Title: Screw Your Courage
Word count: 65,000
Genre: Adult Speculative Fiction
Before the war, Kira Granville was a rising star on the Chicago stage. She's having a hard time acting anything other than furious, though, after her husband enlists in the military behind her back, leaving her with nothing to do but wait to be widowed while her city collapses into ruin.
Enter Major Malcolm Lincoln. At first, Kira thinks the cocky intelligence officer is just trying to talk her into bed with him. Turns out, he wants her to get in bed with someone else: Alexander Morse, a powerful arms dealer suspected of selling both weapons and secrets to the enemy.
Seducing the man is simple, but surviving him? That's another story. Morse is even more infamous for his sexual conquests than for his traitorous business ties, and his affairs tend to end with dead bodies, not broken hearts. Lincoln seems to be Kira's sole ally in this sordid world, but she soon discovers that the Major may have his own dangerous agenda – and more in common with Morse than she could ever have seen coming.
First 250 words:
Saying goodbye will be much easier for both of us if David can just admit he's terrified. He looks so calm, standing straight and still in his crisp blue uniform, that the other passengers on the platform probably take him for a seasoned soldier rather than a nervous new recruit.
I know what they think I am: a heartless bitch, unable to shed a tear or summon a smile for my brave man headed off to battle. I mastered the talent of crying on command in my first college acting course, but there's no way I'm going to spend today simpering and sniffling like some good little war widow in training. I want David's last image of me to be strong, undaunted. Someone to come home to, not someone to leave behind.
Our draft notice arrived on a Tuesday morning. I was out, standing in line at the grocery store. They only restock on Tuesdays, and snagging anything more interesting than canned soup requires both punctuality and ruthlessness. With Chicago suffering through its usual late-summer heat wave, I had my heart set on some chocolate ice cream, sweat-saturated crowds be damned. By the time I got past the checkout gauntlet and made my way home, my prize had started to melt – and I was already too late to stop David.