Book 1 of the Destroyers Series (Second Edition).
Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. But when gorgeous Gary materializes out of a hurricane right in front of her, that all changes, because he shares a marking exactly like hers.
When Gary shows her the truth about the curse they share, it's only the start of their nightmare.
This was almost certainly the end.
Janelle’s breath caught in her throat. Outside the bay window of their new home, mountains of black clouds lumbered through the sky. The wind screamed, threatening to blast out the glass at any second or send a piece of debris shooting straight at them. And all through it, her father stood and watched, hands folded behind his back.
“Dad, get away from the window. I’m begging you. We’ve got to get out of here. Didn’t you hear what the cops were blasting when the drove through earlier?”
Her father turned, and he was smiling of all things. It was the opposite of what she felt, and it made zero amount of sense. No one should be smiling in a situation like this, except for people with a death wish, and her father didn’t strike her as the type. “Isn’t this exciting? I want you to see this.”
Rain beat against the house, adding to the roar that filled the world. The roof creaked like it wanted to peel off and fly away. Every single bush and tree in their yard bent over as if pointing them back to Michigan, to the sanity they’d left behind. To her best friend, Leslie, who was no doubt thinking she’d come to a sunny paradise, gawking at shirtless guys at the beach instead of trying to huddle away from a full-blown hurricane.
Janelle bit her lip, hugging herself. It was all a dream. It had to be. It was one of those nightmares where only she could see the danger, and her father wouldn’t listen to her, like the one she’d had about him setting up camp above quicksand back in junior high. She’d wake up soon in her real life, go to school, and attend her Math Whiz meeting at her normal school. Any minute now she’d—
Snap. A tree fell across the street with a sound like gunfire.
Her heart thudded as she moved behind the couch, closer to the glow of the television. At least it could protect her a little if the window blew out. “Please. I want to go to the shelter.” It was getting harder and harder to keep her cool. And her sanity, for that matter. How was any normal person supposed to endure this?
Footsteps approached. Eyes shining, her dad spoke in an even voice, the one he reserved for work conversations on the phone and lectures about working hard in school. “We’re completely safe, Janelle. I’ve been through this before. Just enjoy it. You’d never have this experience back up north. This is nature’s most powerful storm.”
Behind him, a piece of sheet metal cut through the rain and somersaulted its way down the street. Did he really expect her to enjoy this? Sure, he’d grown up in Florida, but that should only make him understand how dangerous this whole situation was. Their new neighbors seemed to. The rest of the houses on the street were vacated, lights off and driveways empty.
“Exactly. Dad, why won’t you explain this to me? If you’ve been through this before, you should know what can happen.” Something was way, way wrong here. Her dad was always Mr. Careful. He’d even made her wear knee pads when she rode her bike up until middle school.
She fell silent, waiting for his response. Her father ground his shoe into the floor, watching it with great interest as if he’d been caught doing something illegal. The storm continued to roar outside, sending a fresh wave of creaks across the roof. There was one last option. Sucking in a breath, she dodged through a canyon of moving boxes to the TV, fighting down panic. “Look. We’re running out of time.”
A weatherman pointed to a green and yellow radar mess behind him, rambling on about storm surges and wind speeds. The eye of Hurricane Gary twisted closer to shore, and their new home, Palm Grove, stood right in its path.
“See?” A dry lump formed in her throat as Hurricane Gary vanished and an angry red border appeared on the coast. Something about where the surge would be at its worst, and Palm Grove was right in the middle of it. Every horrible image of storm damage and flooding she’d seen on TV flashed through her head. Water rising inside buildings. Roofs flying off houses. “What if this ends up like Hurricane Andrina where like, nine hundred people drowned? We could die if we stay here!”