Seventeen-year-old Olivia Dresden is a precognitive.
Since different versions of people’s futures flicker
before her eyes, she doesn’t have to believe in human
decency. She can see the way for everyone to be their
best self-if only they would make the right decisions. No
one is more conflicted than her mother, and Olivia can
only watch as Chairwoman Dresden chooses the dark,
destructive course every time. Yet Olivia remains
fiercely loyal to the woman her mother could be.
But when the chairwoman captures Ryder Russell, the
striking and strong-willed boy from the rebel
Underground, Olivia sees a vision of her own imminent
death…at Ryder’s hand. Despite her bleak fate, she
rescues Ryder and flees with him, drawing her mother’s
fury and sparking a romance as doomed as Olivia herself.
As the full extent of Chairwoman Dresden’s gruesome plan
is revealed, Olivia must find the courage to live in the
present-and stop her mother before she destroys the
Ryder laughs, short and loud and harsh. "That's what you'll
never understand, Chairwoman. We're a family. That means we
"Suit yourself." She shrugs, as if she didn't want him to
cave so easily anyway. She fastens her eyes on her personal
assistant. "I thought you'd cut emotional ties with your
family, Jessa. That they were all but dead to you. At least,
that's what you told me. Remind me again whose side you're on?"
Jessa blinks rapidly, as if she's being roused from a dream.
"I'm on your side, Chairwoman. You know that."
"Prove it." My mother picks up the case of black chips and
holds it out to her.
Jessa looks from Ryder to the chairwoman and then back
again. "What…what do you mean?"
"Prove you're still loyal to me." The chairwoman’s mouth
twists up, and it chills me to the bone. "Prove you won't
let old relationships interfere with your duties. Prove
you're the assistant I thought you were these last six months."
The breath whooshes out of my body, as the implications of
my mother's words hit me in the stomach.
"How am I going to do that?" Jessa asks faintly, as though
she knows exactly what the chairwoman is saying but is still
hoping she's wrong.
"Easy. I'm not going to torture your friend by making him
live other people's nightmares," my mother says. "You are."
Jessa slumps forward, and her shirt lifts, revealing the
handprint birthmark at her waist and the curve of her spine.
I flash forward to her futures. This is an impossible
situation for Jessa. Impossible. She can't jeopardize the
trust she's built over the last six months. She's sacrificed
so much to get this position, and now, she's poised to stop
the chairwoman from committing genocide. And yet, she can't
torture her best friend, either. She may have betrayed her
family, but this would cross a line she won't be able to
This moment, this decision, will break something inside her.
No matter what she chooses, she will hate herself for the
rest of her life. I see the hollow shell she becomes. The
shadow of the strong and selfless girl she used to be.
She'll turn into…me. A girl living on the edge of life. Only
observing but never acting. Helpless to bring about the
change she so desperately wants. Reliant on other people to
do what she thinks is right.
And it makes me want to weep.
I may never have loved anyone as much as Jessa loves Ryder.
But I've seen a nearly infinite number of futures, and I
know what love is. And, as I stand here beside Jessa,
something happens to me. Her heart reaches inside my heart
and squeezes, squeezes, squeezes. Until my entire chest is
one big ache. Until my pathways shrink down to a narrow and
Until I know that there's only one decision I can possibly make.
"I'll do it," I say, stepping forward. "I'll torture our
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