Title: Begging to Breathe
Genre: YA mystery
Word count: 50,000
When her archrival Julia winds up doing a literal dead-man's-float in the pool, Tessa Crichton must clear her name from the police--and from herself.
Ever since a near-drowning caused permanent brain damage, Tessa has had memory blanks, episodes where she wakes up and can't remember certain hours. She wishes her brain would erase yesterday's painful loss to Julia, but because weaknesses are never convenient, the hours around Julia's death are empty as Tessa' gold medal case from the day before.
All Tessa wants is to swim, to win, but with most of the suspicion on her, nationals is more stressful than ever. As the last day progresses, she takes it on herself not only to win all her races, but also to find the real killer. Sleuthing is harder than the 200 butterfly, though, and she finds herself with an entire team of suspects--including her boyfriend, her best friend, and her nemesis.
As Tessa investigates the deeper connections between Julia and her teammates, she finds every secret except the one she needs. But this digging is getting dangerous, and if Tessa doesn't clear her name soon, she might uncover another secret for which someone is willing to kill.
I used to wonder what killing someone would be like. But then, I used to wonder about a lot of things. For a while, I wondered about being a sixteen-year-old college freshman. About whether boys really were as sexy as the movies made them seem. About living on shitty cafeteria food.
But mostly I wondered about killing someone.
I pictured it in so many different ways—an axe splitting the skull with blood gushing like a chocolate fountain onto my shoes. A rope squeezed tightly around a neck as limbs twitched around me. Even the quiet ways, like a meal where the mouth froths before the poison registers. Horror in the eyes. Accusation. Finally, grudging admiration. Because I won.
It happened differently.
And I didn’t like it half as much as I wanted to.
It’s six AM, and I’m crawling out of bed. The junior next to me doesn’t stir, even though I’m not trying to be quiet. After two seasons together, sharing hotel rooms, she’s pretty used to weird sleeping habits. Especially mine.
Swimsuit. Cap. Goggles. Check, check, check. Water bottle and power bar. I step into a pair of way-too-tiny shorts and pretend I don’t know that half my ass is falling out. Big baggy sweatshirt on top, and suddenly I’m more frump than tramp.