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Stronger, Better, Faster, more

by Katey Hawthorne

Stronger Better Faster More - Carlin Grant and Katey Hawthorne
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 4.99 USD
Pages: 240
When he gets super-endurance powers out of nowhere, being a culinary student and kids’ soccer coach isn’t enough for Beau Warren--he has to be a superhero too. A sweet, hardworking trans man from a close knit family, it’s important to Beau to use his new abilities to stand up for people who can’t protect themselves. When he runs into a speedster at a fire rescue, he doesn’t expect it to be his high school crush, Vel Chandrasekhar. Turns out Vel got superspeed when Beau got his endurance, so they decide to make their single supe act into a duo.
With their immediate attraction and superpowered libidos, it’s not long before Beau and Vel are roommates-with-benefits. That’s the idea, anyhow, if only Beau can keep from falling back into his old crush hard, since Vel’s self-esteem issues have left him skittish about relationships. Just when things are at boiling point between them, though, their search for their own superhero origin story leads them and their families into mortal danger. The only way to survive the truth is to depend on each other--and admit they’re a lot more than friends.
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Excerpt:

Beau barely felt the oppressive heat and smoke. Or, well, no, he felt it; he was conscious of the temperature rising as he got closer to the flames, the smoke in his lungs making it harder to breathe, but there was no pain, not like there would’ve been a year ago.

He heard someone crying—shit, that was a kid, wasn’t it?—and squinted to make out the door. He needed to figure out some eye protection, since apparently this was getting to be a regular thing. The goggles had been a terrible idea—that had hurt. He’d gotten them off his eyes fast enough, but some had melted onto his hand. He’d healed; there wasn’t even a scar. But the pain of healing had been agonizing.

There was another cry, this one upstairs, and he didn’t know what to do. He had to get the child—of course he did—but he couldn’t do both. There wasn’t time. The bottom dropped out of his stomach, but he continued, his heart breaking.

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Suddenly something whipped past him. He couldn’t see what it was, but he could see the way the gust altered the flames, moved the smoke. He cracked a grin and pushed through harder as he realized. A speedster had showed up; he didn’t know any personally, but he’d seen them on TV, and he knew the signs. Together they’d be enough to finish what Beau had started, and maybe they wouldn’t have any casualties.

He burst through the door and scooped up the child, then covered her face with a wet cloth. As he started toward the exit, she was still coughing, still breathing, but going limp, and his previous optimism faded. He got out the door he’d kicked down earlier and called out “Hey, speedster! I need you to get this one to the EMTs!”

And then there he was, standing in front of Beau, carefully taking the girl out of his arms. Beau started to say thank you as he moved her, but their eyes locked and—“Vel?”

The speedster clutched the girl to his chest, dark eyes wide through the holes in his small mask. “What? How do you…?”

“Relax,” Beau said, hands open and palms up. It was stupid; he knew how scary it was, the risk of being made. He’d have been more careful if he hadn’t been so shocked. “It’s Warren. From high school. I, uh, I look different now.” Which was understating it. Even before he bulked up, he’d spent high school pretending he fit in the body that’d been chosen for him, with its breasts, feminine curves, and long blonde hair that his mama wouldn’t let him cut short but was never out of a ponytail anyway. He didn’t look like that anymore. It’d cost him a lot of time and money not to look like that anymore. “Go, get her to medical, but…find me after we get the other guy out? If you want?”

“Dude.” Yeah, that definitely sounded like Vel. There was some flutter-fast blinking. “You got huge.”

It was so inappropriate next to a burning building, but Beau couldn’t help the hard, shocked laugh that came out of him. “Yeah. I…yeah.”

Vel grinned. “Coffee shop, two blocks down. I’ll grab the other one too, then meet you there.” And in a gust of wind, dragging smoke in his wake, he was gone.

Beau nodded, even if Vel was gone before he could see it. He ducked away—everyone was still paying attention to the fire and the victims, so he was able to get away unnoticed. The police and fire department were pretty okay with them helping out, but he didn’t want to risk it. He’d make his way to his duffel and then down to the shop.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio with her family, two cats, and one very large puppy. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Her favorite causes include animal rescue and bisexual representation in media. She is an unashamed fangirl and collects nerdy tattoos like she’s trying to prove it.


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