Kort is a gargoyle and known as the friendly playboy of the clutch, while nothing could be further from the truth. As much as he flirts with almost every available male that enters the gargoyle’s estate, he’s never taken any to his bed. Kort is waiting, just as he has been for over three hundred years. After watching a number of his buddies be blessed with their mates, he has faith that Fate will soon reveal his own other half.
When Kort smells something wonderful on the clothes of a fellow gargoyle’s mate, he is quick to question the human. He suspects the other man has been in contact with his mate. Learning that the owner of the scent, a human named Mace Capston, was just in the emergency room, Kort locates the human’s home and takes up a vigil. He waits impatiently for his opportunity to speak to the human. The first time he has a conversation with the injured man, however short and in the darkness, leaves Kort eager for more.
When Mace’s attacker returns, Kort whisks the cute human to safety…too bad his mate passes out from fear in the process. Can Kort convince Mace that the creature from the dark is not the real monster?
After taking a sip of his chamomile tea, Mace rested the mug on his thigh. He stared vacantly into the woods. The dark shadows of the trees felt soothing somehow, like they were watching out for him.
It took around fifteen minutes for Mace to realize he didn’t hear any night creatures. The silence shouldn’t have been so relaxing. An instant later, he realized he’d felt the exact same way the evening before. That was why he’d decided to come out again that evening.
Due to his fear of Jessup coming around, Mace knew he should have been holed up in his little cottage. He should have his doors and windows closed and locked. Instead, he was out there, in the dark, listening to…nothing.
Why am I enjoying this so much?
Mace didn’t know. Now that he thought about it, he began to feel a little nervous. Shifting in his seat, his arm slipped off the backrest. The wood pressed into his arm uncomfortably, and he hissed in pain as he moved his arm back into place.
“Are you okay?”
Mace squeaked upon hearing the deep voice coming from the darkness. Jerking in his seat, he grunted as his arm once again jostled and he automatically tried to catch it. When pain spiked through his wrist, he pulled his arm down and reflexively held it against his chest.
“Who’s there?” Mace called. He hated hearing the slight waver in his voice.
“Hey, easy, cutie,” the deep voice replied. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
A shape appeared from the darkness—a big shape—and moved slowly toward him. The male’s outline firmed up as he drew closer, then paused and leaned up against a tree a few feet from the edge of Mace’s yard. He seemed to be wearing a calf-length trench coat. With the way he lounged, Mace thought maybe the man’s arms were crossed over his chest.
“Are you okay?” the man pressed.
Now that Mace could see the guy, sort of, he felt as if the deep tones of the man’s voice washed over him. Goose bumps broke out on his skin—the good kind—and he fought back a shudder. Nibbling his lip, he tried to come up with an answer that wasn’t an outright lie.
Mace had never been much of a liar, which was why he immediately responded, “Y-Yeah. I’m okay. Just sore.” He held up his casted arm.
“Ouch,” the guy rumbled. “How’d you do that?” he asked. “Skydiving? Trick riding on a bicycle? Mountain climbing?”
Smiling, amused at the ideas, Mace chuckled softly. “Uh, no, no,” he replied. “None of those things.” He scoffed, looking down at himself. “I’m not really athletically inclined.”
“Mmm, let’s see what else I can come up with, then,” the big man said, sounding as if he were truly mulling over the idea. “You stepped in front of a man running down the sidewalk, tripping him, sending you both tumbling,” he rumbled. “You broke your arm, but stopped a mugger.”
Mace snorted, finding himself grinning for the first time in…weeks. Even with that knowledge, he couldn’t stop his snickers. He found his body humming with pleasure at the kind man’s playful niceness.
“Unfortunately, no,” he admitted. “Not even close.”
The man hummed. “Well, you gonna keep me in suspense, cutie? Now my curiosity is piqued.”
Mace realized that was the second time the guy had complimented him. His smile faded as he muttered, “Cutie? You wouldn’t be calling me that if you could actually see me.”
“I have excellent night vision,” the man responded. “I can see you just fine, and I think you’re very cute.”
Unable to help himself, Mace gaped. “Huh?”
A low rumbling chuckle sounded from the big man deep in the shadows. “Oh, cutie,” the man said. “I can see the way your shaggy, light-brown hair falls across your forehead. I think it’s sexy that you hide behind your bangs, because it sets off your honey-brown eyes.”
Mace gaped in disbelief. “What?”
“You still haven’t answered my question, cutie,” the man persisted. “Would it help if I introduced myself? I’m Kort. I enjoy hiking in the woods and helping my friends recreate their gardens, although I have a brown thumb,” he admitted. “They don’t let me actually touch the flowers.” He curved one arm, showing off a large bicep. “But I’m big and strong and great at moving and laying paving stones where they tell me to.”
Smiling at the man’s admission, Mace murmured, “A brown thumb, huh?” He tried not to drool at the impressive curve of muscle on the shadowed arm.