Genre: Adult Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 80,000
My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:
Carter’s most stressful relationship is with the Grand Canyon. The canyon is always trying to find a new and inventive way to end her life. If not the canyon itself, the people inside it. Sure, Carter’s survival skills could use a little work. Who knew that all those years in college wouldn’t prepare her for drunken tourists perched precariously at the edge of one of the world’s wonders? Carter’s background definitely didn’t prepare her for Isabel, her draconian boss. If Carter isn’t savagely murdered by the canyon, Isabel will ensure she limps away a broken woman.
Heat stroke and flash floods are small matters of survival compared to Carter Westlake’s new boss, Isabel. When Carter abandoned her parents’ plans for her and moved to the Grand Canyon, she knew she was in for the challenge of her life as an Operations Intern. But Carter knew that to find her own identity, she would have to go to a place her parents’ influence couldn’t follow.
The internship program taught her how not to die a cruel death by desert heat. It didn’t say to watch her back for the knives of duplicitous peers, or how to handle a boss who would rather push her over the rim than accept her as a protégé. Isabel expects an intern of exceptional abilities, like she herself had been, and quickly decides to rid herself of inexperienced Carter. With only her studious nature to guide her, Carter is determined to prove that she is more than a city girl in a late-in-life rebellion.
Carter’s parents think she’s ruined her future, the other interns think she’s a joke, and Isabel thinks she’s not worthy. But it’s going to take more than sabotaged survival training and menial assignments to stop her from becoming an official park ranger. Her one comfort is hunky Navajo ranger Niyol, but the strict no-ranger-fraternization policy means her growing romance puts her at even greater risk of being fired.
When young scouts get lost in the canyon, Carter and Isabel are forced to work together to rescue them. They find themselves in a dangerous situation after a flash flood takes them by surprise. Deep in the backcountry, help is days away after the flood destroys all communication methods. With Isabel clinging to life, survival for both women and scouts depends on Carter becoming the wilderness woman she set out to be.
First 250 words:
I used to think freezing to death was a horrible way to die. But after only four hours of being lost in the desert, I’d switched teams. Burning to death was by far the superior excruciating death. Those four hours spent searching for the trail were more than enough time to prove that I was in over my head. Somewhere deeper in the canyon, the other interns were probably filled with sense of vindication while I slowly baked to death under the unforgiving sun.
I bet they were all relaxing in some crystal-clear stream, the crisp water soothing their overheated muscles. They were probably having a great time laughing at the stupid girl who couldn’t even navigate her way out of Ikea. Granted, those stores are designed to trap shoppers and I can’t be the only one who has fallen victim to the layout. At least Ikea had water, shade, and a noticeable absence of rattlesnakes. I would trade just about anything, including my own mother, for just one sip from the germy water fountain. If I had any fluids left in my body, I’d be salivating.
Instead, I separated bone-dry lips to bring a burst of air into my lungs. It tasted hot and stale, warming my chest instead of cooling it off. I needed to find shade before I became another nameless body the rangers had to recover. If they could even find me.

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First rule of field work: don’t become your own statistic.
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