Graden’s Huzza orders him to meet a psychic who may be able to help them locate the missing McDarmund tribe. He’s pleasantly surprised to discover that the small human is his mate, especially since he’s spent the last two centuries searching for her. It doesn’t bother him that her eyes are violet, she’s only eighteen, or that she has visions. But Kumiko’s mother doesn’t believe he’s a gargoyle or that her daughter is his mate. The first is easy to prove, the second is a bit harder.

Kumiko’s never been attracted to big, bad biker types, even if she does like motorcycles. But because she normally suffers from a vision any time she touches an object that isn’t her own, she believes Graden when he tells her she’s his mate. After all, if she can’t get a vision from her own stuff, it makes sense that she doesn’t get a vision from the man who’s destined to be a big part of her future. But her mother doesn’t believe and gives him an ultimatum, one a two centuries old gargoyle will find incredibly difficult to follow. No sex for two months, while suffering from the intense mating attraction? Will Graden agree to her mother’s demands? Or wash his hands of Kumiko?

Mating Kumiko
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Cover Art by Martin Jardin

Kumiko was too stunned to respond. Nothing had come. No images. No voices. No emotions. The bike turning into the local community’s children’s park startled her out of her shock. She glanced around curiously, thinking her driver must be turning around, but then he stopped at a far corner of the parking lot and shut off the bike.

“Kumiko, are you okay?”

She let her arms slip from his waist as Graden turned and flipped up his visor to stare at her. Seeing the concern in his gray eyes, she realized it wasn’t the first time he’d asked the question. “Yes,” she managed. “I… is your jacket new?”

Graden’s brows drew into a concerned frown. “No. I bought the jacket nearly three years ago. I felt you tense up and thought you were panicking. Was I going to fast?”

“No, it’s just…” Confusion swamped her. Why didn’t I get a vision?

Suddenly, his massive hands wrapped around her waist and effortlessly lifted her. Kumiko squeaked in surprise, grabbing his shoulders for support as he settled her on his lap in front of him. He smiled, the move transforming his face from ruggedly handsome to stunning. At her wide-eyed look, he shrugged. “I got tired of twisting like that.” His smile faded. “I know you have visions. Did you have one? Is that why you tensed?”

“No,” she whispered, having a hard time concentrating on anything but the man’s hands still wrapped around her waist.

“Then what, my iris?” he asked softly, drawing her attention back to him.

She stared at his mouth, then her gaze lifted to his eyes. The gray had deepened, making it look like storm clouds raged behind his eyes. But why? Kumiko had no experience with men. She didn’t know what his intense look meant. “I’ve never not had a vision when touching someone else’s stuff. That’s why I wear gloves and silk scarves, so I’m covered if someone touches me by accident.”

He nodded, and she realized he still didn’t understand.

“I touched your jacket with my cheek by mistake,” she blurted out.

Finally getting it, he smiled. “And you don’t know why you didn’t have a vision when you touched my jacket?”

Did he just lean closer? His lips definitely looked closer. “No,” she whispered.

“Do you ever see visions with you in them?”

She thought back over the years, which was difficult considering the stunning man’s proximity. She could feel the heat of his legs beneath hers, somehow even hotter than the engine casing her butt rested against. Yup, he’d definitely leaned closer. Struggling to control the erratic beat of her heart, she sucked in a breath and shook her head. “No. Never.”

“Then that’s why, my iris.”

His words didn’t make sense to her. In fact nothing made sense because he closed the remaining distance between their mouths and gently pressed his lips to hers. Kumiko had been kissed a couple times by dates, but none of them compared to the warmth of Graden’s lips. The man took gentle mastery of her mouth, cupping her jaw in a gloved hand, tilting her head slightly, and deepening the contact. He nipped her bottom lip, encouraging her to open for him, which she did, almost too eagerly.

She felt his smile against her lips as he hummed his pleasure at her immediate obedience. Graden’s tongue slid across hers, flooding her senses with his deep, masculine taste. He explored her mouth, mapping it.

She mewled helplessly in his embrace, her fingers tangling in his jacket as she tried to press closer. Disappointment filled her when Graden eased away, ending the kiss, even though her lungs burned, reminding Kumiko of the importance of breathing.

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