GENRE: YA paranormal romance
The purple crystal on the plastic-covered table only made my palms itch at first, easy enough to ignore. I made fists and tucked them under my sweaty arms, swearing not to touch it.
“Lookin’ for somethin’ particulah, dawlin’?”
I tore my eyes away from the rock’s reflective surface to smile at the white haired black man operating the little booth, ignoring my quickening pulse and tightening chest. Despite the pins and needles flaring up inside my fists, I faked my best dazed-tourist look and glanced around the crowded open-air French Market instead. “Not really. I just moved here.”
The old man looked me up and down, not sweating at all in his polyester pants. “Let me guess. You a Yankee, girl?”
“Is it that obvious?” The sheen that covered my body as soon as I stepped out the door this morning had grown to a dripping sludge. I freed my itching fists. When my tingling fingers slipped toward the stone, I snatched them back empty-handed. “My mom’s from here, though.”
The man gave a low, raspy laugh. “Dat makes you only half-Yankee!”
That didn’t make this sweltering inferno my home, with its crowds of sticky tourists and tacky stores selling cheap plastic crap. I was melting in my jeans, too stubborn to put shorts on today when Mom told me how hot it would get. I hadn’t uttered more than a monosyllable to her at a time since we got into town last night.