Spirit Page 3

But when it came right down to pulling a trigger, it wasn’t hard at all.

Her mother always used to say it was for the greater good. Kate wondered what she’d say about that now, after everything that had happened.

She watched Silver’s fidgeting for another moment. “Do you expect them to be hard to kill?”

His eyes left the gun to flick up and meet hers. “Nervous?” She matched his tone. “Of course not.”

He smiled, but there wasn’t anything amiable about it. “You have some familiarity with weapons, yes?”

Kate picked up the Glock and took it apart in four seconds. The bullets plinked out of the magazine onto the table. “A little.”

“A bullet to the head is one of the few sure ways to kill them.”

“I have some familiarity with killing, too.”

“So I’ve heard.” He ignored her attitude and started putting the stripped gun back together. “I’ve seen an Air Elemental take four shots to the chest and still come up fighting.”

“An adult, right? I thought we were killing teenagers.”

“We are.” He paused. “And how does that make you feel, Kathryn?”

She looked up in surprise. “Fine. Why?”

“Honestly, when they told me you were my ‘trainee,’ I was surprised.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I don’t know what you’re doing here.”

It shouldn’t have hurt—but it did, like getting a pinch in the arm from a vicious child. She’d earned her spot here. “I was assigned to help you.”

“You seem eager.”

“I’ve proven myself. I’m ready to do something.” She needed to succeed here. If she couldn’t, it meant her mother’s death was for nothing.

His hands stilled on the firearm, and he looked over. “You must have done something already, to be assigned with me.”

“Why, you think you’re such a badass?”

“I don’t need to think that, Kathryn.”

“Stop calling me that. Only my mother called me Kathryn.”

He looked back at the gun, checking the sight this time. “I heard a rumor about your mother.”

“She was very good at what she did.” Kate kept any thread of emotion out of her voice. “I’m better.”

“I should hope so. Obviously your mother wasn’t good enough.”

Kate wanted to punch him, but it probably wouldn’t end well. “I took care of it.”

“I heard a rumor about that, too.”

“What did you hear?”

“That your mother was assigned to destroy a Water Elemental but failed.” He paused. “That you went after the Water Elemental yourself and succeeded.”

“My mother made a mistake.”

“A mistake the size of the Gulf of Mexico, I heard. Stupid, to go after one of them in the middle of the water.”

Silver was baiting her. Kate knew it.

It was almost working.

“My mother knew what she was doing. She used to say, no matter how good you are, there’s always someone better.”

“And clearly she learned that lesson the hard way.”

“I think it’s time to stop talking about my mother.”

He smiled. “Can you get close to these Merrick boys?”


“Without them knowing what you are?”


“And if they display the traits of a full Elemental, what will you do?”

She licked her lips. “Kill them.”

His hands went still. “Wrong answer.”

She flung herself back in her chair and rolled her eyes. “Report back to you.”

“Good girl.” He snapped the magazine into the gun and slid it across the table to her. “Now get dressed. We have work to do.”


The gun clicked empty, and Hunter swore.

A laugh in the darkness, somewhere ahead of him. “You thought I’d take a chance with it loaded?”

Then his bedroom door slammed and footsteps were pounding up the steps to the main level.

His mother was upstairs. His grandparents.

Kerosene. Match. Whoosh.

Hunter didn’t have the power to stop a fire by himself—and he’d done a pretty good job killing any sort of friendship with the one guy he knew who could.

He flung the door wide and sprinted up the stairs.

And there was Casper, his German shepherd, flopped out in the front hall, snoring loudly.

Hunter couldn’t really blame him. He’d been fooled by Calla once, too.

Glass was breaking in the kitchen, then something heavy crashed to the floor. Hunter darted through the foyer as more glass broke. What were they doing? Flinging dishes at the floor?

Yes, that’s exactly what they were doing. Calla was sweeping her hand along the counter as she headed for the door, sending ceramic canisters and the glass cutting board onto the floor. A guy Hunter didn’t recognize shoved the baker’s rack away from the wall, sending pots crashing to the ground. The table was overturned already, and shattered glasses and plates littered the floor.

Hunter wasn’t sure what to do. The gun was still downstairs—not like it mattered. It was empty, and besides, he couldn’t exactly shoot them for breaking dishes.

At least she wasn’t starting a fire.

Calla pulled a knife from the wooden block on the counter—then flung the block at the floor. Half the steak knives skittered free and landed among the rest of the mess. She dragged the blade along the wallpaper by the door. “Need more convincing?”

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