Bonus deleted scene-Empowered: Agent’s original opening

Empowered: Agent originally had a different opening, earlier, when Mat was still in Special Corrections. The novel worked better beginning later, with her already outside and struggling to hang on to a "normal" life." But I liked the scene, so here it is, offered as a bonus deleted scene. Let me know what you think in comments! *** The rose sang in my mind as the corrections officer frog-marched me into Warden Fulbright's office. It was a song of joy that slammed into me like an ocean wave. I fought not to tremble as the damn flower’s stupid happiness threatened to blow my brain. It had been five years since I’d been connected to my superpower, thanks to the null cuffs I’d worn here in Special Corrections, until this morning. The rose was a miniature white, blooming in a brass pot that sat on a credenza beside a window overlooking the Yard. It was happy, fed, and loving the sunlight that came through thee warden’s big window. Warden Fulbright stood beside the credenza, her back to me and the C.O.. Her hands were clasped behind her, and she stared out at the Yard like the two of us weren’t there. Fear oozed up my spine. The plant’s song was drowning out everything else. I took a deep, slow breath, focusing on the in and out of the air from my lungs. I pulled my special awareness in as tight as I could, and the rose’s singing faded away to a…

The true superpower

What makes a superhero? "The power they possess," you might answer. Sure, but which power? The obvious answer is the one that comes to mind: an extraordinary power like Spidey's "spider powers," Flash's super speed, or Jessica Jones's great strength. But there's another power a super hero has. Their courage. That's the power that let's them get up after being knocked down, and face the villain again, no matter how afraid they may be inside. Courage is the true super power. Firefighters and other emergency rescue folks have it. Doctors and nurses have it. Scientists have it. Inventors have it. Artists. Performers. Police have it. Soldiers have it. People fighting for justice in all walks of life have it. What do you think? Is courage the true superpower?

Goodreads Giveaway for Empowered: Agent

That's right, I'm giving away five print copies of Empowered: Agent on Goodreads! (Alas, this is only for folks who live in the U.S.) You can sign up for a chance winning a signed copy here. The last day will be July 24th. This is my first Goodreads Giveaway, and I'm really looking forward to giving away some print copies! Definitely jump in if you live in the U.S. and would like the print edition of Agent. Please share with anyone you think would appreciate having a chance at a free signed copy, too.