**We are so excited to bring you the Exclusive Cover Reveal of Who We Truly Are by the amazing Victoria Sue!!!! When you get to read the book next month (release date is 7/14), you will see how much this cover reflects the story. Check out the extended excerpt, and TWO giveaways. Thank you to Victoria Sue for stopping by for some fun with us!
Talon’s deadly abilities are spiraling out of control. Desperate to keep Finn safe, Talon struggles to protect the man he loves with all his heart, and not become the greatest risk to Finn’s life.
Finn has no choice but to offer himself as bait for the evil forces kidnapping enhanced children, facing danger he is untrained and unprepared for, and he is having to do it alone.
Does Talon have one last fight in him? Will he slay everyone who wants to destroy Finn and the team, or will he finally discover that to defeat their enemy and the ultimate threat, the biggest battle he has to face is one with himself?
Release Date: July 14, 2017
And until Who We Truly Are comes out, Five Minutes Longer is only $2.99 (begins 6/13)!!!!! So grab it here, now!
An extended excerpt from Who We Truly Are:
“Absolutely no fucking way.” Talon nearly overturned the desk he sat behind in his hurry to get to his feet.
Here we go…. Finn ignored Gael’s and Vance’s smirks at Talon’s reaction to the news Gregory had just delivered, and tried to concentrate, since he’d been too distracted by the real possibility he would starve to death.
“Talon—” Gregory started.
“He’s been here two fucking months—and half of that time, in the damn hospital. He’s just successfully demonstrated the perp would have to be fucking standing still for him to get a shot off—”
Finn closed his eyes and slid down his chair, desperately willing the heat he could feel climbing up his neck not to reach his cheeks. The hospital had been a complete exaggeration. Two weeks in total, tops. Well, okay, twice he’d been in for concussions. And there had been the black eye when Vance got a little enthusiastic on the mats, and then there was the broken nose last week when the perp had swung at him and Finn hadn’t gotten out of the way in time, but he hadn’t been admitted for either of those.
This morning was the first time he’d had to try for a moving target. He practiced at the outside shooting facility they called “the Farm” most days, and he thought he was getting quite good. Then they’d set the fake hostage situation up, expecting Finn to do better, and it had gone worse than the target practice.
Fucking enhanced. They thought they were so damned perfect.
“He’s perfect,” Gregory yelled back at Talon, and Finn started, shocked his boss agreed with him. He wasn’t about to miss any compliments. “He can absolutely pass for seventeen,” Gregory added, and Finn gaped in horror.
Seventeen? What had he missed?
“I-I’m twenty-four,” he stuttered out, wondering how he’d managed to lose the entire thread of the conversation.
“And you’re still the only one on the team who can go undercover in one of the new group homes.”
Finn’s jaw dropped as he stared at his boss. He was going undercover? Like real, honest to God… undercover? Finn’s gaze dropped to the floor, and he breathed out slowly. He didn’t think he would earn any respect by jumping to his feet, fist pumping and shouting his excitement, which he desperately wanted to do. This was his chance to be an active member of the team and earn some respect. He glanced cautiously at Talon, who was still arguing with Gregory.
“You obviously won’t be going to Glynco tomorrow, but I will rearrange that when this op is done,” Gregory continued, ignoring the outburst from Talon.
His team leader—his boyfriend—wasn’t exactly showing a lot of faith in his abilities, and as the only regular human on the team, he had a lot to prove. Finn half smiled at his own words. Regular. An ordinary human being, unlike the rest of his teammates, who were all enhanced. Humans who had changed suddenly around adolescence and got kickass abilities, such as speaking every known language without ever having to learn them like Gael, or setting things on fire just because he thought about it like Eli.
“And there is one obvious problem,” Sawyer piped up.
Oh good, Finn thought. Only one?
“He doesn’t have a mark?” Gregory guessed correctly, and Sawyer shrugged.
Finn stared at Gregory and gave Sawyer grudging points for stating the obvious. The US had originally panicked when the first kids were born with superabilities because, while some of the abilities were quite cool, like the Superman strength Vance had, a lot of them were downright deadly, like Talon’s. The public had calmed down mainly because the enhanced were so easily identifiable. They all had the mark Gregory mentioned, and despite various attempts, none of them could get rid of it.
“We know that marks cannot be covered successfully for more than a matter of minutes, but we can very easily add one.”
“Add one?” Finn blurted out. “I didn’t know that.” He ignored the dark look Talon sent him.
“It’s only something that’s just occurred to us that might be useful,” Gregory admitted.
“Yeah,” drawled Eli, “because who the fuck would want one of these?”
Finn didn’t know what to be more shocked at: that he was getting the chance to contribute, or that the normally silent Eli had spoken.
“We have a makeup artist who has been working with us,” Gregory said, “and Finn is the only one on the team who can do this.”
Finn nodded eagerly. He was desperate for the chance to actually do some work. “What would I be doing?”
“Not a damn thing,” Talon snapped.
“Sit down, Talon, and let me explain,” Gregory huffed out. Talon glowered at Finn as if daring him to reply, and Finn pointedly focused on Agent Gregory. “Let me go back a little. There are still no genetic markers that tell us if kids are likely to transform.”
Finn knew this. If ever an older sibling transformed and the families agreed, the younger ones would be subject to a barrage of tests until after adolescence. There had been a few cases where a younger brother had transformed, but so far there was still no scientific reason for it.
“We actually know very few definites,” Gregory said. “All enhanced children ever born are male, and the incidents are restricted to the US.”
“And there’s never going to be any baby Gaels running around,” Gael interrupted, his scarred face twisting as the skin pulled awkwardly in humor.
“So there are benefits, then.” Vance chuckled as Gael flipped him off, though he smiled at the teasing.
All enhanced were sterile, something the papers had made a meal of about fifteen years ago when the news headlined. Many people thought the knowledge that the enhanced couldn’t reproduce made the rest of the population breathe a little easier because they weren’t suddenly going to be outnumbered.
Gregory had made them go talk at a couple of high schools since they’d become celebrities after Gael saved a judge from being shot. Of all of them, Gael had been the most enthusiastic about going to the schools. It had to hurt that he would never have kids of his own.
Gael had been all over the news because he’d put his life on the line to protect a guy who was vocal in his dislike of the enhanced and thought they were a threat. The papers had loved it and eaten it up. Finn hadn’t been to either school visits, since the first time he had been in the emergency room when Vance nearly flattened him, and the second had been because of his nose.
He winced. Maybe Talon had a point. His timing sucked anyway.
“What about Drew?” Talon asked.
Finn gaped. Drew? Talon thought Drew would do a better job than him? The knowledge settled heavily in his gut.
“Drew would never pass for seventeen,” Gregory argued.
“That’s true, boss,” Vance agreed. Talon glowered. “How many other recruits get sent undercover after being given eight weeks training?”
Gregory sighed. “Do you remember one of the foster kids who disappeared last year—Dale Smith?”
Sawyer frowned. “Yes. We’ve never been able to find any trace. He has an older brother who turned eighteen in December and aged out of the system, but he hasn’t had any contact either.”
Gregory opened a file on his desk and passed around some photographs. Finn paled when he saw what they were. Tattered clothes lay in shreds on top of a skeleton. “The remains of what has been identified as Dale Smith’s body were found last month buried in a shallow grave on the Westside Trail on the Atlanta BeltLine when they were clearing old tracks. We have been unable to identify a cause of death as of yet. This has been brought to our attention finally because yesterday police were called to a boarded-up house in old Port Tampa. The house was empty and showed no sign of being lived in, with the exception of the storeroom. That’s where they found the body of another enhanced.”
“Did we know him?” Talon asked.
Gregory shook his head. “We haven’t been able to identify him. ME says a young adult and showed signs of physical abuse. He was emaciated, and the ME says he was basically starved to death. None of the previously registered occupants of the house are alive.” He paused. “The cops have found signs of access, but the whole place is derelict. This is where we come in and how it may be related to Dale Smith.” Gregory passed another photograph around.
Finn stared at the picture. It was Dale Smith, taken before he developed the mark, likely a school photograph.
“If you remember, Dale Smith was being attacked and beaten by his stepfather when the cops were called. His mom was a crack addict, and the so-called stepfather her pimp. Dale was removed for his own safety, but the car the cops were driving crashed. Both cops were knocked unconscious and Dale ran off. The cops had no memory of anything after leaving the house. No one has been able to locate Dale Smith.”
“And apart from their enhanced status, how are they related?” Gael asked.
“Because the photograph of Dale was found in the storeroom with the other dead male.”
Everyone was silent.
“Our focus right now is on the foster home and the missing kids. The past murders are being investigated separately. I want you to make sure no other kids vanish. You have complete access to any and all information on both victims, and you will be kept up-to-date with any new information.” Finn risked a look at Talon, who had stopped objecting when Gregory passed the photographs around.
“You should know that the powers that be, who wanted the enhanced children taken away from their parents for the parents’ safety, are now talking about removing the kids for their own safety.”
“Very clever,” Gael said sardonically.
“And as of this morning, we have another problem,” Gregory said. “Two more kids have disappeared.”
The room was silent again.
“Where from?” Talon ground out.
Gregory looked pointedly at Finn, and suddenly Finn didn’t need telling. The home. They had disappeared from the foster home. Finn swallowed. It was shit, complete shit. One of the things they were all hoping for was that kids with the mark didn’t get treated like baggage. They were only removed from the parents if the parents couldn’t cope. And that was why they were all here. It wasn’t as simple as just a specialized crime-fighting team. It was all about perception. The school visits were all about hope. Hope that the enhanced kids would be accepted and that they had a future.
Finn remembered Vance telling him about the day he’d woken up with the mark. “And just like that, my life was over.”
Except it wasn’t, and for all the kids, it was up to their team to make sure of that.
And now for the Cover Reveal….
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