PW #422: Adult Women's Fiction: A SILENCE WORTH BREAKING

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Manuscript status: Finished

Mentor name: Holly Faur
Mentee name: Brian Palmer
Category: Adult
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 82,000


After a mysterious voice tells her she has ten thousand words left to speak before she dies, Annaliese trades popularity for silence—until she meets Colton. Despite his tormented past, he reminds her to live, not just survive, and that love—star-crossed or otherwise—is worth risking her life for.


I haven’t spoken in five years, eight months, and eighteen days. You’re probably wondering why, and I’ll tell you if you hang on a bit. Right now I’m guessing how long it’ll take the new barista at Stumptown Coffee to have a weird reaction to what I’m about to do. I’ve got the over/under at five seconds, and I’m taking the under.

The coffeehouse is warm and stuffy from the flood of customers spilling in on this chilly October morning. The sea of harried faces and disheveled appearances juxtaposes nicely against soft lighting and the cozy, earthy tones of Stumptown’s decor. I feel a twinge of guilt for being able to wait patiently in line because I can start work whenever I please (hooray for self-employment!). I wonder what—


The cashier grins and nods expectantly as I step forward.

“What can I get you?” he asks in a friendly tone.

I take a piece of paper out of my pocket and hand it to him. This is how I order coffee, and the note explicitly states to return the note after they’ve read it. My name’s written at the end (I’ve thought of everything) so they don’t have to ask. Mr. Newbie takes the note, glances at me, then studies the paper. He rubs a hand across his strawberry blond stubble before it drifts up to his matching wavy hair, running through it absentmindedly a few times.

Come on…you can do it. Get weird on me.


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