Exclusive Excerpt from After Vertigo
by Amanda Meuwissen
The Streak sat back on Ben’s thighs, not truly holding him down anymore, but not moving from his lap either. “If I’m so little a threat, why waste time with me?”
“Because I need your help,” Ben said. “I built the gun and others like it to temporarily depower Supers, and it works on others, but not you.”
“That’s what you were trying to do?” He looked at the gun with interest now. “I thought they just stunned people. The cops caught Talon because this thing can remove powers?”
“Disrupt powers,” Ben corrected. “It lasts about ten minutes. No one’s been able to figure out how to override the Vertigo gene completely.”
“But with your guns, you’re close?”
“You hardly need to worry since the output doesn’t affect you. Do you know why it doesn’t affect you? Any idea at all why you might be different from the others?”
The Streak kept his eyes turned away as he answered, “No clue.”
Ben wished he could tell if he was lying. “Regardless, your powers are unique. Extraordinary.”
“Thanks for noticing, but I don’t do handouts.”
“Please, I’m only asking—”
“I look out for me.”
“Then I’ll turn you in,” Ben said boldly—amazed at how bold he felt. “I’ll give the police your name and address. Even if you run, you won’t have an easy time living your life.”
He gaped at Ben but also seemed impressed. “You’re blackmailing me now? How heroic.”
“The desperate get creative.”
Ben hadn’t fully admitted it to himself, why this mattered so much outside the thrill, but he had so few people in his life that meant something to him—Tony, Beverly, his mother. They were it. Tony was easier to protect. As a captain at the FCPD, he didn’t hit the field as often, and he had all the equipment Ben could provide him.
But Beverly was a civilian. Worse, a politician, someone people could target. She was in danger just walking the street, and so was their mother. If anything ever happened to any of them….
“My family lives in this city. Sister, best friend, mother. I don’t want to lose any of them because I was too weak to do something. Don’t you understand that even a little? Friends? Family you want to protect?”
The smugness drained from Streak’s face, but he didn’t say anything.
“Please. I just want the innocent to have a chance against impossible odds. If there are any Supers out there wanting to be heroes, we haven’t seen them. You’re the only option left.”
He was quiet for a while, but when he spoke up, it was with a twist at his lips again and a resettling of his body on Ben’s thighs. “I’m no hero, so… got any other perks to offer?”
“I-I’ll… cover your grocery bills?”
He laughed. “It’s cute you think I pay for my groceries.”
“Then I’ll… keep the police off your back! My friend’s a captain.”
“Not really endearing yourself to me right now.” He grimaced. “But you got me at a disadvantage and you’re not exactly wrong. I don’t want to move, and your resources might be enough to keep me safe while bringing in these psychos out doing more than property damage. So, if I say yes”—he leaned closer, almost nose to nose with Ben—“what else is in it for me? Do I get a kiss to seal the deal?”
“I-I-I beg your pardon?” Ben felt his face heat up hotter, certain he had to be as red as the Streak’s T-shirt. He could feel so much of the man in this position with his knees parted around Ben’s waist. The Streak was handsome and strong and lean while also just the right amount of muscled. The dimples hiding beneath his beard and the occasional sunspots were nice too.
But he couldn’t be serious! He was mocking Ben again. And even if that wasn’t the case, Ben would hardly want an impudent thief to ravage him like Ryder from his eBook. His dream man was supposed to be charming and sweet, not unlawful and crude.
Not that the Streak was Ben’s dream man!
“I don’t kiss men I hardly know,” Ben said, which was true since he’d barely kissed anyone.
“But you do kiss men. Glad to know I guessed right. And you know more than most, handsome.” His eyes darted down Ben’s body. “You’re here. How’d you find me, anyway?”
“With hard work and ingenuity. And my name is Ben. Benjamin Krane.”
“Nice to meet you, Benji. You can call me Grey.”
“And you can call me Ben,” Ben corrected, since Benji was intimate and something to be earned.
“Oh, I like you.” Grey chuckled, resting his hands on Ben’s chest and causing a shiver to course through him. “I’ll play along for now, but just you wait, I’m gonna get that kiss out of you someday.”
Finally, he extricated himself from Ben’s lap, and Ben stood slowly after him, unable to tamp down his blush.
“Why on earth would you want to kiss me?” He glanced away when Grey’s eyes bore into him like he’d said something scandalous.
“You have no idea how hot you are, do you?”
Ben was not hot. He was a science geek, like Grey had pointed out. But since he didn’t know if he was being teased, he simply said, “I thought, because of my gun, you called me Cold.”
“Cold it is.” Grey snickered. “When I’m not calling you Benji. So, Benji, where do we go from here? Dinner? A movie? Or straight to the extortion?”
Ben hadn’t thought that far ahead, but it seemed he had a super-speedy thief at his disposal to finally make progress against the city’s villains.
It was definitely the best and worst decision he had ever made.
About Coming Up for Air
Leigh Hurley is making a name for himself among thieves and criminals, even if it isn’t the life he would’ve chosen. He shouldn’t have screwed over the Moretti brothers, though. It landed him in the river with weights on his feet. But somehow he’s escaped certain death. The last thing he remembers before waking on the riverbank is a beautiful face and a soft kiss.
Then, Tolomeo turns up naked at Leigh’s apartment.
Tolly comes from a race of killers—merfolk who drown humans for fun. But Tolly is different, and when he sees a human in trouble, he offers a kiss, granting the man the ability to breathe underwater… and himself the ability to walk on land, at least until the next full moon. The ancient laws state that if he is given a vow of love by the one he kissed, he will be able to keep his legs. If not, he will be put to death when he returns to the water.
But love is not something Leigh offers easily… and Tolly has a secret of his own.
Available at: Amazon
About A Model Escort
Shy data scientist Owen Quinn is brilliant at predictive models but clueless at romance. Fortunately, a new career allows him to start over hundreds of miles from the ex he would rather forget. But the opportunity might go to waste since this isn’t the kind of problem he knows how to solve. The truth is, he’s terrible at making the first move and wishes a connection didn’t have to revolve around sex.
Cal Mercer works for the Nick of Time Escort Service. He’s picky about his clients and has never accepted a regular who is looking for companionship over sex—but can the right client change his mind? And can real feelings develop while money is changing hands? Owen and Cal might get to the root of their true feelings… if their pasts don’t interfere.
Available at: Amazon
About Interpretive Hearts
In the competitive world of dance, Teddy was a flawless performer and hardass choreographer who students feared and admired in equal measure. But hip surgery ended the glamour and drama, and now Teddy is recovering at his beach house, lost and listless.
Until he meets Finn, his neighbor, who is too perfect, gorgeous, and kind to exist—but very ill timed. In a seaside town as small as theirs, they can’t avoid each other, especially since Finn is also Teddy’s new physical therapist. But Teddy isn’t the man he used to be, and though Finn flirts shamelessly with him, Teddy can’t believe a has-been dancer is worthy of someone so young and full of life.
Finn’s sunny smile is also hiding heartache. Pursuing Teddy challenges both his professionalism and his self-preservation, but if he can convince Teddy to trust him, maybe they both can heal.
Available at: Amazon
About After Vertigo
In a flash, the world changed. A solar flare—later dubbed Vertigo—activated the DNA of more than half the world’s people, granting them special abilities. Brilliant scientist Benjamin Krane might be Powerless, but his inventions are the only thing giving the police a fighting chance against super-powered evil. Ben doesn’t have much of a life beyond work, and when he gets wind of a robbery one evening, he decides to test his newest invention personally….
A thief, rogue, and shameless flirt, Grey Miller—aka the Streak—likes shiny things, but he doesn’t hurt people. When Ben catches him—and proposes they team up against the real bad guys—Grey doesn’t know whether it’s the offer or the man he can’t resist. But one thing’s for sure—they’re an ideal match in more ways than one.
With a psychotic supervillain’s catastrophic plan moving forward and everyone he cares about in danger, now might not be the best time for Ben to give in to Grey’s seduction, no matter how tempting. Grey is a man of secrets, and if Ben wants a future with him, he’ll have to learn to trust Grey—and himself.
Available at: Amazon
About Lovesick Gods
The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant.
It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression.
Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother.
Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him.
Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.
Available at: Amazon
About Amanda Meuwissen
Amanda Meuwissen is a bisexual and happily married 35-year-old geek. Primarily an M/M romance author with a focus on urban fantasy, she has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed Creative Writing major from St. Olaf College and is an avid consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cat, Helga.
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Ater Vertigo sounds great.
After Vertigo sounds like it’ll be an interesting read. Thank you for the post =)
I have Coming Up For Air. I need to move it up my TBR.