Author: Sunny Day
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Cover Artist: Harris Channing
Release Date: April 12, 2023
Genre: M/M Romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi
Tropes: Special abilities, futuristic
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 40 000 words
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger
If he was honest with himself, Sean would have to admit that he absolutely hated the idea of an interview on the national television, having to talk publicly about his abilities, answer questions, and listen politely to the truly ridiculous ideas some baseline humans had about Amplified. Some of it was pure reflex, because only a part of his life was public. The other one, where he could sense what other people were feeling and change it at will, he was used to hiding. Besides, there was still a risk associated with openly admitting he was Amplified, an Empath at that. But there were two reasons why he 'd made this decision, personal feelings notwithstanding.
One, he needed to improve public image of Amplified. A lot of his plans depended on that, and the campaign had been underway for years at this point, even if it ramped up now with Amplified demanding that persecution based on their powers stop and fair treatment be given from baseline humans, be it government agencies or private people.
Two, too many people already knew he was an Empath and not being public about it was sooner or later going to bite him on the ass, and Sean hated being unprepared.
Hence why he was now in a studio of popular talk show, ready to answer questions about his deepest secrets and fears. The interviewer, a dark-haired lady who’d hosted the popular show for more than five years, was excited. The audience present in studio...was mixed, he concluded after a perfunctory scan. His safety was not in question. The show producer was thrilled with this opportunity. Amplified were a hot topic and Foundation, a covert agency which protected and advocated for them, even more. This was going to drive their ratings through the roof. The producer wasn’t going to let anything happen to Sean. Sean, who also wasn't a naive fool, hadn't come alone, but no one blinked an eye at the young billionaire coming with a set of bodyguards.
And of course, Sean was also dangerous without anyone's help. But he was here to convince everyone it was the opposite.
He sat on the couch and waited patiently while the stylist made minute adjustments to his makeup. The stylist gave the host a thumbs-up and retreated. Then the cameras were on and Sean faced millions watching him on their screens at home.
He listened while the host greeted everyone, knowing that, even now, he was being recognized and rumors were already beginning to fly. They didn't publicize his name when they were advertising this episode of the show, just that the guest was someone from Foundation. Foundation had confirmed it but also kept mum on the identity of their leader. It led to a frenzy on the internet as guesses piled up.
Bianca, the hostess, ran through her opening spiel and greeted the audience, some of whom, he noted with amusement, definitely recognized him. Bianca gave a quick summary of Foundation, basically their role and their decision to finally go public about what they had been doing for Amplified in recent years. Finally, she turned to him.
"I reached out to Foundation hoping for an interview. With the Amplified rights recently in public focus, Foundation is the entity that we are getting most of our information from."
"We are not the only organization for Amplified, but we are one of bigger ones and pride ourselves on being a resource for all Amplified," Sean agreed.
"Foundation is not a clandestine scary organization that some are imagining it to be," Bianca continued. "You are registered as a charitable organization and do operate legally."
"Mostly, yes. The existing charity was the basic frame that we used to develop Foundation. Sorry, I'll use this name instead of the official one, since that's how most Amplified know about us and how the public has learned about us. We help everyone," he stressed, and he wasn't lying, "but most of our efforts are focused on Amplified."
Some of those efforts were not so legal, but up until now both Foundation and government were pretending they didn't know that.
"Foundation was founded by you personally."
"And you are..." She trailed off delicately. She was good, he had to admit, building expectation from the audience both here and those watching them at home. She was going to let him say it.
"My name is Sean, and my family owns Pharma L. Most of Foundation money comes from there," he answered readily. He took a deep breath as the camera zoomed in on him, and he could see his reflection in one of the screens hanging on the side.
No way back now.
"I wasn’t expecting you here today," she admitted with a smile. "You are, after all, a celebrity in your own right."
"I wouldn’t put it that way…" Sean demurred.
"You are heir to Pharma L, and besides being filthy rich"—she paused to allow their audience to savor the phrase—"you are also known to be heavily involved in company R&D and already own several patents."
Pharma L did market that fact. It was not a secret. Sean had never been ashamed of his intelligence. He was not ashamed of his other abilities either, but up until now, they weren’t public.
"So you created Foundation. When they were talking to me, they let me know there was a personal aspect to your decision. You are also Amplified."
His company's shares were likely going to sink after this revelation, but the Amplified now had enough backing that they would recover, maybe even increase their value. He wasn’t worried about that.
"An Empath, precisely," she clarified.
About the Author
Sunny loves romantic stories with a dash of danger and happily ever after. Yes, both reading and writing them. It's what takes up most of her time. The rest of it is spent on thinking about new books she wants to read and characters who want their story to be told.