Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Jamie Howard
Mentee Name: Shelby Mahurin
Title: LA DAME BLANCHE
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 105,000 words
For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things—a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife, and a wicked scar. Lou’s death could end the ancient war between the Church and witches, but when she falls in love with one of the Church’s huntsmen, she’s forced to choose: her coven or her heart.
The entire city smelled of fish. Fish and smoke. Even amidst the mouth-watering smells of the festival—the frites and sausages and cheese croissants—the fishy stench lingered.
Coco moaned beside me and looked longingly at a crêpe stand through a break in the crowd. People milled around it, craning their necks to peer down the street.
I nudged her and wrinkled my nose. “Don’t bother with those. Not with Pan’s around the corner. I fancy a bun anyway.”
She grimaced at the ill-fitting suit she wore—a disguise for our latest reconnaissance. It strained in all the wrong places for a man’s body. “You know I can’t eat anything in that patisserie. My hips can’t take it.”
“Coco.” I whirled to face her, the mustache affixed to my lip dangling precariously. “You don’t eat sticky buns for your hips. You eat them for your soul.”
She rolled her eyes as the late summer wind picked up, assaulting us with the unholy stench of fish once more. Golden flags with the royal family’s crest fluttered—the only color on an otherwise dreary street.
Cesarine embodied gray. Dingy gray houses sat stacked atop one another like sardines in a tin, and crumbling streets wound past dirty gray markets and even dirtier gray harbors.
It was suffocating, the gray. Lifeless. Dull.
Still, there were worse things in life than dull. And there were worse kinds of smoke than chimney.