Giveaway + Blog Tour: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue

Victoria Sue is here today with an excerpt of her latest, Beneath This Mask, the third in her wildly popular Enhanced series. Gael fans get ready to stand up and cheer!

“What do they mean?”
Jake’s gaze fell on Gael. The short blond hair that he would have liked to be just a little longer to latch on to. The smoky blue eyes that deepened and had clouded over last night. The wide lips that were the softest he’d ever tasted. The stubble-covered jaw, because maybe sometimes he had to shave twice a day, and the pulse point beating in his neck. The exact point that Jake had rested his own lips against and wished the heart that was beating belonged to him.
He took a step forward, but Gael’s eyes widened and he backed up.
“What do they mean, Jake?”
Jake tore his eyes from Gael’s stormy ones. He didn’t want condemnation to weaken the last memory of them, when Gael was sated and replete. Gael had been so gorgeous.
Vance, Talon, Sawyer, and Finn all stood there watching them. Connie had retreated and was talking to some lady. Gerry and Mac had gone back to their truck. Jake didn’t know whether the privacy was by accident or on purpose, but delaying the explanation by getting in a car would be worse.
“I spent four years on a SWAT team, as you know. The last op our team was called to was a report of an enhanced who had gone crazy in a shopping mall. Reports of explosions, multiple casualties. When we got there, it was chaos. People shouting. Fire. A lady said there was a man standing in the middle of a kids’ toy shop holding some sort of device in his hand and screaming at everyone to be quiet. There were customers, children, trapped between him and the door. We raced into the store just as the guy turned around and held up what looked like some sort of trigger switch.” Jake’s voice caught, and he struggled to get air into his lungs so he could speak.
“Steven Shaughnessy. Seventeen,” Talon said quietly. “He’d transformed just then in the middle of an argument with his father about wanting the latest game system. Not only is he only the second child we think to have ever transformed while awake, he is the oldest to transform, as far as we are aware.”
“I didn’t know,” Jake whispered, the horror eating at him. He had been a child, and he was dead because of Jake.
“Because you didn’t wait to find out,” Sawyer sneered.
“Look,” Talon said. “Jake was exonerated. It was complete shit, but he was following orders.”
Jake begged Gael silently. They stood amid the tatters of guilt, recrimination, and regret. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair that a child had lost his life. It wasn’t fair that a scar could make people lesser than others, and it definitely wasn’t fair that just when Jake thought he might have found a new life, it was being ripped away.
Vance, who had been quiet up to that point, stepped forward and handed Gael some keys. “It’s in the lot. He did it straightaway as a favor.”
Gael wrenched his gaze from Jake’s and took the keys. Sawyer made a disgusted noise and started walking away. Vance turned around as Connie walked over, and they finished packing away some leftover food.
Talon glanced apologetically at Jake, then looked at Gael, who stood frozen, holding his truck keys. “If you need somewhere to crash, you know where we are.”
They were all giving Jake and Gael the space to process this. Finn opened his mouth but shut it at Talon’s look, and they both walked to the lot. It was just him and Gael.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Gael said, still not meeting Jake’s eyes.
“Gregory said to give you time to get used to me first.”
Gael looked up, incredulity written all over his face. “And fucking me? Was that the easiest way of getting me used to you, or just the fastest?” Pain made the words sound raw on Gael’s tongue.
“Gael…,” Jake pleaded and took another step.
Gael held up his hands. “No. I could forgive the shooting. I’m not stupid. We live in a world where a lot of shit happens and an out-of-control enhanced could have killed a lot of people. Am I sorry for him? Of course I am. There are way too many children who suffer at the hands of those supposed to be protecting them, and I don’t even mean just those with a scar on their faces.” Gael heaved a breath as if starved for oxygen. Jake would have given him all he had right there. Gael’s eyes narrowed. “Did you think it was funny? A pity fuck to keep me quiet? Amenable until you’d gotten your place on the team?”
“Gael, no!” Jake begged. “I would never—”
He touched Gael’s shoulder just as Gael turned away from him. Gael was still not as fast as him, but he was stronger. Fuck, he was stronger. Jake had a split second to decide not to duck and avoid the fist that Gael swung at him in anger and desperation, because he deserved it, and then he connected and Jake went down. The pain erupted in his jaw just as everything went black.

Gael stood completely still, stunned at what he had done, and stared at Jake, lying six feet away on the ground in a heap.
Gael heard the shout from the cars and saw Talon and Vance running back to where he was.
“Shit,” Talon swore, falling to his knees. He put a hand to Jake’s neck to feel for a pulse, the relief in his face obvious when he felt one. Talon quickly stood, lifting an unconscious Jake in his arms. “For fuck’s sake, Gael. What were you thinking? You know we’re much stronger.”
A squeal of tires announced Finn driving up in Talon’s truck. He looked at Vance and Connie. “Vance, follow us. I’m taking him to Tampa Gen.”
Vance held the door open while Talon slid into the back.
“Gael, get your ass in here.”
“We’ll follow,” Vance shouted and bundled his mom to the truck, Connie hurrying to get in, everyone staring at Gael like he had killed someone. His heart was pounding, but it was the only thing in his body capable of movement. For a second he met Talon’s gaze, and then he turned and did the only thing he could.


Gael Peterson has spent years hiding behind the enhanced abilities he wears like a mask, even though he is an important, confident member of the FBI’s exclusive H.E.R.O. team. The hurt and betrayal of his mom’s abandonment and his father’s fists are secrets buried deep beneath the ugly scars on his face, and he doesn’t trust Jake, his new regular human partner, with any of them. In a world where those with special abilities like Gael’s are regarded as freaks and monsters, it won’t be easy for him to rely on Jake to have his back, especially when the abilities of a vulnerable, enhanced, nonspeaking child make that child a murder suspect.

Tempers rise and loyalties are challenged, and when the serial killer targeting the enhanced finally sets his sights on Gael, not only will Gael have to trust Jake with his secrets, he might have to trust him to save his life.

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Victoria Sue Bio:

Victoria Sue…
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but managed to dream up quite a few heroes. Loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with a paranormal twist—but always with a happy ending. Is an English northern lass currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.

Twitter: @vickysuewrites

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  1. Got the first two in paperbacks and pre-ordered this one. Can't wait to read this one!

  2. I have yet to read it :/ that "tbr" pile is getting out of control!

  3. I LOVE this cover. Great series.

  4. My TBR pile is rather huge and I wanted to wait until the third installment was out. All three books are on my Kindle and I look forward to binge reading them soon.