*Read to the end for the giveaway!
Title: The Good Soldier
Author: Jill Robi
Release Date: January 15th, 2015
Genre: Urban fantasy/superhero romance
The vigilante known as Valiant is putting a serious dent is Chicago business mogul Nic Sloane’s bottom line. But Nic may have found his answer in Reese Alexander – a young woman whose powers could rival Valiant’s. The only question is, can he convince her to do it?
_ . _
Chicago business mogul Nicholas Sloane appears to have it all: money, sex appeal, and hordes of women eagerly seeking access to both. Only one thing threatens Nic’s empire, the vigilante known as Valiant. This mysterious figure seems determined to foil all of Nic’s more dubious business ventures, and it’s beginning to hurt the bottom line. There seems only one thing left for Nic to do.
Enter Reese Alexander, a young woman whose powers could rival even those of Valiant. A lifetime of poverty and neglect have left her with little confidence in her abilities, but Nic is positive she’s just the person to vanquish his adversary. The only question is can he convince her to do it?
1.1 THE MAN IN BLACK
He leaned against the pane of the floor to ceiling window—forty-seven stories up—shoulders tense as he stared at the overcast sky. The waters of Lake Michigan appeared to be brown—like watered down chocolate milk—churning and choppy as the waves crashed harshly. The weather seemed to mirror his mood.
Everything around him was impeccable—his incredibly spacious office, decorated with original modern art, his oversized marbled black and gray modern desk, high backed black leather chair, and even his suit—custom tailored, firmly pressed, all black with a pinstripe black button down, accompanied with custom made cufflinks of dice—snake eyes up. Manicured nails; black hair long and moussed back. But not too long—it was neatly cut and tapered at his nape. His almond shaped stormy green eyes were dark and steely, and his skin muted and pale from the lack of sun this time of year.
He was the literal King of the Castle. Well, not an actual royal king, but he did in fact own a castle in the city. In fact, it was the only castle in the city, located on the Southwest side in Indigo Hills. Some rich bastard in the late 19th century imported stones from a quarry in Ireland and had it built for his fiancée—a replica of her childhood home. When he heard of it, he knew he had to have it. For a long while, it had been a school, but he threw just enough money at them that they left and set up shop elsewhere.
Nicholas Sloane had been raised poor, which accounted for his tastes in extravagance as an adult. His single mother had done the best she could for him and his half-brother, Matt. He knew that, logically. But deep down, he still harbored a bit of resentment for that, and other reasons…
Nevertheless, Nic was surrounded by perfection, with an office on top of the world, a king of his very own castle, and an excellent collection of cars.
And yet, his life was far from perfect.
But that was of no importance; there was no need to dwell on things he couldn’t change. Besides, tonight he had a show to put on—entertaining investors, clients, partners, and last but not least, his boss, at his not so humble abode that evening. It would prove to be quite interesting, for sure.
Nic left his Downtown office and drove to the Southwest side of the city to Indigo Hills, blasting Wocka Flocka in his Aston Martin. He had a strong sense of foreboding after reading the papers. Valiant had successfully shut down another operation, with $2 million worth of product. He knew that his boss, Landers, would have something to say about it. All of his legal businesses were doing great. The not so legal ones, however…
Not only was he coerced into hosting at his castle on the hill, he would now have to deal with a potentially irate boss, and, if he were being completely honest with himself, a father figure.
Later that night, Nic discovered his suspicions were completely validated.
“Nic, my boy! You’ve done a fine job here. However…well, let’s go to your office and talk, son,” Landers, a man in his early seventies, short, but brimming with presence, said with a grim smile. Nic was not to be deceived; he knew what that meant.
Landers was a man with true panache, and he reeked of power. Nic dutifully escorted him to his study, whereupon Landers walked around the expansive, solid oak desk and sat in Nic’s high backed, leather chair.
‘Tonight’s going to be completely grand,’ Nic thought, jaw tightening at the lack of respect. Still, he did not complain, and took a seat in the guest chair across from him.
“You’re doing well for yourself, Nic. A fine job,” Landers said, casually perusing the room.
“Thank you, sir. You gave me a strong foundation, so a lot of this is attributed to you.”
Landers chuckled quietly. “Indeed. Indeed…However—”
Landers gave a bit of a glare at the interruption. “However, I grow concerned over our issue with this city’s self-appointed Dudley Do-Right. He’s causing too many problems for business, and it’s high time that it’s addressed.”
Nic leaned back in his chair, feigning an ease he didn’t feel. “How would you like me to go about it, sir?”
“I think it’ll be best if we remove him from the equation altogether.”
Nic gave a tight smile. “You mean to off him?” he asked, casual as ever, while his pulse raced in his ears.
Landers chuckled in response, helping himself to one of Nic’s cigars. Nic watched, silently, as the old man dug around in the box of Corona’s, touching them. He exhaled a silent sigh, looking away for a moment.
“Sir, I have to say, there’s more than one way to solve a problem. It’s true—he’s an issue that needs to be dealt with, to the say the least. But the last thing we want to do is martyr him. Nothing would bring this city closer together than ending Valiant, and coincidentally, crack the whip on crime. On us.”
“I see,” Landers said from around the cigar in his mouth. He lit it carefully with a wooden match. “So, my boy. You have something else in mind?”
Nic steepled his hands, looking down as he contemplated on an alternate course of action. It took a moment, but an alternative finally occurred to him. “Yes, sir, I believe I do. I say we create our own super hero.”
Landers leaned forward in the seat, intrigued by the idea. “Explain.”
“Yeah, we can make our own,” Nic said with more confidence, warming up to the idea. “Valiant’s tired—run down. He only does what he does out of some stupid obligation from being special, not because he actually wants to do it. It’s plain as day. We can capitalize on that. If someone were to step in his place—”
“Someone employed by us. Under our control,” Landers finished the thought, nodding his head.
“Of course, sir. If that were to happen, I have no doubt he’d step down. Quietly. And this city will have the illusion of a replacement. Problem solved.”
“Sounds like a hell of an idea, Nic. I’ll give you no more than two months to get that plan in gear. And if not…”
Nic gave him a cold stare, refusing to emit any emotions to the old man.
“I believe in you, Nic. Don’t make me regret it.”
“You look like you need a drink,” Nic heard from behind him. He turned and saw Landers’ daughter—Donya. She was holding a glass of amber liquid, smiling. Well, it was more of a smirk.
Donya was a pixie of a woman, with short, curly reddish hair and glasses. She refused to not stand out in a crowd, though, rocking five inch heels in skinny jeans, a t-shirt and a blazer. He couldn’t ignore her if he tried.
‘Hell, no one could.’
“Couldn’t hurt,” he said, taking the glass from her. “You’re a bit casual for tonight, aren’t you?” The lie rolled off his tongue with ease.
Donya shrugged. “Well I saw no real reason to make much of a to-do about tonight. This shindig isn’t for me anyway. Not really in the boys’ club, am I?”
Nic arched a brow at her as he sipped his drink.
“And it’s not like I care what you people think about me,” she said, placing both hands on her hips, standing wide legged.
Nic chuckled. “No, given your Napoleon complex, I suppose you wouldn’t.”
“I do not have such a complex, nor am I that short,” she said defiantly. “Even if I did have one, nothing tops you and your daddy issues, bending over backwards for my father’s affection.”
Nic clenched his jaw tightly as he squeezed the glass in his hand.
“That is what was going on in there, wasn’t it?” she asked with faux cheeriness. “Promising to meet dear ol’ dad’s demands?”
“I hope you enjoy your evening,” Nic said with a nod, walking past her.
“Nic Sloane, this was the highlight, I am sure,” she called from behind him. Nic kept walking though, refusing to be baited further.
He had much bigger things than Donya to worry about.
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