Title: THE SINNER ROSE
Word Count: 93,000
Genre: YA Romantic Fantasy
Killing never comes easy, but for eighteen-year-old Martia, exterminating those who fall in love is an uncomfortable reality of being a Deathwalker. In the kingdom of Mithos, true love is the most dangerous form of black magic, giving the wielder the power to burn through skin and bone. Those who fall prey to it must be eliminated. When war breaks out on the border and the rival nation attempts to assassinate Prince Narin, Martia’s enlisted to guard him. Their eyes meet, and her world freezes at first sight—the initial symptom of true love. She tries to fight the magic’s intoxicating spell, but Narin insists they can overcome it. When the other Deathwalkers discover her secret, Martia must decide: plunge her sword into Narin’s heart, or choose Narin and become one of the hunted. Both choices will leave Mithos without an heir and bring ruin to the kingdom.
The streets of Yuin are no place for love.
I creep through the night, wearing black in a city of pale stone. Even after dusk, Yuin is bright, the firelight blinding me. I slink further into the shadows cast by the alley's gleaming wall, tilting away from the flickering glow. Darkness shields better than any armor.
Something clinks to my left. I reach for the polished hilt of my scimitar.
A giggling couple stumbles into the alley after a rolling wine bottle. The woman's sharp snicker drowns out the distant music of stringed vihuelas and beating hand drums. She clutches her sides, bunching up the layers in her floor-length pleated dress. Her glazed eyes rise to meet mine and the laughter squelches.
Dammit. I hate it when people see me. My lips jerk up in a jagged smile.
She grabs the man's hand and pulls him close. "It's one of them."
The man twists in my direction and pales, a whine escaping his throat. They always look at me like that, seeing a monster in the place of a girl. I wish I could shrink back.
I step forward.
The woman whimpers. "Please, don't kill us."
Both man and woman are dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-skinned like me, like all Mithoians. An ordinary person would only see two drunken lovers. But I see more. A thin maroon aura twists around the couple, reaching out with ebony tendrils.
The aura of black magic.