Ruler of the Dead
And this is my cover without the title.
Here is a short excerpt:
Kevin took a visual inventory of Riley Bishop and wondered if he too would develop a crush on her someday. Her hair was the color of a Hershey’s candy bar: deep, dark brown, and her eyes reminded him of the blue on Superman’s costume. Boys flirted with her all the time when she came into the diner, but she talked to them with what his mom called a ‘smart mouth,’ indicating she wasn’t interested. They still kept trying.
Riley glared at him. “Why are you staring at me?”
“I was trying to decide if you’re pretty.”
She kicked him under the table.
“Ow!” He rubbed his sore leg. “What did you do that for?”
“Because you’re a moron. You don’t tell a girl that you aren’t sure if she’s pretty. No one wants to hear that. It should be obvious that someone is pretty.”
“All the guys like you, so I was trying to figure out if I’m going to lose my mind and like you someday. I mean, like you as more than a friend. You didn’t have to kick me.”
Riley’s eyes narrowed. “And? Am I pretty?”
He didn’t want to lie, but he didn’t want to get kicked again either. His father told him there was always a wise way to answer every question. A person just needed to give it some thought. So he did. He thought long and hard about the best way to respond.
He shrugged. “Guess the only girl I think is really pretty is my mom.”
Riley’s mouth spread into a wide smile. “Good answer. See? You can use your brain when you want. Now focus it on your math.”
He gave her a you-think-you’re-funny-but-you’re-really-not look.