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29 August 2011

Readers Decide: New Clash of the Titles Snappiest Dialogue

Host of the following Clash: Lisa Lickel

And my deepest thanks to COTT Talent Scout, Katie McCurdy, for putting this marvelous Clash together.

For the next two weeks, you, dear readers, will get to participate in the Snappiest Dialogue Clash. Of course I'm not going to reveal anything about the books or authors at this point...but...I can guarantee a thrill for you just by reading these two excerpts and voting on which conversation is the "snappiest."

Join us as we explore dialogue with these two wonderful veteran authors. If you happen to be a fan already, mum's the word. Vote...and comment...and leave an encouraging word to be entered into the drawing for a copy of the book. Don't forget! We have a Facebook page, for more comments and interaction. We also enjoy a lively book club discussion of past winning books. On Wednesday, I'll discuss Dialogue in a bit of its glory--come back and engage!


Jack made out Ruth’s shapely figure coming down Northgate Street. She couldn’t afford the new olive drab uniforms some of the nurses wore, but she sure looked smart in the dark blue jacket and medium blue skirt.
Jack stepped back around the corner. He unzipped his lightweight leather flight jacket, made sure his shirt collar was open, and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his olive drab trousers. Had to look casual.
He let Ruth pass, then fell in behind her. “‘One misty moisty morning.’”
Ruth looked over her shoulder and smiled.
“‘When cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather. He began to compliment and I began to grin. How do you do? And how do you do? And how do you do again?’”
Amusement crinkled her eyes. “It’s afternoon.”
“Yeah, but it’s misty and moisty. Life in England has taught me what that means.”
“No misty moisty mornings in California?”
“In January, not August.” Jack proceeded down the flagstone sidewalk. “And look, you chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.”
Ruth held her purse in front of her stomach. “I’m supposed to say, ‘How do you do?’”
“With a grin, please.”
She didn’t. Her chin inched up, and she studied the two-storied houses crammed side by side. “First tell me why you’re in town this misty moisty afternoon.”
The first flak burst. Jack ducked his head to the side. “No mission today. Bad weather and too much damage from Blitz Week. We have to wait for replacement crews and let the mechanics do their work. Thought I’d explore town.”
“Hmm.” Ruth looked at a whitewashed brick house, her suspicion heavy as the fog.
What did he expect? He happened to explore town the same day he knew she’d run errands? No unbuttoned collar could mask that. “Would you mind if I walked with you?”
“As long as we’re not together.”
“All right.” He strode into the street and spread his arms as wide as his grin. “There. We’re not together.”
“Jack!” she cried.
A honk. A delivery van lumbered all of five miles per hour down the street. Jack stepped out of the way and saluted the driver. In return he got a “Bloody Yank!”
“Get back up here.” Ruth motioned frantically. “Don’t make me fix you up again.”
He hopped back onto the sidewalk. “Just as well, now that I’m cleared for active duty. Besides, I’d like your full-time company again, but I’d rather have this.”
Too much. Ruth’s eyes volleyed more flak at him.
He released a sigh. “Oh, come on. You’ve known me almost three months. I’ve never made a move on you, and I’m not about to start now.” Nope, he had to wait a while.
Her eyes fluttered shut. “I’m sorry. I—it’s a habit. I do—I do feel safe with you.” She opened her eyes and revealed how fragile her trust was.
“Thanks.” Time to change the subject. He tilted his head downhill, and they continued on their way.


A pair of wide brown eyes, streaked with terror, stared up at Noah. He shook his head. The woman amazed him. The last place he would have expected to find Miss Denton was hiding in his sleeping cabin. And for the life of him, he could find no reason for it, save one, which would be an impossibility.
“Pardon me, Noah. I seem to have gotten lost.” The fear fled her eyes, replaced by her usual lofty manner as she attempted to brush past him.
He moved to block her. A chuckled erupted from his throat.
“You will move aside, this instant.” She planted her hands on her waist. “And I fail to see what is so amusing.”
Seafoam jumped onto Noah’s bed and eyed them both.
Noah set the lantern down and leaned on the door frame. A grin overtook his lips as he realized he could have some fun with this awkward situation. “On the contrary, finding you so close to my bed in the middle of the night is quite amusing, or should I say, rather pleasing.” He winked.
Her chest heaved. Her gaze flitted about the tiny room, avoiding him entirely. A red hue crept up her neck onto her face like a rising tide.
She lifted a hand as if she were going to push him, but when her eyes met his bare chest, she seemed to think better of it. “If you please, Noah, I need some air.”
He stepped aside before she swooned. Grabbing the lantern, he followed her out into his cabin and placed it atop his desk. He faced her, searching his memory of his conversation with Mr. Heaton for anything the lady should not have overheard.
“Good night, Noah.” She kept her head lowered and headed for the door, but he darted in front of her. “Not just yet, Miss Denton.”
She backed away. “I am tired and wish to retire now.” The scent of her lavender soap twirled around him.
“Then why were you in my cabin?” Noah lowered his head to peer into her face, but she kept her gaze upon the deck.
“If you insist on keeping me here, would you at least do me the honor of donning your shirt?”
He chuckled. That she was an innocent did not surprise him. That his unclad chest affected her, he found oddly pleasing.
“Are you quite sure, Miss Denton? I can only think of one reason for your presence here.” He quirked a brow.
She raised her chin, her face twisting in disdain as another flood of crimson blossomed over it. “How dare you?”
“Perhaps you cannot wait for the wedding night?”
Her brown eyes simmered. “Why you insufferable cad!” She raised her hand to slap him.
He caught it and lifted it to his lips for a kiss, eying her with delight.
She studied him then released a sigh. “You tease me, sir.” Snatching her hand from his, she stepped back. “But what would I expect from you?”

   Grabbing his shirt from the chair, Noah slipped it over his head. His glance fanned over his desk where his chart had been and he spun around. “You. You ruined my chart.”
She averted her gaze and began twisting her ring. “Why would I do that?”
Brown curls swayed in disarray around a fresh bandage devoid of blood. Her lips pressed in their usual petulant manner, and her petite nose pinked as it always did when she was distraught. 
“To force me to return to Baltimore, perhaps?” He took a step toward her. She retreated.

    Then squaring her shoulders, she placed her hands atop her rounded hips. “Who is Priscilla?”
Noah couldn’t help but grin. So she had heard their conversation. Shame settled over him, but he shrugged it off. He had done nothing wrong. “A friend.”
“How dare you toss your affections to another when you are engaged to me.”

    “I can assure you, miss. I never toss my affections anywhere.”

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Item Reviewed: Readers Decide: New Clash of the Titles Snappiest Dialogue Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lisa Lickel