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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
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
“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 a voice and a
He let out a long breath. “How did you get in here?”
“I drugged your dog and picked the lock.”
It took great effort to keep still. He had a knife under his pillow, but going for it
would take about three hours in comparison to the amount of time it would take her to
pull the trigger. “You drugged
“Benadryl in a New York strip.” Her voice turned disdainful. “You don’t even
He never walked Casper on a leash. His grandparents lived on an old farm. Like
he should have considered that psycho teenage girls might be leaving tainted steaks for
his dog to find. “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.”
“You know,” she said, ignoring him, “I thought about just burning this place
“What stopped you?” He slid his hand beneath the blanket, just a few inches to
She didn’t. “Nothing. There’s still time.”
“I don’t believe you,” he said. “If you wanted to start a fire, you wouldn’t be here
“We want you to get a message to the other Guides.”
“I don’t know
any other Guides,” he hissed.
Well, he knew one, but Becca’s father was just as far off the grid as Hunter was.
His hand slid another few inches, clearing the blanket.
“Come on, Hunter,” she said sweetly. “Aren’t you your father’s son?”
Her voice had grown closer. She was leaning in. The gun moved a fraction of an
He swung for her wrist, going for deflection, ducking under the movement. His
other hand was free, flinging the blankets at her while he slid to the ground. He threw a
punch where her knee should be, but she was gone already, somewhere back in the
He tried to slow his breathing, his heart, trying to convince his body that he
He focused on the air in the room, asking the element to reveal her location more
precisely, but it was never something he could force. He had to wait.
At least the darkness was working to his advantage. If he couldn’t see her, she
He slid a hand under his pillow, and the knife found his fingers, the hilt a
reassuring feel in his palm. He’d never cut anyone with it, but he knew how to throw.
Then he heard her breath—or maybe he felt it. Close, too close. He lifted a hand
Something hard cracked him across the side of the head—a board, a book,
. He went sprawling, and for a painful moment, he didn’t even know if he was
lying face up. Now the room was full of light: stars danced in his field of vision.
She kicked him, rolling him onto his back. “Idiot,” she said. “You think I’d come
Rolling sent the back of his head into the carpet. It hurt. A lot.
“I should shoot you right now,” she said. “But we need
“Go to hell.” He could taste blood when he talked. He slid his hand against the
carpet, looking for his knife, but a booted foot stomped down on his fingers.
The gun went against his forehead. “A message,” said Calla. “Are you listening?”
“Yeah,” he ground out. He still had a free hand, but he had no idea whether her
“We’re going to keep burning houses,” she said. “Until the Guides come.”
She was nuts. “They’ll destroy you,” he said.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “Tell them to come and see.”
“No. Until they come, that’s on you
.” She shifted the gun. “You like piercings,
right?” The hard steel pressed into his bare shoulder. “How about a little bullet hole to
Hunter whipped his free hand out to deflect again, this time rolling into the
He didn’t let it distract him—he kept moving and drove his fist into the leg of
This time, he connected. He heard a male grunt of pain. His other hand was free.
Movement filled the darkness around him, and he knew they were getting ready to
He pointed at motion, then pulled the trigger.
Kate Sullivan awoke to the click of a gun.
Irritated, she rolled over. She should have closed the door before going to bed.
Silver was checking his weapons again. He did this several times a day.
She’d known him for seventy-two hours, and it was already making her nuts.
She glanced at the clock and called out. “You know it’s not even five in the
“I have the capacity to tell time, my dear.”
She slid out of bed and went to the doorway. He had a British accent completely
at odds with his olive complexion, slightly slanted blue eyes, and sun-streaked blond hair.
She’d asked him about his heritage, and he’d told her he was poured straight from the
Apparently that pot poured into one hell of a mold, because Silver was hotter than
The name almost didn’t fit him. His skin and hair were sun-kissed, as if he spent
an insane amount of time outside. He’d be right at home on a beach, with a surfboard
staked in the sand beside him. His hair was short, but just this side of too long to be
called military style. She’d been tempted to call him Iceman, after the bad-boy hottie in
—eighties’ movies were kind of her thing. But then she’d gotten a good look in
his eyes, which were a cold blue that made her shiver.
She glanced through the opposite doorway, which led to the bedroom he’d
might have been an overstatement. They’d walked into the
furnished apartment yesterday, and he’d said, “Sleep wherever.” Just now, his blankets
were flat and perfect, almost military style. Either he hadn’t slept or he’d made the bed
He clicked the magazine into a semi-automatic handgun and slid it into a holster.
“But we must play the proverbial early bird today.”
She leaned her forehead against the doorjamb. “I don’t want to go to high school.”
“You are, in fact, a teenager. Isn’t this some kind of rite of passage? Couldn’t you
find some time to rah
with the cheer girls while killing rogue Elementals?”
“I think you’ve been watching too many shows on the CW.”
He didn’t answer, and she peeked through the spill of blond hair that fell across
her cheek. He’d moved on to other weapons, knives this time. He slid each out of its
sheath and checked the edge of the blade.
Kate sighed. He practically had an arsenal in the truck, more deadly toys than she
would know what to do with. More guns, of course. Knives of varying length. An honest-
She’d mocked him about those. “Oh, good! Are those for when we fight the
An arrow had just appeared
in his hand, the point pressed into her throat hard
enough to draw blood. “No, they’re for when my trainee gets mouthy.”
The accent, the danger, the weapon in his hand—it all combined to make him
immeasurably sexy and terrifying at the same time. Kate had no idea how old he was, but
he couldn’t be much
older. His features were smooth and unlined, his body lithe and
muscled. She wouldn’t put him past the age of an average college student, but he
probably couldn’t pass for high school.
That’s why she
was here. To infiltrate the local high school, to determine who the
true Elementals were, and whether they were as powerful as rumor said.
Kate hadn’t expected an assignment at her age—she’d only been in training to be
a Guide for about six months before the call came.
It was an honor to be picked, even if her ancillary role had been emphasized to the
point of irritation. Silver was in charge of this mission. She was the apprentice. The
Kate dropped into a chair at the table with him. A gun sat there, a Glock 9mm,
He watched her but didn’t say anything.
“Have you ever killed any of them?” she asked.
Silver nodded. “Of course.” He didn’t have to ask whom she meant. There was
only one them
. The pure Elementals. The ones with enough power to level cities.
Everyone on earth had some connection to an element—but only a select few
Elementals. Kate imagined it like a circle with a five-pointed star inside. Four
points of the star represented each of the classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
If everyone alive was put inside the circle, some would fall between branches and some
The closer you fell to a point, the greater your affinity to that element.
If you fell directly on a point, you could harness that element’s power and bend it
Kate was a pure Elemental, too, but she fell on the fifth point, which represented
the Spirit. Once she fully grew into her abilities as a Fifth, she’d be able to control all
four elements. Beyond that, her connection to the human spirit meant she had a greater
Years ago, the pure Elementals used to wreak havoc: mass destruction spanning
centuries. The great Chicago fire. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. The Fifths, connected to
human suffering by their very abilities, banded together to destroy pure Elementals and
Now Fifths were selected to become Guides, and trained to kill pure Elementals
before they could come into their full power.
Kate’s connection to her element should have made it hard for her to kill anyone.
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
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
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
“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.”
“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.”
“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
“She was very good at what she did.” Kate kept any thread of emotion out of her
“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.”
“That your mother was assigned to destroy a Water Elemental but failed.” He
paused. “That you went after the Water Elemental yourself and succeeded.”
“A mistake the size of the Gulf of Mexico, I heard. Stupid, to go after one of them
“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?”
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.”
IL3 Institute for LifeLong Learning Institut de Formació Contínua Instituto de Formación Continua Universitat de Barcelona © de esta edición: Fundació IL3-UB, 2010PROCESO DE ATENCIÓN URGENTE A LA MUJERD.L.: B-36510-2010 T3B TRASTORNOS HIPERTENSIVOS DEL EMBARAZO (THE)Introducción a los trastornos hipertensivos del embarazo (THE) . 1.2. Definición y clasificación de los THE (OMS
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