Title: THE SINNER ROSE
Category/Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 93,000
My Main Character would prefer to live in:
Martia doesn’t know what cold is. Her black magic burns like fire in her veins and, if it didn’t, most of Mithos is desert anyway. It only snows in the north, where the barbarians live, with their pale skin and misogynist laws. If Martia had her way, she’d never see the north, but as guard to Prince Narin, she goes where he goes. A war brews with the northerners, and the prince will insist on being on the front line.
Killing never comes easy, but for eighteen-year-old Martia, exterminating those who fall in love is an uncomfortable reality of being a Deathwalker.
In the country of Mithos, true love is the most dangerous form of black magic, giving the wielder the power to burn through skin and bone. Those who fall prey to it must be eliminated. Born with the ability to identify those overtaken by true love, Martia was raised in isolation and trained to be a killer. She’s feared for what she is and the death she brings.
When Martia is assigned to the palace as a guard for Prince Narin, her worst nightmare is realized: Narin is her true love. She tries to fight the intoxicating spell of the black magic, but Narin’s gentleness makes her dream of being more than a brutal executioner. But when her secret is discovered, Martia must make a decision. She can plunge her sword into Narin’s heart, or choose Narin and become one of the hunted.
First 250 words:
The streets of Yuin are no place for love.
I creep through the night, wearing black in a city of pale stone. Even after dusk, Yuin is bright, the firelight blinding me. I slink further into the shadows cast by the alley’s gleaming wall, tilting away from the flickering glow. Darkness shields better than any armor.
Something clinks to my left. I reach for the polished hilt of my scimitar.
A giggling couple stumble into the alley after a rolling wine bottle. The woman’s sharp snicker drowns out the distant music of stringed vihuelas and beating hand drums. She clutches her sides, bunching up the layers in her floor-length pleated dress. Her glazed eyes rise to meet mine and the laughter squelches.
Dammit. I hate it when people see me. My lips jerk up in a jagged smile.
She grabs the man’s hand and pulls him close. “It’s one of them.”
The man twists in my direction and pales, a whine escaping his throat. They always look at me like that, seeing a monster in the place of a girl. I wish I could shrink back.
I step forward.
The woman whimpers. “Please, don’t kill us.”
Both man and woman are dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-skinned like me, like all Mithoians. An ordinary person would only see two drunken lovers. But I see more. A thin maroon aura twists around the couple, reaching out with ebony tendrils.
The aura of someone with black magic.