Like it's predecessor A Very Hero Christmas
, the characters are rather insistant that A Very Hero New Year
be longer than the light, humorous novella I'd originally planned.
Here's your last taste before the whatever-length-this-book-ends-being comes out on December 1st!
Steve’s gut twisted as he touched down on the law school’s roof patio with Mariah in his arms. All the other students stared at him. A few even had out their phones, no doubt taking both still pictures as well as video.
At the forefront of the crowd stood his friends. Bethany and Nick stared at him with open mouths. Carter, however, scowled at him.
“Mariah,” Steve whispered. “We’re back on the roof. Do you think you can stand?”
Her eyes were still squeezed tight, and she shook her head vigorously against his chest.
Carter charged toward him. “What the fuck, man? All the crap you give me about being rich, and you’re a super?”
“I do not give you crap,” Steve growled through clenched teeth. “And now is definitely not the time for this discussion.”
“Get me out of here.” Mariah’s words were followed by a sob.
Dammit, he couldn’t leave her alone. And he couldn’t do a thing about all the witnesses either. So, he did what he usually did when faced with a major problem. He plowed forward.
The other students parted to let Mariah and him pass.
“Steve, wait.” Bethany caught up with them. “You’re going to need some help tonight.” He hated to admitted, she was right. Mariah need more help than he knew how to give, and Aisha would be chewing him a new one for displaying his powers in public the minute she found out. He just hoped he’d be the one to tell her.
He gave Bethany a curt nod. “Come on.”
She rushed ahead of him and Mariah and opened the stairwell door. Pounding footsteps and gasping breath announced Nick’s presence.
“I’m coming with you guys,” he said.
“Is that okay, Mariah?” Steve murmured.
She clutched his shirt and whimpered, “Just don’t let me go.”
Steve glanced over his shoulder. The other students continued to stare at him, and no one spoke a word, even among themselves. That settled any indecision he had. He headed down the stairs.
“I’ll drive your truck,” Nick said as he and Bethany jogged after Steve. “You need to focus on her.”
“Are you saying girls can’t drive trucks?” Bethany bit out.
“I know damn well you can’t drive a manual transmission,” Nick shot back. “I can. You take my car and follow us.”
Once they were out of the building and in the parking lot, Bethany dug into Steve’s pocket for his keys and traded them for Nick’s set. Bethany whirled and raced for Nick’s car two rows over from the truck. Nick made sure Steve and Mariah were settled in the passenger seat of the pickup before he carefully shut the door, ran around to the driver side and slid into the seat.
“Wait,” Steve said right before Nick turned the ignition. “How much have you had to drink? Last thing either of us need is to get picked up for DUI.”
“Only a couple of swallows from my cup before you arrived.” Nick started the truck and shot Steve a look. “I am not Carter.”
“Never said you were.” Steve reached behind the seat and grabbed the emergency blanket. Mariah shivered so hard her teeth chattered. However, the city retained so much of the day’s heat, the temperatures were still in the high seventies. Which meant she was going into shock.
Steve wrapped Mariah in the blanket and held her tight in his right arm while he tugged his phone out of his pocket with his left hand. He scrolled through his contacts and tapped Serena’s number.
The line rang three times before Serena mumbled, “This better be good, Connors.”
He quickly explained the situation with Mariah’s threat to jump and how he talked her off the ledge.
, you need to take her to the ER,” she said. “I don’t do mental health issues.”
Crap. He wanted to avoid the rest of the truth, but Serena wouldn’t be as ticked off as Aisha.
“I can’t,” he said through gritted teeth. “She started to climb back onto the roof and slipped. I had to use my powers to save her, and she’s so freaked by the partial fall I think she’s going into shock, which a physical issue.”
“Oh, my god,” Serena whispered. “Did anyone see you?”
“Yes,” he bit out. “Make a left on MLK,” he said to Nick. Thankfully, his fellow student focused on the streets and traffic, and he didn’t ask questions.
Yet, anyway. Steve knew Nick and Bethany would demand answers later.
“Who’s with you?” Serena demanded.
“A friend I trust to keep his mouth shut,” Steve barked. “Can you help this girl or not?”
“I’ll meet you at Lechuza,” Serena snapped back. The line went dead.
“She’s intense,” Nick commented.
“Not as intense as my girlfriend.” Despite the quip, Steve could visualize Qiang’s reaction. She was a fiercely private person. When the story got out about his rescue of Mariah, she wouldn’t just chew him out like Aisha would.
No, Qiang would electrocute him.