your wiles would have chosen someone…richer. In which case you would be dressed in nicer clothes.”
“What if I’m engaged and taking the day off?”
“You yourself told me anyone who gave up a pampered life was crazy.” He pointed out.
How was he doing this? He was running circles around her, playing her in her own game! “So I did.” She admitted. “Lucky for me, our conversation so far is completely theoretical.”
He seemed amused by that. “Lucky you indeed. Come on. I’m hungry.” He grabbed her arm and Bria tensed. “Well? Come on! You want something to eat don’t you?”
Food. It wasn’t often she got offered free food in any quantity, much less a meal as he was seemingly offering. She hesitated. Her instincts cried out, ‘don’t go!’ but her stomach begged otherwise. The stranger tugged her hand once more and she gave in.
“See? Not so hard. Where do you want to eat?”
Did he always speak and move with such ease? Rarely had she met someone so confident that couldn’t easily be outsmarted and put in his place. “I don’t care. You’re buying it, you pick.”
He led her to the market, easily keeping up his commentary on anything he saw or heard. “That wall there, my father was the overseer of.” Or, “I’m working there next year.” By the time he’d picked a stall that was selling fresh bread Bria was busy reevaluating him. He couldn’t be much older than her, perhaps eighteen to her sixteen? Yet he was obviously educated well. It didn’t always show in his manner of speech, but every so often she noted the way he knew something he shouldn’t have if he was the smith’s son he claimed to be. It struck her that she didn’t know his name as the baker handed them two hot slices of his bread and the resulting coins were passed over. As they turned she voiced the thought.
“Jarren,” he answered like he had everything else. Easily. “And now, you’ve managed to gain an advantage over me.”
“How so?” She moved away from him as she avoided running into another market goer.
When she drew close again he answered, “You have learned my name, but I have failed to learn yours.”
“Easily remedied, it’s Bria.” She took a bite of the bread, its warm and flakey deliciousness filling her mouth.
His eyes ran over her again, “It suits you.”
She shrugged, “The person makes the name, not the other way around. My name doesn’t define me.”
“No, but it describes you well.” Jarren stopped in front of another stall and bought a wedge of cheese and a large piece of chocolate. Bria’s mouth watered. She hadn’t eaten chocolate since Seb had first insisted she try it.
Seb had always liked making her try things. Crab, chocolates, fruits she’d never even heard of, lobsters, special cheeses, he liked making her taste them. It didn’t matter what really, if it was rich she’d likely tasted it. But that was before he left.
She shook away her memories of him before the others could flood in. Not now. Not here and not now. Later, then she would let them come. Instead she hurried to speak and distract herself. “Do you know a good place to sit?”
“None that I feel like going to.”
She glared at him a moment. He would force her to show him one of her hiding places. Of course. “This way.”
© 2011 JinxWritings