Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ by David E. Bruno

Introducing author David E. Bruno who shares an exclusive excerpt of superhero book ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’.

Rocco and Orro laughed on the other side of the room, ready to finish off Aegis as they had Ironside.
But Ironside was not dead—not yet. He slowly opened his eyes and turned his head toward Aegis as she held his shoulders up from the floor. He whispered, “Find Rick and Phil and protect them. Shield them. Go… now.”
“I’m not leaving you. I’m not leaving you. We win or die together, remember?” Aegis cried.
He inhaled shallowly, barely able to speak. His organs bulged from the opening in his gut. “Save yourself. Save them. I’m done… overloaded… exploding… dying. Go!” Ironside’s eyes began to glow bright white. Defying his injuries, he slowly came to his feet. Aegis had seen this before and knew he needed space. She limped to the side, away from both Ironside and their foes. But this time was different. He was injured. Ironside’s skin turned blood red, and his hair became pure white and stood on end. His body lifted and hovered inches above the floor. He held out his arms as static energy crackled from his fingertips and jumped to the walls. The gap in his abdomen began to glow again, bright as the sun and sizzling like bacon in a pan.
Aegis’s heart pounded as she witnessed the metamorphosis of her man. He’d become something else—something she’d teased him about before. He’d become a true demigod—and he was losing the battle for his life. Power coursed through his body in seemingly infinite intensity, yet he lacked the power to heal the damage that had been done by Rocco. “No!” Aegis shouted. “You can’t do this alone, Ironside. We can do this together. I love you!” She wailed at the horror show unfolding before her eyes.
Ironside caught a brief glimpse of her. Steam rose from his burning, dying eyes as moisture boiled off of them. In a calm, measured manner, he said in a strange, deep, metallic timbre, “Don’t cry for me, babe. You gave my life meaning. You are my purpose and you saved me. We came here to save the world. Now let me use what’s left of my life to save you.” He paused as he struggled to grab another breath before addressing her one final time. “I thought I told you to run.”
Finally heeding Ironside’s demand, Aegis burst into tears. Still in pain from being ripped from Orro’s shoulders, she sprinted as fast as she could out the door past Rocco and Orro, who became indifferent to her. The brothers stood in awe at the revival of the man they’d thought to be dead. Aegis had been weakened, and they could terminate her later. To finally slay Ironside, they needed to attack as a team.
Ironside glided silently in the air over to Rocco who unleashed the only weapon he had left, his punch. Ironside tilted his head to the side, raised his hand, and grabbed the fist flying toward him. With an ethereal squeeze of a single hand, he crushed Rocco’s armored fist. It was both graceful, and devastating.
“AHHHH! What the hell are you?” screamed Rocco as he hunched over and pulled his mangled hand inward.
Orro screamed, “My brother! You’re gonna die, little man!” Before Orro could move, Ironside flew at lightning speed toward the sword, as if by the force of his will alone. The sword lifted from the floor to his hand like iron to a magnet. He then flung it toward Orro. The sword spun like a boomerang and struck Orro in the leg just below his knee, severing the lower half.
“AHHHH!” Orro shouted as the bottom half of his golden leg separated and fell to the floor. He crashed to the ground and grabbed at his wound, attempting to stop the bleeding. The severed calf twitched and flopped in pool of blood.
“Wanna go for a walk, big guy? Oh, I see. Some other time then,” cracked Ironside in his deep, metallic timbre. “You should’ve been nicer to us.”
Ironside turned back to Rocco and recalled what Max had told him. All of the Agency’s creations had a weakness—areas of unarmored flesh. He needed to find them. Ironside hovered around Rocco in search of the spot as the giant favored his smashed hand. He found it: a small patch of normal-looking skin was visible in the middle of Rocco’s red back.
“Lookie here. Don’t worry… ” Ironside grabbed Rocco’s neck with one hand and thrust the other into Rocco’s back. Rocco let out an agonizing cry as Ironside effortlessly removed his spine and pieces of ribs. “… I got your back, Jack,” Ironside quipped with the bloody body parts in hand.
With his spine extracted, Rocco fell silent and limp as he converted from armor to regular flesh. Blood rained onto the floor as Ironside held up the body with one hand and the spine with the other. With grim satisfaction, Ironside released Rocco, letting his parts fall to the floor. “Invertebrate worm.”
“This isn’t possible!” cried Orro as he sat on the ground and wailed in pain. “You killed him! My only brother!” He paused and took several deep breaths, trying not to bleed out. In a deep, slow tone, he asserted, “It’s my turn now.” Orro trembled as he unleashed the full force of his ocular beams. Ironside shuddered as he was thrown backward, absorbing the energy. His power increased exponentially. Every cell in his body hummed as the energy multiplied. Static sparks crackled from his skin. Ironside’s whole body pulsed as a corona formed around his perimeter. He had become amplified beyond his limits—a reactor on the verge of a meltdown. The crack in Ironside’s abdomen began to widen and grew deeper as he careened wildly around the room.
Orro released the beam and smiled at his achievement with horrible satisfaction as he rested on the floor. Knowing that he had beaten Ironside, he savored the vengeance achieved for the death of his brother. It was only a matter of time until Ironside fell, this time for good.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Ironside & Aegis: Origins’ which is available now.

You can find more information about David E. Bruno over on Twitter

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse’ by K.R.R. Lockhaven

Introducing author K.R.R. Lockhaven who shares an exclusive excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse.’

The sun couldn’t have possibly cared less that its light was scattered into wondrous brushstrokes of oranges and violets across the heavens. It didn’t give a flaming shit if a deep, fiery crimson along the horizon made chests swell at its splendor. Indifferent to the majesty of its radiant brilliance, which spoke of a vast infinity of possibilities, it continued to carelessly produce heat and light through nuclear fusion. It didn’t give a floating fuck whether or not the glory of its rising made anyone come to believe that magic was real, or that life was, in fact, beautiful and worth living.
Harris Reed, unmindful of the sun’s apathy, was thoroughly impressed by the lovely sunrise as he headed to his first day at his new job.
Harris knew for a fact that magic was real.
He was headed to the Site.
The gravel road he had been instructed to take meandered through a still forest and up a gentle incline. He drove his barely running car with a song in his heart and a whistle on his lips, bursting with excitement at the prospect of finally arriving…

This title is available now in audio, ebook and paperback formats and can be found here. You can find K.R.R Lockhaven on the Tweet Machine.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Hunted’ by A.J. Calvin

Introducing author A.J. Calvin who shares an excerpt of urban fantasy novel ‘Hunted’.

“Follow me. The man who wishes to meet you is waiting.”

Now that I know who this man was, and why he wanted so badly to meet with me, I understand why I was able to follow Trey without hesitation. I was drawn to the caller, albeit unconsciously, because of his own ability—the same ability with which I have been graced.

Trey led me past the entrance of Dark City Hall, to an alley that was perhaps a half block away on the same side of the street. We walked to an unmarked metal door that led into one of the buildings from the alley. There was a woman standing outside, dressed in a full length blue patent-leather jacket that contrasted starkly with her fair skin. Her hair was cut short, falling to her prominent cheekbones, and was dyed a garish red-orange. The street light at the end of the alley fell upon her face in such a way that her eyes appeared almost colorless, though I assumed they must be a light blue. Trey introduced the woman as Carmine.

“So, you’re the girl the boss was trying to contact,” she said in a flat, somewhat smirking tone. “I wonder if you can handle it?” She broke into a harsh laugh that elicited a frown from Trey.

Muttering something under his breath, Trey pulled a ring of keys from his jacket pocket and jammed one into the doorknob. He yanked the door open in an angry manner that startled Carmine from her laughter.

“Was it something I said, Trey?” she asked in a mocking tone. “I’m sure Ms. Chandra Grey will be fine once she’s accepted what he is. It’s the acceptance part of it that will be difficult, as you well know.”

I had the distinct feeling that Carmine had very few friends. She was clearly trying to frighten me, although her words only managed to instill an even greater curiosity within me.

“You must go inside alone,” Trey said, ignoring Carmine and holding the door open for me.

I simply nodded, and did as he said. In that moment, I wanted to understand Carmine’s cryptic remarks; I needed to know more about this man that I had agreed to meet, and why she had wondered if I could “handle it”. Curiosity had replaced my initial fear, and as I stepped through the doorway, I felt no anxiety.

The door closed behind me, and I found myself in an office area. There was a wide metal desk, and a few filing cabinets against the wall opposite the door. To my right was a round table with a few folding metal chairs scattered around it. I noticed that two of the chairs had been pulled into the center of the room, which was otherwise bare. The room was windowless, and the only door leading into or out of the room was the one I had just stepped through.

To my left was a man. He stood slightly taller than I did, and was slender. What caught my eyes—and my breath—was his appearance. He looked to be close in age to me, perhaps a year or two older, but his hair was completely white. It was combed neatly to one side.

When I had first stepped into the room, his eyes were closed, and he kept them that way until I had time to study him. When at last he opened them, I couldn’t help but gasp with surprise—they were not human eyes that looked back at my own. His eyes possessed silver irises.

“Do not be alarmed,” he said in a soothing tone. “Now you understand why I must have you come to me. My appearance makes it difficult to walk about the city undetected. No amount of dye will color my hair, and I have tried upon occasion to use contacts to hide my eyes, but to no avail. I cannot draw attention to myself, so when I wish to meet someone, I must arrange it so that they come to me.”

His voice, so calm, had a relaxing effect on me. “Why did you wish to speak with me?” I asked, surprised that my voice remained steady. My insides felt as though they were doing backflips.

He smiled, and gestured to the two chairs in the center of the office. “Let us sit down, for this may take some time,” he replied. “Are you comfortable?” he asked once we were seated facing one another.

“I think so,” I said after a moment. “I’m not sure what is going on. I don’t know why you called me here, or how you know who I am. And I don’t know what you are either.”

He chuckled then. “Yes, I suppose I do have some explaining to do,” he replied. “I called you here because you possess a great talent, one that you undoubtedly don’t know that you have. I happened to notice you a little over a week ago—you were in this area of town, with some friends, going to dinner I presume. I could feel your power then, and I knew I must take this opportunity to teach you how to use it.” He shook his head slightly, wonder spreading across his face. “You can become very great, Chandra Grey…You do not need to live an average life; you can become so much more than ordinary.”

I was unsure of how to respond to this statement. I don’t know if I had ever considered myself completely ordinary; throughout my life I had managed to excel where my friends could not, but I had attributed this to hard work and dedication. To hear something like this from a complete stranger—one who had admitted to following me for over a week—was a bit unsettling, to say the least. When I managed a nod, he continued.

“I watched you go into the church last Sunday,” he admitted. “It was an opportunity I could not pass up. I sent one of my…underlings to copy down your phone number from the guest book, and bade him contact you. That was a mistake, and I apologize for my miscalculation. I understand that he had you quite scared.”

I nodded again. “Yes,” I replied slowly, “If the calls did not stop, I was going to report them to the police. I thought…Well, I thought I had a stalker. You aren’t really a stalker, are you?” Immediately, I regretted my words. You don’t say something like that to someone you’ve just met! I screamed at myself internally, before thinking, A stalker would never admit to it.

I was surprised when he laughed. “I don’t believe I am a stalker in the sense that you mean,” he said. “I do not intend to harm you in any way, and I did not contact you because you happen to have a pretty face. You have an ability that few humans possess. I must know what your decision will be, regarding being trained as a summoner.”

Summoner. This was the first time I had heard of the word, and it sounded strange to me, yet somehow grand and powerful. I was intrigued.

“What’s a—?”

“Summoner?” he asked with another laugh. “I am a summoner, though not a very powerful one. You can become much more than I could ever hope to be—the amount of raw talent you possess is very rare indeed.” He paused a moment, reflecting, before going on. “Are you familiar with demons, Chandra Grey?”

This is an excerpt of urban fantasy book ‘Hunted’ by A.J. Calvin which is out now.

You can find more information about the book here and you can find A.J. Calvin on Twitter.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ by S.S. Frankowska

Introducing author S.S. Frankowska who shares an excerpt of epic fantasy novel ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’.

“INDEABINITO WAS A VERY OLD WORLD. It has existed for millions of years. Over the first centuries, new races were born. After all, the kingdom was inhabited by twelve different races, one being the human race. The other eleven races were characterized by abilities which humans were unable to possess. Still, the position of people in this world was extremely privileged. They have been treated as a race that everyone else should watch out for. A race that others have to look after, with no one allowed to hurt them.
At the head of the kingdom were always human queens and kings. They held meetings in which all races took part. The king and queen were always ready to hear the voices of other races, but ultimately it was up to them to make decisions.
There came a moment in the history of this world when the last ruling couple made a mistake. Worrying about the future of their children, putting their good above the good of the kingdom, they mislaid their trust and irreversibly changed the course of Indeabinito history. With their actions, they introduced into this world something that had never been there before. Magic. A force that allowed humans to measure themselves with the abilities of other races.
Of course, at first no one dared to oppose humans. Everyone knew that their firstborn son embraced to seek the power that did not come from this world, but they remained silent. The second son of the royal couple grew into a wonderful man. Nobody doubted that he would be a worthy successor to his parents. Therefore, after the unexpected death of the king and queen, when their ship sunk because of a storm, all races were glad to welcome the nineteen-year-old king. The second son. Nobody knew what was happening to the eldest son of the royal couple. They were worried about his disappearance, but nobody was eager to find him. The whole kingdom celebrated the coronation.”

This is an excerpt of epic fantasy ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ (Chapter 16: Victor’s Story) by S.S. Frankowska which is available now.

You can find more information from S.S. Frankowska on Twitter and via the Heroes of the Shadow website.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor

Introducing author Dominika Pindor who shares an excerpt of YA fantasy novel ‘Wings and Shadows’.

“When I turned onto Welling Ave, the crowds began to disperse, and by the time I reached Scott Street, I was alone. At the intersection, I pressed the greasy button on the traffic light pole and leaned against it as I waited for the red circle to turn green.
“I don’t mean to bother you, dear, but could you assist me with these? It’ll only take a moment.”
The voice came from an old woman, who had seemingly appeared out of thin air. She was short, perhaps five feet at most, and stood wearily hunched over her walker. The overflowing bags of groceries she had been referring to were draped over the rails, making the thin pieces of metal strain underneath their weight. I recognized her as Mrs. Riley, my mother’s old college professor. We had met a few times when I was younger, but I doubted she remembered.
“Sure. How can I help?” I couldn’t bring myself to say no. Aside from the large mole on her cheek, she looked just like my grandmother.
“Carry these,” she said, pointing to the three fullest bags, each of which was filled with at least half a dozen cans. I picked them up and she grinned. “Thank you, dear.” The dear came out sounding like deah. Then she coughed, covering her mouth with one papery hand.
“Are you alright ma’am?”
Mrs. Riley chuckled. “Me? Oh no, can’t say I am.”
I raised my eyebrows, expecting her to elaborate. She didn’t. We continued walking, heading towards the assortment of worn-down, brown apartment complexes where I lived. The street was empty, except for a few vehicles parked along the sidewalk—six cars, all different shades of black, and several white trucks.
“Where are we heading?” I finally asked, curious to find out how much longer I would have to carry the bags, which were growing heavier by the minute.
“Over there, dear.” She paused to lift a wrinkled finger and pointed it towards one of the shorter buildings in a nearby alley. “Distance won’t bother you?”
There was a broken wine bottle on the sidewalk, and I had to pause to step over it. “I’m fine, ma’am. No worries.”
“You know,” the woman said, unwilling to lapse into silence, “ you look just like my Lillian.”
“Hm?”
“My granddaughter. She has red hair as well; it’s the most beautiful color, if you ask me.”
“I appreciate the compliment ma’am. I was never too fond of it myself,” I said. That was true. My hair color was one of the only things kids in middle school would laugh about. I recalled the moment—sometime in seventh grade—when I had asked out a boy I liked. His rejection still echoed through my head every time someone brought up my hair color.
We rounded the corner and walked into the alley. It wasn’t a pleasant place. A swarm of flies hovered above one of the dumpsters, which was backed up against the wall a few feet to our left. That explained the nauseous stench.
“Hope you don’t mind the smell,” Mrs. Riley apologized.
I couldn’t reply; the odor was making me dizzy. To my surprise, it seemed to have no effect on her at all. I suppose that’s what happened when you spent your entire life in such a place. The wheels of her walker rattled on the uneven ground, and a single tomato fell out of a grocery bag. I bent down to pick it up, although my own bags were threatening to spill.
“Ma’am, how much longer do we have to walk? These bags are getting awfully heavy.”
She paused for a moment before answering. “We’re almost there,” she told me. I glanced up from the ground and realized we were nearing the short brown building she had pointed out a few minutes before. Of course. I had known our destination all along. The question had been unnecessary. I smiled to myself, hoping to ease the strange feeling that was flaring inside my gut.
There were three doors on this side of the building. The one in the center was the main entrance that likely led to the upper apartments. The others were doors to the ground floor apartments—14 and 15. We stopped at 15. The woman left her walker, climbed up the single step, and began fumbling for the keys. Her hands were visibly trembling.
Arthritis, I thought, remembering one of the lessons Huma’s mother—a doctor—had taught me. The poor woman had arthritis.
“You can put the groceries down, dear. I will take them inside once- oh!” Her keys fell to the asphalt, startling a rat that had begun sneaking in our direction. I picked them up and handed them to her. “Thank you dear. Thank you so much.” She coughed again. “Leave the bags on the ground. I’ll take them inside once I open the door.”
“Got it,” I said and did as she asked. The keys jiggled in the lock, and the door finally swung open.
“Thank you,” the woman said again, a warm smile spreading across her face. “Would you like me to call a taxi cab for you? An Uber, perhaps?”
“No ma’am, I’ll be fine,” I replied, glancing at the bags. Would she be able to carry them in by herself? She would have to unless she was going to call someone to do it for her. I decided not to pry; her business wasn’t mine. I turned around to go…
And then I stopped dead in my tracks.
A large black SUV stood in the center of the road. It was positioned sideways, creating a barrier between the alley and the main road.
More importantly, cutting off my way out.”

This is an excerpt of ‘Wings and Shadows’ by Dominika Pindor which is available now. You can find Dominika on Twitter.

If you would like to share an excerpt, article or book review then do get in touch via the submissions page.