Friday, March 29, 2019

Hero Ad Hoc - Chapter 2

Harri pulled into the parking garage for Canyon Pointe General Hospital and immediately started cursing. Even at this early hour, the first nine floors were packed. No one wanted to park on the roof between the ninety-degree temps and the likelihood of a super or debris falling on their vehicle.

Well, she was supposed to go car shopping with Aisha after work since the bad guys from Corvus, the not-quite-legal arm of the National Superhero Bureau, had trashed her partner’s beloved BMW while trying to kill her and capture Rey a month ago. Harri pulled into a spot partially covered by the hospital roof’s overhang. If Captain Mojave landed on her ancient Accord, maybe they could get a two-for-one deal. God knew Aisha would have to cut back on her designer fashions and BMWs with a kid on the way.

Harri squelched that thought. Just because she lacked anything resembling a maternal instinct, it didn’t give her the right to judge Aisha.

Her best friend had wanted kids of her own forever. Calvin the Asshole had dumped her because she couldn’t provide him with the biological heir he desperately desired. But Rey was still a kid himself. Okay, so he was twenty-one, but still… Any super sperm jokes would have to wait until Aisha calmed down. Maybe after the baby headed off to college.

Harri climbed out of her car, slammed the door shut, and headed for the elevator. Rey being the father didn’t explain Aisha’s levitation trick in her office this morning. The kid was human, not an alien. Tim and Arthur had tested the hell out of him. Or they tried to. The guys still hadn’t devised a way to get a blood sample.

But the mixing of bodily fluids shouldn’t have affected Aisha’s DNA—

Aw, crap. If Aisha had developed HRSP from the pregnancy, she needed a specialist, which meant the government would know, and she could lose her license for sleeping with a client. The state supreme court didn’t take ethical breaches of that magnitude lightly.

Harri frowned as she jabbed the call button. On the other hand, Rey didn’t know who his biological father was, much less how he got his powers. Maybe Tim and Arthur could run more tests.

The elevator doors parted, and she stepped aboard.

“Hold the ’vator!”

At the shout, she automatically hit the button to keep the doors open. A man plunged through, out of breath, and Harri released the button. The elevator doors slid shut, and the machine hummed to life.

“Thanks,” he said between panting breaths. The stranger was tall with sparkling blue eyes, but what really stood out was the huge bouquet of yellow daisies.

Patty’s favorite flower. “Crap,” Harri muttered.

“You’re mad because you held the elevator for me?” He shot her a charming smile.

She grimaced. “No, I’m mad because I forgot to pick up flowers for my friend who’s having a baby.”

“You, too?” He grinned, the ridiculous grin of someone in love. It reminded her of her reflection this morning, though she wasn’t ready to admit her feelings to Tim. Maybe things were getting better for her and her little…

Crew? Gang? Family?

Part of her veered away from the F-word. Too many bad connections with her crazy parents.

But if their worst problem was Aisha’s unplanned pregnancy on top of Patty’s—

“Is this your first one?” she asked to distract herself.

He hesitated. “Yeah. Sort of.”

“Sort of?”

The garage elevator doors parted, and they stepped into the hospital’s main lobby.

“We broke up before I knew she was pregnant.” He scowled as they crossed to the elevator bank for the hospital itself. “I didn’t find out about it until I got back to town.”

The nagging familiarity of his voice was superseded by her own feelings in regards to deadbeat parents. “You left town?” His scowl deepened. “I travel a lot for work. When I stopped by her apartment to try to work things out this morning, one of her neighbors said she’d left for the hospital. I want to do the right thing—”

“Glad to hear someone does,” Harri grumbled. The elevator dinged, and she followed the crowd onto the car. “Excuse me?” Blue-Eyes stood next to her as the elevator started climbing.

“Sorry, it’s not you.” She shook her head. “My friend’s ex took off right after she learned she was knocked up. I’ve seen too many irresponsible parents.” Mine top the list.

A rueful expression twisted the man’s features. “I hate to side with a scumbag, but, and this is speaking from experience, are you sure he knows?”

Harri opened her mouth, then stopped. No, she wasn’t sure. Patty had said so little about her ex and their circumstances. How many conclusions had she jumped to because of her own childhood issues?

“You’re right.” She matched his slight, sad smile. “I don’t know. I hope things work out better for you and your baby’s mother.”

“So do I,” he murmured.

The bell dinged, and the doors parted. Harri rushed out, but she whirled around and gave her walking companion a thumbs-up gesture while he was still trying to squeeze past the other passengers.

She jogged down the hallway to the room number Arthur had texted her.


Harri winced at Patty’s volume as she entered the delivery room. Despite the screaming, Arthur held Patty’s hand, stroked her forehead with a damp washcloth, and murmured encouraging words to her. He may not be this baby’s father, but he was doing pretty damn good in Harri’s book.

The nurse looked at her. “You Harri Winters?”

Harri nodded.

The nurse grinned. “I think you lost your spot as birthing coach, but let’s get you gowned up anyway.” She took Harri’s bag and chucked it into a closet before she opened a second one and pulled out a bunch of blue material.

“Oh, thank god.” Patty groaned.

Disappointment flashed across Arthur’s face, but when he tried to rise, Patty yanked him back down into his chair. Patty started bawling, real tears for once. “I need you both here!” she wailed.

“We’re here,” Harri crooned as the nurse shook out the plastic-coated disposable gown and held it for Harri to shove her arms in the appropriate spots.

“Yeah, sweetie, we’re both here,” Arthur said. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

The nurse spun Harri around to tie up the back, and she got a glimpse of Blue Eyes with Yellow Daisies outside in the corridor. Poor guy looked totally stricken. Things must not have gone well with his ex. Once he realized she saw him, he pivoted away and took off down the hall.

Damn, if she didn’t have her hands full, she’d go after him. Try to help. But today, there were responsibilities in her personal life she couldn’t shirk. Not when the two women she was closest to needed her. Funny how they both dealt with her personal kryptonite—babies.

* * *

Aisha pushed one more time, but once again, she only went down a couple of feet before she bobbed right back up to the third-floor overhang. She’d managed to distract herself with contracts for other clients and the proposal for Screaming Orgasm. Long enough, she wanted, no, needed a mocha.

She was halfway to the espresso machine when a part of her realized caffeine wasn’t good for the baby. That thought sent her floating through the air until she grabbed the second-floor balcony railing. She had worked her way hand-over-hand to the overhang, but the trick she’d used earlier in her office wasn’t working.

Irritation fluttered through her. She couldn’t stay here. God only knew how long Harri would be at the hospital. And she definitely couldn’t let Rey see this before she figured out how to tell him she was pregnant. Not to mention Screaming Orgasm would arrive for her meeting soon.

Damn it! She definitely needed help this time.

Aisha handwalked along the overhang ceiling until she reached one of the antique light fixtures. Clinging to the chain with her legs, she pulled her phone out of the front pocket of her slacks. She stared at the device for a full minute before she thumbed Tim’s number.


“Can you come up to the law office, please?”

“What’s wrong? Can you talk?”

Aisha rolled her eyes. Of course, he went right into superhero mode. “I’m okay. I just need a little help reaching the espresso machine.” She hesitated for a second before she added, “And can you bring a pole?”

“O-o-o-kay. I’ll be right up.” The signal went dead. Of course, he’d be checking the security cameras first, wondering what the hell was going on. But the micro devices were all pointed toward doors and windows, normal entry points, not at the art deco light fixtures hanging from the atrium ceiling.

The basement door to his lab and quarters opened, and Tim’s red hair poked through. “Aisha?”

“Up here.”

He entered the law office proper, dragging a pole with a loop of rope attached, and stared up at her. “Should I even ask?”

“No,” she growled.

Tim glanced around the reception area. “Where is everybody?”

“Rey got called in before our alarm went off. Professor Triassic unleashed a herd of dinosaurs on downtown Hermanville, and the governor issued a state of emergency. Arthur took Patty to the hospital since she’s in labor, and Harri followed them.”

“Patty’s having her baby, and you led with the dinosaur story?”

“Forget about both of them, and get me down!”

Tim tried to reach her from his spot on the floor, but the pole wasn’t long enough. He climbed up on Patty’s desk. Aisha prayed the used furniture would hold under his weight. Most their money had gone into security measures for the Lechuza Building instead of furniture once they’d learned a top-secret black ops division of superheroes had made problems for both Rey and Tim in the past.

And then tried to kill her and Harri over the last month, though they backed off after one of their operatives, Seismic Shift, was busted by the FBI, thanks to their law firm.

Aisha held her breath until Tim managed to lasso her right ankle on his third try. He carefully climbed down from Patty’s desk as she worked her way down the light fixture’s chain until she clung to the wide glass and steel bowl that shielded the actual bulbs.

“You need to let go so I can get you the rest of the way down,” Tim said gently.

Aisha glanced up. She couldn’t stay here forever. But if he couldn’t hold her down, they could both float up to the third-floor ceiling. And it was an awfully long way to the first floor if this floating ability of the baby’s, and she was pretty damn sure it was the baby, cut out. Tim could be seriously injured. Or die.

And Harri would never forgive her.


She let go of the light fixture. He slid the pole backwards, hand over hand, until she could grab his shirt. He let the pole drop, but his firm grip on her waist helped her settle on the antique tile floor. She blew out a deep breath. “You okay?”

She nodded.

He peered into her eyes. “You gonna tell me what’s going on?”

Aisha couldn’t meet his earnest gaze. “I can’t. Not until…”

“You tell Rey.”

She lifted her head and stared at him.

He ran a hand through his unruly red hair. “I guess the office nursery has just been bumped to the top of the priority list.”


Tim glanced down for a split second before his eyes met hers again. “Then why have you been rubbing your abdomen?” A wry smile tilted his mouth before he added, “My wife used to do the same thing before our son started moving. Like she couldn’t believe it was really happening.”

The light-headed feeling returned with a fury, and Aisha flailed as she started to rise. Tim grabbed her hand and pulled her back down.

She clung to him. “Please, please, give me a chance to tell Rey myself—”

“Tell me what?” said a familiar male voice from above them.

She looked up to see Rey peering over the balcony with an odd expression. At least, he was wearing civilian clothes since her new client would be here any minute. With a start, she realized she was still clinging to Tim. She abruptly let go, only to shoot toward the ceiling.

Rey launched himself from the balcony and caught her. Before Aisha could say a word, knocking on the glass partition made them both look down.

A woman with wild purple, green, and blue hair stood behind the bulletproof glass at the main entry. She was bent over so she could look up at them, showing off ample cleavage in the process. The woman reached up and jabbed the intercom button. “Excuse me. I’ve got a ten o’clock appointment.” She grinned. “I didn’t realize when y’all said you were superhero attorneys, you meant it literally.”

Aisha’s face heated. Of course, Screaming Orgasm would arrive in time to see this fiasco. This whole situation was rapidly turning into a TV sitcom, and that definitely wasn’t the image she or Harri wanted to portray.

“Tim, would you be kind enough to buzz in Ms. Orgasm?” Aisha called down. She turned to Rey and lowered her voice. “Honey, we need to talk, but I’ve got to deal with our client first. Patty went into labor, and Harri’s at the hospital with her.”

“All right.” His brilliant smile lit his entire face. “But I expect full disclosure over lunch because I don’t think Harri would be happy seeing you hugging Tim either.”

No, she definitely wouldn’t. Tim and Harri each had a ton of personal baggage to fight through before either one would openly admit they had feelings for the other.

Aisha smiled back, even though her stomach was a mass of knots. “I promise, honey. Full disclosure. After Screaming Orgasm leaves, which may be later this afternoon. Right now, I need to be on the first floor.”

He carefully flew them both to where Tim waited with Screaming Orgasm.

After he released her, she kept a firm grip on his arm with her left hand while she held out her right one. “Hello, I’m Aisha Franklin.”

The superheroine shook her hand. “Pleasure to meet you.” Her gaze flicked between Tim and Rey. “Do you have an all-male staff, Ms. Franklin?”

Not sure if the emotion in Screaming Orgasm’s eyes was speculation or concern, Aisha shrugged. “We’re evenly split, but the firm’s other partner is at Canyon Pointe General—”

Orgasm’s eyes widened.

“—because our paralegal went into labor this morning. I haven’t had a chance to call the temp agency yet.”

“Yeah, the floating around thing would put a crimp in your day.” Orgasm’s eyes twinkled. Aisha could have sworn the superheroine’s irises were made of glitter.

Aisha gestured at the two men. “Tim handles security for Winters & Franklin. I assure you any information you give us will remain private within the bounds of the law. Rey—” She faltered for a moment before she could come up with a good excuse. “—works for our contractor. We’re renovating the upper floors for expansion.”

“Hi.” Orgasm batted her eyelashes and shook the men’s hands.

“Would you like some coffee before we get started?” Aisha said.

“Rey, why don’t you help Ms. Franklin to her office?” Tim interjected. He turned to Orgasm. “What’s your drink? We have a full-service espresso machine. Ms. Franklin’s usual is a large no-fat, no-whip mocha with sugar-free peppermint.”

“That sounds delicious!” Orgasm gave him a coy look. “But I don’t suppose I could have mine with raspberry syrup instead?”

“No problem.” Tim waved toward Aisha’s office. “I’ll bring them in for you ladies.”

Aisha bit her tongue to keep from objecting. Maybe a little caffeine wouldn’t hurt the baby if it calmed her down enough to do her job.

Aisha led the way to her office. Sort of. Rey had to act as her guide dog so she wouldn’t float up to the ceiling again. Once inside, she said, “Office chair.”

Normally, she and Harri conducted initial client interviews on the couches that took up a good chunk of her office. The mood felt homier and relaxed the client.

However, Harri wasn’t here. And Aisha could hook her toes under the wheel braces of her desk chair so she wouldn’t float away. As soon as she and Orgasm were settled, Rey left the room, closing the door behind him.

“Wow!” The superheroine giggled. “My sister was not joking about how good-looking Captain Justice is in person.”

“Excuse me?” Aisha paused in reaching for a pen and raised an eyebrow.

“It’s the eyes, Ms. Franklin. Those gold-brown eyes of his are a dead giveaway.” Orgasm fanned herself. “But the TV does not do him justice if you’ll pardon the pun.”

Enough was enough. Aisha could be honest enough to admit there was a wee bit of jealousy over the superheroine ogling her boyfriend, but the rest of her trepidation was pure lawyer. They didn’t need a plant by Corvus. She folded her hands over the legal pad in front of her. “Why are you really here, Screaming Orgasm?”

She blinked her glittery eyes. “Like I said on the phone, I need help rebranding my image. Cobblestone said you were awesome, not to mention I saw you on TV—”

“What’s your relationship with Seismic Shift?” Aisha asked coolly.

Screaming Orgasm’s glittery eyes hardened. “I don’t care what Seismic Shit told you or anyone else, I didn’t sleep with him. I mean, come on! He’s old!”

Aisha bit her tongue to keep from smiling at Orgasm’s use of Harri’s favorite nickname for the disgraced and jailed superhero. It would be a lot funnier if he hadn’t come so damn close to killing Harri.

More than once.

“Did Byron Trubble ever mention us?” Aisha asked.

“Who?” A perplexed expression appeared on the superheroine’s face.

“A friend of Shit, er, Shift’s.” So much for professional demeanor.

“Doesn’t ring a bell.” Orgasm shook her head and spread her fingers wide. “Look, I know Shit threatened the nurse Cobblestone has a crush on. If you think I’d go along with that stuff, you’re wrong. The reason I’m here is because Cobblestone said you weren’t sleazy assholes looking to make a buck. I was also under the impression he had already talked to you about me—”

“He did.” Aisha gave her best client-reassuring smile. “But he’s a very sweet guy with the proverbial heart of gold. I had to make sure you weren’t taking advantage of him. I look out for my clients.” She leaned forward. “All my clients.”

An impish grin replaced the girl’s disturbed expression. “Understood. I’ll keep my hands off Captain Justice.”

Aisha leaned back. The superheroine wasn’t as dumb as the image she liked to project. And unless Screaming Orgasm was one hell of an actress, she hadn’t been sucked into Corvus’s orbit.

“So, Ms. Orgasm, what exactly would you like Winters & Franklin to help you with?” Aisha picked up her pen.

The superheroine took a deep breath. “I want the public to take me seriously as a hero. Everyone takes my sister Sourpuss seriously. Hell, we come from a line of heroes. Our grandmother was Rue Liberty for crying out loud. But the only endorsements I can get are for the legal brothels in Nevada!”

Aisha bit her tongue to keep from pointing out the obvious. “About your powers—can you use your sonic blast when you’re not, um, in the throes of, um…”

A confused expression appeared on Orgasm’s face. “Of course I can, but where’s the fun in that?”

Thankfully, Tim brought in their mochas. It was going to be a very long day.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hero Ad Hoc - Chapter 1

Hero Ad Hoc comes out on Monday, April 15th. Consider it a little stress relief after you get your taxes done (for those of us in the U.S.).

In the meantime, here's a special preview!
Aisha Franklin stared at her brand-new office carpet nearly a yard beneath her favorite Christian Louboutin stilettos. And the carpet was drifting farther away by the second.

“How the hell do I get down!”

Her best friend and legal partner Harri Winters stared up at her. “Honey, I don’t even know how you’re flying to begin with.”

“I’m not flying!” Aisha yelled. In her panic, she bounced up another foot. “I’m floating, and I can’t get down!”

Harri waved her hands. “Keep your voice down. We don’t need to freak out the neighborhood.”

Aisha glared at Harri. “I’m pregnant, I’m floating in mid-air, and we exclusively represent superheroes. Not to mention, our IT guy is a former supervillain. I doubt if this is the weirdest thing they’ve ever seen or heard.”

But Harri was right. Aisha glanced at her windows. She’d opened her office blinds when she came downstairs. Thankfully, their building was on the downtrodden Canyon Block, and no one was on the sidewalk this early in the morning.

“It is when you’re not a super.” Harri crossed her arms. “I can’t leave you like this, but I can’t reach you. Do you want me to call Rey?”

“No!” Aisha winced as her head bumped against the plaster medallion on her office ceiling, but it gave her an idea. She reached up and pushed hard against the ornamentation.

The floor rushed toward her, and she stumbled slightly on her leopard print stilettos when she landed. She straightened. So far, her feet remained in contact with the carpet.

Harri sagged. “Do I need to get a rope and tie you to your desk? Because I can’t stay here and babysit.”

When the weird light-headed feeling rushed through her again, Aisha grabbed the edge of her desk. Just in case. “What are you talking about? We’ve got a meeting with a new client this morning.”

“You can handle Screaming Orgasm. Rebranding her will be totally in your court anyway.” Harri dropped her arms to her sides. “I came in to let you know Patty’s in labor. I need to get to the hospital.”

“Why are you in here yakking with me?” Aisha made shooing motions. “You need to get her there before her water breaks. You’re her birthing coach.”

“It already broke, and Arthur already took her.”

At Harri’s grimace, Aisha realized the real problem. “He spent the night with her, and she didn’t tell you before they left for the hospital.”

“Keep your phone in your pocket.” Harri looked around the office, ignoring her own feelings as usual. “If you get into trouble again, call Tim. He’s downstairs tinkering.” She finally met Aisha’s gaze again. “We’ll talk about your situation as soon as I get back. I promise.”

“I know.” She gave Harri a wry smile. “Sorry, I freaked out on you.”

Harri chuckled. “It can’t be any worse than what Rey did.”

Aisha nibbled her lower lip.

Harri’s face fell. “You did tell him, didn’t you? Oh, God, please tell me he’s the father."

“Of course, he’s the father,” Aisha snapped. “Why do think I was freaking out? He doesn’t need this shit when he’s just getting his career off the ground!”

“Given the circumstances, I totally get why you’re upset, but I really need to go. I’ll call you once Patty has delivered.” Harri waggled the fingers of her right hand before she marched out of the office.

Aisha held her breath until she heard the side door shut, followed by the distinctive thud of the deadbolt and the beep of the security system. Was Harri that irritated about Aisha’s pregnancy she was abusing the building?

Aisha released her breath and her hold on the edge of her desk. No, Harri was probably freaking out about being Patty’s birthing coach, and half-afraid she would ask the same. Which she wouldn’t do because Rey would be there.

Wouldn’t he?

The panic from the six pregnancy tests reared its ugly head again.

And she immediately started floating upward again.

She dug her fingertips around the wooden lip of the desk and pulled herself down. She couldn’t lose it. Not today. Not with a new client coming in this morning.

Ah, who the hell was she kidding. She’d already lost it.

How the hell was she going to explain this to Rey? She’d told him she couldn’t get pregnant. That’s what all those damned expensive fertility experts had said after she’d already lost one ovary to an ectopic pregnancy. Calvin had left her because of what those doctors had said. The kicker had been last month when her doctor said she’d started perimenopause.

Her fingers twitched. God, she needed a cigarette. But she didn’t dare. Not now.

She rubbed her still flat belly. There was someone else she needed to worry about for the next eight months. And she knew exactly what she was going to tell Rey.

Because Captain Justice sure as hell couldn’t be seen with a family, no matter how she felt about the man behind the mask.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Another Pre-order - Hero Ad Hoc!

Yep, that's right! Hero Ad Hoc (888-555-HERO #2) is already up for pre-order on Amazon! I'm excited and tickled about being back on track. And I can't wait to see what readers think about this new world.

I'll post a few sample chapters next week for y'all to peruse.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


After everything that's happened last year and this year (seriously, I came down with a sinus cold last week as I was trying to finalize everything which slowed the process greatly), I finally can say a book is coming out.

On March 15th, Hero De Facto comes out!

It's currently on pre-order since Amazon seems to be glitching if publishers go straight to LIVE. So be it. For the first few months, the e-book will be exclusive on Amazon as I test some advertising.

The next step will be reviewing the formatted e-book for Hero Ad Hoc before putting it up on pre-order as well.

If I can stay healthy and productive, I hope to have a book a month until December. I will have to take a break for the holidays.

Take care, everyone! And thank you so much for your patience!