Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Vanessa Carnevale
Mentee Name: Anna Collins
Title: THE RELUCTANT TRAVELER
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 90,000
High school teacher Kristin Caine doesn’t travel—that’s for people with no sense of self-preservation. But when she finds herself pregnant, single, and talked into helping her overbearing dying mother complete a bucket list, plans change. As a journey of physical challenges, belated mother-daughter bonding, and unexpected romantic feelings for a new female friend ensues, Kristin must find the courage to live life fully and fearlessly, one bucket-list checkmark at a time.
If I was a color, I’d be gray—or so my mother told me once when I was fourteen. Not her nicest assessment of my person perhaps, but also not the worst. Besides, at this very moment, with a cruiser’s blue and red lights spinning in the rearview, I hope it will serve me well as I try to blend into the clay-hued cloth of the passenger seat.
“Fudge puppets,” Patrick mutters, hands at ten and two. He tilts his face to the ceiling, nudging his glasses off kilter. “That’s going to be another $130. Told you we should have stayed home.”
“Or stuck to the speed limit,” I whisper to my window. It’s his second ticket this year, one more and he’ll be a car-less traveling IT consultant. Awesome.
Three sharp knuckle-raps on the window, and Patrick lowers the pane. “Hello, Officer.”
The hint of a smile in his voice is cringe-worthy. He doesn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed about this.
“License and registration, please.” The officer’s deep voice has the haggard drawl of a teacher at the end of a long day wrangling unruly teenagers. I would know.
Patrick starts digging for his wallet.
“I clocked you twenty over the limit,” the officer says. “In a hurry?”
Patrick hands him the documents. “Well, Sir, we’re late for a family get-together.”