Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest: No More Heroes- Book Two by J.L. O'Faolain

I interrupt the world building blog hop week for a guest! Today J.L. O'Faolain stops by to share book two of No More Heroes.


Being a hero has its drawbacks.

Real-life superhero Push knows that better than anyone. When the Cape Cabinet decided to boost their numbers and commissioned the release of Wrath, a former supercriminal, Push and his best friend, Scratch, got the arduous assignment of rehabilitating Wrath and showing him heroism's ropes.

Now all three are stuck in Shove Point, Arkansas, lying in wait for one of Wrath's evil villain ex-buddies. Between the mysterious plane crash in the center of town and the spacecraft that self-destructed, Shove Point is weird enough. Then the utterly straight Scratch suddenly professes his undying love for Push.

As the situation heats up—between him and Scratch and in Shove Point—Push decides to call in reinforcements. Giant robots stomping all over the small town do not help matters, nor does a rampaging cyborg, nor Push's unresolved attraction to Wrath. Then they discover there’s a mole in the Real-Life Superhero association. Whatever their differences, the newly formed team must put aside their baggage and work together to prevent an even greater tragedy.

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“You never were tough enough to tangle man-on-man with the big boys,” Sloth roared. “You always had to fall back on those second-rate parlor tricks.”

“Maybe,” Wrath admitted, unperturbed. “But I’m not the one running scared at the moment.”

A ball of flame glowed in his left hand. “Let’s see how those muscles of yours stand up to about three hundred degrees Fahrenheit.”

Sloth didn’t look enthused.

“If it doesn’t burn your balls off,” Wrath continued. “The whole room will at least know you had some.”

Sloth’s eyes darted behind him to where Push and Scratch were waiting.

“Don’t mind them,” Wrath assured him. “They’re only here to make sure I don’t kill you.”

Push frowned, though that was true. “And to give you a hand,” he added for good measure. “Though it looks like you have things wrapped up here.”

The unmistakable sound of a gun being cocked rang out through the otherwise silent room. Push’s head turned automatically toward the noise, and he saw the man behind the counter holding up a shotgun, with the barrel pointed directly toward Wrath’s head.

Scratch was already on it. A rack lay against the wall, loaded with extra cue sticks. Scratch had one in his hand before Push could blink. One of the billiard balls had rolled near their feet, and with a quick stab to the floor, Scratch sent it flying. Push didn’t think Scratch had taken more than a glance at the layout before making his shot, yet the ball bounced perfectly off a hanging light, the edge of an overturned table, another light, one of the old arcade games, and off the counter tender’s head before slamming home against the barrel of the shotgun.

The gun fired, though horribly off-course, taking out a Galaga machine straight through the screen.

Sloth decided to capitalize on the confusion. Push saw him move before Wrath did. Wrath was still eying the wrecked game with disdain. Knowing it wouldn’t stop Sloth, Push leaped sideways and thrust his palm out, sending a shock wave into the charging bull as hard as he could. The angle didn’t help things, but the impact knocked Sloth back all the same, and that was all it took for Wrath to gain the upper hand.

Raising his arms, the pyrokinetic let loose a massive wave of fire that engulfed Sloth, blasting him backward through the air onto a table that caved under the man’s weight. Keeping one hand raised, Wrath snapped his fingers, extinguishing the fire that had covered Sloth from head to toe.

“So tempting,” he muttered, before looking toward the sparking arcade game. “And a waste of a perfectly good classic, to boot.”

The extinguished flames left black marks all over Sloth’s clothes. Patches where red-tinted pale flesh shined against what light there was. Smoke curled up off the burned fabric, but Sloth got to his feet anyway.

“Still want to do this?” Wrath asked him, staring the man down. “Because I can go all night, as one of your little girlfriends on the side could attest to back in the day.”

Hate seeped out from Sloth’s eyes, but he quickly looked away to assess the situation.

Wrath conjured flames to one hand again as Sloth pulled something from the back of his jeans. Both Scratch and Push frowned as Sloth held it up to the light, revealing a plastic bag full of what looked to be about a hundred grams of cocaine.
Sloth tossed it to the table. “Party’s on me,” he announced to the room’s occupants, who, despite having taken cover, hadn’t cleared out yet. “The prize goes to whoever takes these faggots out first.”

Hesitation gripped the spectators for a moment as their eyes wandered from the bag of coke to where Wrath stood with Push and Scratch at his sides. Rolling his eyes, Sloth reached in and yanked out something else.
“And a thousand damn bucks,” he added, throwing that down next to the bag. “Bunch of damn pussies.”

The money was, apparently, enough to tip the scales. The shotgun wielder took aim first, forcing Push to blast him back. The gun went off a second time, blowing a hole straight through a nearby wall. The sound seemed to encourage everyone in attendance, and they all rushed at Push, Scratch, and Wrath like angry dogs.

“Give me a break,” Wrath mumbled.

“No killing,” Push reminded, whipping out the telescopic bo he’d brought with him. “Feel free to hurt them, though.”

“I know I plan to,” Scratch said, as the first wave struck.

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