Preview BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS a New YA Adventure Novel

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We are officially one week away from the release of Stephen J. Mitchell’s debut novel BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS; the YA Adventure novel about a bullied high school freshman who discovers he’s indestructible. We present to you an exclusive preview of Chapter 1 in its entirety. The stunning comic-book style cover art was provided by up-and-coming artist Matt Flint. It was designed to look like the cover of a graphic novel as most superhero stories are told in the pages of comics, but this isn't an ordinary superhero story. It's a "sub-par" hero story!

BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS comes out on October 31st, 2019 and is now available on Amazon for pre-order! Enjoy this preview of BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS and leave your thoughts below!

 

 

Today...

Kody Haywood ran as though his life depended on it.

Things never seemed to work out the way he planned. It seemed everywhere he went, someone was chasing him. Without warning, he became the focus of everyone’s attention. And while he normally didn’t mind, he was out of his element here.

He had the one thing his pursuers wanted, and they would stop at nothing to bring him down. People were relying on him, and that didn’t happen often; he had a reputation for being forgetful, unfocused, and undisciplined. No matter how hard he tried to do the right thing, it always seemed to blow up in his face.

With three people left chasing him, he was only thirty yards away from reaching his goal. His chest heaved, as he gasped for air. His legs burned as he ran. Despite the discomfort, he pressed on, refusing to be caught. Looking over his shoulder, he realized he was on his own now.

He wasn't about to drop the ball; not when he was so close.

Sweat dripped down his brow and stung his eyes. For a moment, he considered surrendering himself. But the thought of what they’d do if they caught him caused adrenaline to surge through his body. Fear gave him the boost he needed to leap in the air with his arms outstretched.

As he hit the ground, a high-pitched noise pierced his eardrums.

“Touchdown, blue team!” The gym teacher, Mr. Maris, made a note on his clipboard while chewing his whistle.

Kody tried to stand, and was shoved back down, his face hitting the ground hard. The blades of grass pricked at his cheek. It smelled freshly cut, and carried a hint of gasoline from the lawnmower used by the school groundskeeper.

An elbow pressed into his back. A knee slammed into his ribs. Three kids decided to take their anger out on him for scoring.

“You should have just let us tackle you,” Jared said.

“Yeah what’s the point in trying to score? It’s just gym class you idiot.” Paul added.

Kody grunted his reply, “In that case, I should try out for the team to make things a little more interesting.” He struggled to get up but their combined weight was too much for him to even move.

“Don’t even think about it, loser,” Brett said. “We want winners playing for the Bucs.” Brett Walker was Bannerville High School's most popular student and captain of the football team.

Kody thought of him as the one everybody loved to hate, but nobody would ever say it to his face. There was an edge to Brett, and he always seemed to be on it. There wasn’t a single kid in school who would think about crossing him for fear of getting beat up. Kody, however, wasn’t often accused of thinking.

Bannerville High was the biggest school in Port Haven which meant it attracted scouts from all of the biggest colleges. Brett was the school’s biggest prospect since Kody’s older brother, Dan, had graduated six years prior. This made Brett a really big deal, and made Kody the butt of jokes as he lived in his brother’s academic and athletic shadow.

Brett was starting quarterback for the Bannerville Bucs. He was the best player on the team, and loved to brag about it. He was also the school’s biggest jerk, as if being team captain was a free pass to get away with murder.

Brett could do no wrong.

“Yeah,” Paul added. “We want winners.”

Kody tried to look up with just his eyes, as his cheek was still pressed to the turf. “Do you just repeat whatever Brett says? Are you his parrot?” Then in his best pirate voice, he added, “Do ya get ta ride on the captain’s shoulder?

“Don’t answer that Paul.”

“Yeah, I don’t have to answer that,” Paul replied.

Kody smiled. “Paulie want a cracker?

The boy answered with a kick to the ribs. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt. It should have. Paul was big for his age; some kids said that what he lacked in brains he made up for in brawn. He was Bannerville’s starting Defensive Tackle, and if ‘human tractor’ was a job, Kody figured Paul could be employee of the month someday.

“Hey!” Mr. Maris shouted from across the field. “You boys quit horsin’ around! You wanna get hurt? The only first aid I administer is ‘walking it off’ and ‘rub some dirt on it!’ Now get off your butts and get back in the huddle!”

Jared and Paul got off of Kody, but Brett knelt down next to him. “You better tell Coach Maris you’re hurt so you can sit out during the next play.” He looked back at Mr. Maris, who was preoccupied with a few other kids. Leaning in closer he added, “Otherwise, I’m gonna hurt you for real. I don’t care who your brother was, you’re not trying out for the team. You’re a loser, and you’ll always be a loser.”

“Am I a loveable loser?” Kody said sarcastically.

“More like laughable loser, and you’ll never be the hero to this school that I am.”

A bell rang loudly, signaling the end of class.

“Literally saved by the bell,” Kody muttered under his breath.

Mr. Maris hollered, “Alright everyone, get changed and get to your next class! There’s learnin’ to be done and I'm not here to teach!”

“See ya, loser.” Brett stepped on Kody’s leg as he and his friends headed back inside.

“Love that energy!” Kody gave two thumbs up to the boys as they walked away. “We should really do this more often. So much fun.”

A couple of girls walked by him. When they made eye contact, he smiled. They laughed among themselves and kept walking.

Kody pulled himself to his feet and brushed some of the dirt off his clothes. He inspected a tear in his shirt, but couldn’t remember if it was bought that way from the thrift store.

He hated the torment he dealt with each day. No matter where he was, trouble seemed to find him. Getting picked on was a typical day of school for him. Whether it was his clothes, his personality, or even his long, shaggy, black hair, kids always found something to tease him about.

There were some days he wanted to just hit someone, but he refused to do it. That wasn’t heroic behavior. And he looked up to heroes, whether they were in comic books or in real life. He loved reading about their deeds. He wanted to be one someday. He wanted to hear a crowd of people cheering him on.

Ever since Kody reached the 9th grade, there had been a lot of pressure on him to be the next hero of Bannerville High School. His teachers always talked about how someday he would be ‘the next big quarterback and team captain of Bannerville High.’ His older brother, Dan, was a celebrity for bringing the Bannerville Bucs their only state championship six years ago, and everyone thought he would be the next one to do it. Until Brett came along.

But Kody’s grades were so poor, he couldn’t play sports if he wanted to. Which he didn’t.

Kody didn’t like sports or the pressure that came along with them. He could go from hero to zero just from having one bad game. He wanted more control over his fate than that. Instead, he preferred spending his days reading comic books, playing video games, skateboarding, and training under Shihan Toshihiro’s guidance in the art of Aikido.

Aikido was a defensive style of martial arts that uses an opponent’s momentum against themselves. It was one of Kody’s favorite things to practice.

It helped him maintain focus.

If there was one thing in particular that he struggled with the most, it was paying attention. His mind often wandered off in different directions, getting him lost in his own thoughts. Sometimes he would lose focus and find himself staring off at nothing, his mind racing with a thousand thoughts all at once.

He wished there was a way to stop it.

There were many times people accused him of ignoring them, but that wasn’t the case. He just couldn’t pay attention as a conversation dragged on. Which meant, while a teacher was teaching, Kody eventually drifted off and didn’t hear most of the lesson. He was grateful he had smart friends who took notes and kept him on track.

His best friend in the whole world was Gene Franklin. Gene was a prodigy, a genius who had been fast-tracked to high school because the middle grades weren’t challenging enough for him. Demonstrating a maturity well beyond his years, Gene’s parents left him home alone frequently as they spent most of their time on business trips. He had his own credit card, so he could take care of any expenses he had.

For being only twelve years old, Gene was even smart with his money. Kody couldn’t understand how the boy genius was just naturally good at knowing things. It was like his brain was a computer, and his parents just uploaded all the information he needed.

Kody’s other friend, Caliente Cruz, ‘Callie’ for short, was Brazilian and had only been in America for a few years. After her mother died, she moved to Port Haven with her father, who got a job working the docks. The two of them became friends when Kody saw her being harassed by a group of kids, and he had stepped in to make them stop.

He took a beating, but it worked. He always took a beating, it seemed. And today’s gym class was no exception.

 

Thanks for reading Chapter 1 of BULLETPROOF: ORIGINS. If you enjoyed the preview head over to Amazon to pre-order your copy today!