It’s Chicago vs. The Super Villains: America’s Second City will never know what hit it.
Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians… Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s second city so appealing—criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.
In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.
When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.
Snow crunched under Delilah’s boot as she stepped out of the cab on East Jackson Drive. “Park down by the university,” she told Freddie as a voice on the police radio confirmed an ambulance was en route to collect the final remains of Mayor Arámbula.
Buckingham fountain was beautiful, even late on a winter night. Past the skeletal trees, golden lights illuminated the sparkling water—the strobe of blue and red from the waiting squad cars rather ruined the romantic affect.
The cab pulled away. Delilah walked through the fresh-fallen snow, drifting across the icy sidewalk with the calm demeanor of someone exactly where they belonged.
At the edge of the square, one of the officers noticed her. “Ma’am, can I help you?” he said stiffly, shining a flashlight at her face.
He squinted, trying to make out her face under the black top hat she wore. “Did you hear anything? See anything?”
“I didn’t.” She watched as the ambulance pulled up and paramedics hurried to the body. They lifted the dead mayor onto a stretcher and a scrap of paper fell out of his pocket. The wind caught it, lifting the paper up out of the snow and blowing it toward her.
“Hey!” one of the officers shouted. “Somebody grab that! Gelphi! Catch that!”
Delilah snatched the paper out of the air with a gloved hand. “Here,” she held it out to the policeman she assumed was Officer Gelphi. Three barely legible words scrawled across the paper: Kalydon – 77 Wacker.
“Thank you.” Gelphi took the paper back with obvious hesitation. “Ma’am, I’m going to ask you to move along. This is a crime scene.”
“Of course.” News vans were already parking on Lakeshore Drive and she didn’t need to be on camera. “Have a good evening.” Pivoting on her heel, Delilah strolled back along the snowy streets until her nose was numb. Seventy-seven Wacker was an office building that had been on the market for several months. It wasn’t somewhere the mayor would have gone for a party, but a black market business deal? That sounded plausible.
A warm breeze alerted her to company. “Fancy meeting you here,” The Spirit of Chicago said.
Delilah stopped, watching him from the corner of her eye. “How did you hear about this?”
“I have friends at the police department. You?”
She shrugged. “I know all the good gossips.” She turned to face him, or as much as there was of him. The festively lit streets twinkled through his gossamer body. “Where were you tonight, superhero?”
“Where were you, do-gooder super villain?”
With a grimace, she shrugged again. “Busy. I have an airtight alibi. Over a hundred people saw me flirting with a handsome man tonight. We didn’t get as far as drinks. Disappointing, overall. Your turn.”
“I was trying to attract the attention of devastatingly beautiful woman.”
Delilah almost laughed. “Oh? How’d that work out for you?”
“She looked right through me.”
They turned side by side to watch the paramedics cover the late mayor’s body. A chill that had nothing to do with the temperature and everything to do with the muted pallor of death wound its way up her spine, leaving her feeling isolated and angry.
Please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
Right now I’m working on Book 4 of the Heroes and Villains series, Maria’s book. It’s set in the jungles of South America, a nice change after writing Delilah’s book in snowy Chicago. I’m also writing two short stories to debut with the print release of Even Villains Fall In Love later this year (2015).
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
Oh… promise not to laugh? The moment I realized I really was going to be a writer was when my agent called me up to tell me she had an offer on my novel. I was published, I was agented, I had a fan base, and I still had days where I felt like a horrible imposter. When my agent called and said there was a contract I realized it was all for real and it felt like coming home.
Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
Keep writing. Good days, bad days, it doesn’t matter. Write. Sit down every day and write. Good and bad are irrelevant. You can’t edit a blank page.
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?
Someone confident, intelligent, adaptable, and compassionate. Looks matter, but physical beauty is never going to compensate for a lousy personality.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
I’m moving to Alaska! Does that count? Maybe not. I guess the biggest “risky” thing I’ve ever done is gone SCUBA diving. I have my advanced open water certification through PADI and I have swum with the sharks before.
If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
Anywhere tropical! Beaches, sunshine, humidity… there’s nothing I love more than a sultry, tropical night on the beach with starlight dancing on the waves. Unless, of course, there’s an option to share the evening with someone I love.
When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?
I will try anything once and I have recipes for everything. I can tell you how to cook everything from alligator to spiders. It’s easy. Everything can be deep fried.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
I’d be lost without the internet. I have no idea how authors used to research places. When I’m plotting a new book I live on Google Maps and Wikipedia. I will give up indoor plumbing before I give up the internet.
What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?
I’m an epicurean, I love the finer things in life. A perfect romantic evening takes you somewhere that fills all the senses with luxuries. A beautiful restaurant with soft candlelight, gourmet food, a breath-taking view, and conversation with an intelligent person who can make me laugh would be a good start to an evening that ends with indulging in some of the finer joys of the sense of touch.
How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?
Outgoing. Loud. Opinionated. Extroverted. Creative.
Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?
I am always on Twitter. And this month, if you’re up in Anchorage, Alaska, I am too. Give me a call and we’ll go read books in front of the fire together.
Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead. She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks.
Her superhero romance series started with Even Villains Fall in Love and continues with Even Villains Go to the Movies and Even Villains Have Interns. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written Prime Sensations (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and Fey Lights.
You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Face Book under the same name.