printed copy

Spark: The Elemental Series #2

Brigid Kemmerer

ISBN 9780758272829
Publish Date 8/28/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories KTeen , Young Adult
List Price: $9.95

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Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…

Praise for Brigid Kemmerer and The Elemental Series

“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

“Overflowing with action, snappy dialog, and hot guys—The Elemental Series will take your breath away.” —Kim Harrington, author of Clarity

Chapter One

Gabriel Merrick stared at the dead leaf in his palm and

willed it to burn.

It refused.

He had a lighter in his pocket, but that always felt like cheating. He should be able to call flame to something this dry. The damn thing had been stuck in the corner of his window screen since last winter. But the leaf only seemed interested in flaking onto his trigonometry textbook.

He was seriously ready to take the lighter to that.

A knock sounded on his bedroom wall.

“Black,” he called. Nicky always slept late, always knocked on his wall to ask what color he was wearing. If he didn’t, they ended up dressing alike.

Gabriel looked back at the leaf—and it was just that, a dead leaf. No hint of power. Behind the drywall, electricity sang to him. In the lamp on his desk, he could sense the burning filament. Even the weak threads of sunlight that managed to burn through the clouds left some trace of his element. If the power was there, Gabriel could speak to it, ask it to bend to his will.

If the power wasn’t, he had nothing.

His door swung open. Nick stood there in a green hoodie and a pair of khaki cargo shorts. A girl on the cheer squad had once asked Gabriel if having a twin was like looking in a mirror all the time. He’d asked her if being a cheerleader was like being an idiot all the time—but really, it was a good question. He and Nick shared the same dark hair, the same blue eyes, the same few freckles across their cheekbones.

Right now, Nick leaned on a crutch, a knee brace strapped around his left leg, evidence of the only thing they didn’t share: a formerly broken leg.

Gabriel glanced away from that. “Hey.”

“What are you doing?”

Gabriel flicked the leaf into the wastebasket beneath his desk. “Nothing. You ready for school?”

“Is that your trig book?”

“Yeah. Just making sure I told you the right assignment.”

Gabriel always attempted his math homework—and then handed it over for Nick to do it right. Math had turned into a foreign language somewhere around fifth grade. Then, Gabriel had struggled through, managing Cs when his twin brought home As. But in seventh grade, when their parents died, he’d come close to failing. Nick started covering for him, and he’d been doing it ever since.

Not like it was a big challenge. Math came to Nick like breathing. He was in second-year calculus, earning college credit. Gabriel was stuck in trigonometry with juniors.

He was pretty frigging sick of it.

Gabriel flipped the book closed and shoved it into his backpack. His eyes fell on that knee brace again. Two days ago, his twin’s leg had been broken in three places.

“You’re not going to make me carry your crap all day, are you?” His voice came out sharp, nowhere near the light ribbing he’d intended.

Nick took it in stride, as usual. “Not if you’re going to cry about it.” He turned toward the stairs, his voice rising to a mocking falsetto. “I’m the school sports hero, but I can’t possibly carry a few extra books—”

“Keep it up,” Gabriel called, slinging the backpack over his shoulder to follow his brother. “I’ll push you down the stairs.”

But he hesitated in the doorway, listening to Nick’s hitching steps as he descended the staircase, the creak of the banister as it supported his weight.

Gabriel knew he should help. He should probably be taking the place of that crutch. That’s what Nick would do for him.

But he couldn’t force himself through the doorway.

That broken leg had been his fault. Thank god Nick could pull power from the air, an element in abundance. He probably wouldn’t even need the brace by the end of the week.

And then Gabriel wouldn’t need to stare at the evidence of his own poor judgment.

He and his brothers had always been targeted for their Elemental abilities. Being pure Elementals, they should have been put to death as soon as they came into their powers. Luckily, their parents had struck a deal with the weaker Elementals in town.

A deal that had led to their parents’ deaths.

Their oldest brother, Michael, had been able to keep the deal in place—until a few weeks ago, when Tyler and Seth, two of the other Elemental kids in town, had attacked Chris. It started a snowball of events that led to an Elemental Guide coming to town to do away with the Merrick brothers for good.

He’d almost succeeded, too. After the Homecoming dance, they’d been attacked.

They’d fought back the only way they knew how. But Gabriel had let Nick call storms that were too strong. He’d begged his twin for more power. When Nick fell, the accident had practically shattered his leg—if they weren’t full Elementals, he probably would have needed surgery.

That night, Gabriel couldn’t keep him safe. The Guide had kidnapped Nick and Chris, had held them prisoner.

Becca and Hunter had found them. But Gabriel couldn’t do anything. Ineffective and out of control, just like always.

But now they were safe, and things were back to normal. Nick was his usual self. Life’s good. Move on. No use complaining. He hadn’t even said a word about what had happened on the field.

As far as Gabriel was concerned, he didn’t need to.

Just like with math, Nick was used to his twin being a failure.

Gabriel pulled onto Becca Chandler’s street and glanced in the rearview mirror at his younger brother. Chris was chewing on his thumbnail, leaning against the window.

“Nervous?” said Gabriel.

Chris looked away from the window and glared at him. “No.”

Nick turned in his seat. “Make sure you open the door for her. Girls eat that crap up.”

“Nah,” said Gabriel. “Play it cool. Make her work for it—”

“For god’s sake,” Chris snapped. “She just broke up with Hunter, like, yesterday, so it’s not like that. Okay?”

Jesus. Someone was worked up. Gabriel glanced back again. “But she asked you for a ride.”

Chris looked back out the window. “I offered.”

Nick turned his head to look at his twin. “Very nervous,” he whispered.

Gabriel smiled and turned into Becca’s driveway. “Very.”

“Would you two shut up?”

Becca was waiting on the front step, her arms around her knees and her hands drawn up into the sleeves of a fleece pullover, dark hair hanging down her back.

“She looks upset,” said Nick.

She did, her eyes dark and shadowed, her shoulders hunched. Or maybe she was just cold. Gabriel wasn’t one for figuring out emotion.

Her face brightened when she saw them, and she sprinted for the car almost before Chris had time to jump out and hold the door for her.

She stopped short in front of him, spots of pink on her cheeks. “Hey,” she said, tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Hey,” Chris said back, his voice soft and low.

Then they just stood there breathing at each other.

Gabriel hit the horn.

They jumped apart—but Chris punched him in the shoulder when he climbed back into the car.

Becca buckled her seat belt. “I’m glad you’re all here.”

Her voice was full of anxiety. So Nick had been right.

Chris shifted to look at her. “You all right?”

She shook her head. “My dad just called. He wants to meet with me. Tonight.”

No one said anything for a moment, leaving her words floating in the warm confines of the car.

Her dad was the Elemental Guide who’d been sent to kill them all.

When they escaped and didn’t hear anything for two days, they’d all started to think he’d run off again, the way he had when Becca was eleven.

Chris took a breath, and his voice was careful. “Do you want to meet with him?”

Gabriel glanced at her in the rearview mirror. She was practically hunched against the door, staring out the window. “I want him to get the hell out of here.”

Chris was still watching her. “He is your father.” He paused. “You sure?”

“He might have made a ‘contribution,’ but that man is not my father.”

“I want to see him,” said Gabriel. His shoulders already felt tight.

She hesitated. “Wait. You’d . . . go with me?”

“Yeah. I owe him a little payback.”

“We,” said Nick. There was heat in his voice, too.

“Did he say why he wanted to meet?” asked Chris.

“He said he wants to help us. That they’ll send another Guide if he doesn’t report back that you were . . . um . . .”

“Killed.” Gabriel hit the turn signal at the end of her road.

She swallowed. “Yeah. Hey, make a left. We need to pick up Quinn.”

Gabriel glanced at her again. He wasn’t a big fan of Becca’s best friend, so the last thing he wanted to do was pick her up— especially when there was so much left to talk about. “Anyone else?” he said. “Should I pick up Hunter, too?”

Becca faltered and glanced at Chris. “I’m sorry ...I should have asked—”

“It’s fine,” he said, and Gabriel could feel his youngest brother’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “I’m sure he’s not intentionally being a dick.”

Gabriel ignored him. “What time tonight? Did he say where?”

“Annapolis Mall. Eight o’clock. Make a right at the stop sign. She’s down at the end of the block.”

“He wants to meet at the mall?” said Nick.

“Food court,” said Becca. “I told him it had to be somewhere public.”

“Great,” said Gabriel. “More people in the line of fire.”

“Do you think the mall was a mistake?” said Becca.

Gabriel shrugged. Her father hadn’t hesitated to put normal people in danger last week.

But really, what difference did it make?

They were pulling alongside the curb, and Quinn threw open the door and launched herself inside. Blond hair was caught inside her jacket, and her backpack was barely zipped. Notebooks spilled onto the floorboards before she could get the door shut.

“Jesus, drive,” Quinn said, hitting the back of his seat. “God, I hate my mother.”

She was just so frigging overdramatic. Gabriel pulled the car away from the curb, deliberately moving as slowly as possible.

But Nick turned his head to look at her over his shoulder. “Everything all right?”

Quinn shoved the notebooks back into her bag and yanked the zipper. “I’m stuck living with Satan. When’s the car situation going to improve, Bex? I can’t keep doing this.”

Nick was still looking into the backseat. “We can keep driving you to school, if you need a ride.”

Quinn stopped fighting with her things and looked up at him. “Really?”

“We’d love it,” said Gabriel, making sure his sarcasm carried an edge. “Maybe we can pick up half the junior class.”

“What is with you?” said Chris.

“Don’t worry,” said Quinn. “I already know he’s an ass.”

“Love you, too,” said Gabriel.

But Nick grinned. “You can tell us apart?”

“Please. When you’re talking, there’s no challenge.” She punched the back of Gabriel’s seat again.

He glared at her in the rearview mirror. “What are you, six years old?”

“Oh, you don’t like that? What about this?” She licked her finger and stuck it in his ear.

He smacked her hand away. He’d never punched a girl, but she might be the first.

Becca laughed. “Quinn has two brothers.”

About Brigid Kemmerer:

Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years.

While writing STORM, which focuses on the brother who has the power to control water, Brigid’s personal life ironically was plagued by water problems: Flooded basement. Leaking roof. Broken faucet causing water to spray under kitchen cabinets. One bay window was so damaged by water it almost fell off the side of the house. Considering SPARK, book 2 in the series, is about the brother who controls fire, Brigid is currently making sure all the smoke detectors in her house have batteries!

Average Customer Review

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Customer Review

Feel the Heat! (Monday, October 15, 2012)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Brigid Kemmerer returns with a “burner” of a book in the second installment of her Young Adult “Elemental” series, Spark! Filled with heart wrenching emotion, this installment is a closer look into the Merrick family and peels back for us more of the layers that set the foundation of the secrets they all have sworn to protect. Spark is a page-turner of a story that leaves you wanting for more! Gabriel, the most troubled of all the Merrick brothers, born in the middle and the other half of a matched set of twins notwithstanding, finds himself caught up in an internal struggle to control the element to which he is bound. Gabriel holds in his possession the element of fire, while matching his personality to a T, (fiery and restless), the recent changes in the family dynamic leaves him striving to find his place. Unable to resist the unleashed power of his element, Gabriel finds himself helplessly dragged to places fraught with danger, while upon his response, this power will also choose to abandon him even as he heeds its siren call. Powerless to voice how his tentative control seems to be slipping through his fingers, the surprising alliance with the one person who chooses to help guide him is at somewhat comforting. Added to the fact that he is no longer able to switch places with his twin Nick as the need arises, Gabriel must now answer for his other hidden shortcomings. Layne Forrest, studious and sheltered and persecuted by her fellow students also has the unfortunate luck to be sitting next to Gabriel Merrick in math class one of the cutest boys in school; who somehow lately seems a bit different. All too soon, Layne will find out why this brooding stranger now fills the seat beside her and what she chooses to do with this knowledge could burn them both. I cannot wait to see where Brigid is going to lead us next!

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