Even Villains Go To The Movies (Heroes & Villains #2)

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When your mother is America’s Superhero Sweetheart and your daddy’s the Number One Super Villain, you grow up feeling a little conflicted. 

Angela Smith has superpowers—nothing that will ever make her comic-book famous—but her ability to psychically sense and manipulate the emotions of people around her has drawn unwanted government attention. Forced to choose between her quiet life as a teacher under constant surveillance or the life of a rogue, she chooses the latter. She plans to hide out in sunny Los Angeles where being a blue-eyed blonde won’t make anyone bat a false eyelash.

Silver screen star by day, superhero by night, Arktos is a triple-threat. He can fly, freeze anything, and see glimpses of the future, all of which he needs to keep the city of Los Angeles safe, but which does nothing for his social life. When a frightening vision of an explosion leads him to rescue a damsel in distress, he finds himself trading Shakespearean insults with a rogue.

Angela knows just how dangerous well-intentioned superheroes can be: one tried to kill her family when she was young. Arktos knows he should hand the rogue over to Company justice; it’s not safe for someone like her to be in the middle of a fight.

But they can’t seem to stay apart. And together, they just might be able to melt all the obstacles standing between true love for a hero and a villain.

 

Chapter One

Dear Mom,
New York is everything I hoped it would be. I love this school! Last semester alone the students showed a marked improvement over the previous year. And, so far, we haven’t had a single senior drop out. This might be our highest graduation rate ever.
 
I’m really excited by all the improvements. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something useful. I’m in control of myself, and it’s wonderful.
 
The date with Simon was less exciting. He’s… um… ‘Dull as a brick’ might be the right term. You’d think it would be easy to find someone who could carry on an intelligent conversation in New York, especially with Internet dating. It’s 2032! But, no, this hypothesis has been proven incorrect yet again.
 
Give my love to Daddy, Gideon, and the minions. If Maria stops by, tell her I’m worried about her. Delilah and I talked about staging an intervention. I’m not sure, but Delilah thinks Maria will calm down once the shock of losing Martin is over. It may be just a phase.
 
Oh, and Blessing wrote me. She’s in South Africa and loving it. She sent the most hideous picture of a giant bug ever. I forwarded it to Gideon. And I told her not to bring it back no matter how much she adores its fangs.
Your loving daughter,
Angela
 
APRIL IN NEW YORK City. Angela could almost taste the coming summer. She’d even rolled the car windows down to take advantage of the first warm day while she drove back from lunch. Summer would be bliss: eight weeks kid-free that she planned to fill by maxing out her tourist quota and hitting every landmark in a day’s drive.   By the time her second year as a teacher began in August, she would know more about New York than any native-born city slicker.
 
Angela parked her car and rolled the windows up. The school was experiencing an unprecedented surge in academic reform, but that didn’t mean she needed to tempt the alumni with an easy steal.
 
A police siren screamed in the distance, echoing the fear and despair radiating from the school. It felt like the first edge of trouble, a nudging headache that made her want to snarl despite her good mood—but New York was like that, the underlying anger of the citizens scraping against her nerves until she was emotionally raw.
 
Public School 84 was hers though. Angela had been there long enough that she’d been able to slowly shift the mood of the school from fearful resentment to an amiable interest in learning. It was probably just a schoolyard punch-up, nothing to worry over too much.
 
Sipping on her smoothie, Angela headed for the impressive security array that divided the outside world from the inner sanctum of PS 84. Outside there were guns, drugs, and chaos. Beyond the arch of metal that scanned for everything from weapons to lethal viruses, there were regimented schedules, dusty dead-wood copies of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and young minds ready to argue over every word she said.
 
One of her favorite students had spent an hour debating the merits of shoelaces. You couldn’t buy that kind of doublethink.
 
The security guard wasn’t at her usual place in the main lobby, but Angela knew the drill. She swiped her ID, scanned her fingerprint, and headed for the lunchroom where there was undoubtedly a fight emerging.
 
As she neared the cafeteria, however, fear washed over her like the noxious smell of a skunk in the dark. Angela tossed her unfinished smoothie in the trash and thought of pleasant things. Bluebonnets on the Texas prairie, the smell of hot apple cider on a crisp winter night, the laughter of her baby brother, the love of her parents… She took it all, wrapping it into the idea of what her school should feel like.
 
At first, the collective mind of the students fought back. They were scared, and fear was a familiar friend. But she pushed, and they swayed under her will. Manipulating emotions was right up there with the ability to generate polka dots on a wall in terms of usefulness; unless she wanted to turn people into mindless slaves, there was very little she could do as far as the government was concerned. Besides, brute force wasn’t her style.
 
Influencing things was different though. This is different, she told herself. She turned the corner into the cafeteria and almost jumped at the sight of Travys Freeman—top student in her AP calculus class—holding a gun.
 
 

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