Thursday 5 September 2019

Second Preview: The Future Adventures of Halesowen

Before this second preview starts, I just want to remind everyone that the previous books in this series are currently on sale at £0.99. The Alternate Adventures of Halesowen is currently on sale until midnight on the 8th, where Secrets Behind the Truth will then be the one on sale until midnight of the 16th. Twenty-four hours later, this book then releases.

Below is the preview, taken from the fourth short of the collection. Enjoy.

The rest of the game passed with him not seeing anyone else, and once again he’d found himself on the top ring just as his gun announced, “Game end. Please return to the armoury.”

The doors of the room were open when Brandon arrived. Walking through them, he quickly sat down. He had been unaware of how hot he’d felt while in the arena, and also how much he needed a rest.

Within a minute, everyone else had returned.

“Hey, Ghost Rider,” Ross called. “Careful you don’t burn anyone with that flame of yours.”

Brandon looked confused at that remark. He ran a hand over his head, and felt it was indeed hot.

“Look at that steam,” Ashley commented. “Have you turned into a barbeque?”

“Really?” Brandon asked. “I’m steaming?”

“Like a fresh cup of tea,” Oliver remarked.

Brandon gave a nervous laugh as he looked over at the other team. They were looking at him, all with laughter on their faces.

It had to have been funny to see. He wished he could see it for himself.

“I’ve got the results of this first game,” the host announced, coming out of the control room after a minute. “Team two earned themselves twenty-five points. Team one earned twenty-six. Good job, teams. Are you ready for the second game?”

They all affirmed they were, even Brandon, who felt he’d have plenty of opportunity to rest while eating. Although for this second battle, he’d certainly try to not overdo it – especially since there would be a third game no matter who won this second.

The second game breezed by, with Brandon having made some faster attacks, though he would still be caught off guard by someone barrelling around a corner and freeze up, allowing that person to get the attack in.

After returning to the armoury, and having received yet more comments about his steaming head, the host announced that they had won the round twenty-two to eighteen. The third match would decide the overall winner, and Brandon felt they stood a chance of winning.

Within the arena again, Brandon found his way to the ramped overlook as fast as he could, and intended to stay there for as long as he could. One of the other team had obviously thought of the idea before him, as when he appeared at the lower end, someone was already there.

He fired a shot and disappeared back the way he had come, found someone else in front of him, and managed to get a second hit before diving down the nearest ramp and hoping he could quickly get across the open area without being hit himself.

He managed to hit a few more of the other team during the third game, though sometimes expected a hit to be confirmed but instead got hit himself. Often he would run into Ross or Oliver, and once they all happened to be caught in the open area, getting hit from all four sides before his sister managed to open a route up for them by managing to hit three of them from the very top overlook, which had made the three blocking the routes retreat into the depths of the arena.

In the last five minutes of the game they had managed to claw back enough points to hopefully win. Brandon wasn’t expecting it though, as they had been caught in that open area for about a minute.

When they all met back at the armoury, Ashely stated, “You know there are more than three ways out of that open space, right? You could have saved yourself instead of being sitting ducks.”

Brandon hadn’t known that, and evidently the other two hadn’t either.

“That was an interesting one,” the host called as he entered from the control room. “It didn’t have too much of an impact on the points, though. Team one managed thirty points, but team two managed to just get ahead with thirty-one.”

They all cheered at that, with both teams shaking hands.

“Well done team two,” the host said. “Get those packs off and I’ll take you back down to the lobby where you can get the results slips of the three games.”

With the packs off and hooked back up, all eight followed the host through the briefing room to a door on the middle of the left wall. Walking down the ramp that followed the wall, they were back in the lobby. The host waved them off and headed back up, with the eight heading to the reception desk, where the receptionist handed out the results slips and pulled the boxes that held their belongings from underneath the desk.

Having collected what was theirs, all eight shared more good games and goodbyes, with the other team heading out before Brandon’s group. Once out, Brandon inhaled deeply and let out a long breath.

“That was fun,” he stated. “We heading off to eat, now?”

“Yeah, we are,” Ross said.

Starting to walk, the four turned left at the end of the road.

“I still can’t believe you didn’t know about those other exits from that open space,” Ashley exclaimed. “You could have at least tried to hide instead of looking like you’d been lassoed in place.”

“We obviously forgot to check in the heat of the moment,” Brandon said with sarcasm.

“It should have been obvious with how open it was.”

“Thanks for the save, anyway,” Ross said. “But it was fun, and that’s all that matters.”

“Indeed,” Oliver stated.

“I really did love it,” Brandon added.

“Speaking of love, I think that one with the blue hair wanted to talk to you,” Ross teased. “Might have been a connection.”

“Nah,” Brandon said. “She might have been laughing at the Ghost Rider comments, but they all were. Besides… Elizabeth…” He faltered on that last part. Ross seemed to know exactly what he was thinking with that.

“Let it go,” he said. He continued in a very pointed tone. “It’s been two months and you’ve barely talked to her. Either get friendly with her again or give up dreaming anything will happen.”

Brandon remained silent at that, unsure exactly what to think.

He wanted to be with Elizabeth. He wanted to be friendly with her, continue talking normally to her. But fear had gripped him, and he had shut himself off from her. He didn’t even know what he feared, but it was there.

He hadn’t even considered that if he wasn’t wanting to be her partner he might once again relax around her.

“Who is this Elizabeth?” he heard his sister ask the other two.

“Someone in our group,” Ross stated. “Someone he’s been pining for pretty much since we started the first year.”

“I haven’t,” Brandon burst out defensively, even though he knew it to be the truth.

Ross grunted with laughter. “You haven’t exactly hidden it. You were all over her in the first year.”

“And now he’s stopped trying to get her to notice him?” Ashley asked.

“I expect there’s a bitterness that she rejected him when he finally did ask her.”

“There isn’t,” Brandon defiantly said. “I just- I don’t know. Can we leave this?”

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