Nicole Brake – YA Fantasy – CHASING BLOOD AND SCOUNDRELS
Seventeen-year-old bounty hunter Annora is determined to catch the notorious outlaw who nearly stole her life. When she learns the killer has entered a deadly tournament to buy his freedom, she must enter too or risk losing her only shot at revenge.
Annora’s maimed hand is a constant reminder that Gabian Zola—renowned outlaw, killer, and feared Northman— is leaving a string of murders in his wake, and Annora is his only surviving victim. Alongside her best friend and ally, Hellion, the girls bloody their hands on the forsaken streets of the borderlands to prove they’re a force to be reckoned with.
When they learn that Gabian has come out of hiding to compete in an upcoming blood tournament, Annora and Hellion decide to risk their chances of survival to pursue him once again. Recruiting the beautiful Carina, a runaway girl with a bounty on her head, they set out across the savage red desert to finally claim their prize.
During their journey, tempers fray, water skins run dry, and Hellion finds herself drawn to Carina, despite her dangerous secrets. The girls join a dozen mercenaries and outlaws to joust, race, and duel their way to victory, all the while plotting to capture their target. But when Gabian begins to methodically pick off the competitors one by one, it’s clear that Annora and Hellion are more the hunted than the hunters.
CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS is complete at 93,000 words, and is a young adult fantasy novel told in three points of view. It is standalone with series potential.
Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands meets Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls, CHASING BLOOD & SCOUNDRELS showcases the power of female friendship and f/f relationships and will appeal to fans of Susan Dennard and Ryan Graudin.
This manuscript was selected from 1,900 submissions to be a Pitch Wars novel, and was named as a judge’s favourite by Ink & Insights. Over the summer of 2018, I spent three months revising this manuscript with Melissa Welliver as part of the Write Mentor mentorship program.
I’m a Welsh writer and bookworm living near the coast in South Wales, UK. I hold a BA (Hons) in History with a focus on women who shaped the world.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Every inch of Annora’s body ached like a single throbbing bruise following their last job, and if the last six months had taught her anything, it was you can always find new ways to hurt.
The bazaar pulsed around her. Rowdy vendors boasted of teas that would quench the desert’s thirst. Street children squabbled over shady stoops—prime real estate in these forsaken parts. Channelling her frustrations into her heels, Annora hurtled through the narrow alleyway.
Another cruel day in the Borderlands; a day of bloody scrapes, sweaty mayhem, and dry, cracked lips. Another day of trying to keep up with Hellion, who was hot on the heels of the most wanted siblings in Gaurida as if it took no more effort than climbing from her bed this morning. Life was becoming an infinite cycle of bloodying themselves to scrape together opezas for rent while ignoring the hunger gnawing at her. She ached for the taste of an easier life.
“Quit dawdling,” Hellion called, amusement in her voice. Sweat was only now starting to break on her brow.
“Gods, you’re smug.” Annora failed to keep the breathlessness from her voice. “Keep your eyes on the marks! We’re screwed if we lose them.” Sweat pooled in her gloves, inching its way along her scars as she flexed her remaining fingers.
“Not my first time, Nora.” The steel blades strapped to Hellion’s hips glittered under the sun’s unrelenting gaze. Her golden-brown limbs cut short, sharp movements through the alleyway. “Damn it! They’re heading to the pits.”
Annora pressed the fabric of her threadbare headscarf to her nose as the tannery’s stench of animal skins and dye strangled her every breath. Sharply, the auburn-haired twins veered left. The filthy rags wrapping their feet kicking up flurries of red dirt.
The sixteen-year-old siblings had earned their bounty notice by killing their entire family with a hefty dose of wolfs bane. They had no training. No conventional weapons. On paper, this job should be a cinch. In reality, it was a bleeding nightmare.
“You know if you stop now,” Hellion called. “I’ll at least try and resist the urge to throttle you both.”