Rushton’s Secret: Lyn

Parental Guidance suggested: some bits may not be suitable for smaller cave-dwellers…

Paul Stanton looked up from the manuscript. “What did you say?”

Francesca rolled her eyes, “I said this manuscript is rubbish!”

“You’re joking,” Paul blinked in disbelief, “are you sure you and I are reading the same thing?”

Francesca’s curls bounced up and down as she nodded. “Of course I’m sure, entry twenty-five—Rushton’s Secret.”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“It’s… it’s predictable.”

Paul looked at her thoughtfully for a moment, “So, you know exactly what’s going to happen and how it will end.”

“Yes!” Francesca had the grace to blush as Paul raised one eyebrow, “well… not exactly, but I don’t like the MC.”

“You’re not supposed to like him, he’s a thoroughly nasty character—but he makes you want to keep reading to see if he really is, or if it’s all an act.”

Paul was rewarded with one of Francesca’s famous scowls. “I like my MC to be someone I can relate to; not this… stinker!” she slammed her red marking pen down.

Maybe you need to take a break; go for a walk and clear your head.”

“My head is perfectly clear thank you, and I don’t need to go for a walk.”

“Talk to me Frannie, what’s going on?”

“Don’t call me Frannie; you know I don’t like it.”

“And I don’t like it when my best MS reviewer is being irrational.”

“Is that what you think Paul, that I’m being irrational?” The hurt in her voice was obvious.

“Perhaps irrational was too strong a word,” Paul said, taking her hands in his, “but you have to admit, your reaction to this manuscript is out of character.” Even for you my dear Francesca, he added mentally.

Francesca looked down at the pages in front of her to avoid Paul’s scrutiny. The problem with you, Paul Stanton, is that you know me too well.

“Is the author male or female?” Paul’s question caught her by surprise.

“Um… I… I’m not sure.”

“You, the great Francesca Kindray, doesn’t know if the author is male or female?” he clutched at his chest dramatically.

The young woman smiled wryly, “Seems impossible doesn’t it.”

“What about the author’s style?”

“Easy going with unexpected doses of humor. But there’s an underlying sense of urgency that keeps you on the edge of your seat.”

“Then why,” Paul asked, throwing his hands in the air, “do you say it’s rubbish?”

“I don’t know,” Francesca dropped her head into her hands, “it feels as though he’s laughing at me.”

“Who’s laughing at you?” Paul looked totally confused.

“Derek Grantham.”

“The MC? The MC in the story is laughing at you.”

“Yes. No! I mean it seems that way, because every time I think I’ve worked him out, there’s a twist and I don’t know what he’s up to.”

Paul grinned. “So, do we short list it?”

“Short list? Hell no; this goes straight to the finalists list.”

Paul Stanton grinned as he pushed himself away from his desk, “I love this job.”

Words: 499

Author Bio:

Apart from writing, I enjoy reading, and travel. I’ve just finished my first novel (YA mystery/crime) which is in it’s final edit before heading off to the publisher and then world-wide acclaim (I can dream can’t I?).

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