Slave to Sensation

By: Nalini Singh


Animal Instincts

She was tall but there was nothing willowy about her. The woman’s body had more dangerous curves than should be legal on one of her race. In spite of the black pantsuit and stiff white shirt she wore like corporate armor, he could tell her breasts would overflow his hands. When she bent to examine something on the ground, he almost gave in to the urging of his beast. The curve of her hip was sensually female, her bottom a heart-shaped enticement.

Her head turned as if in response to his intent gaze, and despite the distance separating them, he could almost taste the earthy sensuality she tried to bury. Frowning at his own thoughts, he began to walk toward her. The Psy weren’t sensual. They were about as close to mechanical as you could get and still remain human. But there was something different about this one, something he wanted to sink his teeth into . . .





PROLOGUE

Silence

In an effort to reduce the overwhelming incidence of insanity and serial killing in the Psy population, the Psy Council decided, in the year 1969, to instigate a rigorous program called Silence. The aim of Silence was to condition young Psy from birth. The aim of the conditioning was to teach them not to feel rage.

However, the Council soon discovered that it was impossible to isolate that one emotion. In 1979, after a ten-year debate over the millions of minds in the PsyNet, it was decided to change the aim of Silence. Its new mission was to condition young Psy to feel nothing. Not rage, not jealousy, not envy, not happiness, and certainly not love.

Silence was a resounding success.

By the year 2079, when the fifth or sixth generation of Psy are being conditioned, everyone has forgotten that they had ever been any other way. The Psy are known to be icily controlled, inhumanly practical, and impossible to push to violence.

They are the leaders of government and business, eclipsing both humans and changelings, races that allow their animal natures to rule them. With mental capabilities running from telepathy to foresight, telekinesis to psychometry, the Psy consider themselves a step up the evolutionary ladder.

In keeping with their nature, they base all their decisions on logic and efficiency. According to the PsyNet, their mistake rate is close to nil.

The Psy are perfect in their Silence.





CHAPTER 1

Sascha Duncan couldn’t read a single line of the report flickering across the screen of her handheld organizer. A haze of fear clouded her vision, insulating her from the cold efficiency of her mother’s office. Even the sound of Nikita wrapping up a call barely penetrated her numbed mind.

She was terrified.

This morning, she’d woken to find herself curled up in bed, whimpering. Normal Psy did not whimper, did not show any emotion, did not feel. But Sascha had known since childhood that she wasn’t normal. She’d successfully hidden her flaw for twenty-six years but now things were going wrong. Very, very wrong.

Her mind was deteriorating at such an accelerating rate that she’d begun experiencing physical side effects—muscle spasms, tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, and those ragged tears after dreams she never recalled. It would soon become impossible to conceal her fractured psyche. The result of exposure would be incarceration at the Center. Of course no one called it a prison. Termed a “rehabilitation facility,” it provided a brutally efficient way for the Psy to cull the weak from the herd.

After they were through with her, if she was lucky she’d end up a drooling mess with no mind to speak of. If she wasn’t so fortunate, she’d retain enough of her thinking processes to become a drone in the vast business networks of the Psy, a robot with just enough neurons functioning to file the mail or sweep the floors.

The feel of her hand tightening on the organizer jolted her back to reality. If there was one place she couldn’t break down, it was here, sitting across from her mother. Nikita Duncan might be her blood but she was also a member of the Psy Council. Sascha wasn’t sure that if it came down to it, Nikita wouldn’t sacrifice her daughter to keep her place on the most powerful body in the world.

With grim determination, she began to reinforce the psychic shields that protected the secret corridors of her mind. It was the one thing she excelled at and by the time her mother finished her call, Sascha exhibited as much emotion as a sculpture carved from arctic ice.