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Mar 5, 2015

The Wicked City by Megan Morgan

Cover & Excerpt

The Wicked City by Megan Morgan
Siren Song Book One

Wicked CityWhatever June Coffin says, goes—literally. And it’s not just because she’s a chain smoking rebel. As a Siren, June has the ability to force people to obey any command she voices. But in a world where those with supernatural powers quickly become lab rats for science, she’d rather look out for herself than fight on the front lines…until her similarly gifted twin brother, Jason, is captured by Chicago’s Institute of Supernatural Research.

To save Jason, June has no choice but to enter a hidden world of conspiracy, murder—and strange bedfellows—including a widowed paranormal advocate whose memory June accidentally erased, and a fiery paranormal separatist leader. Soon the lines between attraction and strategic alliance become blurred. But in a city exploding with paranormal crossfire, and her brother’s life at stake, June will have to face her inner demons and finally take a stand.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content/Theme(s): Sirens, Paranormal, Suspense, Chicago
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Lyrical Press/Kensington
Excerpt & More

Purchase link(s):  Amazon   ARe   Google   Kobo   B&N
The first time June Coffin saw Micha Bellevue, he was giving a lecture at the Chicago Institute for Supernatural Research. June and her brother Jason weren’t yet prisoners of the unholy place and June had sneaked into a conference room. Though the subject of the lecture—something insipid about paranormal rights in the workplace—didn’t interest her, the lecturer certainly did. Micha was tall and rugged yet boyishly handsome, all her weaknesses. Meesha, not Mi-ca, much easier to yell in bed. He had sandy brown hair with gold highlights, cut shaggy with a swoopy fringe. He also had sky blue eyes and a crooked smile.

June, in contrast, was five-four, lean, and petite. Her father once called her “diminutive,” and she’d hated the word ever since. She had a flowing mane of jet-black hair, though at the moment it lacked volume or luster and she’d been keeping it in a ponytail. Her eyes were vivid green, nearly iridescent, but their color was real, unlike her hair. She was also over-fond of tattoos and piercings. She was Micha’s exact opposite, which was fine, because she believed people needed to explore sexual pursuits outside their peer groups.

In the fifteen minutes she spoke to Micha after the lecture at the Institute, the lovely man revealed himself to be full of ostentatious ideas and painfully corny jokes. A bit later, June stood in an atrium, smoking a cigarette while he led a string of eager young supernatural neophytes across the courtyard below. She narrowed her eyes against the smoke curling around her face. I’m so gonna hit that. She hadn’t, not yet, for huge moral reasons.

Namely, because Micha had a wife.

Except, his wife currently lay trussed up in her casket, awaiting her funeral service in the morning, and June had kind of helped put her in it. But right now they also had this issue with the gun.

Hanging out with dead people on a Sunday night didn’t rank high on June’s to-do list, despite her last name. But as she stood in a darkened funeral parlor staring at the tall, buxom, red-haired woman with said gun, she realized how much her priorities had changed.

“What the hell is that?” June’s question was rhetorical, but she still wanted an answer.

“It’s a Glock.” The redhead—whose name was Cindy—said this coolly, as if she were describing a pair of shoes. Cindy had dressed all in black for the occasion, like a cat burglar.

The three of them—June, Micha, and Ms. Congeniality herself— weren’t in the funeral home to steal anything. Even after the events of the preceding week, June wasn’t cracked enough to snatch a body. “Why do you have it?” June asked. “We don’t need a gun.”

The whimpering aged gentleman on his knees next to Cindy probably welcomed this news but clearly was no less frightened, as Cindy had the muzzle pressed against his temple. The man wore a handsome silk robe with wide lapels, the kind rich guys sported in movies. Were all funeral directors so dashing in their choice of nightclothes?

“I brought it just in case,” Cindy said.

“Why would we need to shoot someone in a funeral home?” June raised her voice, no longer worried about being quiet. The director had probably heard them clamoring through the window at the rear of the house. June possessed some nifty skills: she was an excellent self-taught artist, she could shoot whiskey with the boys like she was one of them, and she could make wicked smoke rings. However, grace and athletics eluded her.

“I don’t think he’s armed,” June said. “I doubt you need to defend a funeral home.”

“You never know,” Micha said behind her. “Necrophiliacs probably like to break into funeral homes.”

June closed her eyes; she counted to five, and then ten, but when she opened her eyes again, she wasn’t any calmer.

“I won’t hurt you,” the man on the floor said in a small, pitiful voice. “Just take what you want and go.”

June stepped forward and waved a hand at Cindy, shooing away the gun. June had never touched a gun in her life. She had never needed to. Cindy lowered the gun and stepped back. “I was just trying to help.”

She spoke with the petulance of an admonished child. A child who didn’t get to play with her deadly weapon.

June knelt. The paunchy balding man was shaking, his eyes wide.

“It’s all right.” A heavy energy, curled in June’s stomach like a sleeping cat, rose to her sternum and surged upward again to warmly coat her throat. “Just sit there and relax and think about your favorite things until we’re gone.”

The man’s body sagged. His face slackened. He pivoted to the side and sat down on his bottom with a shuddering thump, his gaze gone distant and dreamy. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

June stood.

“There. Isn’t that awesome? Supernatural powers and stuff?” She didn’t enjoy throwing around her “hypnotic voice phenomenon,” as the scientists liked to call it, but invasive persuasion seemed far less cruel than criminal menacing.

Cindy pushed the gun forcefully into a holster on her hip. June winced, afraid it might go off, but thankfully—or perhaps regrettably—it didn’t. June had failed to notice Cindy was wearing a holster, probably because she’d been too busy figuring out how to break into a funeral home.

“Come on,” June said. “Let’s get this done.”

She stepped past the oblivious man on the floor. Micha followed. The casket, tucked into a bank of flowers and wreaths, rested atop a short dais like a morbid confectionery in a baking contest. June slid her hand along the side of the casket to find a latch. She did not want to do this. Despite the mind-obliterating madness she’d survived recently, corpses still jangled her nerves.

“Gah.” She lifted the lid a few inches.

She turned into a baby around corpses, despite knowing they weren’t going to sit up and strangle her. Earlier, when she’d voiced speculative, mostly joking concern about the dead getting their revenge, Cindy pointed out scientific research had proven zombies non-existent.

“Turn a light on.” June took a bracing breath and opened the lid farther. She expected a bad smell, but a faintly chemical, perfume-y odor wafted out.

“Here.” Cindy slid up beside her.

A pale bluish light illuminated the space around them and fell on the still, poised figure inside the casket. Cindy held her cell phone aloft, screen lit. June paused.

“What?” Cindy’s eyes shone in the faint light.

“I think if you try, you could be a little more disrespectful. Maybe you’d like to shoot her a couple times? Turn on a light!”

“You’re the one breaking into her casket.” Cindy tapped the screen to renew the light. “We can’t turn on a light. Someone might see. Hurry up. This is freaking me out.”

“It’s freaking you out?” June opened the lid fully. She snatched the phone from Cindy and held it closer to the body to get the grim task over with.

Micha’s wife, the esteemed Mrs. Rose Bellevue, had been a lovely woman. Had. Been. She had high delicate cheekbones, plump lips, and dusky skin—the times June had seen her alive, anyway. Her dark hair was fixed in a neat knot atop her head, loose curls spilling onto the white pillow beneath her. A tiny smile touched her lips. Her long-fingered hands rested delicately on her stomach, manicured nails gleaming. She wore a white dress with a boxy neckline and lace sleeves. She looked like an angel instead of a zombie, thank God.

June waited for Micha’s response, sort of hoping, sort of not. “Well?” Micha leaned closer and peered at her face. The light on the phone dimmed. June jabbed the screen, and a moment later a faint jingle came out of the phone.

“Give me that.” Cindy yanked the phone from her and looked at the screen. “You just dialed my boyfriend. Good work.”

June was aghast. “I can’t believe anyone would date you.”

“One of them.”

Cindy disconnected the call and shone the light back on Rose’s face. June ground her teeth and pulled a breath through her nose.

After a tense, silent moment, Micha stood upright. “No. I don’t recognize her.” He shrugged. “Pretty, though. I must have game.”

June smoothed a hand over her hair. The strands were greasy and limp and she winced. She hadn’t had a shower in more days than she wanted to contemplate.

“All right,” June said. “It was worth a try. Let’s split, before we get caught. We’ll go through the front door this time.”

Cindy lowered her phone and patted her hip. “If we have to fight our way out, I’m ready.”

“Yes, if the legions of undead try to block our escape.”

June carefully closed the lid of the casket, turned, and walked down the aisle, past rows of couches and folding chairs. The funeral would be huge. She had to get the hell out of the place, away from the woman’s dead body and her own guilt. She needed to get the hell out of Chicago, but she couldn’t. Not yet.

Not until she got her brother back.
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Other titles by Megan Morgan:
Her Darkest Secret

Find Megan Morgan at:
Twitter: @morgan_romance
Megan Morgan Facebook page
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Megan Morgan Goodreads author page
Megan Morgan Amazon author page
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Be on the lookout for Megan Morgan's future release(s): The Bloody City coming November 2015

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