Friday, June 19, 2015

Team Maries #6: MONTANA GOLD

Genre: YA adventure
Word count: 85,000


For perpetual slacker Simon, graduating from high school just means his parents are going to force him to stop playing video games and actually make decisions about his future. When he finds a map his miner great-great-great-great-uncle left to a hidden cache of gold, he decides getting out of town--and putting off any major decisions--sounds like a good idea. He cashes in his graduation checks and hops a plane to the wilds of Montana, but it doesn’t take him long to realize he’s in over his head.

Savvy local Maggie takes pity on the city boy, but not because she finds Simon's snobby Eastern accent charming. Finding the gold is her last chance to pay off her father’s crushing debts and stay in the town she loves, and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process.

As Simon and Maggie follow the clues, what started out as a fun adventure turns serious when they’re stranded in the woods and word of the gold gets around to the wrong people. But Maggie’s warming up to him, and Simon starts to wonder if his future might just include her--not to mention the rugged beauty of Montana. They’ll have to outsmart a crazed mountain man, drug smugglers, and the wilderness itself if he wants to live to find out.

First page:

The day Simon found the letter with the first clue to his great-great-great-great-uncle's gold started out just as dismal as most days. In the morning, he graduated from high school. A class of three thousand, seven hundred, and forty-one pretty much guaranteed a comatose audience by the time they got to Wexler, Simon.

Afterward, instead of giving Simon a break, maybe a little time to shower off the rented gown stink, his parents informed him that he was having a surprise graduation party. Simon's former classmates must have been more impressed by his Dartmouth-professor parents than he was, because there were over a hundred people at their house by four thirty. He escaped to the backyard and was sitting on the edge of the pool with his shoes off and dress pants rolled up when his best friend found him.

"This party blows chunks," Matt said, flopping down beside Simon.

"I had nothing to do with it," Simon said. "I take no responsibility for its vomit-inducing properties.”

"MageWars later?”

"Definitely." A few hours of the best online game in the universe would go a long way toward erasing the suck of the day.

The porch door whacked open behind them. Simon kept his eyes forward. If he had any luck at all, it would just be someone coming out for a smoke.

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