I’m happy to be back (after our hiatus in April) with First Impressions for May! Our first submission is a NA science fiction novel, a sequel in fact: INDUCTION DAY, Book II of Butterman Travel, Inc. by Pk Hrezo.
I’m a time traveler, not a superstar. Tristan doesn’t get it. He forgets people around him aren’t used to the spotlight—with hordes of fans drooling over his every move. That’s his reality, not mine. I have more important things to consider.
His serving-droid delivers a fruit smoothie from its tray to my hand, the midday sun glinting off its shiny metallic torso. “Anything else for you, mademoiselle?”
“No.” I chuckle at its ultra-feminine, sultry voice and refocus on Tristan in the lounger beside me. “French, huh? I’d have pegged you for someone who prefers a Southern drawl on their cyber help.”
“Tried the Southern Belle feature. Felt all wrong, like generations of repressed slave spirits were cursing me from the shadows.” He resets the sliver of his shades on his nose and maximizes them for full coverage, concealing his twilight-blue eyes. “Gave me the creeps ordering it around.”
“But it’s okay ordering around the French?” Squeezing the orange slice at the rim of my glass, I miss my aim in the glass and ejaculate droplets onto Tristan’s cheek. I chuckle.
He purses his lips, wipes his face. “What can I say? I prefer my droids with a French accent. Rolls off the tongue like butter, Butterman.”
He seems to be studying me but it’s hard to tell. Once his lips ease into his superstar grin, I know he is.
“I do like the fuchsia stripes,” he says, referring to my hair. “Trés glam-rock.”
I brush my highlighted strands back from my face in mock supermodel style. “Magenta Marvel. Not fuchsia, thank you very much.”
He arches a brow as if to say who-gives-a-damn, and I wait for his smartass retort because that’s how we play, and I’ve been more than just a little eager to continue this flirty slow-dance on the skirt of an emotion we haven’t yet come to declare.
I enjoyed the flow of the conversation between Bianca Butterman and Tristan in this scene. As the beginning of a sequel, it suggests that they know one another, but not completely – since Bianca has not encountered Tristan’s serving droid before. There’s also a playfulness about it that comes across as genuine.
With that said, I hope the flirtation will give way on the second page to information that tells readers exactly where in time they are in relation to previous events (no easy task in a book about time travel!) and a hint of the premise/conflict for this sequel. In other words, I like opening with this coy exchange, but Pk shouldn’t let it go on too long without moving into the plot.
The one thing that I’d like to see tweaked is the opening paragraph. Bianca says she’s not used to the spotlight like Tristan is, therefore I expected this scene was going to put her in an uncomfortable spotlight situation. However, they appear to be alone. So, unless hordes of drooling fans are going to gate-crash on the next page, I’d suggest changing the phrasing to say that Bianca is not used to luxury (like serving droids with French accents), or something else that reflects what’s going on in this scene.