Sixteen-year-old Annabelle Scott lives under the iron rule of a female-dominated régime that forces males to fight to the death to train the military elite. When pressed into service as a mechanized warrior to capture escaped boys, Annabelle stays true to herself by helping some escape. Her defiance endangers everyone she loves and thrusts her to a place of impossible life and death decisions.
Geo Shaw is a young Outlands frontiersman and a sworn enemy of the female-dominated Federal Union. Nineteen-year-old Annabelle Scott is a Union Mechanized Warrior charged with killing Outland rebels. During a skirmish, she should kill Geo but instead lets him escape, which mystifies them both. In a political power play, Annabelle is given to the Outland Warlord as a bride. She has no other choice than to get Geo’s help—but now there’s a bounty on him and his father. Betrayed by their own people, Annabelle and Geo have to overcome mutual distrust to rely on each other in order to survive.
Tell us a little about yourself and the story you’re in. What should we know about you?
Annabelle: That’s a bit tricky, you see, because everything I say and do is being watched and overheard, as you will learn in The Rebel Trap. Here, let me mask the connection. There.
I didn’t ask for any of this, really. I’m sixteen, forced to be a cop intern, recently arrested for fighting, actually protecting my younger sister Janine from a bully. For that, they kicked me out of high school, and coerced me into trying out for the elite Mechanized Warriors.
I guess it all began when that same Mech outfit took me from my birth mother when I was three. That pain still gnaws at me every night. It’s an ache I can’t share with my sisters, even Janine, with whom I share most things, well, before I got these tracking devices implanted. See, she doesn’t know we’re not biological sisters. When her mom adopted me after my mother was taken away, she made me promise to keep my adoption secret. We have entirely too many secrets to keep, which is hard now that my Mech commander can see and hear everything I do.
To add to the secrets, my commander officially kicked me out of the Mechs and kept me on as a spy to ferret out secrets within a corrupt police department run by my captain during my cop intern days. Did I mention that males have either fled to the Outlands or wound up in prison or as targets to train Mech warriors in the arena? Well, boys are outcasts and I’d never seen one until six weeks ago. When he was caught, I couldn’t kill him in the arena, which was the official reason for kicking me out of the Mechs. Now he has hacked into my implants to pester me to help his younger brother.
I just want to scream, but that bring two voices. My commander would tell me to suck it up. Morgan would be more consoling while adding pressure to help.
What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Annabelle: It was a bit strange at first climbing into a guy’s head, but I found him quite open to listening to my tale, most of the time. Whenever he trotted off, letting his imagination take hold, I had to reel him back in to telling the story as it happened. You know how guys like to embellish?
One of the hardest parts for him to get was how I could remember events when I was three. He kept telling me no one remembers back that far. Well, one night, I decided to roll the tape of that day long ago, over and over. Let’s just say he looked horrible in the mirror the next morning. After that, he became a better listener.
Do you like being a character in the book?
Annabelle: I like that the author wrote down my story. After being unable to share even my thoughts while my commander was monitoring me, it’s a relief to finally talk about what happened. It was important to get it down before I began to doubt the mess I’d gotten myself into. I also needed to let others know in the hope they could prevent what I had to go through.
How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Annabelle: I am reminded of something I once heard, something like this: “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to stand back and let it.” Yes there are problems and perhaps more than we deserve, but my adoptive mom taught me to never give in. I try to live up to her spirit as a leader of the opposition in a society that ostracizes those who don’t toe the line.
What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Annabelle: I was glad the author told my stories in The Rebel Within and The Rebel Trap. I appear as co-protagonist in Rebels Divided. I have other stories to tell, but I can see the author has taken to writing a new series. These stories take place in a world faced with abrupt climate change, with an interesting girl protagonist I’d like to get to know. Perhaps after that I’ll bug him to tell more of my stories.