TITLE: BLACK HEART, RED RUBY
GENRE: YA Gothic Romance
The boy I caught lurking outside my bedroom window deserved a good beating, but Cam never knew when to quit. My brother’s head, as our dad used to tell Cam’s probation officer, was filled with missiles instead of brains—and it only took a tiny spark to launch WWIII. As his sister and keeper, only I knew how to work the controls.
Diving into the fray, I rammed Cam from the side and broke his stranglehold on the stranger. The creeper collapsed to the ground, choking and wheezing in the weeds. He was a scrawny guy about my age, seventeen, maybe nineteen at the most. Propped against the side of the barn, he looked as pathetic as a tattered scarecrow. Somehow he’d seemed scarier standing in my backyard, a dark prince cloaked in fog and shadow.
His name, we learned after Cam put him in a headlock, was Ben Wolcott.
“I don’t get you, Ava.” Cam scrubbed the sweat from his buzz cut. “You wanted me to talk to him and here I am—” He kicked Ben in the ribs. Ben groaned and hacked up a string of bloody spittle. “Talking.”
“Stop it!” I latched onto Cam’s brawny forearm and dragged him away from Ben. “He’s had enough, you idiot! Stop it!”
Cursing under his breath, Cam whirled around and booted a rusty wheelbarrow instead.
I slumped against the wooden fence and watched the fog swirl around the orchard of twisted apple trees.