Superlovin' Online - Vivi Andrews

Chapter One

The New Bad in Town

Lucien Wroth didn’t think of himself as such a bad guy, for a Bad Guy.

Admittedly, breaking into a secret government vault to find schematics for an even more secret government facility so he could bust out a convicted felon did fall slightly on the shady side of legality, but no one was perfect. Not even those damn smug heroes, with their holier-than-thou swagger and shiny PR images.

It was all about spin. If you had powers, you were either a hero or a villain, no grey area. So a teenage girl going through a rebellious phase who fell in with the wrong crowd while exploring her ability to project false images into the minds around her was labeled a villain after one tiny little bank robbery and locked away in the specialized Super prison known as Area Nine.

If that girl’s father happened to have chosen the losing side on a few rather significant historical altercations and earned himself the title supervillain, the powers that be were even more unforgiving. Life sentence. No parole.

Mirabelle was nineteen. She’d made a mistake. But mistakes weren’t allowed when your father was Demon Wroth.

Lucien’s fists clenched at the thought of his baby sister in a cage. The heavy-duty filing cabinet screamed as the drawer warped, the thick metal providing as much resistance as warm butter to his strength. Looking down at what his hands had wrought, he eased his grip and swore under his breath. That drawer would never close again.

Sloppy.

Now wasn’t the time for emotion. Now was the time to search the secret vault beneath city hall before some do-gooder in a cape swept in to be a pain in his ass. Even if his spectacular entrance punching through a wall on the first floor had somehow escaped notice, he’d undoubtedly tripped some silent alarm the second he set foot on the lower level—the sub-basement that housed the secret filing room dealing with all things Super. So secret the press had even come up with a cute name for it. The Crypt.

Where the not-so-pristine truth about heroes is buried.

Conspiracy theorists loved to speculate on the contents of these super-secret files. But tonight he didn’t care about the truth. Just Mirabelle.

Lucien scanned the room. The filing cabinets had been his best bet, but he’d come up empty there. He walked past the computers, ignoring them. The schematics for Area Nine would be low-tech. Hard copies. Any techno-super with half a brain could hack digital files, so the most coveted secrets in the world were old school—typewritten, carbon-copied specs and hand-drawn blueprints. But where?

The heroes loved their secret hidey-holes. He wouldn’t put it past them to have a top-secret filing cabinet hidden behind a wall, but he didn’t have time to tap along the walls for a hollow compartment or check behind paintings for a safe. He wasn’t feeling particularly subtle, anyway.

Brute force sounded pretty damn good right now.

Typically, villains possessed powers that were mental in nature—like his sister’s projection and their father’s ability to coerce others to do his will. Lucien’s abilities fell into the more traditionally heroic side of the spectrum—the brainless physical side. Superstrength, superspeed. But he had one trick up his sleeve that was a bit more sophisticated than his ability to bend rebar with his bare hands.

Lucien closed his eyes in the middle of the room, centering himself. Going still, he drew air molecules toward himself, coiling them close to his body, feeding them potential energy until the air felt like plated armor on his skin. He drew in a breath and released the particles, like setting a spark to a fuse. They exploded out on an invisible shock wave with him at the epicenter, kinetic energy bursting to life. The room shook from the force, the foundations of the building trembling.

Lucien held his breath, hoping he hadn’t just brought the damn building down on his head, but after a moment, the quaking foundations stilled and he opened his eyes.

The room was in chaos. Computer monitors destroyed, file cabinets toppled, furniture bent, broken and scattered, but Lucien looked past all that. To the walls. The drywall had bowed and caved, shifting back several feet—everywhere except a section where an Outstanding Service plaque had hung only moments before. The reinforced brick there had barely budged under the shock wave, but the drywall at the surface had cracked to reveal a large rectangular panel.

Bingo.

Lucien crossed the room in two strides and ripped away the last of the drywall covering a