For now, mothers need to watch out for their sons, because it seems that nobody else is going to.
“Oh, my gosh,” Harper said, exhaling shakily after she finished reading. “That’s them, isn’t it? This has to be the sirens.”
Daniel nodded. “I think so. I mean, that guy sounds like he might have been a douche, so it could be some kind of copycat killing. But it’s worth checking out, at least.”
“When is this paper from?” Harper flipped to the front with shaking hands to check the date.
“It’s from today,” Daniel answered.
“So that guy, he was really killed yesterday?” Harper pushed her bangs back from her forehead and tried to think, but her mind was racing too fast. “They might still be there. Gemma might be there. How far away is it?”
“Myrtle Beach is about a ten-and-a-half-hour drive from here,” Daniel said. “So a little over eleven hours, if we hurry.”
“Do you know what town that was?” Harper looked back at the paper, scanning the article to see if it had named the exact town where the body had been found.
“I Googled it on my phone before I came here,” Daniel said. “It’s right on the coast. We should have no problem finding it.”
“Good.” Harper nodded, then she realized what he had said. “You’re coming with?”
“Well, duh,” Daniel said, like it should be obvious. “I saw what those sirens are capable of. There’s no way I’m letting you go up against them alone.”
She wanted to argue with him, but he had a point. She needed all the help she could get if she wanted to rescue Gemma.
She smiled gratefully at him, but that was all she had time for. They needed to hurry if they wanted to catch the sirens before they moved on.
“I’m taking off, Marcy,” Harper said as she walked toward the front door.
“Wait!” Marcy stood up, and when Harper turned back to her, she saw Marcy holding her purse outstretched toward her. “You probably need your car keys and stuff.”
Harper ran back and grabbed her purse. “Thanks, Marce. And sorry about earlier.”
“Don’t sweat it.” Marcy shrugged it off. “Just go get her. And be careful.”
Gemma hated how good she felt when she woke up. The effects of feeding yesterday hadn’t worn off. If anything, they’d only grown stronger. Her body was like liquid. Every movement she made was smooth and fluid, and she felt like she was gliding everywhere she went.
When she got out of bed, she actually danced around the room, unable to help herself. And while she’d never had any formal training of any kind, she moved like a ballet dancer. As if elegance had suddenly become part of her DNA.
She didn’t have to look in the mirror to know that she was glowing. She could feel it. Her skin was positively luminous.
And despite her best efforts to feel guilty and mourn the loss of the man she’d murdered yesterday, her sirenness was at full blast, and happiness radiated through her.
The sadness was still there, because she had done something absolutely horrific and could never forgive herself for it. But it was buried down deep inside her, hidden with the rest of her negative emotions that the new siren powers didn’t want her to feel.
She went down the stairs two steps at a time, simply because she felt like it, and nearly bumped into Sawyer, who was standing at the bottom.
“Good morning, Gemma,” he said, sounding even more dazed than usual. He looked almost awed by her beauty, and Gemma felt a sharp pang of self-loathing that she had that effect on him. Or any guy, for that matter.
“Morning,” she replied, smiling at him anyway.
She was pleased to find that the insatiable lust she’d been feeling for him had disappeared. Sure, she still thought Sawyer was attractive, but she had absolutely no urge to jump him.
“Do you need anything?” Sawyer asked, following her into the kitchen.
“Dear God, Sawyer, stop drooling on the poor girl,” Penn said with an exaggerated eye roll. “She doesn’t need to deal with you acting like a dog in heat first thing in the morning.”
Penn was sitting on a stool at the kitchen island. A trashy magazine was spread out before her, showcasing the best and worst beach bodies, and a half-empty glass of orange juice sat next to it.
“Sorry.” Sawyer stared down at his feet, looking ashamed.
“I see you slept well,” Penn said, turning her attention to Gemma as she languidly flipped the pages in the magazine.
“I slept fine,” Gemma replied noncommittally, and opened the fridge. There wasn’t much in the way of food, but she grabbed an apple, then shut the door.
“Well, you look radiant,” Penn said without looking at her. “Being a siren obviously suits you.”
Gemma leaned against the fridge and bit into the apple, ignoring its unpleasant taste, because she didn’t know how else to respond. That was obviously some kind of compliment, but Gemma really didn’t want to take it that way. She still didn’t want to be a siren.
The house was suddenly filled with the sounds of music as Lexi turned on a stereo in another room. Adele came wafting out, and Lexi joined in, somehow managing to sound even lovelier than Adele when she sang.
Sawyer had still been staring down in shame, but as soon as Lexi started singing, he turned toward her. He even started walking toward her, moving slowly, like he was drawn to her song.
“Shut the hell up, Lexi!” Penn shouted, with an unsettling undercurrent to her normally sweet voice. When she was angry, she had a monstrous tone that she couldn’t seem to control, sounding like some awful creature from a horror movie. “Nobody wants to hear you squawking!”
“Ugh!” Lexi groaned loudly, and the music fell silent. Not just Lexi, but the stereo that played along with it. “I’m going out for a swim since you’re being a killjoy!”
“Can I go swim, too?” Sawyer asked, looking over at Penn.
“Did you get all the blood out of the convertible last night?” Penn asked, still staring down at the glossy pages in front of her.
“Um, no?” He furrowed his brow as he thought now. “No. You told me not to worry about it and just to come to bed with you.”
“Well, you’re up now.” She smiled thinly at him, not even attempting to hide her contempt. “Go clean out the car.”
“Sure, yeah, of course.” He nodded quickly, then left the kitchen to do her bidding.