You Had Me At Hello–2012 RITA® Nominees’ Opening Lines

For me, a book’s “hello” is that opening line on page one: those first delicious words that invite me into another world. Some books open with action; others with dialogue or even setting. But whether with a whisper or a shout, there is power in those first words of hello. They make me ask, “And then what happened?”

Today at Kiss&Thrill, we are showcasing the eight romantic suspense novels nominated by published authors for the final round of the Romance Writers of America’s 2012 RITA® competition. Each of these novels had me at hello. Read the opening lines and I’m sure they’ll have you too!


HIDDEN AWAY by Maya Banks
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Cindy Hwang, Editor

There were any number of men who would do any job Marcus Lattimer wanted done.

HOT ZONE by Catherine Mann
Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, Editor

The world had caved in on Amelia Bailey.

HUSH by Cherry Adair
Pocket Star; Lauren McKenna, Editor

Three things happened simultaneously: the soft, warm curve of a woman’s bare ass tucked enticingly against Zakary Stark’s good-morning-happy-to-feel-you erection, the familiar gut-wrenching realization that she was the wrong woman, and the cold hard metal of a gun barrel pressed to his temple.

Penguin Putnam; Leslie Gelbman, Editor

While a late-summer storm bashed against her single skinny window, Lieutenant Eve Dallas wished for murder.

New American Library; Kerry Donovan, Editor

With the precision of a surgeon, he sank the screw into the aged cork, curling it around and around; his experience had taught him to go so far and no further.

TRUE COLORS by Joyce Lamb 
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Wendy McCurdy, Editor

Alex Trudeau spotted the flashing lights of a police cruiser and pulled onto the shoulder of the beach road.

TRUE SHOT by Joyce Lamb
Berkley Publishing Group Sensations; Wendy McCurdy, Editor

Zoe was dead.

Harlequin MIRA; Adam Wilson & Miranda Indrigo, Editors

Dear Sam, There is a moment in every life that defines, shapes, transcends your previous spirit, molding you as if from newborn clay.


Kiss&Thrill congratulates all the authors and editors nominated for the 2012 RITA®! Up to 1,200 novels published in 12 sub-genres were nominated for the prestigious RITA® award and the  winners will be announced at a ceremony this Saturday in Anaheim at the 32nd Annual Romance Writers of America conference. 

How many of the nominated books have you read? What suspense novel had you at hello? Share the opening line with us. One lucky commenter will win an e-book (Amazon/BN) of the romantic suspense novel awarded the 2012 RITA®.

In celebration of the conference this week, the winning commenter will be randomly selected from comments on Tuesday through Friday until 5 pm EDT and announced next Tuesday!

Join us on Thursday for an exclusive sneak peek at some of the most exciting up-and-coming writers in romantic suspense: the 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Romantic Suspense Nominees.

“You had me at hello.” Jerry Maguire, 1996

About Krista Hall

Author of RWA Golden Heart ® Award for BROKEN PLACES

Posted on July 24, 2012, in Author Spotlight, book recommendations, Krista Hall and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. I’ve read three (HIDDEN AWAY, TRUE COLOURS, and TRUE SHOT) and have three others (HUSH, HOT ZONE, & NEW YORK TO DALLAS– yes, I’m way behind on the In Death series!) waiting in my epic TBR queue. That leaves me two shy of all the nominees… which I may have to pick up now! 😀

    Opening line that captured me from the get-go (that I can remember off the top of my head right now): Nora Robert’s CAROLINA MOON–She woke in the body of a dead friend. She was eight, tall for her age, fragile of bone, delicate of feature.
    Who’s going to stop reading after that?

    • Great choice, Cris! Did you know Nora Roberts won the a RITA for CAROLINA MOON in 2001? As a matter of fact, she’s won so many RITA’s that I’m going to list them all in a separate comment box. Amazing talent!

      Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out K&T on Thursday when we have an exclusive peak at the Golden Heart RS nominated manuscripts!

    • Great choice, Cris! Nora has written some really great Romantic Suspense. Sigh. So good. You’re way ahead of me on reading this years noms. I am woefully behind:(

  2. Great post, Krista. I wish you were coming to CA with me. We’re going to miss you. I can’t wait until your name is on the Rita list!

  3. “Parking on campus was a bitch and so was Sophie.”. Snapped by Laura Griffin. Great first line, and the book was fantastic.

    I have read all the books except Where All The Dead Lie. there were some great books nominated this year. Good luck to all the authors.

  4. Fun Fact: The first RITA for Romantic Suspense was awarded in 1989. The category was called: Best Suspense. And guess who won that year? Nora Roberts for BRAZEN VIRTUE.

    Since then she has won repeatedly…
    1992: NIGHT SHIFT
    1993: DIVINE EVIL
    1994: NIGHTSHADE
    2003: THREE FATES
    2006 SURVIVOR IN DEATH (JD Robb)

    Did I miss any?

    And of course there are her RITA winning novels in other categories too!

    • Not surprised!
      Is she the all-time most RITA-Award winning author? I would think Linda Howard has to be close…

      • Sarah, you made me curious so I checked the RWA archives. Nora Roberts has written 20 RITA winners across multiple categories! What really surprised me is Linda Howard hasn’t won a RITA. Could that be right? I’m sure she’s been nominated often.

        • I think LH hasn’t won one because she doesn’t enter. Can’t remember how I know that, but it makes sense. Cause she definitely would have won one by now.

          And seriously, La Nora is amazing. Thank goodness for me she doesn’t write Regency or I’d be toast!

  5. Brandie Nickerson

    I haven’t read any of these books yet, but after reading the opening lines, I can’t wait!


  6. Karen Rose won last year’s RITA for best romantic suspense novel with SILENT SCREAM: “They’d shown up.”

    She also won in 2005 with I’M WATCHING YOU: “The sun had gone down.”

  7. WOW, gotta say Cherry Adair’s first line had me blink wide-eyed with interest! Luckily I have a 3+ hour flight to Anaheim today and my trusty iPad.

    First fav is by WILL SIMON, “Spider’s Tango”, but since he’ll be our guest on Aug 7th I don’t want to give the line out (yet.)

    Others are HARLAN COBEN “The Woods”: I see my father with that shovel.

    BRENDA NOVAK: “Stop Me.” The man who murdered Romain Fornier’s ten-year-old daughter didn’t look like a killer.

    • Love those opening lines! Here’s one you might like:

      “In all your life, only a few moments matter.” FAITHFUL PLACE by Tana French

      Can’t wait for Will Simon’s visit! Safe travels, Sarah.

  8. Wow, I have only read 1 out of all these lovely books! “Hot Zone” by Catherine Mann is absolutely wonderful. I do have a few of the others on my TBR list though 🙂

  9. Continuing down memory lane…the 2009 RITA for best romantic suspense was won by Cindy Gerard:


    Los Rosas, Honduras “A gecko, low slung, forked feet flying, skittered across the sill of an open window, hauling ass as if it actually had somewhere to go.”

  10. Like Brandie, I haven’t read any of these yet. Yet more to add to my pile (or, more likely, Nook Library!) The JD Robb series is always a top pick for me. Of the others, the most intriguing first line is the one from Hush. Who could stop reading after that one? (Congrats to Sharon on finaling in the Golden Heart. I had the pleasure of sitting next to her at the Daphne Award last year when we were both finalists — thankfully, in different categories! Fingers crossed she wins!)

  11. More past RITA RS winners…

    2008: Anne Stuart for ICE BLUE

    “Summer Hawthorne wasn’t having a particularly good night, though she smiled and said all the right things to all the right people.”

  12. I haven’t read any of these books but I have read books by these authors. I really really liked Cold Midnight by Joyce Lamb so seeing that a couple of her other books are in that list means I’ll have to check them out. ‘m working my way through the In Death series. Even and Roarke are so great together. I’ve read Ice Blue and I remember that book caught my attention early on 🙂

    This opening line from The Witness by Nora Roberts recently caught my attention:

    “Elizabeth Fitch’s short-lived rebellion began with L’Oréal Pure Black, a pair of scissors and a fake ID. It ended in blood.”

  13. Krista, thank you so much for putting together this awesome and fun post! You will be very missed this year!

    • Hi Carey, this one’s for you…I know it’s one of your favorites. Can you guess?

      “Today they will find her body.”

      THE SURGEON by Tess Gerritsen won the RITA in 2002

  14. Thanks all for stopping by today and sharing all these great opening lines! Hope you’ll check in with Kiss and Thrill on Thursday when we showcase the awesome Golden Heart Romantic Suspense nominees!

    Remember you have till Friday to comment for a chance to win an e-book copy of the RITA Best Romantic Suspense novel of 2012.

  15. Excellent post, Krista! Very well researched trivia too. My FB link was shared often.

  16. Congratulations! All these books sound good.

  17. Congrats to everyone!

    So far I have only read one of them. But I have 2 more on my TBR stack.

    My favorite opening line isnt from a suspense, but from a chick lit comedy.

Thrill us with your wit...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: