Title: HERE AND OPEN
Genre: Adult/Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 83,000
My Main Character would use sun or snow to battle their biggest obstacle:
Ashley’s biggest obstacle is her own inability to pass the ball. At home as a soccer mom, and at work as FBI analyst, she’s trying to do it all herself. It’s the wisdom of her son’s U9 soccer coach that helps her learn about teamwork. While some people may feel soccer is better played in the sun, Ashley’s in western Pennsylvania. Six of the ten soccer-playing months involve indoor soccer at an arena with a bar attached. She’s on Team Snow.
Ashley Cavanaugh’s life has gone from comedy to catastrophe. Sure, she has the FBI job, hot-as-hell husband, three children, a Labradoodle, and the soccer mom magnet on the back of her minivan. Just what she wanted. Except it’s all falling down faster than the London bridge of her two-year-old’s favorite nursery rhyme. She screwed up at work and an informant is dead. She’s been reassigned to the crazy letter files. Her husband is having an affair with his smartphone, and is more interested in U9 soccer scores than her. Her six-year-old, T.J., has waged war on the neighbors and they’re retaliating. In the midst of it all, T.J. drops a bomb. He thinks he was a terrorist in his last life and has inside knowledge of a plot ten years in the making. He needs her help to foil it.
Desperate to connect with her troubled son, she borrows the half-time wisdom of her eight-year-old’s soccer coach: show support. Easier said than done. T.J. prefers his past life parents, who never argued, and takes advice from a friend who may exist only in his mind. When a letter at work makes similar claims, Ashley starts to believe, much to the frustration of both her husband and her boss. With an unlikely ally in the neighbor who hates them, Ashley risks her marriage and her career to get to the root of her son’s behavior, and possibly stop terrorists in a Spy meets Home Alone conclusion.
Facing imminent death, I think of underwear. My six-year-old dropped worn boxers on the kitchen floor this morning. My business casual pants conceal my own tattered pair. It’s supposed to be poignant memories flashing before my eyes. It’s not. My mind sticks on the current state of my life: disaster and chaos hidden behind the brick façade of my cookie-cutter suburban home. If I die today, family and friends will show up to pay respects. They’ll see my dirty laundry—literally and figuratively.
That can’t happen.
My survival instinct triggered, I face my foes. Training prepared me once, but years without application made the techniques foreign. I quell my anxiety with a deep breath and assess the situation. Two guns. One in front of me. One beside me.
“I’m worth more to you alive,” I say. It’s a tired line. The man beside me laughs.
“Is that the best you can do?”
“It’s hard to think with all these guns in my face.”
He sweeps his eyes up and down my body. “What can you offer me?”
I’m no Bond girl. I shouldn’t even be in the field. I should be at a desk, shoving potato chips into my mouth, scouring the Internet and sifting through nonsensical emails for information to summarize and hand off in the assembly line of national security. I’m here because I don’t have the balls to tell others to do their jobs. When protocol doesn’t work, I just do it. Like a chimp trained by Nike.