To the Fifth Power
by Shirin Dubbin
Series: Powers Trilogy, Book 1
Published: July 29th 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Cover Design: Pamela Sinclair
Three years ago, Zola Noite's nemesis killed her sidekick and forced her to watch. The guilt drove her to hang up her cape. Zola knows one thing for certain, as a result. She will never be a superhero again.
Psychologist Dr. Arturo "Fort" Forte specializes in super-powered mental health. He’s the only reason Zola can once again call herself sane—although, truth be told, the heat between them is slowly driving her back to mad.
When three mega-villains escape the prison Fort oversees, all Zola's best laid plans go up in flames. Fort asks her for help, and she can't turn down the man she's come to love. As battles ensue and clues add up, the one thing Zola trusts is called into question: Fort's true agenda and which side he’s on.
He didn't give a hint at what he planned as he leaned over the table and picked up her body crème jar. Once he'd unscrewed the cap, he sniffed and raked her body with an “Mmm” expression.
Setting the jar down, he reached out and ran a hand over her shin.
She'd touched him many times, but for reasons unknown, it never felt the way it did when he touched her. The first time they shook hands she thought she'd been tasered and hit air turbulence all at once—electromagnetism had blasted her while her stomach dropped. Fort must have felt it, too, because he'd never touched her again. Him brushing past her in the foyer remained the only slip she could remember. And now...she sighed, falling back on her elbows...ermagerd.
Fort slid his palm down to her ankle, lifted her foot, and swung it into his lap. He repeated the motion with her other leg, the same delicious slide ending with her feet far to close to his manly parts.
“Fort.” She warned, concealing a purr with sternness.
He ignored her, dipped a finger in the crème and warmed it between his hands. She didn’t want him to touch her bare skin—she needed him to. And that made her want to pull away. He didn't give her the chance. Zola’s back arched with pleasure and pain as the pressure of his strong, sure fingers caressed over her sore flesh.
Jeez-us. The man knew how to give a foot massage. The pads of his thumbs rolled over the balls of her foot and she had to grip the back of the bench to keep from leaping off it. She wanted to run. Her plan to play dumb in order to find out what he'd been keeping from her hadn't included actually falling back into his web.
His fingers kneaded along her bridge, his thumbs finding her toes before he worked his way back down her foot to soothe away the knots in her heel. He gave her other foot equal care. Her body went limp and she collapsed onto the bench.
The intimacy between them overpowered her good sense. But here in the real world, outside of their sessions, trust came into question. She didn’t really know Fort. Yet, against reason, the dichotomy of distrust and pleasure made the foot rub so much hotter. The dangerous side of him multiplied his sexiness exponentially. Zola desperately wanted to see him without glasses—and clothes. And secrets. She needed to stand on common ground with him and she'd only get there through trust.
“Better?” he asked, breaking through her turmoil. She raised her head and was drawn into his olive-hued gaze.
No, worse. So much worse.
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About the Author
Shirin Dubbin is often called a “chic geek,” and she likes the sound of it. Especially since she’s a closet wallflower (albeit one with a fabulous alter ego).When not working in graphic design or hosting The Fantastic Forum—a celebration of comics & speculative fiction—she writes stories inspired by the art, literature, international cinema, and anime she grew up with.
In her own storytelling, Shirin spins tales of sci-fi and urban fantasy with romantic edge. The battle between good and evil, humor, and break neck action are ink to her imagination.
Culturally, she’s half American, half British and very southern; right down to the accent and love of grits. Government reports show a residence in DC, but Shirin lives largely on the astral plane and hopes to meet you there.