Resonance Surge

Resonance Surge

by Nalini Singh
Resonance Surge

Resonance Surge

by Nalini Singh

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Overview

Where are the broken? That is the propulsive question that unleashes a world of secrets in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s Resonance Surge . . .

StoneWater bears Pavel and Yakov Stepyrev have been a unit since birth, but now Pavel’s life is veering in a new direction, his heart held in the hands of Arwen Mercant, a Psy empath—and the only man who has ever brought Pavel to his knees.

This is it. A point of irrevocable change. For Pavel . . . for Arwen . . . for Yakov . . . and for another pair of twins whose bond has a far darker history.

A low-Gradient Psy, Theodora Marshall is considered worthless by everyone but her violently powerful twin, Pax. She is the sole person he trusts in their venomous family to investigate a hidden and terrible part of their family history—an unregistered rehabilitation Center established by their grandfather.

Places of unimaginable pain designed to psychically wipe minds, leaving the victims shells of their former selves, the Centers are an ugly vestige of the Psy race’s Silent past. But this Center was worse. Far, far worse. And now Theo must uncover the awful truth—in the company of a scowling bear named Yakov, who isn’t about to take a Marshall at face value . . . especially a Marshall who has turned his dreams into chilling nightmares.

Because Yakov is the great-grandson of a foreseer . . . and he has seen Theo die in an unstoppable surge of blood. Night after night after night . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593440711
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/23/2024
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity Series , #7
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 27,092
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

About The Author
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the temples of Japan, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.

She is the author of the Guild Hunter series, including Archangel’s Resurrection, Archangel’s Light, and Archangel’s Sun. She is also the author of the Psy-Changeling novels, including Storm Echo, Last Guard, and Alpha Night, and two stand-alone novels, A Madness of Sunshine and Quiet in Her Bones.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Theodora, I'm being told by your handler that you're refusing to follow orders. Do you or do you not realize that the act you're being asked to perform is the only way in which you can ever be useful to the family?

If you continue to refuse, you become nothing but a drain on our resources, a failure of genetic potential that will need to be addressed-and do not make the mistake of believing that the fact you're the twin of a Gradient 9 gives you a protective halo.

You are now seventeen years old, far beyond the point where the loss of one twin will in any way impact the other. Pax has long forgotten you and is thriving free from the burden that was his bond to you. You are on your own.

-Private message from Marshall Hyde to Theodora Marshall
(12 December 2072)

Blood, there was so much blood on her. It spurted through the hands she'd clasped desperately to her throat, dripped down the bone white of her fingers to stain them a rich scarlet. Her eyes were stark when they met his. And he knew.

She was dying.

Yakov Stepyrev jolted awake, his heart thunder and perspiration hot and damp on the mid-brown of his skin. He whipped his head around, searching for her . . . but of course his room was empty.

Heart yet a bass drum, he dropped his face into his pillow and mumbled, "Govno, Yakov, you're losing it."

It was an effort to flip over onto his back, but once there, he couldn't stay put. He was a bear-usually he liked to linger in the warmth of the bed while hitting the snooze button on his old-school alarm clock. Usually however, he didn't wake with his adrenaline pumping from a violent dream about a woman who didn't exist and had never existed.

He flexed his fingers on the sheets . . . and only then realized his bear's claws, thick and glossy and deadly, had pushed through his skin. Fur brushed against the inside of his body, the animal that was his other half as unsettled and agitated as the human half of Yakov.

Shoving off the sheet, he gritted his teeth and managed to retract his claws, then decided to work off his frenetic fight-ready energy by doing push-ups on the thickly carpeted floor. He did pull on a pair of boxer briefs first, though. He was no blushing violet-he just didn't want his cock kissing the carpet with every rep.

But even the strenuous physical activity did little to redirect his mind from the track on which it was fixated. Her. The woman he'd been dreaming about since he was sixteen.

Never like this, however.

Never with blood, with fear that was chill sweat on his skin.

It had been fun in the beginning, when he was a teen. He'd bragged to his fellow juveniles that he knew exactly what his mate looked like, that he was a step ahead of them when it came to the mating dance. His great-grandfather had been a foreseer, hadn't he?

After the odd experiences both he and his twin had had over the years-when they'd just known things even when those things hadn't yet come to pass-Yakov had been certain his dreams were a glimmer of foresight. It had made sense to him that the dreams were so powerful because they related to the woman who was to be the one for him.

His mate. His heart.

But he wasn't a teen any longer, and he was beginning to question his sanity. The dreams had stopped for years . . . only to return with a bloody and brutal vengeance this past week. Every freaking night. Always the same dream, too-of Yakov in his bear form, walking through the mist of early morning until he realized that he wasn't alone, was walking beside a woman with hair of softest gold and eyes of haunted blue.

She knelt beside him at some point, her hand fisted in his fur as she cried into his neck. Her tears were so hot they burned, and all he wanted to do was change form, take her into his arms. But he couldn't disturb her in her pain, so he just folded his legs to come down to the ground, and he let her cry until all her tears were done, and she could look him in the eyes again.

"I'm sorry," she always said, her voice husky. "It's too late, don't you see?"

Then, without warning came the blood, the terror . . . the dying.

Yakov's muscles quivered as he held a plank, but he couldn't hold back the memory of his rage in the dream, the echo of his bear's growl of repudiation ringing in his ears.

One thing he knew-the dreams hadn't been like this back when he'd been a kid. His mystery woman had been younger then and he'd been in his human form, and though they'd met in the same misty clearing, she'd smiled at him in delighted surprise before they'd run through the flowers like small cubs playing a game.

It had been a thing of sunshine and joy.

Not a horror of scarlet blood and a man made helpless to save his mate.

Giving up on the push-ups when they did nothing to halt his thoughts of her, he sat back on the carpet he'd installed himself despite the ribbing from his clanmates about getting soft. Hah! Hadn't the big, furry mudaks all been jealous afterward and sidled up to him one after the other asking about where to get the same plush carpet?

"Why are you haunting me?" he demanded of the girl become woman he'd never met, never seen. He was starting to wonder if she was someone his great-grandfather had known. Déwei Nguyen had been a powerful F-Psy, the real deal. Yakov and Pavel, in contrast, had only inherited a drop of his talent. With them, it was more a sense of intense intuition, rather than a manageable ability.

To Yakov, it felt like an itch under the skin when he knew he had to do something. He'd learned young not to fight the drive, because it never led him astray. That whisper of foresight had saved his and his twin's skin many a time-whether by warning them that their parents were approaching and they'd better hide all evidence of their illicit activities, or by making them halt in their tracks right before they walked onto a cliff destabilized by a storm.

But Pavel didn't dream about a woman with haunted eyes. Not like Yakov.

"That's because I like boys," Pavel had joked as an older teen, then waggled dark eyebrows identical to Yakov's; his eyes were a distinctive aqua green behind his spectacles, Pavel's vision the only physical difference between the two of them. "Maybe your future mate is Psy and is seducing you with telepathy."

Back then, with the Psy keeping a firm distance from changelings as well as humans, the idea had made Yakov roll his eyes. "It's probably just some kind of weird psychic memory inherited from Denu." The word he and Pavel used to refer to their great-grandfather didn't officially come from any of the languages spoken inside their family unit.

Not Pavel and Yakov's native Russian. Not their great-grandfather's first languages of Vietnamese and Mandarin Chinese that their beloved babushka Quyen had taught them pieces of, not the English spoken by their wickedly funny babushka Graciele, nor the Portuguese spoken by their paternal grandfather, Wacian.

According to their mother, as toddlers, they'd heard family members talking about their great-grandfather and tried to replicate his name, but in their baby mouths, Déwei Nguyen had come out sounding like "denu" and that was that. Their grandmother Quyen, one of Déwei's two children with his bear mate, had refused to allow anyone to correct them, and so he was forever Denu to Yakov and Pavel.

The two of them had been born after their denu passed, but their grandmother had told them stories about him that made him come alive. "He was so handsome and he had such a laugh, boys," their babushka would say. "His eyes would crinkle up at the corners, and it would just spill out of him." Her own lips curving, her eyes awash with happy memories.

Later, when they were older, she'd told them the other side of her father's life. "He was a man of heart and honor, my papa, but he had such sorrow inside him." Déwei, she'd told them, had already been mated when the Psy race embraced Silence, his home the StoneWater den.

"He never once considered leaving my mama-he adored her to his dying breath." A smile potent with memory. "But he did miss his own parents and siblings terribly. I was born after the Psy embraced Silence, so I never met them. As an adult, I asked him about them, and he said they were afraid they wouldn't be able to maintain an emotional distance if they continued to stay in touch."

She'd shown them a picture of her parents in the twilight of their life, Déwei Nguyen's hair a shock of silky white and his face creased with laugh lines as he stood with his arm around his laughing mate, her hair a tumble of silver that yet retained a hint of the vivid red from images of her youth.

"You two love as fiercely as he did." Their grandmother's eyes had shone wet, her throat moving as she swallowed. "Always hold on tight to you and yours-and don't allow politics to come in between. That's what my papa taught me. Love is a far greater gift."

"I could use your help today, Denu," Yakov said now. "Who is she? A girl you had a crush on as a youth? Good thing your Mimi never knew." According to their grandmother, that had been his affectionate pet name for his mate, Marian Marchenko.

"Hot-tempered, my mama was," Babulya Quyen had said with a laugh when they'd asked about their great-grandmother. "She apparently chased him down with a skillet once during their courtship, after she mistakenly thought he was making eyes at another bear. Shows you my father's charm that he not only got her to put down that skillet-but convinced her to make him pancakes on it!"

It was one of Yakov's favorite stories of his great-grandparents' enduring love affair. Smiling at the memory of the story, he rose off the floor, and seeing that the hand-knitted blanket on his bed was trailing over the side, he threw it back up. The blanket was terrible. Full of dropped stitches and wild lines. But their mother knit to "relax, damn it" and it always made Yakov grin when he woke and saw her efforts.

Mila Hien Kuznets was the least relaxed person Yakov knew, and he'd have her no other way.

But today, even the sight of his mother's knitting had no impact on the tension knotting his veins. He flexed his hands, unable to forget the blood. No matter what he might want to believe, this wasn't about a childhood crush of his great-grandfather's. It was too grim, held too much portentous weight to it.

Jaw clenched, he walked into the bathroom, stripped off his briefs, then stepped into the shower. A wet room carved out of the stone of the den, it featured a lush fern that thrived in the natural light system that ran throughout the den except where it had been overridden on purpose.

Yakov was happy to shower in the soft glow of cool dawn light that echoed the world outside. Who was she? The question would no doubt-

A scream pierced his eardrums, so harsh and pained that it took him a split second to realize it was coming from inside his own fucking mind. Hand slamming against the stone of the wall, he tried to gasp in a breath, but it was too late. The waking dream accelerated, and suddenly, he was standing in front of a weathered gate of wrought iron through which coiled thick green vines, a sense of urgency pumping inside him.

He twisted toward her, but she was already turning away to double over, her arm pressed against her stomach as if wounded. Yakov's bear threatened to take over, make him run to her, help her.

But he couldn't.

Yakov struggled against the invisible ropes that held him in place, but no matter how much strength he put into it, he couldn't move . . . because he had no right to touch her.

"Fuck!" He snapped out of the nightmare or whatever the hell it had been to find himself still standing under the water.

Claw marks scored the stone.

MOSKVA GAZETA

30 August 2083

BREAKING NEWS

Second Victim Fits Profile

Authorities in Enforcement continue to refuse to confirm speculation of a serial killer after yesterday's discovery in the Izmaylovo District of a second victim who fits the same victim profile as the first: Varisha Morozov, age 29.

The name of the second victim has not yet been released; however, Enforcement did verify that this victim, too, was a Psy woman in her twenties with blue eyes and blond hair.

When asked if young Psy women, especially those with blond hair and blue eyes, should be concerned, Enforcement Commissioner Yaroslav Skryabin stated that there is no reason to panic. "We are in the very early stages of the investigation. To throw around wild theories at this juncture would be both precipitous and inappropriate."

The commissioner also stated that at this point, there is no evidence of the killer being a fellow member of the Psy race. "Given the method of murder, they could as easily be human or changeling" was his only further comment on the subject.

That method of murder has not been released by the authorities. While the Gazeta does have sources close to the investigation, the Gazeta's internal ethics board has agreed to Enforcement's request not to publish that information so as not to prejudice any future judicial case.

To be updated as further information becomes available.

Chapter 2

The restricted rider to Coda 27 of the Silence Protocol applies here. Pax and Theo can be-and must be-separated the instant they hit seven years of age. I'd recommend doing it sooner but the risk of psychic collapse is high. To chance that with a Gradient 9 would be reckless in the extreme.

-Report by PsyMed specialist Dr. Kye Li to Councilor
Marshall Hyde (1 January 2061)

Theodora Marshall buttoned up the crisp white of her shirt, erasing the view of the strip of smooth and pale skin in between the two panels. That skin was so inoffensive, so normal. Look at that and you'd never know what crawled over her back-and twisted inside her mind.

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