TITLE: GLIMPSES OF ME
GENRE: Dark YA Contemporary Ownvoices
WORD COUNT: 70,000
Is your antagonist hot or cold?
My antagonist, Mr. Rhodes – a high school teacher at Mesa Valley Prep -- is on the snowy side. He’s cool. Calculating. He knows what he wants. He has a plan and he’s patient. Mr. Rhodes sets his sights on seventeen-year-old Asmah and believes his charisma will convince her to ignore her upbringing and better judgment, and fall prey to his predatory grooming.
Asmah Richards, a seventeen-year-old African American Muslim, is every parent’s dream. She’s the Senior Class President, on track to be valedictorian and plans to become a lawyer like her father; the perfect career path for the perfect student. Then, the summer before her senior year, Asmah meets Mr. Rhodes, a handsome young teacher who offers her the kind of attention she didn’t know she wanted … until he offers it.
Although she’s infatuated with Mr. Rhodes and their secret rendez-vous, Asmah can’t bring herself to take the final step and go all the way with the teacher. Fear and guilt force her to sever all connections with him. Deep down inside, she knows the interaction is very wrong.
A year later, Mr. Rhodes is arrested for criminal sexual contact of a fourteen-year-old girl. Someone Asmah knows. If she comes forward, her family’s reputation – and her own – in the Muslim community will be destroyed. If she says nothing the predatory teacher could go free. Asmah must decide which is worse: the deep shame of speaking out or the overwhelming guilt of staying silent.
GLIMPSES OF ME fills a needed gap for Muslim voices with its gritty realism, while addressing the grooming process in a cautionary way. This novel can be described as Even When You Lie to Me meets Saints & Misfits.
First 250 Words
My gaze lingered on the empty champagne bottles on last night’s room service tray. The dull pain in my head reminded me I was alive.
It was 4:30am, and I found little warmth under the thin, hotel sheets. I inched off the king-sized mattress and the cool, refrigerated air hit my bare legs. His oversized tee shirt skimmed me mid-thigh so I eased a blanket around myself. The single chair beside the bed became my cell.
Sleep eluded me. Parker’s breathing brought it all back. The muscular physique still asleep on the bed was perfection to me.
Yesterday’s outfit was folded on the bedside table. I brought the bundle to my face and inhaled the hints of aftershave embedded in my clothes.
Dry the damn tears and get it together.
I wanted to trace the outline of his chiseled abs but tiptoed to the bathroom instead. When I looked in the mirror, my reflection didn’t reveal my new status as a sinner. My shame didn’t wash away in the shower; it was now affixed to my skin.
I emerged from the bathroom fully clothed. A single ray of morning sunshine brightened his hotel room. A clean towel that faced towards Mecca served as my prayer rug. As I finished my morning prayers, Parker sat up and stared at me.
His powerful arms could lift me back onto the bed. We could finish what we started last night.
All I had to do was ask.