This is stupid.

I don’t ever write in a journal. But I had to get this off my chest.

I went over to Holden Michaels’ house this afternoon… I know, I know, it was a bad idea. But I just can’t stand to see him anywhere near Valerie. He’s only hanging out with her to piss me off, anyway, I just know it.

It was after the earthquake incident, which I’m still furious with myself about. How could I lose control so easily? All he did was kiss her hand and give her the dreamy eye, and I lost my shit and almost shook the school to the ground. He knows I can’t talk to her in public, and he’s capitalizing on that. He’s such a tool.

Anyway… I parked along the curb in front of his fancy riverfront house and strolled right out back like I owned the place. The landscaping was beautiful, which was a little unfortunate for my ego. I wondered who his gardener was because I knew it couldn’t possibly be him or anyone in his family who arranged the flora so elegantly. Earth was my thing. Holden hails from a long line of pure Wind Elementals, as you can imagine. Not that he’d flaunt that fact. He’s so good at being a Modernist it makes me sick.

Glass double doors connected the patio to the den where Holden sat watching tv, and a second-story deck gave the base-level patio some comfortable afternoon shade. Ha – Shade! For shade to be a necessary luxury you’d need sunshine, and Loren already made sure there was none of that! I want to be mad at her about the nasty thunderstorm, but that’d be hypocritical, and that only irritates me more. I hate feeling this frustrated. I don’t even know if writing this down is helping…

Holden saw me and sauntered out. His confidence made my blood want to boil.

“Cade Landston,” he said to me with a grin. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” Sarcasm wasn’t going to be helpful. Not out of his mouth.

“Holden, I’m not in the mood,” I said through gritted teeth. I’m really not used to being so angsty, but it’s hard to contain my ire over this Valerie stuff.

He gestured to the bronze patio furniture. “Please, have a seat.”

I flopped down and glared at him. “Stay away from her.”

“Woah!” he said before laughing. Laughing! “Cutting straight to the chase, are we?”

“Yeah, I am. And I mean it. You know I like her, so stay away.”

He propped his chin on his knuckles. “What if I like her too?”

“Holden…” I threatened. But he just rolled his eyes. It made me want to bloody his nose.

“I’m serious, Cade, I like her too.” He ran his hand through his hair. Somehow the gesture seemed sympathetic. But I didn’t want his sympathy. “If you want to compete with me to see who she likes more, then go ahead and try. Take her out on a date. Call her and talk late into the night. Ask her to sit with you at lunch. DO something. Make a move.”

“You know I can’t.”

“Gotta love those Traditionalist values, huh?” When I didn’t say anything right away, he continued, “Why don’t you just become a Modernist if you want her so bad?”

I shook my head sharply. “Absolutely not. I’d never give up the free use of my Elemental power.”

Holden eyed me skeptically and I just knew he was about to say something I didn’t want to hear… He said, “You want the best of both worlds, don’t you? You want unlimited power and you want Valerie. But you can’t have both. Valerie is a human, and, as a Traditionalist, it’s impossible for you to be with her. You technically can’t even be her friend! So unless you’re willing to become a Modernist – like me – and merge seamlessly into human society, suppressing your unrestricted usage of Elemental power, then I don’t understand how this is even an issue.”

And that’s the crux of the whole damn problem – it shouldn’t be an issue.

He’s right. I’m not supposed to want her. I’m not supposed to be her friend. That’s why I can’t talk to her at school. That’s why I can’t call her on the phone. That’s why I can’t take her on a date. I shouldn’t even secretly walk home with her. Because it’s forbidden. We traditionalists don’t want to be more like humans. We want to mind our own business and do our Elemental-thing in the privacy of our own homes and communities. Ironically, in order to resist being humanized, we have to portray ourselves as the most average humans ever. The less we stand out, the less attention we draw, the less we have to worry about being bothered or exposed. It’s both genius and asinine at the same time.

I stood up and reiterated myself one last time. “Just stay away from her, Holden.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think so, Cade. I don’t want to, I don’t have to, and I won’t. You should be the one staying away.”

Yeah, I was right. Writing this down didn’t help a damn thing. I’m still pissed off at Holden, I’m still pissed off at me, and I’m still pissed off about this whole situation.

The only consolation I have is…

  1. A) That I’m never going to make myself write shit down in a journal ever again.
  2. B) That I will hopefully get to see Valerie this evening at my willow tree, no matter how stupid of an idea it is.

And C) That if Holden doesn’t listen, if he fails to stay away, I’ll take my anger to another level and punch him right in his cocky mouth.


– Cade


About Elemental Secrets

Elemental Secrets (The Essential Elements, #1)
by Elle Middaugh
Publication Date: February 27th 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult


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…





About the Author

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.


Author links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *