Favorite First Lines

Gina did this awhile back. I’m not going to make you guess, though. I’m just going to share a few of my favorite first lines with you.

Okay, first of all, I have to say Nora is the master. I quit looking through her books after six. Er, seven. Remembered she’d signed The Villa for my grandmother. Third time I’d thought of my grandmother yesterday.

Anyway, I kind of cheated on Carnal Innocence and went to Chapter One instead of the prologue.

“Summer, that vicious green bitch, flexed her sweaty muscles and flattened Innocence, Mississippi.”

Montana Sky-

“Being dead didn’t make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch.”

Carolina Moon-

“She woke in the body of a dead friend.”

Midnight Bayou-

“Death, with all its cruel beauty, lived in the bayou.”

Three Fates-

“Happily unaware he’d be dead in twenty three minutes, Henry W. Wyley imagined pinching the nicely rounded rump of the young blonde who was directly in his line of sight.”

Remember When-

“A heroic belch of thunder followed the strange little man into the shop.”

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a knack, too, but I didn’t dig back deep enough into my keeper shelf to find Phoebe’s book. My favorite is Kiss an Angel, anyway.

“Daisy Devreaux had forgotten her bridegroom’s name.”

Stephanie Feagan’s Show Her the Money gives the tone of the book right off the bat.

“Sitting in front of the senate finance committee was like sprinting down Dallas Central Expressway, naked.”

Cate Dermody, another Bombshell, has a great wry twist in the first line of The Cardinal Rule.

“The problem with being a spy was that when it was as breathlessly exciting as Jennifer Garner made it look, something had gone horribly wrong.”

Jennifer Crusie, is, of course, awesome. My favorite is Fast Women, but it must be buried somewhere. Welcome to Temptation is great, too.

“Sophie Dempsey didn’t like Temptation even before the Garveys smashed into her ’86 Civic, broke her sister’s sunglasses and confirmed her worst suspicions about people from small towns who drove beige Cadillacs.”

One of my all time favorite books. All together now……”JAMIE!” Sigh.

“It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.”

My buddy Dorien Kelly won a lot of contests with The Last Bride in Ballymuir, which was put out by Pocket in 2003. Her latest is Hot Whispers of an Irishman and in my TBR stack. But this line probably got her a lot of those contest nods.

“As he looked about his sister’s house, it occurred to Michael Kilbride that he had traded up one prison for another.”

Another buddy, Kate Thomas, wrote for Duets. Wonder why? This is from Her Perfect Wife.

“As the two friends emerged from the chiffon and cummerbund gauntlet, their polite smiles faded like goodwill in the Middle East and they got down to business.”

Fellow Noodler Sandy Blair’s first book, A Man in a Kilt, garnered a Rita nomination last year. I bet this line helped.

“Since introducing himself to Miss Katherine Elizabeth Pudding, estate executor Tom Silverstein craved only one thing – whisky.”

The amazing Suzanne Brockmann (I listened to her “chat with” workshop over the weekend and was in tears) said she loved this hero best, and he’s my favorite, too. From Out of Control-

“At about 0530 that very morning, Ken ‘Wildcard’ Karmody became a terrorist.”

And I’ll leave you with two from my favorite cozy series, Southern Sisters mysteries by the late Anne George. My friend Elizabeth recommended them to me, and my grandmother enjoyed every one of them, over and over.

From Murder Shoots the Bull-

“The way my sister Mary Alice got us arrested was simple enough; she hit the president of the bank over the head with my umbrella.”

Consider these are women of advanced years and you’ll know why we got such a kick.

And finally, from Murder Runs in the Family-

“’Pukey Lukey is here,’ my sister Mary Alice murmured as she was ushered into the front pew beside me.”

Want to share some of your favorites?

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MicheleKS said...

Cad Rankin was a dead man.

That's from Wicked by Evelyn Rogers. And it's the first one that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

I want to hear some of yours, Mar!

The first line in TOS was:

Three of Swords. Sorrow. Despair. Loss.
(Then I kicked into the heroine's POV.)

For some reason, I am more likely to recall the last line of a book than the first. Both are important, though.

Anyway, I wanna hear some of your first lines, Mar! It would be fun. I'd like to see others post theirs, too.


Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

I love those opening lines--especially Nora's! I don't think I can up with very good ones with my writing, but I do aspire to. =D

Dana Pollard said...

So this isn't the first line, but it's the first line in chapter 3 of SINFUL by Susan Johnson (an author who always makes me blush)

His fingers still gripped the handle of the carriage door when he first noticed the figure inside. "I hear you'll . . . f___ anything in a skirt."

Anonymous said...

Those are some great first lines :)

MJFredrick said...

LOL, Dana!

My first lines aren't all that great. I'll have to go look some of them up....

Hot Shot-

Gabe Cooper had been in the Montana firecamp less than an hour and already the incident commander had sent for him with the words, “Special Assignment.”

Beneath the Surface-

“What do you mean, you’re going to Belize to track him down?”

Don't Look Back-

It couldn’t be happening again.

Eden's Warrior-

The first explosion rocked the city at one in the afternoon.

Heart of a Knight-

Vivienne Donnelly took a deep breath, held it a moment as if the additional oxygen would give her courage as she looked at the stark walls of the prison.


She raced down the stairs as fast as she could without tripping over her own feet.


Daniel Kemp pulled through the gates and parked in front of his sister’s two-story plantation house replica.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I loved this. I could "see" those books again in my mind, just by those first sentences. Great stuff, Mar.

The first line of my latest? "He'd never allowed himself to come this close."


Shesawriter said...

Jeez, Mary! You posted all the good ones!


Anonymous said...

Here's the first line of my current wip--"Every woman dreamed of stealing a horse and running away on her wedding day, didn't she?"

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, JoAnn!

Love that line, Michelle!

I forgot my favorite, from Midnight Sun, the ms I'll be working on....eventually.

"He'd run out of continents to hide on."


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