Calvin Kant is what anyone would want in a reporter -- an excellent typist, a dogged investigator, and an upstanding citizen. Oh, and a superhero. At least, his alter ego, Maxim, is. Fleeing a messy situation at his last job, Cal has arrived in Capital City without much direction. That is, until his new colleague Liang Lu sweeps him into a dangerous assignment at a maximum security supervillain prison. What could go wrong?
Well, a supervillain prison break could leave both of them trapped and in peril with Cal having to juggle his growing attraction to Liang with his need to protect his secret identity. And that mess Cal was running from could catch up with him at exactly the wrong moment, leaving him vulnerable and unprotected. Luckily for him, though, Liang's got more than good looks going for him. But can the two men save the day, and each other, and find their own comic book romance?
“Hey,” Maxim said, stepping forward and putting his hands on Liang’s shoulders. Their eyes locked, and he tried not to flinch at his fear that Liang might recognize him, might realize who he was, and then it would all be over. “Cal’s safe. I left him in a maintenance closet on the first level. You know, like the one you were supposed to stay in?”
Either the reassurance that Cal was safe or the memory of already having defied a superhero seemed to calm Liang down, because he brushed aside Maxim’s hands and gave a small huff.
“What? I’m a reporter. You really can’t expect me to just sit on my hands while one of the biggest stories of the decade happens. Not when I can have the exclusive. I mean, it’s not like there’s any other reporters in here. Except for Cal. But I’m sure he’ll be a good boy and stay in the closet. He’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but he does seem like a bit of a Boy Scout.”
Maxim raised his eyebrows. “Oh? And you’re such the expert?”
Liang shrugged. “Really, I just met him. But I’m a pretty good judge of character.”
“Well, I’ve known Cal for a while now, and I can tell you that he’s definitely not a Boy Scout. Also, you think he’s cute?” The possibility made Maxim’s heart beat a bit faster.
Liang crossed his arms over his chest. “What are you, some kind of weird ex or something?”
“No,” Maxim said, perhaps a bit too quickly. “Just ... a friend. One who knows that Cal’s not always what he seems.”
“So he’s a liar?”
Maxim pinched the bridge of his nose. “No. Just that ... You know what, forget that I said anything. There’s a supervillain plot afoot, and I need to do something about it.”
“I think you mean, we need to do something about it,” Liang said.
Maxim cringed. “No, I need to do something about it, and you need to listen to reason for once and stay out of trouble. You might not be cursed, but you definitely seem to aim directly for trouble instead of knowing when to run away.”
“Right, because you always run from trouble, right?” Liang asked.
“I have superpowers,” Maxim said. “You think you’d last ten seconds going up against RagnaRok, H.I.S.S., or the Helmet?”
“I can’t just stand by and do nothing,” Liang said, and some of his playfulness faded, replaced by something else, something bordering on desperation. “Please. I promise I won’t get in the way, but I can’t just stay put. Whatever this is about, I have made Luzo’s job about a billion times easier by talking Cal into coming here. The least I can do is help diffuse this.”
Maxim ran a hand through his hair and sighed. Liang’s eyes twinkled with emotion, and Cal knew -- he knew -- it was a bad idea, but there was a part of him that understood. That drive to do the right thing, to run into trouble while others run away, that’s what drew him to being a superhero. Well, that and the whole being part alien thing, but that wasn’t really the point. The point was that a hero was someone who stands up when they could just as easily stay down.
“Fine,” he said. Liang looked about ready to do a little victory dance, so he quickly added, “But. You will do exactly what I say, when I say. And if that includes running away or getting to safety, then that’s what you do. I admit, having an extra pair of hands and eyes will probably help, but this isn’t an assignment. It isn’t a story. This is a real situation where you can really get hurt. Understood?”
“You know, you’re kind of cute too?” Liang said, and Maxim flushed a deep crimson.
This was going to work out just great.