Short Stories 366:273 — “Tangled Up in You,” by Suleikha Snyder

Okay, so we all know how I feel about superhero stories, so likely it will be a surprise to none of you how much I squeed out about this story once I realized it took place in an academy for people with gifts, and how the main character was a woman who has powers much like a poison-dart frog (no, really, don’t touch). Then we add in the other hero, a guy who has perfect control of things he aims/throws and, well, we’ve basically got a Rogue-Gambit thing going on here, only done with Snyder’s amazing sizzle and a tonne of awesome world-building. So, needless to say, Prem Numbers continues to deliver what I love.

“Tangled Up in You” begins with Rohini, the aforementioned toxic-to-the-touch woman, going by the codename Krait (though she points out she actually should be called “beesh konna,” were someone getting the Indian legend correct). She learns that Archer, the only guy who ever got under her skin (and who she nearly killed via a single kiss), is coming back, and she’s not okay with that, but she doesn’t really get a vote. When said gorgeous Black man returns, all Cajun accent and world-wise from wherever he’s been, she’s all the more determined to shut him out. She can’t, but she’s determined to.

Of course, he says he’s learned something very important about her powers, and all it’ll take is a bit of trusting him to find out. Of course, she doesn’t trust him at all, she just wants him, and that’s the whole problem. Snyder ratchets up the tension between the two, dripping out little bits of teasing world-building alongside the resolution of the will-they/won’t-they, and the end result is more of the scorch I’m starting to expect. It’s a great story, and hey, like I said: superheroes.

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