Authors: Faith Gibson
walked into a fairly quiet manor. Priscilla was in the kitchen singing to
herself as she iced a cake. The King liked his sweets, and Priscilla indulged
him. It was a good thing Gargoyles had such high metabolisms or they would all
you’re just in time for a piece.” She put the last dab of icing on and smiled
at the finished product.
love a slice later. Right now, I need to talk to Rafe. I know this is his last
night with Kaya, but he is going to want to hear what I have to say.” Gregor
walked by the cake, swiped a finger through the icing, and stuck it in his
mouth. His eyes nearly rolled back in his head, it was so good. She swatted at
him like she would a small child.
you have outdone yourself.” He gave the older woman a kiss on the cheek. She
had been like a mother to him and his brothers for the last thirty years. His
own mother was back in Italy. After their father was slain in an attempt on the
throne, she left America. She said it was too painful to be around her sons.
I hear my name uttered in vain?” Rafael was standing in the doorway, grinning
at his brother. His beautiful woman was standing at his side, face flushed.
Gregor could smell the sex on them both. He didn’t blame them for staying in
bed until the absolute last moment. He would do the same if he were in his
did. Kaya, you’re looking well. I have some news that you both will want to
hear. I also have some you probably won’t. Can we sit?”
it been just the men, Rafael would have led them to the patio. Gregor wasn’t
surprised when he took them to the billiards room instead where it was warmer.
a lot has happened today. So here’s the condensed version: I found my mate. I
was right, it’s Tessa. She snuck down to level one and talked to her brother,
Tamian St. Claire. I followed her, and then she jumped off the roof. I phased
and went after her. I took her to my office and called Isabelle, but before I
could get to the bottom of anything, Isabelle began shifting. She is a
half-blood. The half-bloods are children of human mothers and Gargoyle fathers.
That is the good news.
bad news is that while Kaya has been taking some time off, there have been more
murders. Dante got a call right before I left the morgue. I’m sure Jasper will
have more information when he gets home, but the odd thing is that the victims are
apparently clones. If Trevor is correct, this one will be as well. The really
bad news is they all look just like Tessa.”
Rafael and Kaya were staring at Gregor like he needed an exorcist. “What do you
mean she jumped off the roof?” Rafael asked at the same time Kaya asked, “How
does Trevor know the victims are clones?”
know it’s a lot, so let me start with Tessa. Obviously, she is some type of
adrenaline junkie. She came into the Pen prepared. She was wearing a flight
jacket, so when I say she jumped off the roof, she pretty much flew. At the
time, I didn’t know she was prepared. With no thought, I phased and went after
her. I already knew she was my mate, but that sealed the deal. I now understand
what you meant when you said you had no choice but to phase.” Rafael nodded. His
wings had immediately wrapped around Kaya when she was shot at a third time.
took her to my office to figure out why she was sneaking below to talk to St.
Claire. Only they weren’t talking. They were just standing there, staring at
each other. I still haven’t figured that one out yet, but I have an idea. While
I was questioning Tessa, Isabelle doubled over in pain. I drove both women to
Isabelle’s home, and that’s when Tessa told me Isabelle was going through her
transition. It seems that with the half-bloods, they don’t change until they
meet their mate. So, somewhere along the way, Isabelle has had contact with hers.
We just don’t know who it is yet.
wanted to get more information, but Tessa basically kicked me out. Oh, and she
hates me. Anyway, I went back to make it clear to St. Claire that Tessa is mine,
and he let me know just as quickly that he’s her brother. He didn’t want to
elaborate on anything, saying it was Tessa’s place as my mate to tell me. He
did confirm that human women can have Gargoyle babies and live to tell about it.
Tamian has his own story, one I need to get out of him. He said Vincent
Alexander can talk and has been doing quite a bit of it, some coherent, some
also knows Isabelle somehow. He has mentioned Flanagan’s name as well as
someone named Merrick. Tamian is going to continue listening in on the albino
to see if he says anything useful. I wanted you to have some privacy on your
last night together, but after I visited Dante, I needed to come see you. I
have a theory. Rafe, the women in the morgue could be Tessa’s sisters. They all
have red hair and green eyes and are approximately the same age.”
came into the room and confirmed Gregor’s prior suspicion. “I’m afraid the
latest victim fits the same bill. We don’t have an identity yet, but I’m sure
someone will call her in as missing soon. She had the same handprint around her
throat as the other women.”
asked Gregor, “So what’s your theory?”
think Tessa is Flanagan’s daughter.”
asked, “What makes you say that?”
I said, it’s just a theory, but think about it. Both Tessa and Isabelle know
Montague, and Isabelle is his daughter which should make Tessa his niece. She
is the right age. St. Claire is her brother. I’ve not read a lot about clones,
but I have heard there is some sort of psychic connection. That could be why
Tessa was just standing at his door. They were speaking to each other with just
crazy,” Kaya said.
and you didn’t believe in shapeshifters a couple of weeks ago either.” Rafael
took her hand in his and squeezed.
am just theorizing here, but it adds up.” Gregor walked to the mini fridge and
pulled out a beer. “Anyone else?”
held up his hand. “I’ll take one. What I don’t get is how does Flanagan know
what Tessa looks like? Didn’t she disappear when she was a baby?”
but her mother has red hair. Flanagan has red hair and believes he is the
father. We know since she’s a shifter he can’t be the father unless he’s a
Gargoyle, which I don’t believe he is. He is assuming she will look like
Elizabeth did at her age.”
all pondered Gregor’s theory until Kaya asked, “Jasper, how did it go at work
today with Dane?” She would be returning tomorrow, so it only made sense she
would want a heads up.
tried to get him to open up, but he pretty much avoided me all day. Kept
himself holed up in your office with some redhead.”
Was it Tessa?” Gregor’s jealousy was rearing its green head.
didn’t get a good look at the woman. She was in his arms with her back to me.”
Jasper took a drink of his beer.
could be that reporter. I think he likes her, Gregor.” Kaya was trying to spare
his feelings, but it wasn’t working.
matter. What does matter is we find out who’s killing these women and put a
stop to it. I will get Dante to call you when he has examined the latest victim.
I need to check on Isabelle. She is my employee after all.”
grinned, “Sure. It has nothing to do with the fact that Tessa is helping her.”
Kaya hadn’t been in the room, Gregor would have told Rafe to go fuck himself. Having
a Queen around was going to take some getting used to.
pulled Kaya onto his lap. “You said Tessa hates you. Any particular reason
asked Tamian. He said it’s because I’m a full-blood. I need to find out why the
prejudice. It’s not like we knew about the half-bloods. But if that was Tessa
at the precinct today, she may have told Dane to keep tight-lipped around you,
do I handle Dane? Do I tell him I know the truth, or do I wait and let him
approach me?” Kaya asked Rafael.
that we have this latest information, it will probably make both your lives
easier if you tell him you know. Trying to hide a secret as big as being a
shifter is a tall order.” Rafael pushed Kaya’s hair over her shoulder as he
spoke to her. Gregor wanted that with Tessa. Wanted the closeness, the
I tell him about you, the Clan? Since he’s one of you now, aren’t you his King,
nuzzled Kaya’s neck. “Yes, I am his King, their King. For now, say as little to
Dane about that as possible. We have to find out as much about the half-bloods
as we can and why they have been hiding all these years. Gregor, I need you to
get closer to the women. Surely you can get one of them to talk to you. If you
went to Isabelle’s home, then you accomplished something Nikolas could not. He
went back to the place where he had followed the women after their initial
conversation, but the place was locked up tight. He would have needed to break
in to get inside.”
asked, “Didn’t he say the house he went to was close to the University?” Rafael
nodded. “The house I went to is on the south side of the city. It definitely
wasn’t closed up; it was homey and lived in. Isabelle did ask why Tessa took
her home instead of somewhere else, though. That is just another mystery to
solve, but it will have to wait. Jasper, how close are you to finding your own
place to live?” The manor was large enough that he wouldn’t be getting in the
way, but Gregor could imagine Rafael didn’t want any distractions now that he
had found his mate.
finished off his beer then answered, “Sixx called me earlier, something about a
glitch in my accounts. As soon as he gets that figured out, and I have my new
identity, I’ll be moving out. I found a place pretty close to yours. My
property isn’t as heavily wooded, but it’s still private.”
Sixx say what kind of glitch? Julian called earlier and was concerned about the
missing data in your file. Jasper, I have to ask you, and I need you to answer
honestly; did you mess with your records for some reason? When you transferred
out here from the west coast, your employment had been tampered with.” Rafael wasn’t
accusing Jasper, he just needed answers.
didn’t hesitate to respond, “Sixx didn’t say, and no, Sir. I’m not stupid, but
I’m definitely not smart enough to hack into files. What about it was tampered
dates you were a fireman. Those had been erased.”
shit. Shit, shit, shit. Rafe, I might know who did it. Can Julian go back far enough
into my computer and trace the dates and times?”
sure he can. What are you getting at?” Rafael set Kaya off his lap and stood
was, I had…” Jasper was nervous.
it’s okay. If this has anything to do with what you and I talked about already,
you can speak freely in front of Kaya and Gregor. They both know.”
do?” Jasper was shocked. The look on his face made that apparent.
we do. And we don’t care.” Gregor gripped his shoulder, showing his sincerity.
had a boyfriend, Craig. He was also a firefighter, but he was in the closet. He
told everyone we were roommates, not lovers. He was super smart, and I caught
him on my laptop more than once.”
Julian and give him all the information you can. Hopefully this will tell us
who hacked our system and why.” Rafael held his hand out to Kaya who took it
and stood beside the King.
left the room to make the call, and Gregor’s cell phone rang.
Hey, Brother. Where are you? Absolutely. I’ll be right there.”
had the look in his eye that Gregor knew all too well. When it came to the
Unholy, all the Gargoyles lived for the fight. Knowing he’d overheard the
conversation just now, he shook his head at his brother. “Oh, no. You are not
going patrolling. You stay here with your woman.”
didn’t say a word.” Rafael grinned before practically dragging Kaya back to
went in search of Jasper. They needed as many Goyles fighting as they could
practiced releasing and retracting her fangs without cutting her lip while
Tessa was on the phone. Sophia had been relieved that Tessa was there to help
her cousin through the change. Transitioning was something Sophia knew little
about. Her parents were still missing, and Tessa told her to concentrate on
them. Elizabeth had called earlier to let her know she couldn’t find Sam
either, and she was going to take over the search herself. Tessa called the
airline and changed her flight. Belle was phasing easily, so Tessa should be
able to take off a day later than planned.
did you bring me here instead of taking me to the house where you took Dane?”
didn’t think you would want to be around Caroline. Was I wrong?”
you weren’t wrong. There’s something I don’t understand. Dane came to me with
flu-like symptoms. It took him over 24 hours to begin his transition. Why did
mine come on immediately?” Isabelle had been quiet for most of the day. She
had dealt with the pain like a champion. At first, she wanted to take the pain
pills she had prescribed for her brother, but Tessa told her it was something
she needed to deal with. Unmedicated. After the pain from the initial phase
subsided, Belle had stopped complaining. Tessa was proud of her cousin. Knowing
first-hand how badly it hurt, she told her how well she had managed.
is different. It could be that he had no direct contact with his mate. They
could have been in close proximity, just enough to cause the initial reaction. He
also could have truly been sick before he began his transition.” Tessa’s own
transition came on like a bat out of hell as soon as she touched Gregor. “Where
have you been other than work and home?”
didn’t hesitate, “Nowhere. I have driven to the Pen and back home. That’s it.”
your mate has to be someone you work with. Or, heaven forbid, an inmate. Have
you been around any inmates at all?”
I haven’t. I have been going over files and doing inventory…” She faded off.
What are you thinking?” Tessa didn’t like the worried look on her face.
close do you have to get to someone for them to be your mate? Do you have to
touch them?” Both her fangs and claws were showing now.
calm down. What’s wrong? Have you been close to any of the inmates? Is that
what has you worried?”
cousin was pacing the room now, blood trickling down her chin where her fangs
were cutting into her bottom lip. Tessa stood and grabbed her by the arms. “Stop
it. Right now, stop. Look at me. Breathe. You have to get yourself under control.
There will be instances where you get upset in public, and you have to be able
to keep your fangs and claws in check. Now, close your eyes and breathe.”
eyes closed and tears rolled down her cheeks. “I don’t want my mate to be a murderer,”
she whispered. Tessa wrapped her in a hug, something she had never done before.
Tessa wasn’t the nurturing type, but her cousin needed the comfort.
it’s okay. It’s probably one of the guards. I don’t think the fates would have
someone like you mated to a criminal.”
pulled back and wiped her face with her clawless hands. “Do you think it could
be Gregor?” Tessa hated the hopeful look. She ran her hands down Belle’s arms
then backed off.
I know for a fact he isn’t your mate.”
do you know? Unless… Oh my god. He’s your mate, isn’t he? That’s how you know
didn’t say anything. That was all the confirmation she needed. “Why didn’t you
tell me? And why do you act like you hate the man if he’s your mate? You’re
supposed to be living happily ever after, aren’t you?”
doesn’t always work that way, especially when there’s a Gargoyle involved. I
don’t want to talk about him right now. Let’s concentrate on getting you rested.
I still have a trip to take.” Tessa didn’t want to think about Gregor and
living happily ever after. It just wasn’t in the cards for them.
let it go. “Okay, I’m going to take a shower.”
waited until the water was running before she stepped out the backdoor onto the
porch. Breathing in deep, she allowed the cool air to seep into her lungs. What
she really wanted was a double shot of tequila and a cigarette. She only smoked
when she drank, but right now she needed to keep a clear head, so she didn’t
allow herself either. She leaned against the porch railing and raised her face
to the moon. It was waning, just like her heart.
fight had not done as much good as Gregor wanted. He relished flying, fighting,
feeling alive. It hadn’t been his night to patrol, but the Unholy had decided
they needed to create chaos and a lot of it. As he and Jasper flew to meet up
with the others, he couldn’t get Tessa off of his mind. He needed the wind
under his wings, the cool air ripping through his lungs. When they arrived at the
address Julian had given, Gregor was amazed at the sight below. The last time
this many Unholy were out in the streets, they were fighting each other to
cause a diversion. Kaya had been abducted by Vincent Alexander and the
Gargoyles were busy fighting the monsters instead of protecting their future
didn’t hesitate. He dove right into the middle of the mayhem, claws out and
slashing. The Unholy were an unpredictable lot. He couldn’t figure out why they
remained hidden for months at a time and then all of a sudden they infiltrated
the city streets fighting among themselves. The humans had smartened up over
the last thirty years and stayed out of their way for the most part. The Pen
still had plenty of room for those who were dumb enough to get caught by the
several hours and a shit ton of locked up Unholy later, Gregor attempted to
relax. Never had his heart felt so conflicted. He had found his mate, yet she
didn’t want him. Didn’t even like him. All because he was a Gargoyle. That in
itself didn’t make sense. She was half Gargoyle. There was more to the story
than just a prejudice, and he needed to find out what. If she could give him a
good reason they shouldn’t be together, he would deal with it. What he would
not deal with was a half-ass excuse.
on the deck of his cabin, he opened another beer. The moon was barely visible
behind a cloud as he gazed into the sky. Gregor’s home was a large, three-story
structure constructed of logs and stone. While he insisted on calling it a
cabin, Julian reminded him it was a lodge. Gregor was one of the few Gargoyles
who lived alone with no servants. His home was nestled in the woods on one
hundred acres. Rafael had designed the home for him, but Gregor had built it
himself with the help of Dante. Where Rafael and Sin had stuck together since
they were small, he and Dante felt a closeness to each other. Not only were
they close in age, but they held a special bond that wasn’t there with the
loved all his brothers and cousins. Being Clan meant they had each other’s
backs, always. He and Dante had formed a connection in early childhood that had
never wavered. If one ever left New Atlanta, the other would surely follow. His
thoughts drifted back to Tessa. He wanted to check on her, check on Isabelle. He
knew the transition was rough on males; he just had to wonder how it was on
females. He had never witnessed one of the female Gargoyles going through the
said Tessa was the best one to help her. He stood in awe as his tough-as-nails
mate had tenderly cared for her cousin as gently as she would a child. Did
Tessa want children? Hell, did she already have kids? Could that be why she
didn’t want anything to do with him? Isabelle had been married before. If her
husband hadn’t died in a boating accident, it was possible they would still be
together. Then what? Would she leave her husband for her mate? Fucking hell,
this was getting more complicated as he sat there. He needed answers. Since
Tamian wouldn’t give them to him, he was just going to have to get them
straight from the source.
Tessa sounded out of breath when she answered his call.
Red. I’m just calling to check on our patient.”
patient is doing just fine. How the hell did you get this number?” Tessa was
huffing on the other end of the line.
has you listed as her emergency contact. Did I interrupt? You sound as if
you’re in the middle of something.”
Stone, what I’m doing is none of your concern, and yes, you did interrupt
something. If you don’t have any more questions, I’ll just be going.” Damn,
she was feisty. Why did that turn him on?
I do have another one. Will you go to dinner with me tomorrow night?”
will not be here tomorrow night, so no.” Damn, feisty
rude. So why
was his dick stirring to life? He liked sex rough, and sometimes mixed with a
little pain, but rudeness? Maybe he was more of a masochist than he thought.
the next night then. We need to talk.”
sighed, stopping whatever she had been doing that caused her to sound out of
breath. “I won’t be here the next night, either. I’m going out of town.”
when you return. How long will you be gone?” He knew he sounded desperate, he
just didn’t care. This woman was his mate, and if he didn’t get close to her,
he would never get the chance to bond with her.
have no idea, Mr. Stone. One, two weeks possibly. So don’t wait up.” The line
was no way Gregor was going to be able to wait one day to see Tessa, much less
one week. Two? Where the fuck was she going? He had to see her. He didn’t care if
she didn’t want to see him. Now that he knew she was his mate, the urge to be
around her was getting worse, not better. He still needed to take Isabelle’s
car to her, so this would be a good excuse.
it being so late, he could drop off Isabelle’s car then fly back for his bike. He
had already grabbed her car keys before he left her house, ensuring he’d have
an excuse to return. The thought of seeing Tessa had his dick twitching. Decision
made, he headed to the garage. He lifted his helmet from its perch atop the
handlebars and straddled his bike.
drive to the Pen was quick since he lived so close. Once there, he wedged
himself into the toy car and headed to the doctor’s home. Luck was on his side;
Tessa’s bike was still in the driveway. He parked in front of the garage and
turned the motor off. Even though he wasn’t as tall as his brothers, the
compact was still a tight fit for someone of his stature. He had to wrangle
himself out. He should have come up with a plan, something suave to say to make
Tessa want him, but that just wasn’t his style. Other than Frey, he was the
biggest roughneck of the family.
backdoor opened, and Tessa was stalking toward him. “What are you doing here?”
ever present scowl on her face didn’t mar her beauty. Her green eyes were
shining. “Since you are leaving town, I didn’t want Isabelle to be stranded.”
He dangled the keys in front of her, hoping she’d take the bait. Tessa stepped
closer and when she was in arm’s reach, he snagged her body, twisting her so
that her back was to his front. He wrapped both arms around her, caging her in
so she couldn’t move. She wiggled furiously, “Let me go. What the fuck do you
think you’re doing, Stone?”
holding you captive so I can talk to you. You have a tendency to walk away from
me.” She kept wiggling her ass. Did she not realize she was grinding into his
dick? Oh, the things he wanted to do to her ass.
wanted so badly to strip Tessa naked, feel her skin to skin. Standing in the
middle of Isabelle’s driveway was not the place for it. Tessa leaned back into
him, her ass nestled against his hard cock. He let out a groan and she froze.