Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.
Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.
But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.
A week passed before Val got the chance to speak with her father. With Blueblood dead and Leo arrested, the Black Valentine was only supervillain from the DSA break-in who was still at large. She’d risen to the top of the DSA’s Most Wanted List, an achievement she’d commemorated by framing a copy of her wanted poster. (It wasn’t the most flattering picture, but you couldn’t have everything.)
Her father’s trial had gone badly. The prosecution’s primary witness had been eloquent and sympathetic, swaying the jury so completely that further evidence had been a mere formality. Things really would have been different if Joey and Madame Morphine had succeeded in taking him out. Val had snuck into the courthouse using a wig and a liberal use of telepathy, and she caught her father in a hallway as prison guards were escorting him to the van that would return him to his holding cell.
Val entered the guards’ mind to convince them to pause, but she shouldn’t have bothered. Her father saw her and lifted his hand. “A moment, please,” he said, and the guard pushing his wheelchair stopped and retreated a respectful distance away. Typical. Her father’s four-year prison sentence was going to be a simple change of scenery for him. The law couldn’t snap the web of influence that stretched out from him; the strands would lengthen and shift no matter where the old spider moved.
Dave broke down the process of standing up into steps. First, he got onto his hands and knees. The small movement ignited the pain in his back. It felt like he’d gotten lashed by a bullwhip that had been soaked in gasoline and set on fire. Except that metaphor didn’t work, because it was less extreme than what had actually happened. He should probably just stick to the truth: he felt like he’d gotten mauled by spinning helicopter blades.
He lifted himself into a kneeling position, pausing to give himself a rest. In case he’d forgotten his fight with Giordano, his cheek and ribs throbbed in reminder. He put his right foot flat on the floor, and by the time he’d finally managed to stand, Val was walking back from the crashed helicopter. Strands of black hair had come undone from her ponytail, and her eyes were red-rimmed from the tear gas, but her smile shone like the sun.
Dave was starting to like the concrete floor. Sure, it was hard against his skull and back, pressing each link of chain further into his flesh. And yeah, it was filthy. But letting his muscles go slack as he rested on it felt like a little slice of heaven.
He didn’t know how long he’d been lying there. He didn’t know how many times Giordano and Werecat had dunked him. It felt like it had been a lot of times, but he didn’t want to think about it. If he could have found the strength to lift his head and look at the tub, a shudder of revulsion would have passed through him. He forced himself not to think, not to remember in excruciating detail the feeling of water up his nose and rough hands on his head. He wanted to lie on the floor in a haze and think of nothing at all.
He hadn’t talked. Or at least, he didn’t think he had. He would remember, wouldn’t he? So he had to brace himself. Because when Val came back and tried to get into his head again, he was going to be tempted to tell her everything as long as they stopped, as long as they never brought him anywhere near water again. He couldn’t let himself do that. They were going to kill him anyway, and he didn’t want to die betraying everything he stood for. David Del Toro might dread what came next, but White Knight was strong. He had to be White Knight. Continue reading “FUBAR” – Part 7
I’m very happy to announce that my short story, “How Lady Nightmare Stole Captain Alpha’s Girlfriend” is the featured story in Issue 29 of Luna Station Quarterly. It was just released today, and you can read the full thing right here.
Lady Nightmare made a short cameo in Villainous, so if you’ve ever been curious about her, check this story out. It’s a fun little tale of action and romance, and I might have snuck in a deeper theme or two. The basic premise is a damsel-in-distress falling for the villainess who kidnapped her, and complications when a superhero comes to the “rescue.”
If you’re even remotely interested in science fiction and fantasy, I’d highly recommend you take a look at the other stories in the issue here. “How Lady Nightmare Stole Captain Alpha’s Girlfriend” is in very good company, and you’re looking at hours of free entertainment (or days if you go through all of Luna Station Quarterly’s back issues). Also, check out that cover. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
The moment their lips touched, it was like opening floodgates of emotion. He was so responsive, his lips soft but unyielding. He leaned into Val, and his hands went to her hips. The touch made her shiver. He tasted like coffee and other wonderful things, and her hands brushed faint stubble on his cheeks as she pulled him closer, but not close enough. Nothing could be close enough. She wanted to touch all of him at once.
How could a simple kiss feel so good? They hadn’t even started any of the really fun stuff yet. If his lips and hands affected her so much, then what would the rest of him do to her? She moaned, unable to wait to find out.
Dave stiffened. His hands fell from her waist, and suddenly it felt like Val was kissing a rock.
She pulled back. His face looked pale and shaken.
“I’m sorry.” His voice was hoarse. “I can’t.”
Val quickly gathered up all her emotions and shoved them into a small steel box.
Val was having a surprisingly good time. Nobody ever associated hospitals with fun, but for a telepath like her, they could be particularly unpleasant. (Try blocking out the thoughts and sensations of the patient in the next room having a colonoscopy sometime. Not fun.) She had the exatrin in her system to thank for a peaceful headspace, but the main reason for her good mood was Dave.
He’d gotten her popcorn. Just a small bag of white cheddar popcorn from the vending machine outside, but it gave the room a movie theater atmosphere as they watched the soap opera. He kept up a running commentary for her, explaining backstory from previous episodes and translating dialogue she didn’t understand. (Spanish was close enough to Italian that she could get the gist of it most of the time, but she’d never studied the language.) The show was ridiculous but strangely enthralling—or maybe that was the company. She doubted it would be as much fun watching by herself. In any case, the credits rolled far too soon.
“You didn’t tell me it ended on a cliffhanger,” Val accused. “What happens next? Do they prove Maricruz is innocent?”
“Eventually. I think she spends the next three or four episodes in prison, though. Concha ends up in there, too.”
“What? No. Concha was my favorite.”
He gave her a strange look. “She just tried to poison her own husband.”