Spirit (Elemental) - By Brigid Kemmerer
I always start with my mother, and this time is no exception: without my mom’s encouragement, support, and constant guidance throughout my life, I would not be where I am today, and this book wouldn’t be in your hands. Mom, you’re a constant inspiration. Thank you for everything.
Mandy Hubbard is my amazingly talented agent and the only person to know about the unicorn I have chained under my desk. (Oh, crap. Now you all know, too. Shh, ’kay?) Mandy, thank you for everything. I’m so excited to be on this journey with you.
Alicia Condon is one badass editor, and it’s very possible I do a little happy dance every time my phone lights up with an e-mail from her. Alicia and the rest of the team at Kensington have been nothing short of amazing, and I’m grateful for all of their hard work on my behalf. I would be remiss in not extending special gratitude to my fabulous publicist, Vida Engstrand, for all her help whenever I need it.
I wrote my acknowledgments for Storm and Spark before I knew how awesome the team at Allen & Unwin (my Australia /New Zealand publisher) would prove to be, so I need to say it three times here: thank you, thank you, thank you. Eva, Jodie, Lara, and the rest of the “Onions,” you are beyond compare. Thank you for everything you’ve done to make the Elemental books a success.
Many, many people helped make Spirit come together. Bobbie Goettler and Alison Kemper Beard have been my faithful friends and critique partners since the very beginning, and without their help, this book wouldn’t be what it is. Ladies, as always, you’re amazing mothers, amazing writers, and amazing friends, and I wouldn’t be here without you.
Readers! Book bloggers! Librarians! Teachers! You are all amazing. I have met so many amazing people since beginning this publication journey, and it would be impossible to name you all, but please know you have all touched me deeply. I love (and try to respond to) every e-mail/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads/ carrier pigeon/etc. message I receive. Thank you all for your support.
I do owe special thanks to a few amazing bloggers and friends, who took a chance on a debut author and independently put together an amazing blog tour last April: Sarah from Saz101, Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries, Badass Bookie Lisa, Braiden from Book Probe Reviews, Kai from Amaterasu Reads, Lisa from Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me, Shirley from Shirley’s Bookshelf, Celine from Forget-Me-Not, and Becca from Reading Wishes. (If I’m leaving someone out, please, please, please forgive me. You are no less amazing.) Thank you all for your efforts and enthusiasm. I cannot adequately express how much that meant to me.
A tremendous thank you to Wes Parker, who singlehandedly mans the Elementalists fan page on Facebook. Your Photoshop skills never cease to amaze me. You’ve believed in me since before my book hit shelves, and I hope I one day get to buy you a cup of coffee (or heck, a whole frigging dinner) so that I can meet you and say thank you.
Additionally, many people read an early draft of Spirit and offered their thoughts: Sarah Gonder, Wes Parker, Tom Berry, Nicole Kalinosky, and Sarah Fine, you guys are awesome and amazing. Please don’t tell anyone what those original drafts looked like, okay?
Finally, to my Kemmerer boys, Jonathan, Nick, and Baby Sam: you remind me every day of how lucky I am. But extra-special thanks to my amazing husband, Michael: my best friend, my personal cheering section, the man I’m lucky I married. Thank you, honey, for everything.
Hunter Garrity awoke to the click of a gun.
His grandparents kept a night-light in the utility room, but either it wasn’t working or someone had killed it—his basement bedroom was pitch-black. His breathing was a shallow whisper in the darkness. For an instant, he wondered if he’d dreamed the sound.
Then steel touched his jaw.
He stopped breathing.
A voice: soft, female, vaguely mocking. “I think you dropped this.”
He recognized her voice, and it wasn’t a relief. His arms were partially trapped by the sheet and the comforter; he couldn’t even consider disarming her from this angle.
“Calla,” he murmured, keeping his voice low so as not to spook her. He had no idea how much experience she had with guns, and this didn’t seem like the right time for trial and error.
“Hunter.” The barrel pressed harder into the soft flesh under his chin.
He needed her to move, to shift her weight. Right now, she was just