Here's what feels like the 101st version of the start of Chapter 1. I took on board the comments you made last month, and tried various openings, none of which I was happy with, until I eventually wrote this one. Hope you think it's an improvement!
Kara Stewart descended the
three uneven stone steps from the front door of the Western Ireland Adoption
Agency, and heaved a deep sigh. So much for her expectation that someone would
open an index and provide all the information she needed about her mom’s birth
So now what? Maybe a large Americano
at the coffee shop on the corner of the street would give her a few minutes to
get her mind around everything Josie, the Agency receptionist, had told her.
She glanced to her left, checking for oncoming traffic, and stepped into the
A squeal of brakes and the
blast from a car horn startled her. Instinctively she turned around, and clapped
her hand over her mouth. She’d come within inches of being hit by a dark blue
The driver jumped out. “Are
you trying to commit suicide or something?”
“I’m so sorry! I looked the
wrong wa—” Her thudding heart jerked as she recognised the taxi driver. He’d
driven them several times from Mist Na Mara House into Clifden. “Oh, it’s you.”
The man’s frown was replaced
by wide-eyed surprise. “Kara? I didn’t expect to see you here in Galway.”
“I’m sorry, Liam. I wasn’t
thinking and forgot to look right instead of left.”
“No harm done, fortunately.”
He took a step nearer her. “Are you okay? You look a bit shaken.”
“I’m good.” Her pulse was
still galloping but she nodded toward his car. “I’m just grateful you have good
“Reflex action, but I’ll
admit you gave me a scare.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again.
“So where are you heading?
Can I give you a lift?”
Momentarily she considered
asking him to take her to Salthill, but the need for coffee prevailed, if only
to calm her nerves after the near-miss. “Actually, I was going over to the café
across the road.”
“Sounds like a good plan.
Mind if I join you?”
Surprised, but with a small
tingle of pleasure scuttling through her veins, she nodded. “Only if you let me
buy you a coffee to make up for me scaring you.”
“Okay, if you insist. I’ll
park up and join you there.” He glanced over his shoulder. “Road’s clear for
you to cross now without scaring anyone else to death.”
Kara crossed, walked a few
yards up the street to the door of the coffee shop, and waited while he
reversed expertly into a space between two parked cars.
She allowed herself a small
smile. What were the odds of meeting Liam Hickey here in Galway? But it had
happened, and now she was about to have coffee with him.
Her friend Liz’s words echoed
in her mind: Tried to flirt with him
once, but got no response. Probably means he’s married with half a dozen kids.
Maybe she was about to find
out if that was true.
She handed him a twenty Euro
note as they entered the small café. “A large Americano for me, and whatever
you want. With my thanks for not knocking me down.”
She found an empty table near
the window and watched him as he crossed to the counter. Tall, six foot at
least, she guessed, with broad shoulders encased in a mid-blue polo shirt. His
biceps and forearms were firm, not too hairy, but definitely masculine. Her
glance slid down to where his shirt was tucked into his well-fitting black
pants. The words nice ass came into
her mind, and she suppressed a smile. She didn’t usually survey men’s bodies,
but his definitely ticked all the boxes.