Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.
Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.
Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.
Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.
Holding Out For A Hero!
No, I wasn’t gonna go all Bonnie Tyler on you. This is far more my style.
“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.”
But I digress…We’re talking about Finn, Talon, And Superman.
So how did Superman get into my book? He snuck in… He actually appears the first time on the front of Finn’s boxer shorts.
When Talon undresses him.
And takes him to bed.
Okay… so Finn is actually asleep at the time, but still.
Talon did his best not to stare at the lithe little body that followed Drew out, remembering how it felt in his arms the night before. Talon had tried to shake him awake at first when he came back from the bathroom, completely stunned he was still there. He looked like shit. Talon could see the dark shadows under his eyes and his own blood that stained Finn’s pants and his shirt. The jacket had been discarded.
In the end, Talon just picked him up. Then what did the kid do? Instead of lying there while Talon took him to his spare room, he moaned softly and curled up in Talon’s arms, burrowing his head in the crook of his neck. Talon had nearly groaned right back, and had hurriedly laid him down on the bed. Finn had let out a deep sigh, and Talon just stood and stared and thought about how uncomfortable he looked. With resignation he’d undone Finn’s pants and slid them off his hips. He’d chuckled softly when he saw the Superman shorts. He would bet any money Finn had never wanted another living soul to see those.
Talon – 29 years. Developed his ability at adolescence as is common with enhanced humans. Comes from a politically motivated family who decided that instead of acknowledging they had an enhanced son decided to lock him away in an insane asylum as a child and then pretend he didn’t exist as an adult.
Finn – 24 years. Has dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen, survived but his poor test grades due to undiagnosed dyslexia stopped it happening until one day he gets a call from the FBI about a new secret unit being set up.
All Talon wants to do is change public perception. He wants to stop any other enhanced child going through the same as he did. He wants to stop the bigotry and mistrust and hopefully turn the monsters that the public see into heroes.
He has two problems with that. He’s given a regular human partner that is well, too breakable. Talon’s ability is deadly, and Finn is at risk.
He also has to keep a huge secret from Finn. Their abilities are evolving, changing. If the public found out, being locked up would be the least of their problems. Talon and the rest of the team aren’t just fighting for their freedom anymore; they’re fighting for their lives.
Drew took another swig of his bottle.
“I know I’m being set up to fail,” Finn said. “I know full well the only reason I’m here is because the agency wouldn’t take me normally. I’m dispensable.” He grinned to soften the words. He didn’t want Drew feeling guilty by shooting down his dreams.
Drew sighed. “Caught that, did you?”
Finn smiled, but he couldn’t help the twist he felt in his gut at having it confirmed. Seemed like everyone knew. “But you’re already a trained agent. The failure of this team isn’t going to impact on your career, surely?” He was convinced there was something Drew wasn’t saying. “Tell me about the others who didn’t make it.”
Drew looked up, startled, and Finn’s stomach took a quick dive. That was it. His innocent question to keep Drew talking had hit on something. He waited patiently.
Drew started. “You’re the fourth that I know of.”
“All already agents?”
“Yeah. One of them—Hillier—was a close-combat specialist, and even he couldn’t put Vance down. That’s his ability, Vance.”
“Close combat?” Finn queried.
“No, incredible strength. Think Superman-type shit.”
Finn blinked. Wow. “To be honest I kind of thought most of the abilities were exaggerated on TV. I mean, how come they’re not set on world domination or some such shit?” He was joking, but he shut up when Drew didn’t laugh. Okay, so he was officially getting a little more freaked out.
“Because there’s not enough of them, and so far the incidence seems to be confined to the US.” Drew played with the label on the bottle. “What do you know?”
“The first kids were born in the seventies. There’s been no cause identified. Suspicions vary from everything from genetics to pesticides,” Finn replied promptly. “There have been some major crimes reported. There was one guy who raided banks…. Something to do with being able to crack computer codes. Another who seemed to be able to do something with explosives. But there hasn’t been anything major since the task forces were implemented.”
“All that is true, and because the circumstances were very isolated, no major panic has happened. The government has never tried to initiate any sort of testing without consent, despite the law affecting the deceased.”
Finn nodded. They passed a law ten years ago stating any enhanced would be subject to special postmortems. There were a few religious groups that made a fuss, but Finn was surprised at how little people seemed to be disturbed.
“I don’t think I would get into trouble telling you this, but we’ve had at least fifteen years with the rate of transformation being very low. You know transformation….”
“Yeah, yeah,” Finn quickly agreed. That was when the enhanced first developed their abilities and the mark on their face, usually around adolescence.
“And you know the enhanced are sterile?”
Finn swallowed. He heard that on the news. Actually he heard some religious nut saying it was God’s wrath, punishing the abominations so no one else had to suffer.
“Thing is, when they found that out, it was as if people weren’t worried anymore. Aliens or super beings weren’t going to take over the world.” Drew chuckled. “I think that’s why we never had a mass panic on our hands or anything.”
“But you’ve got some super beings,” Finn argued.
“Yeah, and no other law enforcement agency will touch them. Gregory thinks that’s very shortsighted.”
He has a point, thought Finn. “I guess a lot of the abilities are being kept out of the news. What you said about Vance, for instance. First I’ve heard about anything like that.” And the thing Talon did in Gregory’s office, which was downright scary.
“Yes, the government has been downplaying things for years.”
“So why did none of the trainees work out?” Finn finished his beer and waited to see if he was going to get an answer.
“Two failed the standard questions on the first day.” Drew grinned. “At least I know you passed those.”
Finn hesitated. “You do?” He cleared his throat.
“Yeah. You wouldn’t still be here. Seriously, they didn’t tell you? That sucks.” Drew finished his beer also and stood. “The third one had a massive argument with Talon and quit. Said he wasn’t working with murdering freaks.”
“Wow,” Finn said. “And the fourth one? You said there were four.”
“I didn’t tell you.” Drew almost glared at Finn.
“Okay.” Finn’s heart sped up a little.
“I’m not sure exactly, but I think Eli lost control.”
Drew shrugged. “Look, it’s not for me to say. I wasn’t there. All I know is that Michaelson was carried out of the gym on a stretcher with severe burns and never came back to work.” He grabbed his car keys off the table. “Six weeks ago.”
This new world Victoria Sue has created is pretty damn epic in my opinion. It has an X-MEN feel to me which makes me love the story even more.
There is a part of the human population that begins to show traits of being ‘enhanced’, which means they develop certain abilities, and it can show up at any age. First they develop a mark on their cheek that distinguishes them from the normal every day human and then they start to show unique powers, so to speak. Some even develop multiple abilities. These enhanced humans are feared because they are so different and in a world filled with hate and prejudice they are shunned and mistreated. Having that mark on their cheek also keeps them from being able to blend in with the normal every day human so they are not able to hide who they are. Most people believe the enhanced to be a threat so they struggle to live and be granted even the most basic of human rights.
Finn and Talon are brought together when a new task force is created combining humans and enhanced to show the world they are capable of working together. Finn has had a rough life and despite his dyslexia he has strived his whole life to become an FBI agent. Talon is distrustful of everyone except for his fellow enhanced team members and has had a pretty crazy life himself. He disliked Finn on sight and I enjoyed seeing Finn break down his walls throughout the story.
The emotions with this are crazy so be ready. Victoria Sue had a fantastic idea when she created this world. She has a cast of amazing characters with different traits and personalities. Each of them has a story to tell and I can’t wait to see where this series goes. I definitely enjoyed this story and it gets 5 pieces of eye candy from me.
Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves!
Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.
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