Heyo! Today, I’m excited to have Leigh Ann Kopans – the very same author who encouraged me to self-publish UNBREATHABLE – here on the blog, to celebrate the release of her sophomore novel, TWO! First, here’s what the book’s about. Read on for an exclusive excerpt!
Elias and Merrin are on the run.
After escaping the Biotech Hub, they thought they could breathe easy, or at least a little easier. But when bombs slam into the Social Welfare Hub only hours after their arrival, it becomes clear there’s nowhere to hide – and no end to what Biotech will do to get them back.
Their last chance for safety and answers is the Clandestine Service Hub. CS has intel on the real, broader purpose behind Fisk’s experiments , and the newfound knowledge of the horrors hidden deep within Biotech’s walls sends Merrin back to recover a secret formula that could ruin the Supers’ world forever—and might just save the lives of the Biotech victims spiraling out of control.
Elias’ sisters are counted among the victims of Fisk’s experiments, and if Elias can’t find and help them, their powers will destroy them–sooner rather than later. Returning to the place it all began terrifies him, but with Fisk ready to make an example out of Merrin, and his sisters’ lives –and the lives of all Supers–hanging in the balance, he might not have a choice. If he can’t find the courage to face his worst fears, Elias might lose more than his newfound powers.
He might lose everyone he loves.
“We don’t have very many visitors, and those we do have are expected. Someone from the Biotech Hub announcing they’re seeking asylum…well… It’s unusual. That’s why we want you to write down the whole story. Exactly what brought you here. Just so we have a record of your arrival, okay?”
Before either Merrin or I can say anything, she’s left and shut the door. The strong, telltale click a split-second later is the giveaway, but I want to test it anyway, so I get up and push down on the handle. It doesn’t budge.
“Locked in. Why?” Merrin’s eyes go wide for a brief second, mirroring the panic I’m starting to feel, but she quickly focuses on the tablet.
For now, the only thing I can do is the same. I settle into another chair, resigned for the moment. The blank tablet stares up at me, as if mocking my cluelessness. Where do I start? A few days ago, when my parents walked me into the Hub for “some routine tests,” and I woke up strapped to a table, being pumped full of serums and formulas that felt like fire and ice ripping through my body?
When we discovered Merrin’s parents had known about her transference, the rare factor that allows our Ones to combine, since she was born? Before that, when I met Merrin and discovered that, even though I’d only been able to lamely push air away from my body my whole life, when I was with her I felt like I could do anything — even fly? Or a couple weeks later, when I finally touched her and we did fly?
When I was thirteen and realized I would never be more than a One?
When I was a little kid, spending weekends at the Hub that I mercifully don’t remember?
When I was born?
I glance over at Merrin’s tablet, and her screen is already half-full. Apparently, she’s starting at birth.
Those are the cold, hard facts. Inescapable and sometimes barbaric. So how can Merrin stand to write them without a second thought? With enthusiasm even?
Maybe it’ll help if I face the facts, too. Maybe reliving the past will help me let go of it so that we can have a future, somewhere away from pristine Hub offices and intake forms.
“Are you telling them everything?”
She shrugs. “Why not? They’ll figure it out anyway. And maybe they can help us. I know it’s not Biotech, but…”
I can hear it in the way her voice softens, in the way she’s a little breathless between sentences: the hopefulness she always got when she talked about the Hub internship back home. My stomach sinks, but I turn to my tablet and do a quick summary of everything that happened. Just because Merrin’s writing a novel doesn’t mean that I have to.
I set my stylus down in just a couple minutes, but Merrin’s still scribbling. The room is stark-white and cold, and memories start hammering at me. I take a shaky breath just as she finally drops her stylus and leans forward.
She looks into my eyes, and hers are wide and watchful. “You okay? You don’t look so good.”
I shrug, trying to shake off the panic crawling around my shoulders. My thoughts swish around in my head like river rapids, foaming with worry. Are my sisters okay? What happened to the Hub, and what happened to Fisk after he tried to kill us? Do the people at this Hub really know what’s best, and can they even help us at all? What’s going to happen next? What decisions will Merrin and I make from here? Will we make them together?
I want to scoop Merrin up in my arms — just hold her, be wrapped up in her so that the two of us can make up our own universe and not worry about anything on the outside.
We had that for a little while when we spent the afternoons barreling through the Nebraska skies. We were carefree kids then. I want that feeling back.
I almost get it when Merrin reaches up, cups my jaw in her hand, strokes her thumb across my cheek, and stretches her face up to mine. Just one kiss from her puts my whole body on edge, and I touch the back of her elbow to ground myself. Suddenly, I’m insanely, inappropriately focused on the fact that we’re alone in this room together.
Another click from the door. Merrin jerks away, and I’m jolted back to reality. We were alone, but apparently, someone was watching. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that. I should have learned by now that someone’s always watching at a Hub.
So! What did you think of that?
About the Author
Raised on comic books and classic novels, Leigh Ann developed an early love of science fiction and literature. As an adult, she rediscovered her love for not only reading, but also writing the types of fiction that enchanted her as a teen. Her debut novel, ONE, is about a girl with only half a superpower, the boy who makes her fly, and her struggle to make herself whole.
Leigh Ann, her husband, and four children live in Columbus, Ohio. When she’s not immersed in the world of fiction, you can find her obsessing over the latest superhero movie or using her kids as an excuse to go out for ice cream (again.)
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