Today I am so pleased to welcome Sydney Blackburn & Lina Langley to Joyfully Jay. Sydney and Lina have come to talk to share an exclusive excerpt from latest release, The Power of Love. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Locke looked down at his tray for a second, wondering what his food was and marveled at how steady the tray was in his hands. He was used to mixing his rum with sodas, not swigging straight from the bottle.
He had not paced himself well, and he didn’t want to get in trouble. He needed to find somewhere to sit, because he was pretty sure he was going to start bumping into walls or people at any second.
Luckily, his best friend wasn’t hard to spot. He had mermaid hair—that was what it was called, so he had been informed every time he said it wrong—and he had recolored it right before camp.
Locke walked over to Ariel, who had seen him and was waving. He sat down next to him, bumping his knee on the table.
Ariel looked at him and frowned. “Hey, you okay?”
“Yeah,” Locke said, looking down at his food. “I’m good. What even is this?”
“Oh my god, you’re drunk,” Ariel said, sounding far too loud.
“Sorry,” Ariel said, laughing quietly. “Okay, your cabin seems so fun. What’s everyone like?”
“I don’t know. Normal. What’s yours like?”
“Fine.” Ariel shrugged, taking a bite off his fork. “I guess. So far the best part about being here is Mister Mister. It’s so awesome he’s our trainer! Do y’think we’ll get to see him demonstrate his power?”
Locke had to laugh. He and Ariel had grown up together, collecting and swapping “Heroes and Villains” cards. He could always come out the better if he had anything Mister Mister to trade.
“Maybe. But apart from him, any interesting guys or cool powers?”
Ariel rolled his eyes. “I asked you first.”
“They’re all hot, I guess, but this one guy,” Locke replied. “He seems almost shy, and—”
“Aww,” Ariel said. “You’re so cute when you crush on a guy.”
“Dude, shut up,” Locke replied. “I shouldn’t have told you. I don’t know why I ever tell you things at all.”
“Because you love me?”
“Ugh,” Locke said. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Who’s in your cabin?”
Ariel sat up a little straighter, looking around the room. “See that guy, with the tats? He’s in my cabin. Says his name is Brayden, but he brays assholery. That could be his power. And the cute one with the glasses, he’s there too. He’s got like, electronics power or something. He didn’t go into how it works.”
“No, but I can’t see the other one anywhere,” Ariel said. “He has dreadlocks, so he’s kind of hard to miss.” He practically inhaled a few forkfuls of the stuff on his plate and added with a whine, “I can’t believe they didn’t put us in the same cabin, though. That’s so unfair.”
“I don’t think it was on purpose,” Locke replied, trying to eat some of his own food. He was feeling queasy and the lumpy brown mush on his plate wasn’t helping. It tasted kind of salty and greasy. He pushed the tray away from him and resisted the temptation to put his head on Ariel’s shoulder. Maybe he could nap after dinner. His gaze fell on Vince, directly across from him but one table over.
“It’s good to know that you miss me too,” Ariel said.
“C’mon, I didn’t mean it like that,” Locke replied. “Of course I miss you. I’m just looking forward to getting to know everyone.”
Ariel raised his eyebrows. “Everyone?”
“Yes, everyone,” Locke said.
“That’s why you’re looking right at that guy, huh?”
Locke’s face warmed as he realized he was staring. Vince was between Cass and someone whom Locke didn’t recognize. He was pushing his food around with his fork, apparently finding it as unappetizing as Locke did.
“I wasn’t,” Locke protested. “He’s in front of me.”
“Whatever,” Ariel said. “I give it a week, maybe two because of being at camp, until you get him out of your system. You want me to number them in the order you’ll go through ’em? See how well I know you, right? Not easy, though, so many hot choices around here.”
“You know, Ariel, when you say stuff like that,” he started to protest, but then what Ariel had said hit him. “Wait, you think I’m going to get him out of my system? Do you think we’re going to hookup?”
Ariel sighed, shaking his head. “Both your talents and your looks are wasted on you.”
“What do you mean?” Locke said, looking right at Vince. This time, he wasn’t trying to hide it.
“You know, you could probably sleep with anyone here, even if they think they’re straight,” Ariel said. “But that guy will be easy—he already wants you.”
“How do you know?”
“Because he keeps sneaking glances this way whenever he thinks you’re not looking,” Ariel said. “And he seemed a little, I don’t know, confused, when you decided to sit with me and not with him.”
Locke laughed, throwing his head back. “But we’re just friends.”
“Yeah, I know that,” Ariel said. “And you know that. But Hottie over there, he doesn’t know it. You’re going to have to tell him.”
“Tell him what?”
“How do you even survive without me?” Ariel said, turning to him. “That’s not a joke, it’s a serious question. How do you do it?”
Locke rolled his eyes, but he smiled at Ariel. This was his version of being protective, which Locke always appreciated, even when it wasn’t particularly useful. “It’s always hard when you’re not around and I have to lift furniture.” Ariel’s power was strength, which seemed bizarre in such a small, slender package.
Ariel rolled his eyes right back at him. “Whatever,” Ariel said. “Mark my words. You’re hitting that, like, within the week.”
“What? No, I’m not,” Locke said. “Vince is out of my league.”
“He’s so in your league. Cute, big brown eyes, great jaw. He’s just your type,” Ariel countered with confidence.
Locke shook his head. “I don’t have a type. And I’m not here to rack up any numbers, jeez.”
“Oh my God,” Ariel said, putting his hand over his chest. “That’s so cute. Anyway, you’ll hit it and forget it. You’ll move on to someone else. That guy.”
He pointed his fork at a random guy on the left side of the room.
“Why that guy?”
“Because he’s hot as fuck,” Ariel replied. “And you’re a commitmentphobe.”
“I’m not a commitmentphobe, I’ve never found somebody I like enough, though,” Locke replied, his voice a whisper. “You know, yet.”
“And you think Vince is it? Are you going to eat that?” He was pointing at Locke’s abandoned plate.
“No,” Locke said, shaking his head. “I didn’t say that. And no, here, have it. It’s so gross. Even if Vince goes for guys with my dashing blond looks, it’s not like I’m the only blond here. I’m not even the only one in our cabin. That gorgeous blond he’s sitting next to? Cass. In our cabin. I’m not into blonds and I think he’s hot.”
“If you say so,” Ariel replied, swapping his tray with Locke’s. “You wanna put your money where your mouth is?”
Locke considered it for a second and shook his head. He wanted Ariel to be right. That, and he hadn’t brought that much money with him to camp. He couldn’t waste it on wagers he was hoping to lose.
The #1 rule of superhero training camp is you don’t talk about superhero training camp.
Or your parents.
Or their powers, which is the only thing saving Vince’s life—he’s the son of a notorious supervillain. But the secret could become a deadly deception when he falls into a super-powered entanglement with gorgeously heroic cabinmate Locke.
When their instructor disappears, Vince’s father may be to blame. Torn between loyalties, Vince’s greatest fear is that his father’s taint will corrupt him and poison his heart against Locke.
Vince might be doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he hopes love can beat genetics.
Lina Langley has a postgraduate degree from Newcastle University in Creative Writing and a B.A (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing from Northumbria University.
She grew up in Colombia and currently lives in Gainesville, FL with her husband.
Sydney Blackburn is a binary star system. Always a voracious reader, she began to write when she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read. She likes candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach… Oh wait, wrong profile. She’s a snarky introvert and admits to having a past full of casual sex and dubious hookups, which she uses for her stories.
She likes word play and puns and science-y things. And green curry.
Her dislikes include talking on the phone, people trying to talk to her before she’s had coffee, and filling out the “about me” fields in social media.
Besides writing, she also designs book covers for poor people.
Lina and Sydney have brought a $10 NineStar Press gift card to give away along their tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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