After seventeen years in captivity, Caladon O’Hara is freed from his cage by gargoyles. His rescuers take him to their manor, give him a safe place to recuperate, and set him up with a new identity, Caladon Wykert. They also aid Caladon in tracking down information about his son, Taolma. Upon seeing a picture of his son’s face after so long, Caladon goes into mild shock, overwhelmed at seeing him as an adult for the first time.
Nurse Leroy Wilde works part time at the gargoyle’s mansion. He handles daytime shifts since Perseus, the clutch’s head doctor, has not yet mated and turns into stone during daylight hours. When he spots Caladon through a doorway, he’s quickly smitten by the tall, handsome shifter. Still, Leroy keeps his distance. He’d tried dating an African American once before, and due to his family’s bigotry, it hadn’t turned out so well.
When Caladon suffers a shock, Leroy is called to help. His mere presence yanks Caladon out of his stupor, only for the shifter to declare they are mates. Leroy is unable to resist the siren call of the mate-pull, and he agrees to a date. He quickly discovers that his family isn’t the only complication…because at the time of Caladon’s kidnapping, he was still married. Mates or not, Leroy refuses to get involved with a married man.
Suddenly, Caladon felt light headed, and the need for air surfaced. He brought the kiss to an end and stared into brown eyes that appeared as dazed as he felt.
Leroy licked his lips, then the corners of his mouth twitched as if he fought a smile. “Normally the kiss happens after the date.”
Caladon grinned, a happy chuckle bubbling up inside him. “We will try it after, too, and see how they compare. What do you say?”
After just a brief second of hesitation, Leroy nodded once. “I think I like the sound of that.”
Fighting every instinct he had, Caladon eased his hold and released Leroy. “How about I go find some real clothes and meet you in the front hall?” he offered, even though letting his newly found mate out of his sight was the last thing he wanted to do. With how skittish Leroy was proving to be, Caladon wondered how difficult it’d truly be to break down the cute human’s resistance.
Leroy began to nod, then paused. His brows creased and he grimaced. “I’m sorry. I’m on duty for another couple of hours. I’m done at four so how about, um.” He suddenly lifted his hand to his mouth and yawned, then peered at his watch on his wrist. “Four thirty at the front? That way I can wash the hospital chemical stink off me?”
Caladon found that, even with the lingering scents of antiseptic and other chemicals he couldn’t hope to name, he thought his mate smelled fantastic. “Did you come here straight from work?” he asked curiously, just then noting the slight shadows under his mate’s eyes.
Leroy nodded. “Yeah.” He shrugged. “I had an overnight shift. Not a big deal.”
Scowling, Caladon cocked his head. “Is that normal? Do you do that often?” He didn’t like the idea of his mate tired all the time.
“It’s the way things are in the medical community,” Leroy claimed. “Long hours and shitty shifts to those just out of college. It’s only my second year at Gerard Memorial Hospital.”
“How old are you?” Caladon asked, the question out of his mouth before he could think better of it.
Leroy rose to his feet, grabbing the medical bag as he did so, and stepped away from him. As he headed toward the door, he called over his shoulder, “Younger than you, but old enough to handle whatever you can throw at me.”
Caladon had no idea how to respond to that, but that was fine. As soon as Leroy turned away, Caladon’s gaze lowered to the human’s sexy bubble butt and his mouth went dry. He wanted to reach out and cup those bouncing globes as Leroy sashayed out of the room.
Only when Leroy disappeared from sight did Caladon snap out of it. He blinked a couple of times, regaining his senses as he closed his jaw, uncertain when he’d even opened it. He lowered one hand and pressed the heel against the base of his dick. Hissing, he just managed to suppress his sudden need to come.
“Holy shit,” Caladon mumbled. “The sexy fucker is going to be the death of me.”
“Ah, but what a way to go,” Sapian stated, clapping him on the shoulder with one clawed hand. “Right?”
Caladon nodded absently, struggling to regain his composure. Damn, if one kiss and watching the sway of his mate’s sexy ass had him this primed, what would actually touching the man do to him. Looking around the room, he searched for something to focus on other than the throbbing of his dick. Caladon’s gaze landed on the computer screen, which still showed a frozen snapshot of Taolma.
Shit, I forgot about my son!
That realization got Caladon’s erection under control really fast. Just as quickly, he realized that just because he’d momentarily forgotten about his son using his bank account, it didn’t mean he wouldn’t have remembered as soon as his lust passed. Hell, he’d just discovered his mate.
I’ve been celibate for over seventeen years. What the hell do I expect?
Now, with the distraction—and Caladon would never be sorry about being distracted by his mate—of Leroy out of the room, he returned his focus to Raymond. “Is there an address attached to the account?” He’d hate to have to head out of state right now. He wasn’t even sure if his snake would allow it. Just the thought had his boa coiling around itself and hissing with displeasure.
Still, Caladon had to find some way to contact his son.
Raymond slid back behind his computer and, seconds later, his fingers skipped across the keys. He nodded. “There’s an address in the Caribbean and one in Florida,” he told him.
Taolma’s picture disappeared to be replaced by names and numbers. While he wanted the picture of his son back, the information was much more useful. “This Florida address was a vacation home of my wife’s family.”
Caladon looked away from the screen. Meeting Raymond’s gaze, surprise filled him upon seeing the gargoyle’s narrowed eyes and scowling expression. He opened his mouth, then snapped it closed just as quickly, biting back his knee-jerk reaction to ask what?
“Yes,” Caladon replied carefully. “Gloria. She is Taolma’s mother.”