Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word count: 60,000
Sixteen-year-old Catalina Bramson has never seen the sky. As a mage, it’s illegal for her to leave the underground city she lives in. But when Catalina stumbles upon a tunnel leading to the surface, she can’t resist the temptation.
Expecting to enjoy a night beneath the stars for the first time, Catalina instead interrupts a savage murderer harvesting faery body parts. Nearly killed, Catalina is rescued by the grim Will Wagner. When Catalina discovers Will suffers from an ancient curse that’s leeching his life away, she vows to save him in turn.
However, the Faery Queen stands in Catalina’s way. The Queen hasn’t forgiven Will’s ancestors for betraying her people and has no intention of lifting the curse. With the bodies of more mutilated faeries turning up though, the Queen strikes a bargain: Catalina must kill the murderer for the Queen to cure Will. The only problem is someone with political power has framed Catalina for the vicious killings and now she’s on the run from the law. To save Will and keep herself out of the gallows, Catalina must not only stop a bloodthirsty murderer, but also prove her innocence.
The last person caught smuggling medicine disappeared, never to be heard from again, after Marshals whisked him away for interrogation. It wasn’t a reassuring thought to have as Catalina stood in line and gnawed on the inside of her cheek. With each step she took toward the Arch, the glass vial hidden within the inside pocket of her vest grew heavier. She’d smuggled medicine into the city before, but it always felt like the first time. She supposed there were just some things you never got used to. Knowing the Arch wasn’t designed to detect her precious cargo didn’t stop her palms from sweating or her stomach from flip-flopping.
“Next.” A scowling guard dressed in a black trench coat with a stiff upturned collar waved her through with an exaggerated wave of his arm as if she’d been dawdling.
Catalina sucked in a breath and stepped beneath the Arch. It wailed, shrill and loud, like a cat in pain. She startled, her eyes widening.
“Hands in the air!”
Catalina held up shaking hands. This couldn’t be happening to her. She’d passed through the Arch dozens of times with the medicine on her and the alarm had never gone off before. Maybe it was a malfunction.
Another guard stepped over and passed a plain black rod over her, starting at her head and traveling down. It glowed white when it neared her vest pocket.
Catalina’s stomach bottomed out. They’d updated their equipment. For once, the law was a step ahead of her.