Monday, August 04, 2008

EXCERPT: Mission: Possession by Mary Winter

Mission: Possession
Live Action Hero Book 3
By Mary Winter
RELEASE DATE: 08/02/08
Changeling Press
genres: urban fantasy, m/m, action figure come to life

Hugh has put his marketing talents to work for the store he owns with his friends, The Fantastic Five. He knows a hunk when he sees one, and the broken action figure has model material written all over his muscled body. Hugh repairs him and places the figure in the center of his new ad campaign. But when Hugh finishes taking the photos, the figure, magically returned to life, comes out from behind the camera and into Hugh’s life.

A model before he was a soldier and then an enchanted action figure, Talon is no stranger to the camera. The handsome man behind it, however, is completely new and all his. Talon is determined to show Hugh that a picture is worth a thousand kisses. But inside his chest beats the heart of a hero, and when he interrupts a robbery, he’s wounded, and Talon might lose not only his magazine-cover good looks, but Hugh.

Adrian and Dean would cream their jeans when they saw his new marketing campaign.

Grinning from ear to ear, he swapped out the dark cloth on his photography table for a light blue one, even grabbed a small urban diorama he’d mocked up for one of his campaigns six months ago, and settled the figure in the center of it. Hugh checked the scene through his camera’s viewfinder. He snapped a couple of shots. Then a few more after making some minor adjustments. Soon, he hummed a tune only he heard punctuated by the click of the digital camera.

Once more, Hugh found himself lost in what he loved -- his marketing. His last relationship hadn’t understood that facet of his personality. Normally when he took pictures a cloud hung over him, reminding him of that past romantic failure. All of them, really, because when push came to shove, his love of beauty and of commercial art far outstripped his ability to love anyone else. He paused, staring at the plastic man dressed in a spandex suit. From the strong line of his jaw to the slightly ruffled cut of his molded dark brown hair, the man radiated an intensity with which Hugh could identify.

He half expected the toy to come to life, walking right off the table. Hugh snapped a couple more pictures. It was foolish to think that. While he couldn’t explain what had happened to Adrian and Dean, he knew better than to expect such a perfect happily ever after for himself. His work had been the only lover he’d needed.

You’re as driven as I am.

Not driven, Hugh decided. Possessive. His work, his life -- all of it had to be within his controls. He could do that in marketing -- craft the perfect plan, then send it out to a hopefully adoring public. That was the only part he couldn’t predict -- how people would react to his creations. So it was up to him to make everything as perfect as possible.

I used to be like that.

“Shut up!” Hugh yelled at the chocolate-sweet voice in his mind. “You’re just a toy.” He rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes, thinking maybe he should call it a night. He turned and set the camera on a table behind him.

When he looked at the figure again, the suit had draped off of one shoulder, revealing a fair amount of skin. How had that happened? He stomped to the table and picked up the figure by the waist. Hugh touched the shoulder and it felt… warm? What the hell! He was truly going crazy. He tugged the spandex outfit into place only to watch it slide down the toy’s arm again. Maybe the material had stretched or something.

Some pictures for the ladies might not be a bad thing. Trying not to grin at his idea, Hugh half undressed the figure. He picked up the camera, playing with angles and zooming in on the shot. Just a bare hand in front of a bare chest. The next shot just a face. Hugh was in his element. Inspired, he grabbed more clothing, adjusting the look to include jeans.

I haven’t had this much fun since my modeling days.

Modeling. The word sparked Hugh’s imagination, and he found a pair of white briefs that he’d purchased on a whim online. They were modeled after designer underwear, and he had to admit that, while the plastic man might not be anatomically correct, he filled the briefs out nicely.

Hugh took more pictures. His mind wandered to what might happen if he left the room and returned to find a man standing there instead of a toy. He bet the new arrival would be over six feet tall, broad-shouldered and lean-hipped just the way Hugh liked his men. Those strong, masculine feet promised that other appendages would be large as well, and he wouldn’t mind tracing every muscled ridge of the man’s abdomen with his tongue.

Talon. My name is Talon. And you can do that any time.

Hugh ignored the voice. It was well past midnight. He chalked it up to little sleep and his own overactive imagination. If he thought about it too much… Hugh shook his head and adjusted the shot. To be honest, he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to wake up to a stranger in his house.

He set down his camera and backed away from the table. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he stared at the scene before him. A half dressed action figure. Some made to scale props including a small comic book. A spandex outfit. If it weren’t for his job drawing up marketing, he’d think he was a geek with way too much time on his hands.

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