Title: Radiant City
Entry Nickname: Samba and Surrender
Word count: 100K
Genre: Adult Erotic Thriller with Paranormal Elements
Brazilian federal enforcer, Ana Mendes, doesn’t have the heart—or the time—for relationships. After losing her father at a young age and watching the world crash down around her because of Radiant, she’s devoted her life to maintaining public order in a post-pandemic Brasilia where half the population is terrified of catching something and the other half seems hell bent on tempting it.
Getting close to anyone is high-risk when Fitbit-style wristbands flash red if wearers are contagious, “crowding” is the new thrill, and guerrilla vaxxers inoculate those who resist vaccination. But one reckless kiss with a sexy American expat starts the slow unraveling of Ana’s defenses. For former Army Special Forces medic, Will Hardwin, whose tattoo is an inked wound from a tragic mission, persuading the driven female agent to surrender her heart might just bring him out of the darkness of his past.
When locals blame a mythic deity of death called Obalu Aye for a string of child abductions, Ana and Will embark on a dangerous chase across Brazil to stop him and rescue a disabled newborn. The growing trust between them awakens a scorching passion, and together they confront the hidden scars of their pasts when modern and mystical worlds collide in a chilling scheme that reaches beyond Brazil’s borders.
Everything Ana thinks she knows about what it means to be a hero will be tested when she and Will uncover the shocking truth behind the abductions, and she becomes the target of a ruthless predator who guards a scientific discovery so monumental those in possession of it will do anything—even kill each other—to protect it.
Ana Mendes slipped through the crowd at Clube do Choro, holding her evening bag close to her body. The light inside Brasilia’s premier dance club was muted, the air redolent with perfume and cigar smoke. Young professionals and couples thronged the bar and packed the tables near the dance floor, empty between sets.
Wearing an elegant black dress that emphasized her slim curves and upswept black hair, Ana might have been just another single woman, come to socialize and listen to traditional Brazilian music. But her purpose for being at the club wasn’t pleasure. She was here to meet a police informant.
As she searched for the man she knew as Marcelo, the house band took the stage to a surge of whistles and applause. Several couples moved closer to the dance floor as the musicians warmed up, leaving space at the bar. Ana took an empty stool, glancing at the B-Well bracelet on the woman seated next to her and the green LED light that indicated she wasn’t contagious. In the five years since the Worldwide Control of Disease Act had been enacted, checking B-Well bracelets had become as routine as saying hello.
She ordered a caipirinha, a cocktail of sugarcane juice and lime, and took a sip as the band started their set with a brisk chorinho that had the listeners undulating their hips and shoulders. The combination of flute, guitar and mandolin was festive and joyful, leading Ana to wonder why the style was known as the “little lament.”
~ VERSUS ~
Title: Nineteen Hours
Entry Nickname: Definitely NOT About Donald Drumpf
Word count: 80K
Genre: Adult Commercial
Twenty-four-year-old Libby Little has spent the last eighteen months as the bodywoman for Catherine Jefferson, the first black, female presidential nominee. When she arrives at work on the morning of Election Day, Libby expects to enjoy the relative calm before the exciting storm of results. But before the first hour is through, she realizes this will be the most difficult day of the entire campaign.
Powerful political donors have discovered Cat’s most personal secret – something she’s hidden since her days serving in the First Gulf War – and they blackmail her for control over her future Administration. Rather than bow to their threats, Cat risks losing the election by exposing the truth herself.
Over nineteen hours, the campaign contends with the fallout: angry protestors, backstabbing Party leaders and even domestic terrorists. Lives are endangered and principles tested to the breaking point. Cat must convince the nation she should be president before the last polls close if she is to save the country from corruption, and Libby’s dreams of life and love in the White House.
I was fourteen minutes late on the day that changed the country. The taxi dropped me off in front of Senator Catherine Jefferson’s brick mansion and with my head buried in briefing notes, I stumbled out of the car by the wrought iron gate. I reached up to press the intercom on the gatepost, but froze before I touched the button.
It wasn't the crisp bite of November in New England that stayed my fingers; it was two matching, silver Bentleys idling at the end of the driveway, intimately close to the front door. My mouth dropped open and I fumbled for the phone in my pocket. Its logo taunted me, slowly spinning round while I waited for the finalized Election Day schedule to load. When at last it did, it confirmed what I already knew – the senator had not planned to meet with the Roche brothers. Certainly not at 5:14 in the morning.
I wracked my brain, trying to remember if anyone had mentioned Waldorf and Statler, as the biggest of the big donors were unaffectionately known to our campaign. Had I missed something at the briefing last night? I took a deep breath and pressed the intercom.
“Come on in, Big Red.” The muffled voice that answered belonged to our campaign manager, Carter James.
Carter loved nicknames. Prided himself on them. But Big Red was too obvious – drawn from my alma mater Cornell and the fact that I am six foot two.