In EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE the protagonist is Evan, a man who refuses to be called a hero because he is in fact a super villain. A mostly retired super villain living the suburbia dream life with his beautiful wife and cute kids, but a super villain nonetheless. Throughout the book he hints at what led up to his courtship and marriage of the elusive superhero Zephyr Girl (aka Tabitha Shinkowski). It all started with a wrong number while Tabitha was brushing her teeth. I let her tell that little story…
I was brushing my teeth.
It wasn’t the most romantic thing in the world, but absolutely necessary after kissing Johnny Berneder. Licking a giant slug would have been better, at least the slug wouldn’t have tried to swallow my ear when it was done sliming my face. Seriously, I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
Thirty seconds of that was more than enough to tell Johnny, nicely, that there wouldn’t be a second date. Brushing my teeth was essential to survival afterwards. I was going to brush my teeth for an hour, then curl up with a pint of ice cream and cry. Johnny was the proverbial “Nice Guy” – you know – the one that always finished last. If there was any justice in the world he would have turned out to be charming, romantic, spontaneous, and funny. Instead he was… drippy.
Nice guys, bad boys, geeks, jocks… I’ve tried them all, and all I had to show for it was a series of lame dates, bad kisses, and lonely nights.
The phone rang. I rinsed my mouth, and picked up. “Hello?”
“Hello, beautiful.” The voice on the other end was seductive, all dark chocolate and promises of satin sheets.
I dropped into my overstuffed blue papasan chair and tried to pin the voice to someone I knew. “Is this Ethan?” The man on the other end chuckled. It was suddenly warm in my little Austin apartment. I fanned myself, and wondered which of the few guys I talked to had a sexy alter ego. “Mark? Devin?”
“None of the above,” the man assured me. There was a click in the background, like a light switch being turned on. “How are you tonight?”
Dangling my feet off the papasan I contemplated lying, but why bother? “It was awful,” I told my mystery caller. “Kissing Johnny is like sticking your head into warm banana jello. I don’t recommend it.”
“I’m not interested in kissing Johnny,” he said with a hint of seduction in his voice. There was an unspoken invitation there.
The creepy-stalker flag went up. “So, why are you calling?”
“Can’t a man call a beautiful woman just to say hello?” He was laughing again, teasing me, but inviting me to join in the joke.
I checked my curtains, closed. The door was locked, not that I was really worried. It’s hard to hurt a superhero. “Go on, tell me what you want.”
“Do you have any cash in your purse?” he asked, still smooth but less seductive.
“A couple of dollars.”
The man on the other end of the phone chuckled again. “Do you think you could spare a few?”
The light bulb went off. “Are you collecting for a charity?”
I rolled my eyes. It was better than five billion calls to save the monkey-nosed tree pig or whatever animal needed protection, but really… “You could have just come right out and said so.”
“And miss an opportunity to talk to someone as wonderful as you?”
“Right.” I snorted as I reached for my purse. “You can tell I’m a fabulous, svelte blonde from the sound of my voice?”
“I’m sure you’re utterly… charming.”
It was the spin he put on the last word that made me look at the mantel. Right above my fake fireplace was a picture, The Picture, the one of a dark haired man with piercing black eyes. Doctor Charm – super villain – voted sexiest man alive based on one grainy photograph taken during a heist.
Doctor Charm the ultimate enigma, the perfect villain, and my longtime fantasy boyfriend. He walked away with money from victims who smiled and never realized they’d been robbed blind.
I tilted my head. “I’m sorry, what did you just say? My reception is really bad over here.”
“I said that I find you charming.” His low voice rolled over me with erotic promise.
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If you believe the rumors you know that Doctor Charm, the wickedly sexy super villain, retired in shame seven years ago after his last fight with the superhero Zephyr Girl. The fact that the charming Evan Smith – father of four and husband of the too-beautiful-to-be-real Tabitha – bears a resemblance to the defeated Doctor is pure coincidence. And, please, ignore the minions.
Everything is perfect in the Smith household until Tabitha announces her return to work as a superhero. Evan was hoping to keep her distracted until after he rigged the 2012 presidential election, but – genius that he is – Evan has a backup plan. In his basement lab Evan has a machine whose sole purpose is keeping Tabitha hungry for him.
But children and labs don’t mix. The machine is broken, and Tabitha storms out, claiming she no longer knows him. World domination takes a back seat to meeting his daughters’ demands to get Mommy back right now. This time his genius isn’t going to be enough – he’s going to need both his evil alter-ego and the blooming super abilities of his children to save his wife. But even his most charming self might not be enough to save their marriage.
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