Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Katerina ErmolinIT’S NEWDeborah MaroulisYAContemporary romance72000

Alex Carr knows one thing for sure—guys leave. Her father being a prime example, disappearing into a whole new family. Now, fresh off a summer heartbreak, Alex wants junior year to be nothing more than books, her BFF, and barista-ing—until she meets Nate Wood, a playboy who has been wounded more often than she has.  

When she walks in on him tongue deep in a make out session the day before the school year, she pegs him as a no good player. It’s just her luck when they are partnered together for a semester long English project, but something about the way he shields himself from others draws her in. Alex is determined to keep her feelings at bay, especially when he acts like grades are something rich kids like him can buy, but when they bond over their estranged fathers, a surprise romantic dinner ends with an unexpected kiss. Just when everything seems to be going well, she discovers why he trusts no one—the betrayal he’s experienced runs deeper than she imagined, and she soon realizes she is in over her head.

Now she has a choice to make—to be forever haunted by her past or risk another heartbreak that could hurt her even worse than the last one did. 

IT’S NEW is a YA Contemporary romance complete at 72,000 words with elements of the vulnerability of romance in Our Chemical Hearts and the mystery in Moment of Truth. It is a stand-alone novel with series potential. 

I currently work in Finance in the Silicon Valley. When I’m not crunching numbers or writing, I’m most likely out riding my horse through the California hills. I look forward to writing more novels in the future. 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work. 

Chapter 1

The guy whose hand I was holding was someone most girls would feel privileged to kiss in a dark room at a party. I didn’t. He was a means to an end. I didn’t actually want to sleep with him. I just wanted people to think I did so Dylan would hear about it. 

The crowded hallway left little room to navigate, but I managed to squeeze through the bodies of my intoxicated classmates as I tugged him along, opening door after door searching for an empty room. I slammed it every time the room was taken. People were starting to stare. Good. 

“Damn, Alex,” Austin, a notorious playboy with a good body and a killer grin, snickered behind me. “You really want us to get a room, huh?” 

I ignored him and turned the silver door knob at the end of the hallway, swinging the last one open. 

The hallway light pierced the dark, unveiling a redhead straddling a brown haired boy. I recognized the redhead—Tammy, I think?—but not the boy. She sat up as soon as she saw us, covering her chest with her arms, while the boy, whose fingers stroked her jeans, looked at us and smirked.

“Nice, Nate,” Austin said behind me, approval in his voice. Nate’s attention turned to me. He raked me with his eyes, and the corner of his mouth curled slightly as he sized me up.

“What?” I said through my teeth. 

“Nothing.” Nate’s head drew back, only as far as the pillow would let him. 

His gaze shifted to Austin, who shrugged.

I scoffed. Irritation coursed through me as the guys engaged in their silent contest, no doubt giving each other mental checkmarks for having a girl. Not that either of them “had” us. 

Tammy flushed and quickly climbed off. 

Nate adjusted his jeans and interlaced his fingers behind his head, his smirk making a reappearance. “Do you two want a ticket to the show, or…?” 

“Hardly,” I bit and slammed the door closed. What an ass.

“Well,” Austin said, flashing his infamous panty-dropping grin that had zero effect on me. “We might not have a bed, but my car is parked outside.”

I smashed my lips together, resisting the urge to twist my face in disdain. Austin was good-looking, yes, but I didn’t want to hook up with him that badly. He was just a pawn. Besides, not enough people would see us going to his car and word wouldn’t reach Dylan, which would render this entire charade useless. There were already less people in the hallway than before so even making out here wouldn’t serve any purpose.

Before I could come up with a polite, yet firm rejection, Nate sauntered out into the hallway. His hair was in disarray, sticking up silently in the back and my stomach twisted. It was beyond obvious what had just happened in the room, especially with Tammy smoothing out her hair behind him. 

“Hey.” Austin gave him a fist bump and I seized the opportunity of the change in his attention to flee.