THE HUNTED SERIES Book Four
By: Jennifer Ryan
FBI agent Tyler Reed trusts only facts and evidence, until the day a beautiful blonde delivers a life-saving warning ... based on nothing more than a vision. Five years later, the mysterious Morgan Standish has used her talents to help Tyler and the FBI bring down countless criminals. Still, Tyler knows next to nothing about her. She contacts him by phone—and by some sort of psychic connection he's not prepared to admit exists—but has not shown herself once. Until now. Morgan's gift may let her see things others can't, but it comes at a price. Getting too close to anyone is dangerous, especially the gorgeous, moody Special Agent Reed. For she's seen the future: if they meet again too soon, an innocent could be lost. But when Tyler's latest case forces Morgan out of hiding, she is the one thrust into the path of a serial killer, the Psychic Slayer, who will stop at nothing to protect the secrets only Morgan can see.
Excerpt from “Chasing Morgan”
Sam leaned forward in his chair. “It has to be done.” She knew it, he knew it, and everyone at the table knew it. Even Tyler knew it. He just didn’t want to admit it.
“Morgan. I’m Elizabeth, Sam’s wife. You’re the psychic ghost we’ve been hearing about for years. What brings you here tonight? It seems you and my husband have something cooked up.”
“I came for a few reasons, actually.” She should acknowledge all of them in some way. As much as she knew about them, in actuality, they’d never met. “It’s nice to meet Tyler’s family. I feel like I know all of you through him.”
Tyler felt that one stab him right in the heart. She did know a lot about them because of him. He’d talked about them often, and she learned a lot more when they’d been connected mentally. He didn’t know anything about her family, at least nothing he hadn’t learned from Sam, or the reports about her mother’s death.
Emma liked the new person. Pretty, she had long golden hair, longer than her own. It looked soft. “Are you really a ghost?”
Morgan stared across the table and focused on the tired, sickly looking little girl. No wonder they were all worried about her. The picture she had in her mind of the happy and laughing girl was missing tonight. This version of Emma wasn’t a good one, and Morgan silently vowed to fix that right now.
“No, sweetheart. I’m not a ghost. I guess you could say, I’m more like a witch. I have a special gift. And the reason I came today is to show you that gift. Would you like me to show you?”
Emma nodded. “I’ve never met a witch. ”
“Don’t worry, I’m not a bad witch.”
“That’s what I was just thinking,” she shrieked.
Morgan laughed and walked around the large oblong table toward the little girl. All the while, Tyler watched her every move.
“How come when I look at you I see a ladybug with a tiara of rubies on her head and sugar raining down on you? I have to say you make the most interesting and whimsical picture to me.”
“Mommy calls me Sugar Bug and Daddy calls me Princess. I have a ruby necklace that I wear on my head sometimes. Mommy has an emerald one.”
Marti and Cameron exchanged a shocked look.
“Well that explains her tiara when I look at her.”
“What do you see when you look at her?” Emma liked this fun game, especially since everyone at the table watched her and the witch. Even her cousins, Matt and Sam, stared at her.
Morgan turned to Marti. At least eight months pregnant, if not more, she simply glowed. The image that came to mind was as unique as the woman. “I see a woman dressed like a pirate. She has a paintbrush instead of a sword, and an emerald tiara, like you said.”
“Mommy’s Daddy’s pirate princess. She has a pirate ship.”
“And the paintbrush?” Morgan asked.
Marti answered for her daughter. “I’m a painter and the granddaughter of a famous painter. Sophia Fairchild is my grandmother.”
Morgan smiled and nodded. She liked this. She didn’t often use her gift with people in person. It made her feel good to have the results confirmed. It offset the anger she felt rising in Tyler.
Emma didn’t want the game to end. She took a handful of Morgan’s long hair. She continued holding fistfuls of it and running her fingers through it. Morgan felt the little ripples of pleasure from Emma as she stroked the length of her hair. It felt good to be touched with such reverence. The golden locks fascinated the little girl.
“Do Daddy next.”
Morgan laughed again, catching the little girl’s contagious enthusiasm. “He’s easy. He’s a knight who slays corporate dragons with a gold Mont Blanc pen.”
Cameron took the pen out of his pocket and held it up to her. He simply nodded his agreement and flashed his mischievous grin.
“Do Aunt Jenna and Uncle Jack.”
“Uncle Jack is another easy one. He’s a cowboy with a heart the size of Texas. Jenna is a rabbit turned lioness. She loves her cubs and chews up whatever gazelle happens into her corporate den. Especially when that gazelle is an ex-husband. The hunted became the hunter.”
Jenna held up her glass in salute to Morgan.
“Uncle Sam and Aunt Elizabeth next,” Emma pleaded.
Morgan’s gaze softened on Elizabeth. “I have never met anyone who is loved so deeply by their family and husband. When I look at you, I see a giant heart covered in chocolate.”
Elizabeth mimicked Jenna’s action and saluted Morgan with her water glass.
“Sam is as easy as Jack. They are the same in that they both have big hearts and care deeply for their family. While Jack is a cowboy in the truest sense, Sam is a cowboy with a badge. He looks like a Marshal from the West to me. Little Matt and Sam are like their father and Uncle.”
“Now do Uncle Tyler.”
Morgan ran her hand down the little girl’s golden hair and looked into her hopeful eyes. She looked across the table at Tyler.
“Do you know the movie Beauty and the Beast, Sugar Bug?”
Emma liked it when she called her by her nickname. “I know it. I like that one. The Beast isn’t very happy, and he’s kind of mean to Belle.”
“That’s what Uncle Tyler looks like to me. He’s not happy I’m here.”
Tyler didn’t know what to say. She thought he was unhappy and mean. Great. He wondered what else she thought of him these days, but kept his mouth shut. He didn’t have to ask though. Maria helped him out.
“That’s very impressive. You got them all right as far as I can tell. I’m Maria, Tyler’s girlfriend. I’m afraid I don’t know much about you, except that you work with him at the FBI. Would you be willing to do me next? I have to admit, I’m fascinated.”
Maria didn’t point out being Tyler’s girlfriend to stake a claim, or throw it in Morgan’s face. She’d simply stated her own truth.
Morgan looked at Tyler to see what he thought. Still, that impassive expression and ever-present anger. Interestingly enough, she felt his fear. Then came the flash of a ring in his pocket. He truly intended to ask this woman to marry him. It would be the biggest mistake of his life. She couldn’t change his mind, but she could enlighten him to his options.
“All right, Maria. It’s nice to meet you, by the way.”
“And you,” Maria said and gave her a warm smile, making it that much more difficult for Morgan not to like her because she had a place in Tyler’s life Morgan wished belonged to her.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll finish with Tyler first.”
She looked at Sam. “This is going to go very badly.”
“It has to be done.” That comment earned a glare from Tyler. Sam sat in a prime spot for Tyler to elbow him right in the face and break his nose. It’d be worth it if Tyler changed his mind about marrying Maria.
“Fine. It’s part of the event, so let’s go with it. Jack, so help me, be quiet.”
Jennifer Ryan writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, dog (Bella), and cat (Shadow). When she isn't writing a book, she's reading one.