“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.”
Addison Wade – the granddaughter of Oliver Wade, the dominant Committeeman and CEO of Wade Corporation – has a secret she must hide from everyone, even her own grandfather. She is Conditioned, but thanks to the efforts of her late father, she is able to control it...until her nephew Jeremy is kidnapped and Addison is forced to ask for help from the manager of Safe Dawn, the local Conditioned holding facility. While there, she must hide her secret at all costs. If she is caught broadcasting or her power escapes and causes damage, not even being a member of the powerful Wade family will keep her from being incarcerated in Safe Dawn, with all the other Conditioned.
Spencer Lewis is Safe Dawn's most talented dark space walker and telepath. He's the one man Addison wants searching for her nephew, but Spencer has just lost his partner, a woman he'd counted as a friend since childhood and the one person he could count on to anchor him to reality when he walked the dark plane searching for the missing. Without her, Spence couldn't go as deep into dark space as he needed to go to find Jeremy, but he could still go deeper than anyone else could with a partner and still find his way back to reality on his own.
As with most Conditioned, Spence hates the Wades, especially Oliver Wade, who'd headed the original campaign to confine the Conditioned in institutions that have kept many imprisoned, some never seeing daylight. The moment he sets eyes on the beautiful ice-cold Addison and learns she's a Wade, the last thing he wants to do is help her. Yet, there's something about her that draws him to her plight. And it's not the fact that he's never turned down a request to search for a missing child. When Spence agrees to help her find Jeremy, he and Addison quickly discover there's more at work in Jeremy's abduction than a simple kidnapping for ransom. In a world where nothing is as it should be, they quickly find that Addy isn't the only one with a secret—secrets that will change everything they think they know and feel, especially about each other.
Eye Contact by Rebecca Royce, the first book in The Conditioned series, is so nail-bitingly suspenseful, I'm thinking MOVIE script here, folks! This book and series ventures into new territory for Ms. Royce, and I'm wondering why she didn't take the leap much sooner. Eye Contact is, by far, the best book she's written thus far in her career. The many riveting twists and turns are far from predictable and keep you turning pages to find out what happens next. Addy and Spence are strong enough to meet and deal with every challenge thrown at them. The sexual tension between them builds steadily, and while the love scenes move the story forward, the plot alone provides a solid foundation for future series installments.
By the end of the story, there are a number of characters introduced who virtually cry out for their own books. In particular, the mysterious Roman – Spence's older brother and a powerful member of the Fury, the law enforcement arm of the Committee – caught my eye. But all the characters, their individual character traits and talents and the predicaments they get themselves into are entertaining to say the least, and highly unique in the way Ms. Royce developed and interwove them all into her solid, fast-paced plot. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a top-notch author, a level Ms. Royce has arguably (as everyone has their opinion and this one's mine) achieved with this book.
Needless to say, I can't wait to read book two, Embraced, which is Ben and Seven's story! FYI: I have it all loaded up on my Nook and ready to go!