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THE REBEL TRAP (259 pages)
“Don’t be alarmed,” a muted bass voice said directly into my skull.
You know how when someone says think fast, you can’t? My brain scrambled to make sense of this male voice deep inside my head, given that I’d never heard a masculine tone until six weeks ago.
Sandy tugged me forward. “Don’t keep the commander waiting.”
I pulled back. Morgan, what are you doing in my head? It felt like the mech com-link that allowed you to hear another’s projected thoughts. I couldn’t imagine how to turn the blasted thing off, or how to talk to him without Sandy overhearing. I couldn’t let her or the commander think I was crazy on top of everything else. I considered that possibility.
“I haven’t much time,” Morgan said. “My brother hacked your com-link’s auditory implant. Your escape plan failed. Mechs are rounding up the other boys. Your mom’s in danger.”
I froze. I wanted to see Morgan’s face. Yet I didn’t trust all this craziness inside me, as if I wanted more than just to see him. His tone did sound comforting, though, the only really friendly voice since I ran the gauntlet.
Sandy yanked me forward.
“Sorry for being such a bother. I need your help,” Morgan said somewhere inside my skull.
I followed Sandy, shook my head, and mouthed, “No.” As if somehow, he could see that. I’d done my bit. I’d tried to help him escape.
The gravity of my situation sank in. Had Commander Hernandez caught the nurse helping the boys, or connected the escape to Mom? The entire idea had been stupid, a rushed effort because I really liked Morgan, despite having to fight him. I should have had a better plan, but I was not a planner.
How would you feel if you were watched constantly with annoying voices in your head, and they’re real? What would you do if your beliefs were at odds with your restrictive society, and you couldn’t share your innermost fears with anyone? How would you react to an injustice against others, where your involvement will put your life and your family in danger?
These are some of the dilemmas facing sixteen-year-old Annabelle, who rattled around in my head until I wrote her story.
While The Rebel Trap is the second book in the Rebel series, it was written as a standalone story as well, narrated mostly by Annabelle.
She lives in a world where men are exiled, quarantined or forced to fight to the death to train the military elite. She was forced to be a cop intern and when she fought to protect her younger sister, Janine, from a bully, she was arrested, kicked out of high school, and coerced to join the elite Mech Corps that took her parents when she was three. To say she’s a rebel doesn’t begin to cover her angst.
Now, her Mech Corps commander has given her auditory implants and contact cameras so she can watch Annabelle 24/7, and have her spy on her previous police captain. Morgan hacks into her new connections to plead for her help. She could scream, but she didn’t need the added pressure of competing voices in her head, trying to talk her off the ledge.
She’s a pawn in a bigger game, in over her head. The price of failure will be exile from her beloved adoptive family, or death. The fact no one believes she can handle this may be her greatest asset. Can she pull it off?
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