Title: House of Our Dreams
Genre: Women's Fiction
Word Count: 100,000
Special Question: The Emperor, because power is wickedly delicious.
35 Word Pitch: To fulfill her mother's final aspiration, Serena must restore the dilapidated 1820s house built by her Spanish ancestors. But her relatives each have conflicting plans for capitalizing on the valuable California property.
First 250 Words:
The two-story adobe rose out of the earth, as regal as the sycamores and oaks rooted in the soil. Roof tiles lay scattered on the ground like fallen fruit. The brittle balcony sagged, destined to collapse with the next Santa Ana winds.
Serena wrapped her fingers around the iron gate that separated her from Caramar. Grandma's house. She remembered being young, and dangling her brown legs over the edge of that balcony while her brother Andrew threw avocados at the soles of her sandals.
She had seen the tattered house months before, but then it had been her mother’s project. With her mother gone, Caramar was now her duty.
Behind Serena, Ryan locked the car and popped the lid on a tube of sunscreen. "Holy shit," he said as he glimpsed the house. "It’s a tear down.”
Serena launched the keys at him. Missed. If he had slapped her, it would have hurt less than those words. She already felt a knot of anxiety and helplessness about the house. This moment, she needed encouragement. Her mother buried. Caramar was what remained.
"It's a 150-year-old Spanish adobe," Serena said. "It looks its age."
Ryan scooped up the keys. She snatched them back and slid the cast iron key into the rusted gate. Resistance, stiffness like the lid on a bottle that won’t budge.
"Let me help you." He turned the key and swung the iron gate across the driveway. Rusted hinges hissed like a cornered cat.