Title: At Stake
Word Count: 72,000
Genre: YA paranormal
The week Becca Sanchez discovers Uncle Don is a total whack-job begins with a moving van and ends in handcuffs. First, her creepy history teacher moves in next door. And then her uncle tries to stake him. That’s right, stake. As in vampire.
But when a student goes missing, Becca starts to wonder if maybe crazy Uncle Don isn’t so crazy after all. She decides to test it. Everything goes smoothly until she gets caught shooting him with a holy water spitball, landing her into a whole heap of trouble. Now her teacher knows she’s onto him.
Becca springs her uncle out of the psych ward at the hospital and they go vampire hunting. But she can’t get rid of the nagging voice wondering if this is all just a string of unlikely coincidences and her teacher is simply a creep. Because really … vampires?
First 250 words:
“Whoa, do you see that?” Rebecca Sanchez pointed at the overgrown estate at the end of the lane. “Someone’s moving into the haunted house.”
“You’re kidding,” Ashley said.
“No, really. There’s a moving van in the driveway.”
A ten-foot stone wall, fuzzy with moss, surrounded the estate, separating its wild forested interior from this otherwise normal suburban neighborhood. The mansion’s peeling paint may once have been green, or perhaps blue, but age had stained it gray. Broken porch railings jutted like stained, crooked teeth.
A common dare, especially around Halloween, was to climb inside and spend the night there. Only one boy had made it through till dawn, and he wasn’t the same afterwards. He’d disappeared a few years ago. Rumor had it he’d gone back in and never come out. Mom said his family had just moved away, though that didn’t explain all the stuff he’d left in his locker.
Ashley shook her head. “Weird. Who would move into a place like that?”
“Seriously,” said Drew, Ashley’s brother.
They were twins, though they hardly even looked like siblings. Drew always seemed half asleep, moving with the ponderousness of a giraffe. Ashley was a foot shorter, and rounder. Anyone else would have been plain chubby, but somehow on her it looked all woman. The boys at school certainly noticed.
“That place is scary,” he went on. “I never made it more than half an hour.”
“You never made it more than ten minutes,” Ashley scoffed.
He flipped her off. She grinned right back.