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By Tasha Black
Building a Hero was born of my husband’s love of superhero movies. (In fairness, my husband loves a lot of things, so let’s all take a moment to be grateful that I wasn’t inspired by his love of experimental cooking, reptiles, or Key & Peale sketches!) Mr. Black loves superhero movies, and I love Mr. Black. So it goes without saying that we’ve watched plenty of them. But the moment they get to a good part, like when Ironman falls hard for Pepper Potts, the movie always swings over to a violent scene, when all I want is to swing into to a bedroom scene. That’s what started me writing.
But Building a Hero quickly brought me out of the movie theatre and into the world of prosthetic limbs and high tech security. Although the enhancements West Worthington receives in the book after his accident seem impossible, many of them are real. You can go on YouTube and see videos of real people using this tech: a man seeing his wife for the first time with the help of a prosthetic eye, a woman using her mind to move prosthetic limbs after practicing on a computer.
This marriage of cold hard tech and the warm determination of mankind to rehabilitate each other, was incredibly inspiring.
Westley Worthington has it all. Piles of money, good looks, and a seemingly limitless supply of women who want to please him. And that’s just the way he likes it. Until a brush with death causes him to rethink his priorities, and consider someone besides himself for the first time in his privileged life.
Cordelia Cross has never had it easy. Her duty to her family has her working as an assistant to a man she hates just to pay her sister’s medical bills. When her arrogant boss alienates his last true friend, she finds herself promoted from schedule-managing coffee grabber, to the newest member of West’s inner circle.
Tempers, and passions, ignite as the two start spending time together, until a shocking accident puts their newfound attraction on ice. When West is faced with the toughest trial of his life, Cordelia helps him realize that he has all the tools he needs to be a force for justice.
Together, they must turn West into the hero no one ever thought he could be.
In this scene near the beginning of the book, Cordelia has just arranged a “party” for West with an entire ballet company. She has arranged the food and the drinks but does not have any desire to witness the party herself.
Westley Worthington strode into the penthouse just as Cordelia was marching out.
Her straw-colored hair brushed her shoulders in time with the disapproving rhythm of her walk. Her long tweed skirt swished and her ample breasts bounced almost hypnotically under her sweater.
But the expression on her face made him feel like he’d just taken the ice bucket challenge.
“Did you warm them up for me?” he joked.
Her unbreakable restraint never failed to amuse him. West had gone through a personal assistant a month for years – even a couple of mad streaks where he ran one off every other day. But this one was different. She was smart. And she was clearly resolved to keep her cool at all costs.
Which of course, made him all the more determined to get under her skin.
“Hey, do you want to join in this time?” West offered with a suggestive wink.
He waited for her inevitable No, thank you, sir. But it didn’t come.
Instead, she blushed deeply and kept walking.
West was surprised to momentarily feel like an asshole for embarrassing her.
But it was amazing how quickly those kinds of feelings passed if you pushed them aside. And West was very good at pushing them aside.
When he’d found out his family’s money came from selling bad mortgages, he’d managed to get over that. And now that his dad was in jail, the money belonged to West. He could have used it to try and do some good but what was the use? Everyone knew the Worthingtons were a bunch of thieves -probably no one would have taken his dirty money anyway.
Instead, he had settled into a life of excess, punctuated by work benders in which he would disappear into the office and not emerge for days. He had a serious talent for finance, as it turned out.
And a voracious appetite for ballerinas.
He took a deep breath and turned the corner from the foyer into the living room.
The dancers were exclaiming over the buffet. Each clutched a crystal bowl of yogurt with fruit and a miniature silver spoon. With their hair down over their flat chests and the tiny utensils in their hands, they looked sort of like kids having a tea party. West got his second surprise pang of conscience of the evening.
Before he could examine his feelings, one of them spotted him and squealed. “Hi, Mr. Worthington.”
The tallest of the group approached him with a confidence the others seemed to lack.
“I’m Alais. Thank you for the party.” Her French accent was exquisite.
“Hello, Alais. You’re a beautiful dancer.”
He didn’t actually know which fucking one she was. They all looked the same onstage and the whole thing had been boring as hell – one emaciated woman after another being tossed around by bored-looking guys in tights all set to classical music. But fucking a ballet company was on his bucket list, and they certainly looked athletic enough to make it worth his while.
Somehow he just couldn’t get into it tonight. Maybe he had finally become so depraved that he couldn’t find a bright enough spark to ignite himself.
His mind crept back to Cordelia. Was he feeling like this just because of her thinly veiled disapproval? That seemed unlikely, she never approved of any of his escapades.
Still, it was probably better to fire her, just in case.
Strangely, the thought brought him no joy. Maybe he was coming down with something.
Tasha Black is a USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and SciFi romance. She lives in a big old Victorian in a tiny college town. She loves reading anything she can get her hands on, making up stories, and sipping pumpkin spice lattes.
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