Title: RADIANT CITY
Entry Nickname: Samba and Surrender
Word Count: 100K
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance with Erotic Elements
Brazilian federal enforcer, Ana Mendes, doesn’t have the heart—or the time—for relationships. After losing her father at a young age and watching the world crash down around her because of the Radiant virus, she’s devoted her life to maintaining public order in a post-pandemic Brasilia where half the population is terrified of catching something and the other half seems hell bent on tempting it.
In a time when police enforce laws requiring citizens to wear infection-detection bracelets, and guerrilla vaxxers inoculate those who resist vaccination, getting close to anyone is high-risk. But one reckless kiss with a sexy American expat starts the slow unraveling of Ana’s defenses. For Will Hardwin, a wounded ex-Army medic, persuading Ana to surrender her heart might just bring him out of the darkness of his past.
When locals blame a fabled urban bogeyman for a string of child abductions, Ana and Will embark on a dangerous chase across Brazil to uncover the truth. Ana resents being paired with a consultant, even one as qualified as Hardwin, but the growing trust between them awakens an explosive passion, and together they confront the hidden scars of their pasts when they discover the shocking truth behind the abductions.
Now, the ruthless predator they’ve been chasing is hunting Ana. With time running out, and children’s lives in the balance, she’ll have to choose: face her shadowy enemy alone and probably end up dead, or risk the life of the man she's falling for to take down a mythical killer and destroy a biological threat even deadlier than Radiant.
Clube do Choro screened B-Well bracelets at the door, but Ana still felt uneasy walled-in by so many people. She slipped through the crowd, holding her evening bag close to her body. The light inside Brasilia’s premier dance club was muted, the air thick with perfume and cigar smoke. Young professionals and couples thronged the bar and packed the tables near the dance floor, empty between sets.
As she searched for Marcelo, the house band took the stage to a surge of whistles and applause. Ana hoped that her informant, who had ties to various crime rings in Brasilia, would know something about last night’s ambulance hijacking. A baby boy inside the vehicle had been scheduled for a life-saving operation, but had never arrived at the hospital in Brasilia. Police found the ambulance abandoned outside the city limits, wiped clean of prints, and minus its three-hundred-pound transport incubator.
They probably just wanted the incubator, she reasoned. Theft of medical equipment was rampant since the Outbreak, as fear of catching Radiant from contaminated equipment in hospitals resulted in an explosion of devices being sold on the black market for home use. If their objective was the incubator, Ana had to believe, the baby was probably dead.
Several couples moved closer to the dance floor as the musicians warmed up, leaving space at the bar. Ana took an empty stool, glancing at the B-Well bracelet on the woman seated next to her and the green LED light that indicated she wasn’t contagious.