These Ruthless Deeds by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker | Excerpt + Giveaway
Happy Book Birthday to THESE RUTHLESS DEEDS by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker!
“A moment, ladies,” Captain Goode said, before striding down to the gardens and separating the group into two pairs. He made his way back over to us, looking genuinely excited. “They are going to start with a game. It’s all in good fun—a simple contest of which team knocks down the other first.” He turned to the two teams. “Are you ready?” he shouted.
After four nods, he waved his hand and the game started quickly as the players enacted their plans and anticipated their opponents. Vines burst out of the ground and flailed unpredictably in all directions, while small shields of earth popped out in defense. The flying girl wove and attacked through the chaos, but Oliver kept his teammate protected by grabbing her and rendering the both of them intangible.
I gasped. He had never been able to make another person intangible! “You taught him to do that?” I asked Captain Goode.
“Mr. Myles? Why, he discovered it himself,” he replied proudly. “I simply raise their powers. By practicing with these heightened abilities, they teach themselves how to control it best.”
“But in one day . . . ,” I said. “And how does your influence help control it?”
“They get used to the higher level and learn how to access it by habit. It gets into their bones; lets them see how it feels to use their powers to their fullest extent. It’s the same for an archery or fencing expert—they don’t even have to think about it, their bodies just understand what to do. They do it by instinct. After a while, Mr. Myles may not even need me. Same for you as well.” Was that why Miss Inoue’s healing was stronger than mine?
I watched in awe as the game continued at a chaotic pace. Both teams were evenly matched, attacking and counterattacking, doing everything they could to stay on their feet. At some point I lost track of Oliver as he got buried in a mess of bushes, leaving his teammate to deflect attacks from both opponents. The girl who controlled the rocks seemed to be managing it, until they slowly moved to striking from both sides.
She turned and shouted desperately, “Oliver!” The flying girl seized the opportunity and swooped in like a hawk at full speed.
A moment of confusion followed, as she passed right through the earth-moving girl and flew into her plant-covered teammate. They both fell to the ground, eliminated, as Oliver emerged from the ground underneath his teammate, grinning.
“He’s a fast learner,” Captain Goode said with a nod of approval.
Oliver said something that made the other three laugh and I saw his smile grow. He was happy. In fact, all four of them looked perfectly content, even the two who had lost. It was hard to deny that they were adept with their powers.
“I shall decrease their powers momentarily. The boy with the vines has some trouble controlling his, and we don’t want to have him wake up in a tree again,” Captain Goode said, chuckling with Miss Grey.
“Can you remove someone’s power entirely?” she asked innocently.
“Only when necessary,” he said, looking at me to see if I would take issue with yet another revelation.
But with that simple exchange, my world shifted entirely.
“You can take away our powers,” I said, the words echoing in my ears, hard to hear over the roaring of my thoughts.
“Yes—but of course I wouldn’t do that to you, Miss Wyndham,” he said, looking a little alarmed at my reaction.
My thoughts were swirling so fast I could barely keep up with them.
Miss Grey could find people with a new accuracy.
Captain Goode could take away our powers if so desired.
Sebastian Braddock was missing, hating himself for what his powers had wrought.
And Rose. She would want me to use my gift.
As each thought landed, a gear whirred into place, locking me into my destiny.
“I’ll do it. I will join you.”
Captain Goode and Miss Grey looked up at me in surprise and hope.
“Under one condition. You will find Sebastian Braddock and take away his power.”
These Ruthless Deeds
These Vicious Masks #2
Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Genres: YA Fantasy, Paranormal
England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…
Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.
Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.
Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.