Over the last week of July and into the first two weeks of August I took all of my past, present, and even my future, road-mapped works “on the road” so to speak with one very long blog tour. Across a number of very generous hosts’ blogs, I was featured as their guest and I had the opportunity to showcase my work.
A portion of that tour was for the “I, Hero” series. I not only talked about my current release “I, Hero: The Beginning” but also introduced readers to “I, Hero: Nathan Returns”.
If you want to check out my free excerpts from “I, Hero: The Beginning”, you can via the links directly below:
It was on author John W. Howell’s blog where I first introduced “I, Hero: Nathan Returns” – Excerpt I and I am happy to once again deliver it here for you.
I, Hero: Nathan Returns – Excerpt I
The morning sun rose over the horizon and immediately began to heat the crisp morning air.
A middle-aged woman sat on a park bench with a small, mixed breed dog on a leash. The dog sniffed around at the grass to the left rear of the bench and the woman turned her back to face her dog.
She was holding her smart phone and had ear buds in her ears. She listened to music that played while an older gentleman with white hair, dressed in a long suit coat, came along. He moved alongside the park bench in the grassy area off the paved path. The smaller dog immediately tugged on the leash to see the other dog.
The woman casually lifted her hand to her left ear, dropped the ear bud out of it, and glanced over at the pure-bred Labrador Retriever. “We might as well be having that affair we’re always accused of, meeting up like this as often as we do,” she said quietly without taking her attention off her dog.
“It’s better that the talk is of an affair that we’re not having than what we’re actually doing,” the man replied, turning his back towards her and allowing the dog to move him a couple of steps away. “Status and update?” he asked plainly.
“We still have no way to track him,” she said while getting up from the bench to pick up after the dog. She took the opportunity to scan the area for other people. There were none. “His powers… change, for a lack of better description. We are following a given signature then it disappears entirely. When it does come up again it registers differently. We track that for a while and then he just falls off the radar.” She dropped the small bag into a nearby pail and walked her dog near his so they could sniff each other. “He generally seems to head west before he drops out of sight. We’ve eliminated California, Oregon, and Washington because of the number of occasions he disappears heading east from those states. Intelligence is liking Nevada, but it’s still too loose and just a guess.”
“Do you think it’s deliberate? Do you think he knows we are trying to track him and he is masking his movements?” he asked tugging slightly at his dog’s leash.
“I can’t know for certain,” she said looking up at him and smiling slightly. She reached into her coat pocket to make sure her identification badge was still there. “His movements are too casual; if I had to guess I would say ‘no’. He’s young, not skilled or trained, and he trusts easily. Why his signature disappears and then shows up differently is something we haven’t figured out. It does repeat; there are times it matches prior signatures and we have a catalog of nine distinct ones to date, but why they are constantly changing is another unknown. We also see no detectable pattern in the changes. It appears random.”
“We know Senator Kelly is the direct link between Nathan and the President; have we had any luck with that route?” the man asked looking directly at the woman.
“No. He’s tight-lipped, he won’t budge, and he has to be the cleanest politician I’ve ever seen too; we can’t even find anything to leverage on him,” she said withdrawn.
“Everyone has a closet and there are always skeletons. I don’t want to have to go that way with him, but if I have to I will, even if I have to fabricate something. We need to figure out what is going on. It’s a matter of national security,” the man said looking over at his dog as it began doing its business in the grass.
The woman glanced over and then tended back to her dog. “I’ll put some more people on it but eventually it’s going to leak. The people like Nathan; once it gets out that the CIA and Homeland are trying to track him it’s not going to be good.”
“The CIA and Homeland are not tracking him,” the man responded matter of factly.
“Yes, two rogue groups within each organization are; without authorization, and without Presidential backing. That will go over so much better with the public,” she said in a sarcastic tone. “Is it such a smart idea to engage tonight on World News with Mark Daniels?”
“America’s Roundtable is the place for a discussion like this,” the man turned and stepped over to her near the edge of the paved walkway. “The top thirty-five most populous cities in the United States, with a total population that exceeds 40 million souls. Offshore, shell companies, buying, leasing, or otherwise occupying property in the dead center of each of those cities. We have been stymied on just about every legal front, trying to gain access to some of those locations, and others that we have been able to access have not produced anything worthwhile to date.”
She looked up at him with a steely look in her eyes. “I am as much a Patriot as you are. Have you ever considered that there is no conspiracy there? Even if there is one, how can you be so sure it has to do with him? Nathan has no income that we’ve been able to detect. We have no idea where he lays his head at night. As far as food goes, there are millions of families that would offer him dinner, if he even needs to consume food anymore with respect to the powers he has. He just doesn’t have the means for anything nearly as grand as what you’re assuming, based on all of our intelligence.”
“You’re naïve, Jane,” the man said in a stern tone. “His capabilities are unmatched. There are governments that would pay a fortune to exploit them. He has a commodity that no one else can provide in his abilities.” The man tugged at his dog slightly to bring him out of the grass and onto the paved path. “Everyone has a price and everything can be bought.”
“Said the man who has brokered his share of said deals,” Jane replied plainly. She pulled the other ear bud out and put the unit in her purse.
“It is exactly because of that, I know something is going on. I will get to the bottom of it,” he said as he took a couple of steps away from her.
“If you are right about this, then hopefully the people will understand the need for some of the illegal activity…”
“We are covered under the Patriot Act,” he said, stopping his departure abruptly and cutting her off mid-sentence.
“That’s a load and you know it, but if it helps you sleep at night, so be it. Sooner or later it’s going to surface, whether we want it to or not, Congressman Johnson, and I hope you’re ready for that.”
“I’ll be ready because there is just no way I’m that far off base on this. Those properties in those cities… they all tie back to Nathan somehow and I am going to figure it out. All that power he has and it’s not enough. Now he’s involved with something in the middle of all those cities…all those lives. I will find out what that is,” he said turning to walk away.
Jane turned back to where the Congressman was exercising his dog. “You going to pick that up?” she asked plainly.
“The park has paid caretakers; they’ll tend to it,” he said without turning around.
Nathan is back in New York City; the place where it all started, nearly one year later. While he has been away, he has been establishing a base of operations and trying to follow the direction his life has taken – making a difference and answering the call for help where and when he is needed.
He has returned to this birthplace of his powers with more questions of why he is on the path he is on and what is expected of him.
During a dangerous rescue, his powers dissipate, and leave him critically vulnerable.
He connects back with old friends who help him rediscover the man he used to be to in order to help him be the man he has become and the man who he must be.
Magical forces come into play, pulling on nature itself, which introduces an unexpected challenge to Nathan while he is at this perilous juncture.
The pendulum swings even farther out of alignment; it is up to Nathan to respond before forces are set into motion that cannot be countered.