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Jen Reads Without Pants On — Ep. 1 #becominghero #freereads

I’m sharing the first part of the book with you–in audio above, and in text below!

Pre-order Becoming Hero here:

With comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…

Without comics: https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Hero-…

Elsewhere: http://becominghero.ninja

Skye is the storm-tossed comic character out for revenge on the author who murdered his family. Jace is the math-loving #blerd trying to escape his father’s deadly legacy. When their worlds collide, Jace must choose between the real world he’s always hated, and the comic book world he’s always loved–and Skye must decide if killing his author will save his world, or damn his soul.

*Solve Skye’s math puzzle for a chance to win $100, in every book.*

Text, below!


For me, the beginning starts the first time I opened a comic book and knew I had to have that, be that, get in that, somehow. But for you, it starts the first day I met Caleb.

The day ten guys with knives chased me down a shadowed street. My skinny legs burned; my lungs wheezed as sweat popped across my forehead. Bitter voices shouted curses about my dad. Crap, so who—?

My head turned for a better look—

Bad move. My grey sneakers skidded across the pavement. I tried to catch my balance—my knee impacted the unfinished, gravel-strewn sidewalk—I rolled over, scrambling on my butt as my fastest attacker stumbled into me. His creepy gangsta-fied Looney-tunes t-shirt loomed over me as my attacker fell, suffocating me with Bugs Bunny’s cotton smirk. I imagined the cartoon rabbit twirling that bling around his finger: “What’s up, doc? You thought you could outrun us?” I gagged as a hand landed on my neck.

“Hey Jerome,” I choked at the one person I recognized: my pissed-off classmate standing a few feet behind the massive human on my threat. “Who’s the Colossus?”

Colossus didn’t take the compliment. “Jerome don’t answer to you. He answers to me.” He lifted me by the throat like Vader. Wonderful, always wanted to have something in common with Captain Antilles. “And he told me who your Daddy is.”

“Hahaha, well, you sure you believe Jerome?” I normally avoid the sass—sass is a one-way ticket to the ‘ville where they serve your butt and only your butt on a shiny silver platter—but I had to talk them away from my dad, and if it meant a whupping from Jerome tomorrow that was a whole lot better than a stabbing from his boss today. “You know Jerome’s lied to you about how much product he pushes at school, right?” Is that what they called it? Product?

“No he hasn’t.”

“Okay, but he’s lying about my dad. I don’t even have one of those. What’s a dad, even?”

“You trying to get smart with me?” The grip of the Colossus tightened on my neck, and my eyes bulged with the oh-gosh-where-the-air-at—note to self, “Grip of the Colossus” sounds like a sweet book title.

“No, I really don’t know what a father is,” I wheezed. “Mine’s too busy to play that game.”

“I’m not your shrink, boy,” Colossus smirked. “Could be your surgeon if you want, though.” He drew his knife. From the looks of him, he was the only one whose mamma told him not to run with sharp pointy things—everyone else had theirs out already. “We’re gonna write a lil message to your old man, and you get to be the postcard.”

Well crap.

I bit down to hold my mouth shut. The writing was on the wall—and soon to be on my skin—so if this had to happen, I wouldn’t make it fun for them. Please don’t whine, please don’t cry, don’t say any freaking thing…

“You got anything else to share, smart guy?”

Nope. Nothing. Silence was my weapon. I pursed my lips and ground my teeth as they held me down, and all I could think about was Jerome, this guy standing right here, blade over my arm, like—this guy was in my class! We grew up in the same neighborhood, almost the same street, so like what chain of events ended with him becoming that guy and me becoming this guy, at opposite ends of the knife?

The first blade nicked my forearm.

I managed not to scream.

Enter the hurricane.

It wasn’t much of a meeting, actually. More a series of bone-crushing splinter sounds and screams as I watched in HD clarity while a ripped Asian-looking kid tore Bugs Bunny off me and hurled him into the others. Colossus never had a chance to get back up. The new kid pounced, Batman backpack swinging on his shoulders with the intensity of his punches. He whirled to take out two or three sets of knees behind him with one nasty roundhouse kick, and leapt like a bolt of lightning from person to person, jerking someone’s joints the wrong way each time he left them.


Colossus’ wallet peeped out of his back pocket. ID is the key, Dad would say in his corny way. He wasn’t wrong. I scrambled forward, yanked out the wallet, and dashed back, pocketing the leather bulge with my heart pounding and my breath held. I knew I looked as suspicious as a four-year-old alone in a candy aisle, but thankfully no one cared about me…me and my pocket full o’ justice.

The stranger cleaned up. Knives zinged through the air to clang against the nearest telephone pole, all missing the hurricane. The scent of urine stung the air—someone had pissed his pants. Someone else screamed a threat—back-pack dude interrupted with a foot in the face.

When I blinked, we were alone.