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The Faith of Fire: #FourthWallFriday with S.A. Huchton, a @riznphnx

Welcome to the 90th Edition of Fourth-Wall Friday! Today S.A. Huchton, author of the EVOLUTION trilogy is here to share a bit of…. faith… welcome her with open arms, and make sure to leave her a note in the comment section! Her third book, HEX just came out and she currently is also on tour with the series! Oh Hey! She gave me the Rafflecopter for the tour! So all the Cabin Goddess readers can enter to win AN EPIC and MONUMENTAL SWAG PACK!

(This scene takes place after the events of book 1, Evolution: ANGEL, leading into book 2, Evolution: SAGE.)

*looking sheepish, I couldn’t resist*

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It had been years since I’d worn a uniform, but the situation was extreme enough that I had good reason to again. Granted, the last uniform I wore was considerably lower ranking than the five stars now pinned to my collar, but for all intents and purposes I was basically a god here anyway, so it wasn’t a total lie. My camouflage and boots arranged as they should be, I strolled through the crisp autumn air breezing through the Quad of the ANGEL Project Headquarters, searching for the right window to peek through.

When I found it, I frowned. The blinds were drawn too tightly for me to see in. Instead, I checked the live surveillance feed from my phone.

Judging by her still form on the bed, Candace was as much a mess as she’d been for weeks. It rankled me. She was better than this, stronger. I knew her friends were doing what they could for her, but it wasn’t enough. As I leaned up against a tree, I thought carefully. Being nice wasn’t working. All the reassurance and kindness wasn’t getting a response. She needed something more.

I smiled when it hit me. Candace flourished under pressure. She needed a challenge. She needed to be told “you can’t.” That always lit her fire.

And when it came to fire, I knew exactly who could give her that.

I stuck the phone back in my pocket and adjusted the cover on my head. Hats aren’t really my thing, but I’d be out of this getup soon enough. I knew where to find the one person who could fix this mess, and I knew exactly how to get him to do what I wanted.

I got a few curious looks as I strode through the compound, but no one stopped me on my way to the pool. He was swimming, the way he always did when he was trying to avoid a problem. I watched him move through the water, up and down the lane, his powerful arms and legs churning the water into foam in his wake. When he pulled up to the edge in front of me, he jumped, startled.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Lawrence,” I said with a calm smile. “But I was hoping we could talk for a minute?”

His dark eyes flicked to the gold stars on my collar, and briefly checked me for a nametag that wasn’t there. “Is there a problem?”

I shrugged. “There are always problems, Mr. Lawrence, but you’re not in trouble, if that’s what you’re asking. Would you mind? There’s something I’d like to speak with you about.”

For a moment, I could see the calculation in his dark eyes as he weighed his options. It didn’t last long, and he pushed himself up out of the pool with perfect grace, rivulets of water running over every pristinely toned muscle. Silently smug, I congratulated myself for creating the specimen that is Jackson Lawrence. So long as he didn’t disappoint me, that is. I was here for reasons other than drooling over a superhero-in-training.

I gave him a few minutes to dry off and change, and then guided him out to the Quad for a little walk. It was probably driving him nuts that I was in no rush, but I liked him better when he was feisty, so I waited until he was at his limit.

“Since you’re apparently not much for small talk,” he said, already irritated. “Why don’t you tell me what a five-star general wants to talk to me about?”

I grinned a little. “Faith.”

“Faith?”

Nodding, I continued walking. “It’s a funny thing, faith, don’t you think?”

He stopped, glowering a little. “Don’t you have lackeys to listen to philosophical ramblings?” he asked. “What, do you want to convert me? You’re sort of barking up the wrong tree, there, if so.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Not religion, Mr. Lawrence. I’m talking about people.” I motioned him along and he followed, but hesitant now. “Faith is something we come to naturally as infants. Someone feeds us, clothes us, cleans us… We’re dependent on them for survival. We have faith that when we cry, someone will take care of whatever problem we have. As we get older, however, and have to do more for ourselves, we start to lose some of that faith as our independence grows. In the best of situations, we always have someone there that believes we can do things, encouraging us and helping us when we need it.” I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. “Ideally, everyone has that, but as we get older, odds are that we start to lose it in one way or another.”

His face was hard and cold, and I knew I’d struck a nerve, but I had to press on. “We lose faith either because we’ve done something, or another person does. After that, one of two things happens. One, we’re crushed under guilt for our actions, or the idea that the loss of faith was our fault. We begin to believe we’re not worthy of someone’s faith. Or two, we get angry. We decide that we’re better without that faith and don’t need it.” I paused and looked at him again. “Sometimes it’s a bit of both, I suppose.”

“Is there a point to all this?” he asked through clenched teeth.

I smiled up at the sky. He was still very young, despite everything he’d been through, but he was also smart. He’d learn if given the push in the right direction. “The point is that those people can’t see how important faith is, how it has to be tended, nurtured, and, sometimes, given a kick in the pants to keep it going. Sometimes, if those who lose faith are lucky, they stumble back into it in the most unlikely places from the most unlikely people. It’s those people that I wonder about, don’t you?” I stopped walking and turned to him. “Do you think those people know how lucky they are to be the recipient of unsolicited faith from another human being?”

At that, his expression turned from hostile to guarded consideration. It was hard to hide my triumphant grin, but I kept it to a subdued smile. “It would be an interesting experiment, should one be presented with such an opportunity, but I think it would take extraordinary strength to try it.”

He was still thinking, but he frowned. “Strength?”

I pivoted on my heel and headed back to the building. “Of course,” I said over my shoulder. “Only the strongest of humanity purposely put faith in an untested person. They’re the only ones capable of giving that with no expectation of return on investment. Selflessness is the purest form of strength out there, Mr. Lawrence.” I paused and added one last thing. “I suppose it’s one of the few superpowers you can’t activate with Gamma radiation.”

I left him standing there, knowing my words had the intended effect. Outright telling him to do something wasn’t going to work here. Planting the seeds of consideration and a bit of a challenge was the only way to put him on the right path. When I was far enough away, I ducked behind a tree and waited. As I watched him walk past, back to the compound, his steps carried new purpose.

Giggling a little when he was out of sight, I wondered if there was a market for life coaches for superheroes. If I couldn’t be one myself, giving others that ability was the next best thing.

Content that Jackson would handle the Candace problem in the best Jackson-like fashion, I removed my hat and sighed. It was time to get back to the real world. This story wasn’t going to write itself.

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About S.A. Huchton

The Faith of Fire: #FourthWallFriday with S.A. Huchton, a @riznphnx

A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. Her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread was released as a full cast audiobook podcast, becoming a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. After releasing short fiction of Steampunk, noir fantasy, and other varieties, she released the first three books of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series in 2013. All three books of the Evolution series will be released in 2014, as well as a Steampunk Fantasy novel, Master of Myth (the Antigone’s Wrath series, book 1), which was the first place winner of the Crested Butte Writers’ contest, The Sandy, in 2012, and a fairytale retelling, Shadows on Snow, coming in November.

When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.

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Candace Bristol has always been obsessed with comic books, but in a world where the nightly news often mirrors these inked stories, her dreams of becoming a real superhero could actually come true. After being rescued by members of the government’s AdvaNced Genetic EvoLution (ANGEL) Project four years ago, getting recruited for this elite team is all she’s wanted.

Now 18, she’s finally reached her goal after years of study and physical training, but little could have prepared her for life as a genetic experiment. As though coming to terms with her new ability to manipulate water isn’t tough enough, she never expected to be swept off her feet by one of her fellow recruits.

With genetic alteration, the threat of physical and mental instability hangs over every superhero like a shadow. When one of their own tumbles over the edge of madness, Candace will have to choose between protecting the world, and saving the one who holds her heart.

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Devastated by her choices, Candace Bristol is on the brink of losing it all: her mind, her hope, everything she thought she was.

But from the ruins rises new purpose. An enemy has emerged and it will take everything to combat this new threat. Broken as she is, picking up the pieces and carrying on might be the hardest battle to win, but it’s either fight, or lose what little she has left.

Amongst the wreckage, hope still burns. The flicker of a flame kindles something within her she thought was dead.

Love can break you.

So, too, can it bring you back to life.

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A lie is a prison without bars.

A captive of the enemy, Candace is forced to confront mistakes and regrets from both sides of the battlefield, including her own. Nothing is simple, and lines in the sand that were once clear have become blurred and indistinguishable. Even the unlikely love she found teeters on the edge of uncertainty.

The truth is not always what it seems, and can be a prison of its own.

Alone, she must decide where she stands. Alone, she must decide who to trust.

When the smoke clears, what’s left might not be much…

But it might be enough.

AMAZONGOODREADS

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for having me here today, Kriss!

  2. My favorite super hero is ……….. hmmmmmm I love Iron man, I can admit it, but I really don’t have one. Growing up Wonder Woman and Batman!

  3. My favorite super hero would be wonder woman because she reminds me that women are just as strong.
    Great giveaway

    • Wonder Woman is awesome! She’s exactly the kind of person I picture Candace (from this series) becoming as a full-fledged adult.

  4. The Hulk because Hulk smashes. Sometimes I just want to smash and smash, then I go back to being a genius and blame it on the big green guy.

    • Yes. This. Exactly this. lol

  5. I love batman!!! Thanks for the giveaway! Great prizes!

  6. Thanks for the giveaway! My favorite superheros are Batman and Wolverine!

  7. I’d have to say my favorite and always will Superman!

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