He Said, She Said

Gotta Love Spunky Dialog

Sigh… Don’t you just adore clever banter, sizzling repartee, verbal jousting?

  Today it’s all about dialog. He Said - She said.

Come with us and eavesdrop on the characters from our books, as they tease and tantalize one another verbally. We won’t even tell you about the books. No blurbs. No narrative. No explanation. We’ll stand aside and let critics do the talking.

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Without further ado, come with me. Let us put our ears to the door and listen to some fun dialog.

A School for Unusual Girls
by Kathleen Baldwin

“Georgie’s budding attraction to a young viscount associate of Miss Stranje is all flashing eyes and clashing wits à la Lizzie and Darcy . . . romance readers who prize both brains and valor in a heroine will be pleased to make Georgie’s acquaintance.”  –Kirkus Reviews

Read more about it on Amazon

With a smirk, he relaxed. “Peace, Miss Fitzwilliam.” He held up his hands in mock surrender. “As Captain Grey explained, I am a diplomatic attaché. The captain and I are charged with protecting certain European dignitaries. We require your ink in order to exchange sensitive messages when the need arises. The old codes and our current ink formulas are too easily detected. There. That should be explanation enough.”
I clutched the books to my bosom. It was exactly what I’d suspected. “So, you are a spy.”
“No. A diplomatic attaché.”
“Which is a fancy way of saying a spy.”
He shook his head. “That bump on your head must’ve injured your brain.”
“Your concern is touching,” I said, pointing out that he hadn’t yet asked after my health. “But you needn’t worry, my brain is quite well. Well enough to deduce the obvious.”
“Apparently not, since you are sorely mistaken. I am a member of the Office of Foreign Affairs, a diplomat, as was my father, and his father before him.”
He explained all this using the same tone and forbearance Miss Grissmore had used when explaining higher mathematics to me when I was only ten. I found his overblown patience both entertaining and annoying.
“As such,” he continued, “I am sworn to protect Britain’s interests and that of her allies. If, on occasion, that means I must go about my task quietly and without drawing attention to my identity, I only do so in order to fulfill my duties as a sworn protector of King and country.”
Quietly. Yes, I see,” I said, tapping one finger against my lips. “Because, clearly, you are a spy.”

A Dangerous Passion
by E.E. Burke

 "It's rare for a novel to pull off a mixture of humor, sharp dialogue, romance and adventure with the right balance and pacing. But, this book does just that... 5 stars!" ~ Amazon Reviewer gpangel

Lucy turned to look at the photograph. Henry’s attention wandered to the tender skin behind her ear. He longed to put his lips there and explore that sensitive spot, find others that would make her gasp with pleasure. 
“How much more do customers pay to use the railroad?” Her casual tone indicated she was unaware of the battle he waged. Passion, lust, whatever one called it, was a fierce beast, which recently had grown to enormous proportions.
“Half what it costs to use the ferry…and we take them farther.” He redirected his eyes so he wouldn’t be tempted to give up the fight and drop a kiss on her neck. Instead of gasping with pleasure, she’d probably beat him senseless with that bag of books.
      She leaned forward to peer at the image of a couple in front of a canvas building with a painted wooden sign overhead. “Who are these people?”
“Mr. and Mrs. McGrady,” Henry answered. "She traveled with the crew while he was our construction foreman."
“They’re standing in front of a saloon.”
“One of McGrady’s men owns the place. Adella thinks nothing of going into saloons, or anywhere else for that matter.”
When Lucy met his eyes, Henry couldn’t look away. It was damned disconcerting. "So, Adella can follow the railroad, but I can't go to Texas?"
He'd expected her to challenge his decision. At least she was talking to him again. What she assumed to be an insult, he would turn into a compliment. “You’re a gently bred lady.”
“Mrs. McGrady looks like a lady.”
“She is, but don’t let her looks fool you. She served as a spy during the war. You aren’t used to being on your own." 
The majority of women liked to coddled. Lucy's frown indicated she wasn't counted among them. “I’m not as inexperienced as you think, certainly not a piece of china. Why don’t you just admit you don’t want me around because you’re afraid I might get in the way of whatever plot you’re hatching?”
“I plan, I don’t plot, and I have never hatched anything.”

The West Texas Watchmen 
by Angi Morgan 

"Morgan's newest not only has an independent and quirky heroine, but an adorably quirky–and steamy–romance between the hero and heroine. While the playful banter was a nice addition, the storyline also felt fresh and full of intrigue."  —4 Stars, Romantic Times Magazine    

“I need to show you something.”
“I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
Andrea threw back her head, laughing. Pete barely heard it as he admired the bend of her neck. “Silly,” she said. “Do you have any gel?”
“Huh?” Silly wasn’t the word filtering through his mind.
“Styling gel.”
“I used it already.”
“Not enough to do anything.” She reached around him, brushing his arm as she squeezed goo into her hands.
Stunned into silence? Choking on his words? Cat got his tongue? He didn’t know which, and if she asked, he couldn’t hear her. He was focused on her hands rubbing together and then her arms lifting to reach his head.
“Get shorter.” She tapped the inside of his bare feet wider apart, leaving enough room between them to breathe without touching.
“So, what is your favorite star?” he asked, closing his eyes and enjoying her fingers lightly massaging his scalp.
“Wolf 359. Isn’t that an awesome name for a star?” She took the tube a second time. “Just a bit more. Your hair’s really thick and wavy. See?”
All he could see was the roundness of each breast.
“All you have to do is squeeze some on your hands and rub it around like this. Then it should stay looking deliberately messed up all day.” She wiped her hands on his towel and admired her handiwork. “That will look much better when it’s dry.”
She twisted one last piece of hair and placed her hands on his shoulders. It seemed like the most natural gesture in his memory for his fingers to move and span either side of her waist. They were forehead to forehead. Her slow, warm exhale smelled sweet like the cola she’d insisted on.
 “I’m not a rule breaker, Andrea.”
“Then why are your hands still around me?”
Kissing her was destined as soon as she’d told him they’d never get along. “What’s about to happen probably shouldn’t. But you won’t find me apologizing for it later.”
“You better not, Pete. Bad first kissers don’t get a second chance.”

A Private Duel with Agent Gunn 
by Jillian Stone

"Fans of the Gentleman of Scotland Yard series won't be disappointed as Stone weaves a detective story that entices the reader to keep turning pages. This sexy thriller pits unlikely characters in a taut plot, twisting threads of the storyline in unexpected ways. Stone understands the art of romantic suspense and superbly merges it with history." 
-- 4 1/2 Stars, RT Book Reviews
Read more about it on Amazon

Nearly caught in the act of stealing an extraordinary sapphire jewel, Agent Gunn and Cate Willoughby hide inside Lady Sutherland’s armoire: 
Finn pocketed the brooch and dove in after her. “Ouch!” Cate hissed. "Your elbow is stabbing me.”
“Sorry.” He pushed several gowns aside and inched the wardrobe door shut. 
Smothered amongst Lady Sutherland’s silks and taffetas, a deep velvet darkness enveloped them. Squirming a bit, her hand landed on hard muscular flesh and froze. “I understand Scots pride themselves on not wearing a stitch under their kilts.”
Deep brown orbs glimmered in the dark. “You could find out easily enough.”
“Why on earth would I wish to do such a thing?”
“Then I suggest, Miss Willoughby…” He pulled away, but only slightly. “You remove your hand from my thigh.”
Her fingertips dallied, wrapping themselves around a curve of hamstring muscle. He exhaled a low-pitched groan that lifted the small hairs on her neck. Would they spend the night here…together? 
Quite suddenly she wanted him, and all it took was a tingle. She also wanted that sapphire. “The Panther Brooch, in exchange for a bit of discovery.”
A soft kiss brushed her earlobe and his hand found the bodice of her gown. “That would require a good deal of exploration as well as discovery.”
She reached farther up his thigh, marveling at how well-muscled Finn was. “Male dancers have legs like this, not many ordinary men.”
There was a sharp intake of air in his answer. “Must be the fencing lessons—a lot of back and forth, parry and . . . thrust.”

Temporarily Employed
by Vicki Batman

Temping was Never This Exciting, Nor Cops This Hot, or Funny! Okay, I love Vicki Batman’s writing. Her sense of humor always makes me laugh out loud, so I spent much of the time choking back my laughter, as I read this book while sitting vigil with a hospice patient in the middle of the night--author Rochelle Weber
Read more about it on Amazon

No frisking and no arrests were--so far, in my book--a good thing. As Sarah Anne’s older brother, I found it easy to eliminate him from the stalker, murderer, and rapist categories. The something in the truck line sounded similar to approaches used in past dating experiences. For instance:
“Want to come up and look at my etchings?”
Translated: A roll in the hay.
Or the ever popular “Would you like to meet Mr. Lizard?”
Translated: Mr. Wiggly Worm.
“How about coming to my place for a drink?”
Translated: To ply me with multiple drinks and the requisite roll in the hay.
I hadn’t fallen for those then and wasn’t going to be a sucker now.
He stuck his hands on his hip and said, “I know what you’re thinking. I’m not a stalker, murderer, or rapist." 
Apparently, he could read minds.
"Just a minute." I closed the door partially to release the chain, then opened it. “Why can’t you just tell me whatever it is?”
“No. I want to show you---”
“Not a Picasso?” I asked.
“Not an iguana?”
A perplexed expression crossed his face. “A what?”
“Not your pet worm?”
“What pet worm?”
“Look, I don’t know what you’re thinking. The only worms I know about are for fishing.”

Wake Me 
by Alexa Bourne

“Loved Jesse and Sarah's story. I'm not usually a novella fan, but Alexa Bourne has changed my mind.” ~ Author Katie Graykowski

Jesse pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re a detective now?”
“You talk about wanting to find the truth, yet you won’t even consider my information.”
“It’s not real. It’s hocus-pocus crap.”
Sarah shoved her fist into his gut. The hard plane of his abs absorbed her punch. Damn healthy, strong, stubborn man.
“Sarah,” he said with a hint of regret.
“What?” She lifted her chin. “Are you going to arrest me for assaulting a police officer?”
He ignored her question. “In the squad room, I got the impression you didn’t want to be bothered with all your psychic crap.” 
“I don’t, but you guys are about to arrest me. I figure I need all the help I can get.” She fixed a hard stare on him. “Why are you here?”
“I’m allowed to be. I’m investigating.” He reached around her. “Now I need something from you.” He shifted his hand around to the small of her back, which sent a shiver up her spine. Too easily, their lips could meet. His fingertips brushed against the fabric of her shirt. She fought the urge to inch forward, afraid of touching his body. He stared into her eyes then—
The journal she’d stuffed into the waistline of her pants scraped her skin as he yanked it free. Without taking his gaze off her, he stepped away. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, nervous energy gathering within her. As he scanned the book’s contents, he shook his head. “Are you crazy for taking this? Do you know how much trouble you’re in?” Gripping her arm, he shoved her toward the door. “Get out.”
“Shut up and get out, or I will haul your sweet little ass to jail.”

Beauty and The Brit 
by Lizbeth Selvig

 “I always find it very interesting when American authors write about British characters. I like to see what accent they give them (yes, there are accents in Britain too, we all don’t speak like the Queen), if they describe a town or a region…I find myself chuckling at some of the euphemisms that are used. So…when Lizbeth Selvig announced that she had wrote [sic] a book called Beauty and the Brit, of course I jumped on it and I have to say, I am very glad I did, because she nailed it! I really enjoyed this book…”  
BRIT NANNY READS.wordpress.com/
“I wouldn’t do that English chivalry thing in front of the punks around here.” Rio’s eyes clearly mocked him. “I can’t imagine what kind of field day the neighborhood gang would have if you opened your mouth.”
“Are you making fun of my accent?” After ten years in the United States, he was used to the attention his voice drew and, thanks to BBC America, people gave attention readily.
“Just keeping it real. Around here, they’d call your accent ‘pansy-assed’ and give you a beating for fun.”
Was she just trying to shock him now? He wasn’t shocked, but he was confused at the way she’d grown ever cooler and warier. “Well, thanks much for the warning,” he said. “Clearly I need to keep very quiet while I walk you to the door.”
A quick, amused light flared in her eyes, and she allowed her sensuous mouth to twitch upward. “You should be a lot more nervous than you are. That’s all.” She turned and headed for the house.
“You live here,” he replied. “If you’re not afraid, why should I be? I’m just a possible deterrent to someone jumping out of the bushes.”
“All the more reason not to look or sound like a dude from Men in Tights.”
“Ah,” he replied, smiled, and raised the pitch of his voice slightly to quote. “But they’ll listen to me because, unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.”
Bonnie giggled. Rio stopped and stared as if he’d just belched in church. He laughed and took her upper arm gently, continuing toward her door. “It’s from the movie?” he offered. “Robin Hood: Men in Tights?”
“I know that. I just think you must be insane.”
“Inappropriate perhaps. Not insane. A bit of levity on a tense night, sorry. I don’t mean to make light of your fear.”
“Hey.” She pulled free of his hold. “You said it yourself a minute ago. I’m not afraid. So don’t think you have to be any kind of superhero.”

So now that you've read some of our snazzy repartee, tell us about your favorite books or movies where the dialog sizzles. 

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  1. Good Morning! Welcome to HE SAID - SHE SAID. Do you have a favorite snippet of dialog? Feel free to quote. We love clever talking heroes and heroines.

  2. Spunky started with the Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn movies for me.

    1. Loved Spencer and Hepburn! Wonderful dialog. Here's a snippet from Woman of the Year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H00_NJtbJY
      veery funny!

    2. LOVE those movies ! Have you seen Cary Grant & Katherine Kepburn in BRINGING UP BABY?

  3. I liked the dialogue between Darcy and Elizabeth in pride and prejudice

    1. Yep, gotta love the superb dialogue in Pride and Prejudice.

  4. I think J D Robb's In Death series has very snappy dialogue!

    1. Nora Roberts is a pro at snappy dialog. Is there a particular bit you loved?

  5. JR Ward's BDB series

  6. Shakespeare. Almost all of the characters in just about anything written by Shakespeare have snappy dialogue. I wish modern readers had broader vocabularies so that writers could use more of the amazing and mostly forgotten words that make any conversation sound like "verbal jousting."

    1. Yes, loved the repartee between Beatrice and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing. here's a fun snippet:


  7. I just read a really good SF romance with loads of witty entertaining dialogue between the H/H. Great writing & story - Lynda K Scott's Riding the Odds. One of my fav reads this year so far

    1. Thanks Linda! Always fun to hear about a new favorite.

    2. I'll have to look that one up.

  8. I love the give and take of witty remarks... I am always entertained by the comments in the movie Ever After.

    1. Ever After is one of my favorites, too.

    2. Colleen, you are a woman after my own heart !

  9. Wow, you're all coming up with great examples. Thinking of Westerns (because I'm always thinking about Westerns) I love the repartee between John Wayne and Maureen McGovern.

    1. Oh I love The Quiet Man. Here's a great scene from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkQyRE0byBI
      And here's a snippet from Rio Grande with the two of them - my mother chose my name from this movie - and the song "I'll Take YOu Home again Kathleen"

    2. That is soooo sweet to be named after a Maureen McGovern character ! I also love the Duke. McCLINTOCK banter rocks !

  10. My mind is drawing a blank right now and all I can think about is the dialogue between Rhett and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Entering under the name of Virginia

    1. Hi Virginia! Rhett and Scarlett certainly had some fun dialogue. I love the scene where they meet in the library...

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Kristan Higgins always seems to have witty dialogue between her characters.

    Marcy Shuler

    1. Hi Marcy! Is there a particular snippet of Kristan's you like most?

    2. Woot. That's a choice where you can't go wrong.

  13. Jennifer McQuiston's books tend to have some great dialogue.

  14. I think Philadelphia Story has some of the best dialogue. It was a well-written play!

    1. You are so RIGHT !
      I enjoy both versions of that movie.

  15. I love the Notebook..the way he is so dedicated to her

    1. Well...I like the concept...even if I'm not a Nicholas Sparks fan.

  16. Thanks to everyone commenting! Karrie, one of my favorite movies is the Notebook! I agree with you about him being dedicated to her.

  17. Old movies like "His Girl Friday" have great, snappy dialog.

    1. I love watching this on television so I can pause while I laugh. I pick something new up every time.

    2. His Girl Friday is so fun; most of the Cary Grant films had some delightful dialog.

  18. Love these interchanges !!
    Great post, Kathleen!

  19. Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires are great for witty and snappy banter