Fire and Ice Young Adult and New Adult Books

The Como Chronicles #2

Twell

and the Rebellion

by Kate O'Leary



"Twell" by Kate O'LearyTwell's life is complicated. Her world has been attacked for precious water resources, and loved ones have died. Thrown into the Army Of Powers, Twell is forced to continue training her telekinetic gifts for the looming war.

As if that wasn't stressful enough, she's in love with a boy who was not chosen for her, and her genetic match believes in obeying the Governing Body's laws, and fighting for Twell, whether she likes it or not.

When Twell begins to question her rights, she manages to invoke a rebellion against the Governing Body she never could have imagined. Twell finds herself in more danger than ever, both from the enemy planet who want to destroy her world, and her own people, who will punish her for fighting for love and free will.

To save the ones she loves, Twell must choose what's worth fighting for, despite the consequences.


 

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Dystopian
Fantasy
Romance
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Teens


Prologue

I looked up into the eyes of my genetic match and discovered I was very far from happy.

It wasn’t because I didn’t choose him myself, or because the Governing Body had forced me into it. As much as I resented and secretly planned to fight it, that wasn’t the reason I was freaking out. It wasn’t because he was hideous either, because he definitely wasn’t. I watched him rake back a flop of fair hair from his face, while fathomless silver eyes gazed back at me. His mouth turned up in a tentative smile of wonder, and my heart beat faster in alarm. It wasn’t even because he wasn’t the boy I was already in love with, the one I was going to find a way to be with. It was because I knew him. Or at least, I’d already met him. And he had not made a good first impression.

“It’s you,” he breathed, his voice soft with delight. His molten eyes swirled enticingly, luring me into their depths.

But I was prepared this time, my eyes narrowing to slits of warning as I took a rapid step away from him. “You,” I hissed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“You’re mad?” He frowned, considering the possibilities as to why. There could have been several reasons, apart from the predicament of being unwillingly matched to a virtual stranger. Such as the fact he tried to hypnotize me with his fancy powers the first time he met me. Sooooo not okay.

“Let me make my feelings perfectly clear for you.” I conjured a tone cold enough to intimidate ice off a berg. “If you so much as twinkle one of those despicable weapons you call eyes at me again, I guarantee you’ll experience front row tickets to the Twell’s Power Show.” If I said something like that to Jonaz, he would’ve smirked at me in a way that ignited my temper, or laughed in my face because he always saw right through my defences. Because he knew me. But Avin’s eyes widened in shock at my threat and I was glad. I wouldn’t make it easy for him. It was already too hard to bear.

“I didn’t mean to hypnotize you in Aran.” Avin’s tone seemed earnest, as he studied my face. “But there was so much in your expression that day. Loss, fear…despair. I felt drawn to you... I thought we connected.”

“Well. You thought wrong.” I folded my arms across my chest, inexplicably cold, despite the matching room being pleasantly heated. I shivered as I tried to conceal the panic and fear behind my anger.

“I’m sorry then, Twell,” Avin said softly.“Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot.”

I stared at him in surprise. That phrase was totally vintage, an ancient saying from our ancestors of old earth. It was a quirky expression for someone my own age. But it was also a distraction, and I really needed to stay focused.

“Look,” I muttered, avoiding his gaze. “Don’t waste your time bothering to be polite, or trying to win me over. I’m in love with someone and when this war is over we’re going to find a way to be together.”

Avin inhaled sharply, as if I’d insulted him. It was his turn to take a step back and I glanced up involuntarily, meeting his stricken gaze. “You mustn’t say that.” His voice was already higher and smoother in comparison to Jonaz’s voice, but his tone stepped up another level in hushed warning as he glanced furtively around the small room containing us. I noticed he didn’t say, ‘you mustn’t do that.’ I knew it was because he didn’t believe I ever could. Like Avin, I found myself scanning the room for a window or camera where they could be listening or watching. Even though they’d told us the matching ceremony was one of few private moments we were allowed in our carefully monitored lives, I wasn’t sure I had enough faith in them left to believe it.

“You’ll be punished.” Avin’s tone dropped low, heavy with foreboding. “It will only lead to heartbreak.”

“My heart’s already breaking.” I struggled not to raise my voice at him. “So if they want to punish me for desiring free will, then so be it. That’s my choice.”

It closely resembled the one I’d received from my trainer, Brazin, when I told him I wouldn’t follow all of the Governing Bodies orders without questioning them; that I couldn’t, for fear of losing my soul in the process. It was a look of pity and it ticked me right off.

“But that’s the thing, Twell.” Avin’s luminous eyes darkened as though a storm was brewing. “You don’t have to make a choice. You just need to obey our leaders. They already know what’s best for us. I’m sure they’ve matched us for a reason.”

Anxiety bloomed inside my ribs, pushing against my lungs until I felt breathless. “They’ve matched our DNA, Avin, not our hearts.” My voice shook despite my efforts to sound firm. “That can never be enough for me and it’s too much of me to give them.”

“But they only want your obedience.” Avin’s eyes, as they held mine, were uncomfortably searching. “It’s me you would be giving your heart to.” I could hear the desperation mixed with uncertainty in his tone. He didn’t have a clue how to handle my insubordination. I knew it scared him, but I couldn’t blame him. It scared me too.

“I can’t give myself to you if it was never my choice, don’t you see?” my voice finally rose in agitation. “Are you really happy to be forced into a match with someone you don’t even know or love?”

“Give me a chance to know you.” Avin raked a hand through his shoulder length hair and began to pace the room, his features growing tight with distress. Guilt pricked sharply at me as I observed him and I knew I had to be careful my actions didn’t hurt him. As unsure of his sincerity as I was, I didn’t want him or anyone else punished because of me.

“Okay, you’re right.” I sighed in insincere defeat. I’d pacify him now, while we needed to be seen complying, and then fly for the stars later. Avin swung back to face me and I prepared to look away again, but the storm had been calmed, his eyes clear and still, and fathomless.

“Just give me a chance,” he pleaded gently. “Give me a chance to earn your trust, even if you don’t trust our leaders’ decisions right now.”

“Yeah right.” I snorted, giving no indication as to which of his words I didn’t believe.

“Please, Twell.”

A panicky shiver rippled over my skin as Avin stepped closer, my mind beginning to thrum in warning as he cautiously extended his hand. My muscles coiled; ready to block his powers if I had to. Instead, he reached out, lightly touching my face in the traditional Comian greeting…for those who were familiar with each other. I froze, my body tensing up as stiff as a statue, as his fingers brushed my cheek. They felt cool and firm, but his smile was warm and gentle. I held my breath, willing myself not to react. But deep inside of me, where I couldn’t hide my fear, my heart drummed at a frantic pace.

For a tiny moment, caught in his gaze, I imagined what it would be like to give in. I could just accept him and the life already chosen for me. It would be so easy and although I didn’t want to acknowledge it, there was something compelling about him, a kind of gentleness that promised an easier way. Then I thought of Jonaz Maven and how I knew I’d fight everything I’d ever known, just to be with him. It wouldn’t be easy at all. It would be impossibly hard. Unheard of. Dangerous... Illegal.

But giving in was harder. There was so much more to lose by giving in. Jonaz had promised me we would find a way. Until then, I knew I’d have to watch my mouth, as well as my behaviour. There was so much to get through first, a war to fight, lives to protect, enemies to defeat. So much to survive before there was even a chance to fight for love. Before I could have any hope.

Hope for my future was the thing driving me forward. Giving me strength. It wasn’t the only thing, but it was everything.

Be careful, I silently willed myself. Be brave. Looking up into the endless depths of Avin’s hopeful eyes, I lifted my hand to his own cheek, forcing myself to smile. And so my own battle began.