Saturday, March 13, 2010

Guest Blog: Gail Roarke, with an excerpt from One Knight Stand

Michelle and the other Naughty Girls Next Door were kind enough to invite me to guest blog here today. Thanks, girls! I'm a long-time fan of pulp fiction and comics. I like larger-than-life heroes and heroines, so when I started writing erotica and romance, much of it involved superheroic characters. One recurring character is Victor Kruger, the Black Knight. He's co-starred in two other stories as the heroine's playmate, but One Knight Stand is my first story from Victor's point of view.

Excerpt: One Knight Stand

Broadway Street in Denver looked like a battlefield. Red and blue lights strobed across the scene, reflected on smashed windows and the wet streets. The last ambulance pulled away with a brief whoop of its siren to clear a path. Cops stood guard over empty suits of powered armor as their former occupants were loaded into police vehicles. Firefighters in heavy turnout coats coiled their hoses, the fires extinguished at last. Bystanders crowded the police barricades, gawking as always, talking and taking pictures with their phones.

Victor caught a glimpse of himself in a storefront window. He looked a mess. His chain mail shirt was slashed, torn, partially melted in places, and full of bullet holes. It was also covered in blood—his blood. He healed almost faster than he was injured so he felt fine, but he looked like an extra for a zombie film. His face and hands were clean, though. The energy that filled him, the same energy that regenerated any injury, no matter how severe, also burned away any blood on his skin. But his clothing wasn’t so lucky.

“Probably why I never get the post-battle interviews,” he grumbled.

Okay, yeah, he was a newbie hero. And he wasn’t affiliated with the Guardians, who invariably got the lion’s share of the credit any time they showed up. He could see the media clustered around the Guardians, including Iron Maiden, and hanging on their every word. But still, he was doing good work, and while he wasn’t doing it for the acclaim, a little acclaim now and then would have been nice.

A soft female voice interrupted Victor’s thoughts. “Mr. Kruger?”

He turned to see a reporter, judging by the press pass in her packet pocket and the photographer at her side, approach him. She was more than a foot shorter than Victor, but at six foot five, he was used to looking down at most people. Slender, with delicate features, fine platinum blonde hair and blue eyes, she was dressed for success in a dark skirt and blazer over a white blouse.

“That’s me,” he said.

“Robin Harris, Denver Weekly News. I’d like to interview you, if you don’t mind.”

“A little late to the party, aren’t you?”

She looked chagrined and glanced over at the media circus surrounding the Guardians. Reporters and cameramen from all the local television stations crowded around, clamoring for attention.

Then she turned back to Victor and shrugged with an adorable grin. “Just a little. It’s been that kind of day. No room at the table for the new gal from a small weekly. I imagine you can relate to that.”

He snorted. “You got that right, sister.”

“So…the interview?”

“Sure. Shoot.” He was pleased that she wanted to interview him, and more than happy to spend time with her. She was quite attractive.

“Great,” she said.

It took only a minute or two for her to coordinate with her photographer. He took a series of photos of Victor, and of Victor with Robin. As he worked, Robin pulled out a small digital recorder and held it up between them.

“We’re outside the headquarters of Ingolf & Devore with the city’s newest protector, the Black Knight—”

Victor grinned at the reporter. “Call me Victor.”

She smiled back. “Victor, then. Tell me, Victor, how did you happen to be here at just the right time to stop the Marauders?”

“Just lucky, I guess. I was in the neighborhood when I saw the Guardians arrive. You don’t usually see all the Guardians in one place unless it’s big trouble, so I figured they could probably use my help. I followed them here—and the rest is history.”

“Wow.” She sounded sincerely impressed.

Victor’s smile grew a little more arrogant, his attention a little more overt. He didn’t think she was a good enough actress to be so convincing, in which event he thought a case of hero worship might serve him well.

He shrugged in faux modesty. “I do what I can.”

“And you do it very well,” Robin replied. The faint widening of her eyes told Victor she realized how she sounded. “I mean, you rescued the hostages without any customers or bank employees getting hurt.” Her eyes flicked to her left toward her photographer. Victor could see him smirking.

“Yes, I did.” He would rather have gone head to head with the Marauders in their powered armor, but Sentinel, the Guardians’ leader, had had other ideas. Victor had been a Marine in World War II, and he knew when to shut up and do what he was told. It wasn’t about him or his taste for brawling; it was about rescuing the hostages—and he’d managed it.

The interview went on for another couple of minutes. Victor answered the woman’s questions, giving her the responses he knew she expected. All the time, he gave her the benefit of his full attention, letting his interest show in his gaze. She really was beautiful. She hung on his every word, meeting his eyes with a bold look of her own, all but preening under his gaze.

“Thank you, Victor,” Robin said, caressing his name. She turned to face her photographer. “That’ll do it, Steve.”

Steve shook his head. “Jesus, Robin, could you be any more obvious about it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, nose in the air. She tossed the recorder to him. He fumbled for a moment before catching it and scowled but didn’t pursue the issue.

Victor dismissed the man from his mind. He opened his mouth to speak just as Robin said, “I’d love to get a more in-depth interview with you, Victor.”

Victor heard her photographer choke on a stifled laugh as he turned away. I’ll just bet you would, Victor thought. And I’ll be glad to give it to you.

“What sort of interview?” Victor asked. The not-so-subtle emphasis of her words suggested that she was really angling for a date. She might do an interview too, probably would. But he wondered if she was really just a groupie when all was said and done. Not that there was anything wrong with that. He’d had his share of fun with groupies over the last few months.

“Oh, you know,” she said, twirling a hand in the air, “the usual. Some background, questions about rumors, how you got into the biz—the usual.”


“Yes.” She’d produced a compact from her purse and was checking her makeup as she spoke. “There are always rumors—you know that. For instance,” she added, eyes flicking in his direction once, “Rumor has it you and Iron Maiden are an item.”

Oh ho, Victor thought. “Not true.”

“Really?” She couldn’t keep the pleasure out of her voice.

“Really. I’m not the sort to kiss and tell, so even if we were an item, I wouldn’t discuss it. But take it from me, we are most definitely not an item.”

Not, he thought, if you mean we’re dating, at least. He and Leah—Iron Maiden to the public—certainly had fun between the sheets on a regular basis. But there was no relationship there, no emotional commitment. Just good, clean dirty fun.

“Oh. Well, then. See? That’s one rumor squashed already. So you’ll do it?”

“When and where?”

She smiled with undisguised pleasure. “Excellent!” She put away the compact and produced a business card from one pocket. “How’s eight o’clock tonight?”

Victor took the card. “Let me check my schedule.” He pretended to think for a moment. “That would be fine. That answers one question. But what about where?”

“It’s on the back of the card.”

He turned the card over and saw an address and phone number written on the back. She’d come prepared. He recognized the neighborhood, an upper middle class area in the eastern part of the city.

“Your place?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

She smiled. “It belongs to friends, actually. I’m house sitting.”

“And you’re allowed to have…guests?” He put just a hint of suggestiveness in his voice, curious as to how she’d respond.

“My friends are adults, and so am I,” she said without the faintest whiff of embarrassment. “Having guests over is hardly unexpected.”

“I suppose not.” He waved the card gently. “I’ll be there, Ms. Harris.”

“Good. And please—call me Robin.”

“Of course, Robin. Eight o’clock, then.”

“I look forward to it. Oh—how do you feel about Indian?”

“I’ll try anything once—”

She cocked her head to look at him sidelong. “I’ve heard that about you. Perhaps we’ll put that to the test.”

He grinned. “If you like. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. And as it happens, I love Indian.”

She smiled without replying then glanced over her shoulder to where her photographer was standing with Man-Ape and Sentinel. She met Victor’s eyes again. “Well, duty calls. Until tonight.”

He bowed his head briefly. “Until tonight.”

She turned and walked away. He watched her go, admiring the sway of her hips and the smooth movement of her legs.


KyAnn said...

Oh Gail, that was a fabulous excerpt. the first paragraph pulled me in. Very descriptive and I'm already lusting for Victor.


Gail Roarke said...

Thanks! Glad you liked it.

Minx Malone said...

I can't wait to read this one Gail! Who can resist a sexy super-hero?


Gail Roarke said...

Thanks, Minx. It's always nice to hear that people are interested. And I agree--who can resist sexy superheroes? Not me!

Naughty Girl Guide said...

Wow...what a nice excerpts!!!Excited to read one of those!Thanks gail!!!

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