THE MEDUSA FILES: CASE 5

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CASE #5
Cold as Stone

The monsters of the past never truly let you go.

For Morgan Jacobs, the last two weeks have been hell. She’s learned she’s a monster of myth with the power to turn someone to stone, that those powers are barely under control, and that a madman is toying with her, torturing her before he kills her like he killed her mother.

To make things more confusing, she’s now living with her too-sexy co-workers, Alexander Gage and Lachlin Kincade, and attracted to both of them. Both men are keeping secrets from her, and Gage’s secrets are about to make everything more dangerous.

CHAPTER 1

Morgan jerked awake. She’d been dreaming of stone. Mountains of crushing, consuming granite that destroyed everyone she looked at. Her body hurt, and her powers sizzled around her eyes and over her cheeks. A cold sweat slicked her, and her heart raced. Terror surged through her, and she didn’t know why. She was safe in her bedroom in Gage’s mansion — albeit in pain — but safe and yet still scared.

Her bedroom twisted as if she were looking at it under water, then something within her billowed, and the ache and burn were pushed back. No, not something, Hannah’s magic. The pixie with the gossamer wings and healing hands had said she’d cast strong painkiller and power suppression magic on Morgan… last night? The night before? She wasn’t sure. This must have been what Hannah meant. Morgan was physically numb. The pain and burn of her powers were still present, but somehow they were distant from her. A part of her, yet not. The fear, however, remained.

With a groan, Morgan glanced at the clock on the bedside table. 1:47 p.m., the small date above the time indicated it was only the day after the attack, or rather, the afternoon of the attack since it had happened shortly after midnight. She’d been knocked out from Hannah’s sleep spell all morning.

But what the hell was she afraid of?

The memory of last night shot through her. She’d been singled out, separated from the team, and attacked. Somehow Ander, the unbound djinn who’d murdered her mother, had physically controlled Morgan’s attackers — she was not going to buy Gage’s theory that it had been an illusion. Ander had them beat her, stab her in the chest, and force her gorgon’s powers to blast out of control. Gage had said it had been a game for Ander, a way to toy with Morgan and test her strength.

That strength could have killed hundreds of people.

Perhaps that had been the goal. Her powers had roared stronger than ever before, and if Lachlin hadn’t knocked her out, she would have destroyed all the buildings around her and killed the people inside.

If that had been entertainment for Ander, who knew what else he was capable of. Without a doubt no one she knew was safe, particularly anyone human. She could only hope her parents lived too far away to be in immediate danger, but Kate lived in town. Kate was the person Morgan trusted with all this. They’d already learned Ander had been spying on Morgan for years. He had to know Kate was one of the sure ways to get to her.

Morgan’s heart raced faster.

This was ridiculous. She shouldn’t be so afraid, but she was and couldn’t seem to stop it. Kate was in danger. Morgan didn’t know when it would happen, but it would. She couldn’t let Ander get to her.

Her body screaming with just the effort, Morgan pushed up into a sitting position. The room twisted, and Hannah’s magic billowed. She needed to find Gage, needed to find a way to protect Kate now.

Wait.

She sucked in a ragged breath, but it did little to ease the panic surging through her.

She wasn’t thinking clearly. Injured and doped up on magical painkillers didn’t put her in any condition to be running around.

Except everything within her howled to take action and protect Kate.

Jeez, if this was a new part of her gorgon nature — like her compulsive need to move — it might just drive her crazy. Yes, Kate needed to be protected, but Morgan wouldn’t be able to do anything if she hurt herself more.

The smart thing would be to stay in bed and call Gage.

Her phone, keys, and a new pair of sunglasses — her old pair had been lost during the fight last night — lay on the bedside table beside the clock. She dialed Gage’s number and drew in another slow breath. The room steadied, and the pain eased even more.

The phone rang once then jumped to voice mail.

Hunh. Gage didn’t seem the type of man to turn his phone off. Ever.

She dialed Lachlin’s number. Same thing. Right to voice mail. Rika’s and Clayton’s did that as well.

The fear for Kate’s life twisted in Morgan’s gut. She could leave a message on Gage’s phone but she had no idea how long it would be before he got it. What if Ander had already gotten to Kate? What if Ander had gotten to Gage and the team?

She tried to push that thought back. It didn’t make any sense. If Ander was playing a game, he’d want Morgan recovered enough to play back. It was no fun to torture someone if they couldn’t get out of bed to participate.

Unless the plan was psychological torture. Morgan couldn’t do anything stuck in bed. If she couldn’t reach anyone, she was helpless.

Well, she’d be damned if she played that game.

First thing first, get ahold of Kate and warn her. Then get ahold of Bearnas, the only spellweaver Morgan knew, and commission her to make a protection spell — if it was even possible to create a spell to protect against Ander’s powers. She’d just have to pray there was.

A part of Morgan screamed that her logic was flawed, but she couldn’t focus past the need to ensure Kate’s safety to figure out what that was. The danger Kate faced was entirely Morgan’s fault and she wasn’t going to let her friend get hurt or killed.

She dialed Kate’s number.

Kate answered in the second ring. “About time you called. Where have you been?”

“It got complicated.” Morgan pushed back the comforter. She wore a hospital gown and wasn’t going to think about who’d changed her clothes.

“You can’t just leave me hanging like that. We were going to figure out what was up with that storage locker filled with surveillance photos of you, then you’d been caught up in a gunfight that you couldn’t admit being caught up in. That was two days ago!”

Right. Yesterday she’d had to deal with Lachlin professing his love for her because a cupid had whammied him, then they’d rescued Rika’s friend from a disaster that turned out to be Ander’s game to toy with Morgan.

Which brought her back to Kate being in danger. The panic surged through Morgan again.

“Can you meet me at Kincade Towers?” Morgan asked.

“I’m an hour out of town, heading back to the office. I can meet you after I’m done with the paperwork.”

Morgan bit back a growl. She wanted — no, needed to deal with this now, but she couldn’t do anything while Kate was on the highway. “Make your paperwork fast.”

“What’s this about?”

“I’m worried I’m making you a target, and I want to line up some magical protection.” Morgan eased her legs over the side of the bed. Thankfully the room didn’t twist, and her pain and powers didn’t flare up.

“Should I be worried? Like, sleep with my gun worried?”

“No.” Yes, yes, yes. Except if Ander could control someone like a puppet or make illusions so believable they felt real, she didn’t know if sleeping with a gun was the wisest choice. “I just want to cover my bases.”

“All right. I’ll rush through the paperwork I can’t finish at home then meet you at the Kincade building.”

“Thank you.” Morgan hung up and gingerly stood. Not as painful as she’d first expected. Hannah’s magic billowed again, and the pain was pushed back even more.

She pulled on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and her gray hoodie while trying not to look at all the bruises and scrapes and the big white bandage taped to her chest just above her heart. She tied her wild silver curls into a ponytail, and grabbed the phone, keys, and sunglasses from the bedside table. Going to Kincade Towers to find Bearnas wasn’t the best idea. Really, she should call ahead, or try Gage’s phone again, but the urge to take action and the panic still churning in her gut compelled her onward. She didn’t know if Bearnas would even be in her jewelry making studio or if the half-human half-fae spellweaver would want to talk to Morgan.

But the more Morgan fought the idea, the stronger it got, and the stronger the need to do something, anything. Kate’s life was in danger and — regardless that a small part of Morgan screamed she might be overreacting — she had to take action to protect her now.

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