Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 76,000
My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:
My main character’s most stressful relationship is with her manager, Jack. When Jack saves Dani from an attacker at the docks, she suffers from a mild case of hero worship. Jack’s sexy Latino looks don’t help. But Jack runs hot and cold, one minute making her think he likes her, the next ignoring her. When he sets Dani up as the scapegoat for a theft aboard the cruise ship where they work, causing Dani’s new boyfriend to turn his back on her, she is furious—that is, until she learns the reason for Jack’s treachery.
Seventeen-year-old Dani Rodriguez knows she’s a freak. What else do you call a girl who can heal herself instantly? Haunted by memories of the night her parents died—the same night she discovered her powers—Dani runs away from her foster home and uses a fake identity to obtain work on a cruise ship.
Under the warm Caribbean sun, Dani meets a handsome young cowboy from Wyoming and thinks she’s finally put the past behind her. But when a black-clad stranger chases her at night and an island adventure turns deadly, it’s clear someone is after her. She learns too late that she’s not the only freak, and that a man named Arthur Francis Winston collects people like her, using their abilities for financial gain. His interest in Dani, however, is more personal. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants—for Dani to heal him of his fatal cancer.
When Winston kidnaps Dani and demands she cure him, she falters. She doesn’t believe she’s capable of healing anyone but herself. After all, she failed her parents. To make matters worse, Dani’s young cowboy tries to save her but is captured by Winston. She is given a choice: find the strength to meet Winston’s demand, or risk both her life and the life of the boy she loves.
First 250 words:
“She’s a freak. I want her gone—now!” The heavy, masculine voice vibrated with a combination of disgust and barely controlled rage. Outside, a siren blared in the distance, providing background music for his declaration.
“Jim, we can’t just send her back. You know we need the money,” his wife reasoned.
“The state should be paying us triple to look after her. None of the other kids were freaks.”
Outside the kitchen, Dani leaned against the wall and prayed they’d send her back to Child Protective Services. She’d been placed with a couple of beastly families over the years, but none were as frightening as Jim and Irene Sanford. She had only been with them a week, and it had been almost too much to bear. Another week would surely kill her.
“Let’s hold on to her until the end of the month, when the state makes the deposit. If we can’t control her by then, we’ll send her back and get someone else.” Irene was a scrappy, nervous little woman. Anyone else would have been scared to be married to a brutal man like Jim, but Irene didn’t seem to mind.
“The end of the month, then,” Jim agreed. “But if she tries another sideshow act like she did yesterday, I won’t be held accountable for my actions.”
On the other side of the wall, Dani began to shake involuntarily. Until the end of the month? She didn’t know if she could make it that long. She couldn’t help the “sideshow acts.”