BLOG TOUR.EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY : Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh
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Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).
With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.
But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.
SECRETS are revealed…
…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…
But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…
I’d never been in a fight before, but instinct was definitely kicking in as the urge to inflict pain was rising.
I threw a wicked elbow from out of left field and knocked her backward onto her ass. Using that off-centered moment, I quickly turned and snapped my fist into her surprised face. I was pretty sure I caught her on the chin, therefore doing minimal damage, but I couldn’t believe it had even happened. I punched someone! My knuckles hurt, but the adrenaline coursing through my veins soothed the ache.
She gripped a desk and drug herself upward, eyeing me like a predator might watch her prey, but I was not her game, and after all that, I was feeling a little cocky.
“You want me to kick your ass?” I asked smugly. “I’ll kick your ass, but I’d really like to know why I’m doing it, first.”
Before I could even comprehend what was happening, she was pulling her fist away from my split bottom lip. Blood dripped to the floor in a slow but steady pace. Damn, she was fast—or maybe I was just slow.
“You’re not gonna kick my ass, Valerie. Let’s just make that crystal clear, right now.”
She lunged, fingers wrapping firmly around my neck. Mine followed suit, fumbling in an attempt to peel her off of me. Neck and neck, literally. Who would choke first? In my current state of terror, I was afraid it would be me; the sensation of asphyxiation had my heart hammering faster and my lungs demanding even more air.
Unsure of what else to do, I pushed her backward and thrust her head into a chalkboard, but not hard enough. Her grip tightened around my throat, and I struggled for even a thin stream of air. Over and over, I knocked her head against the chalkboard in vain, until accidentally, I caught it on the board’s silver edge. A loud crack and a muffled splitting sound echoed through the room.
She winced sharply and finally loosened her hold on my windpipe, just enough for me to escape. Gasping, I hunched over, sucking in deep breaths of dusty air. I choked out a slurred “Why are you doing this?” as I glared up at her.
Loren scoffed. “Maybe you really are as ditzy as you look.” She smoothed her long brown hair, but her fingers came back bloody. “How about I give you a warning instead of an explanation?” She eyed me darkly, got right up in my face, and lowered her voice. “Stay away from him.”
It sank in quickly, but I just couldn’t believe it. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I blurted. “All this? Over a guy?” She swung at my jaw, but this time I jerked backward in time to dodge it.
The million-dollar question was: which guy? There were only two that it could’ve been, so maybe it was more like the hundred-dollar question, but anyway, two guys. Only one seemed logical. Only one had no desire to conceal his intentions. Holden.
“Are you talking about what happened after chemistry?”
She smirked bitterly as she crossed her arms and leaned back against a lab table. “I saw the way you looked at him.”
I wanted to tell Loren that I wasn’t interested in Holden, that we were just friends, and barely even that. That him putting his lips on my skin was an accident, one I never saw coming. And that, if I had foreseen it, I would’ve stopped it before it ever occurred.
But I also didn’t want to tell her those things. She didn’t deserve the satisfaction. It was safe to say we had officially marked each other as enemies the moment we’d drawn blood, and according to my knowledge of heroes and villains, enemies didn’t appease one another.
“He’s not even yours to fight over, Loren,” I argued as I began circling the table. “And you can’t make me stay away from him, especially since he doesn’t want me to.”
She pushed off the edge and began stalking me around. “Oh, but I can make you.”
I raised an eyebrow and continued circling, keeping a healthy distance between us. Loren was not just devious, she was lethal, but I didn’t really want to let her know I thought so. “Is that so?”
“It is.” She continued shadowing me as we each rounded another corner. “I played this fight more than fair, Valerie. Next time, you won’t be so lucky.”
“Next time?” I asked excitedly. “I already can’t wait.”
Loren clenched her fists at her sides just as Principal Bauer abruptly poked his head into the room, double-checking, no doubt. I quickly touched a finger to my lip to assure it was no longer bleeding. It wasn’t, thankfully, but there was probably a dried up riverbed of old blood. If so, he didn’t notice.
“Girls.” His expression was of exasperation. “Evacuation protocol, remember? Let’s go!”
Loren lifted her nose into the air and marched out to the left, so I resolutely sauntered right.
Elle Middaugh is a newly published author, born in the sticks outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. After moving around the east coast a number of times, she now lives in her hometown with her husband and three children.
Reading has been a favorite past time since Elementary School and choose-your-own-adventure books. Writing has been her dream since Middle School when she first began penning her own material. Being published is the most awesome achievement in her writing career so far, but she hopes for more exciting landmarks and stepping stones in the future!
She’s a proud Navy wife; a frazzle-brained mother; a homebody who dislikes cleaning; a fan of tennis, and fitness in general; a lover of hot tea, mountain dew, and all things fiction; and she’s a bigger My Little Pony fan than her children.
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