(Game.Set.Match. Superhero Trilogy Book 1
by Nia Farrell
It’s hard dating a hero….
Anastasia Kent owns Books & Brew, a bookstore and coffee shop in Traverse City, Illinois, where the Legends League and its superheroes serve to keep the citizens safe. One of her customers is Oliver Thomas, a prize-winning photojournalist who handles dangerous assignments with aplomb but has to work up the courage to ask her out.
Ana knows Oliver is used to keeping secrets, given his profession, but she doesn’t know that he has secrets of his own. If the local Cartel thinks she matters to Oliver’s alter ego, Red Flyer, she’ll become a target, too.
Take a conflicted superhero, add a clueless heroine, throw a villain named Dark Obsession into the mix, and let the games begin.
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Just as she reached the last table, laden with sales and clearance items, Oliver turned his gaze back to Wendy’s painting.
“Gorillas in the Mist,” Ana remarked, unable to pass on the opportunity to speak to him about something non-work-related. Usually, it was a special-order book or a caffeinated beverage from the store’s coffee bar. “The artist painted it as a tribute to Jane Goodall.”
Oliver swung his head toward her and smiled. “Dr. Goodall. Lovely person. I had the good fortune of interviewing her once. I’ll forever consider it one of the highlights of my career.”
“Oh, wow,” Ana breathed. “That’s amazing. I—”
When Oliver leaned forward, her mother’s voice chided her for getting distracted. She needed to be looking through the summer catalog, not making small talk with her handsome customer. “I’d love to hear more, but duty awaits. You know how it goes.”
Oliver’s smile dimmed. “Duty. Yes, I know all too well how it goes. But we can rectify that if you’re free for dinner tonight.”
Ana’s pulse leaped as she processed what just happened. Oliver Thomas had invited her to dinner. After months of dancing around each other, he’d finally gotten the courage to ask her out. Not that the man lacked courage. He had to be brave in his profession, willing to go where more cautious journalists would never dare to tread.
His article on Chicago street gangs had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
“I….” She stopped short, nearly cringing when she realized she couldn’t go. “I’m sorry. I can’t tonight. Prior commitment.” One she’d be an asshole to try and get out of, darn the luck. A cousin she hadn’t seen in twenty years was coming tonight for a visit before heading home tomorrow. There’s no way she’d cancel on her. “Maybe another night…?”
She returned the ball to his corner, hoping he’d pick it up.
And he did.
“How about Saturday?” he suggested an alternative. “Dinner at Fiddler’s, say, seven p.m.?”
“Fiddler’s?” she croaked, wondering if she’d heard him right. The two-star steakhouse on the roof of the swanky Royal Arms hotel had a month-long waiting list.
“Yes, Fiddler’s,” Oliver repeated firmly, seeing her concern. Ana wished she could hide things better, but her face was as open as any book in her store. “The owner thinks he owes me. Reservations won’t be a problem, but I can call now and confirm if you’d like.”
“Um, yes? But….”
She whispered the last part too late. He was already punching a number into his cell phone.
Ana cringed, hoping she hadn’t offended him with her lackluster reaction. But Jesus. The rich and famous dined at Fiddler’s.
She’d need a dress. She should have suggested next Saturday. To pull everything together at this short notice would take a minor miracle.
Then again, she lived in a city where superheroes patrolled the skies and kicked villain ass in the streets. Traverse City was home to signs and wonders. What was another miracle or two?