Today I am so pleased to welcome Victoria Sue to Joyfully Jay. Victoria has come to talk to us about her latest release, Five Minutes Longer. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt from an upcoming book in the series and a giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Absolutely everyone has asked me if Five Minutes Longer is going to be a series, and as this is the last stop on my blog tour – I thought I’d tell you a little about One Step Sideways.
“The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.” Gene Hackman
So, here’s the thing – there are five enhanced humans in my HEROs team. Talon, Vance, Gael, Sawyer and Eli. Each is to get a regular human partner – so five books, Simple… or so I thought.
Book one, Five Minutes Longer, is the story of how the Human Enhanced Rescue Organization is set up and introduces Finlay (Finn) as Talon’s partner. Book one gives a lot of Finn’s background but Talon is a little more mysterious. His story is going to take some time to work through and one book, especially as I was introducing the team, wasn’t going to cut it.
To be clear, Five Minutes Longer is a complete story – absolutely no cliffhangers, but these guys have a lot of challenges and I couldn’t wave a magic wand to get them their permanent happy ever after it took a lot of work. One Step Sideways does that.
We also find out more about the team, their abilities, and the science that backs it up. All the team’s abilities are the product of natural human evolution… I might just have speeded things up a little.
The following excerpt is so exclusive my editor hasn’t even seen it (shhh)
Finn gripped his Glock 19 trying not to let his hand shake. Heart pounding so loud he thought the perp would hear it as he crept alongside the hallway of the house he had just entered behind Sawyer. Two, possibly three guys and multiple hostages. He glanced at the small kitchen as he walked past and silently checked there was no one hiding out of sight behind the door. He gave the tiny room one last glance and moved down the corridor. Sawyer paused to the left of the door and him behind. He knew the drill for clearing a room until he could do it in his sleep. SWAT teams never operated with less than two and Sawyer had waited until he had got in place. He gripped his gun tighter, willing his sweaty fingers not to cramp.
The ominous click behind him made him freeze. Shit. “Bang. You’re dead.”
Drew? “Drew?” Finn blurted out indignantly as he swung around. “What are you doing here?”
“Shooting your sorry ass,” came the familiar drawl from behind Finn accompanied by Vance’s chuckle.
“But…” Finn started protesting as Vance took the training gun from him.
“You didn’t check under the kitchen sink,” Talon said with a sigh coming up to stand with Drew.
“That’s because all you bastards are too huge to fit under there!” Finn argued. “I didn’t know you’d planted Drew here. That’s chea –” Finn clamped his lips together one second too late.
“Cheating?” Talon repeated incredulously. “Cheating? This isn’t a fucking game, Finn.” Talon threw his hands in the air and stormed out as Finn winced. Drew sent him an apologetic look as he followed their team leader out of the empty mock-up house they used for training.
Shit. Finn closed his eyes in despair. He’d screwed up royally. He’d made assumptions that Sawyer had already checked and because Drew wasn’t in the car when they’d arrived he assumed he wasn’t there. Drew wasn’t even one of the team, but he did join them for training sometimes. He knew he was supposed to check anywhere something on two legs could hide. He kicked the base board in temper as he walked out. Vance chuckled again, and his huge hand settled on Finn’s shoulder. “Don’t get bent up about it, kid. We all make mistakes.”
“Some of us more than others,” Sawyer added.
Finn kept his mouth shut this time. Didn’t even protest at the “kid” moniker they all used. He deserved it. He’d already screwed up with the target practice because he was too worried about tomorrow. They were doing this as a favor for him so he wouldn’t be completely out of his depth when he drove up to F.L.E.T.C. in Georgia. He’d been so excited when their boss A-SAC Gregory had got him a place on the active shooter threat training program. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco was heavily subscribed, and he was sure Gregory had probably pulled some strings to get him on so soon. Then he’d been told there might be some written simulations and his new found confidence had taken a dive. All his team knew about his dyslexia. It wasn’t an issue, and because they were relaxed he was relaxed, and it hadn’t posed any problems. But Gregory had excitedly told him yesterday how everyone would know he was from the new unit and he was sure he would make them all proud. Which of course was absolutely the wrong thing to say because suddenly there was a real possibility he would let them all down.
Finn silently followed Sawyer and Vance into the back of Talon’s truck. Talon was driving, and Finn blinked in astonishment as Drew hopped up alongside him. They usually left that seat for Vance to give the huge guy room to stretch his legs. Drew started asking Talon’s advice about a task force he had applied for. Apparently, it might be in Washington and Talon knew the area.
Finn seethed. Drew Fielding was a regular agent and often joined in with Finn’s training, but Talon didn’t especially like the guy since he’d caught Drew trying to get in Finn’s pants. Talon had often said that the guy would make a good agent if he spent less time on manicures and they’d all had a good laugh. He often sparred with Drew and Finn had only been able to get the jump on him once even with Vance giving him tips at hand to hand. He didn’t mind being bested by the enhanced. There was no way he could match any of their physical abilities – even Eli who was the nearest to Finn’s height and build – but it rankled that he’d never been able to put Drew down.
Talon waved his ID at the security barrier as they pulled into the underground lot behind the Tampa FBI field office that was their base. The only field office that had a security barrier. Talon had told him it was just for them, but that was plain ass stupid. No flimsy barrier was going to stop any of his team – well, apart from him. Because, and despite Agent Gregory saying he had found one or two candidates to join them, Finn was still the only regular human on a team of enhanced humans.
Finn still couldn’t believe it. I mean, he knew about the enhanced – everybody that hadn’t been living under a rock for the past thirty years did – but he never expected to be selected to be the first human to partner an enhanced on the experimental team.
H.E.R.O. Human Enhanced Rescue Organization. Heroes? The press seemed to think so, well at the minute anyway, but of course that could turn on a dime. Everyone got out. “Finn, wait up,” Talon said, and Drew, Sawyer, and Vance immediately made themselves scarce without any comments. Finn let out a long breath while he waited for the ear bashing he was about to get. Then, without warning, Talon’s hand curled around the back of Finn’s neck and drew him in so fast he nearly fell against the lips that touched his. Finn melted instantly against the hard body and stumbled as Talon let go just as fast. “I just need you safe,” Talon ground out, and Finn’s heart turned to mush along with his muscles.
“I know,” and he did. Talon was struggling. He was struggling with being his team leader and his…boyfriend? Was that what Talon was? They’d hardly been out of each other’s sight for six weeks. If he didn’t stay over at Talon’s, then Talon stayed in his apartment. Not often, though, Drew had an apartment in the same complex as Finn and Talon’s monster truck was very visible. Their boss knew about their relationship and was choosing to ignore it, but that didn’t mean they had to wave it in anyone’s face.
Today marked the official start of his eighth week in the FBI, and he still wanted to pinch himself daily. Finn let out a slow breath as he turned to follow Talon towards the elevator that led up to their offices. Eight weeks. Eight weeks since he’d gotten the letter saying his application for the FBI had been rejected and then an hour later got the cryptic phone call from A-SAC Gregory that he had been selected for a secret specialized training program in the FBI, to tell no one, and to report, not at Quantico, but at the Tampa field office in Florida as soon as he could.
That had been the strangest day of his life. He’d never forget meeting his new partner Talon. All six feet five inches of him with the gorgeous blond – blue eyed Greek god thing he had going on. Then he’d seen his face and he’d nearly had a heart attack. The mark. All enhanced had a scar under their left eye shaped a bit like a lightning bolt. It was completely impervious to any type of make-up or even plastic surgery. There was something about it that burned through make-up, and it reformed just as quick if it was surgically removed.
“I know you got a little bent up `cause of what Gregory said.”
Finn rubbed his chin against Talon’s shirt. “I didn’t want to let you all down.” He didn’t look up until he felt Talon’s finger tilt his chin.
“It’s my fault. We shouldn’t be doing this rushed. The whole thing isn’t fair on you. You should be getting proper training.”
Finn raised his head and stared into the deep blue he loved so much. “And we both know I would never have made the proper training. It is what it is, T.” It was true; the FBI had wanted to fill an extra eight hundred and fifty agent posts last year. In the space of six weeks, they had gotten over 270,000 applications. Finn’s grades would normally never have made the cut.
“It still doesn’t mean I’m about to put the team including you in danger over something I should have sorted out.”
“And you will,” Finn soothed. It hadn’t been Talon’s fault, either. It had seemed like everyone had wanted a piece of the team in the last four weeks. They had gone from persona non grata with the Tampa PD to having nearly every sergeant calling them wanting their input on various cases. And because the team were doing their best to get enhanced accepted, Talon was struggling to turn any request for help down.
Finn’s belly rumbled as he stood in the elevator. The others had been holding it for them when Talon and Finn had caught them up, which was a shame. He didn’t want to go into the locker rooms with a hard-on, and he would have if Talon had kissed him anymore. Finn smirked—who was he kidding—and he tried to adjust his pants unobtrusively. He risked a quick glance at Talon and knew by the flare of the bright blue eyes; he’d failed miserably. His belly rumbled again.
Vance chuckled. “You hungry?”
“He’s always hungry,” drawled Talon.
Finn lifted his t-shirt and patted his flat stomach lightly. “Maybe I’ve got a worm.”
Sawyer spluttered trying not to laugh; Vance just creased up. “A worm? What the hell?”
“That’s what my granddad used to say when I ate a lot.” Finn grinned. He didn’t remember the old man much as he’d died when Finn was around four or five, just a general impression of huge bushy eyebrows and some of his sayings. He brightened. “Did you know the longest tapeworm ever taken out of a human was one hundred and eight feet?”
Everyone groaned, and Sawyer made gagging noises. “Talon, please for the love of God shut him up, or he’s not gonna need any more training, I’m just gonna shoot him in the elevator.”
Talon Valdez knew that when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced are 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 since 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 fatal 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.
Victoria Sue… 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—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 to her computer than on a beach. Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook.
Victoria has brought a copy of any back list book to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, December 16th at 11:59 pm EST.
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