Title: Catch My Breath
Word count: 74,500
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Lia Meyers' plan for a relaxing Scottish vacation is short-lived. One uncharacteristic moment of clumsiness lands her in the arms of a dangerously attractive Englishman.
Still reeling from a bad breakup with a controlling, possessive boyfriend, Lia doesn't have the time or patience for Alastair Holden's seduction. Enigmatic and charming, he's exactly what she wants to avoid but can't. He hides behind an impenetrable mask, never allowing anyone to see passed it. The mystery is too tempting for Lia. His quiet intensity lures her, easily breaking apart her attempts to resist him.
Drawn to him, Lia battles with her insecurities. The closer they become, the more she recognizes her own weaknesses as she peels away his layers. Discovering that Alastair is tormented by a painful past, Lia must decide if they can heal one another together or if their deepest fears will tear them apart.
First 250 words:
“Amelia Grace Meyers. Nap time is over. Let’s go. We’re getting picked up at seven for the benefit. I don’t want to be late.”
The blankets were unceremoniously ripped from my body, destroying the warm cocoon I’d wrapped around myself. I sat up with a start, blinded by the bright light spilling from the bedside lamp. Wisps of an unpleasant dream nagged at me. Grabbing the blankets, I flopped back onto the mattress.
“You’re mean,” I whined into the pillow, trying to figure out what the hell my best friend was talking about. And more importantly, where I was. I opened a sleepy eye and saw Stephanie Tempe, all perfumed and primped, standing at the foot of the bed. Oh right. Scotland.
“What time is it?” I yawned.
“Quarter past six. Get up.”
I crawled out of bed, shooting a half-hearted glare in her direction. Why I agreed to go to this event with her tonight was beyond me. I stumbled toward the bathroom, deftly avoiding suitcases that were scattered in a schizophrenic maze on the floor. I’d been in Glasgow for two days and still hadn’t technically seen the outside of this room. Who knew jet-lag could be so vicious?
Twenty minutes, and a furious effort on my part to look presentable, later, our heels clicked in unison on the marble floor in the hotel lobby.
“You totally set a new record for getting ready,” Stephanie remarked as we waited for our ride. I nodded, yawning.
Entry Nickname: Elementary Girl
Title: However Improbable
Word count: 72,000
Genre: YA Alt History Mystery
“People see, but they do not observe.” And to Marigny Sheridan, that is elementary. The Saturday night Sherlock Holmes radio broadcast is a staple in the Sheridan household for one simple reason: deciphering people provides all the entertainment she’ll ever need. Until the Queen’s 50th Jubilee Contest twists the knickers of every eligible teenager in the Empire and Marigny is unexpectedly selected to become the new Saturday night entertainment.
Marigny has no interest in some cockamamie contest. After all, there’s no need for celebration when the British Empire is still going strong well into the 21stcentury. All she cares about is that her fellow contestants are easy to read. Especially the bitchtastically annoying girl from Australia and the street-smart player from Hong Kong. But as soon as she settles in, her Sherlock senses start to tingle. Something doesn’t smell right. And it’s not the smog over London.
The contest wouldn’t be so ridiculous if she could win riches to support her family. But no, the prize is marriage and Marigny isn’t quite ready for that yet. Even if it is to an heir to the throne.
The only boy she bothers to trifle with is Simon Whitaker, a cocky Islander with a dashing smile and slick charm. In the midst of lock picking the contest host's hotel room and butting heads with constables, they discover someone is pulling the contest strings. But when she unearths an Empire secret, Marigny must either bury her inner Sherlock to hide the truth or follow her hunch and lose Simon forever.
First 250 words:
Given the time I’d had to consider it, I would much rather be sentenced to death. Poison or hanging, I had no preference. Yes, it’d be slow and agonizing, but really, that would be merciful compared to what they had in store for me. I wish I hadn’t ever won the damn Sweepstakes for the Colonies. Really, I wish I had listened to my gut and stayed in Maryland.
"Marigny Sheridan,” the brown haired man said, catching my attention. Mostly because he butchered my name. Mare-ig-nee? He said it like I was some horse and iguana hybrid. I wanted to say, “The ‘g’ is silent, idiot,” but I doubted that would have helped my case. I swear he even smelled holier-than-thou, like some volatile mix of expensive perfumes and the dirty stench money leaves on your hand.
With a sharp breath, the man said, “Before we proceed, do you have anything to say for yourself?” If I spoke, it would undoubtedly seal the likelihood of my exile.
Gazing down at the sloppy clothes I’d thrown on that morning, only one thought came to mind: “I wish I could go out in something a bit more flattering.” But then again, I was all out of wishes at that point.