Category/Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 70,000
Is your main character hot or cold?
It’s hard not to burn up on the barren Salt Flats when your veins are flaming from trying to divine water. But despite the heat, Mariana remains cool inside, determined to rescue her family and recover her freedom.
Mariana doesn’t expect her disfigured veins to jeopardize her freedom, but on her sixteenth birthday, she finds that not only are they bulging, they’ve begun to glow and ache when near water. She doesn’t want to accept it, but her survival now depends on her ability to divine water.
When the leader of Mariana’s drove discovers her secret ability, he yanks her away from her family and loans her to a band of raiders in exchange for protection of their water reserve. At least he also sends his brother, Ayden—Mariana’s crush—to guard her, but he’s not much help when he’s put under guard as well.
Held captive, Mariana and Ayden uncover the raider captain’s plot to enslave the droves. If Mariana and Ayden can’t escape the raiders and make their way across a perilous landscape in time to warn the droves, the captain will enslave her family, kill Ayden, and force Mariana to breed with him.
First 250 words:
Mariana’s arms itched. She glanced at her forearms. Her disfigured veins pulsed bright blue, then dimmed. They’re just wet from the rain.
“Hurry,” Papa said.
She grabbed as many clay jugs as she could carry and rushed outside her family’s tent. Rain pounded the parched earth. She set the jugs on the ground and breathed a sigh of relief at the plink, plink of rain on clay.
“Check the barrels.” Papa scrambled from the tent, arms loaded with more empty jars.
Mariana checked the square catchment system. The funnel at the bottom of the canvas was still stretched tight above the barrel and wasn’t clogged. The water flowed easily into their two rain barrels. She smiled at the thunder clouds and closed her eyes as the heavy heat that usually dominated the flats dissipated.
Big drops of rain drenched her clothing until it stuck to her skin. Wind shook the tent poles. She counted sixty seconds between the crash of thunder and the lightning that flashed to the east. She knew they’d need to take cover soon, but she couldn’t resist opening her mouth to catch precious drops to wet her throat.
It’s a good morning. Reaching her arms above her head, she stretched her muscles, sore from working the salt vats. Her sleeves slid down her arms. Sharp needle pricks pulsing in time with the rain drops shot up her veins.
Her arms weren’t just wet—they were glowing.