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BECOMING ELEMENTAL





Book One in The Five Elements Series







By Ryann Elizabeth

Copyright © 2017 by Kim B. Deal. All rights reserved.


No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the production of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, live or dead, are purely coincidental.


Cover Art by Amy Queau at QDesign - https://www.qcoverdesign.com/


For more information on this book or series, check me out on Face Book – Ryann Elizabeth – Author or email me at RyannElizabethAuthor@gmail.com.










To the best person I know,

my mom.




Prologue


I swear, if something else goes wrong today, I am going to throat-punch the next person I see, I thought as I turned to see my best friend walking toward me. Well, maybe not the first person I see.


“Bre, why are you soaking wet?” Callie asked.


“I don’t know. Maybe because I decided to get out of bed this morning?” Things like this happened to me all the time. I was just trying to get some water from the drinking fountain and it wasn’t working. I tried and tried and as soon as I was completely frustrated and about to give up, it came shooting out like a cannon. Now I was completely soaked. Several other students had been around to witness my personal shower of humiliation.


Unfortunately, this was not unusual for me. My entire life had been filled with awkward, and most times unexplainable, situations. My name is Breanna Hunter and I am a magnet for crazy. Not just crazy situations, but crazy people, too. One day last summer when Callie and I were hanging out at the lake, a homeless-looking guy wandered out of the woods and just stood there staring at me. We decided to leave after about fifteen minutes of this, when he came up to me and said the weirdest things. He rambled on frantically about how he had been waiting for me and I would save our people. What in the world? We quickly ran to my car and left. A few weeks later, I was at a local coffee shop and someone abruptly turned around and ran right into me with a very hot cup of coffee. We collided and the coffee should have ended up all over me, but for some strange reason it ended up all over them. It seemed to bounce off of me and back onto them. They had to go to the hospital with second-degree burns. Yes, this was my life, and it had been for as long as I could remember.

I was so glad to make it to the last day of my senior year, as high school had not been kind to me. Being five foot three with plain, straight brown hair, you would think it would be easy to go unnoticed. I tried to keep to myself, but it never seemed to work out. I consistently wound up in the middle of some catastrophe and there always seemed to be several witnesses. At least I had my best friend Callie. She made high school bearable. She was my sanity. Callie was short like me at five foot four, but we were completely different in looks. She had beautiful, light brown skin with jet-black hair; she got her looks from her Japanese parents.


Callie and I had been best friends since elementary school. I was the weird kid that no one wanted to be friends with, and Callie had just moved here from Japan with a funny accent that no one could understand except for me. We hit it off on the first day we met and had been best friends ever since.

I had just finished my last final and was ready to get out of there. Callie and I were heading to the local spa for mani-pedis. I had been looking forward to it all week!


As we walked down the hall toward the parking lot, I asked, “How do you think you did on the Chemistry final?”


“Good, I will probably end up with a B in that class. But it doesn’t matter, because we have already been accepted at Appalachian State. North Carolina, here we come!”


Callie and I were heading to the same college. We both wanted to get out of the Midwest and decided on the mountains of North Carolina. I was looking forward to going somewhere no one knew me or the insane things that happened to and around me. I couldn’t wait to start over somewhere new.


As we stepped off the curb into the parking lot, I felt a chill run down my spine. I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling someone was watching me. A sense of dread immediately overtook my entire body as I frantically looked around to find who was causing it, but no one seemed to be paying me any attention. I looked to a group of students huddled near the gym entrance, but they just seemed to be talking to each other and weren’t even looking our way. A couple of teachers near me were discussing their plans for the summer. Everywhere I looked, I couldn’t see anyone even acknowledging our existence.


“Bre. Bre!” Callie yelled and snapped me out of my panic-induced trance. I looked at her bewildered face with wide, scared eyes. “Are you okay?”


“Yeah, I think so. I just had an eerie feeling that someone was watching me.”


Hand on her hip, she said, “Well, they can watch us leave to get mani-pedis. Let’s go!”


Callie and I finally reached my car and got in. I was lucky enough to have a pretty sweet ride. For my seventeenth birthday, my parents bought me a brand new Mustang GT. It was solid black with a tan interior. I loved it. My dad owned the local Ford dealership, so I got to pick out anything I wanted. My car was my baby. My parents wouldn’t let me have pets and I was an only child, so I bonded with my car. Yes, I knew that was weird, but it was beautiful. I even talked to it sometimes. I had not gone so far as to name it, but I was thinking about it. It would definitely be a girl name and very badass.


“High school is finally over!” I yelled to Callie. We high-fived and started toward the spa. The two of us chatted about the upcoming summer and how we wanted to decorate our dorm room. Callie wanted pink everything, but I hated pink. I was more of a navy blue kind of girl. We were about a mile away from the school when Callie unbuckled to grab her yearbook from the back seat.


“I have to show you what Ian wrote me in my yearbook. I think he might actually like me,” Callie said. She had been in love with Ian since middle school. He was a cute, but quiet guy. I told her hundreds of times to just go and talk to him, but she never did. She was talkative and outgoing with me, but like me, she tried to stay out of everyone else’s way.


She was leaning into the backseat to grab the yearbook when, out of nowhere, a red pickup truck abruptly changed lanes and hit us head on. I had no time to react or try to get out of the way. One minute, he was in his lane driving normally, and the next he swerved into my lane and hit us head-on. I screamed as my face slammed into the airbag.


Dazed, I saw the deflating airbag in front of me, but could only hear ringing in my ears. It took me a second to comprehend what had happened. I reached up and felt a small bump on my forehead, but otherwise felt okay. I turned to Callie and asked if she was okay. She was still half in the front seat and half in the back. She didn’t answer me and I could see that she was covered in blood. Shit, I forgot she wasn’t buckled in. Oh no, no, no. Callie! She had to be okay. She was the only one, besides my parents, who cared about me. She understood me when no one else did.


“Callie! Callie! Callie!” I screamed her name over and over again.


She never responded.


She never would.


My best friend was dead.


My heart was broken.




Chapter 1



4 months later…



I started at Appalachian State University in September. Coming from the Midwest with zero mountains, Callie and I had wanted something different and North Carolina was definitely different. It took me a little while to understand what some of the people were saying, but by October, I thought I had the hang of it and started using some of their slang myself. Y’all was my favorite new word, even though I couldn’t say it with a southern accent. I had also stopped saying pop when ordering a soft drink, and I was convinced that sweet tea was the nectar of the gods. But you would never catch me in a sundress with a bright floral pattern. EVER. Everyone here was really nice and the weather was great. I was glad I decided to come, but I almost hadn’t.


I spent the entire summer locked in my room reading books and looking at pictures of Callie and me. Yes, I wallowed. My parents tried their best to comfort me, but nothing helped. I considered not starting college in the fall, but Callie’s parents came over one night and told me that I had to go. They said I had to do it for me and for Callie. What else could I have said to that? So here I was.


As I sat in the university library staring at my Algebra book, I started to think about Callie again. She hated math. She was always jealous that I picked up on it so quickly. For some reason, it made total sense to me. I missed her so much. The memorial they had for her at the graduation ceremony was nice, but they didn’t know her like I did. She would have hated the red roses they put out for her, though; she always thought red roses were pretentious. It had been really hard to sit through the memorial and then the graduation ceremony. If Callie had been there, we would have been whispering to each other and making fun of everyone. But she wasn’t there, and I sat through the whole thing remembering over and over what had happened three days before.


Callie wasn’t moving or answering me. I tried to turn to see her face in the back seat, but the freaking seat belt was still fastened. I fumbled to release it, my hands shaking the entire time, but I finally got it off of me. I turned to her and touched her arm. I was scared to try to move her in case she had a neck or spinal injury. “Callie, it’s Bre. Can you hear me? Callie…Callie!” I screamed at her to answer me, but she didn’t. She didn’t even flinch when I screamed her name.


I turned to look for someone to help and saw the man getting out of the red pickup that hit us. He was barely injured. He stared at me with a menacing look; if he could, I think he would have killed me with that look. He looked at me one more time and ran away, leaving his truck in the middle of the road. Several bystanders watched him run off with confused looks on their faces and then started coming toward us. My car door opened and a man I didn’t recognize started talking to me. I saw his mouth moving, but couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. Everything he said was gibberish. I put my head in my hands and started to cry.


After a few minutes, I noticed that I was out of the car and sitting on the curb. How did I get here? I looked at what was left of my car and wondered how I survived. The paramedics were there and they were trying to help Callie. They put her in the ambulance and took off. Another paramedic was walking over to me and I saw his mouth moving, but didn’t really hear or understand why. I finally figured out that he was asking how I felt. He took me to the second ambulance and checked me out.


I asked the paramedic working on me if Callie was okay. A sadness showed on his face and I knew.

I found out later at the hospital that she had died instantly. She broke her neck when the truck hit us. She never stood a chance.


I awoke with a start to a high-pitched, whiney voice speaking over the intercom. “The library will be closing in ten minutes. Please make your way to the exits. We will reopen tomorrow at 8:00 am.” Holy shit, I must have fallen asleep. If the library was closing, then it must have been close to ten o’clock. Crap, I would have to walk back to the dorm in the dark. Since the accident, I didn’t drive. I knew deep down that it was not my fault, but I felt like I should deprive myself of my love of driving and beautiful cars as punishment for being alive when Callie was not. Survivor’s guilt they called it. Whatever.


I made it a point to never be alone outside after dark. The man that killed Callie could be lurking around the corner. The police could find no trace of the man and the truck had been reported stolen earlier that day. I hadn’t seen him since the accident, but I knew he was out there. Had he done it on purpose? Was he after me? I wasn’t taking any chances, hence, never being outside alone at night.


I shoved my books into my backpack as quickly as possible and headed to the exit. It took me about fifteen minutes to get to my dorm from the library. I walked briskly toward my dorm, trying to stay on the paths with the most light. Something caught my eye to the right in the bushes, but I told myself I was just imagining things as I walked faster. Out of nowhere, the breath was knocked out of me as someone tackled me to the ground. I hit my elbow hard on the pavement. The attacker wrapped his arms around me and I noticed someone else walking up to us. The second man grabbed my arm and hauled me up to my feet. The first man continued to hold me to him as he also stood. They were both about six feet tall with dark brown hair and tattoos. They looked similar, like they could be brothers. After I caught my breath, I started screaming as they both started to drag me into the wooded area off the path. One of them covered my mouth with his hand, so I tried to bite him while kicking and hitting anything I could. “Stop trying to bite me, you little bitch.” As they continued to drag me away from any possible help, he said, “I don’t know why the boss wants a little girl so bad and why he sent both of us to get her. This is such a waste of our time.”


I was in full freak-out mode and my body started to shake. My chest started to feel tight. A pressure was building inside me and it felt like I might explode – then it was like I actually did. The guys who were manhandling me moments ago were now twenty feet away from me, knocked out cold beneath a tree.


What in the hell? I quickly decided to analyze it later and get the hell out of there. As I ran back to the path leading to my dorm, I saw another man running toward me with my backpack. Not another one! I ran faster.


“Wait, I wanted to make sure you were okay and give you your backpack. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said from behind me.


I made it to the entrance of the dorm and saw several others around. At least if he tried to kidnap me or kill me, I had several witnesses. I stopped to catch my breath and turned to look at him. He was the most beautiful guy I had ever seen. He was more handsome than any model or movie star – turquoise eyes, sandy blond hair, and beautifully tanned skin. I thought I might be in shock and was hallucinating this perfect man in front of me. I shook my head to clear it and figured out he was speaking to me. Wow, I tend to zone out a lot when people are speaking to me during a trauma. I really should work on that, considering my history.


I looked up into those blue eyes and asked, “What?” He looked as baffled as I did as he continued to stare at me. I asked again, “What did you say?”


As he handed me my backpack, he said, “I asked you if you were okay.”


“Yes, I think so. I’m not really sure what just happened.”


I wasn’t sure if I could trust him, but he wasn’t attacking me, so yay! I took it from him as he asked my name. I told him and asked his.

“My name is Chase. What happened back there?” he asked.


Chase. Mmm, it fits. I would totally chase him down! Good Lord! What is wrong with me? I just got attacked by two crazies and I am flirting with a stranger in my head. I swear, I wonder about myself sometimes!


“I’m not sure. I was walking back to my dorm when these two men tackled me to the ground and started to drag me into the woods.”


Chase looked at me, cocked his head, and asked, “How did you get away from them?”


“Your guess is as good as mine,” I said to him.


All of a sudden, his demeanor completely changed. He looked pissed. He narrowed his eyes at me and grunted, “Huh.”


I had no idea what to tell him. How could I explain what I didn’t understand? In the past, I tried to explain the lunacy in my life to friends and they just thought I was crazy. Callie was the only one who knew and didn’t care. I had stopped telling anyone, including Callie, when abnormal things would happen to or around me. I certainly wasn’t going to try to come up with something for this complete stranger, no matter how decadent he was. Good grief, there I go again. Focus, Bre!


“I will find out what you are hiding and you will not like it when I do.” He then turned around and walked off.


What the what? How dare he threaten me like that! He has no idea what I have been through in my life. I was just attacked and he threatens me? What the hell is wrong with him? Guess the stereotype holds true: the more beautiful you are, the more of an asshole you are.


I made it up to my dorm room, locked the door, and pushed my desk chair against the handle. After checking the locks on the windows, I collapsed on the bed. Thoughts continued to circle through my mind about what happened. What was going on? Why did I keep getting attacked, and why had Chase turned from concerned to angry in seconds? I decided then and there not to dwell on it. I would probably never see him again anyway and that should have made me happy. Who needs a golden surfer god with an attitude problem in their life? Mind made up, I got up to take a shower.

Hopefully, the hot water would wash away the awfulness of the day.


I packed up my bathroom stuff and headed toward the freshman community bathroom on my floor. I had to share a bathroom with other girls, but I didn’t have to share a room. Callie was supposed to be my roommate and for whatever reason, they never assigned me another one.


After my shower, I crashed in my bed and fell asleep almost immediately. Right before I drifted off, I thought, Tomorrow has to be better than today, right?




Chapter 2


I was still on edge the next morning as I made my way to my first class. It was Wednesday and that meant Algebra and Biology. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes were my favorite. I was great at algebra and I loved anything having to do with science. As I made my way to my desk in my algebra class, I felt someone staring at me. I looked around and saw Chase sitting in the back. He wasn’t in this class before, was he? No, I would have noticed him. He was glaring at me again. What was up with him? I tried to ignore him and sat down and pulled out my book.


As the professor was explaining how to multiply polynomials, I snuck a peek at Chase. He was still staring at me with a hateful look on his face. I turned back around quickly. I didn’t understand why he hated me so much. Was he friends with the guys who attacked me? The week could not get any weirder.


Finally, the class was over, so I grabbed my backpack and headed toward the door. I didn’t see Chase and assumed he went out the other door. As I exited the math building, I saw him. He was standing with four other guys, each one hotter than the next. I quickly turned to walk the opposite way even though it wasn’t the direction of my next class. Luckily, I had an hour before my biology class and could take the long way.

From behind me, I heard my name being called, but I ignored it and walked faster. Someone grabbed my arm from behind and spun me around. I was now face-to-face, well face-to-chest, with what looked like a big, scary biker. I started to struggle out of his hold when a brown-haired guy who looked like a professional GQ model walked up. “Breanna, we are not here to hurt you. We just want to talk to you,” the brunette guy said.


I relaxed a little, because what else could I do at that point? I was surrounded by five of the most beautiful men I had ever seen. Aside from being distracted by their looks, the fact that there were five of them towering over me made struggling pretty pointless. I turned in a circle, looking at all of them. In addition to Scary Biker Guy, who was also gorgeous upon closer inspection, with his jet-black hair and dark brown eyes, there was the one with brown hair and kind, sea green eyes, Chase, a guy with blond hair and extremely light blue eyes, and one with brown hair and what looked like gold eyes.


The one with kind eyes also had dimples, which I could now see as he smiled at me. “Breanna, we just want to talk to you. Sorry if we scared you,” he said while glaring at Scary Biker Guy. Scary Biker Guy just shrugged.


“Okay,” I said. “What do you want to talk to me about? The fact that I was attacked last night and Surfer Dude over there threatens me right after? Or the fact that he has not been in my algebra class until today and all he did the entire time is glare at me? Or do you want to talk about the fact that Scary Biker Guy over there just grabbed me? Hmm, what topic would you like to discuss? Because I am open to any of them.”


“First of all, let me introduce myself, my name is Bryce Hampton and these are my friends. Chase, you already know. Scary Biker Guy, as you called him, is Harrison. Then there is Mason and Carter,” Bryce said. Mason was the one with the really light blue eyes. I didn’t even know it was possible to have eyes that light. I wondered if he wore colored contacts. The one with the gold eyes was Carter. What is up with these guys having such beautiful eyes?


Chase stepped forward, still glaring at me, and said, “What are you and what are you doing here?” Bryce gave him a look, but didn’t say anything.


“My name is Breanna Hunter and I am a freshman here,” I said. “I thought we covered this last night? Or did you forget about being an asshole already?”


“Oh no, I remember. And trust me when I say I enjoyed every second of it,” Chase said through gritted teeth. Bryce pushed him back and stepped in closer to me.


“I’m sorry about Chase. He tends to get a little aggressive when he meets someone he doesn’t know. Where are you from and why can’t we tell what you are?”


Are all of these guys mental? What in the world is he talking about? What I am? These guys were crazier than I was and I needed to get the hell away from them.


“I am a normal person just like everyone else and I would appreciate it if you would leave me alone!” I yelled at them. I tried to walk away, but Chase stepped in front of me, stopping my progress.


“Just answer the question,” Chase growled.


“I did!” I said as I threw my hands up. “I have no idea what you want me to say.” I started to get really loud and others were noticing.

Apparently, we were getting more attention than they wanted, because they backed off a little.


Bryce looked at me and said, “I’m sorry again if we scared you. We just don’t understand what’s going on. We’ll leave you alone now. Again, I‘m sorry for scaring you.” Each of them gave Bryce a frustrated look, but they all walked away from me and toward the parking lot. I continued to stand there staring after them, looking confused and bewildered, because I was. What in the hell was wrong with them? I walked to my biology class in a fog.


After biology class, which I paid no attention in, I wandered to the courtyard to grab lunch. While eating and not tasting my club sandwich, Bryce sat down next to me. “Ugh, what now?” I asked as I threw my hands up.


Bryce didn’t look mad or irritated at all. He looked really sweet and adorable, smiling at me with those heaven-sent dimples, and I couldn’t help but relax a little. “I wanted to speak to you without all the guys around. I thought it might be a better way to approach you.”


“You think?” I said sarcastically.


“Chase told us what happened last night. Are you okay?”


“Yes, I am fine.”


“I’m glad. Can you tell me your side of what happened?”


“Sure, if it will get you to leave me alone.” He smirked at my statement. “I was walking back to my room from the library when two guys tried to drag me into the woods. I pushed them away and ran to my dorm. Chase caught up with me and gave me my backpack that I had dropped. The end.”


“So you just pushed two grown men away from you and ran?”


“Yep, that about sums it up.”


Bryce narrowed his eyes and said, “There is more to this than you are saying. How did you really get away from them?”


“I just told you. I pushed away from them and ran.”


“Chase said he saw them fly through the air and then get knocked out against a tree. Can you explain that?”


I hadn’t been sure Chase was close enough to see that, but apparently he had been. I had no idea how to explain it, so I lied, “Chase must have been hallucinating, because there is no way I could have done that. I really just want to put this behind me, so can you please drop it?”


“Breanna, please be honest with me. Trust me when I say I will understand. We have more in common than you think.”


“I really don’t know what else to tell you. What I told you is what happened.” I was starting to get really nervous. I could tell he knew I wasn’t giving him the whole story. I had hoped things like this would stop happening since I moved across the country, but I guess I wasn’t that lucky. Sadly, I would always be the weird girl.

“Breanna, I really need you to be honest with me. I can tell you are scared, but I can help you. There is something different about you, isn’t there? And you have no idea what it is? Am I right so far?”


“I have no idea what you are talking about. I am a regular girl trying to get through her first year of college.”


“You are more than that and you know it,” Bryce said with accusing eyes. “Chase saw you throw two adult men about twenty feet, knocking them out completely.”


Blushing, I looked up at him, “Again, I don’t know what you are talking about.”


“Yes, you do. I don’t know why you are lying about it. We are Elementals and know about the supernatural world.”


WHAT? Elementals? What in the world is that? I was about to start freaking out.


“Relax. Let me explain,” Bryce said as he placed his hand on my arm. “Elementals are similar to humans, but we have gifts that they do not. There are earth, air, water, fire, and animal Elementals.”


“So you are saying you’re not human?” I whispered. This guy is off his rocker! Wow, his hand is so warm on my arm. It’s really soothing. He has such strong hands. Focus, Bre!


“Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. This is not the place to discuss it, though, with so many human ears around. I guess you weren’t raised in a supernatural environment, huh? I will tell you everything, but not here. Come to our house tonight and I will answer all of your questions.”


“I am not going to your house alone! You really are crazy if you think I’ll do that!”


“Well, then I guess you will never know how you can throw grown men through the air and many of the other unexplainable things that have probably happened in your life,” Bryce said while shrugging. He had my attention and he knew it.


“I don’t have a car, so there is no way for me to get there anyway,” I explained.


“Don’t worry. Between the five of us, we have seven cars. One of us can drive you,” Bryce countered. “I promise that you will not be harmed in any way. You will be able to leave whenever you want and we will answer any questions you have. If we wanted to kidnap or harm you, we could have earlier today. Aside from Harrison grabbing your arm and Chase being a royal asshole, no one did anything to hurt you. We will be on our best behavior, I promise,” Bryce said while holding up three fingers.


“You were in the boy scouts?”


“Ha ha! After my heartfelt promise and telling you that you are not human, you focus on me holding my fingers up. You crack me up!” Bryce said while laughing hysterically.


“It’s not that funny.” I fake-glared at him. “I guess I am just used to being different, so while the whole supernatural thing is a surprise, it’s not totally out of my realm of possibilities and that is frightening.”


“Come to the house and let us explain. We can help you,” Bryce pleaded.


He had such an earnest look on his face that it made me want to trust him. And, he was right about the fact that they could have taken me plenty of times over the last twenty-four hours. What do I have to lose? I need to know what is going on with me. “Okay, I will come to your house, but you will not manhandle me or yell at me.”


“Deal!” Bryce said enthusiastically. “You are done with classes for today, right?”


“How do you know that?” I asked accusingly.

“Chase investigated you last night after meeting you. As I will explain later, we can sense other Elementals and Chase couldn’t sense you. He thought you might be a demon. Any time we have encountered one of them, they have attacked and tried to kill us.”


“You can sense Elementals? What does that even mean? And is demons a euphemism for something?”


He looked directly in my eyes and said in a really serious voice, “No, it’s not.”


A chill ran down my spine, because I could sense he was telling the truth. “Oh, okay,” I said, sounding more normal than I felt right then.


“Yes, that was my last class of the day.”


“Great! Do you want to come over now? I have my car here and can drive you,” Bryce stated.


“Sure, I guess.” My head was telling me I should be more nervous than I was at that moment, but everything else about him made me feel safe. There was something about him that felt right. Maybe I was losing my mind.


“Follow me.” We headed toward the parking lot and I was curious about what kind of car he had. I believed what kind of car you drove said a lot about you. We continued walking through the parking lot until he stopped at the passenger door of a silver 2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

“Holy shit! This is one of the most beautiful cars in the world. I have always wanted to ride in one of these,” I almost screamed at him.


Bryce just chuckled and said, “I guess you get your wish today!” He closed my door after I got in, walked around the car, and ducked in.


“Well, if I am getting kidnapped or killed today, at least I’ll be doing it in style!” I said jokingly.


“There you go, looking at the bright side! There is hope for you yet!” Bryce said, showing those damn dimples again.



Chapter 3


We arrived at what could only be described as a mansion. The two-story, gray limestone house looked like a small castle. The entryway was gated, with a circular cobblestone driveway surrounding a beautiful fountain just past the gate. Off to the right was an enormous garage that looked like it could hold ten cars. I guess with seven cars between them, they needed the space. Bryce parked in the third bay of the garage and got out. I followed his lead and walked with him toward the house. As we entered the two-story foyer with light gray marble floors, I was shocked by the grandeur of the house. In the back of the foyer, there was a stunning wooden staircase that led up to curved balconies on either side. There was a crystal chandelier that had to be at least fifteen feet tall. I would hate to be the one to clean that!


We veered off to the left and around a corner into the kitchen. It was a chef’s delight. There were white marble countertops with dark hardwood floors and beige cabinets. The island had to be at least ten feet long and four feet wide. The room looked massive, but felt cozy. Once I lifted my jaw off of the floor, I noticed that all of the guys were sitting around a large round kitchen table. Chase gave his usual glare before walking out of the room. I looked to the others and noticed that they looked intrigued and confused, but not menacing. Even the scary one, Harrison, I think it was, looked somewhat approachable. Well, as approachable as a hot, scary biker guy can look.


Bryce led me over to one of the chairs and I sat down. All of them were staring at me with strange looks on their faces. “Uh, hi again,” I mumbled.


Bryce started the discussion. “I guess Chase is not going to join us. Breanna, I am going to tell you some things that will sound crazy, but everything I say is true, okay?”


“I’m listening.” My heart was about to beat out of my chest. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was afraid of what Bryce was about to say, or because I was surrounded by four really hot guys.


“As I told you before, we are Elementals. I am an Earth Elemental and can manipulate the earth. I can do little things like making plants grow larger up to creating small earthquakes. Mason is a Water Elemental, which means he can manipulate water. He is able to make the water do whatever he wants. Harrison is a Fire Elemental and Chase is an Air Elemental. Carter is an Animal Elemental. He is able to connect with animals and take on some traits of his spirit animal. We have a community of Elementals that is ruled by our King and his council called the Elders. Elementals have regular human jobs, like police officers, that help keep us hidden. We also have some in the government to keep an eye on things. All Elementals are trained at a young age to protect our people. Demons attack our community to steal our gifts and we fight them. Going to college and acting like normal humans helps us blend in. We thought you were an Air Elemental like Chase, but we can sense other Elementals and we cannot sense you. So that most likely makes you a witch or a demon.”


“A demon?” I yelled. “I am out of here. Bryce, please take me home. You are the hottest and craziest guys I have ever met.”


“Just wait a second,” Bryce said while laughing at me.


“It’s not funny. You guys are talking about controlling the elements, and demons and witches. You are insane. Please just take me home,” I pleaded.


“Calm down. Part of being an Earth Elemental means that I can sense dark magic and you do not have any inside of you, so you are not a demon. That would leave you being a witch, but witches are taught magic and usually have to do spells. You couldn’t have done what you did without someone teaching it to you or conducting a spell. So I don’t think you are a witch either. Have other unexplainable things happened before?” Bryce asked.


“Maybe,” I said, reluctant to elaborate. They all looked at me expectantly. “Fine! Things like that happen to me all the time. I remember one time when I was really young, I was swimming in the lake and I started to sink. I was sure I was going to drown, but all of a sudden I was pushed to the surface. I looked all around to see who saved me, but there was no one close to me. My dad was frantically swimming toward me, but he wasn’t near enough to get to me,” I admitted.


“Another time, I got lost in the woods and it felt like the forest showed me the way back. I just figured I had a really great sense of direction, but if that was the case, I wouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place.”


“I have an idea, but I think we should test it out before I tell you,” Bryce said, looking like he was deep in thought.


“What do you mean ‘test it out’?” I asked warily.


“Just trust me. We won’t do anything that would harm you. I just want you to try a few things. This could tell us what you are. Mason, get a glass of water and show her what you can do.” Mason looked at him like he was crazy, but he proceeded to get up and get a glass. When he came back to the table, he looked at me and smiled. All of a sudden, Mason’s eyes seemed to glow and the water in the glass started to rise. The water rose out of the glass and hovered above it. It formed into a heart shape, then, just as quickly as it had risen, it sunk back down into the glass. At the same time, his eyes turned back to their normal ice-blue color.


“Wow! That is incredible and a little freaky,” I said.


“Thanks, Breanna! You should see what I can do with a pond or lake full of water!” Mason said proudly.


“I would love to see that someday. But please call me Bre. Breanna is only used when I am in trouble,” I said, smiling. Seeing Mason do something so amazing was wonderful. I couldn’t remember the last time I really smiled.


“Now you try it,” Bryce said. The others, including myself, looked at him like he was crazy.


“Bryce, you know only bonded Elementals can have more than one gift,” Carter interjected.

“What is a bonded Elemental?” I asked, curious.


“Bonded Elementals are Elementals that have bonded to each other and can now share gifts. Unlike human relationships, we usually have more than one life partner. Most of the bonded are groups of three, but I’ve heard of others that consisted of four or five members. I’m not sure if there are really five members, though. It could just be a myth,” Bryce said.


Shocked and probably a nice shade of red, I asked, “Are some of you guys bonded to each other then?” Hysterical laughter boomed throughout the room as each of the four guys started laughing so hard they cried. “Did I say something wrong?”


“We are not bonded to each other or anyone else,” Bryce said once he got his laugh-cry under control. “We have not found our bonded yet and all of us are straight.”


“How do you know someone is your bonded?” I asked.


Harrison answered, “You will feel a certain pull to them, like an attraction. Then, once you become intimate, you will begin to bond and show signs of being able to use their gift. To complete the bond, you have to be extremely intimate, if you know what I mean,” he said while waggling his eyebrows up and down. It was so cheesy and funny-looking coming from such a tough-looking guy, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.


He acted like I hadn’t just burst out laughing and continued with his explanation. “For example, if I bonded with a Water Elemental, I would be able to move the water in that glass. Right now, all I can do is catch it on fire.” And that was what he did. The glass of water that Mason had used before was now on fire and Harrison’s eyes were glowing orange.


“Oh my God! That is amazing! You guys are incredible! All I do is create chaos and destruction,” I lamented.


“I think you’re wrong,” Bryce said. “Try to make the water move.”


“Concentrate on the water and will it to do what you want,” Mason said.


I stared at the water in the glass and felt like an idiot. I tried to concentrate on it, but I was distracted by all of them staring at me. “Stop staring! I can’t think when you are all looking at me,” I said. They all looked away except Mason. He sat down beside me and said, “Just relax and only think about the water. Think about how cool and refreshing it is. Think about how it sloshes in the glass. Feel the movement of the liquid and how it flows.”


I relaxed by listening to his soothing voice. He should do books on tape. He has a wonderfully deep and flowing voice, kind of like water. Huh, makes sense. All of a sudden, the water started to move back and forth in the glass, slowly at first. It sloshed from one side to the other. It started to slosh back and forth, faster and faster. My heart was racing watching it move like that. How exciting! Then, bam, it flew out of the glass and all over Harrison. Oh shit! He’s going to kill me.

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to do that!” I said.


The guys, including Harrison, didn’t say anything. They just stared at me like I was an alien. I jumped up to grab a towel to dry him off, hoping he wouldn’t actually kill me. I handed him the towel and he took it, still staring at me. I looked around the table and everyone was still staring.


“What? Have you never seen someone spill water before?” I asked incredulously with my hands on my hips.


Bryce spoke up. “There has never been anyone that can have more than one gift before being bonded, ever. And your eyes glowed white, not blue like most Water Elementals. Let’s make sure you really are an Air Elemental, too, and not just a Water Elemental. We need to make sure what Chase saw was really air.”


“Let’s see if she can handle fire first. But since that is how you handle water, we should probably go outside to try this,” Harrison said, winking at me.


I understand why he is a Fire Elemental. He is making me melt with just one look. Good grief, I am such a cliché. But damn, Scary Biker Guy is scary hot! Focus, Bre!



Chapter 4


As we walked outside, I got really nervous. I had a feeling that I would be able to manipulate fire, too, because I had done it before. I just hadn’t realized it at the time.


I was about nine years old when my parents and I went camping in Badlands National Park. The weather turned extremely cold one night after the sun went down. Dad started a fire, but it was so small that it wasn’t helping much. He left to go get more wood while my mom prepped for dinner. I sat alone by the campfire, holding my hands as close as I could to try to warm up. It was freezing. I was shivering and wishing the fire was larger to help warm me up faster. All of a sudden, the fire shot up in the air. I stood and backed away from it. The blaze was taller than I was. As I stepped back, the fire started to dwindle back down to a more normal size. It scared me so bad that I’d avoided fires ever since.


That had been my first encounter with fire. I knew that whatever Harrison asked me to do, I would be able to do it. I just hoped it was not like with the water. You can’t just wipe fire off of someone with a dish towel. Once we were outside, Harrison lit a candle. “Let’s start small, just in case.”


He held the candle in front of him and with glowing eyes, made it grow several inches taller and then made it dance around. It was mesmerizing. After a few minutes of that, he controlled it back to its regular size. “Now you try it,” he said. He handed me the still-lit candle.


“Just like you did with the water, focus on the flame and will it to do what you want. Start small and just try to get it to move back and forth.”


I focused on the candle’s flame, watching it flicker in the slight breeze. I thought about how it was slowly swaying from side to side when Harrison did it. I thought about how magical the slow dance he made the flame perform was.


Suddenly, the flame started to move back and forth. I thought maybe it was the wind, but it was moving in the direction I was thinking. This is so exciting! I can control fire! Next thing I know, the fire is shooting up into the air about 3 feet. I dropped the candle and the flame caught the lawn on fire. Harrison stepped forward and started to get the fire to die down when out of nowhere, a large bubble of water came splashing down on top of it, dousing the flames.

“I figured you might need it, so I was ready,” Mason said smiling.


“Well, she is definitely a Fire Elemental, but her eyes glowed white again,” stated Harrison. Just then, Chase walked up, looking grumpy as ever. Maybe I should call him Oscar instead of Chase. Oscar the Grouchy Elemental. That fits!


“Show me your air gift,” Chase, aka Oscar, said.

“I’m not sure how,” I replied.


“You knew how to do it the other night when you were throwing those guys into a tree. Do what you did then,” Chase barked.


“I don’t know what I did! All I know is that there were two men dragging me into the woods and I started shaking and felt a pressure build up inside me and then I felt like I just exploded. I don’t know how I did it, it just happened. Just like everything else around me. It always just happens!” I was screaming at him at this point. He stepped toward me with that menacing look on his face and I was frightened. He grabbed both of my arms tightly and I freaked. This time I didn’t feel any build up, he just went flying backwards and landed on his ass. The other four guys burst out laughing.


“She gave you what you asked for!” Harrison said between laughs.


“Yeah, she did exactly what she did the other night, just like you told her!” Bryce said at the same time, while bending over from laughing so hard. Tears were streaming down his face. “Bre, please don’t ever leave. I have not had this much fun in a long time!”


“I’m glad I can be your entertainment,” I said, and smiled a little at Chase still sitting on the ground with a dumbfounded look on his face.

“Her gifts become larger and more out of control when her emotions are high,” Carter said as he looked sheepishly at me. “When those men were attacking her, she was scared and her air gift came forward, like with Chase just now. When she was trying to move the water, she got excited and that was when the water flew all over Harrison.”


“Sorry I missed that. At least I’m not the only one she is taking it out on,” Chase grumbled.


“Again when she got excited about the flame, it shot up in the air. Her gifts are affected by her emotions. Ours are, too, but we have been working with them our entire lives and can control them better,” Carter said. “Remember when you were young and your gift was out of control sometimes? It’s the same with Bre. She has never had anyone teach her how to control her powers or her emotions, so they go haywire when she is excited or scared.”


“I almost burned my house down when I was five years old,” Harrison said. “My mother wouldn’t let me play with my toys until I cleaned my room. I was so mad that I caught the carpet in the living room on fire. Luckily she was also a Fire Elemental and put it out quickly, but I understand exactly what Bre is going through.”


“We need to work with her, teach her to control her gifts. We also need to figure out how in the world she has more than one,” Bryce stated.


“Bre, would you like to try Earth? It should be less destructive than fire.”


“Ha ha, very funny. Maybe I will create a huge hole in the earth to swallow you up!” I said, laughing at Bryce.


“Don’t joke, you probably can! But let’s try something a little easier,” Bryce said as he picked up a potted plant. “Like I told you, one of the ways I can use my gift is to grow things.” As he spoke, the plant started to get bigger and his eyes glowed green. It grew from a foot tall to three feet tall.


“Wow, Bryce! Can you do that with all plants? What about vegetables? You could end world hunger! Just grow lots of food and give it to the homeless and those in poverty. No one would be hungry again! That is amazing!” I exclaimed.

With a downtrodden look, Bryce said, “We can’t show our gifts to the humans. If they found out about us, they would want to perform tests on us. What they found would scare them and they would see us as a threat. Eventually, they would try to control us. We are a lot stronger than humans and it would not end well for them if they tried.”


“Oh, that sucks! I do agree that human nature can be destructive. I understand what you are saying, but what a shame it is. The good you guys could do with your gifts is limitless,” I said with a sadness in my voice. “Maybe one day.” I looked up and saw Chase was staring at me. He didn’t have his usual scowl, which confused me. “Do you have something else mean to say Oscar?” I said, looking at Chase.


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