"Ronnie," in excerpt #1, doesn't just have a a "colorful" wardrobe. She moves in quick, birdlike ways ... the opposite of what one would expect from a drawling, aging southern belle.
In excerpt #2, the "boy" is not your typical tall, dark and handsome love interest. His appearance is just unusual enough to make you wonder if he's a good-looking beach bum? Dock worker? Rich kid? Hobo? Petty thief? Could be any of the above! NOTE: his actions, not his looks, lead the reader to assume that he is controlled, methodical and not easily rattled. His maturity is obvious, despite saying only four words in the entire excerpt. Actions, almost always, speak louder than words.
Excerpt - Something Strange at Water's Edge (young adult)
By Brenda Haas
“Sweetie!” drawled a distinctly southern voice.
A flurry of silver jewelry flashed before Kat’s eyes as she was struck by the pungent scent of lilacs. Skip’s Great Aunt Veronica Hathaway flew past her and wrapped her arms around her nephew. The birdlike old woman pulled Skip down to her level and pecked him on the cheek.
Kat stared as Aunt Ronnie stepped back. The woman’s tan skin appeared to be too big for her body, as if she had lost a great deal of weight at one time. She was dressed in a flared mini-skirt and a sequined, magenta tube top. Kat stifled a snort. The old girl had a right to dress however she wanted. It was a free country, after all.
Excerpt - Hells of Northgate (young adult)
By Brenda Haas
“All clear,” Becklyn whispered, letting go of her breath.
Pushing the door open, she slunk from the van. The boy was right behind her.
Becklyn eyed him. “Wha – ”
Warm, calloused fingers against her lips stopped Becklyn mid-word. For a moment they just stared at each other. Finally, the boy took a step back. Motioning for her to wait, he disappeared around the corner of the van. Seconds passed. She couldn’t see or hear even a hint of him. Had he gone?
She was peaking over the hood when she felt a slight tap on her shoulder.
Spinning, she slammed straight into a muscular chest. Her knees gave way, and the boy grabbed her arms and carefully propped her back onto her heels. Her heart hammered against her ribs.
“They’re gone,” he said.
“Oh.” With a slight shake of her head, Becklyn began to focus on the details. He had at least a few inches on her – over six feet by the looks of things. Canvas shoes. Dark pants. Black tunic-like shirt of a raw, natural material. His hair was a shock of silvery gray-blonde and quite thick, hanging in chunky layers just above his shoulders. In contrast to his hair, his skin reminded Becklyn of aged honey with a hint of olives. When her eyes finally met his green ones, she was shocked by the intensity in them.
Blinking, Becklyn felt heat rise up her neck as, in turn, his cool gaze skimmed her scuffed tennis shoes, long legs, and worn jeans hugging thin hips and a flat stomach … then her nearly as flat chest.
He motioned to her bandaged arm. “That okay?”