Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.
But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.
But Nick, a mundane, disagrees with the system, and so does his dangerous friend Riki. Their dream is to build their own machine to raise IQ and give people the equal opportunity they deserve. The penalty for this, however, is death, and it must be done in secret.
Unfortunately, Nick is new to crime, and he meets a handsome man in a bar after a hard day at work. When he finds out Julian is an Alpha, he�s nervous, but continues with the flirtation, resulting in a hot couple of nights. When he finds out that Julian is an investigator, he realizes he has put his dream at risk.
A noble goal, and a stupid risk, but will it pay off?
That changes when he meets Thorn, a talentless who is studying at the inventor�s college, where those without magic develop steam-powered technology. The two men share a mutual attraction, and what�s more, Thorn just might be Kenneth�s lifemate‹the man who, with just his presence, can double Kenneth�s magical power.
Kenneth�s ignorance of the lives of the talentless puts an obstacle in their budding relationship, however, and his life grows even worse when another mage at the collegium attacks and nearly kills him. Now Thorn and Kenneth must put aside their argument and find a way to put a stop to a mage who poses a threat to others‹and along the way, Kenneth might even learn the sensitivity he needs to win over Thorn.
But Thorn quickly learns that winning over Kenneth�s parents is the least of his worries. Kenneth has been selected to become an Enforcer, and with Thorn as his lifemate, Thorn has as well. To become Enforcers, they have to pass a test, and their examiners are not always straightforward about what they need to pass. Thorn is uncertain about his chances, and even less certain about whether or not he wants to be an Enforcer at all. He loves Kenneth and wants to stay with him, but as the test goes on he becomes worried if being an Enforcer will really let him help his people, or if he will just be seen as a traitor.
Kenneth assumes Thorn, a talentless, is the one who is most vulnerable‹but when Kenneth is the one put in danger, Thorn will have to find a way to save his lover.
But Thorn is a poor man with no magic, and Kenneth is a noble mage and the son of a war mage who fought against Thorn's people. Not everyone approves of their relationship, and Thorn must face his fears of what a relationship with Kenneth will mean for his future.
But his friend is not dead, and has nurtured his power over water, which is feared by Fire mages. Nathan is swept up not only into Tom�s idea of revenge against Ruthen, but into love with the outcast mage.
Some were left behind, and not all by choice. As one chapter of humanity comes to a close, a soldier who thought he had nothing left and a historian who sees potential even in destruction will make a life out of what remains.