Anyway, I considered and discarded a few plots, until I came up with the one I used. During my research, I discovered lots of interesting facts, but one of the MOST interesting was that, I would dearly LOVE to go on an African Safari. I know that's a no-brainer for most, but for me, that was never anything that appealed to me. It does now, although I'm sure I'll never go. I'm not really an 'animal' person, but seeing these beautiful creatures in such a gorgeous setting would be amazing!
Have you ever been on a safari? Would you like to go?
Below is a glimpse into my short story. The snippet is unedited, so please overlook its poor quality. :) I worry a little, because my heroine is not a very nice person in the beginning. I hope readers will stick with me until she's redeemed.
After dying for the third time, unloved and unlovable Autumn Baines is running out of chances to avoid purgatory. For her latest life, she’s sent to the Serengeti, where she’ll have to perform a selfless act and find someone to love her. She sees her chance with the arrival of widowed father Logan McBride and his teen daughter.
Faced with an opportunity to make a tremendous sacrifice, she’ll have to decide…can she forego her eternal happiness to give them theirs?
Excerpt: *Revised after Anni's tips, and a few things I noticed :)
Milo drove them to a watering hole where a small herd of zebras drank from the pool.
Jayden perked up visibly. “Oh wow.” Her voice was awe-struck. “They’re beautiful.”
Her earlier combative attitude had fled, and she was suddenly a child filled with wonder. Logan’s expression looked more relaxed.
Autumn unexpectedly shared the girl’s sentiment. Her heart swelled, and adrenaline rushed through her blood. They really were beautiful. And she was right here, in person, no more than ten feet away from the magnificent creatures. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad gig after all. After the group had looked to their fill, Autumn said, “Let’s see if we can find some lions.” She searched the surrounding area. Lions were easier to spot this time of year with the greenness of the foliage. During the dry season, they tended to blend in with the yellowish grass.
Jayden gasped out, “Look, Logan!”
Autumn followed her gaze. A giraffe had joined them, walking alongside the vehicle. Autumn’s pulse jumped with excitement. The animal was glorious…and close enough to touch.
Logan’s face lit up, but he was staring at his daughter more than the giraffe. “It’s amazing.”
“Yes.” Jayden’s voice was barely a whisper.
The giraffe ambled away, and Autumn took up the speech like she’d planned the giraffe’s visit. “Such a close look at wildlife is not as rare as you might think. One on of the tours, three leopards parked themselves on top of our land rover.”
“Oh my God, what did you do?” Sharee spoke up for the first time. Autumn was surprised she and Denise had even made it this morning. They’d hit the wine, hard before, during, and after dinner. They were most likely nursing monstrous hangovers.
“Uh, we waited patiently, and quietly, until they decided to go away. I’m not about to argue with a leopard.” Laughter rose, and Autumn grinned at her audience. She had no idea where that had come from. Even though it hadn’t actually happened, the memory of it was as real as if it had.
As did the group, Autumn became more enamored as the day progressed.
They saw hippos, who stuck their heads above the water, then slowly sank beneath the surface, as if bored by the human gawkers. A gorgeous cheetah crouched on a large rock, waiting for prey to wander by. They even spotted a lion, lazing among the tall green grass.
During it all, Logan watched Jayden with a mixture of sadness and love. Jayden alternated between exclamations of glee and sullen bouts of silence. What was the girl’s deal? Her dad had paid a fortune for the trip, and she was treating him like he’d killed Justin Bieber. The tension between the two was palpable. Their dynamic gave Autumn a genius idea. She could accomplish both tasks with these two. A lonely, single dad, a rift between him and his daughter. A perfect opportunity to win their affection. Logan had subtly flirted with her. She could turn up the charm, make him fall in love. The selfless act might be more difficult. But, if she could mend fences between them, that would count, wouldn’t it? It was certainly worth a try.