By Cassandra Gold (Guest Blogger)
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by superheroes. Just like many boys I knew, I watched X-men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Saturday morning television. I adored the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, a guy I thought was just too cool.
Even as an adult, I still love superhero movies. My husband and I have seen many, many such movies together over the years: The X-men series, the new Batman movies with Christian Bale, Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-man, and the list goes on. A lot of my favorite superhero flicks involve characters who are unable to live in normal society, such as the mutants in X-men or the Hellboy characters, many of whom look too different from “normal” people to fit in.
Most of the boys and men I know seem to like superheroes because of their incredible abilities, or, in the case of Batman, their cool gadgets. While I’m interested in those things as well, they aren’t why I love superheroes. The most fascinating thing about them, in my opinion, can be summed up by a quote from Spider-man: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Heroes often have to give up family, friends, and chances at love due to the heavy burdens of their duty to society. Batman may be able to corral bad guys and keep the Gotham streets safer, but he has to deal with the constant temptation to go too far. His motives are sometimes murky—altruism, or revenge? Superman and other heroes who are almost invincible could easily take over the world, even for the “good” of humanity, yet they don’t. Some heroes occasionally cross the line between justice and revenge, which only makes them more interesting to me. When that happens, we get either antiheroes or supervillains, and who doesn’t love to hate a really bad supervillain?
On top of the constant temptation and responsibilities of their powers, superheroes must deal with always being apart from the rest of society. Spider-man can swing from buildings whenever he wants, but his abilities set him apart from others, even his family and friends. This goes double for heroes whose physical forms make passing as a normal person impossible. No matter how much they may want the same kind of life everyone else has, they can’t have it. Their special attributes carry a very high cost.
So while boys and men are drooling over Batman’s sweet motorcycle and cheering Wolverine on as he kicks some bad guy ass on screen, I’ll be contemplating the lonely, difficult nature of a superhero’s life.
And ogling some excellent biceps and ripped abs. :P
(What? I can’t have deep thoughts ALL the time…)
My latest release (out October 30) was inspired by my love for superheroes. The characters in my new Institute series may not be superheroes in the truest sense, but they’re more than just average men and women. They possess abilities that are beyond the norm, and are forced to deal with all the difficulties their talents bring.
The Institute, Book 1: Healer by Cassandra Gold
For years, Dr. Tristan Matheson has hidden his unusual healing abilities, pretending to be an ordinary doctor instead. And he’s eluded detection—until now. When Tristan’s targeted, a mysterious shapeshifter named Cam becomes his only means of escape.
A member of the Delphic Institute, Cam is capable of taking the shape of anyone he’s ever seen. Retrieving Tristan was supposed to be an ordinary mission, but the feelings the doctor stirs in Cam are surprising and unwelcome.
Unfortunately, Tristan and Cam have a bigger problem then their mutual attraction. A war brewing between groups interested in “recruiting” people with special talents could tear them apart before they ever get together...
...Tristan turned the corner and smashed into something big and hard. The impact pushed him back. He nearly fell, only managing to recover when a hand gripped his arm. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, so focused on his escape he barely noticed the person he’d run into.
He tried to keep walking but the hand tightened. Tristan halted, really looking at the man for the first time. The tall, handsome Latino didn’t smile. The navy slacks and white coat he wore labeled him a doctor, but Tristan had never seen him before. He had no name tag, but a pair of glasses and an ear thermometer stuck out of his chest pocket.
Dark eyes met his. The man tugged him toward the stairs at the end of the hall. “They’re just one floor below us now.”
A new thread of apprehension worked its way into Tristan’s already tangled web of thoughts and feelings. He didn’t know what was going on, but he knew enough to feign ignorance. “What? The neonatal unit is on the floor below us. Do you need some help finding it?”
The unfamiliar doctor shook his head. “We don’t have time for this. You know who I mean. You can’t escape them.”
How does he know? Could this man be one of them? If not, how could he possibly know about Tristan’s pursuers? Fear and uncertainty struck Tristan speechless.
The doctor gave him an impatient look. “I know about the guys who are after you. I can help you, but you have to come with me. Now.”
This had to be a trap. But why would they bother, when they could catch him without going to so much trouble? Tristan’s head throbbed, and he reached up to rub his temple. He was running out of time. He had to get away.
Paralyzed by indecision, Tristan stood there staring at the other man.
“Oh, for God’s sake. Nobody mentioned you being an idiot, so I’m going to assume you’re confused.” Rolling his eyes, the man yanked Tristan’s arm hard enough that Tristan had no choice but to follow. He tugged Tristan down the hall to the stairwell and pushed the door open. He shoved Tristan through the door and met Tristan’s gaze with steady brown eyes. “All right, here’s the plan. I’ll go distract Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum while you go out this way. I’ll meet you outside in a few minutes.”
Before Tristan could ask the man how he intended to distract the men downstairs, the handsome Latino features blurred. Tristan blinked, and suddenly he was looking into a mirror. He gaped in astonishment at the sight of his own disheveled black hair, green eyes, pale skin, and slim build. Even the clothes the other man wore had changed to green scrubs identical to his.
Watching his own lips turn up in a very un-Tristan-like smirk was a decidedly odd experience. “Don’t trouble your pretty little head, Doc. I’ll meet you outside in a few.”
At least the man’s voice had stayed the same. If the voice had been his as well, he would have wondered if he was going insane. With a wave, Tristan’s doppelganger headed back the way Tristan had come a few minutes ago.
As soon as the man had turned the corner, Tristan moved. He flew down the seldom-used stairs at a dead run. His heart pounded, more from nerves than from exertion. Could he trust the bizarre man who claimed to want to help him? If not, he might be putting himself in danger. Still, what choice did he have?
A hysterical laugh bubbled up in his throat as he reached the door leading to the back parking lot. Above all, he knew he could never let them take him. He knew what they would do to him. And what they’d make him do. His skin crawled at the thought. The strange man he’d met upstairs might be his only chance for escape—or a clever trap. There wasn’t any way for him to know which one.
He shoved open the door and stood panting in the bright sunshine. Then the familiar weakness stole over him and he knew his choices were gone. He’d pushed too hard. Slumping against the brick wall, Tristan prayed the man would prove to be someone he could trust...
About me: By day, Cassandra is a (relatively) mild-mannered middle school teacher. At night, she lets the characters in her head out to play as she writes stories of men falling in love. Unfortunately for her husband, neither of Cassandra's personas enjoys doing housework. You can find her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000682134145
Gay romance with a heart of gold