Cruel Money (Cruel #1) - K.A. Linde

Part I

It All Started On A Beach In The Hamptons



Dear Natalie,

Here are the latest rejection letters from publishers regarding Told You So. I will follow up with a list from Caroline of the remaining publishers who have the manuscript out on submission.


Meredith Mayberry

Assistant to Caroline Liebermann

Whitten, Jones, & Liebermann Literary


From Hartfield:

Told You So has an interesting take on the value and cost of friendship. I enjoyed the journey the characters take and style of prose. But, unfortunately, that’s where my praise ends. The heroine, Karla, was a caricature of bad judgment and a complete Mary Sue in every other regard. She’s plain, ordinary, and not at all interesting enough to follow for 100k words. I felt Tina might have been a better lead, but it wasn’t clear from the start whether the author was knowledgeable enough to convey the true depth of either of the characters. Perhaps the author should find a muse.

From Warren:

Natalie definitely knows how to tell a story and pull the reader in with a clever introduction. I just didn’t find the characters relatable or the story high concept enough for what Warren is looking for right now. For us, we weren’t completely sold on the genre, as it straddles the line between women’s fiction and literary and thus, sits with neither.

From Strider:

Told You So could have been great. Karla and Tina have so much potential, and the concept, while like several things we already have in our catalog, could have been brilliant. However, I never believed in their friendship, and the middle fell flat. The pace was slow, and for once, I was actually wishing there were a romance to break up the monotony. Maybe a more talented writer could have pulled this off.

“Fuck,” I groaned. “I get the message.”

I threw my phone on the cushion next to me. No need to torture myself by reading any more of that. I couldn’t even believe my agent would send me those comments. Let alone on a Friday night before she left for the weekend. Even worse that it came through from her assistant with all those horrible notes about my writing.

Was this the writing on the wall? My agent was finally finding out that I was a hack. Two books and two years later with no offers and pile after pile of heartbreaking rejections. Maybe this was the end.

I stared around the beautiful Hamptons beach house I was vacation home–watching this fall. I’d been hired a month ago and shown up only three days prior, determined to finish my next manuscript. It was a dream come true to be here without any distractions—no parents or guys or anything. Just me and my computer screen.

Then, my agent had gone and dropped the biggest distraction imaginable on my plate. I glared at my screen.

Oh, hell no.

Hell. No.

I was not letting these letters set me back. Maybe Told You So wasn’t the book, but the next one might be.

No, I needed to cleanse myself of this bullshit. I didn’t normally subscribe to my mother’s New Age spiritualism. She spent her spare time reading about auras, staring into crystal balls, and divining from the stars. It was a running joke in my life at this point. But there was a time and place for everything. And, if I was going to get something done during the next couple of months, I needed to leave the past behind me.

I knew what I was going to do.

I was going to burn this motherfucker to the ground.

Okay, maybe a little dramatic. Even for me.

But, hey, this was on the publishers. Was it so hard to