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Can Cassius and Morgan overcome an elusive enemy and save a young girl’s life?

Eden Monroe has spent her entire existence believing she has no magic. Shunned by her mother Brianna and the magical bureau Hexa, she runs away from home when she is forced to embrace a future she never chose, only to fall into the hands of ghastly monsters from the Nine Hells. After being rescued by a mysterious Dryad with secrets of his own, Eden realizes there is more to her past and future than she could ever have imagined.

When San Francisco PD asks Argonaut to assist them in solving a series of strange bank robberies, Cassius Black and Morgan King uncover a disturbing plot that points to an unknown artifact hidden somewhere in the city. Their investigation soon has them crossing paths with a desperate Brianna, who seeks their help in finding her missing daughter. When the witch reveals the shocking circumstances surrounding her daughter’s birth as well as the deadly magic sealed inside the young girl’s body, the Argonaut agents realize their case is linked to Eden and the weapon of devastating power the bank robbers are after.

Can Cassius and Morgan defeat the malevolent organization behind it all and save Eden from her cursed fate? Or will the young girl suffer a destiny worse than death itself?


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Eden Monroe couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being followed.

She gripped the straps of her backpack, ducked into a side alley, and emerged onto Vallejo Street. Still, the eerie feeling persisted. She glanced uneasily over her shoulder.

There was no one behind her.

Eden frowned.

I lost the Hexa guards at Lafayette Park. Who the hell could be trailing me now?

Having been the subject of the magic bureau’s monitoring for as long as she could remember, Eden didn’t doubt her instincts. She quickened her steps, hoping to lose whoever was tracking her. She really needed some comfort food today and her favorite burger place was only two streets over.

A peal of laughter made her tense. Eden stopped, her head snapping around.

A group of girls was walking along the opposite pavement, their faces bright in the sunlight as they chatted animatedly. Her racing pulse slowed when she saw their uniforms.

They weren’t from Saint Helena High.

Irritation surged through her as she slowly resumed walking. She’d promised herself she would stop caring about what happened at school. A grimace twisted her mouth. That was hard to do when her classmates seemed intent on provoking her, like they had done today.

As the only child of the director of the San Francisco Hexa bureau, Eden was the focus of constant attention. But it wasn’t praise and admiration that were lavished on her on a daily basis by her peers. It was contempt and scorn.

Eden was the only student at Saint Helena High who couldn’t use magic. In fact, she was the only child of a powerful magic user born without magic in her soul core. Despite begging her mother for months to send her to an ordinary human school, Brianna Monroe had insisted on enrolling her at the main academy for magic users in San Francisco, where she would attend magic theory classes even if she couldn’t participate in the practical ones. Not only was Eden’s mother a benefactor of the private school, but it was also where the children of all influential magic users in the city went to learn to control and develop their powers. Brianna’s influence meant Eden had private tutors for normal, non-magic classes too.

She suspected her mother was aware of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her peers. Brianna had enough spies keeping an eye on her twenty-four-seven that she probably even knew her bathroom routine. As for the teachers at the academy, as long as no one harmed Eden physically, they would rather turn a blind eye to the bullying. She would only be at the school another two years and would never be anyone of importance in the magical community, so they saw no need to protect her or get in her good graces, despite running the risk of getting on her mother’s bad side.

Eden spotted more students as she made her way to Union Street, their uniforms bright patches of color under the autumn sun. Located in the holy trifecta of Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, and Pacific Heights, this area of San Francisco was home to most of the private schools in the city.

Eden shrugged past groups of girls and boys as she made her way to Wild Burgers, her shoulders hunched and her head down under the hood of her parka. Though she doubted any of them would recognize her, it didn’t hurt to be safe. Relief darted through her when she entered the restaurant. It wasn’t too crowded and there were plenty of empty seats left. She ordered a Wild Spicy chicken burger, fries, and a soda, and headed for the booth farthest back from the windows. It wouldn’t take long for Hexa to find her and she intended to finish her meal well before then.

She’d just swallowed her last bite and was surreptitiously licking her fingers clean when the door opened and a guy walked in.

Eden stilled. So did most of the girls in the place.

The stranger’s face was arresting, his chiseled features perfectly formed, as if carved by the ancient Greek sculptors Eden liked to read about. His blue eyes were piercingly clear under his mop of honey-blond hair and he carried himself with a maturity that far exceeded his youthful appearance. He looked to be about eighteen and was currently wearing a heavy frown on said perfect face.

Eden swallowed.

The stranger’s gaze swiveled and locked on her. Her stomach flip-flopped. Then he was moving, his long strides taking him to the counter, his head turning away dismissively.

Eden didn’t realize she was holding her breath until he left a moment later, two large paper bags in hand. She could tell by the disappointed expressions of the girls in the restaurant that they wished he’d taken a table to eat there. She exhaled raggedly, puzzled by the strange feeling that had come over her when he’d looked at her.

She felt hot and cold, as if she were running a fever.

Eden went to the washroom and startled at the sight of her flushed cheeks in the mirror above the sink. She slapped cold water onto her face and told herself she was being an idiot. Sure, the guy had been hot, but she wasn’t the kind of girl who got dazzled by just good looks. She averted her gaze from her reflection as she dried her hands, hating the blue eyes and blonde hair which resembled her mother’s so much. She headed out onto Union Street and turned west, still mystified by her reaction to the stranger.

On a positive note, at least it took my mind off what happened today, if only for a moment.

Her belly clenched as she recalled the sneering faces of the girls who’d picked on her that afternoon. They’d stood around her and laughed as she took her drenched gym wear out of her locker. The gym teacher hadn’t even blinked when Eden had excused herself from class, only murmuring under her breath that she would dock points from Eden’s attendance records. Eden had just about managed to control her urge to throw her uniform at the woman’s face, the rage burning through her so fierce she wanted to throw her head back and scream at the world.

But screaming and raging never got her anywhere.

Her mother was immune to her agony and her Hexa guards never bothered to deal with her tormentors.

Eden knew she was on her own. Had been on her own in that God-awful mansion since the moment she was born. She had no siblings or even cousins and had never known her father. Brianna never talked about him and there were no pictures of the couple anywhere in their home. The little Eden had gathered from overhearing gossiping Hexa attendants and housemaids was that he had been a magic user from Europe.

The only thing keeping her going was the knowledge that she would be free from her mother and Hexa in two short years. Free from the constant judgement of the woman who had given life to her and from those around her. Free from being found unworthy and inferior.

Once she officially became an adult, Eden intended to cut all ties with her mother and the magical community. She would disappear into this vast, wide world, to a place where no one knew who she was. Maybe then, she could start living instead of just surviving her current wretched existence.

She was approaching a music shop when the hairs rose on the back of her neck. Eden stiffened and slowed.

The eerie sensation of being tailed was back ten-fold.

She stopped and gazed at the window to her left, her eyes not truly seeing the instruments on display. Instead, she focused on the reflection in the glass. She caught something shifting out of the corner of her eye.

Eden stared at the shadows under a tree fifty feet behind and to her right. Her pulse spiked.

There was something…odd about them. Something wrong.

Fear drenched Eden in a cold sweat. She turned and began walking briskly. Movement flickered at the edge of her vision. Eden whipped her head around and stared wide-eyed at the opposite pavement. Something was there. A hint of a shadow where none should have been.

A guttural rasp reached her from across the road. With it came the stench of rotting flesh. Eden gagged, covered her nose and mouth with a hand, and started running.

Startled cries and shouts followed her as she bumped into people, her heart beating so fast she thought she would faint. She’d just turned onto Steiner Street and was bolting up the hill when she heard footsteps behind her.

Panic squeezed her lungs, making it hard to breathe. Strands of blonde hair escaped the hood of her parka and danced around her face as she pumped her arms and legs, desperate to get away from her pursuers.

A garbled shout reached her. Eden ignored it and kept on running.

A hand grabbed her shoulder hard.

Eden whirled around, swung her bag at her attacker, and stumbled. The momentum of her awkward twist carried her to the ground. She gasped as she fell on her butt and grazed her palms.

“What the hell are you doing?!” Malik Garcia roared where he towered above her. “First you do your disappearing act, then you ignore our calls. Have you lost your mind, Eden?!”

Eden stared past the Hexa agent, blood thundering in her veins. “Did you see it? The shadow that was after me?!”

Malik scowled. “What shadow?”

He looked over his shoulder.

Eden blinked. The smell of rotting meat had disappeared. So had the sinister feeling that had heralded it.

Malik blew out a sigh as he looked down at her, two other Hexa guards closing in on them with frowns. “Are you going to get up, or do you want me to carry you to the car?”

Eden bit back a sharp retort and slowly climbed to her feet.

The Hexa agents surrounded her as they headed for the Lincoln parked one street over, their ire palpable. Even though her home off Broadway wasn’t far, there was no way they would let her walk. Not after her little stunt that afternoon.

Surprise danced through her when the car turned east. “Where are we going? I thought you were taking me to the house.”

“Your mother wants to see you,” Malik said curtly from the front passenger seat.

Eden’s stomach dropped as they headed toward the financial district.

Now what?

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