Hiya guys! We’re welcoming Victoria Sue back today with her upcoming release Five Minutes Longer. We have a brilliant guest post from Victoria where we get to know a little about her new characters (they sound amazing), and a fantastic new excerpt, so guys check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Five Minutes Longer
Talon Valdez knew that when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced are viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.
Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.
Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with fatal abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.
Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.
We’re still one week away from release day – so I thought I would give you a little insight into the world of Five Minutes Longer. It’s characters, and their stories up to now.
“Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer.”
I was determined to make one thing clear with my heroes, that they are essentially ordinary people. They may have extra-ordinary abilities, but they are not magical, alien, or shape-shifting creatures.
The only differences are that around adolescence some people woke up with a scar on their face and the ability to do amazing things.
I bet you’re thinking that sounds pretty magical to you? People don’t just wake up with these sort of things?
Well, actually you’d be wrong. Yes, I carried things one step further. Possibly condensed a thousand years of human evolution into thirty, but all the abilities are a result of natural physiological human advancement, and even though all the reasons aren’t revealed in this book – each character gets his background and his reason why eventually.
Human Enhanced Rescue Organization (HEROs)
Talon Valdez – 29 years old. Enhanced. Ability includes slowing down any bodily functions and inducing paralysis and death. This guy can literally stop your heart, and when you read his story, I would bet it is gonna stop yours. Belongs to a politically prominent family and when he developed his abilities was a source of great fear and shame to his mom to the point of being physically locked away and barred from having any interaction with his brothers and sister.
Finlay Mayer – 24 years old. Talon’s regular human partner. Finn has dreamed of joining the FBI since he was fourteen. He comes from a small-town, was bullied by his homophobic brother and his lazy mother. He was the one to find his dad had shot himself when he couldn’t live with his depression anymore. Terrified a diagnosis of dyslexia would put paid to his dreams of the FBI, he has struggled without getting help for years. He knows agreeing to the experimental team is his one and only shot of joining the FBI.
Gael Peterson – 26 years old. Enhanced. I love Gael, and researching his ability was the most surprising. I don’t want to give anything away, but he discovers the reason for his ability when he is diagnosed with a type of skin cancer. I know who Gael’s partner is going to be, and Gael is going to hate him on sight because of the hell he and his little brother went through when they were younger.
Vance Connelly – 26 years old. Enhanced – all three hundred pounds of him. Bench pressing trucks isn’t a joke around Vance – he can actually do it. Vance comes from a huge family of cops all based in the Tampa PD where the story is set. Vance has dreamed of putting on a cop’s uniform since he knew what one was and being an enhanced and unable to join, he considered his life was officially over. Vance couldn’t just kill with his bare hands, he could take someone out with one tied behind his back, but he is the kindest, gentlest guy you could ever wish to meet. He hasn’t met his partner yet, but there is a certain 5’5” snarky young man that’s gonna get arrested by all of 6’8” Vance very soon and give him all sorts of trouble.
The other team members are Sawyer Rollins and Eli Peterson. They both have incredible abilities, but I need them to remain mysterious for a little longer. I can’t give everything away all at once!
This is my HEROs family. I hope you’re gonna love them as much as I do. ❤
Finn looked around. The place seemed popular, and an older gray-haired woman looked up from the cash register as they walked in. Her face broke out into a huge smile, and she stepped around to greet Talon.
“Where have you been? You haven’t been to see me in three days.” Finn watched in astonishment as the pint-sized lady battered Talon on the arm. “Are you eating properly?” She squinted up at him and then seemed to notice Finn stood behind Talon. “You’ve brought a friend?” she asked, astonished, and Finn nearly laughed. Her blatant surprise at the thought of Talon actually having friends mirrored Finn’s own opinion. He hadn’t exactly demonstrated many social skills since they’d met.
Finn stepped forward before Talon had a chance to say anything. “Hi, my name’s Finn, and I’m starving.” He grinned. It sounded like an announcement at an AA meeting. It’s been three days since my last meal.
The lady completely ignored Finn’s outstretched hand and pulled him to her. “Nonsense,” she said firmly as Finn was squashed rather alarmingly against a very ample bosom. He inhaled quickly. She smelled of cinnamon and baked yummy stuff.
Finn’s belly growled again.
“Oh, you poor thing,” the woman exclaimed. “I’m Betty, surprisingly enough.” She waved at the sign. “Go and sit yourself down.”
Finn followed Talon to the end booth, and Talon slid in decisively. Finn was quick enough to notice that he’d walked past two empty ones until he got to where he could put his back to the wall and see everyone who walked in. It seemed instinctive. Maybe in a few weeks, he’d be doing things like that too.
For the first time since yesterday, Finn allowed himself to get a little excited. He was in the FBI—almost. He was out from under Deke’s eagle eye, and he was about to get fed. Finn loved food. Any kind, really. In fact, he wasn’t entirely sure he’d ever met a meal he didn’t like. He scanned the menu eagerly as Betty brought coffee to the table.
She chuckled as she saw Finn’s rapt concentration. “I’ll leave you boys a minute to decide.” She went to pour a few more refills.
Finn absently reached over for the basket with the sugars and creamer, dumped four creamers and two sugars in his coffee, stirred and took a cautious sip. He was very interested in the breakfast platter, which seemed to just about include every breakfast food known to man, and he looked up as a sudden awful thought occurred to him, only to find Talon looking at him in astonishment.
“How the fuck do you possibly stay in shape, drinking like that?”
Finn blinked at Talon’s question. He thinks I’m in shape? A warm feeling settled in his belly, and it had nothing to do with the mouthful of creamy goodness he’d just inhaled. He ignored Talon’s question, assuming it was rhetorical. “How soon will we be doing any fitness tests this morning?” He would cry if he had to settle for whole-wheat toast.
Talon grinned. “You can eat. It’s paperwork and medical first.”
Finn didn’t reply. He got too lost in the smile. Talon’s face completely changed when he smiled. He almost seemed… normal. And that wasn’t any sort of a go at his enhanced status. It was more an acknowledgment he wasn’t a complete asshole every minute of the day.
Betty appeared and beamed at them both. “What ya havin’, boys?”
Talon smoothly asked for a large breakfast platter with sunny-side-up eggs and bacon.
Finn, utterly relieved, asked for exactly the same, and picked up his coffee.
Betty paused. “You want exactly the same?” She looked at Finn, and he glanced at Talon, who had quirked his eyebrow in a silent challenge.
Finn raised his chin. “Yes, please.” Fuck, if it included a side of fried eyeballs, he’d be on the next plane out. “So paperwork on a Saturday?” It was all Finn could think of to start any sort of a conversation.
Talon raised his eyebrow higher. “The agency isn’t Monday to Friday, nine to five. If you want that, you’re in the wrong place.”
Finn put his cup down sharply. He hadn’t meant that. Talon had to know he hadn’t meant that. “I—” When he saw the humor on Talon’s face, Finn bit off the angry retort, both due to the surprise that it was there and from the knowledge Talon was just yanking his chain.
“So why do you want to join the FBI?” Talon took a sip of his black coffee.
Finn was ready for this. He had a whole speech planned that he’d trotted out at interviews. He could even quote the latest terror and violent crime stats he cleverly worked into his answer. But as he opened his mouth, it suddenly clicked that Talon was putting out feelers. If they were going to be friends, giving him a BS line wouldn’t win him any more points.
“Some agents came to talk at our school when I was fourteen. Nowheresville, Iowa, didn’t have a high college uptake for seniors. In fact, the graduation rate wasn’t all that good either.” Finn picked nervously at the napkin. He could feel the icy-blue eyes bearing down on him. “Anyway, something they said just kinda clicked with me. I kept my nose clean, graduated. Got my degree.” He grinned. “I even worked as a bookkeeper part time.” Finn looked up, hoping to see another smile, but Talon’s face was unsurprised.
“You know all this,” Finn said accusingly. He had no doubt Talon had seen his file.
“I knew about the job and the college,” Talon conceded. “I’ve seen your grades and your references. I didn’t know what made you want to join.” He hesitated. “I guess it was hard to study while you were working a job.”
Finn fumed. He knew in Talon’s half-assed way, he was trying to offer some justification to explain his average grades when he was so determined and had wanted to join the FBI since he was fourteen. Finn lowered his head. There was no way Talon would ever find out how he struggled with reading occasionally. It wasn’t that hard anymore, and audio was a godsend. He learned a few tricks to adapt and could usually correctly anticipate the words even if he couldn’t always make them out.
Betty arrived, and Finn looked up thankfully. She was carrying such a huge tray of food, Finn thought they would both be lucky to get through it. Then he gaped as he saw the teenager standing behind her with more stuff.
Talon chuckled again. “Stop teasing him, Betty.”
Betty grinned and waved the teenager to the next table.
Finn let out a low breath and swallowed. There was still more food on there than he’d eat in two days. Eggs, bacon, sausage patties, mushrooms, grits, and toast on one plate, and a huge fluffy stack of pancakes on another. And it wasn’t just the variety; it was the quantity. He wouldn’t need a box—he would need a tow truck.
“I only eat this on a Saturday, but she does the best omelet I’ve ever eaten as well.”
Finn nodded in amazement. I mean, yeah—who’d wanna cook?
He gave up gracefully when he was just over halfway through. He could have pushed on, but he didn’t think a food coma was a good idea for his first day.
Talon waved his money away when Finn got out his wallet after Betty cleared their table. He reluctantly refused a box, as he didn’t want to look like some kid going in with his school lunch on his first day either.
Talon didn’t say a word, just allowed Betty to try to wrap her arms around him as he stood up to leave. Betty waved them both off with an admonishment to stay safe.
Just as they cleared the last booth heading for the exit, Finn clearly heard the words, “I ain’t coming here again. No idea they let that sort in here.” The older woman who said it dropped her fork in disgust. “Don’t eat it, Barney,” she said to the guy seated opposite her, who Finn assumed was her husband. “You don’t know what you might catch.”
Finn inhaled a sharp breath and stared at Talon’s retreating back. He hadn’t paused, but he must have heard what she said. Finn deliberately looked the woman up and down. Her pink blouse stretched over her ample belly, and her many chins wobbled as she spoke.
He stopped and deliberately leaned over. “That’s probably just as well, madam,” he said quietly. “You could always try the egg-white omelet and low-fat vegetable smoothie. My colleague, as you can see, wouldn’t touch either of those. He doesn’t need to diet.”
Finn heard the indignant gasp as he walked away without saying another word. He looked up as Talon stood in the doorway with a puzzled look on his face. He probably heard Finn be rude to a member of the public. Another reason he wouldn’t make the four weeks.
Victoria Sue… Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves! Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach. Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook.