Dec 14 2016 9:30am

Ring Write in the New Year! Holiday Round Robin

The end of the year is full of rushing around and preparing for time off. Here at Heroes and Heartbreakers we try to celebrate in a different way with romance, crafted by all of you! As a gift to readers—and, let’s face it, ourselves—this holiday season, we're hosting a community round robin game with the goal of crowd-sourcing a romance story, one sentence at a time, with Nalini Singh starting off the story!

So, what's the deal?

From 9 a.m. ET on Wednesday, December 14, until 5 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16, H&H visitors will be invited to help write a romance story one sentence at a time by leaving comments on the Romance Round Robin post. Once comments are closed on December 16, Team H&H will get to work compiling and editing the story to then share in a new, more reader-friendly post!

Nalini Singh starts us off with the first sentence of the Round Robin. Continue in the comments with this sentence as your starting point:

 Everyone wore a mask.

What are the rules?

  • The story must lead to a Happily Ever After.
  • You can sculpt the story however you see fit—while we're writing around a theme of the end of the year and the holidays, you decide the subgenre, the holidays mentioned, the heat level, etc.
  • Each comment may contain only one sentence.
  • Each comment must work off of the world the previous comment(s) have built. Think of it as following improv's “Yes, and...” principle.
  • There are is no limit to the number of comments you can leave, but we caution readers not to comment too many times in a row or it could trigger our commenting system’s spam filter.
  • No other comments outside of lines for the story until the game is completed.
  • Comments deemed to be inappropriate by H&H’s moderators may be unpublished at their discretion; Hateful language, name-calling, and excessive violence are not welcome, and repeat offenders will be banned from commenting.
  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tag us on social with any questions or comments!
  • Have fun!

Get started with Nalini Singh's first sentence:

Everyone wore a mask. 

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
alexander hollins
1. alexander hollins
Janet looked around at the array of false faces in the room, amused at how many masks being worn tonight reflected the truth so often hidden behind her coworkers' normal, day to day masks.
Jen Wattley
2. JenWattley
She shakes off the ennui of the night, determined to have a good time, and grabs a glass of champange from a waiter in a jester's mask.
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
As her eyes met his over the tray of glasses, a thrill of recognition swept through her, but that was crazy...right?
4. lauralee1912
She'd recognize those green eyes anywhere, behind any mask.
Jennifer Proffitt
5. JenniferProffitt
It had been 12 years since she had set eyes on David Ross—not since he broke her heart on the day of their high school graduation.
Elizabeth Poteet
6. ElizabethPoteet
And here the asshole was, serving hor d'oeuvres, dressed as a clown....fitting.
alexander hollins
7. Shirlee
But, she still knew those eyes, could still picture his grin, the quick flash of his dimple, the sardonic curve of his lips.
alexander hollins
8. Kimberley Bailey
Why had he returned after all those years?
alexander hollins
9. alexander hollins
He had been college bound, good family, destined to helm some finance company in new York, yet here he was, serving drinks at a low end marketing firm's holiday party.
10. wsl0612
Before she could speak, Don Rainer, the firm's hot-shot new executive, grabbed her arm.
Jennifer Proffitt
11. JenniferProffitt
"You're supposed to be circulating among the guests," Don said, his grip turning painful as he tugged her away from the wall.
Jennifer Proffitt
13. JenniferProffitt
Janet looked down where he gripped her arm still and gave Don a scathing look.
14. alexanderhollins
"You didn't hire me at all Don, Trayna did, you remember Trayna, right, owner of the commpany, the person who hired you as well?"
D. D. Ayres
15. DDAyres
She gave him a cool gaze from behind her own mask and said, "I agreed to come with you tonight but I didn't say I'd enjoy myself."
Karen Booth
16. karenbooth
"Then fake it. We both know you're good at faking," Don sniped back.
Darynda Jones
17. DaryndaJones
Refusing to acknowledge the sting, Janet jerked out of his grip and turned back toward David, but he was gone.
alexander hollins
18. CeliaAaron
"That depends on who I'm with. With you, yes. But your brother, for instance . . ." She let her words trail off as she glared at him.
19. Scarlettleigh
Janet turned her back on both Don and David --both total assholes, and walked toward the buffet table--there was a cheesecake calling her name!
Jennifer Proffitt
20. JenniferProffitt
Sidling up to the dessert table, Janet picked up a dish and piled it high with cheesecake and a few maccaroons for garnish.
Jennifer Proffitt
21. JenniferProffitt
"Do I need to defend your honor?" Janet whipped around, fork raised halfway to her mouth, to see the stormy expression of her best friend.
alexander hollins
22. Elizabethdavisromance
"I'm quite capable of defending it myself, thanks," she said, just a touch of coolness to her tone.
23. Scarlettleigh
Janet knew that her best friend thought David weak, and easily lead -- in fact she dated him first, before she met her Ryan, her husband and father of her adorable twin boys.
24. Scarlettleigh
Liz always thought more of Don than David -- but then again Liz didn't have to work with Don on a daily basis, like Janet did-- or have to put up with his animosity and daily digs.
alexander hollins
25. AJ Pine
She couldn't help letting her mind travel back to a decade before, to a David she thought only she knew...until he blindsided her and ended their relationship just when she thought she'd found something real.
26. Scarlettleigh
Now that she thought about the past -- even then Don had a chip on his shoulder, making Janet's relationship with David's family unsettled and tense--although David's mother seemed to love her.
Darlene Marshall
27. DarleneMarshall
Had she only been a "beard" for David, hiding the truth in the rumors that he was gay?
28. Scarlettleigh
But enough about the past. . . .she'd moved on. . .finally able to enjoy the Holidays without painful memories.
alexander hollins
29. Wild Rose
Just then Janet spotted a tall dark handsome Ghost of Christmas Present and decided for once in her life to live in the moment.
Jennifer Proffitt
30. JenniferProffitt
Grabbing another glass of champagne, Janet headed for the dance floor.
alexander hollins
31. Wild Rose
Dev couldn't believe he had to wear this dumb costume to the holiday party but a bet was bet.
32. Scarlettleigh
Still, so many of her memories evolved around the Ranier family -- even childhood memories.
33. Scarlettleigh
Like Dev --he always been in her life-- of course another Ranier.
34. Scarlettleigh
And didn't he look hilarious --served him right for betting against her.
Darlene Marshall
35. DarleneMarshall
Dev would be lucky if he still had a job tomorrow after wearing that costume to the holliday party.
Jennifer Proffitt
36. JenniferProffitt
Looking across the ballroom, he caught Janet's eye, and followed her out to the terrace on the ballroom.
Jennifer Proffitt
37. JenniferProffitt
Dev followed the mosaiced floor until he saw a pair of high heels and followed his gaze up Janet's fine legs to meet her stormy expression.
Jennifer Proffitt
38. JenniferProffitt
Turning to his left, Dev saw David and Don enter the terrace from two separate doors.
Jennifer Proffitt
40. JenniferProffitt
"I'm glad you all followed me out here, Janet said with a sneer.
Elizabeth Poteet
44. ElizabethPoteet
Janet watched as their faces froze with shock, and idly wondered if maybe she should stop dating potentionally murderous dudes whose names began with D.
45. alexanderhollins
"Donald Ross, your father," she pointed at David, "and your stepfather", she waved at the other two, "Did not die naturally!"
alexander hollins
46. Sharon Coates
As Susan looked around,she wondered what hid behind each laughing and happy facade. She felt her own personal "Bah Humbug" feeling stirring deeply within her. She hadn't enjoyed Christmas for several years now. Christmas was for families, something she had lost long ago.
alexander hollins
47. Lil001
Luckily, she had her catering business to keep her busy over the holidays and by the time she had a moment to come up for air it would all be over except sweeping up the confetti.
Elizabeth Poteet
48. ElizabethPoteet
Of course balancing her catering passion with her full-time job at the marketing firm wasn't easy for Janet Susan, and with murderer on the loose, she had more on her mind than catching up on the newest baking trends.
alexander hollins
50. Andrea C
Now she stands firm showing everyone she is not to be messed with. Tight face, focused and ready to spill all there dirty little secrets.
Elizabeth Poteet
51. ElizabethPoteet
It didn't matter that David was her first love, and Don, while being a bit of a jerk to work with, was still someone she talked to everday.
52. alexanderhollins
David slowly removed his mask, and Janet held back a gasp at the sight of the pink, puckered scar that wound it's way across his deep brown skin, stretching from chin to eyebrow.
53. alexanderhollins
"All these years, Jane, and you still pluck me out of a crowd like a flute of wine off a tray."
54. alexanderhollins
"And still the same twisted morbid sense of humor, considering I just talked to my father an hour ago.".
alexander hollins
55. Donna McDonald
Janet flipped him the bird and tapped her toe while she waited for what he'd say to get even.
A hush fell over the group seconds before the lights on the terrace flickered then dimmed.
57. FrannieC
She quickly chided herself because this situation, the mysteriousness of who actually was who, could deteriorate very quickly if her nostalgia got the better of her.
58. alexanderhollins
A deep voice came from the depths of the bushes next to the terrace, obviously disguised, "Well, well, two of my ex lovers in the same place at the same time, lucky me."
59. lorrainesharmanelson
David and Janet turned to see a tall figure, dressed as Zorro, complete with black mask, hat and cape, step out from the bushes.
alexander hollins
60. Janna MacGregor
Unfortunately, Zorro's renowned grace made a fast retreat when the holly bush caught his pants causing him to fall flat on his back upsetting the perfect placement of his mask.
Elizabeth Poteet
61. ElizabethPoteet
"Okay, can we just pause a minute and recap what the hell is going on?" Janet asked, throwing her hands up in the air at the ridiculous situation with David, Don, Dev, the not-actually-dead father, possible ex-lovers, and now Zorro.
Elizabeth Poteet
62. ElizabethPoteet
"David, I can honestly say that I'd never wanted to see you again after you broke my heart, especially in a clown mask at my holiday party, and Don, will you stop telling people we are lovers, and Dev, when did you get to the party and who is ZORRO?" she yelled breathing heavily after the long, extended, run-on rant.
alexander hollins
63. brontëgirl
It was Dain, the Ross' blacksheep cousin, who'd not only embezzled from his employer, Janet's cousin Joy, but broken Joy's heart.
Elizabeth Poteet
64. ElizabethPoteet
Janet felt her heart sink, just like her once promising night.
alexander hollins
65. CeliaAaron
"Dain is such a scoundrel," she thought as she stared into his startled eyes. "But is he still packing that long, hard sword?"
alexander hollins
67. Morag MacKenzie
"Does there have to be a reason J?", smirking straight back at her, "I'm here to spread Christmas joy".
Not likely. What's the reason? Unsteady...Joy is here. You stay away from her. She has had enough to deal with because of you.
69. strgth4yu
You think I am going to let you see her. Please leave and let Joy get on with her life. Replied J. I know I was wrong J, but I cannot leave with out letting Joy know how I really feel. Dain, are you kidding me? J irritated.
alexander hollins
70. Erzabet Bishop
Joy clenched her hands into fists, wishing she still had the plate of cheesecake so she could shove it in his face.
"You shouldn't have come back, Dain. I'm over you."
"Please, Joy. Give me a chance to explain."
She rounded on him, the urge to slap the hurt expression off his lying face nearly overwhelming.
"You have one minute, Dain. So you better start talking."
alexander hollins
71. Dana Wright
"What do you want me to say? That I was a fool?" He stepped near enough that his warm earthy scent beckoned her closer. Dain's thumb rubbed over the top of her hand and he pulled her into his embrace.
"Let go of me."
"No." He brushed his lips against hers and she sucked in a gasp as the electricity that had always been between them reared up and knocked her off her high horse.
72. lorrainesharmanelson
Joy stumbled and went flying backwards, literally, over a high horse -- a child's rocking horse that stood right behind her.
The fall might have rattled Janet Susan Joy's pride but, as she blinked up at the crowd circled around her, her attention shifted and held on Dain...who'd dropped onto his knee...who was holding a small velvet box in the palm of his hand...everything seemed clearer. All thoughts about weird masquerade happenings, catching a killer, ex-lovers, her faking it, faded. This was real.
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