TITLE: Finding Zuza
GENRE: YA urban fantasy
There were currently three things wrong in Zuza’s world. One, it was her last year to be kissed for the first time. If she turned sixteen before this happened, she would die of embarrassment. Two, her papa was trying to replace her with the spawn of the housekeeper. No explanation needed there. And three, some tattooed punk was following her.
She walked faster.
Three frat-boy-looking guys lounged on the porch of a chopped-up Victorian, probably taking a break from hazing recruits. They called out to her.
“Hey, beautiful. Want some beer?”
“Ewww, no,” she mumbled without looking up. They were statutory-rape-creepy, but she cut them some slack because she did look older than fifteen. She’d been into heavy makeup since her papa’s wedding. Raccooning her eyes each morning took the edge off living in a house with two lovey-dovey people.
She blew past the Victorian and turned the corner. Footsteps followed her. A breeze rustled her curls like an approaching cold front. She wondered if people would see it as especially tragic if she were murdered only blocks from her papa’s office. Maybe he would even feel guilty. No, his new wife would squeeze out her wrinkled turtle-baby early to distract him from her memory.
Zuza maneuvered her pack so she could reach her back pocket. She pulled out a stick of gum and chewed it furiously. A peppermint high, familiar and reassuring, filled her as she trotted across the road. There was no sense in dying with bad breath.