This week, I thought it would be fun to give a sample from another one of my works in progress. I decided to do His Abducted Bride. This is the third book in the Across the Stars Series. Sandy is Caitlyn’s best friend in Suddenly a Bride. I’ll let the sample explain the plot to His Abducted Bride.
Keep in mind that this is a first draft. There will be errors.
This is after Sandy’s been abducted into her own story…
“Oh good. You’re awake,” someone called out.
Turning in the direction of the voice, she saw a man standing further down the hallway, just out of the light’s reach. Even if she couldn’t see him, she recognized the voice of her captor. “Yes, I am awake,” she said. “It seems that I’m stuck in this dream.”
“Are you still going on and on about the dream nonsense?”
“You have a better explanation for why I’m in a castle that looks like it came right out of the medieval time period?”
“I work with what you created from your imagination.”
How cute, she thought. Granted, everything in her dream did stem from her imagination, but even so, she didn’t think he’d say something like that. “Well, since this is my imagination, I insist you let me leave so I can go to wherever it is I need to go so I can finally wake up.”
“It’s not quite as simple as you think,” he replied.
“You’re right. It’s not. In other dreams, I can control what happens, but in this one, I can’t.”
“You have a tendency to control everything, don’t you?”
She crossed her arms and exhaled. “I see you’re quick with your replies.”
“I’m being honest. You haven’t been listening to me or anyone else around here.”
“You’re part of a dream. An annoying part, but still a part of it. There’s no incentive for me to listen to you.”
“You’re not dreaming.”
She huffed and stepped closer to the torch on the wall so he’d see her roll her eyes. “Sure, I’m not. I just stepped into another a parallel world.”
He finally came into the light so she could see him, and her jaw dropped. He had dark wavy hair with bangs that hung partially over his forehead. His full lips were accentuated by the five o’clock shadow growing along his strong jaw. But it was his blue eyes that stood out more than any other facial feature. Her gaze went lower, and she saw the regal gold clothing he wore with boots to match. She turned her attention to the top of his head, noticing the gold crown he wore with sapphire gems embedded into it. Except for his choice in gold clothing, he was the exact image of a character she created.
“King Blackheart,” she whispered, pinching herself in an effort to wake up.
“I see my reputation precedes me,” he replied with a bow.
“But you’re supposed to wear black clothes.”
“Only when you write the book, but my color of choice is gold or blue.”
Sandy glanced at Noel before turning her attention back to the man. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“It’s no joke.” He walked up to her, his hands clasped behind his back. “Everything you see is very real.”
After she took a moment to gather her composure, she crossed her arms. “I find that hard to believe.”
“Hopefully, you won’t find it hard to believe for long.” He turned to Noel. “You are relieved of your duties at the moment.” Extending his arm to Sandy, he said, “I’ll escort you to the banquet hall.”
Deciding not to accept his arm, she headed forward, figuring he would hurry to catch up to her. Sure enough, he quickly fell into step beside her.
“You still plan to fight me?” he asked.
“I can’t fight a dream,” she muttered. All she wanted to do was wake up, but no amount of willing it was making it happen.
“How long will you persist in calling this a dream?”
“And what would you call it? A parallel world?”
“Technically, it is a parallel world. It’s a world you created when you wrote your story.”
“I didn’t write my abduction.”
They rounded a corner and came to a hallway with several large holes in the walls that she guessed was meant to be the windows. Curious, she stopped and approached one of them. The castle seemed to be built on water that spanned into a large lake. She hurried to one of the holes on the opposite side of the hallway and saw more water. In the distance was a forest that surrounded them, and the land was full of large redwood trees.
“I can’t believe it. It’s exactly the way I pictured it,” she whispered.
“Not only does that forest look like the way you described it, but it’s also enchanted so no one can enter it without my permission…unless they want to risk facing my wrath. You designed it that way.”
“You show no mercy,” she retorted. “Of course, you’d punish anyone who dares to enter it unless you sent them through there to perform some evil deed.”
“I’m only that way because that’s how you wrote me.”
“And now I’m dreaming about you.” What could she expect? She’d been focused on her story so much it was bound to slip into her dreams.
“You’re not dreaming. This is real. I brought you here because you were ready to kill me.”
“Okay. Let’s say you’re right, and this isn’t a dream. Let’s say that you somehow sucked me into my own book. That doesn’t change anything. The book can only end one way.”
“With my death?”
“I won’t die. There’s no reason for me to die.”
“You’re the villain.”
“No, I’m not. You decided I would be the villain and have painted me out to be that way. I’ve been trying to get through to you that I’m not the bad guy you’re making me out to be, but you refuse to listen to me.”
“So you appeared to me in a dream?”
“No. I put you into the story.”
“Because as long as you’re here, you can’t write anything else.”
Sandy shook her head. It had to be a dream. It wasn’t possible for a character from her book to pull her into it. Turning her attention back to the trees in the distance, she rubbed her forehead. When was she going to wake up?
“If you continue to insist on killing me, then I’ll be forced to secure an alliance between our kingdoms,” he said after a long moment passed between them.
Though she knew she wasn’t going to like the answer, she looked at him and asked, “What alliance?”
“Marriage. War won’t erupt between our kingdoms as long as we’re married. Your kingdom will be loyal to me and mine will be loyal to you.”
“And if I refuse to marry you?”
“You can’t.” When she got ready to protest, he pressed his fingers to her lips and added, “You’re in my territory now. I bid my time in your territory, watching in silent frustration as you had me raid villages against my will. I did everything I could to stop you, but all the writer’s blocks and making it difficult for you to write the next scene didn’t work. This is my last resort, and I won’t lose this time. You’re inside the story. That means you can no longer control what I say and do.”
She shoved his fingers aside. “You can’t control what I say or do either.”
“I might not be able to control you like a puppet, much like you controlled me, but I’ve removed your ability to control me and the other characters. We are now free to do as we wish. A story is at its best when the characters direct it. A good writer would understand that.”
“A good character understands that the writer is the one writing the story, and he should do what he’s told.”
“Not if the story is going to be good.”
“My story is good the way it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
She rolled her eyes and headed down the stone corridor in the direction of the banquet hall. He was quick to follow her, something that irritated her since it meant he was going to keep pestering her. If only she could wake up! But she was beginning to suspect that this wasn’t a dream after all, and if that was the case, her character had somehow opened a portal of some sort connecting their worlds. She had no idea how he did it, but there was no other rational explanation to what was going on.
“Will you at least try writing the story my way?” he asked when he caught up to her.
“And what happens in your version?”
“I’m not the monster you make me out to be, Sandy. I can be a strong ally and help you with your kingdom.”
She stopped walking and faced him, hands on her hips. “That’s where you don’t know a thing about writing. Every story needs a conflict. You need to be the villain if the story’s going to have conflict.”
“There can be another source of conflict,” he insisted.
“Really? And what would that be?”
He opened his mouth, paused, and closed it.
“Exactly. Without you in the role as the evil king, there is no conflict and the story falls apart. People don’t read books where everything is good all the time. There needs to be a point of contention. Like it or not, that’s your role.” When he didn’t reply, she added, “I demand you send me back to my world at once.”
“So you can kill me?”
“So I can finish the story.”
“And that means I’ll die.”
She shrugged. “It’s just a book. You’re just a character.”
“You’re wrong. I’m not just a character. None of the people in your story are just characters. We’re just as real as you.” He took a step toward her, his eyes flashing with a mixture of anger and determination.
She refused to step back. To show him any weakness would be a mistake. She had to remember this was King Blackheart she was talking to, and he showed no mercy to his enemies. As soon as he detected any chink in her armor, he would use it to his advantage.
“You want conflict?” he asked, his voice low. “I’ll give you conflict. You’re not going anywhere. I’m the only person who knows how to get to your world, and I refuse to let you go. You’re in my story now. You have no power here. You can no longer write something and make it happen.” After a pause, he added, “I also know your knights will be coming to rescue you since their loyalty is still with you.”
She gave him a smug smile. “Is that so? Then I guess you’re limited in what you can do.”
“Not as much as you’d believe. We will form an alliance. You kingdom will be allies with mine.”
“That will never happen.”
“It will if we marry.”
Her smile faltered. “You can’t marry me. You’re just a character in my book.”
“You’re inside the story, Sandy. I’ve deleted all the work you’ve done except for the very first scene where you set the stage that is the world we live in. So all the villages you had me plunder against my will are safe and thriving, and all those people are living, including the royal priest who can marry us. Once he sends word to your people that we’re married, your kingdom will be at peace with mine.”
“They won’t once I let them know you forced my hand,” she replied through gritted teeth, hating that he was backing her into a corner.
“Good luck getting to your kingdom.” His smile grew wider and he took a step back from her. “I believe the true conflict in this story now depends on what you do.” He turned and headed back down the corridor only to pause and glance over his shoulder. “Are you still coming to breakfast?”
She glared at him, wishing she could think of something to say to get that triumphant smile off his face but knowing nothing she could say would do the trick. He had her where he wanted her, and he knew it. Unless… A plan forming in her mind, she forced a smile in return and strode over to him. “You know what? I could go for a mocha with a slice of banana nut bread.”
His eyebrows furrowed. “A mocha with what?”
“A mocha with a slice of banana nut bread. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts.”
“We don’t make that here.”
“Figure out how to do it since you’re in control.”
She shot him a pointed look before she strolled down the corridor. There. Let him figure it out. If nothing else, it would prove to him that he didn’t have all the answers and that he was limited in what he could do. It would do him some good to realize there were things in her world that he knew nothing about. Feeling much better about her predicament, she continued her walk—with him not far behind—and entered the banquet hallt.