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, heês 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 inventorês college, where those without magic develop steam-powered technology. The two men share a mutual attraction, and whatês more, Thorn just might be Kennethês lifemateãthe man who, with just his presence, can double Kennethês magical power.
Kennethês 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 othersãand along the way, Kenneth might even learn the sensitivity he needs to win over Thorn.
But Thorn quickly learns that winning over Kennethês 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 vulnerableãbut 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 Tomês idea of revenge against Ruthen, but into love with the outcast mage.
Kenneth and Thorn have infiltrated a noble’s mansion as part of their mission as Enforcers. They hope to discover more about the Iris, a group of mages who threaten to overthrow their government and abuse those without magic to do it.
What they discover at the mansion of one of the oldest and richest noble mage families is more than just promises of wealth. They will have to stay hidden and fight past twisted mind magic in order to discover the Iris’ true goals. But if they’re too late, the Iris will claim even more victims.
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.