Today I am so pleased to welcome C.B. Lee to Joyfully Jay. C.B. has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her new release, Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad #2). She has also brought along some great giveaways! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Genevieve Monroe is an avid storyteller and keeps Bells from falling asleep on the drive back. Bells asks questions, and she tells him all about the history of the Meta-Human Training program, how she was marked for the villain track as soon as she started dating Phillip—Master Mischief.
He’s spent a lot of energy today. Bells has never known how it feels to be tapped out completely, but he’s exhausted all his strength. “This has enough electric charge to get us back to Andover,” Genevieve says. “Thank you so much—you and Jess and Abby. You saved me.”
“Thank me when we get safe.” Bells says, drumming his fingers on the windowsill. “It’s not over yet.”
“Well, I’m thanking you now,” Genevieve says gently. “You’re an incredibly strong and talented young man. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ve never met another meta-human who could have done what you did today. You’re stronger than you think are; I hope you know that.”
Through the fog of exhaustion, a glimmer of pride courses through him. He knows he’s capable of many things, but on a day like today, that means a lot. “Thanks.”
They turn on the radio and listen to jaunty pop tunes until an emergency announcement cuts in.
“This just in!” Wilton Lysander’s face appears on the car’s dashboard display. Lysander is the over-the-top host of news segments about heroes. His usual chirpy demeanor is replaced by a grim smile. The first few notes of his theme play, but, instead of the vibrant fanfare that introduces his interviews and features, these notes are ominous.
Lysander’s voice is cold, devoid of humor and playfulness. “Chameleon has gone rogue and teamed up with the Villain’s Guild. The Heroes’ League of Heroes has issued an official warning to the general public, especially in Andover, that Chameleon is on the run and dangerous after an attack on a secure NAC facility.”
Bells clenches and unclenches his hands. He knew things were going to change; he just didn’t think they would change this fast. He thought about calling Harris, whom he always thought was tough but fair. Surely not everyone in the League was corrupt. And Genevieve and the other adults would have a plan.
There’s a cold churning in his gut. Lysander, who treated him like a rock star and had always been in awe of him, who said, “Kiddo, you’re gonna go far,” is now glaring at him through the dashboard, as if he knows this message is reaching him.
Lysander steeples his fingers. “Be aware. Chameleon can disguise himself as any person. Report any suspicious behavior to the local authorities and verify the identity of your companions with security questions.”
Lysander’s image flickers, and a series of photos of Bells-as- Barry are projected onto the display in a quick montage: Barry grimacing and pummeling a punching bag; Barry sparring with Coach Barbara; Barry lifting weights; a quick demonstration of Barry shifting into each of the trainers, lightning-quick.
“This is a public service announcement. Again, Chameleon is at large and dangerous. He is fully charged and can maintain a disguise for at least ten minutes before recharging.”
Genevieve turns to look at Bells. “Well, looks as though they’re on to us.”
A high-pitched laugh escapes Bells. “At least ten minutes. Well, it’s a good thing I never told them how powerful I really am.”
Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants and, if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most wanted villain.
After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges.
Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.
C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer based in California. She is a first-generation Asian American and holds a BA in sociology and environmental science, which occasionally comes in handy in her chosen career, but not usually. Lee enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits.
Not Your Sidekick (2016) was named a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards. Lee’s first novel, Seven Tears at High Tide (2015), was also a Bisexual Book Awards finalist. She is a Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow.
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