Io is a Masonry Gargoyle tasked with looking after old buildings to help maintain a balance, and he’s hopelessly in love with his alpha, Cinder. If only he wasn’t such a screw up. With Cinder’s birthday right around the corner, Io is convinced he has found the perfect gift -- Blackstone Manor, an estate that has captivated Cinder for years. He just needs to find the deed before the house is demolished.
Of course, keeping the gift a secret from the bitter beta Ran’imy may prove easier said than done. She has her sights set on Cinder, too. But Io is willing to do whatever he has to, including crossing a line that could get him banished from the clan.
He’s about to make a stand for love.
The more he thought about it, the more he enjoyed the scenario.
No one would see it coming.
“It is my birthday,” he mused, walking over to blow out the candle. Darkness swept in. “Think I’ll do what I want this year.”
Cinder headed out, sticking to the less traveled hallways in order to go undetected. It was easier than he expected, considering just about everyone else was busy getting things prepared. He did experience a touch of guilt at bailing on them given all they were doing in his honor, so he decided to keep his solo trip short, maybe just go for a good fly around, and be back with more than enough time to enjoy a few slices of cake.
He was navigating a back corridor when the sound of someone running grew louder. Just as he went to round a corner, he collided with the owner of the hurried steps, his momentum knocking him back. There was a moment of confusion as they got untangled, the runner taking a step back. Cinder found himself staring into the dark blue eyes of Io, and the younger gargoyle appeared frazzled. Apparently he realized he’d smacked right into his alpha, as red began to spread across Io’s cheeks. It made him adorable.
“C-C-C-Cinder,” he stammered.
“Where’s the fire?”
Io blinked. “What?”
“Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Um, I ... I ...” He seemed to be searching for an answer.
Cinder chuckled. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s worth the effort.” Cinder stepped aside, gesturing for Io to continue on his way. “Just do me one little favor, will ya?”
“Um, whatever you want, sir.”
Cinder placed a hand on Io’s shoulder, leaning in close to whisper in his ear. “Tell no one you saw me here.”
“If ... if that’s what you wish,” Io said, curiosity all over his face.
They stood there, a few awkward seconds passing before both took a step. In the blink of an eye Io was off like a shot, disappearing around the next bend. Cinder was tempted to follow, interested in what his omega was up to, slightly afraid it would lead to catastrophe or somehow affect the party in a negative way. Cinder was pained at all the stumbles Io took in his personal journey. There was promise in the young gargoyle, amazing potential just waiting to burst free, if only he could stop fumbling around like a baffled fool. Despite what some might think given Io’s position in the family, Cinder held a soft spot for Io in his heart.
What a blatant lie, he told himself.
It was more than that, a deep affection, a desire to pull Io close and ... well, grant him the fun Ran’imy so desperately wanted. There was something endearingly cute about Io, though Cinder suspected he might be a little wild in bed. One of these days he was going to find out. As he resumed sneaking out, he wondered what would happen if he exerted his authority, backed Io into a corner, and just had his way with the young gargoyle. A shiver worked down his spine at the prospect of how things might turn out.
He smiled, slipping into the night. “Now that might be a birthday surprise worth seeking out on my own. After the party.” He could call Io to his chambers and when the trembling gargoyle arrived expecting punishment ... Cinder let out a growl of frustration.
Getting far enough away from the house to go unnoticed, he spread his wings and took off.
With any luck he’d burn off some of his sexual desires.