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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 lungs.
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 cartoonish 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 stomach.
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 crumpled pile.
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 had demonstrated.
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 gone.
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 face.
At first, nothing happened. She watched in macabre fascination as the water pulled blood across his jaw, trailing over his split lip.
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 crackle.
"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?"
"Big surprise." The other voice now. "No sirens."
That hand swung her around. This guy didn't go to her school. He looked older. College, maybe. Short blond hair framed a severe face, all angles and lines.
Something scraped on the pavement. "This is going to suck," said Chris.
The other one was dragging him to his feet.
Becca knew how to swallow pain and keep emotion off her face. "Let me go. I didn't call the cops, but he did."
Those sharp features cracked into a smile. "We took his phone."
"Good try," said Chris. He coughed again. The other guy punched him in the side, and he dropped to the pavement.
The one on her arm shoved her up against her car. It hurt. She squealed before she could help it.
"You should have driven away, sweetheart."
"Nah," said the other, his dark hair making him look sinister. "That right there is dessert."
Then she recognized his voice. Seth Ramsey. A senior. And part of the reason she'd been in that self-defense class.
His friend reached out to cup her chin. "Yeah. Dessert."
Maybe it was Seth's presence; maybe it was the implication in their words. Whatever, her mind didn't think, her body just moved. The water bottle went flying and her arm swung.
Something squished under her fingers. He dropped her arm like a hot potato, shoving her away, flying back to put a hand to his face. "Bitch! You bitch!"
Holy crap! It works! She was choking on her breath, but she was free.
"Shut up, Tyler," Seth hissed. "She might not have called the cops, but you're gonna—"
"Freeze. Right there."
At first she thought the cops had shown up. But it was Chris, her water bottle in his hand. He'd found his feet somehow, and though he looked a little unsteady, their assailants went still.
Chris drew a shaky breath. "Back off. Or I'll mean that literally."
Mean what literally? "Yeah, right," said Seth. "It's one bottle."
Chris shook it. The water sloshed. "Try me."
He had to be out of his mind.
But they backed off. "Chill out, man," said Tyler. "We're just screwing around."
"Yeah." Chris gave that harsh laugh again, then swiped at his swollen lip. "Feels like it. Take another step back."
She stared at Chris, as if her water bottle had somehow morphed into a gun, or a switchblade, or anything more intimidating than a plastic cylinder that read Aquafina.
"Becky," he said. "Get in the car."
"Becca," she corrected automatically. Her voice was breathy, her hands still clenched in fists.
"For god's sake—" His eyes slid left. "Just get in the car."
She scrambled into the driver's seat, her hands fumbling for the seat belt. Just when she wondered if he was going to get in, he yanked the back door open and almost fell into the car.
Her foot smacked the accelerator and the car shot forward, swerving toward the building. Her heart beat on the back of her tongue, and she yanked the wheel. The car fishtailed before straightening out.
Chris swore. "Drive without killing me." He coughed. "I should have clarified."
She swung the car out of the parking lot and onto the main road, accelerating like a bank robber. Her breath was loud in the confines of the car. Houses whipped by, but she had yet to pass another vehicle.
She barely hesitated at the stop sign at the end of Old Mill Road, screeching through the turn.
"Hey." Chris's voice was quiet. "Take it easy. Their car was on the other side of the cafeteria. You can slow down."
She eased her foot off the pedal. "What did they want? That one guy doesn't go to our school."
"Not anymore." He paused. "Thanks."
She swallowed. What was the right response? "You're welcome" didn't quite seem to cover it. Then again, his "thanks" didn't, either. "Do you want me to take you to the hospital?"
"Nah. Home." His breath hitched, and she took a glance at him in the rearview mirror. His eyes were half closed, his voice ironic. "If you don't mind."
She didn't think that was a good idea, but what was she going to do, wrestle him into the ER? "Aren't your parents going to freak when they see you?"
That rough laugh again. "I'd probably freak if I saw them." A peal of thunder interrupted his words. Raindrops appeared on the windshield. "Figures," he muttered. "Now it rains."
Maybe he had a head injury. "Where do you live?"
"Just north of the fire station. On Chautauga. We're the blue house at the end of the court."
She nodded, her knuckles white on the steering wheel. He fell silent for a while, and she glanced in the rearview again to find his eyes on her. Blue eyes. Nice eyes, she noticed, sharp and intelligent under that fringe of dark hair.
Then he smirked. With the cuts and bruises on his face, it made him look a little scary. "You're probably thinking I owe you my life."
She jerked her eyes back to the road. "No," she snapped. "Just sixty bucks."
"You charge for the hero act?"
His voice sounded light, but she still heard the wheeze behind the words. Another quick glance in the mirror revealed his head had fallen back against the seat.
"I really think I should take you to the hospital. You probably have broken ribs." And a concussion. "They can call your parents from there."
"Why? You think they have a Ouija board?"
She glanced at him worriedly, and his eyes opened fully. "My parents are dead, Becca. Do you think you could open a window?"
Maybe the fresh air would help. She pushed the button to drop his window a few inches, not wanting to let the rain in.
He sighed. "Thanks."
He fell silent for a mile, and when they came to the red light by the community college, she turned in her seat. His eyes were closed.
He didn't answer.
"Damn it," she whispered.
He'd said his parents were dead. Did he and his brothers live with grandparents?
She parked behind a mini-SUV in the driveway, one of those newer hybrids. Dark red and gleaming in the light over the garage, the car didn't seem like a grandparent kind of vehicle. Vibrant landscaping enhanced the front of the house, the expensive kind, lush and modern. Thick, sculpted shrubs and greenery crawled along the walkway, giving way to rhododendron bushes and clusters of mums beside the porch steps.
Someone took good care of this yard. Maybe this wasn't the right house. But it was the only blue one. Could she really knock on the door and say some kid was bleeding and unconscious in her backseat?
Chris still sat upright, but his breathing sounded worse, a rush and whistle before the wheeze. She shoved on the driver's side door until it gave, jammed her hands into her sweatshirt pockets, and hunched her shoulders against the cool September rain.
As she approached the house, she prepared herself for either young, hip grandparents or maybe a middle-aged aunt and uncle. Instead, a rough-cut guy in his early twenties yanked open the door.
Becca stood there in shock for a moment, feeling rain drip from her hair down her collar.
He looked a little like Chris, she supposed, with dark hair and a strong jaw. But Chris's hair was short, his clothes fitted and current, while this guy looked like he woke up in the morning and didn't give a crap. His hair was longer, pulled into a haphazard ponytail, his tee shirt faded and worn. Calling his jeans threadbare would be a compliment. She wasn't surprised to see his feet were bare.
His eyes—brown, not blue—narrowed. "A little old to be selling cookies, aren't you?"
Jerk. "Does Chris Merrick live here?"
"Yeah." He gave her the up-and-down again, and she wasn't a fan of his expression. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but settled on, "He's not home."
Excerpted from Storm by BRIGID KEMMERER Copyright © 2012 by Brigid Kemmerer. Excerpted by permission of K TEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 7, 2012
I liked the story line and enjoyed the read, but sadly I was disappointed on one end. As a person who reads a little of everything, I get that for a story to be realistic a certain amount of cursing is necessary (at least that's the general rule it seems)....But DANG! When an author takes the name of someone's god and uses it as a curse word A LOT, than it just brings down the quality for me. So please, consider that for some of your readers it is highly offensive to say : God and Jesus Christ as a curse word. I'd rather you drop an F bomb than that! But who knows, maybe you do it on purpose to relay your personal beliefs - or lack thereof. Just hoping Ms. Kemmerer will think on it next time, though I doubt it. For this reason, I won't be buying anymore of her books.
49 out of 78 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2012
First of all, one clarification should be made: a couple reviews on B&N of this book mention that it is a novella and too short- but that is incorrect as STORM is a full-length book, while there is a prequel novella to it that book is called ELEMENTAL. So don't be fooled by that.
So many of my lovely blogger friends were just raving about Storm, and they all told me that it's an excellent paranormal romance that I was sure to love! It sounded interesting enough on its own, but the fact that I had so many people singing its praises made me pick it up and read it as soon as I had the chance!
And Storm fully delivered on every promise made- it's an excellent YA paranormal, that doesn't neatly fit in to the stereotypes or ruts that most other paranormals fall in to. It actually seemed to me as if it was able to incorporate elements commonly found in contemporary YA which I thought was brilliantly done and a welcome inclusion!
Reasons to read:
1.Contemporary YA elements:
I'm staring off with this reason because I think it's the most interesting and it was my favourite thing about Storm. Even though this is definitely a paranormal book, I loved that the characters actually acted like teenagers with real-life problems. They just happened to me regular teenagers with some special powers. They still go to school and have jobs; Becca has a bit more freedom from her parents, but they are somewhat involved and play a role in her life. There are highschool issues of gossip and reputations, sex, drinking and all sorts of other topics brought up that ask some really good questions. Becca deals with so many other heavy issues, and there are times when these things take center stage. And I LOVED that Brigid was willing to bring these questions up, because they aren't dealt with very often in YA and they are very rarely included in YA paranormal books at all. And because of this...
2.The characters are so easy to relate to:
I like characters that I can connect with, and I like having something (no matter how small) in common with them. Giving them real life problems is a perfect way to do this, because I can remember my friends and I going through some simlar experiences. But I also appreciated that Storm featured strong characters, who were determined to fight through it and find a way to deal with these issues rather than run away from them.
3.Paranormal at some of its best:
I love a good paranormal read, because it's so exciting to try and figure out all the secrets and mysteries going on in the background. And everything's more exciting when people have super, magical powers. It just makes highschool THAT much more fun to read about. But I like it even more when it isn't an overused idea, and something that's kind of creative. We aren't seeing a whole lot to do with the elements in paranormal right now, so I liked that Brigid centered her series around this concept. Plus, Brigid does romance SO well, which just always seems to fit in so well with paranormal YA books. She's VERY good at building the romance and sexual tension between characters, but without making it the main focus of the book.
4.Four completely different brothers:
The Elementals series focuses on a number of different characters, but the four Merrick brothers really take center stage. I loved reading more about them, and getting to see them interact with each other and those around them because you get an idea of how different and independent they are, yet how complementary. It was a really neat way for Brigid to show this by using four brothers. And really, between the four of them (and mysterious boy #5) there's something for everyone.
Storm is an incredible debut, and definitely a series to watch. I think it's a great book for fans of paranormal YA looking for something a little different yet still comfortable and reliable, yet also a really great read for fans of contemporary YA who really want to branch out and try something new. And everyone in between is just going to really enjoy it, because it has so much going for it.
ARC received from publisher for review.
18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2012
I loved this story. Supernatural, but so different than what you would normally find. The writing is very fast-paced, the characters are written well. I'm looking forward to the next book :)
8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2012
I hate all these long reviews on B&N. Readers don't want a recap; this is not a journal!
The Elemental books are a quick, entertaining read. I can't wait for the next one!
7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2012
BEEP! BEEP! This is a warning from the National Weather System, be advised that a large storm is forming...We ask that you seek shelter immediately....
Yeah, this book is totally sweet! Let me tell you that once you read the first page you are their control and there is no way out. The plot line of this book rocked. Four brothers all elemental, smokin' hot with I don't give a crap alpha attitude and you fall in love. I like that each brother is unique in their voice and their characters.Their attributes to who they are just fall off the pages!
I love that even though this book focuses mainly on Chris, the reader can learn more about the other brothers without giving too much away. It's like she leaves the reader a clue as to what brother to expect in the next book. The reader is left will just enough of what brother is like to fall in love with him and eagerly await for their book.
The love interest certainly takes a whole new spin. I like that this girl is made to fit Chris. She is like his polar opposite. I really adored how fate really worked in Becca life. They always managed to meet at the same time, same place,etc. They were meant to be.
Storm is an fantastic start to a new series. With a whole new fresh spin on paranormal and love, Kemmerer will take you like a Storm. Sweeping the reader fast and furious, hold on tight. This Storm is a strong one!
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2013
I cant even begin to describe...
Ive been looking for a fresh new book and this was it.
I LOVED the writing.. everything about it.
You have my blessing..
P.s. beware of swearing
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2012
(If you purchase Storm on Nook, it gives you the first book, Elemental (#0.5) which is a novella, for free.) OMGoodness! I couldn't put these books down! They both were a surprise hit for me! This story is full of action, adventure, suspense, and let's not forget about the guys. Yeah, they're hot but they're good too and hilariously funny at times. There's also a swoon-worthy romance to balance out all of that "maleness". I enjoyed the alternating POV's which were easy to keep track of and flowed nicely from one chapter to the next and on a personal note, the author nailed the setting. How do I know? Because it's where I grew up! Old Mill High School was a rival of ours, and I've driven on Ritchie Highway a bazillion times and Annapolis Mall was thee place to shop. (It still is.) The characters were relateable and in fact, Becca and Quinn are strong females who also are a great example of true friendship. And when I think about those Merrick brothers, I feel like this: I loved Gabriel, LOVED.HIM. I totally wanna hang out with him, exchange snarky jabs and blow stuff up. He is the one I would be BFF's with, I would've crushed on Nick, dated Chris and punched Michael in the face (or at least fantasized about it). Basically, I want them to adopt me. Then there's New Kid aka Hunter. *sighs* He's completely swoon worthy with just the right amount of danger mixed in.
4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 24, 2012
If I had to tell you in one word what this book is like, I would say either unbelievable or predictable. It was always obvious what was going to happen next in the book. I definatly couldn't put the book down until the end of the day when I finished the book. This is a great science fiction book, but I only recommend it to mature readers because of the language and some pg-13 sections of the book. This book could've used less swearing. 4 stars.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 30, 2012
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Posted September 14, 2012
I got this title just as a quick time waster hoping for some mindless enjoyment and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Of course there will be some comparison of this title to Twilight, but this one was better written. A great little time waster for the young adult crowd.
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Posted August 17, 2012
They do it so intelligent people can use the details provided to make an informed decision. It's called "reading" and it's what most of us on this site came to do. Go back to the sandbox if you can't handle too many words.
3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2012
Storm picks up about 5 years after where Elemental leaves off. Four totally hot brothers, Michael, the twins Gabriel and Nick, and Chris Merrick are not only to die for, they also have the ability to control the elements, earth, air, fire, and water. When leaving school late one evening after a class, Becca Chandler notices a guy getting beat up in the parking lot. She intervenes, and manages to help save the youngest of the Merrick brothers, Chris. Chris is beaten up pretty badly, and she is able to get him home, only to find that the oldest brother, Michael, is rude, questions her motives, and kind of scares her a little bit, especially when she mentions that she gave Chris some water. Chris is a water Elemental, and just like his brothers, a very powerful one. The last thing the Merrick brothers need is to break their agreement not to use their powers and have the town call in the Guides to deal with the issue. Try as she may, Becca can't seem to stay away from Chris. Then a new boy, Hunter, appears on the scene, who also seems very interested in Becca. Hunter seems like a really nice guy, but are Hunter's motives pure? On top of that, Becca's father who left her and her mother has popped back into her life, but is his reason for suddenly appearing really about Becca, or is there more to the story?
I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this book. These four guys are such typical guys, hot guys mind you, that have supernatural powers. The characters are superbly written and you just can't help but fall in love with each of the brothers. Sure, they fight with each other, like you would expect brothers to do, but they fiercely love and protect one another also. Brigid Kemmerer has outdone herself in writing these characters and making them seem so real. Then there is Becca. I really loved Becca. She has had a really rough time, especially since her ex-boyfriend has spread lies about her, and now everyone picks on her all the time. She and Chris have some real chemistry going on, and Becca even ends up discovering a lot about herself and who she really is. Hunter is the new kid that enters the picture in this novel. He's hot, he's nice, he says and does all the right things, sometimes he seems to good to be true, and he is interested in Becca also. Actually, I liked Hunter a lot, and I kept being torn between which guy I wanted Becca to be with. So yes, there is plenty of romance in this book. There is also plenty of action, pretty much nonstop action. From fighting for their lives to fighting with each other over trivial things, these brothers never have a dull moment.
Needles to say this story is fast-paced, the plot is great, and there are twists and turns around every corner. If you are a YA reader, then Storm is one of those books that you are not going to want to miss. I loved it and I highly, highly recommend it.
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Posted July 21, 2012
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Posted November 26, 2014
This book would be interesting to fantasy fans of any age. The plot is novel, complex, and carefully presented. The book is well written. The characters are nicely developed. Though the protagonists are teens, the author engages her older readers, too. The book is definitely worth five stars. I'll be reading more books by this author.
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