PW #317: Young Adult Contemporary: THE BUSINESS OF BLACKMAIL

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Sonia Hartl
Mentee Name: Kelsey Rodkey
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 78,000


Seventeen-year-old Morgan has done her share of blackmailing, but when her ex-boyfriend turns the tables on her, she must do what he wants or risk exposing her thieving past to everyone who matters. When her newest mark becomes her newest crush, Morgan must decide whose future is more important: hers or his.


There’s a certain etiquette one must use while ringing up personal items at Sally Sue’s Grocery Mart. For example, a cashier should greet them with a smile and never question their purchases. But no such etiquette can be followed when the customer is my douche ex-boyfriend, and he’s buying condoms.

It’s a slow Sunday night at work with only one customer in the last hour, and I’m the lucky cashier stuck on register while others push carts outside or return misplaced items to the correct shelves. Tyler Murphy, asshole, walks straight at me to buy some ridiculously sized condoms, in bulk packaging, as if he’d ever have a use for that many. I arrange my features into a forced smile to hide my dread. I think it comes out more like a cringe, though.

“Morgan.” His dull blue eyes avoid my withering gaze. “I see you’re still slumming it here.”

“I see you’re still a prick.” I take the box of condoms off the register belt and scan it.

He narrows his eyes, adjusting his thick gray coat. “You haven’t manipulated your manager into giving you a raise yet? That’s not like you.”

“If I recall correctly, manipulating people was always more your thing than mine, and besides, I’ve been known to slum it every once in a while. I dated you, didn’t I?”

A condescending smile slithers its way onto his face. “We could always go back in business if running your mouth gets you fired here.”

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