Eye Contact: Conditioned #1

❝  What did a man do when he got everything he'd ever wanted
but knew he could never keep? ❞

Eye Contact
Rebecca Royce
The Conditioned, book one
Published March 4th 2011 by Decadent Publishing
ISBN 2940011217203

Thirty years ago, after the breakdown of an oil negotiation, the President of the United States decided that all people born with unusual abilities, which he would now refer to as “the condition”, would be locked away from the general public where they couldn't harm others. Parents and loved ones of these people, most of whom were children, were forced to turn them in upon penalty of death. Formed to keep the institutions secure, the Committee for the Protection of a Free Society now rules these institutions with an iron fist.

The granddaughter of one the Committee members, Addison Wade has lived her life wary of the institutions and all they represent. A woman of secrets, she is forced to turn to Safe Dawn, one of the facilities designed to hold conditioned people, when her nephew is kidnapped and, despite her best efforts, cannot be recovered. She knows the last thing anyone in 'Safe Dawn' will want to do is to help a Wade with any problems, but she is desperate and out of options.

Spencer Lewis is famous for being the premier conditioned ‘locator.’ There's no one he can't find and he has a soft spot for missing children. But, Spencer has been through a trauma and locating Jeremy Wade may be dangerous both to himself and to those around him. In addition, he takes one look at ice cold Addison Wade and wants nothing more than to knock her down a peg. Never having turned down an opportunity to help a child, he reluctantly agrees to help recover Jeremy.

In a world where nothing is as it seems and every person they encounter has his own agenda, Addison and Spencer will find that the only people they can trust are each other. But how can anyone fall in love living in a world that wants you dead just for being born?

Years ago, children around the world began to show evidence of possessing psychic abilities. Soon, their talent became feared, and in America, they were herded into institutions and laws were passed that any who withheld the children from the government would be considered terrorists and killed for their treachery.

Present day, Safe Haven provides these Conditioned with a home. They have no rights, no property, no true family. To even defend themselves against the violence of the rest of the populace means instant death. Among them is Spencer Lewis, whose powers enable him to find missing children.

When Addison Wade, granddaughter of the man responsible in many ways for the horrible treatment of the Conditioned, seeks his aide to find her nephew, it is at a time when he is only half capable. His anchor, the partner that which kept him grounded during his psychic travels, has been put to death. But despite his current situation, he can't refuse Addison. The man is smitten, and a little arrogant.

It's been a long while since I've gotten excited over a character's entrance. Not since Kaylin and Severn's reunion in Sagara's Cast in Shadow six years ago. But I did get a smile out of Spencer's explosive hysterics. The guy has lived a shell of a life. The world considers him property, and a threat. No one's ever cared about him but he does what good he can just in case there's a chance he might have in heaven when it's all over. Oh, how I loved him.

This series is going to completely eclipse my memory of the Westervelt Wolves. Royce did remarkably well in creating this world of prejudice and ignorance and molding characters who help bring it all home. This is an author who's made it to a whole new level. Easily one of the best I've read this year. 5 out of 5 stars.

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