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Title: Talented

Author: Sophie Davis

Synopsis: If you always knew what people were really thinking, would you consider it a gift or a curse?

Talia Lyons is Talented. She possesses the ability to read the minds of others and manipulate their thoughts. Ever since she witnessed the brutal murders of her parents, Talia has spent her life honing her abilities, with her heart set on vengeance. Now she is poised to face the man responsible, but duplicity causes Talia to doubt herself and her powers. In the wake of this betrayal, Talia turns to a boy who can mimic her Talents, a boy who truly understands her inner turmoil. But even he can’t help Talia when she’s forced to choose between saving herself and avenging the lives of her parents.

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My parents’ deaths had been quick. One cold metal bullet to the side of my father’s head was all it took to steal the life of the man whose lap I curled up in every night before bed so he could tell me a story; the man who brought me cold milk and warm cinnamon sugar cookies when I had nightmares; the man whose warm, dark brown eyes and toothy smile lit up the room every time my mother walked in.

My poor mother, she never stood a chance. Before she could even reach my father, a man in black grabbed her from behind. With one flick of his wrist, a gaping wound appeared across her throat. The man in black tossed her carelessly next to my father’s crumpled form, like she was trash.

I was murderous. The feelings overwhelmed me, stirring in my stomach and rising like bile in my throat; overwhelmed me. Then the horrible, high-pitched shrieking started; it filled my ears, suffocating all of the coherent thoughts in my brain.

I am still not sure if it was the cold, calculated murder of my father, or the careless disposal of my mother – probably both – but I felt something inside of me snap. One minute, I was hiding in the closet with the silk of my mother’s long dresses pulled tight around my face, like curtains trying to block out the brutal scene in the bedroom. The next, I was sitting in the outer room of our hotel suite, surrounded by broken furniture, shattered glass, and the bodies of the men in black. They were all dead.

The blonde man carried a large gun slung over one shoulder, and several smaller ones were tucked at his waist. An entire team of men clamored through the doorway after him. He held up one of his hands, indicating for the men to stay back. He approached me slowly, hesitantly. He was greater than an arms distance away when he tentatively extended one of his large, gloved hands toward me; I had seen people do the same thing with wounded animals.

“Natalia?” he asked in a soft voice. I couldn’t find the energy to even nod my head, I just stared blankly. “Natalia,” he repeated. “My name is Danbury McDonough. Do you remember me? I’m friends with your daddy.” I rewarded him with another of my blank stares. “Natalia, are you hurt?” He took my silence as an indication that I was not.

He placed me in the back seat of the waiting vehicle. I curled into a ball as he covered me with dry blankets. My body and mind were numb, impervious to the rain and cold. He tucked the red and black fabric under my chin. I was vaguely aware that the material was itchy against my skin, but I didn’t move it away.

I could hear the soft ping of the raindrops hitting the metal roof of the car, keeping perfect time with the tears leaking on to the soft leather seat and pooling underneath my cheek. I tried to concentrate on the noise instead of the slideshow of my parents’ deaths playing on the inside of my eyelids. I was convinced that the images, now seared into my conscious, would never fade. The feelings I’d had in the closet were now gone, leaving me empty and hollow and tired – so tired. I closed my swollen eyes and willed my own mind blank.

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Author Bio

Sophie moved to Washington, D.C. after graduating from Penn State University to pursue a career in the Sciences. After deciding to actually write down one of the stories she makes up in her head, Sophie began the long journey towards her first full-length novel, Talented. Caged is her second novel, and the second in the Talented Saga. When Sophie isn't hunched over her computer, she can be found shopping in Georgetown, running in Rock Creek Park, or at the local dive bars in her Columbia Heights Neighborhood.

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