EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE
A super villain at the top of his game must choose between the world he wants and the woman he loves.
If you believe the rumors you know that Doctor Charm, the wickedly sexy super villain, retired in shame seven years ago after his last fight with the super hero Zephyr Girl. The fact that the charming Evan Smith—father of four and husband of the too-beautiful-to-be-real Tabitha—bears a resemblance to the defeated Doctor is pure coincidence. And, please, ignore the minions.
Everything is perfect in the Smith household, until Tabitha announces her return to work as a super hero. Evan was hoping to keep her distracted until after he rigged the presidential election, but—genius that he is—Evan has a backup plan. In his basement lab, Evan has a machine whose sole purpose is keeping Tabitha hungry for him.
But children and labs don’t mix. The machine is broken, and Tabitha storms out, claiming she no longer knows him. World domination takes a back seat to meeting his daughters’ demands to get Mommy back right now. This time his genius isn’t going to be enough—he’s going to need both his evil alter-ego, and the blooming super abilities of his children to save his wife. But even his most charming self might not be enough to save their marriage.
“Ms. Brooks concept for this novel is completely new and refreshing. A super hero marrying a super villain? This is great!”
– Christian McKnight author of the A Lady Forsaken series
“It’s the perfect feel-good read. You’ll laugh, cry and, amazingly enough, root for a happily ever after for a super villain!”
– Carole Dee reviewer at Bitten By Romance
I knew from the first time I saw my wife that I wanted her naked. Of course, seven minutes later I wanted revenge. It wasn’t that she had handed me my first defeat or ruined my chances for world domination that year, it was the way she kissed me good-bye. She sent my head spinning, then walked away as if I were the least important person in the world.
Once my arm healed, I stole some new equipment, cloned some new minions, and I felt a little different.
I wanted revenge, with a side order of naked.
ACROSS THE DINNER table, Tabitha devoured him with dark, ocean-blue eyes. She put a bite of lettuce in her mouth, full lips pursing around it. Eating salad never looked so good. Her tongue darted out to lick away a stray drop of dressing. She winked at him, promising with every move to do the same to him. “It’s almost bedtime,” she said, her voice husky and luscious.
“I don’t wanna go to bed!” one of the quads screamed.
“What about cake? Don’t we get birthday cake?” another asked.
Evan winked back at his wife from the far side of the table, separated by a few feet and four precocious just-turned-five-year olds, all as stunning as their mother with big, round eyes and hair that fell in loose curls meant to trap hairbrushes and sticky substances. He had to peek at the eyes to see who was talking. Maria had green eyes, Angela’s eyes were blue like Tabitha’s, Delilah’s eyes were brown like his, and Blessing—their stillborn who miraculously survived—had purple eyes. The waif in question had blue eyes.
“Angela,” Evan said, “after dinner it’s pajama time, and then story time.”
“Mommy doesn’t have a bedtime!” Angela wailed.
Tabitha winked at him again. “Tell you what, tonight Mommy will go to bed the same time you do. Right after we eat cake.” She leaned over to give Angela a hug.
All Evan could see was the deep V plunge of her tight blue shirt. Oh, yeah. Crime didn’t always pay, but altering someone’s moral compass sure put the O’s back in the bedroom.
The cake was split into fourths, equal parts purple, white, green, and blue so each girl could have her favorite color in the cake. Baking four cakes was unreasonable; there weren’t any grandparents left to celebrate with, and neighbors had an annoying habit of asking uncomfortable questions. Saying little things like, “You look just like Doctor Charm! Do you remember him? Whatever happened to that guy? Do you know how hard it is to put together a good Villains vs. Heroes fantasy league without him?” made for awkward evenings.
So they had a quiet family party. Cake, then presents, after which he hurried the girls off to bed so he could read Dilly Duck’s ABCs in record time before rushing to the bedroom, hoping to catch Tabitha still in the shower.
She was already out and wearing a blue satin robe that caressed her skin in exactly the way he wanted to. Rose-scented candles cast sensuous shadows on the walls.
Tabitha turned, lips curved in an inviting smile. Long fingers twined with the sash of her robe. She tossed her honey-blonde hair in the way she always did when she was about to argue, posing with feet apart and one hand casually resting on her waist. “Sweetie, we need to talk.”
Evan wiped grease-stained hands on his jeans as he forced a smile. “Sure, babes, anything you want.”
“Really?” She slunk forward, all sinewy limbs and doe eyes. “Promise?” Tabitha nuzzled his nose. One hand flirted up the back of his neck to play with his hair. The other traveled downward, right to his zipper.
Oh, yes, the little Morality Machine in the basement was working just fine. Another thirty, maybe forty years of this and he’d consider retiring. Or turning the machine down so his wife wasn’t quite a sex kitten every day of the week. Maybe only days with Y in them.
“Sweetie?” She nibbled his ear. “I want to go back to work.”
“What?” Evan actually pushed himself away from her, something he wasn’t sure was possible in any other circumstance.
Tabitha tucked her chin and pouted.
“Tabby-cat, I love you, but work? I’ve got my… stuff… in the lab. I’m busy. And we can’t afford daycare for the girls. We’re barely making ends meet as it is. Do you really want to go back to being Zephyr Girl? Crime fighting is a game for the young, baby. You’re not nineteen anymore.”
“I’m twenty-nine. A very”—her hips pressed against his tight jeans just so—“very healthy twenty-nine.”
He shivered at her touch. “You’re cheating.”
“I want to do this, Evan.” She ground against the thick denim.
“You can do me all you want, baby.”
She stepped back, frowning. “I’m serious.”
“So am I.” Evan sighed, reaching for his wife. “Sweetie, I love you, but what’s the point in being a superhero? The government stipend barely covers the dry-cleaning bill. If it’s money you want, write another tell-all superhero book. The Spanish Mask sold his third last month.”
Tabitha crossed her arms. “I don’t want to write another book just for royalties while you’re between jobs.”
He waved a finger at her. “I’m not between jobs. I work freelance in the computer business. I’m self-employed. That’s not the same as being between jobs.”
“Between paychecks then.”
“We will have a solid income. This project I’m working on, Tabby-cat, it’s going to set us up for life. We’re never going to worry about money again. I promise. Give me a couple of weeks and everything is going to be perfect.” He caught her hand and pulled her into his arms. The faint scent of her spicy perfume left him dizzy with need.
She rested her head on his chest. “I want to save the world. Have you seen the news, Evan? An entire town in Kansas held hostage for a week by a bomb scare before a superhero was able to get in to defuse the situation. A week! I could have that done between grocery shopping and paying the bills. Ten minutes, no pulling punches.”
“I know, baby. No one is better at this stuff than you. But I need you at home, Tabby. Having you out there scares me. I’m terrified I’d lose you. Why don’t you wait until I finish this project? I’ll be done by the time the election rolls around. Two more weeks. Once I get paid we’ll look at this again. I have that armor design for you, I just need some time to put it together.”
Tabitha sighed. “You’ve been saying that since we got married.”
“Well, my nights are busy.” He nibbled her ear as he tugged her sash loose. “Are you complaining?”
Tabitha stretched against him, sending a delightful frisson of lust up his spine. “I thought you gave up the super villain schemes.”
He twitched. “I did, baby. Of course I did.”
“But you’re keeping me here. Isn’t that a little selfish? Just a teeny-tiny bit super villain-ish?” She slipped her hand between his pants and his skin.
“Ah!” He caught her hand so he could think clearly. “Not selfish. Necessary. Like oxygen or sex.”
“Don’t you mean water?”
“No, definitely sex.” Evan slid her robe off and tossed it into a corner. “Come here, Tabby-cat, I’ll make you purr.”
She tugged at his shirt, pulling it up. The shirt joined the robe on the other side of the room. “What are you doing down in that lab?” she asked as her hands drew lazy circles on his back.
Ten seconds, that’s all he’d need to get her panties off. Three more to drop his pants. “What was the question?”
“What are you doing in the lab? What’s this project?”
“Oh, computer stuff. I told you. To help tally everything on election night. I’m trying to make the process run smoother so we don’t have to worry about recounts.”
“Hmmm.” She gave him a dubious frown.
Tabitha was built like a supermodel and had a superhero name straight from Campy Comics, but her brain was Mensa all the way. “And this computer program has nothing to do with world domination, or get-rich-quick schemes?”
Evan contrived to look wounded. “Tabby-cat, how can you ask that?”
“Because you spent ten years as a villainous criminal mastermind?”
“I wasn’t a mastermind, I was a super villain, there’s a difference. Masterminds are just thugs with money. My crimes had artistic flare. I was practically Robin Hood! Robbing from the rich and scandalous, and giving to me.”
“Robin Hood gave to the poor,” Tabitha said with a laugh. “You were never poor.”
He caught her hand, pulling her close. “Poor is relative. Besides, I’m reformed now. You showed me the error of my wicked ways. Although”—he leaned in for a kiss—“if you’d like to remind me why I gave up a lucrative life of crime, I have the evening free.”