Destrawn has been second of the Aerasceatle clutch for a little over a year. Under Chieftain Kinsey’s rule, Fate has begun smiling on them, and some of their people have found their mates. While Destrawn is happy for them, he doesn’t think Fate will bring him his own any time soon. He doesn’t consider himself good mate material. He’s too dominant, controlling, and some would even say overbearing.
When Destrawn heads to the nearby Maven vampire coven to hear news that could be too dangerous if voiced over the phone, he discovers he’s wrong. The vampire giving the report regarding the paranormal hunters descending on their area—a seasoned and savvy tracker named Sorbin—is his mate. Ready or not, Destrawn knows he has to accept him. After all, he only gets one, and if he doesn’t accept Sorbin, the vampire’s ability to feed will be compromised, which would lead to his death.
Can Destrawn learn to surrender to his mate’s needs while remaining strong enough to keep everyone safe?
Waking from roost, Destrawn rose to his feet. He stretched his arms over his head and arched his back. Spreading his wings, he groaned as he twisted and turned, working out the kinks from his sleep.
Destrawn didn’t know how it happened, seeing as he was a stone statue during the day, but he always woke up stiff.
After cracking his back, pulling a deep sigh from him, Destrawn lowered his arms and rested his hands on his hips. He peered down from the roof at the activity on the large patio below. A number of human and shifter mates, as well as a bonded gargoyle or two, bustled around the space.
Cocking his head, Destrawn tried to remember what they were prepping for.
“Wow, they’ve gotten a lot done for the New Year’s party.”
Upon hearing Head Enforcer Sethnos’s Spanish-accented voice, Destrawn turned and stared at the giant, powder-gray gargoyle. He had joined the clutch at the same time as the other male. Destrawn was slowly coming to know his new clutch-mates.
When a big shift of power had taken place in the clutch, the gargoyle elders had sent missives to other clutches to see if there were any acceptable gargoyles interested in taking a leadership role. Destrawn had applied for the position, and after a number of interviews with not only Elder Vermidian but newly appointed Chieftain Kinsey, he’d moved from a clutch in upstate New York. Sethnos had joined them from a secluded clutch in the mountains near Mexico City.
Good thing, as a paranormal, they didn’t have to worry about securing passports or green cards.
Destrawn figured Sethnos had to still be dealing with a bit of culture shock.
Pulling his attention to what the other gargoyle had said, Destrawn nodded. “Right. A party on New Year’s Eve.”
As a creature who lived anywhere up to two millennia, Destrawn didn’t understand the desire to celebrate when one year ended and another started. Coming up on his sixth-century mark, he found that the years had begun to run together. The only thing that truly changed was human technology, which made it either easier or harder for paranormals to hide in plain sight.
From what Destrawn had gathered from the excitement in others’ voices when they spoke of the celebration, it was a new thing to the clutch. After hearing some of the horror stories of what the remaining members had been dealing with under their old chieftain, Destrawn understood why the healing members would need things such as this to cheer them. For the smaller, weaker gargoyles, their lives had been hell under ex-Chieftain Grecian. They’d been little more than slaves.
Over a year before, Chieftain Kinsey had only been an enforcer. Due to the prior chieftain’s skewed views on fated mates, the clutch’s second—who happened to be Kinsey’s sire—had damaged his bond with his fated mate—Wendy. That had weakened the second, allowing Kinsey to easily best him and making it possible for Kinsey to challenge the chieftain. In the presence of a gargoyle elder, Vermidian, Kinsey had won, taking over the clutch without bloodshed.
After hearing how Grecian had treated the clutch’s smaller gargoyles, Destrawn had wished he could have inflicted a little bloodshed on the man.
Destrawn’s stomach rumbled, pulling him out of his thoughts. A glance around told him that Sethnos was already winging his way off the roof, heading in the direction of his suite. While stretching his arms over his head, Destrawn started to do the same.
Spotting Rundin carrying a box across the patio, Destrawn hummed and rubbed his neck. The small tan gargoyle gave a damn good neck massage. Destrawn had utilized his services more than a few times.
As Destrawn turned away from the sight and jumped into the air, catching an air current with his wide black wings, he thought about interrupting Rundin for fifteen minutes. He knew the little gargoyle wouldn’t mind working on his neck a bit. Except, while landing on his third-story balcony, Destrawn thought about his last interaction with Rundin two days before.
Rundin had looked at him with hero-worship in his eyes. His hands had lingered just a little too long on his neck ridges. He’d even appeared to be blushing, which was tough due to a gargoyle’s thick hide-like skin.
Destrawn figured it had something—or everything—to do with the light scent of Rundin’s arousal filling the air.
He’s getting a little too attached to me.
While Destrawn didn’t mind being friends, and even friends-with-benefits, with a clutch-member or two, a sixth sense he always listened to told him that Rundin wouldn’t be able to handle a relationship like that. The look in his eyes and the blushes told Destrawn the truth. The smaller gargoyle would end up looking for commitment.
Having no intention of leading anyone on, Destrawn silently vowed to stay away from the other male. He would have to turn down future massage offers. His pulsating shower heads would have to do.
With that thought in mind, Destrawn headed into his suite and did just that.
Destrawn strode from his suite a half an hour later. Moving swiftly, he carried a huge mug of coffee, compliments of the machine he’d set up in his room. It had been a going-away present from a few friends in his old clutch.
They’d known how much Destrawn loved the high-end coffee his last clutch’s kitchens offered, so they’d set him up right.
Taking a sip of the steaming brew, Destrawn enjoyed the strong roast flavor with a dash of peppermint creamer. He licked his lips and smiled. Then he took a larger swallow.
Yeah, that’s about right. Maybe there is a reason for the holiday season after all. Creamer that tastes like candy canes. Yum.