Do you like books with your coffee?
Well, for less than a Starbucks Vente Macchiato you can get my latest superhero book, Super Villain, on your Kindle! The price will be $0.99 for the next few days, so don’t delay!
In celebration, here is an excerpt from the book. What better way to showcase a book called Super Villain than with a chapter featuring my two super villains?
The New Recruit
“Where in the world do I start?” Austin muttered, raising his eyebrows briefly. “I guess the main source of contention between myself and Jeff was that we wanted two different things. When it came to the visor, our vision for what it would look like was the same, but the way it would be used…”
He licked his lips.
“I’ve always been the one at the bottom of the totem pole. Always been the grunt. For a while I resigned myself to what I thought was my destiny to always be the one doing the heavy lifting with none of the recognition – or financial reward – which I deserved. I was brighter than anyone, and yet I was still stuck doing dead-end jobs.
“So, when I saw Jeff’s ad for a tech designer in one of the local newspapers I jumped at the chance to apply. There were plenty of people competing with me, but somehow, to my delight, I made it to the top. He had ambitions to make Super Guy’s visor a reality, but he didn’t have the time or the skills to actually see it happen. This was back in the days when merchandising his series was just beginning, and that is where I entered the picture.
“We worked as a team to get the product off the ground. Jeff would give me his ideas while I executed the actual construction of the physical device. With other things like Google Glass and various VR technologies in development across the world, it wasn’t exactly a challenge for me to find what I needed. I already had the skills to put the visor together. Now, as far as Aberrant abilities are concerned, I had no idea that Jeff was gifted, so the thought of creating a working visor seemed to be nothing more than a vanity project for use at conventions.”
Bill chuckled. “But, it wasn’t a vanity project.”
Austin shook his head.
“Unbeknownst to me, Jeff wanted to use the visor to fight crime in the city. It was admirable, sure. But, not something that you expect a best-selling author to do in his spare time. It wasn’t until I started to catch onto his Aberrant abilities that things got complicated.”
“How did you catch him?” asked Bill, resting his arms on his armored legs. “What gave him away?”
Austin got a glint in his eye.
“His schedule. I started noticing that he traveled faster than anyone I had ever seen. He told me that he was flying, but even with that thin excuse, I’ve never seen anyone fly commercially and be on time one hundred percent of the time. There were never any layovers. Never any cancellations.
“Soon I started keeping an eye on his arrivals at my office. He never drove a car anywhere when he was alone, and I never saw him get out of a cab. I wanted to know how he was doing it, so one day I hid a camera in the bushes outside. I expected to see him walking down the sidewalk, maybe coming from a restaurant out of view. That was the most plausible explanation.
“What I saw on that film still gives me chills to this day.”
Austin’s eyes sparkled in the fluorescent light and he looked directly at Bill.
“I reviewed the tape that evening and was shocked to see Jeff descend from the air above the street, landing on the concrete sidewalk as if he had just parachuted in. There it was – clear as day!
“I tried to find some explanation, some glitch or trick of the light, that could explain the images I captured. But, there was no explanation that made sense. All arrows were pointing to Jeff having some sort of supernatural abilities, and being the creative type, I never ruled it out at face value. I just needed confirmation and proof.”
Bill stroked his chin lazily.
“So, you confronted him,” he said.
“It didn’t go over so well at first. Understandably, Jeff was afraid that I would ‘out’ him to the world. His fear made him reluctant to continue working with me, but soon I gained his trust and convinced him that we were both working towards the same thing. We wanted to make the world a better place.”
“That’s such an open-ended statement,” he said. “I’m guessing Jeff was against your whole ‘brainwash and mind control’ strategy?”
“Of course,” Austin replied. “You know Jeff’s type more than anybody. He wanted to fight crime. I wanted to fight social blindness and passivity. Eventually we parted ways, and he took my technology with him.”
“Such a sad story,” said Bill sarcastically to break the serious atmosphere. “But, at least we know the ending to the story. Jeff is in the ground, and you used your technological know-how to create an Aberrant persona for yourself – admittedly in a round-about way. I’d say you were the more successful one.”
Austin gave a faint, knowing smile, but did not respond.
“Still,” Bill continued. “I’m tired of hiding out. Aren’t we wasting time just sitting here, doing nothing?”
“You need to learn patience,” Austin said with a wave of his hand. “Don’t forget that it’s thanks to me and my own patience that you got away from that prison transport and successfully hid out at my lab. It’s because of my mind control abilities that there weren’t news stories circulating until you were already in hiding. I won’t let you undo all our progress because you can’t wait to attack.”
Leaning back in his chair, Bill rested his head against the headrest.
“How did you come across these mind control abilities without the Vestige anyway? Are you ever going to tell me?”
Austin froze in place and, for the first time in Bill’s memory, appeared to become reflective. His eyes became shiny as moisture built up around them. He blinked it all away and forced his normal serious expression back onto his features.
Bill drummed his fingers on the side of his chair.
“Looks like you have your own share of skeletons in your closet,” he said softly, fixing his stare on Austin.
The younger man nodded solemnly, then he said, “You know I can’t tell you that. Even if we are partners.”
Bill steeled his expression. “In the future, perhaps,” he muttered.
“I know you can’t keep surviving on blind faith alone,” admitted Austin. “It seems like I’m being evasive, and to be honest, I am. But, have patience. We still need to trust each other. I’ll drop questions about your past if you drop questions about mine. It will all come together in the end. I promise you that you will have the Vestige in the end and we will be kings among men. You just have to trust me and follow the plan.”
Bill rolled his eyes.
“I will,” he said, “when you actually tell me what the plan is.”
A smile tugged at Austin’s lips and he brought a hand up to stroke his fingers along the tan flesh of his chin.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll tell you a lot of things by tonight. That’s where the trust comes in.”
Bill didn’t like the thought of being someone’s lackey, but what choice did he have? He could fend for himself in the past, but even now he had to admit that without these mechanical legs and ballistic rockets he would be sitting in a wheelchair in a prison cell somewhere. He probably wouldn’t even be able to see the light of day.
“Alright,” he said. “I’ll be patient, but I expect answers by tonight. I can’t follow the plan if I don’t even know what it is. Don’t forget, we’re still at a disadvantage when it comes to Shaun Boding. Even with all our technology, Shaun still has Aberrant powers. He could wipe us out with an energy blast. And it’s not just him. You saw the news. Now he has his friend posing as a sidekick. What are two of us going to do against two super-powered Aberrants?”
Austin’s smile widened.
“That’s the thing,” he replied. “It won’t be just the two of us. There will be more. Many, many more.”
“How? Where are we going to get these people?”
Austin glanced at his watch, his tongue sliding out from between his rows of teeth. Slowly he raised a finger into the air. Then –
A buzzer sounded. It was the signal that someone was standing outside their facility, waiting to be let in.
Austin motioned with his finger at Bill.
“That must be her,” he said.
If you are new to the series, all three books are discounted the next few days to celebrate this new release. (As of this writing, I’m still waiting for the promo on Book 2 to kick in, but check back if you are interested in that.)