I have a brand new superhero story coming soon in this shared world superhero anthology from SFF World. Check it out on Kickstarter, where there are earlybird discount tiers for those who pledge in the first few days.
Welcome to Pacific City is a melting pot of fantasy, horror and science fiction, a shared-world brought to life in fourteen original stories by authors from all over the world! But not every hero wears tights, and not every villain seeks global domination…
I’m excited to finally be able to share this story with readers! Here’s a sneak peek to help you decide if you want to back the book.
Excerpt from “Purrfect Criminal” by Tansy Rayner Roberts
“Welcome home, Queen Feline,” says the voice in her head. “This location is not registered as secure for the suit. Mundane disguise is recommended.”
“Um, okay,” says Flick. She’ll address that whole Queen Feline business shortly. “How do we ditch the suit?”
It slides off her in pieces, folding up again and again like the world’s tidiest origami. When it’s done, it looks like a tiny purse, the kind with one shoulder strap and no space for anything but a phone and a credit card.
Oh look, there’s a phone tucked in there already. Let’s hope the previous owner of the suit doesn’t have a Find My Stolen Stuff app activated.
“Welcome home, Felicity Faraday,” says the voice, in a slightly different tone. Flick does a double take for two reasons. Firstly, because the suit is in handbag over there, but the voice is still in her ear. Secondly, it knows her name. Her actual literal name.
She thought this was all some complicated, wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time epic mistake, possibly involving unexpected time travel, but this…
The not-suit knows exactly who she is. When it doesn’t think she’s someone called Queen Feline, that is.
Before she can ask more questions, the door clicks open and a stupidly handsome man saunters in. “Hi, honey.”
“Hi what now?” Flick splutters. She didn’t know this was someone else’s apartment too. She would really have liked to know that before this exact moment.
He doesn’t even look in her direction but wanders around the apartment, chucking his wallet and keys in a bowl, putting his phone on the charger, disappearing into the kitchen carrying a clinking bag (wine, that bag looks promisingly full of wine). He certainly seems to belong here.
I’m the one who’s out of place.
“I heard there was a super-battle a couple of streets away,” he calls out as he opens and closes the fridge. “Lucky Star getting the jump on Queen Feline for, like, the fourth time this week. Didn’t get caught up in it, did you?”
“No,” she says, in a voice of false brightness that she really can’t keep up. “I just, uh, had a nap on the couch.”
“All right for some!” He has a British accent, she thinks, or maybe Australian, something that doesn’t sound quite right to the ear. Speaking of ear…
“Who is this guy?” she whispers to the air, hoping her disembodied not-suit can still hear her.
“This is Scott Saylor, junior advertising executive at the Pacific City Tribune and your fiancé,” the voice advises her in a quieter version of its usual brightness, as if it is also trying to whisper.
Flick really needs some of that wine so she can do a spit-take. She doubles down on this feeling when Scott Saylor wanders back into the room, kicks his shoes off and places an open bottle of red and two glasses on the coffee table before settling on the couch.
There’s something about him that’s too bright, like a cartoon character. No one’s hair is that shade of orangey-yellow, no one’s shoulders are that square-cut and broad. But more than that… she finds herself staring at his feet, and the line of his neck.
“You’re him,” she blurts out without thinking. “You’re the dude from the fight.”
“Lucky Star, 14th ranked superhero in Pacific City. Motto: This isn’t your lucky day,” the voice chirps helpfully. “Has received three commendations for not destroying public municipal buildings in the fight for justice.”
Scott Saylor is staring at her in horror. “Felicity,” he says slowly. “What are you talking about?”
“You’re a supervillain,” says Flick, pointing at him.
“Superhero,” corrects the voice in her ear. “Queen Feline is a supervillain. 8th ranked in Pacific City, and rising steadily. Up three points since Christmas!”
“Superhero,” Flick says obediently. “You’re Lucky Star, and you’re a freaking superhero. But seriously, only 14th in the city, are you even trying very hard?”
Scott stands up, towering over her like she’s some child he needs to talk out of a tantrum. “Now honey, if that was true—and it’s not true, obviously—”
Flick blinks at him. “You have the same patronizing tone of voice and everything.”
“Lucky Star wears a mask and a suit,” he explains. “To protect the innocent.”
“But it’s clearly you. I’ve only met you for… I mean, look at you. You’re the same shape as him. There can’t be that many men in this city with sloping shoulders and an unnaturally small waist and… what even are those muscles in your feet? Feet aren’t for muscles! Feet are for comfy slippers.”
“You seem overwrought,” says Scott. “Maybe a bit hysterical? I can recommend a superhero paranoia therapist, several of my friends uh, well their partners use them a lot.”
“Okay,” Flick decides, “you are sleeping on the couch tonight, because you are a lying liar who didn’t tell his fiancée that he’s a goddamn superhero, though frankly she has to be PRETTY UNOBSERVANT NOT TO HAVE NOTICED!”
Want to read more? Order your copy of Welcome To Pacific City today on Kickstarter!