Today I'm hosting an excerpt from writer-friend Kai Strand's new book, King of Bad. I've been waiting for this book to come out ever since Kai told me about the concept (a year ago? two? the memory fails).
Super Villain Academy
Really, that's all you need to know. But there's more...
Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.
He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?
Love it! Here's an excerpt...
(excerpt: King of Bad)
Jeff was surprised to find they’d walked all the way to the market. “Hey, you want something to drink?”
“I’m just gonna grab a quick soda.” Jeff swung the door to the market open just as a guy pushed his way out. The two collided and the bag the guy had been holding dropped to the ground. The telltale shatter of glass made Jeff wince. “Sorry, dude.”
“What are you thinking?” the guy yelled. “Are you blind? Or is everyone supposed to get out of your way?”
“Dude, I said I’m sorry. It was only an accident.”
The guy’s face bloomed with angry purple splotches. “Yeah, you’re sorry. That helps! You’re an idiot, that’s what you are.”
Anger coursed through Jeff. Before he knew what he was doing a blaze of flame shot out and caught the spilled bag and its contents afire.
Jeff and the guy jumped away from the sudden inferno between them. Pyro stepped in front of Jeff and grabbed a handful of his shirt. “Time to go, kid.”
Jeff looked at her in shock. “Did I do that?”
Pyro gave him a warning look.
Jeff saw that the guy had run back into the store. Pyro skipped away, dragging him with her. “Let’s go.” She released him when he finally sped up to catch her. They bolted like lightning. The excitement seemed to stimulate the fire within Jeff. His hands felt like they were going to erupt lava.
“Pyro, my fingers!”
They skidded to a stop. Jeff barely registered that they’d already traveled at least four blocks away from the market. He gritted his teeth against the throbbing heat in his fingers. He expected each engorged tip to pop like an over filled pimple.
Pyro reached out to touch his glowing fingertips, but pulled her hands back at the last second. “Blow on them!”
Jeff puffed and spit on his fingers, grunting against the stabbing pain.
“No, no, no! Use the ice, Jeff. Where does the ice come from?” Pyro’s hands hovered around his like she wanted to help, but knew she didn’t dare touch him.
“I don’t know.” Jeff looked between her and his fingers, but the pulsating heat made it difficult for him to think clearly.
A siren blast startled both Jeff and Pyro. They swung toward it, ready for flight, but the police car sped through the nearby intersection and away from them. Pyro searched their surroundings. They were in a typical suburban neighborhood. Every third house looked alike; boats or R.V.’s were parked alongside garages. Basketball hoops or skateboard ramps on the streets.
“Come on!” Pyro grabbed Jeff by the arm and pulled him up a nearby driveway and across a front lawn. She pushed him in front of her and shoved him over until his hands plunged blessedly into a cool fountain of water. A hissing steam issued as his hands entered the pool. The relief was welcome, but not complete. The heat from his hands warmed the water faster than the water cooled his hands. But it was enough to help Jeff get his concentration back.
“The lungs.” He held his dripping hands in front of his mouth and drew a breath from deep in his lungs. He blew slowly onto his hands and a crystalline frost coated his fingers. He giggled giddily in relief. “Oh man, thanks, Pyro.”
“There they are, officer!”
For a second time, Pyro and Jeff swung around in surprise. Two police officers walked toward them. One had his hand resting on his holster.
Pyro and Jeff looked at each other and understood that it was time to bolt. Pyro bobbed her head ever so slightly to the left and they ghosted to the fence surrounding the neighboring backyard. Pyro cleared the six foot fence in one jump, but Jeff vaulted over less gracefully. They heard the amazed cries behind them as they jumped the fence on the far side of the yard and raced off through the baseball field of the Lutheran school.
After that incident, it takes little to convince Jeff that he needs to attend Super Villain Academy, where you learn to be good at being bad. But as he settles in he learns that the word “friend” isn’t in the villain dictionary and that his sudden and unexpected increase in good manners draws bullies like flies to a dung heap. The more he’s ostracized, the more he wonders is he bad enough for SVA?
About the Author:
Kai Strand writes fiction for kids and teens. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. As a mother of four young adults her characters are well researched and new stories are inspired daily. Kai is a compulsive walker, addicted to pizza and a Mozart fangirl. Visit her website for more information about her work and to find all her virtual haunts; www.kaistrand.com.