It's the Voice Matters Blogfest Challenge, hosted by my critique partner Lori M. Lee.
I took my characters from my historical romance and put them in a contemporary romance and a science fiction scene. Tricky stuff!
“I want to thank you for taking the time to show me the area, my lady. However, I would ask in the future that you do not venture out on your own, even if you plan on remaining on your family’s lands.”
The pretty color he had noticed in her cheeks earlier began to darken. She pushed aside her trencher. He steeled himself for yet another fight. But before Isobel could respond, the innkeeper came bustling over with a jug of wine and two mugs. Her eyes flashed with anger but she didn’t stir until the innkeeper moved a discreet distance away.
“I wonder how long you have been waiting to recite your little speech, Sir Alexandre,” she said before taking a deliberate sip of wine.
He watched her lips close over the cup, the column of her throat working as she swallowed. He raised his own mug to her in mock-salute. “For quite some time, I can assure you. And please, call me Alex.”
Even though he was still a respectful distance away, Isobel could see his knowing grin flash in the afternoon sun. “I didn’t believe it when Daniel said that you’d be here so I came to make sure.”
She relaxed her stance and let go of Rufus. “Alex Johanson?” Her mouth curled bitterly as she took in his thick, dark hair and proud yet even features. “I didn’t realize it was you without the suit.”
The dog bounded over to Alex, and she let her eyes feast on him for only a moment before she tried to calm her furiously beating heart. She had nothing to be ashamed of, she reminded herself. Rufus, the little traitor, pranced happily around Alex’s feet as he strode towards her.
A maroon flannel shirt peeped out from underneath his unbuttoned lambswool-lined jacket, a sharp contrast to the three-piece suit and tie he wore when she saw him last. He seemed completely at ease, which annoyed her even more.
“I’m not the only one who has changed.”
Alex saw her, of course, before she had even decided to seek refuge in the café. One did not often see the senator’s daughter out and about unescorted. She must have run into the rally he heard rumors of all week. Stupid girl.***
Alex turned back to the stack of books he’d gotten from the library, determined not to get involved. No good would come from that. He pulled the volume on design theory he had special ordered towards him. Diagrams animated with electronic ink winked up at him.
“I’m sorry I’m late. I’m glad you didn’t wait for me,” a female voice announced, before the owner of the voice took the seat opposite of him. Alex blinked, taking in Isobel’s face, for once unencumbered by her trademark glasses, her hair unbound and framing her dusky features.
Surely she wasn’t so desperate she’d use a stranger to get out of the trouble she’d found herself in. But when he saw the determined glint of her gray eyes, the strict way she held herself as if she was prepared to bolt the second he made things difficult for her, he supposed she was.
This was a hard challenge -- to establish the characters' relation to one another, establish setting and other genre conventions, and still make it clear which character's voice was narrating the scene.
Be sure to check out other participants in the blogfest here.
And remember: Voice matters!