Title of Manuscript: BLACK HEART, RED RUBY
Genre: YA Gothic Romance
Word Count: 74,000
Seventeen-year-old Ava Nolan grew up in the shadow of her father's obsession with macabre artifacts. An elixir brewed from witches’ blood. A cabinet of mummified cats. And Arabella's Curse, the missing prize in his collection: a ruby with the power to resurrect the dead. With a father who resents her existence, a dead-end job, and her expulsion from school to live down, Ava sets out to recover the ruby and reclaim her self-respect. Lucky for Ava, local legend says the ruby is buried in a crumbling mansion by the sea, not far from her new home.
But life as an amateur relic hunter is not without its share of emergency room visits. Or cutthroat competitors. And nearly plummeting to her death doesn’t terrify Ava half as much as her uncle, a gentleman graverobber with a vendetta against her father and sinister plans for the ruby.
Entangled in a web of family treachery, Ava finds solace with a lonely boy who fills her nights with stolen kisses and her head with ruby lore. But there's something strange about Ben Wolcott. He's a bit too cunning, a bit too preoccupied with keeping Ava out of his basement, and much too interested in Arabella's Curse…
Who knew ruby hunting involved so much backstabbing—not to mention literal stabbing?
First 150 Words:
The boy I caught lurking outside my bedroom window deserved a good beating, but my brother never knew when to quit. Cam’s head, as our dad used to tell my brother’s probation officer, was filled with missiles instead of brains—and it only took a tiny spark to launch WWIII. As his sister and keeper, only I knew how to work the controls.
Diving into the fray, I rammed Cam from the side and broke his stranglehold on the stranger. The creeper collapsed to the ground, choking and wheezing in the weeds. He was a scrawny guy about my age, seventeen, maybe nineteen at the most. Propped against the side of the barn, he looked as pathetic as a tattered scarecrow. Somehow he’d seemed scarier standing in my backyard, a dark prince cloaked in fog and shadow.
His name, we learned after Cam put him in a headlock, was Ben Wolcott.