by Elle Middaugh
Series: The Essential Elements #1
Publication: February 27th 2016
Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).
With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.
But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.
SECRETS are revealed…
…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…
But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…
Just then, Jay leapt from his chair. He froze and cocked an ear toward the tree line. “Did you hear that?” he asked us. “Turn the music off.”
Chase bolted to the speakers, and just as he killed the music, the impossible happened. Suddenly, the entire bonfire snuffed out all at once. No warning, no smoke. Just poof, total darkness.
“Chase!” Holden yelled.
“On it!” he shouted back quickly as the fire rose back up out of the ashes, brighter than before, casting light back through the alcove.
“Sienna, get her out of here,” Holden demanded as he lifted us out of the chair. He kissed me, then pulled me out of the way of a falling tree limb. “Go! I’ll meet you back at my house as soon as I can.”
More branches fell all around me as I sprinted after Sienna. The world was sloshing around like a drink as I ran. I felt heavy and weightless at the same time, and the ground seemed to latch and loosen around my feet, as if it couldn’t quite decide whether to trip me or not. I nearly fell at least a dozen times, but a sudden gust of wind consistently kept me upright. I might’ve been drunk, but this was the strangest weather pattern I’d ever seen… Global-mother-fucking-warming.
There was an explosion. I stumbled to a halt on my hands and knees and glanced back. Half of the woods were on fire, fueled by a vengeful wind that pushed it wildly through the trees. Holden! I turned to run back, but Sienna grabbed my arm.
“He’s fine, Valerie, I promise! Let’s go!”
“No one is fine, Sienna! The whole damn forest is burning!” The panic overtaking my system was fueled by adrenaline, but it burned through the alcohol in my blood as well. I needed to get to Holden. It was the only thing I knew through the chaos.
Then suddenly, the flames doused out. Hot steam rising from the bark was the only reminder that they were ever alight.
What. The. Hell!?
I had never been more terrified in my entire life. I had no idea how to explain the shit that I’d just seen, except for ‘global warming’, or ‘being drunk’. Or, worst of all, ‘supernatural’ crossed my mind, and what the hell kind of explanation was that?
“Valerie! Run!” Sienna cried as it began to rain.
No, it was pouring, and I could sense that it was freezing cold, even if I couldn’t feel it. In fact, it was freezing. Balls of hail soared to the earth like rockets, as if they weighed more than they should, or like gravity had been multiplied.
Finally, my feet kicked into action. I righted myself and ran once more toward Holden’s house.
When I shot from the woods, I wanted to drop to the pavement and cry, or puke, or scream, but I was too afraid a tree might lean over and pummel me, so I ran until I burst through the front door.
~About the Author~
Elle Middaugh is a newly published author, born in the sticks outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. After moving around the east coast a number of times, she now lives in her hometown with her husband and three children.
Reading has been a favorite past time since Elementary School and choose-your-own-adventure books. Writing has been her dream since Middle School when she first began penning her own material. Being published is the most awesome achievement in her writing career so far, but she hopes for more exciting landmarks and stepping stones in the future!
She’s a proud Navy wife; a frazzle-brained mother; a homebody who dislikes cleaning; a fan of tennis, and fitness in general; a lover of hot tea, mountain dew, and all things fiction; and she’s a bigger My Little Pony fan than her children.
Elle’s Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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