UNMASKING THE HEAT
By Angela Knight
I’ve always thought comics were sexy.
That may seem a little weird, until I tell you I discovered comics about the time I hit puberty. When I was twelve, my grandmother passed away, and my mother took me to a therapist. He had an enormous stack of Batman comic books in his lobby, and he gave them to me. I took them home, and I was hooked.
The Batman artist of my teenage years was Neal Adams, who made Batman look sexy and tormented — and basically naked as he chased Catwoman all over Gotham. One of my favorite Pinterest images recently is of Bats holding Catwoman with her whip wrapped around his throat. (Though the Batman of my imagination has always seemed more of a sonofabitch Dominant than anything else. It isn’t much of a stretch. That character is a bit of a bastard even in 1990’s cartoons.)
Years later, my first published work was in comics – a three-issue mini-series called Cycops about three cops with computers implants in their brains. I basically used the same idea in my Time Hunters series for Berkley Sensation. Like the Cycops, the Warlords had the abilities to draw on brief explosions of superhuman strength.
Power has always fascinated me. For one thing, I believe we have more of it than we think we do, something we often discover only when we’re backed into a corner.
That’s why I write the stories I do – about people waging desperate battle against evil for those they love. It’s only then they discover their inner superheroes, realizing they have more strength than they ever knew. We become our own superheroes only by being tested.
Besides, with great power come great sex!
Things get hot when heroes take off their masks — among other things!
Hero Sandwich: When Meg Jennings finds herself at the mercy of a pair of kinky heroes, she discovers keeping a wicked secret can be good, dirty fun.
Voodoo: Voodoo is tired of waiting for Lynx. Time to show him everything she can do with her psychic superpowers.
Taming Jack: Lark Anderson is determined to save Deputy Jack Ramsey — even if it means accepting an inhuman invader.
Natasha and the Android: When Natasha is kidnapped by an android supervillain who wants to find out why humans are so obsessed with sex, she realizes the dark side has a lot more going for it than she thought.
Masks & Mistletoe: From rescuing a ten-year-old from an evil Santa to celebrating a BDSM Christmas, superheroes Lock and Ultra explore discipline, dominance and the kinky way…
Publisher’s Note: Unmasked (Box Set) contains the previously published novellas Hero Sandwich, Voodoo, Taming Jack, Natasha and the Android, and Masks & Mistletoe.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Angela Knight
Excerpt from Hero Sandwich
Meg Jennings stepped out onto the roof of her apartment building, her boots scraping on the concrete. Below, horns honked and an eighteen-wheeler growled in acceleration as a fire truck wailed its way down the street.
Restless, she strode to the roof’s edge. All around her, the lights of Manhattan glittered in the darkness as if the stars had showered down to earth. Meg stared downward, brooding.
She’d had no choice except to break it off with Richard tonight. Much as she loved him, she couldn’t keep tolerating his secrecy, his habit of disappearing, his evasiveness. She couldn’t even remember the last time they’d actually ended a date without him being called off by some mysterious phone call. Any explanation he’d bothered to give afterward always had the ring of a lie.
Meg had lived a double life long enough to recognize the signs in somebody else. She knew what she was doing in hers. She wasn’t at all sure she wanted to know what Richard was doing with his.
Maybe he was a hero, risking his life in the pursuit of justice. But there was something about Richard, something just a little bit dark, a little bit ruthless. That sounded more like villain than hero to Meg — and she wasn’t willing to go down that particular road again. She didn’t like where it led.
Even so, the expression on his handsome face when she’d told him it was over had stabbed into her soul. Pain and vulnerability were not emotions she associated with Richard Drake, billionaire captain of industry.
She’d found herself explaining. “I just can’t live with the lies anymore, Richard.”
A cool gleam of determination replaced the pain in those wolf-pale eyes. “We all have our secrets, Meg. And we all tell lies.” Then he’d walked out.
Now she glowered at the city below. We all have our secrets. What the hell did that mean?
With a huff, Meg stepped off the edge of the roof and into empty air. For an instant, she fell like a rock. Then the generators in her suit started pumping out lev-fields, and she rose slowly skyward like a soap bubble on the breeze.
Absently, she watched the traffic stream below her boots in a river of headlights. Was this what Richard meant? Did he know what she was? And would he tell anyone in that other life she suspected he led?
If he did, he might as well paint a target on her chest and declare open season. Too many pissed-off villains — and even a few heroes — had sworn to take revenge on Paparazzi for the photos she’d taken. If any of them ever found out who she was, she wouldn’t have a prayer.
It was hard to believe Richard would deliberately endanger her that way. But then, she didn’t really know him, did she? That was the whole problem.
Frowning, Meg stretched her body out in the air, letting the lev-fields cradle her in invisible lines of force. With one hand, she checked the bag attached to her equipment belt. Her camera gear was safely stowed, ready for the night’s adventures. Taking a deep breath, she slowly flexed her toes, triggering the acceleration controls in her boots. Instantly, she shot forward, propelled by the levitation fields rippling around her.
It was ironic, really. If her father hadn’t been such an adrenaline junkie, he could have been pulling in billions in patent proceeds. The American military would have paid a great deal for a suit that could both levitate its wearer and turn him invisible.
Unfortunately, exploiting his inventions had always held less appeal for Gerald Jennings than committing crimes as the supervillain Bankbuster. He and his partner Nightwolf had terrorized New York together, in between battles with superheroes like Cougar and Lynx. Which was why Gerald was doing fifty in Attica now instead of living the high life in Acapulco.
Meg was lucky she hadn’t gone down with him. When she’d turned fifteen, Nightwolf had lost a fight with Cougar and gone to jail. Her father hated working alone, so he gave her a lev-suit and forced her to become his sidekick, Sneak Thief. For the next two years, she’d lived in a constant state of terror as they used their suits in nighttime bank robberies.
Finally, Meg could take no more. She told her father she’d robbed her last bank. Enraged, Gerald beat her so badly, he had to take her to the hospital before he robbed the bank he’d targeted. Cougar and Lynx caught him that very night.
Bankbuster’s conviction freed Meg from her life of crime, but it also left her with a very big problem. Her mother was dead, and the money Gerald had left in an offshore bank wouldn’t last long. Though she was old enough to go out on her own by then, she had no way to support herself except minimum-wage jobs.
Meg briefly considered selling her own suit to the Army, but she didn’t know how it worked. Besides, admitting she had Sneak Thief’s costume wasn’t exactly a good move, given the charges hanging over her head. She had to find another way to make a living.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angela Knight’s romance writing career began in 1996, when she realized her dream of romance publication with Red Sage’s Secrets anthology. She is a New York Times best-selling author of more than fifty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Time Hunters series. Her career spans twenty plus years. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine gave her a Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for best erotic romance and best werewolf romance.
Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press. She also teaches online writing courses with SavvyAuthors.com. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.