Cut From Stone
This disaster could destroy everything she hadn’t realized she needed.
While Gage might be out of human custody, the Kin High Council remains suspicious of him and the team, and Lachlin is now even more determined to force Morgan to quit. The only person Morgan can trust is Gage, but her attraction to him has made her powers dangerously uncontrollable.
When someone sets off a bomb at a Kin high society party and releases a contagion that turns Kin into humans, the team must put their difference aside and stop their most dangerous threat yet.
Morgan paced the circular driveway in front of Gage’s house. It was midnight of the same day. Only hours ago Sal Flores, the assassin who’d tried to frame Gage for Darzi’s murder, had been run down by a bus. Dark clouds filled the sky, obscuring the moon and stars as if mirroring Morgan’s thoughts, and the only light was from streetlights which seemed weaker than normal.
Lachlin had said—glaring at Morgan—that he didn’t want any help dealing with the police about Sal’s death, and she’d just be in the way, while Clayton had still been searching Sal’s hotel room and waiting for the clean-up crew to arrive. The Council’s interrogator had demanded Gage return with him to the mansion, which had left her and Loric to follow in Loric’s car.
The ride had been grim and silent. The most Loric had said was for her and Rika to avoid the house for a good couple of hours.
“Keep your phone close by, but hopefully out of sight is out of mind,” Loric had said.
Rika had called Gideon, and they’d left for dinner. Morgan had changed out of her FBI-looking suit into sweats and gone for a long run.
Now she was back but didn’t feel any better. While she’d managed to ease the burning of her powers in her face, her thoughts still whirled. Instead of relaxing her and her mind, all the questions she didn’t have answers to flooded her anew, stronger and stronger, with each step around the circular driveway. The biggest ones: how the hell was she and the team getting out of this? And what was this?
She checked inside the multicar garage again, unable to help herself since she knew what she’d find. Lachlin’s SUV still wasn’t there, just like it hadn’t been when she’d returned from her run and started doing laps around the driveway.
It didn’t make any sense to worry about him. The man had made it perfectly clear he wasn’t interested in her even as a friend or co-worker. But she needed him. Gage was in trouble, and she didn’t know enough about Kin politics to figure out how to get him out of this. And while she trusted Loric, his priority was keeping the Sibyl safe. If that meant throwing Gage to the wolves, Morgan didn’t doubt he’d do just that.
It didn’t help that everything had been majorly screwed up since they’d helped Gage’s friends in the illegal Shadow House. The operation that was supposed to have cleared his name had gone sideways and the target, Kahlid Darzi, had been killed. Now the man who’d murdered him was dead, and they had little proof he’d killed Darzi and framed Gage.
A black SUV pulled onto the street. Lachlin’s plates.
A pressure eased in her chest—she hadn’t realized it had been there— and she followed the vehicle up the drive.
The garage door opened, and Lachlin pulled in. He got out the driver’s side and glared at her. Blue light radiated from his eyes, made brighter by the dark bruises under them from his broken nose.
From the corner of her eye, she caught Clayton watching them from over the hood, memorizing the moment. Then he headed into the house. But she couldn’t pull her gaze away from Lachlin. His glamour was down, making his hair waist length and his face narrow. She wanted to ask him how it had gone with the police, wanted to ask him what they were going to do.
If this was the human world, she’d find someone who’d be able to fix the situation. They had evidence. Except this evidence could lead to implicating a member of the Kin’s highest authority. Even Morgan had enough sense of the Kin to know she needed to tread carefully.
“I don’t know what the next step is,” Lachlin said, as if he could read her thoughts. But it wasn’t her thoughts he was reading, it was her emotions. “You should go for a run. I felt your annoying worry before I even drove into Old Town.”
“I’ve gone for a run.” She shifted, one foot to the other, the need to move making her twitch.
“Go for another.”
“I can’t run all night.”
He cocked a eyebrow, drawing her attention back to the bruises darkening his eyes, and sneered. “Well, your other option, to fuck your abundance of energy away, is tied up with an interrogator.”
She jerked toward him, hands balled into fist. “Screw you.”
“You couldn’t handle me.” He leaned against the SUV, cocky and implying an invitation to try.
“I think you’re the one who couldn’t handle it. I think you’re afraid of what I’d do when I release this abundance of energy.”
Light flared around his eyes. “You don’t want to challenge me.”
“I want you to get over yourself. The whole team is in a mess—”
He straightened, his body tense. “No thanks to you.”
“I had nothing to do with it. I ended up going along with Gage the other day by accident because I was doped up on a bad mix of painkiller and power suppression spells.” Which was the honest to goodness truth about the mess with the Shadow House.
“Yeah, you just keep saying that.” Too bad Lachlin didn’t believe her. He turned to head into the house.
She grabbed his arm and threw him back against the SUV. “Believe it or not. We need to figure out how to deal with this.”
He captured her face in his hands. Light billowed from his eyes, enveloping her, and his charm shot, hot and sensual, over her cheeks and down her neck.
She shuddered. A moan caught in her throat, and her body jumped from furious to sizzling, aching need.
His lips drew close to hers, and his breath fluttered over her suddenly too-sensitive flesh. He slid one hand down her back to her waist and jerked her around, pinning her to the SUV with his body.
“There is no we, Kitten.”
She pressed her hands against his chest to shove him back but more sensual heat surged through her. “I thought you didn’t use your charm,” she forced out.
“I’m done being nice. It’s every Kin for himself.” The heat exploded, searing her nerves. Her pulse jumped, fast, desperate, and her legs trembled, barely strong enough to hold her up. The urge to worship him, beg him to take her and do whatever he wanted, clawed at her. She was wet and ready for him in an instant.
Pleasure trembled through her, stealing all thought. This was the full force of Lachlin’s charm. It was so much stronger than his brother’s and so much stronger than the glimpse he’d given her the other night. It overwhelmed her. She needed him to command her, tell her what his pleasure was.
Light billowed from his eyes, but the warm, sensual sun that had been there before was gone. Now the light burned hard, icy. His hate for her was clear, and that only made her think of having angry sex.
“You need to pack up your things and leave.”
“Yes.” No. She squirmed. His body hot against hers. Don’t tell her to go away, tell her to pleasure him.
“What are you going to do?” His breath teased her neck.
Let him take her, here in the garage against the SUV. “Pack up my things.”
Her hands trembled, pressed against his chest. Even through his suit jacket she could feel the chiseled contours of his pecs. With his clothes off, he’d be a lithe, sculpted specimen. She shook on the edge of climax at the thought. She wanted to worship that body and drive him crazy. It was all she could think about.
“And what, Kitten?” he said, his tone edged with steel.
“Pack up your things and—” He grabbed her shoulders and shook her, shoving her harder against the SUV. His charm blazed over her chest and swept down to her womb. She gasped, her climax teetering on the edge of release.
“What are you going to do?” he growled.
She throbbed, so close to the edge but not soaring over into blissful, screaming satisfaction.
“Morgan.” His fingers dug into her arms, and the frozen light from his eyes scorched across her retinas.
“Leave,” she gasped. “I’m going to leave.”
“Good.” He jerked back. Cold swept over her, and she trembled, drawing a quiver of a climax but not fully releasing it. “Do it now.”
“Yes.” There was something she was supposed to remember, but she couldn’t make her mind work past the need to please Lachlin.
A car pulled into the driveway, the lights landing on her and Lachlin like theatrical spotlights. It tugged at something in Morgan’s mind. A play…? A manipulation…? There was something she needed to do. More like someone she needed to do. Like Lachlin.
The engine cut off, the lights died, and a car door opened and closed.
She felt like she was trying to think through pudding. She had to leave. That was what would make Lachlin happy. That was what would make him satisfy her. But that wasn’t right.
“Morgan?” The voice was high-pitched and delicate. Rika.
Morgan dragged her attention to the gremlin. She wore a little black dress and heels, along with a purple necklace, bracelet, and a gold flower hairclip in her bright purple spiked hair.
“I would have thought you had more sense than to go on a date right now,” Lachlin said, taking a step away from Morgan toward Rika, his body tight with menace.
Rika rolled her eyes. “You should talk. I’m sure you have something set up for within the hour.”
Yes, with Morgan. That was why she was leaving.
No. That wasn’t right.
God, why did her head hurt so much?
Lachlin’s charm swept over her again, stealing her breath. Get her things and leave.
Rika’s eyes narrowed. “Are you all right, Morgan?”
“Fine,” she said, her voice breathy. Except she couldn’t figure out why. And how would leaving work with Lachlin? And what about the others?
The driver’s side door opened and Gideon Bell, a lanky man with short-cropped blond hair and a day’s worth of stubble, got out and moved to Rika’s side. “Everything okay?”
“Get back in the car and go home,” Lachlin snapped.
Gideon’s shoulders hunched but his hands balled into fists, the action suggesting fear and yet still standing his ground. When they’d first met Gideon a couple of days ago, he’d been painfully shy and they hadn’t thought he’d be able to cross a bar filled with people to get to Rika.
Lachlin drew in a sharp breath. “I said, get back in the car and go home.”
The muscle in Gideon’s jaw clenched. It looked like he was still shy, but willing to stand his ground for Rika. “I think that’s for Rika to decide.”
Rika raised her chin in defiance. “Yeah.”
Light flared from Lachlin’s eyes. He wrenched toward Gideon and grabbed his arm. “Hit her.”
Gideon’s eyes closed for a second then, with a jerk, he wrenched to Rika and slapped her, fast and hard and with no expression.
Rika screamed and staggered back, her hands on her face, tears in her eyes.
The crack of the blow snapped something in Morgan. Heat roared from around her heart and consumed Lachlin’s charm, and she stumbled forward, catching her balance physically as well as emotionally.
The light from Lachlin’s eyes grew. “Get in your car and never come back.”
“Stop!” Rika grabbed Gideon’s arm, but he wrenched free and shoved her back.
“You can’t stop him,” Lachlin said. “He’s human.”
Gideon lurched into the car, a puppet obeying his master’s command.
“Call him back.” Rika leapt at Lachlin, fingers extended like claws.
Lachlin grabbed her wrist. “Kneel.”
With a gasp, she dropped to the ground, trembling, her expression hard, fighting her body’s response to his charm.
“I’m more powerful than you, gremlin.” Lachlin crouched in front of her and sneered. “Best to remember that.”
The car engine roared to life, and Gideon gunned it out of the driveway and down the street.
“What the hell was that?” Morgan grabbed Lachlin’s shoulder. He wrenched up, breaking her grip, and shoved her back. Icy blue light burned from his eyes.
“You’re supposed to be packing and leaving,” he snarled. His charm swept around her but the fire in her chest devoured it.
“Fuck you.” She turned to Rika. Tears trailed down her cheeks, and her large eyes glowed bright purple. “It’s all right. We’ll fix this.” She glared at Lachlin. “You’ll fix this.”
He snorted. “If you think you can make me do anything, you’re more naive than I thought.”
The door to the house flew open, revealing Loric in the doorway, his massive shoulders and height filling the space. His pale face was tight, his blue eyes hard. “Everyone get in here.”