Maelgwn, leader of a clutch of gargoyles in Durango, Colorado, only planned to be in Stone Ridge a few days to help a fellow gargoyle’s mate through laying their first egg. His plan to leave changes when he scents his mate in the hospital. He discovers his mate is Bobby Truman, a human who has no idea the paranormal world exists, even though a number of his friends are shifters. Maelgwn begins the arduous process of watching and waiting, searching for that perfect opportunity to make contact with his mate.
Bobby Truman is tired of his boyfriend, Seth’s, abusive friends, especially when Seth doesn’t do anything about their antics. The broken nose, compliments of Seth’s buddy Grant, is the final straw. When he’s attacked by muggers and rescued by a mysterious stranger in the dark, Bobby hopes it’s the opportunity he needs to make a clean break from Seth. Even if it doesn’t work out with Maelgwn, maybe Bobby can keep his new love interest’s attention long enough to prove to Seth they are really done.
Bobby thinks it’s odd that Maelgwn won’t come into the light, always meeting him after dark, but he’s nowhere near prepared for the truth when it finally comes out.
Can Maelgwn convince Bobby that the things that go bump in the night aren’t always bad and to take his place at Maelgwn’s side in a paranormal world? Even when that means uprooting his life and moving?
He paused, a shiver working up his spine. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Bobby glanced behind him surreptitiously, then quickly returned his focus straight ahead and picked up his pace. Okay, so maybe he shouldn’t have stayed quite so late at the coffee shop.
Someone was following him. Someone he didn’t recognize. In fact, two someones. Two someones who looked like muggers, with their dark hoodies and chains jangling from their jeans. Maybe it was stereotyping, but Bobby still debated his options—cut into an alleyway or start running. Both sucked.
When he felt the hand drop on his shoulder, Bobby squealed and did both. He yanked away from whoever the hell had touched him and started sprinting down the alley on his left. Bobby just knew if he could make it to the end, he could turn left, then right, and make it to a main road with taxis.
Sadly, at five foot seven he was short, which meant his legs were short, and the thugs caught up with him. A hand grabbed his sweatshirt, yanking him nearly off his feet. He gasped, losing his breath, but managed to regain his balance. That is, until whoever held him shoved him sideways into the wall.
He almost dropped his laptop case and scrambled to hang onto it. Bobby had to wrap both arms around it to hold the old, heavy thing, causing him to scrape his knuckles on the building’s stone walls.
“Now, why’d you have to go and run, dude?” one of his pursuers asked. “That only makes my buddy excited.”
The other guy chortled, and it took everything in Bobby to turn around and face them. “Please, leave me alone,” he whispered, his gaze darting back and forth between the two men. He clutched his laptop case to his chest like a shield.
“Awe, we ain’t gonna hurt ya,” said the first man again, obviously the duo’s speaker. “As long as you give us what we want,” he added in a sultry tone that sent a shiver down Bobby’s spine.
“What-what do you want?” Bobby whispered, his gaze skittering between them.
“Your laptop,” replied the first.
It almost drowned out the second guy’s answer. “Your ass.”
Bobby paled. “No,” he denied.
“Awe, don’t be that way, baby,” the first guy said, leering. “We’ll make it good for you.”
Bobby didn’t have anywhere to go when both guys moved in on him. He whimpered, cringing as the first guy’s bad, beer-soaked breath wafted across his face. Crying out in dismay, Bobby shifted sideways when the second guy grabbed his belt. It didn’t take a genius to realize what would come next.
He started to shake his head, and his body trembled violently. The first guy’s fingers pinched his jaw and turned his head as he pressed his mouth over Bobby’s and forced his tongue into his mouth.
Before Bobby could figure out how to get out of this, an inhuman roar echoed through the alley. Both men jerked, the first lifting his head though he kept his hands on Bobby’s face. The second guy released his unbuckled belt and snarled, “What the fuck was that?”
“No fucking idea,” the first man replied, his tone a cross between worried and angry, probably at the interruption.
“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
The question, spoken slowly, menacingly, in a deep gruff voice, actually vibrated Bobby’s balls. That could be the only reason Bobby could think of that would explain why his dick started perking up under these circumstances. At least asshole mugger number one released his jaw and both stepped away from him to face the interloper.
Bobby knew he should take advantage of their distraction, so he sucked in a breath and sprinted toward the mouth of the alley. He didn’t make it two steps before thug number two grabbed him and slammed him against a wall. Pain shot through his head as it scraped against the rough stone.
Another roar echoed through the alley. Instead of making his head ring, Bobby felt almost…well…reassured.