When three separate heroines place orders at the same online shoe storewww.hiheelia.comthey receive shoes that not only look fabulous, but also give them superpowers that help them find true love and take charge of their lives.
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These Boots Were Made For Stomping
By Julie Kenner Jade Lee Marianne Mancusi
Copyright © 2008 Julie Kenner, Katherine Grill, and Marianne Mancusi
All right reserved.
"Come on, Ruthless," whispered Nikko, peering down at the street through his Council-issued binocs from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. "Come on, you scum-sucker. Show yourself."
Three months. Three long, dull, hideous months he'd been forced into this assignment. Dragged away from his Colorado mountain retreat and shoved into the bright lights and endless noise of the big city he'd been forced out of five years ago. And why? To catch Rex Ruthless: a conniving madman that no one else could manage to get their hands on, a madman who'd just about managed to piece together complicated technology capable of actually shrinking New York City-Manhattan and all the other boroughs-to an infinitesimal fraction of its actual size. So small, in fact, that the landmass would fit inside a snow globe. Which, naturally, was exactly where Ruthless intended to stick the island if the Powers That Be didn't meet his demands.
Not that any of those Powers yet knew about the threat. It had only been through Nikko's long-standing underworld contacts that he'd learned what Ruthless was up to. More, he'd learned that Ruthless still needed one more component before his contraption was operational.
Nikko's original mission to retrieve the stolen Council equipment had immediately been upgraded, and now he was in charge of stopping Ruthless altogether by what ever means necessary. And, of course, that meant preventing Ruthless from getting his hands on that final component.
What that component was, though-about that, Nikko had no clue. His sources could say only that it focused energy, but considering that the Learning Annex courses advertised the same, although in a more metaphysical sense, the clue was hardly earth-shattering.
Equally troubling was the fact that, though Ruthless was purely mortal, he was enough of an inventor that he could hold his own in a fight. Worse, he'd recently stolen a device invented by little Davie Murphy, a prepubescent Halfling genius. The device, about the size of a billfold, let Ruthless disintegrate and reintegrate things at will, and also teleport himself to a preselected destination. A pretty cool invention when you got right down to it, though there were those in the Council who dissed the thing simply because it was invented by a Halfling-and a child at that. Personally, Nikko didn't care. So what if a Halfling had one mortal parent? They still had Protector blood, were still descended from the Greek and Roman gods (who, of course, weren't really mythological beings at all, though mortals from Homer to Edith Hamilton had done a great job weaving a fabulous cover story).
Of course, being a full-blooded Protector-complete with all the standard powers like speed, strength and agility, and even individualized powers like his own ability to melt weapons-didn't make life all sunshine and roses. Nikko had learned that the hard way after his one tiny little mistake had left him ostracized, censured, and essentially abandoned to his Colorado cabin. The Venerate Council of Protectors-the ruling body for all with Protector blood-had doled out the punishment, and Nikko had accepted it. Now, they'd called him back, ostensibly to give him a second chance at becoming an active member of the Protector community again. Nikko, however, was certain there was an ulterior motive. Like, maybe, the fact that Ruthless's shrinking device might be considered a weapon. And, if so, then Nikko might be able to use his powers to melt it.
He doubted that the definition of "weapon" applied, though. More than that, since the thing wasn't finished, it was still technically harmless. Which meant his particular power was useless against it. And that meant he was stuck in a regular mission, trying to track down a bad guy who was trying to acquire a bit of contraband. He felt like a cop participating in a sting. Or at least what he assumed a cop would feel like. Nikko tended to watch a lot of police dramas in his Colorado retreat.
At first he'd been excited about the assignment. But after months of chasing bogus leads, he was just plain frustrated. It was bad enough that he didn't have solid information. What made it worse was that with the stolen teleportation device, Ruthless could bounce all over creation, and unless Nikko's information was beyond solid, catching him was next to impossible.
So far, Nikko's intelligence was decidedly mushy.
And each and every day that passed, Nikko cursed the unknown idiot who hadn't protected Davie's teleportation invention with the care it deserved, probably assuming that a half mortal, half Protector kid couldn't invent anything either useful or dangerous.
What was that old saying about never assuming anything?
Not that Nikko could waste time with might-have-beens, he thought as he focused the binocs on the sidewalk below; Davie's device had been stolen long before he'd been sucked into the game. Now he needed to find Ruthless's lair, destroy or secure Ruthless's technology, and then secure the man himself. All of which was made a heck of a lot harder by the villain's fascination with dis- and reintegrating himself all over the city.
Not to mention the fact that Nikko couldn't simply grab the man. No, that would be too easy. Instead, the Council had made clear (and he had to reluctantly agree that the mandate made sense) that the shrinking device was the first priority. Because while Ruthless might be the brains of his operation, he had a lot of automaton followers, any of whom would be happy to step up to the plate, flip a switch, and win one for the Gipper.
All of it boiled down to one simple reality: Nikko was stuck in New York until he got a lead on the location of Ruthless's lair, and so instead of being a quick in-and-out mission, this assignment had turned into a scavenger hunt. And that, frankly, was making him even grumpier than the constant stares and finger-pointings on those days when he bothered to walk down the city streets rather than traveling by stealthed propulsion cloak.
You would think he'd be used to it by now, every time some nine-year-old pointed and squealed, "Wow! Look! That guy looks just like the Silver Streak!" Nikko wanted to rewind his life by five years, two months and fourteen days. Before he'd made the mistake of jumping off this very observation deck.
On that fateful day Reed Mystory (a pen name if ever Nikko heard one) had seen him and found comic book inspiration ... in Nikko. The truly annoying mortal Reed had taken what he'd seen, including Nikko's appearance, right down to the battle scar that ran across his left eyebrow and caused it to permanently quirk up, and turned it all-looks and powers-into an instantly popular comic book character. And that wildly popular first issue had not only immortalized Nikko in ways other than the standard Protector longevity but also directly resulted in Nikko getting put on probationary status.
Because, while a Protector leaping off a tall building without an invisibility cloak in front of a crowd of mortals might be overlooked so long as the Mortal-Protector Liaison Office could concoct a reasonable cover story, if one of the crowd members happened to be a comic book writer ...
Unfortunately for Nikko, the Council frowned on that kind of publicity. As he'd heard innumerable times during his many administrative hearings, the role of the MLO was to cover up Protector activity, a task made exponentially more difficult when every corner newsstand was essentially advertising Protector exploits.
He really hadn't stood a chance.
And now that two movies had come out to huge box office success, he figured he'd lost what ever chance he might have had for appeal.
In truth, he didn't much mind. He'd been happy to leave the city. Happy to have the chance to relax. He'd been on the go for years, bringing down some of the baddest of the bad. And three months ago he'd been this close to figuring out not only how to fly-fish but also why mortals bothered. Then the Council called him back in for this sorry assignment.
Sometimes, he thought, life really wasn't fair.
Right now, though, it turned a tiny bit fairer. Because who should step into his field of vision but the man himself, Rex Ruthless, surrounded by a flock of cronies, practically genuflecting before him.
"I have so got you," Nikko whispered, pulling his propulsion cloak out of his mission supply bag. Flying over the streets of Manhattan might be verboten, but he'd convinced the Council that this mission justified the use of one of the experimental propulsion cloaks-the new model with both the invisibility feature and jet propulsion and built-in radar and night vision goggles. All he had to do was get the dang invisibility component working, then swoop down and follow Ruthless to his lair; neither Ruthless nor the folks treading the early morning Manhattan streets would be the wiser.
Since his entire plan hinged on the invisibility feature functioning, naturally it failed.
"Hopping Hades," he muttered under his breath, even as the elevator leading up to the observation deck dinged. He checked his watch and silently cursed again. The invisibility feature had functioned fine two hours ago when he'd flown up here before the deck's official opening time. Why had his four-point-three seconds of good luck run out right then, with the public arriving and the cloak malfunctioning? Honestly, you'd think the Fates had it in for him.
He pulled his cloak off and turned it over, hoping he could diagnose the problem before whoever was getting off the elevator noticed him or, worse, before Ruthless slipped into a limousine and Nikko lost track of him. No such luck. Not only was a limo pulling up to the curb right that very minute, but a preadolescent male voice behind Nikko screeched, "Mom! Mom! Look at that guy! It's the Silver Streak! I know it, Mom! Check out his scar! I know it, I know it!"
"Eddie," a woman whispered, her soft voice carrying on the wind, "that poor man probably gets compared to that character all the time. Don't go bothering him. He's probably sick to death of it."
"But it is him, Mom! I'm sure of it."
"Eddie," she repeated, her voice this time stern.
And though Nikko would have preferred to sit there innocuously, silently proving the mom right, he knew he didn't have that option. Ruthless was already in the limo, and it was poised to pull away from the curb as soon as traffic cleared. He'd spent three weeks chasing the lead that had allowed him to track Ruthless to this location, and he wasn't about to lose the villain now. Who knew when he'd have such good intelligence again?
The limo accelerated, its front bumper nudging into traffic. Hopping Hades. He had only seconds to make a decision. Leap off the building and he could follow the limo easily with the propulsion cloak, but with the invisibility feature broken, Eddie would see him flying and undoubtedly spread the word. More than that, the deck was now filling, and some of these folks had video cameras. No hiding his antics from the Council. He'd be plastered all over blogs and YouTube within hours.
Do nothing, though, and Ruthless would get away. For all Nikko knew, the monster was mere hours from finishing his device, which meant that by nightfall, the whole island of Manhattan could be the size of a Saltine.
Honestly, it was a no-brainer, he decided; and he stood up, whipped the cloak around his shoulders, then bent at the knees and shot up into the sky, the power of the cloak thrumming through his body as he twisted to start his descent to the street.
And then, just because he was feeling a little devious, he paused over little Eddie and fired off a single Silver Streak salute to the gaping, gawking child.
If he was going down, he might as well go down big.
Excerpted from These Boots Were Made For Stomping by Julie Kenner Jade Lee Marianne Mancusi Copyright © 2008 by Julie Kenner, Katherine Grill, and Marianne Mancusi. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Three fun stories of what happens when you find shoes that aren't just perfect: they're magic. I was expecting very stereotypical chicklit out of this collection, but was pleased to find some little geeky touches in the three heroines. And really, what girl doesn't need boots that help out with literal buttkicking when necessary? Each story is a quick and fun read.
These Boots Were Made for Stomping Anthology A Step In The Right Direction by Julie Kenner Protectors/Superhero Series Book 4.5 (7th story) Nikko has been called out as a Protector after five years of quiet living. He had skills the Council needed and he was ready for action once again. Even if he was under probation. Could he help it that when he needed to help a mortal he was noticed by someone who wrote comics and made him famous under the character name of Silver Streak? No, not his fault at all. Lydia Carmichael needed to get some backbone. Her friend Amy had the solution. A pair of shoes from Hiheelia, an online shoe store. Amazingly the boots she gets really do let her be the stomper rather than the stompee. She even impresses the man of her dreams who seems to be a real life superhero. **Sexual content Kung Fu Shoes! by Jade Lee Michaela Becker was a rich girl in an inner city school trying to make a difference. Kind of hard when everyone calls you by the nickname, Micki Mouse. Worse yet it was the truth. She believed in winning the kids with kindness. Which is why she was shocked when she suddenly was throwing roundhouse kicks and being a real Kung Fu fighter. The only thing different had been her new Mary Jane shoes with the Chinese symbols for love and kindness. Joe DeLuce was a cop until a strung out teenager shot him in the knee. These days he was a school cop. If he couldn’t be on the streets then he’d stay close to the kids using the drugs to find the source. What he didn’t expect was Little Miss Rich Girl to end up being quite different from the image he had of her. And he liked what he saw. **Sexual content and language Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con by Marianne Mancusi Hailey Hills had been in love with Collin Robinson. Actually, she probably still was in love with him. Hailey and her artist Thomas were at the Comic Con to sign for their popular comic, Karma Kitty. And for the first time in five years, she sees Collin. The problem in their relationship had been that strange things happened to Hailey at the worse times and Collin never could believe that she really had to help a ghost or was abducted by aliens. Just when she thought a second chance was possible….her new boots did more than cover her feet. **Sexual Content and language
I should have known better¿but I thought, what the heck, how bad can it be? Well, let me tell you ¿.its bad. Really, really bad. Fist of all, the title itself is so not original. [I find unoriginal titles generally indicate a definite lack of imagination.] I think the song ¿Boots¿ from the sixties, done by Sinatra¿s daughter was bad enough¿but this, let me tell you, is mundane, uninspiring clap trap.
Julie Kenner¿s sad attempt at larger-than-life comic book heroes is a terrible let down. With a hero named Nikko the Silver Streak, I nearly didn¿t read on. But since I¿d paid my dime, well, I guess I felt compelled not to waste my money that quickly. Endeavoring to create a Spiderman-meets-Buck Rogers aura is not the best usage of Ms. Kenner¿s talents.
Jade Lee produced a story that is more than just silly¿it¿s way beyond suspension of disbelief. Okay, if you¿re life is in danger, are you going to think about `helping¿ a student achieve better grades or are you going to get your backside out of harms way? Nothing here made sense...however, that shouldn't surprise me in the least, all things considered.
Marianne Mancusi¿s story has some substance, and it is rather romantic, given the setting is comic book mania. The hero isn¿t weak and silly as in the other two stories, but is still lacking in style and ¿Alpha-Ism¿, if you will.
Over all, the stories are stale, unimaginative and boring. Don¿t waste your money.
¿A Step in the Right Direction¿ by Julie Kenner. Mortal Lydia Carmichael has no powers and in fact gets in the way of the Protector Nikko the Silver Streak on his mission. The superhero must capture technology thief Rex Ruthless and his cohorts before they cause harm. When Lydia puts on the special footwear everything changes.------------ ¿Kung Fu Shoes¿ by Jade Lee. In Indianapolis English literature teacher Michaela Becker fears for her life but still tries to reach smart student Lucy Varner. Her dreams seem futile until she dons the ¿Kung Fu Shoes¿ that turn her into a sexual fighting machine just ask her boyfriend Joe.------------- ¿Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Com¿ by Marianne Mancusi. Karma Kitty comic book author Hailey Hills and her artist Thomas Carol have a booth at the 2008 New York Comic Con. Though she loves being here, she fears the love of her life Collin Robinson will be too. Their relationship ended when comic publishers rejected his art work on the original Karma Kitty though a misunderstanding caused the final break. As they see one another, both knows they still love the other, but who will make the first dangerous move becomes moot when Hailey gets embroiled in a mess requiring a superhero not a lover. ---------------- These three lighthearted satirical romantic romps are fun to read as each stars mortal females turning into superheroes ostensibly because of special shoes yet they had the fortitude inside them embellished by a loving caring hunk or geek.------- Harriet Klausner