For more info on Estevan, visit his site(s):
Other books by Estevan:
Servant of the Realm
The Sacred Sin
Summary: Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off. Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl—who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin—moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.
Arson can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Tate Publishing
So we’ve come to it at last. The end of the tour. It’s been a blast. It’s been a month-long blog tour. Some great interviews, guest posts, and some cool giveaways. Hope it never got boring. Doors have been opened and new friends have been made. Some unexpected things have occurred, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. It still totally rocked. Thanks for following. Now, on to today’s post. I figured that during this fine, fine weekend, Iron Man dos arrives in theaters. (Oh, and I totally saw it and it rocked!) So…that being said, I figured it’d be real cool to have Arson and Tony Stark meet. It goes kinda crazy from there. Hope you dig it!
Fire and Iron
“Don’t…don’t touch anything,” Tony said, wincing at the sight of something possibly getting scratched. “That part cost more than your kidneys.”
Arson stared blankly, far too focused on the strange, metal apparatus dangling from overhead. He brushed up against the machine with his shoulder before sarcastically replying, “Sorry, Tony.”
“Hmm…yeah,” We’re not there yet, sweetheart,” Tony said smugly. “You can call me Mr. Stark or boss or Master. Merchant of death isn’t too bad either.” He jutted out his neck when he said it. “You know, whatever works.”
Arson blinked and suddenly Tony’s chin hair started to smoke.
“Thought you might like that…boss.” When Arson blinked again, the smoke dissipated, but a few spots in Tony’s chin were left behind.
“If I can be perfectly frank, you’re not entirely the kind of kid I expected.”
“You mean I’m not the pushover, run-to-mommy type?”
Tony’s jaw shifted. “I was gonna go with run-to-grandma type, but what you said works too.” A slow pause. “But yeah, more or less.”
“Well, not everything is as it appears.”
“What, didya steal that from a book?”
“Nah…just felt like it was something superheroes might say to each other.”
Tony put down the portable device in his hand and grinned. “A little early to be calling yourself that, don’tcha think?”
“I don’t know, Iron Man,” Arson shrugged. “Oh, cute name, by the way. Naming yourself after some lame Disney movie.”
“If I recall, it was made by Dreamworks, but that is neither here nor there,” Tony began, gathering breath through flared nostrils. “What matters is that I came up with my name before I’d uh, before I’d ever seen the uh, film, so...” and then with a smirk and a flexed chest, “Iron Man trumps Iron Giant.”
“Sarcastic little…Geez, punk kids these days. No respect.” Tony walked around Arson. Well, more like skulked.
“How long you gonna keep doing that?”
“Why, is it weirding you out? It’s weirding you out? Yeah, me too.”
“Then why are you doing it?”
“Thought it’s what badass superheroes should do?”
“Yeah, I’ve gotten that before.”
Tony hushed him from a distance. “I know. Well, it looks like Nick Fury thought you were worth the time and money. Otherwise he wouldn’t have flown you all the way out here from…now correct me if I’m wrong…do you pronounce it “Timbuktu or lame-ass hick town?”
“We can’t all live in palaces like this, Tony.”
“This is very true. You should see my pad in Greece. Wicked cool swimming pool too, man. The girls,” Tony began with raised eyebrows, “they come right out to have fun.”
“Kinda like what you’re doing. Are we gonna get to the plan already?”
“Right to business. I can respect that. Skinny kid, but packs a mean punch full of almost-bravado. Works for someone like you.”
Arson gritted his teeth and Tony’s belt turned to black dust in just seconds. His pants quickly started to sag. “Okay, that wasn’t nice. But I am being kind of a jerk, so I’ll allow it as your one freebie. Well, that and the facial hair thing. Can’t say I wasn’t forewarned. Nick said you liked to play with fire.”
“Well, we are who we are, right?”
“Wow. That is poetically pathetic. And unfortunately for you, true. Thankfully you have someone like me to train you.”
“What? Nick didn’t say anything about any training.”
“What did he say, then?”
“He said we were working on something big. That he wanted me to join in on it. Some initiative. Sent me here ‘cause he thought you could help me out.”
Tony hugged his stomach with a chuckle. “That one-eyed weirdo. You’re the project, kid. He wanted to see whatcha got. That’s why he sent you to me. You gotta appreciate his twisted sense of humor, though.”
“So you were just…”
“Busting your balls this whole time? Yeah.”
Arson’s neck jerked. Who did this guy think he was? Just because he owned Stark Industries and had tons of cash didn’t mean Arson wanted him messing with his head. He hated Grandma’s mind games. Hated it whenever someone messed with his head. It just got to him.
Arson bit his lip. “And I signed up for this.”
Tony took a few steps back and suddenly the platform he was on separated from the rest of the cement floor and from underneath his feet four large mechanical arms ascended. They were carrying chunks of red and yellow iron plates. Looked like colorful scrap metal but Arson knew different.
“That’s your suit? That’s…”
“Cool? Dank? I don’t know, what are the hip kids saying nowadays?” Tony licked his lips, right before the mechanical arm to his left assembled the mask and attached it to the rest of the suit. Upon Arson’s next blink, the mask shut like a Venus fly-trap and sandwiched Tony’s head inside.
“C’mon, kid…let’s see whatcha got.”
Arson chucked a ball of fire at Tony’s iron chest. “Name’s Arson, boss.”
“Oh, now see? It sounds so adorable coming out of your mouth. The boss part, at least.”
A blitz of several flame bullets crashed into the suit, but Iron Man only flinched. “Arson, it tickles. C’mon. Or I’ll tell Emery to lose your skinny tail.”
“We’re on a break.”
“Oohh, soft subject.”
“Nah, I pissed her off about something.”
“Really? Sorry, man,” Tony said. “Feel like talking about it?”
“Sike! I was just busting your balls,” Arson said with enough of a laugh to make Tony renege his offer. “Sucks getting your mind messed with, doesn’t it?”
“Okay, smart mouth. Looks like I’m back to being Uncle Douche, then.”
Arson’s lips split with a smile. “Bring it on.”
“Really? Referencing a Kirsten Dunst film in the middle of a superh—”
A violent blast of energy suddenly struck Arson in the gut and sent him flying through the basement glass. His back crunched on the roof of one of Tony’s Mustangs.
“Caught you off guard, huh? Don’t start what you can’t finish, kid. One of my ex-girlfriends told me that. For a week I thought she was talking about me dropping a class at college. I knew there was a reason I dumped her. Like Emery’s gonna do to you when she finds out you got a beat down by an old guy.” Iron Man neared Arson’s limp body. Slow breaths ballooned Arson’s chest, but otherwise, he lay still. “A rather sophisticated, far too handsome old guy who would have no problem taking her out for a lovely evening full of dancing and a little bit of s—”
Arson flipped over. No more playing nice. He looked at Iron Man and opened his fists, unleashing a wind full of flames. Time to go nuclear. The red fire sliced through the air quickly and without mercy, eventually chewing away the bits of metal and screws that pieced together Tony’s suit.
“It’s…hotter than hell in here.”
Arson didn’t stop. “Now I’m pissed.”
“Okay, kid. Easy. Had to push your buttons. You were giving up. Training,” Tony fought to say. “Remember? You can. Thank me for doling out wisdom later. But easy on the nuclear attack, yeah?”
Arson’s fingers bent inward and enclosed the flames within his hot grip. The sparks left his eyes. His chest boomed, but the heat returned to the core, leaving his skin in a slight chill.
Tony was on his knees, gasping. Half of his suit was melted. His arms looked like he’d been sitting out in the sun for days. “Definitely canceling my tanning service now. Nick, you one-eyed scallywag.”
“Bringing back a classic, huh?” Arson said.
Tony ignored the comment, as Arson tried helping him up. “No, no, no, kid. I got it. You’ve done enough. Nick’ll be thrilled. You work. Just take it down a notch next time. Good God.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
Tony’s mask was nearly completely melted. Bits of yellow and red dried on Tony’s face, singeing some of his goatee hair once more and leaving a scar or two. “This mask is shot,” he sighed. “Well, at least now I know how Emery feels.”
Arson glared at Tony for a long moment and didn’t break.
Just then, Tony stood up and dragged himself away from Arson. “Too soon?”