Hello, everyone. It's been forever, I know. This semester, I finally took the plunge into creative writing. I will probably die poor, but at least I can wake up and love my job. Here is a taste of my newest project. I have decided to move out of the young-adult genre and into something new. I am still keeping with the supernatural theme, of course. Please, let me know what you think. I appreciate your honest feedback.

Wilde Thing

Alex Wilde never believed in monsters. As a child, he never cowered under the blankets or slept with the lights on. He never questioned the scrape of branches outside his window. And unlike other boys his age, his imagination never ran away with campfire stories.

From the day he turned eleven, his future was set. His older brother had bet him ten dollars to spend the night in an abandoned hospital. Alex raised the wager to twenty bucks and waited out the first blush of morning. Despite the eerie moaning and banging pipes, his concern had been homeless people and rabid animals rather than ghosts lurking in the bowels of the building. That night, his fire for the truth was ignited.

Thirteen years later, the flames were still burning strong. He had forged a career from the furnace, signed on with a television network that paid better than his older brother, and chased after some of the most frightening monsters in the world. But rather than expose the legends he had set out to destroy, Alex fueled them in the minds of viewers across the country.

Flicking his cigarette to the sidewalk, he lifted his gaze and stared down one of the scariest monsters of them all. "Alex, I told you to quit." The woman tested him with a cold expression. The lines on her face were drawn taught. Behind her back, the film crew called her Medusa. To her face, she was known as Katherine Vaughn. Without a doubt, she was scarier than any of the monsters Alex chased through the woods. And unlike those monsters, she was very real.

"I'm working on it."

"You had better have a good reason for dragging me out of the office." She grumbled, straightening out the creases in her pantsuit and crossing her arms under her breasts.

"We need to discuss the next episode. I understand ratings are down, but I draw a line at werewolves." He stabbed his sunglasses further up the bridge of his nose.

"You draw a line?" Her eyebrow hitched, disappearing behind a curtain of bangs. "I have the power to shut you down, Alex. And unless you get your ass to Driftwood, you can expect to kiss season three goodbye."

After the trouble he had gone through to make their meeting pleasant—her favorite coffeehouse, a bribed barista, and even damned almond biscotti—Alex sensed his plan crumbling. When he had rehearsed his speech in the mirror that morning, the whole pitch went a lot smoother. All the pieces were lined up, ready to be set into motion the moment she stepped inside The Big Sipper. He never expected the conversation to unfold on the sidewalk.

"Cancel season three, just like that? Have I ever failed you Katherine?"

The twinge at the corner of her eyes spoke volumes. Unfortunately, she didn't end with that. "Let's not go there." Her fingers shot out like the fangs of a poisonous snake, latching onto his wrist and baring the long scar across his forearm for inspection. "I worked with you last year when you fell down that mine shaft." She huffed in frustration. "You could have been decent enough to get it on camera."

He jerked away and shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans. The tone of finality in her voice meant his trademark smile would fail to change her mind. Instead, he rolled his eyes from behind his aviators and shifted his gaze to the tourists gawking a few paces away and the two women comparing plastic surgeons at the patio table.

"Are you listening to me?"

"Yes."

"You missed two episodes last year because of that little incident. Candice almost ran the show into the ground, Alex. Nobody wants to watch some dumb blonde get lost in the woods."

"She went to Stella Adler."

"She went to Stella Adler and dropped out after three weeks. Candice Miller is a few cards short of a full deck. The female audience wants you. They want Alex Wilde." She smoothed back her curls, which had been victimized by the stagnant heat. "I made my decision. You are going to Driftwood."

When he bit his cheek, he could taste blood over the hint of Marlboro. There were a million things he wanted to say, but only one thing he could say. "Fine." Of the few women in his life, Katherine and his mother were the only two that got their way. He made sure of that. Even after three years of dating Hillary, she had yet to conquer his iron will. Just the other day, he had refused to buy her a pair of designer shoes. He marked the occasion up as a victory, proof that his word was final.

"Good." The venom in her voice turned to honey. "I already had my assistant drop the details at your loft." Her talons curled around the doorknob and she pushed into the corner coffeehouse. The hinges squealed and a bell chimed to announce their arrival. A few curious patrons glanced up from their tables, but none stared too long. Most of them were used to the occasional celebrity and compared to the usual clientele, Alex was the bottom of the food chain.

Removing his sunglasses, he waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dim light. Katherine had won. She always won. Now, they would celebrate over two cups of sludge and a pair of almond biscotti.

As she stepped towards the counter, Alex stood back. He could handle ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and zombies. It was the rednecks, the insects, and the fresh air that he dreaded more than anything else. Luckily, there were still a few cans of leftover bug spray tucked in his suitcase.