Welcome, one and all to today’s book spotlight! Hot on the heels of my interview with Teri Polen, we’re going to ahve a look at her latest novel The Gemini Connection!
The Gemini Connection
by Teri Polen
Paperback Release Date: May 31, 2018
E-book Release Date: June 7, 2018
Young Adult > Sci-Fi/Fantasy > Thriller
Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.
On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.
When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.
A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.
Ugly. That was the first word that came to mind. Deadly was next.
The twisted creation was courtesy of a new client, a scientist. The nightmare had been tormenting him for the past couple of weeks.
The monster stood roughly fifteen feet tall, walked on two legs, and stretched two muscled arms in front of it, but its elongated head was a grotesque combination of goat and demon. Treacherous horns protruded from either side of its skull, torso, and upper thighs, making it difficult for anyone to get close to the beast. Not that we especially wanted to, but it was part of a Bender’s job requirement to eradicate nightmares. So, we took up battle positions—Syd to its right, me to its left—crouched in anticipation of this formidable creature’s attack.
“I’ll go high, you go low,” I called to Syd. Besides a hideous appearance, the goat thing screeched like a deranged bird, and we strained to hear each other, even with the com units.
“Got it, Evan.” She unsheathed a ten-inch dagger from her utility belt, the silver blade glinting in the eerie cast of yellow-green light in this nightmare-scape. Being somewhat vertically-challenged (she hated it when I said short), Syd might not look intimidating, but give the girl a knife and she was absolutely lethal. The creature’s leg tendons would be sliced to ribbons in seconds.
Syd dived to the creature’s right, spinning and coming up behind it, as she avoided an angry kick to her head. She carved into its left limb, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek.
I withdrew an iron mallet from my own belt and catapulted myself off the wall, soaring over the goat-demon and landing a blow to the left side of its skull. Its head jerked in my direction when I came down on its other side. The sharpened tip of the horn caught the left side of my rib cage, and a warm flow of blood seeped through my shirt. Wouldn’t be the first time I’d walked away from a nightmare with a permanent scar.
Syd scrambled around its legs, careful not to be trampled. Her dagger was a silver blur as she slashed the gray-haired appendages, the goat-demon staggering in its efforts to avoid her blade.
The ground was wet—possibly blood. But with dream or nightmare creations, you couldn’t be sure. Because this thing’s creator was a scientist, they tended to more detail-oriented. Odds leaned in the blood direction.
The light around us took on a red hue. Did the ambient illumination correlate to the creature’s anger level? If yellow-green meant annoyed, did red mean take no prisoners?
I sailed through the air again, keeping my distance from the sharp tips of the two horns, and managed a solid strike to the top of its head between them.
It floundered, the screeches growing weaker, and movements sluggish as liquid spilled down the beast’s face. As the creature slowed, the surrounding light faded to more of a blush color.
Standing to the side, I kept the mallet raised in case Syd needed help. She’d sliced and diced so much that skin, muscles, and tendons hung in shreds around the creature’s legs. It wouldn’t last much longer. “Pull back!”
She nodded that she’d heard me, then somersaulted behind the goat-demon to get out of its path. At the same time, it lurched forward and slipped in the liquid gushing from its wounds, tilting precariously backwards. Toward Syd. Its razor-sharp horns on a direct collision course with her body.
There was no way the goat-demon would miss her.
“Eject, Syd! Now, now, now!”
Without question or hesitation, her hand immediately shot to the cuff strapped around her left wrist and pushed a red button, expelling her from the nightmare. The creature landed hard where Syd had been only seconds earlier. I exhaled in relief, but it was short-lived. I still had to deal with one seriously perturbed goat-demon. On my own, with no backup.
The beast struggled to rise, unsteady on what was left of its legs, determined not to be banished so quickly. It seemed to have gained a second wind, and now there was only one target.
I needed to move fast. My hand reached for the dagger strapped to my belt, and I groaned in annoyance at the empty sheath. It must have fallen out when I’d landed.
I’d stressed to trainees that a backup plan may save their life, and they should always keep other options in mind. Especially when finding themselves in situations such as this. Tightening my hand around the iron mallet, I propelled myself into the air once again. The beast had managed to stand, but instead of flying over him, this time I hovered just above his head.
His arms sliced through the air trying to reach me, but I was pretty agile when it came to the flying thing, and managed to roll and twist around his blows. I drew back the mallet and swung with everything I had, connecting with the goat-demon’s right horn. It shrieked, but the impact with my mallet had nearly ripped the horn from its head, and I readied myself for another strike. I pummeled it once more, wrenched it off the creature’s head, and maneuvered around to the other horn when the goat-demon tried to shish-kabob me.
I increased my speed, flying faster around its head in a random pattern, keeping my movements unpredictable. The com unit crackled in my ear as Charlie, who was still in the lab, checked my status.
“Evan, are you all right? You’re bleeding from your upper torso.”
No time to talk, if my plan was going to work. An attack wasn’t as difficult now, as the monster only had a nonthreatening stump protruding from its head. With the detached horn still clutched in my hand, I faked a turn to the left, rolled to the creature’s right side, and stabbed its eye with the finely-honed appendage, shoving it in until it would go no further. Then I dropped to the ground behind it.
Its wails pierced my ears and echoed off the walls, but I never let my guard down. Sometimes nightmares were surprisingly resilient and recovered quickly.
That didn’t seem to be the case with goat-demon, as its gray, hairy body crumpled and folded in on itself, becoming smaller and smaller until it gradually disintegrated, extinguished with a final whimper.
Shoving the iron mallet back into my belt, I bent over and rested my hands on my knees, gulping in deep breaths. I felt like collapsing myself, but needed to begin my exit sequence.
God, I loved my job.
The Gemini Connection is available at the following locations: