Lullaby / Page 23

Page 23


Every now and then Gemma would glance over to see Penn’s eyes fixed blankly on the screen. Despite that, Gemma couldn’t shake the feeling that Penn was watching her out of the corner of her eye, making sure that Gemma was behaving herself.

After the movie ended, the girls argued about what movie to watch next, and finally Lexi put in Mannequin.

Gemma started to relax then. So what if Penn was watching her? It wasn’t like she was doing anything wrong. She was watching a movie, same as everybody else.

Seemingly out of the blue, Gemma’s hunger flared up. The ravenous one that seemed to radiate from her belly all the way through her. She bit her lip and struggled to swallow the feeling down.

Then Sawyer laughed, and Gemma turned to look at him. But it was almost as if she’d never seen him before. He had to be the most attractive person she’d ever seen. His smooth tanned skin, the hard contours of his chest, the strong line of his jaw, even the way his blond hair just touched the nape of his neck.

Her whole body tingled as intense heat spread through her. A kind of primal lust that started in her belly traveled down her thighs.

Gemma wanted nothing more in the world than to touch him and kiss him and taste him. Her hands trembled at the thought of it, and she licked her lips.

“You okay, Gemma?” Penn asked, barely breaking the trance that Gemma was under.

“What?” Gemma asked.

She blinked, trying to clear her head, but all her thoughts still involved kissing Sawyer and ripping off his shirt. He was so close to her that she could nearly do it, and that was when Gemma realized she’d somehow moved closer to him. She was nearly touching him, the smooth, warm skin of his arm.

“Gemma,” Penn repeated, her tone harder this time. “Are you enjoying the movie?”

“Uh, yeah.” Using all her willpower, Gemma forced herself to scoot away from Sawyer. To be on the safe side, she tucked both her hands underneath her so she was sitting on them. “It’s a good movie.”

The next few minutes seemed to stretch on for hours. All Gemma could think about was Sawyer. He was so gorgeous and so close, and she was certain that she’d never wanted anyone more. She tried to think of Alex, but just then she could barely even remember his face, let alone how she felt about him.

Without warning, Penn leaned over and started kissing Sawyer. And not just a gentle peck on the lips. Penn climbed over, straddling him between her legs, as she kissed him deeply. She pushed her body against him, and he moaned.

“Holy crap,” Gemma muttered to herself, and then stood up.

Watching Penn make out with Sawyer was messing with her head. It somehow managed to both increase her lust and repulse her at the same time.

Fortunately, the logical part of her won out, and she backed away from the couch.

“I think I’m going to go for a swim,” Gemma said, and for some reason she was nearly shouting.

“I’ll join you,” Thea said, jumping to her feet.

Lexi was still on the floor, but she’d turned around to watch Penn and Sawyer make out, which Gemma thought was rather creepy.

Thea walked with Gemma through the house and out the back door. As soon as Gemma felt the ocean breeze, she felt like she could think again. The bizarre lust had retreated, leaving behind confusion and shame as she tried to make sense of her feelings.

She’d never felt like that before, or had such extreme thoughts before. It had to have something to do with being a siren. It definitely wasn’t Gemma. She loved Alex and thought he was a super fox, and yet she’d never wanted to attack him the way she had wanted Sawyer.

“I’m so glad you’re swimming now,” Thea said as they walked down the beach toward the water. “I was getting sick of watching you sulk.”

“How come Lexi didn’t join us?” Gemma asked when they reached the water. “What is she doing in there with Penn and Sawyer?”

“Honestly?” Thea turned to face her so she walked backward into the waves. “I don’t even want to know what Lexi and Penn do when I’m not around.”

“Gross,” Gemma said, and Thea laughed in agreement.

THIRTEEN

Sanitize

Harper stared at what had become of Bernie’s house and tried not to let it overwhelm her. She put her hand on her hip and took a deep breath.

“It’s really not that bad,” Daniel said from behind her, sensing her unease and trying to calm her. “It’s mostly junk thrown around. We can pick that up, no problem.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” She nodded to convince herself.

Daniel brushed past her, carrying a box of cleaning supplies she’d brought from home. “Do you want to start with the living room, since that looks a bit easier than the kitchen?”

The kitchen wouldn’t have been so bad if the sirens hadn’t emptied the fridge. Apparently there wasn’t much in there, but a jug of milk had been spilled on the floor for nearly a week, along with some fresh veggies that had begun to rot in the heat.

“Why don’t you take the living room?” Harper suggested. “I’ll start with the kitchen.”

“I can help you,” Daniel offered. “I mean, that is why I came out here today.”

“I know.” She smiled at him. “But you’re already helping me enough. I think I can handle scrubbing up some sour milk.”

Harper’s father had gone to see the lawyer yesterday to sign the papers. The lawyer had made a special point of meeting Brian on a Saturday since it was hard for him to get off work during the week. The house wasn’t theirs yet, not officially, but it was only a matter of the papers being processed. So Harper thought she’d get a jump start on cleaning the place. She’d asked Daniel to help her, since she needed a boat to get out to the island and they were working on being friends.

The police had released the crime scene a few days before, but there was still yellow tape stuck to the door and around the trees where they’d found the body. Other than that, the place didn’t look like it had been disturbed much since Harper had seen it last, so she wondered how much digging around the police had even done.

If they did any fingerprinting, Daniel and Alex would have to make up a story. Gemma and Harper had plenty of reasons to have fingerprints there, since they’d both been out to Bernie’s many times.

But Harper wasn’t too worried about that. She, Alex, and Daniel had come up with an alibi for that night, which they’d already told the police: they were arguing with Gemma, and then she ran off with Penn, Lexi, and Thea.


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