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Sample Synopsis - Traveling Man

by Leigh Michaels

  Emily Lambert has a job she loves as the co-host of a TV talk show, Kansas City Morning, and the promise that when the senior host, Gary Bennington, retires in a year or two, she will be named the senior host. But when Gary suffers a sudden heart attack, the producer of the show feels that Emily isn’t yet experienced enough to take over, and he names another host – Quinn Randolph, better known to the station’s viewers as the Traveling Man because of his job as the station’s roving feature reporter.

            Emily is furious, and Quinn says he isn’t any happier about the assignment – getting up at four in the morning to do fluff on top of his regular job. But their mutual annoyance comes across on the air in a teasing, tormenting, flirtatious style which soon has Kansas City talking. Emily is convinced that Quinn’s trying to get himself relieved of duty; he deliberately flouts the show’s long-established style by things like inviting a live studio audience. Emily plays along to give him the rope to hang himself, but instead the show gets rave reviews. The show’s gaining popularity with younger viewers, and Quinn and Emily are in demand.

            As Quinn continues to develop Kansas City Morning, Emily becomes convinced that he’s tired of being the Traveling Man and is using KCM – and Emily – as a stepping-stone. Emily continues to play along, but maintains more emotional distance.

             The rumor hits the station that they’re being observed by network talent scouts, but it comes to nothing. In the meantime, Gary’s condition has improved enough to allow him to watch television, and his first glimpse of the new and improved KCM nearly throws him into a second heart attack.

             In the middle of a show, Emily realizes that she hasn’t kept enough emotional distance after all–  she has fallen in love with Quinn. But her choice of happy-ever-after solutions – the two of them hosting KCM together – has no chance of working out, because the former host is ready to return. In her pain, Emily lashes out at Quinn just as Gary returns to the station.

             Gary countermands all the changes which have been made and announces a return to the staid show he’s always run. Quinn defends Emily and takes the blame for all the changes. After he leaves, however, Emily stands up to Gary and argues – futilely – to keep the new ideas. Realizing that she can’t prevail, she quits the show.

             As she’s leaving the station, she’s stopped by a woman who has been a regular member of the live studio audience, and who turns out to be the network scout who’s been watching them. She’s an independent producer who creates and syndicates TV shows, and she offers Emily a nationally-syndicated morning show. But the offered package is for both Emily and Quinn, and knowing that she’s ruined any chance that he might care about her, Emily turns down the offer. But when she tells Quinn of her decision, he’s upset. He, too, wants the show, but has turned it down in order for Emily to have her chance, since it’s impossible for them to work together because he wants much more than a professional relationship. They end by making plans for the new show, and a new life, together.

Traveling Man, Copyright Leigh Michaels. All rights reserved.

Traveling Man was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest for best traditional romance.

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This exercise is copyrighted material and is offered for the individual's own use. Further distribution or sale is not permitted without permission of the copyright holder. Copyright 2013 Leigh Michaels.

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