The daughter of a reformed jewel thief, Julianna Harte knows a thing or two about stealth. When the foundling home she provides for finds itself in dire financial straits, Julianna is forced to do the unthinkable. In a bit of misguided Robin Hood derring-do, she slips through the window of a wealthy rake to search for a treasure she knows is there: an invaluable pearl. But when the towering and very naked occupant of the moonlit bedroom ambushes her with a bargain—a night in his bed in exchange for the pearl—Julianna doesn’t know if it’s masculine heat or sheer desperation that makes his terms so tempting.
Alasdair Sharpe had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain. Planning to offer his little cat burglar carte blanche instead, he promptly loses himself in the delights of unexpected pleasure. But when he awakes the next morning to find his family heirloom gone, fury quickly replaces sensual languor. Of course, Alasdair is more than willing to use seduction to reclaim his stolen pearl—and find the key to Julianna’s heart.
Hello, I’m Samantha Kane and I’m addicted to the sarcastic one-liner.
I realized I had a problem when I was re-reading my upcoming release, The Devil’s Thief. Both my hero Alasdair and my heroine Julianna tend to be a little…sarcastic. Okay, maybe a lot. And their friends aren’t much better.
When Julianna is caught by Alasdair in his bedroom stealing his pearl, he makes an amused comment about what she might find irresistible in his room in the middle of the night. “Let me reassure you that it was the Stewart Pearl I found irresistible,” she retorted, “and nothing else.” Ouch. Sorry, Alasdair.
After she sneaks home the next morning with Alasdair’s pearl, she sits down to breakfast with her father, who has no idea what she’s been up. He begins talking about a dinner party her stepmother is going to have to introduce her to yet another barrister, the fourth in as many months. “How delightful,” Julianna drawled, and her sarcasm was not lost on her father.
Later, Alasdair goes to his friends for help. Sir Hilary St. John, a Sherlock Holmes type character who solves mysteries for fun, is also the unofficial leader of their group of rakish friends, The Saint’s Devils. Sir Hilary observes that despite his attempts at newfound respectability, Alasdair is still a Devil at heart. “So it would seem,” Alasdair replied wryly, thinking of why he’d come to Hil for help. Indeed, Alasdair, since you’ve just lost your family heirloom to a mysterious thief with whom you spent the night without even learning her real name.
Of course, his friend and fellow Devil Roger Templeton finds the whole affair incredibly amusing. “So glad I could oblige.” Alasdair let his sarcasm show. I probably didn’t need to add that last part.
And when Alasdair confesses he wishes he didn’t have to reveal his colossal stupidity, Roger assures him, “I exist merely to enjoy the colossal stupidity of others.” And he does. He really does. And like the good Devil his is, it’s not the loss of the pearl Roger finds the most shocking. Roger sat forward, his eyes wide with disbelief. “Good God, man! There was a virgin left in London?” (I think he’s been hanging out with the wrong people.)
I like the sarcastic one-liner because it can lighten a scene that might otherwise be too dark or serious. It also interjects what the characters are thinking or feeling without too much navel-gazing. And it’s a way to remind readers that certain characters are still in a scene when they haven’t had much dialogue yet. What about you? Do you like the sarcastic one-liner?
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