PW #132: Adult Romance: ONCE WHEN YOU WERE MINE
Manuscript status: Finished
Mentor: Brighton Walsh
Mentee: Jen DeLuca
Title: ONCE WHEN YOU WERE MINE
Category/Genre: Adult Romance
Word Count: 89,000
Twenty years. Two continents. A third chance at first love. On a whirlwind trip to Leningrad, a sheltered American and a sweet but pragmatic Soviet fall in love as teens, bridging their language barrier with local underground rock and shared Walkman headphones. A decade later a missed connection leaves them yearning for unattainable love. When they get one final chance, his rock stardom and her newfound independence threaten the possibility of a life together.
Mom was right. Learning Russian’s going to kill me.
Of course, Miranda’s mother had been thinking about nuclear war or her daughter being kidnapped by the KGB. But Miranda faced a more immediate danger: freezing to death on a Leningrad street while staring up at a sign she couldn’t read.
Miranda thought she’d been so clever, slipping the handlers and striking out on her own. She was seventeen—practically an adult!—with a semester of Russian under her belt. She’d been in the Soviet Union for three days. How hard could it be to explore by herself?
Pretty hard, actually. Panic set in quick when she realized sounding out words and understanding them in context were two different things. After several wrong turns, the letters on the signs started swimming together. Reading comprehension flatlined. H sounds like N. C is S, P is R. T is still T, right?
She turned in a tight circle, looking for anyone who might help her with directions, but this street was more desolate than the one before. Fire escapes corseted upper floors of high-rise apartment buildings. Boarded-up windows showed no signs of life. She’d long since given up on acting like she knew where she was going. There may as well have been a neon sign over her head with an arrow pointing down. AMERICAN. PLEASE MUG ME.