Sometimes all it takes to turn love from a curse to a blessing is one unlawful decision. This is your hook. It stands alone. It's interesting, but it took me a few times reading it to understand it, just because I've never thought of love as a curse. The Paradise Hotel reminds Alice Bakers of family vacations—back before her parents started feuding are her parents important enough to the story that they need a place in the query? and her ex, Jonny Presser, abused her. This is kind of vague. There are lots of forms of abuse. The desperate need for a vacation inspires her to trespass onto the property of the hotel after hours. I assumed she was on vacation at the hotel, so how could she trespass?
Before she can relax, how was she going to do that at night? while trespassing? Jake Taylor, the charming manager, spots her. He allows her to stay after the bushes behind the fence rustle and a fresh footprint appears in the dirt. Did it appear? Like by magic? Or did someone make it? You need to word that differently. How can they even see the footprint in the dark? Nervous that it is Jonny lurking in the darkness, she decides it is safest to stay with Jake through the night. What makes her think Jonny is stalking her? Why can't Jake just escort her home? Why doesn't he call the police? If they are super attracted to each other, put that in. Give us a reason to keep reading.
Soon after thoroughly enjoying Jake’s company, Jonny confronts Alice at night
in the back of her work. This needs to be re-worded. How soon after? What's happened with Jake in the meantime? Anything? Right now it reads like they had one hookup. Trying to fend off Jonny’s beating, he who? Jonny's not trying to fend off his own beating. makes it clear that he is not done with her. How does he make it clear? Alice seeks protection against her ex’s reign of fire that's a bit much, and doesn't really seem to make sense, unless he's been actually using fire. in Jake’s offering use a stronger word arms. Just as she trusts that Jake’s love is enough to always keep her safe, why? we have no sense of any relationship between them Jonny chains her up and hides her away how does he do this? show us, don't tell us Years of starvation and torment has Alice wondering if Jake is out there thinking of her—wondering if he will find her before Jonny breaks her into pieces. Years? That's pretty intense. I'm not sure from your query how long she is with Jake before this happens, but it seems like it hasn't been that long, and if we are being totally honest, someone she's known for a few weeks is probably not going to pine away for her or try to find her. He'd probably assume she went back to Jonny if she just disappeared. There's not anything in the query to indicate Jake has some incredible connection to her.
Thank you in advance for your help!
I critique the way I like to be critiqued myself, so I hope you don't mind my picking this apart. This query thing is by far one of the hardest things about being a writer.
The relationship between Alice and Jake seems pretty flat here. They meet and hook up (I assume) right away, which usually isn't a recipe for an amazing love life. Alice isn't doing much here -besides trespassing and hooking up- other than that, she's mostly a victim. I'm not sure of the circumstances that lead her to trespass, why does she desperately need a vacation?
Your hero and villain both have 'J' names, and it can get confusing, so you may want to consider changing one of the names.
I think a little bit of setting might help. Where is the Paradise hotel? Is it an exotic location? Palm trees? A lagoon? If we could picture it, it would help pull us in. The damsel in distress thing has been done a lot, but I don't think we tire of it, if you can make it new and interesting. You have show in a compelling way what makes your story different.
The first draft of the query always gets shredded, I think. Don't let it discourage you. This is a starting point. Good luck!