Age category and Genre: Adult Thriller/Eco-thriller
Word count: 108, 000
While at a symposium in Key West, herpetologist Kylie Marx is thrown into the investigation to solve the slaughter of rare endangered skinks. And if that's not enough, an infestation of snakes, scorpions, and a variety of creepy crawlers invades the small island. With a looming anti-venom shortage, Kylie and her fellow scientists scours the town to milk venomous reptiles and amphibians to make anti-venom. Kylie fears she won’t have enough for everyone. She explores the option of creating synthetic anti-venom. Until things take a serpentine turn for the worse. She deduces that the man responsible for the outbreak is the same person who left her for dead in the Everglades twelve years ago. Now Vaughan St. Croix breeds dangerous hybrid snakes and sells his poached kills on the black market. His evil presence is no coincidence. It coincides with the National Zoological Symposium for Endangered Species.
St. Croix threatens Kylie and her new friends with an ultimatum: produce a vial of synthetic anti-venom for his deathly ill sister by midnight. Or watch those around her succumb to fatal venom.
First 250 words
Kylie studied the Solomon Islands dark green skinks climbing the glass walls of its tank in slow motion. Such a rare species to exhibit, she examined the long slender male consuming a diet of fruits and vegetables. On a quiet morning at the reptiles section of the Naples Zoo, she waited for the female to emerge and be courted. Before she could check the Key West Mole Skinks in the second tank, her older sister bolted into her office.
Penny breathed heavily as she came to a halt. “Kylie! Did you check your texts?”
“No. What’s up?”
“All your hard work finally paid off. You got the grant!”
“You’re kidding. How do you know?”
While Penny explained the details of her financial endowment for research, Kylie’s heart wanted to explode with joy. This was a big opportunity for her to shine!
Giddy with excitement, Kylie hugged her sister. “I kept wondering when I would hear. I thought I wasn’t going to get it.” With no word on their end, she feared they turned down her proposal for her research.
“I know it’s last minute. But the National Zoological Symposium is worth it.” She paused. “But we’re going to look into the delay, while you get your ass to the airport.”
Both Kylie and Penny worked at the Naples Zoo in Caribbean Gardens, a nonprofit organization cooperating in conversation, both inside and outside the wild for endangered species.
“When’s the flight?” Kylie asked.
“It leaves in two and a half hours.”
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