The more submissions I read from this familiar manuscript, the more intrigued I become.
This passage is from Chapter 19. David has been away from Demia for 13 years. Catrine is now Head of the Academy and is trying to get him to come back to Demia.
"If you think I'm doing such a bad job, why don't you take over?" She was looking straight into his eyes.
He could not look away and
he definitely did not want to take over.
"That's not what I meant."
"David, just because our fathers wanted to set us up as king and queen of Demia doesn't mean we have to follow their plan."
"That's why I left." He was sure Cat could hear the pain in his voice. It had been the hardest choice he had ever had to make.
"I know," she whispered. "But they are both dead and I need advice. I need help setting Demia back on track. Their mess needs undoing and I can't do this alone."
David's breath caught in his lungs. He wanted to help her, but he could not remain on Demia any longer. "You have a council full of advisors. You don't need me."
"I just lost one."
"If you are a council member short, why not ask Patrick?"
He immediately regretted having brought up the name. Suggestion: He immediately regretted his words. It tasted
sour in his mouth that he could not even continue with what he had planned to
say. And he had just added jealousy to the emotions fueling his bad temper. I’d re-write this paragraph and eliminate some of the pronouns.
"I don't want Patrick in the council. Patrick doesn't give advice, he executes it. He’s brilliant when it comes to getting things done, but he isn’t the one coming up with novel ideas." I like this. Even though the name ‘Patrick’ is used twice, I can hear her saying this, an effective use of words. Good job!
The list of Patrick's virtues did not help improve David's mood. Show his irritation rather than tell me. Have David slam a book down, grimace, or make a rude sound.
Cat took a step closer to him. "I spend my days making decisions based on what I think you would do. I'd much rather discuss it with you than guess."
"You were doing a great job before you started censoring books. And the Academic Council has been led by a Duke of Carmichael for the past sixty years. I won't be the next one!"
Cat's eyes narrowed. She leaned toward him, her face inches from his. She could have whispered and he would have heard her clearly, but her voice was steady and strong. "You’re gone for thirteen years and you come back thinking you have all the answers. But you don't want to be involved in making the much needed changes. You don't want to actually set things right. Who is being hypocritical? You want to judge me but not help me fix the problem. Whether you have a solution or not doesn't matter David, because you are getting on a ship tomorrow to go play kingmaking in the third whorl."
If she had more to say, she did not finish. In one swift movement, he dropped the reader on the table and took her face in his hands to silence her with a kiss. Considering the one he witnessed earlier, he was predicting a reproach and a rejection. His intention was just to stop her accusations, but once their lips met it was impossible to control the desire he felt
--it had been
brewing too long. The girl of his dreams was now in his arms, and
his body did not want to let go.
To David's surprise, Cat's arms shot up to embrace him instead of slap him. This time she kissed him back.
Whoa! This sucked me in big time. I had to 'surface' before I could actually crit, LOL.
The only other suggestion I have is to mix in some short, quick replies sans dialogue tags to increase the ‘white space’ and hurry the scene.
Like the difference between a car trundling along at 20 mph and one doing 80, there is a definite thrill when more speed is employed.
Your ms is on my list of ‘must haves’.