I Need a Hero

I Need a Hero

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Overview

'Behind The Mask' by Elizabeth Coldwell

He keeps his true identity hidden, even from the man he loves…

'Riptide' by Helena Maeve

Sometimes, all that matters is being in the right place at the right time.

'Saving the Day' by Jambrea Jo Jones

Superpower—check. Worldwide fans? No thank you!

Flying with the Stars' by Sarah Masters

Not every superhero needs a cape!

'Unseen' by Lucy Felthouse

When a scientific procedure has unexpected results, Rory tries to make the best of a bad situation and ends up becoming an accidental superhero.

'The Angel on the Northern Line' by Catherine Curzon

When your average, run-of-the-mill retired superhero Latin teacher meets an angel on the underground, it’s not only runaway trains that spark.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786515834
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 234
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Coldwell is a multi-published author and editor whose stories have appeared in a number of best-selling anthologies. She has written novels in a variety of different genres, from paranormal to BDSM and contemporary romance. She is the former editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine and the proud winner of an International Leather Award. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!).


Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.


Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novel Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name.

Read an Excerpt

Copyright © Elizabeth Coldwell, Catherine Curzon, Lucy Felthouse, Sarah Masters, Jambrea Jo Jones and Helena Maeve 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.

Excerpt from 'Behind The Mask'

Christopher walked through the cemetery in the gathering dusk, blowing on his hands in a vain attempt to warm them. Snowflakes settled in his short, blond curls and on the shoulders of his worn gray overcoat, and clouded his vision when he blinked them from his eyelashes. Part of him wished he was in his cozy apartment, curled up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, waiting for Jimmy to come home from work. But this was his ritual, and he had never missed a year. No snowstorm would prevent him from honoring his father.

Head down, he strode past the grand mausoleums that were the final resting places of the city’s great and good. The powerful, the wealthy, the benevolent. Those who had tolerated the likes of his father for as long as it had suited them, until they had turned around and…

Sighing, Christopher fought to clear his mind of the bitter thoughts that threatened to crowd in. Much as he longed to take a crowbar to these overly ornate tombs, smashing their granite and marble façades to pieces, that wouldn’t solve anything. His father would still be dead, and Christopher would continue to live in the shadows, prevented by the will of those who governed Mokum City from fulfilling his destiny.

He paused by a weathered stone angel, whose wings and outstretched arms were covered with a thick dusting of snow. A young woman wearing a bright scarlet woolen cap stood at a nearby grave, clearly wrapped up in her own thoughts. The headstone appeared newly carved, the soil heaped in a prominent mound, and Christopher realized she must have suffered a recent bereavement. Was it just his imagination, or were her pale cheeks streaked with tears? It gets easier, he wanted to tell her, knowing that was only half a lie. But he moved on, not wishing her to look up and spot him.

His father was buried in a quiet, out of the way part of the cemetery, with only a small wooden cross to mark the location. No grand tomb for Michael Chase. It was hardly surprising, when so many in this city would like to pretend that he had never existed, even though his legacy still lived on in the lives he had saved and the crimes he had prevented.

Excerpt from 'Riptide'

Between the sunlight warming his face, the briny scent of the sea and the squawking of gulls in the distance, Rami had to admit the afterlife wasn’t half bad. At least he thought that until a blunt object poked him in the shin.

“Think he’s dead.”

The poking happened again, more insistently this time, and a shadow fell over him.

“Hey, mister! Are you okay?”

A groan was the best Rami could do by way of answer, yet even that was enough to send the two diminutive, blurry figures above him scrambling back. He blinked and the blurs resolved into a pair of kids, beach-attired and rosy with too much sun. They were maybe twelve or thirteen years old, on the cusp of adolescence yet already making strides in pissing off the elderly.

Rami winced as one of them shoved a phone in his face.

“Sick!” The camera clicked. “That’s going on Instagram, dude!”

Under different circumstances, that would’ve bothered Rami.

There was nothing normal about waking up waterlogged and covered in kelp, sand sticking to the hand he dragged over his face. “Where… Where am I?”

Excerpt from 'Saving the Day'

“Why are you on the floor?”

My eyes were closed tight, I had no idea who was talking to me. My head hurt and I needed to vomit. My whole body ached. I wanted to see who was speaking, but I was having issues controlling my body. I squeezed my eyelids tight, then opened them. My lashes fluttered. Light was coming through. Was that an angel peering over me? Was I dead?

I am totally getting ahead of myself. A lot had happened for me to get to the point where I was incoherent on the floor. Let me take us back to the beginning.

It was 1980. My parents were given the news that my mom was having twins. Surprise! They didn’t run in either family, so it was a bit of a shock. My brother and I were born a few months later. Okay, that’s a little too far back, but I did say I was going to go to the beginning.

Now we are in 1995 and my brother is concerned that the family dog is talking to him. I didn’t believe him. I mean—who can talk to animals? We didn’t live in a comic book. But that was the year I first healed someone. My friend Sally wrecked her bike. I put my hand over her knee and seconds later I was throwing up in a bush and her knee was as good as new. So, I kind of started to believe my brother.

Enough backstory. It’s 2017. The only people who know about my powers are family. We—my brother and I—were taught to never show our powers. Our parents didn’t want us to be locked up somewhere and studied. Plus, who would believe us? I could show it off by healing someone. In fact, I wanted to. My passion was the medical field, but my family had talked me out of pursuing a career in medicine. They’d said it would be too tempting to help everyone. Instead, I went into business with my brother. I did all of the office work and oversaw the staff to let him focus on fixing the animals.

One of the things the comic handbook doesn’t say is that the side effects are horrible. If I heal little things, I vomit. Big things? It can take me down for days, sometimes weeks. It just depends on what I’m healing. I never really know how my body will react. It isn’t like there’s a study out there that shows after effects. People like me don’t exist.

Excerpt from 'Flying with the Stars'

James

It had been a while since the puddle of tears around my feet had dried up. All right, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but a break-up was never easy, was it? I’d been to hell and back and was now determined to find myself a new bloke, although new was hardly the right word. I wasn’t sure if the one who had been there all along would be interested in me, but in the meantime, I was going to go out for a drink and a dance to get myself feeling more like the old James. The pre-Gareth James, who was confident but not big-headed. Did that version of me even exist anymore? I didn’t know, but I could try to find him again, couldn’t I? Be him?

Deep down, though, my confidence was still a bit ropey, but I’d told myself day after day lately that I could do this, get back in the saddle. A bugger of a little whisper in the recesses of my mind said I couldn’t. Now luckily, those kinds of whispers made me stubborn. Made the diva in me come out.

So tonight I was off to Dance Fest, where I’d always felt at home, but the problem was, Gareth liked the place, too. There was a strong chance he’d be there, but I was fucked if I was going to hide away any longer. I’d bump into him at some point, was bound to, so now that I felt stronger emotionally, I might as well come face to face again with him tonight.

I’d already done my hair, black quiff held up by wax, and my outfit consisted of jeans, a tight gray T-shirt and comfy black shoes. I’d had to hype myself up in order to get ready tonight, but now I’d convinced myself to dive back into the game I reckoned nothing was going to get me down.

Shame I’d let things get me down after Gareth, beating myself up, blaming myself, but since the fog of self-pity had lifted, it was clear that I couldn’t have made him stay. He’d been intent on leaving me for that bloke with nipples the size of cigar stubs and there hadn’t been a thing I could have done to stop it.

“Oh, we’re not going down that road again, are we?” I muttered and zipped my jacket up. “And fuck it, if he prefers cigar stubs to slim cigarette filters, he’s most welcome to them.”

Many times over the past couple of months I’d told myself that in order to change my insecure way of thinking, I needed to grow my confidence back—like it’s a plant or something, Jesus—so that the doubting comments in my head became fewer and fewer and were eventually replaced with positive ones. Difficult as that might be, it was a journey I was willing to take. Anything to make me grab life by the sexy, hairy balls again and enjoy myself instead of drowning in despair.

And the despair. It had been enough to send anyone round the bloody bend.

My drama bone has certainly healed and is in full working order.

Excerpt from 'Unseen'

Rory carefully placed the empty syringe into a kidney bowl on a wheeled metal table at his side then snapped off his latex gloves and put them next to the bowl. When he turned back to his workstation, though, the monkey he’d just injected had disappeared.

He blinked, as though his eyes were not functioning correctly and that closing and opening them again would do a hard reset. Like doing a restart on his PC when it acted up. Unfortunately, in the case of his eyes, it didn’t help. He tried again, just to be sure. No such luck. The monkey was still not there.

Shaking his head, he looked around the laboratory. It wasn’t very big, and there was nowhere to hide. Not for a creature the size of Arnold, anyway. Even an escaped mouse would be pretty easy to locate. Rory wondered if perhaps he was asleep and dreaming—vivid and bonkers dreams were a constant in his life. A swift pinch of his arm answered that question. Muttering, he rubbed the afflicted area, the cotton of his lab coat soft beneath his fingers.

He frowned, then frowned some more as a thought occurred to him. A thought so unbelievable, so ludicrous that he couldn’t understand why it had even popped into his brain.

Because it’s the only possible explanation.

He shook his head. No, it wasn’t. There was a perfectly rational explanation for Arnold’s sudden disappearance. He wasn’t where he’d left him, but although he was smart, there was no way in hell he could have escaped the lab. It was impossible. Rory reached into his pocket and clasped the hard plastic of his security pass between his fingers and heaved a sigh of relief. The very idea of a monkey—albeit a tame, friendly one—wandering around the City of London didn’t bear thinking about. And neither did the consequences.

Determined to disprove his silly idea, Rory began searching in earnest for Arnold. It took all of five seconds—he wasn’t underneath the workstation, or behind the large storage unit at one end of the long room. All of the cupboards were closed and locked, and the keys still hung securely on a lanyard around Rory’s neck. There was nowhere else the animal could have gone.

Rory scratched his head, the scientist in him still desperate not to resort to believing the thought that was now flashing on and off in his mind in strobe lighting, unwilling to be ignored any longer.

Invisible. You’ve turned Arnold invisible.

Excerpt from 'The Angel on the Northern Line'

Once upon a time, saving the world had been easy. There were heroes and villains, right and wrong, and no matter how thorny things got, good always saved the day.

Once upon a time, there had been a place for superheroes.

Once upon a time, long, long ago.

Back then they’d lit up a million childhood dreams, their stories caught forever on fading newsprint and flickering newsreel. They’d been there as boys had been slaughtered in their millions on distant French and Belgian fields. Some had been glimpsed in the skies or in the shattered cities of the second great war, miraculous acts of heroism little more than dewdrops in an almighty, unstoppable ocean.

They had never been legion but they’d been there, clad in dazzling costumes and shining armor, hands on hips on the cover of glossy magazines, flying above the clouds to ease a plane safely to earth or standing firm though an earthquake rocked the world around them. Once there had been the woman from Nebraska who had been able to read minds from half a continent away, the teen from Madras who had flown faster than any airplane, the infant who’d spat fire from the palm of their hand. Once, there’d been something to believe in.

It had given people hope.

So what had become of those heroes?

For every one of them that had chosen celebrity and a home in the Hollywood Hills, another had faded into the world of whispers and bedtime stories. Some said that they had never been real at all, but were actors who could convincingly play the idol, hired by governments desperate for an injection of propaganda. Others claimed that they had been spirited away by their own sides, sent off to colonize distant stars or drilled down to the center of the earth. One or two held on to the hope that they were still among the people, still saving lives and doing good but doing it quietly, those bright costumes consigned to the bottom of the wardrobe with last year’s winter coat.

But nobody ever thought of the Northern Line.

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