Storm: a Salt novel

Storm: a Salt novel

by Danielle Ellison
Storm: a Salt novel

Storm: a Salt novel

by Danielle Ellison

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Overview

A little salt. And a whole lot of magic...

Up until recently, Penelope was a witch with no magic. After having it stolen by a demon when she was just a child, Penelope had been forced to rely on sharing others' powers as she went through the grueling training required to become an elite demon hunter. Now Penelope has more magic than she's ever known. And when you're this powerful, who needs salt to keep the demons away?

But power has a dark side.

Carter Prescott just wants to hunt demons and be with Penelope. But suddenly, witches who formerly had no magic are developing out-of-control powers. Now the world Carter swore to protect isn't just endangered by malicious demons?it's threatened by the same witches who once defended it. And Carter is horrified to see his girlfriend starting to change. Stronger. More powerful. Unrecognizable. It's just a matter of time before Penelope transforms into something far beyond his worst fears…


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633750739
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 09/29/2014
Series: Salt (Penelope Grey) Series , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 362
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Danielle Ellison is from West Virginia, where she spent her childhood pretending to fly, talking
to imaginary friends, and telling stories. She hasn't changed much since then. When she's not
writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee while fighting her nomadic urges, watching too
much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. You can find her on Twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Read an Excerpt

Storm

A Salt Novel


By Danielle Ellison, Stacy Cantor Abrams, Alycia Tornetta

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Danielle Ellison
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-073-9


CHAPTER 1

Penelope


Three days ago I went to hell.

Well, not technically hell. I went to De'Intero, the place between hell and earth that looked more like it was from a low-budget B-rated film. Yesterday, I took my public vows to be an Enforcer, along with my boyfriend and my best friend. Today, Ric, Carter, and I are card-carrying members of the C.E.A.S.E Squad, trained witches who serve and protect non-magical humans from demon attacks. Well, they're not really cards so much as gold triangle badges. Even though a card would be cool. Like a modern-day realistic Ghostbuster. "Who you gonna call?" Penelope Grey, Enforcer.

Today's a new day. First day as an official Enforcer. And how am I spending it? Running.

And the demon chasing me hates it. That's part of why I enjoy it so much.

I scan the area as I move, looking for the easiest way to maneuver it away from the crowds. It's busy in Clarendon today — Sunday brunch will do that — so I've got to get the little devil away from everything with a pulse. Except me. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the bugger is following me. It is, its eyes flashing demon-green in the Non body it's possessed. I still hate when demons take over Non forms.

Sweat drips down my arms. It's freaking hot out here — the summer is atrocious. I pick up speed, leading it away from the street and toward a park off the main road. But even from far away I can see how packed it is. There isn't a lot of cover out here and none of the Nons can see me. The park won't work. I change direction toward a dead-end street. Beggers can't be choosy.

I mutter the barrier spells as I run, and smile to myself as I feel the magic pour out of me. I adore this feeling, the energy as the magic channels from me and out into the world. I spent most of my life not having magic on my own unless I was near someone in my family or, more recently, had Carter to pull it from. But that was before my little soiree in De'Intero. Now, I'm a freaking genie. I see it, say it, wish it, and sometimes even feel it, and boom — magic. It's pretty freaking cool.

Freezing in the center of the street, the demon jerks to a halt feet from me. Its beady green eyes focus on me, shifting between brown and green in the Non skin. Brown eyes mean the Non is still alive in there.

"Witch," the demon hisses. "Have you given up so easily?"

I shrug. The power practically oozes from my fingertips. At least, in my head it does. "I thought that you might reconsider your stance on trying to kill me."

"Why would I do that? I know who you are."

I try not to cock my jaw in annoyance. Three days ago I was nothing more than a normal witch (mostly), and now they've all heard about me. The girl who made the demons disappear. I was in De'Interno, about to die during a demonic Fight Club face-off, when Carter kissed me, and bam — hundreds of demons gone.

"Then you should be even more interested in reconsidering, since I'm a badass." But it won't. Not now that it has found me. I motion my fingers in the air. "Go ahead, then. Wow me with your witty, insulting last words so they may remain with me forever."

The demon laughs, that familiar white noise sound, and licks its lips. "You really do smell like they all say."

It hisses and charges toward me. Before, I'd run or I'd fight. I can fight — really well, I might add — but thanks to my new Hulk-like magic, I don't have to do anything like that anymore. I get to use magic. I flick my wrist, and the demon freezes in the air, the sound of it gasping for breath fills the space.

I tsk and cross my arms. "And here, I thought you'd be more original."

I let the images fill up my brain of the demon exploding, but then I remember the Non. I need to save him if I can. I alter the picture so the demon is forced out of the Non's body. The Non rests on the ground while the demon explodes. I picture the Non recovering, breathing, living another day. I really don't know what I can do yet with the void, not really, but if my increased power means more Nons are spared, I'll take it.

I open my eyes and push the images out. "Virtute angeli ad infernum unde venistis," I whisper, even though I don't need to do that any more, either. It makes it feel more like I'm in control of what happens.

The magic from the void tingles through my toes and every cell in body before it shoots out of me toward the demon. I inhale sharply. I'm still not used to that feeling. With the essence, normally, we pull the magic from the elements and manipulate it to our will. It never actually becomes part of a witch. But this, the void, the source of magic for demons, seems to claim every piece of my body from within before it rushes out.

The screams from the demon piece the air, and then everything I saw in my head is happening to the demon. The Non falls to the ground as the demon shudders back into its original form, scaly with light gray and red eyes. Another snarl slips from its lips and it looks pretty angry with me right before it explodes into demon bits.

The magic from the void flows back into me and I stumble. If there's one thing I've learned in the last few days: the void is relentless. Whatever it wants, wherever it comes from — within me or outside of me — is more powerful than I ever seem to expect. The magic seems to settle into me, sort of like my stomach feels after eating too much pie.

"Penelope," Carter yells, running up toward me out of breath. He looks around me, eyes switching between the demon goo and the Non on the ground. "I was waiting."

I was supposed to meet him at the edge of the park. "I had to choose an alternative course of action," I say as I pull out my phone and dial 911 for the Non. "I couldn't go to the park. Too many people."

Carter looks toward the Non on the ground as the emergency responder on the other end of the line asks me questions, and I give her only an address before I hang up. Carter starts walking away from the Non and I follow. As much as it sucks, we can't stay to see if he survives. We can't risk being questioned by Nons.

"I don't like you using the void on your own."

I sigh. Carter doesn't approve, but it's magic. Magic that I can control. "I didn't have a choice."

"You could've come to me like you were supposed to."

I have magic. How can I not use it? "There were Nons around."

"The whole area was under a cloaking spell."

"It's fine," I snap.

"It's not fine, Pen. You don't know anything about that magic. Until we can get some sort of information, I don't think you should use it," Carter says as we walk back toward the park across the street. I bite my lip. He's concerned about this sudden magical ability and what happened when we made the demons disappear in De'Intero. I am, too. I got magic right after we did that. Part of me should wonder too, that I should be cautious, but I also have magic — and that's the only thing I've ever wanted. I have to use it. That's the part he doesn't understand. Finally, for the first time, I matter on my own.

"Do you not want me to have magic at all?" I ask. The sound of sirens fills the distance, and I scan the streets to try to find them. Eight minutes to arrive. Not bad, medics.

He pulls my face back to make me look at him. And it's pretty easy to stay focused on his green eyes and dark hair and the little bit of scruff that's starting to grow along his jawline. "That's not what this is. I support you."

The first time I met Carter I had no idea he'd become so connected, so important to me. It's because of him, and the magic he'd ignited, that I even became an Enforcer. Before, I had no magic on my own. Then, we met and the magic I thought I'd lost bubbled in my stomach and freaked out when we were together. Somehow he made me have my own magic. It wasn't until we learned it was because we were both half-demons, and that he had something I didn't. I'd lost my essence to a demon, and he had both the essence and the void. His void, since he didn't need it, filled my empty spaces so I had magic. It's all very poetic, really.

But ever since we were downstairs, the magic is always on alert inside me. Even at his touch it remains this steady unsettling stream, like somehow, it doesn't need him to respond to me. Like maybe the magic really is mine, and not borrowed from him. I can't pretend it's not a dream come true.

"I don't want you to get hurt," he says, wrapping his arms around my waist. My body folds in closer to his. Layers of clothing separate us, but through them I can feel the heat of his body against mine, all tingles and light. My stomach jumbles with the familiar sensation of being close to him, and he presses his lips against the curve of my neck. "We can't risk anyone finding out anything about De'Interno or us."

"They won't," I respond, forcing myself to speak under the strain of my voice.

Whether I turn to him or he turns to me doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter that we're in public, or that we've killed a demon, saved a Non, or that everything is at stake. We have each other.

In a heartbeat, his lips are on mine. My body is on fire as warmth seeps through our clothes. As hands trail on my back, on my neck, on my hips — on anywhere he can touch me. My hand trails up his shirt and come to rest on his chest. Me connected to him, and him to me, the way our bodies sing together, it's like we're one. He pulls me tighter against him, and chills trickle down my body. There's never enough of kissing this boy.

His mouth trails away from mine, and his hot breath is on my ear. "Please be careful," he whispers, sending another chill over me.

I smile and press a soft kiss to his lips. "I'm always careful."

He laughs against my skin, so close that the rumble of him trembles through me. I move to allow some space between us.

"What?" I ask.

Carter shakes his head. "It's cute that you think that."

I push him away, and he grabs my waist to keep me there. As if I was really going anywhere. "Shut up. I'm practically Scruff McGruff."

He wrinkles his nose, and it's adorable. "The crime prevention cartoon dog?"

"Exactly." I smile, and he gets this mischievous look in his eyes, the one that says he's ready for another kiss. I lean in as my phone beeps. Ric and Maple found a demon's nest. "Back to work."

CHAPTER 2

Carter


Penelope may be resourceful, but I'm William Carter Prescott. I've spent my life working to understand one thing: demons. I grew up knowing I was a halfling and hanging around demons in hope of finding my demon-mom. Every time I looked for her, I told myself I wouldn't find her, that she was really dead, and at some point I started to believe it. Then, she showed up as one of the leaders. It's been a lot to process over the last few days.

The point is, I haven't spent that much time searching, hunting, and killing without learning a thing or two about demons.

"This is it?" Pen asks.

I look around the abandoned buildings, just outside the borders of town. "No doubt."

Fact one: demons like abandoned buildings. The Nons that tend to hang out in those parts of town are usually strung out or have nothing to lose. Easy prey. Which also means easy to find, if you know where to look. It's no surprise that Maple and Ric stumbled onto this spot, and a whole nest of demons during patrol.

Nothing gets me energized like a demon nest. Already I can feel the itch in my hand.

Fact two: demon nests are rare. Or they used to be. Demons, until recently, never hung out in pairs. They were solo artists, which made them easier to kill but harder to track. Now, they're leaving trails all over the place, getting sloppy.

Fact three: when demons are in a group, then they're probably planning something huge.

"What's wrong? Are you still upset about earlier?" Pen whispers.

I look at her face, eyes open and round and cheeks flushed. I'm still upset about earlier, yes, because it's not smart to use the void when we don't know even the basics about it. But she's not going to like hearing that. Mostly because Penelope is predictable in her unpredictability. I can count on her to act now and ask later, which is why I can be upset about the magic all I want and it won't do anything. Not until she's ready.

The stubbornness is part of why I love her. Usually.

"We can talk about it later," I say.

She starts to protest, but Ric gives the signal across the street. I motion to Pen, and she nods. The element of surprise is on our side right now. Demons are pretty stupid when they're comfortable. They get sloppy, miss the signs that we're on their trail, and never seem to be ready to fight. But when they're smart they're strong, cunning, and unpredictable, if not a little too prideful.

Maple moves around the building, setting up the cloaking spell so no one can stumble on the mess that's about to happen. The strong smell of sulfur blows my way in the summer breeze, and I'm ready. As much as I enjoy being an Enforcer, protecting the Nons and all that, the reason I do this is for the demons. I want to rid this world of every single one of them.

They turned my mom. They led her astray. They nearly killed Pen and me. They're the reason halflings have to live in hiding, that I have to pretend that William Carter Prescott is happy serving as a Triad, smiling. It's what I do, what I have to do in order to survive as a halfling, to stay a secret, and that's all because of demons.

It's only fair that I return the favor by ending as many as I can.

Once the protection spell is up, Maple nods. Pen touches my shoulder. "Ready?" she asks.

"I was born ready."

We watch as Ric and Maple race into the building, salt guns armed and pointing. My finger twitches against the hilt of my knives, and I check the holster of my gun to make sure it's there. The battle between demons and witches is simple — destroy them before they destroy us.

Even if the Triad is more focused on maintaining harmony and defense instead of offense, the truth of our survival is to kill or be killed. I choose to kill. Why should they be the ones making the first move, when we witches are more than capable?

Pen jumps up before I'm ready and runs toward the building. I clear my mind of all thoughts and chase after her.

Demons are on us as soon as we enter. Ric and Maple must have tipped off our arrival, and normally, it'd bug me that we lost the element of surprise. Pen is ahead of me, taking on two of her own demons, Maple next to her. I knock a mustard-colored demon to the ground. Another one jumps on my back. I'd take them down faster, but I'm in the mood to at least pretend like it's a challenge.

The demon tries to knock me to the ground and scratches its talons into my neck, but I have the advantage. I throw myself backward into the wall and the demon hisses against the brick. I step away and then pound myself back into the wall. Each time I do it, the demon makes a sound and it brings me some satisfaction. After a few more hits against the wall, the demon seems to be dead weight, so I yank the knife from my pocket, thrust it into the demon and mutter the incantation. The demon explodes into goo. I wipe away some of its guts from my hair. Job well done.

The mustard demon is back on its feet, and it charges at me like a bull. I kick it in the stomach, and mutter an incantation that sends it flying across the room. That can't be all the fight this thing has. Ric yells my name from somewhere deeper in the building, so I toss a handful of salt on the demon and send him back to hell before running toward Ric's voice.

The sound of chaos lingers through the hall. A girl screams, and I burst through an open door, hoping that it's not Penelope. I'm on the ground as soon as the door opens, demon snarling in my face. I push it away from me as its claws find my arms. Drool drips on my face. The demon's green eyes are bright against its black scales, and the blackness reminds me of Kriegen. My mom. Her demon form was black like that. Black like her soul, apparently. The way she planned to turn me and Pen into demons, like her. She wanted to kill Penelope, to rip the magic from her soul with an ancient black dagger. She didn't even care about me except for how she could use me.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Storm by Danielle Ellison, Stacy Cantor Abrams, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2014 Danielle Ellison. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.

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