Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Kelly Siskind
Mentee Name: J. R. Yates
Title: WITHOUT A WORD
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 87,000
Done with smooth-talking guys, Hanna starts her speech therapy career in an isolated town three hundred miles from disappointment. There she meets Spencer, a quiet Frenchman who wins her trust—and her heart—only to learn he’s her new patient. One more touch could end Hanna’s career and cost Spencer his only chance at finding his voice.
I try not to gag. The disgusting smell in this tin can on wheels has been growing like hair on an old lady’s chin, unpleasant and difficult to ignore.
Breathe. I need to breathe.
Steep jagged walls of stone flank the highway. As my sister’s fingers curl over the hard plastic of the steering wheel, patches of sunlight skitter across her olive skin. Kendra is as dark as I am fair—as exotic as I am plain. Unfortunately, her taste in food is not as impressive as her appearance.
“Did you stash one of your egg and plastic-cheese burrito bombs in here?” The foul odor cramps my sinuses and sticks to my tongue. I cover my nose and mouth with my sleeve-encased hand and twist around, searching for the offensive item.
“No.” She cuffs me on the shoulder. “I ate three before I picked you up.” She shrugs. “I know what a hater you are for plastic cheese.”
I crank down the window on the cube van. Instead of inhaling the expected scent of fresh earth, pine, and wet leaves, a blast of sulfur hits me—hard.
“What’s making that smell?” I pull the neck of my T-shirt over my nose. Kendra rolls her eyes and looks at me like I’m exaggerating.
“Don’t be so dramatic, Hanna. Dryden’s a mill town.”
“Yeah, so?” My voice is muffled through my shirt.
“Didn’t anyone tell you that paper mills make a wicked stench?”