Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 96,000
Pitch: There were horrors in the desert that 16-year-old Akhtimet had never imagined. Horrors with the faces of men. But she survived them – every last one – and now the Firedrake will help her get her revenge.
It was raining outside and that’s what woke her: the sound of the rain pounding on the roof above her. But the rain, this rain was not like the mists and monsoons that soaked the earth and nourished the fields around the village. This was the Draka-Ushut, the Dragon Rain – a deluge of ash and stone and bits of volcanic glass coughed up by the great, quaking mountain to the east. Once it started, it would go on for hours, and no one, no matter how hard of hearing, could sleep through its cacophony of sound. So Akhtimet lay still and simply listened as the Dragon Rain rattled and thumped against the roof of her father’s small home.
A tapping came at her bedroom window just a short time later and she turned her head to see a tall, slim shadow limned in moonlight.
“Usaan,” she whispered, scurrying from her bed and pushing the panes wide. The Dragon Rain was in full swing, pelting the buildings, the streets, everything outside. She grabbed his arm and helped him inside before pushing the window firmly closed. “What are you doing? If Father catches us -,”
“Shh,” Usaan said, lifting a finger and laying it across his lips. He dusted his hands across clothes and hair and then took her hand and padded silently across the floor. “Wanted to make sure you were alright.”
“Liar. You came to steal kisses,” she said as they settled on the bed.
“Well, maybe.” He smiled and leaned in, placing a soft kiss on her cheek.
MURDER MOST FOUL
Mr. Boddy is draped over one of the potted bushes in the conservatory, bleeding from multiple head wounds, each a perfect small circle. Seeds are sprinkled over his body and the floor, and an empty packet of Floribunda Rose seeds lies in the trash.