Grigoris has spent over six hundred years alone. As a gargoyle who lives away from most of society this isn’t surprising. Sure, he’s had his clutch-mates and his work, but he’s never truly had someone to share it with. When Aaden Hauser, a young black human sneaks into his garage, attempting to locate a friend and warn him of trouble, Grigoris instantly realizes the skittish male is his mate. While they enjoy a brief interlude, his human doesn’t stick around. Grigoris uses a mutual friend to track him down and to learn more about him. In the process, he discovers something disturbing about the young male’s family. Grigoris realizes, although he’s the last person to rouse holiday cheer, his young mate needs it now more than ever. Can Grigoris figure out how to not only woo his wary human, but lift his spirits enough to accept that change can bring unexpected joy?
Fear for his friend had him acting irrationally. He knew that. Still, he couldn’t seem to stop himself.
When Aaden had found a wide section of shoulder, he’d parked on it and had left his car. He’d followed the fence line, found a likely spot, and scaled the fancy iron fence. He’d nearly taken his balls off in the process, but he’d managed it.
Stepping into the largest garage Aaden had ever seen, he’d just about shrieked like a little girl when the lights had come on. When no one had rushed at him, he realized the light must have been motion activated. He kept low, peering around cars as he made his way toward the door that—he hoped—led to the main part of the home.
How Aaden would find Andre after that, considering the size of the massive manor he’d glimpsed in the darkness, he still didn’t know.
Aaden found it relatively easy to cross the floor. At one point, he’d thought that he’d heard a noise, but then all was silent again. He glanced around once more, then slipped around the truck he was using as cover and reached for the door.
Just as Aaden’s fingertips touched the knob, a strong thick arm wrapped around his torso, forcing one arm to his side. He felt something cold and sort of pointed press against his throat. Whoever pressed up behind him from back to thigh was just as big as the huge arm implied.
Aaden gasped, freezing in the man’s grip. The pressure to his throat caused a spike of fear to slice through him, and his blood ran cold. His gaze riveted on the door he’d been planning to open.
“Let go of the doorknob, human,” a deep rough voice ordered.
While Aaden thought the wording was damn odd, he immediately obeyed, lowering his arm. “P-Please don’t hurt me.” He couldn’t help but whisper the pleading words.
He could hear the big male breathing behind him. It felt as if something sharp scraped lightly across his t-shirt covered abdominals just inside his open jacket. While he felt a tremble work through him at the sensation, he wasn’t entirely certain it was from the same source as his fear.
“Tell me why you are sneaking onto the estate through the garage, handsome man,” the deep voice commanded. “Speak truthfully, and no harm will come to you.”
Figuring it would be best not to press his luck by asking for a promise, although the words were on the tip of his tongue, Aaden realized his best bet was to just tell the truth.
After gulping almost loud enough to hear, Aaden whispered, “My name is Aaden Hauser. I’m a friend of Andre Capston. I came here to warn him about his parents.” He hesitated an instant, then hurriedly added, “I tried calling him a few times, but his phone keeps going to voicemail. I wanted to make certain he was here, that he’s safe.”
Aaden’s heart thundered in his chest as he listened to the huge man holding him hum softly. Feeling something slide along the column of his neck, Aaden jolted in the man’s grip when he realized it was the man’s nose. Goose bumps broke out over his skin.
What the hell is the guy doing?
“I believe you,” the man responded huskily, removing whatever he held against him away from his neck. It felt cylindrical as he continued to hold it in his palm, which he rested against Aaden’s neck, his unusually sharp-feeling nails stroking the skin of his neck. “But why didn’t you just buzz at the gate and ask?”
Aaden’s mind blanked. He drew his brows together as he responded oh-so-eloquently, “Uuuuhh.”
The man holding him chuckled, the deep sound causing his chest to press more firmly against Aaden’s back. “Rushed headlong into it, did you?” the man rumbled, sounding amused. “We’ll have to work on your knee-jerk reactions.” Aaden’s mind reeled at the guy’s words as the man continued in a bemused tone, “Although, rushing to aid a friend is admirable. Now, tell me about the problem with his parents, then I will find someone to locate Sumak and Andre.”
“C-Can I, uh, will you let me go?” Aaden requested, his skin beginning to tingle everywhere the man touched him, causing his blood to heat and confusion to muddle his mind. “I promise I won’t try to run or anything.”
The big man behind him chuckled once more. “You can’t promise that until you’ve see me,” he stated. “And I’m not ready for you to see me, so I’m not letting you go just, yet.”
That caused Aaden to attempt to turn his neck, curiosity filling him. What exactly does the man look like that has him so concerned? Unfortunately, the guy holding him tightened his grip on his neck, his nails digging into his skin a little. It created a sting that sent tingles down his neck to his chest, causing his nipples to bead. Confused by his body’s response, Aaden returned his focus to straight ahead.