Title: STARS AT MIDNIGHT
Genre: YA light sci-fi
Word Count: 96,000
Seventeen-year-old Talon is one of the New York Assassins’ Guild’s most talented journeymen – and she knows it. She has no doubt that eventually she’ll make guildmaster, where she’ll be able to do the most good for her plague-worn city, helping to clean up crime. The first step is to pass her trials and be promoted to the guild’s elite, though for Talon it’s mostly a formality.
But the trials reveal a different – and darker – side to the guild, and Talon finds herself questioning the morality of what they do. When she’s tasked with eliminating a rogue assassin who’s returned to the city and killed some of her guildmates, she's shattered by the secret she learns about her guildmaster. With a foot on each side, she has to choose between the guild she loves and calls home, or the rogue who wants to destroy it. Dozens will die if she makes the wrong choice... but the right choice might cost even more.
The gravel of the rooftop pressed uncomfortably into my belly as I lay at the building’s edge, waiting. Over the last month I’d established that Monday mornings the target would come here, to this back-alley doorway, out of sight from the public eye. He was careful, never arriving at the same hour, always taking a different route. But not careful enough. I knew he would come. And today I had brought my rifle. Today was the day he would die.
I’d already seen a couple of his girls go in, their faces freshly bruised from the weekend’s work. It was like that every week, over and over, and still the man sent them out. What did he care, as long as they brought him his share of their earnings Monday morning? I could still picture the look on his face: cold, impassive. And the desperate, broken look on theirs. It infuriated me. I wanted him dead.
I peered over the edge at the wooden door, its faded coat of green paint starting to peel. It had been nearly fifty years since the plague had devastated the city. For decades whole neighborhoods had been left to rule themselves, forgotten by the decimated police force. This was one of them. Graffiti painted the walls, litter was caught in the corners. Half the windows were broken or boarded up. The cops rarely made it out this far. It was an appropriate place for a rat like this.
My finger rested lightly beside the trigger.