R-11: HONEY AND LEMONS

Title: HONEY AND LEMONS
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 84,000

Pitch: Trans, broke, and miles from home, Aldonza makes one stupid mistake (well, okay, four) and gets her family cursed. To undo it, she must finish an investigation that someone’s trying to stop. With bullets. Great.

First 250 Words:
The way folks in town went on and on about the Edwards, you’d think their mansion would be harder to break into.

I gripped the ivy on the gate, half-expecting the leaves to turn to dust and the vines to snakes. Or for the whole plant to be an illusion—who actually has gates twined with ivy? But the vines held firm. The leaves were slick with rain, but steadier than my cold-numbed hands. On second thought, maybe ivy was how mistreated servants helped thieves.

I got one leg over the top, then the other, and teetered. The grass was too overgrown for me to tell if I was in for a soft landing or a tangle of thorns. All the plants in the garden had spilled out of their original places, now too tall or too old or too dead.

I forced my fingers to unclench and dropped, aiming to land in a crouch. Instead, I ended up with my nose in the grass and my hand caught on a thorny branch. Cat burglary: maybe not my calling.

The stinging from the thorn cuts sliced through the numbness of my hands as I spat out a wet leaf and clambered through the garden. The plants that weren’t shriveled and brown gleamed green-black. Colors in New England looked wrong in the daylight, without the gold glimmers the sun cast back home, but everything looks similar in the dark.

When I reached the carved wooden door, I shivered. From the cold, mostly.

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