Sunday, November 3, 2013

King of Bad by Kai Strand, Excerpt and Giveaway

Hi! I'm Kai (pronounced like the letter.) My first young adult novel, King of Bad, is the first book in the Super Villain Academy series. It has been a top 5 bestseller for the publisher since it’s release. My Goddess Fish review tour starts on the 22nd with the standard virtual book tour starting on December 2nd. Be sure to follow both tours. I’m offering separate giveaways for each one.

About the book:

Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.

He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?


Jeff admired the growth of the flames as they devoured wads of paper and fast food wrappers in the wire mesh trashcan. He slipped the book of matches into his pocket and sat back on his heels to admire his work. One side of the can merely smoldered so he blew gently to fan the guttering flame. It reminded him of how blowing on Jasmine’s neck the night before had resulted in a lovely arch of her back. He growled a throaty sigh, remembering Jasmine’s blissful distraction as he’d nibbled her earlobe.

“ Hey!”

Jeff glanced over his shoulder. A man, who looked like he belonged behind a desk in a downtown high rise, jogged toward him.

“ Ah, the sweet sounds of discipline.” Jeff stood, stuffed his fists in the front pockets of his jeans and shook the long bangs out of his eyes. He half expected the guy’s slick-soled business shoes to slip as he jogged across visitor parking. This was Jeff’s favorite part. Almost getting caught. When the guy was a baseball’s toss away, Jeff turned. He walked a couple steps then skipped up into a jog.

“ Kid, stop!”

Jeff chuckled to himself and said, “Yeah, sure,” and loped across the soccer field.

“ Wait a minute.”

Jeff stole a look over his shoulder. The guy was close even though he didn’t seem to be running very fast. Jeff grinned at him and increased his pace. A seven-foot tall chain link fence ringed in the far side of the field to prevent stray soccer balls from breaking the windows of passing cars on the street below. Jeff leaped onto the fence without slowing down and in two cat-like movements, launched himself over the top. He dropped to the ground, landing on a hill pocked with gopher holes, as easily as if he were jumping around in a bounce house. He smoothly transitioned back into a sprint and dashed across the street, startling a lady driving an SUV.

“ Kid, hold up.”

Jeff almost tripped; the guy was half way across the street already. He smirked, finally a decent chase, but not for long. With little effort, Jeff stepped up to a blurring speed. He dashed up a peaceful street that ran perpendicular to the school, where kids rode bikes and ran through sprinklers. Jeff recognized one of the “good” kids from school, washing a ’57 step-side Chevy.

“ Sweet ride,” Jeff called out. The kid looked up at him, but then snapped his head to the left. That guy cannot be that close! Jeff looked over his shoulder to find the guy was only a house length behind him. Holy crap, Batman. No one ever keeps up with me!

For the first time in a long time, Jeff worried. But only a little. With a deep, fortifying breath he pumped his thigh muscles harder. He whizzed past houses so fast he doubted anyone would be able to describe him if they were asked to later. Tears streamed sideways from the force of the wind his speed created. He’d only started to breathe a bit more heavily than normal. Jeff was built to run.

“ Kid, hold on just a second.”

Jeff stumbled, but regained his footing again before becoming road rash. The guy sounded as if he was only a bus length away. How can that be? No one runs as fast as I do. Jeff’s lungs constricted. An alien emotion, panic, budded in his chest. Stay focused. Controlled, deep breaths allowed calming oxygen into his lungs and up to his brain and Jeff’s airways opened fully again.

Real speed required concentration. Jeff concentrated on his thigh muscles. Usually he only bothered to think about the front muscles in order to ignite his unusual speed, but this time he thought about the sinewy, sleek muscles that wrapped gracefully around the larger front muscles. He envisioned how the smaller muscles provided strength and support to the larger working muscle. He pictured that strength extending into his gluteus maximus to sustain a strong stride. The resulting speed was completely inhuman.

The world became a blur of color. Luckily he’d run this route so many times that he knew it by rote. He turned up a street and ran a block before darting onto a trail that paralleled an irrigation canal. He hurdled the canal and then dashed off the trail, stirring up the scent of sage as he ran through the underbrush. In one fluid movement, Jeff vaulted over a cedar fence into a cul de sac. A block up was an old barn, incongruous in the modern suburban neighborhood, left by the original owners of the land after they’d sold the surrounding farmland.

Jeff dashed into the cool shadows of the dilapidated barn. Immediately he ran to the front corner of the building and pressed his eye to a knothole. Jeff sucked in his breath in surprise when he saw the guy jogging up the street toward the barn. The guy’s head cocked slightly as though he’d heard Jeff’s intake of air. Jeff slowly pulled enough air to fill his lungs and then held his breath.

The guy slowed to a walk. A vacant expression made Jeff think the guy concentrated more with his ears than his eyes. The guy came to a stop in the middle of an intersection. A maze of streets stretched out in all directions, some ending in cul de sacs that led back to the walking trail. Jeff smirked at the frustration on the guy’s face as he realized Jeff could have run in any direction.

Just then, the guy zeroed in on the barn. Jeff’s heart raced from the extra effort he’d put into the run and the adrenaline rush of hiding. He thought his chest might burst so he let his breath seep from his lungs. Slowly and quietly, he sipped in more and then held still. The guy must know this is the only place to hide. He’s gonna search the barn. Jeff didn’t much care if he got caught. No, that wasn’t right because he was never “caught” in the act; he was usually only observed. Then it became a matter of finding him later and providing witnesses. What would happen if this guy found him? Would he go straight to jail? The guy still gazed intently at the barn. Jeff wondered why he stood there instead of walking over to search it.

Something entered the barn then. The dog that lived at the house padded over to Jeff, wagging his tail. Jeff automatically rubbed the top of the dog’s head and scratched the side of its face, but never took his eye off the guy.

The guy watched and waited. Thirty seconds later, he furrowed his brow, pursed his lips and cursed. He turned and jogged back to the fence. With barely a squat, he leapt straight over, his feet just touching down on the top as he cleared the six-foot height with room to spare. Then he dropped out of sight on the other side.

Jeff’s jaw dropped and the breath he’d been holding whooshed out. If he hadn’t seen it, even he wouldn’t have believed it. Jeff had to vault over, yet that guy cleared it in one jump like he was a white tail deer. Who was that guy? What was that guy?

Jeff looked down at the smiling shepherd. “Hey thanks for hiding me again, buddy.”

I'll be back later today, but until then claim your points in my giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Catherine Lee said...

It sounds like there's a lot going on in this story!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Kai Strand said...

Teen angst is fun to write but teen villains angst is even more fun! Thanks for visiting, Catherine.

Sharon Ledwith said...

Hey, Kai! Wishing you all the best with your book blog tour! So does this make you the Queen of Bad? Wink!

Kai Strand said...

Ha ha, no I think I'll leave that title to one of my characters. I'd tell you who, but it might spoil a surprise or two! Thanks for visiting, Sharon!

Lori Rutledge said...

Wishing you all the best!

Lori Rutledge said...

Wishing you all the best!

Kai Strand said...

Thank you, Lori!