Matthew Beakman’s life just got turned upside down. His brother, Marty, stumbled across something strange and fascinating and amazing! Gargoyles exist! Matthew wants to know everything about them. First, though, he wants to find the gargoyle that saved his brother’s life and thank him. Their people’s leader, Maelgwn, points out a blood-red, behemoth of a gargoyle named Vane, then warns Matthew away from him. Never good at following orders—and because he can’t help but find himself intrigued by the huge creature across the room—Matthew tracks Vane down anyway. At first, he’s confused by the way his body responds every time Vane growls at him, until a conversation with Logan makes him suspect that he and Vane are mates. Unfortunately, he also learns Vane went through some extreme torture in the hands of humans. How can he convince the stubborn gargoyle that not all humans are the same?
Matthew reminded himself that he was just going to thank the gargoyle. Although he tried to keep that thought lodged firmly in mind, he couldn’t help feeling a fissure of excitement course down his spine.
Why the fuck is that?
Not really wanting to dwell on that reaction, Matthew tried not to appear in too big a hurry as he rounded the table and headed toward the door. He closed the door behind him while glancing in both directions. Thinking he spotted movement to his left, he headed that way.
Hustling swiftly down the hallway, Matthew stretched his stride, using his six foot one inch height to advantage. Still, he only managed to keep catching a fleeting glance of red and black each time he rounded a corner.
Finally, after several minutes of pursuit, Matthew saw the gargoyle he followed disappear through a doorway. At least, this time, he caught sight of him enough to know it really was Vane. The blood-red body and black wings were unmistakable. He paused outside the door, debating, but since it’d been left open several inches, decided to risk it and headed inside the room.
As Matthew gently pushed the door open further, he peered around it, trying to differentiate the objects inside the darkened interior. He could just make out a sofa and a chair, plus some dark smudges deeper inside that might have been an archway.
Matthew had about convinced himself to back out of the room—hell, going in there was more nosey than even he wanted to admit to being—when a big hand clamped a firm grip on his upper arm. Matthew found himself yanked the rest of the way inside. While hearing the slam of the door, Matthew’s front was pressed into the wall. Grunting, he felt a heavy weight press against his backside while huge hands grasped his wrists and forced them over his head.
His heart raced in his chest, and he gasped for air.
“Why are you following me, human?”
The low growling voice vibrated through Matthew’s back and sent tingles through his senses. To Matthew’s shock, his prick began to thicken. Knowing it was completely inappropriate, he breathed slowly through his nose, trying to calm his ill-timed erection. It didn’t help. If fact, breathing in the gargoyle’s heavy musky odor had Matthew fighting back a moan as he went from perking up to hard as steel.
“Well?” The gargoyle rumbled the one word, his grip tightening almost infinitesimally on his wrists, accentuating his rising ire.
Matthew knew he needed to find his tongue. Swallowing hard, he finally managed to gasp out, “To thank you.”
* * * *
Vane glared at the well-muscled neck of the oddly pleasant smelling human.
Damn it! I did not just think that! I do not like humans…how they smell or otherwise.
Instead, Vane focused on the male’s unexpected answer. To thank him? “For what?”
“Saving my brother,” the man replied breathily.
Realizing he probably crushed the much smaller male, Vane eased his body away from the human. As soon as he drew away, he discovered he wanted to press his body right back against this male’s, except not because he felt he needed to subdue him. His dick actually started filling, thickening beneath his loincloth. Desire to press his cock against this human, to rut and feel pleasure, blindsided him.
Vane scowled, irritated by his body’s ridiculous responses.
Releasing the stranger’s arms, he gripped the human’s shoulders and spun him around, thudding his back to the wall. He peeled his lips away from what he knew were prominent—and razor sharp—teeth, offering the man a feral snarl. Bending down a bit, he got right into the human’s face and demanded, “What’s your name? Who’s your brother?”
The human’s hazel eyes widened slightly, his mouth hanging open just a bit as he swept his gaze over Vane’s features. Yeah, Vane knew what the human would see, a face flat and bony around the eyes like a skull, a sunken nose, prominent jaw line, and red eyes that almost seemed to glow. He’d had enough people tell him that, and not all had been human.
Cornelius—who happened to be a rhino shifter and mated to Einan, the clutch’s lead enforcer—had given him the kindest description. He’d called Vane sexy…in a creepy crypt master way. Hell, he’d take it.
“What?” Vane rumbled. For some reason, he couldn’t resist leaning closer and scenting the human. “Cat got your tongue?” Fuck! The guy tilted his head, offering more room.
So fucking sexy.
“I-I’m Matthew. Matthew Beakman,” the human whispered. “You saved my brother, Marty. Th-That’s—”
“Raymond’s mate,” Vane interrupted gruffly. He couldn’t help inhaling Matthew’s scent, couldn’t resist slowly sliding the tip of his nose bone up his neck—less than an inch from the man’s delicate column of flesh. Gods, why did the human have to tilt his head, offering more? Vane just resisted the urge to open his mouth and swipe his tongue up that same skin, touching, tasting.
Growling, angrier with himself than at Matthew—hell, the human had had enough balls to not only learn who he was, but to follow him through multiple corridors—Vane shoved away from the wall…and the man.
Vane forced his features to remain still and impassive as he straightened to his full seven foot height. He stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Fine. You thanked me, which is unnecessary. I was following orders. Please leave.”