Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #7

Genre: YA Fantasy with Paranormal elements

Word Count: 95,000


Seventeen year-old senior, Kyra Siefert races toward two goals - a full track scholarship to college and defending her state cross-country title. However, things change when Kyra is attacked while on a training run. Now trying to forget about the mugging becomes priority number-one. Until she falls for Aidan, the too-chivalrous-for-his-own-good guy who sits next to her in Calc.

Eighteen year-old Aidan MacGregor might be immortal, but he's not invincible. Grieving and guilt-ridden over the death of his twin almost two years ago, Aidan uses his expressive drawings as an escape. Until he falls for Kyra.  But since he's bound by a strict code of honor, Aidan can't tell her he descends from a Highland Clan of Celtic immortals, guardians of an ancient Masonic treasure trove.

In this Romeo & Juliet meets Highlander, Kyra becomes the pawn for one rogue immortal pursuing a sacred artifact protected by Aidan's clan, and another seeking to settle a centuries-old blood feud. Aidan must make an impossible choice: betray his family or protect the girl who's claimed his heart. But, Kyra's hiding a deadly secret that may cost her the boy she loves, unless she can trust him with more than just her heart.  

FORBIDDEN SECRETS weaves contemporary teenage life with the danger of forbidden love and the enchanting intrigue of Celtic legend. Complete at 95,000 words, this YA fantasy will appeal to fans of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely or Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush series. FORBIDDEN SECRETS was a finalist in the 2011 Windy City RWA Chapter's Four Season Contest.

First 250:

I always failed at ordinary.

Ordinary wouldn't have weird, freaky, come-true dreams or a scar that ached when something god-awful was about to happen. Ordinary wouldn't have guilt hanging over her head like an anvil. And ordinary would've snuggled under the warmth of her down comforter, especially on a rain-soaked Sunday. Instead, I dashed down the hardwood stairs with iPod in hand, prepared to hammer through a six-mile run in under forty-two minutes.

Mom sat at the kitchen table, reddish-blonde curls sprouting in all directions. She squeezed her forehead, like trying to stave off a tension headache. Without looking away from the newspaper, she handed me my cell phone. "Sweetheart, do us both a favor. Humor your father with a response."

Dad's text read: Love the hills and they'll love you back. Before I'd finished reading his long distance pep talk, the phone chirped again.  Be one with the mud.

I chuckled.  "He must be really bored.”  

Mom pointed to the headline of the Sports section: WMSU Football: Coach Siefert Under Fire after 23-3 Loss.

I skimmed the article implying Dad’s contract wouldn’t be renewed next year.  

Tiptoeing around his potentially foul mood, I tapped out a quick reply: Got it Dad. Have a safe flight. Love your mud-loving, puddle-jumping machine.

As I tightened my ponytail, pins and needles prickled the two-inch scar between my thumb and wrist. Dr. Gruen said scar tissue after my surgery caused arthritis; but I'd connected the dots - my scar only hurt when something dreadful loomed on the horizon.

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