“This book will take your breath away.” —Kim Harrington, author of Clarity and Perception
Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her.
Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.
And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.
Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming…
“Five hot guys, one tough heroine, plenty of romance and non-stop action….Elemental is the new series to watch.” —Inara Scott, author of The Marked
“Magic, suspense, and enough twists to keep you reading until sunrise.” —Award-winning author Erica O’Rourke
The self-defense class had been a waste of sixty bucks.
Becca hadn’t felt like a victim going in, but she sure did
now. When she’d seen the flyers around school advertising a
three-hour session with a “women’s defense specialist,” she’d
been eager to sign up. But the instructor—really just some college
kid named Paul—had been texting half the time, happy
enough to pocket their cash in exchange for halfhearted instructions
about body blocks and eye gouges. She’d lose another Saturday
scrubbing kennels to make this money back.
She’d left her cell phone in her locker, so after class she went
to get it. Her best friend had left fourteen texts about some
drama with her mom, so Becca stood in the shadowed corridor
to write back. Quinn wasn’t exactly patient.
The night air bit at her flushed skin when she slid out the side
door, making her wish she’d brought a heavier jacket—but at
least the promised rain had held off. Darkness cloaked the now
empty parking lot, and her car sat alone near the security lamp
in the middle of the cracked concrete.
This was exactly the kind of situation Paul had warned them
about: secluded and solitary, offering little visibility. But Becca
welcomed the darkness, the silence. She almost wished she
smoked, so she could lie on the car’s hood, flick a lighter, and
make up names for the constellations while nicotine burned her
You should be so cool.
Her key found the lock, but the door handle to her aged
Honda refused to release. She muttered the obligatory prayer,
but nothing happened. Sometimes it took a curse.
Then she heard a muffled shout, a distant scuffle on pavement.
She froze, more curious than afraid. A fight? Here? She saw
the combatants, just at the edge of the security light over by the
east wing. Three guys fighting, two on one, it looked like. One
caught another in a headlock, and the third swung a fist at the
captive’s midsection while he struggled.
They weren’t saying anything, making the violence cartoon-
ish and unreal, like watching an action movie on mute.
The kid in the headlock twisted free, his liberty quickly rewarded
with a fist to the head, sending him into a stagger. Another
punch brought him to the ground.
Then he didn’t move. One of the other guys kicked him in the
She heard that. And the sound made her remember that she
was just standing in the middle of a parking lot, watching.
Becca dropped beside her car. Breath whistled into her lungs.
She didn’t want to open the door and have the sound or the light
draw their attention. She’d call the police. An ambulance. The
whole frigging cavalry.
She thrust her hand into her bag for her cell phone.
Damn Quinn and her fifty bazillion texts. Becca swore and
punched the phone against the pavement. The cover snapped
off, skittering away under her car.
She peeked around the front bumper. The fallen boy lay in a
They kicked him again.
“Get up,” she whispered.
She tried to make out who the kids were. Some senior boys
got off on violence. She knew a few of them firsthand—some
only by reputation. The Merrick twins, maybe?
They were circling now, like vultures. One nudged the fallen
boy with his foot.
Then he kicked him. “Get up.”
“Yeah,” said the other one. “How’d you get rid of them?”
The voices were sharp, cruel. She held her breath, wishing she
could help somehow. But what could she do? Run at them with
her water bottle and the splintered plastic of her cell phone?
Maybe she could practice that “confident woman’s walk” Paul
If only she had a weapon, something to level the playing field.
You idiot. You do have a weapon.
Adrenaline made for a good ally. She’d barely thought it before
she was crawling through the back door and climbing into
the driver’s seat, driving straight at them.
She had the satisfaction of watching her headlights illuminate
their panic; then they were scrambling, diving to get out of the
way. Not the Merrick twins, not anyone she could make out at
all. Her foot punched the brakes at the last second, jerking the
car to an abrupt stop.
“I called the cops!” she shouted out the window, feeling her
heart kick against her ribs. “They’re on their way!”
But the boys were already bolting into the darkness.
Her fingers refused to release the steering wheel for the
longest moment. She finally pried them free, and, leaving the engine
running, eased out of the car.
She wished she’d turned the car differently, because the boy
was mostly in shadow, away from the headlights. He lay facedown,
the thick dark hair on his head matted with blood at one
temple. They’d done a number on his face: More blood glistened
on his swollen brow. Abrasions scored his cheek in various
directions, as though he’d met the pavement intimately, and
more than once. His black hoodie had taken a beating, and his
jeans weren’t much better, sporting a tear down the side of one
leg. He was breathing, a rattle of air pulling into his lungs, ending on a slight wheeze each time.
She’d never seen someone beaten so badly.
“Hey.” She gave his shoulder a little shake. He didn’t move.
Those boys had run off on foot. She had no idea if they’d stay
Now what, genius?
She left her car engine running, its headlights cutting a path
in the darkness. She reached inside the door and pulled out her
half-empty water bottle. She crouched beside him, feeling the
cold grit of the pavement through her jeans. Then, using her
hand to slow the flow, she trickled water down the side of his
At first, nothing happened. She watched in macabre fascination
as the water pulled blood across his jaw, trailing over his
Then he came to with a vengeance.
Becca wasn’t ready for that, for him to explode off the
ground in a fury, his fists swinging before his eyes were open.
She was lucky he was injured. She barely got out of his way.
His momentum didn’t last long, however. He staggered to a
knee, planting a hand against the pavement. He coughed and it
shook his body; then he spit what looked like blood.
Now that he wasn’t lying on the ground, she recognized him.
Christopher Merrick. Chris. He was a junior, like she was, but
she couldn’t think of two words they’d ever exchanged. He was
the Merrick twins’ younger brother, the type of guy who’d
slouch in the back of the classroom and stare at the teachers
with disdain, daring them to call on him. People left him alone,
but that’s how he seemed to like it. An outsider by choice.
“You gave me water,” he rasped, his head down.
His voice startled her, made her realize she was just standing
there, clutching her water bottle so hard it made the plastic
“Yeah,” she said. “Those guys—they could come back—”
“Are you stupid?”
The derision in his voice was like a punch to the chest.
“Funny. I was just asking myself that.”
“No. I just—I could have hurt—” Chris coughed again, then
pressed his forehead to the ground, making a low sound in his
throat. He spit blood again. She felt like she was standing in the
middle of one of those cable crime dramas—the kind where the
violence is too much for network television.
“Do you have a cell phone?” She cast a quick look out into
the darkness, but the night remained still. “You need an ambulance.”
“I need a damn rainstorm.” He seemed to laugh, but it
choked him. “A drizzle. Fog even.”
He was delirious. “Can you get into the car? I can drive you
to the hospital.”
“Whatever. Climb in the car. Those guys could come back,
and I’m not—”
A hand closed on her arm, hot and meaty and painful. A
voice spoke from the darkness. “Did you think we wouldn’t
wait and see?”