So, a little backstory here. Hailey Turner is the author of the fabulous Metahumans Series, which if you haven’t read, go do that and then come back. I’ll wait.
Now, May Archer is the author of the wonderful series The Way Home. Go read those, too.
We all up to date? Good.
So, May is a huge Hailey fan, so of course, Hailey likes to torment her with the horrible things she is going to put her characters through. In Metahumans #5, which is up next, apparently, Ms. Turner has blocked Alexei – codename Inferno because of his ability to shoot fire from his hands – (May’s favorite character) from getting to eat his pancakes. Well, poor Alexei went through a lot in book #4, and May isn’t having any of it. So, in honor of Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Tuesday), she decided to go behind Hailey’s back, and get Alexei his damn pancakes.
This is how it went down:
*Metahuman command center, a Tuesday in February…*
“I don’t know how I feel about this,” Sean said, glancing around the conference table at the other members of Alpha Team. “It just seems wrong to me somehow.”
“Inferno can handle it,” Kyle said confidently, smiling across the table at his brother, who was sitting in silence as he had been since the beginning of the meeting. “We’ve all done missions alone in the past when required.”
“It’s true,” Jamie agreed, folding his enormously sexy arms over his equally-smexy chest. “And the data suggests this won’t be a complicated or dangerous mission. Nothing points to Jansen or the Sons of Adam. The informant, who says she works for The Overlord, very specifically stated that she was on our side, the side of justice.”
“Still,” Katie argued. “I’m with Wraith. It’s weird that she wants Inferno and only Inferno. And she didn’t give you many details on the exact nature of the mission, only that you needed to meet her at this random restaurant downtown.”
“More than that, I really don’t like the idea of a mission off the books.” Sean glanced at Alexei, who still hadn’t shown any reaction to Jamie’s pronouncement.
“I understand. You think there might be fallout because this didn’t get handed down from Nazari.” Jamie nodded. “I can’t say you’re wrong. The Director might be pissed when he finds out. But we’ll take every precaution to…”
Sean shook his head grimly. “Respectfully, sir, fuck Nazari. It’s Hailey I’m worried about.”
A collective shudder went around the table at the mention of that name, one they’d all come to associate with torture and deprivation of the most diabolical kind. Sean’s eyes were haunted as he continued, “You all remember what she did to us last time when we were just being decent, hard-working, sexy-as-fuck Metahumans, right? Imagine the kind of hell we might unleash if we sent Inferno out on a mission without consulting The Torturer first.”
“But if it weren’t for Hailey,” Kyle said, “none of us would even be here. I would never have met Jamie.” He gave his fiance a look so scorchingly hot that the rest of the team squirmed in their seats.
“Oh, brother,” Donovan mumbled.
“It’s easy for you to say,” Katie reminded Kyle. “You fell in love with the main character. I’m dating a minor guy from Strike Force. Hailey could write him out at any time and I wouldn’t put it past her!” She shook her head sadly. “Remember, I’ve seen inside her mind! Hailey would just feed everyone some line about how the plot demanded it, and then smile as they cried. She’s done it before.”
Kyle nodded. “It’s a risk, I won’t lie. But I think we need to let Inferno make the final decision.”
All heads turned to Alexei. “<What’s it going to be, brother?>” Kyle asked in Russian. “<Do you want to risk Hailey’s wrath in the interest of justice?>”
Finally, Alexei glanced up, brooding and sexy as ever as he glared at his teammates. “Da! Of course, I will meet with Overlord’s representative. Informant is not even metahuman. Hailey not scare me.”
The others exchanged uneasy glances, but nobody tried to change his mind.
Alexei threw open the glass door of the restaurant and fixed the cute blonde hostess with his hottest glare. “Am here for meeting.”
Somehow, the hostess didn’t seem frightened so much as incredibly excited. “Are you Alexei? Alexei the metahuman?”
Alexei glanced around the restaurant, which was packed with elderly patrons nursing cups of synthetic coffee, and wondered how his cover had been compromised so completely. Perhaps the others had been right in thinking that this was a trap.
But a second later, the woman leaned forward, putting her hand on his forearm. “Big fan. Huge. You and Sean are just *too cute.*”
Alexei scowled. “What?”
The woman winked like his scowl delighted her. “I can’t wait to tell the other Hellions about this. You’re every bit as sexy in person! Let me just show you to your table.”
Alexei shook his head, wondering for the first time in years whether his English was failing him. What the fuck was a Hellion? But he followed the woman down the row of synth-wood tables to a small booth in the back where a frizzy-haired middle-aged woman sat sipping tea. He slid into the bench across from her.
“Welcome to the International House of Pancakes!” the hostess told him with a smile, handing him a plastic menu before hurrying away.
Alexei faced the woman across the table. She was nondescript, clearly human, and the laptop in front of her suggested that she was a writer, but she didn’t have the evil little glint in her eyes that he’d come to associate with The Torturer. Stranger and stranger.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“No real names,” the woman said quickly, looking around the restaurant. “We don’t have long. She-who-must-not-be-named has eyes everywhere. You can call me… Princess von Shit-stirrer.”
“Princess…” He shook his head. “No. Nevermind. Just tell me what you want from me.”
“That’s just it! I don’t want anything from you, Alexei. No, YOU HAVE GIVEN ENOUGH.” She brushed a single tear from her cheek. “That’s why I’m here.”
“I don’t… understand.”
“For too long Hailey has tortured you. I mean, we all got past the skin-flaying and the….tooth thing.” She made a motion toward her mouth and looked vaguely nauseous. “But then she bragged about the pancakes, and the whole of Facebook knew that she had GONE TOO FAR.”
“The… pancakes?” This was by far the weirdest thing that had ever happened to Alexei, and as a man who’d had sex in every conceivable position and could shoot fire from his fucking hands, that was saying something.
“I’m not sure if it’s actually happened yet?” the woman said. She frowned. “Has book 5 happened where you live?” She shook her head. “Doesn’t matter. The point is, I’ve been sent here to right a wrong. To get you justice.”
She motioned toward the back of the restaurant, where an entire troupe of servers waited, carrying tray upon tray of pancakes in an absolutely bewildering variety of flavors. At her signal, they all came forward, crowding the entire table with fluffy, delightful goodness.
“Alexei,” the woman proclaimed. “I have been chosen… to bring you pancakes. On behalf of the Hellions, Happy Pancake Day, honey.”
Alexei grabbed his fork and a curious sense of UTTER FULFILLMENT washed over him. He couldn’t wait to go home and tell Sean all about it before throwing him against the wall for some seriously carb-fueled sexytimes.
“Is best,” Alexei sighed happily. “Is BEST.”
Want to see more of Hailey and May? Come join us on Facebook for hijinks!
Me: Amy’s Wasp Nest
May: Club May
Hailey: Hailey’s Hellions.
I’ll be cross-posting with them on facebook and on each other’s blogs! And as a little teaser, May and I are planning a series of romantic suspense books together that we are both DYING to write! Stay tuned!