For sixteen-year-old Emma Hawthorne, a touch is never simple. Even brush of skin can draw emotion from another person, like drawing poison from a wound. Only one person has ever been able to keep her empathic abilities in check--and Gabriel left four years ago. Now that her best friend is dead, a death that wasn't an accident, she needs Gabriel more than ever.
When Gabriel comes home for the summer, their connection to one another is stronger than ever and his calm presence helps Emma regain control of her life and her abilities. Just as their childhood friendship kindles into something more, Emma captures the attention of Patrick, a Soul-Eater who promises to free her from the constant bombardment of extrinsic emotions. The cost? Everything that makes her human.
Gabriel steps in to protect Emma, revealing that he is a Guardian, dedicated to hunting and killing monsters like Patrick. But with Gabriel and Patrick h***-bent on destroying each other, Emma realizes she is the only one who can end the battle--and only if she embraces her abilities. Faced with a choice between an immortal, yet soulless existence or fighting for a single lifetime of danger and heartache, she must figure out what she really values and if she is willing to pay the price for her decision.
RIVERS UNDERNEATH is a 63,000 word YA urban fantasy. I have included the first 250 words with this e-mail as requested in your submission guidelines.
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A shiver ran down Emma’s spine as she watched a cluster of mourners gather around the fresh grave below her. They clung to one another, finding comfort in the knowledge they did not mourn alone.
On either side of her, dark pathways wove between twisted trees, dividing the cemetery into irregular sections. Name etched in soft, malleable limestone endured as faded reminders of mortality, while glossy marble monuments stood in polished defiance of the strains of time.
Emma shifted her feet and the frozen dew clinging to the grass crackled under her. The wind shaped her dark hair into softly waving tendrils and she brushed it away from her face with the back of her hand. She knew she should join the other mourners. She knew they expected her to share in their public display of sorrow.
And she knew she couldn’t.
She felt numb. Far too numb to grieve. The slightest touch, the slightest betrayal of emotion and she would lose everything.
She remained frozen, a silent witness to their grief. She saw every detail in stunning clarity. The lurid green of the indoor-outdoor carpet covering the hole in the ground and the cold, dead smoothness of the coffin that contained the mortal remains her best friend. The hardened ground and dull sky burned in her mind. Overwhelming sorrow surrounded her, but she felt none of it.
She knew her parents were worried. Not that she blamed them. She’d never handled loss well. She’d nearly self-destruct when Gabriel left.