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  • Writer's pictureRiley Murphy

Quid Pro Quo

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Latin meaning: Something for Something

Haha! I’ve started a new book project and this is what stood out to me today. The old phrase fit perfectly into my story and there I was shouting to myself, “Yes! Yes.”

I had to. I love it when an over-used catchy Latin phrase like that works SO well that I’m compelled to use it.

I can practically hear my Beta readers, my CP, and editor yelling, “No, no, NO!”

*Looks right at you*

Great right?

I do love to drive them all nuts.

Yup, that’s me. *Waves* I live dangerously like that. Again, I have to. I’m an author so, basically, I have no fear.

My characters are like that too. In this new full-length romantic suspense I’m working on The Dom Chronicles, I am happy to report that Pan and Gates are having a helluva time. What, with the age difference between them, a modest lifestyle difference to quibble over, demographic differences (they are both in the media public eye) and the inconvenient arrival of a bad situation brewing on the audio technology front, they are morphing into a couple pretty darn quick.

I have to say, this external trope driven concept is a difficult one for me. I worry about the after story time. I’ve blogged about this before. As a writer I’m always thinking, sure, this works, but when there are no problems or bad guys to act as foil while taking up all H/h time, will those two people like one another?

Good question, right?

I’ve said this about the proverbial big wedding scenario. I probably blogged about this too at some point. In Riley speak a big wedding planned over the course of a year or more is an existential change that occurs to a couple that is not always positive. Most of the time the details of planning this out-of-the-ordinary event (hopefully once in a lifetime) are left to the Bride mostly. Her time is filled with appointments, theme and design decisions, etc. I’ve seen the occasional Bride-to-be make a career out of it even with a wedding planner by her side.

Then what? Well, in less than a day's span. A twenty-four hour period that whirls by at lightning speed, the previously busy Bride-to-be has nothing on her schedule. She hits a brick wall so to speak. That’s when she's left staring at the person she was so excited to marry, wondering who he is. She currently knows more about the up-to-date happenings in her wedding planner's life than the man she's married.


I always assume people are learning and growing every day, so to my mind, there were numerous change curves happening for these two individuals without the company of each other being maintained. It’s relationship suicide if you ask me, that’s why I point it out. I pay attention to it. Even when I write.

As far as a story goes?

I know I shouldn’t worry about this because it’s time off the page at the end of the story, but I do.

So, just imagine me doing the old side-eye at the external events overtaking the emotional space on the page in my new WIP. It’s tough because the hot stuff is enough of a draw to keep the story working well.


REALLY well.

So, what to do?

Welp, *insert me tapping an index finger nail on my front tooth here while I ponder*

Right. All I have to do is chop a lot of the scenery and beef up the smexy talk. Actually, there wasn’t anything too extraneous. That’s why it was hard to make the cuts. Instead, I decided to convert the story style.

Ah…that’s a different way of saying that I changed the scene placement from the main characters simply walking around, going out to dinner, or meeting for coffee in order to advance all aspects of their story, into them just being together in a usually place and having a talk.

Example excerpt that I cut:

I was glad that he chose to meet me today in neutral territory. This coffee shop was humming with all kinds of distractions. Nothing like our usual un-neutral zone. His big corner office where he had two chairs too close together and him so…so together that I was constantly humming with nothing but sexual claustrophobia.

That’s what I call wanting to climb all over an individual who is nearly on top of me who is forbidden to touch. The want is so great, the denial out paces it.

“Hi, Penelope.”

His greeting was darkly smooth. Enticing. Already crowding me, and he hadn’t even sat down. “Pan, remember?”

There was a smile hovering over his lips as he paused in the action of pulling out his chair. “I’ll call you that when we’re alone. Here,” He quickly scanned the room as if he owned it. Maybe he did. The man was into everything. “I’ll use your full name.”

I waited until he sat down before I pressed him on this. “I'll bite. Why?”

He searched my face, as though my question was much more important than I intended. Was it?

“When we’re at my office it’s intimate. I like that sort of space between us. Especially when I say Pan. You’re nickname reminds me of the devil.”

I blinked. “And?”

“The devil and I are old friends. He told me something about you and when we're sitting in my office with that seventy-two degree temperature request of yours stirring a chill in the air, I can’t help but think of a beautiful young woman being tossed from the frying pan into my fire to get warm so as not to display too much spiking.”

I should have gasped being verbally called out so eloquently. I would have if I wasn’t guilty of purposely pulling that nipple trick. “I’m glad you noticed. I must say, you’re stealth-like indifference to the condition is impressive.”

He grinned. “It’s called reviewing tape.”

I had just turned away to find the waiter to order his coffee, when I turned back. “Tape?”

His smile nearly blinded me when he replied, “I don’t need to look at your assets when we’re doing our interview. I have the security tapes to study at my leisure once you’re gone.”

(End of excerpt)

You can see why I have difficulty cutting these ‘away from the intimate office scenes’ but cut I did. I forced myself to because this couple is a lot of fun. He’s using every shield he can to keep away from her and she’s trying not to be too aggravated about it.

I admit it. I’m falling in love with the way she handles this tough situation. It tells me a lot about her personality.

She makes late night phone calls to him when she’s in the dark. It started as a one-time thing, when she calls him to bitch about what she’d done to him earlier that day and I don’t know. The chemistry and the way he took her nocturnal complaining worked so well that I went with it. I was laughing at one point because it was as if she thought someone would wave a magic wand and make the two of them forget what they’d said to each other when they met the next time in the daylight.

I love that most of all about the writing journey. You never know what’s going to happen between the pages until it does.

Here’s a quote that I came up with for Ms. Penelope Andue and Gates Mettle’s story.

This is a toast to them for bridging the gaps in a busy social media life when he shows her that sex and the wanting of it, is fifty percent physical action. The rest is the intellect carrying you no matter what your IQ is, btw. Trust me, their conversations are epic, and I think now that I’ve changed the story style to suit them, that fifty percent for them will be closer to eighty in no time.

So true, right? I’ll be posting some teasers and probably a free read or two. I will also start a giveaway prior to release date. Can't wait.

As always thanks for stopping by!


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