Category/Genre: YA MYSTERY
Word Count: 55,000 words
My main character is uncomfortable with:
Noble’s immersed in scoping out the houses of her pet sitting clients, a good snow storm would totally put a chill on her mojo.
Fifteen year-old Noble Martin will do anything to make the Hampton Hills High School cheer squad, even if it means performing a risky initiation stunt like breaking into a teacher’s house to rearrange the furniture. Too bad she drops her phone inside the house. When she returns to retrieve it, she sees a police car in the driveway and an ambulance speeding toward the house. She bolts out of there, only to discover later that the teacher was found dead at the bottom of the stairs.
When someone returns Noble’s phone along with an email that includes a photo of her inside the house, she knows someone else was there that night. She begins to wonder if the teacher fell or if she was pushed. Then someone starts robbing the houses of Noble’s pet sitting clients and rearranging their furniture. Taunting text messages after each of the robberies confirm Noble’s theory that she’s being set up for the crimes. She decides to scope out the remaining houses on her pet sitting schedule hoping to catch the real culprit, but what if it’s someone she knows? And worse, what if that person is a killer?
First 250 words:
I waited that night behind the thorny bushes in Hobslinger’s front yard. An evening downpour had swept through, leaving the night hot and sticky, and me, soaked and sweaty. The cute pair of black skinny jeans I’d picked for their camouflage value clung to my legs in thick rolls that made me resemble a Shar-pei dog from the waist down. My calves ached from crouching in one position. But I didn’t dare move for fear of being seen.
Instead, I studied the house. It was Tudor-style with brown planks of wood and gingerbread windows. It reminded me of the ones I read about in fairytales, the especially Grimm ones where children were ransomed to giants to spare the family goat. I wondered if that was why Hobslinger bought the place—for its fairytale curb appeal. I could imagine her offering up poison apples to the neighborhood children on Halloween, so it was definitely a possibility.
“Noble, think she’s home?” Sarah whispered, her breath, warm against my ear, stunk like stale cotton candy. I looked back at her as she popped another tootsie pop in her mouth. Sarah’s got a wicked sugar addiction she doesn’t like to talk about.
“Instructions said she’s supposed to be at some church meeting.”
I’d read those instructions over and over until they were singed into my memory and then I burned them along with the pretty white envelope they came in. Leaving evidence behind of our crime would give Taylor more rope to hang us with—not that she needed anything more.