by Lisa Carlisle
Highland Gargoyles Book Three
What happens when love interferes with plans, during the most unfortunate of times?
Gargoyle shifter, and the last of her clan, Mairi, is running for her life, desperate to keep hidden. When she spots two winged creatures flying high above her in the Highlands of Scotland, she momentarily panics, thinking they’re the same beasts who murdered her family along with her entire clan. Realizing they’re gargoyles like her, she takes flight and discreetly follows them to an island.
Bryce, beta of his clan and drummer for the Knights of Stone, senses something is amiss on the Isle of Stone. At first, he believes he’s merely discomfited by the rumors of atrocities occurring in the Highlands. However, he discovers an intruder on the magically-concealed island home. Once he ascertains that the flame-haired beauty is the sole survivor of a traumatizing attack, he returns to the Highlands to warn his former clan.
Somewhere between cautioning the clan and realizing the necessity of destroying the beasts that threaten them all, Mairi and Bryce discover an attraction that quickly evolves into a consuming passion. A problem even greater than the murderous fiends becomes apparent – the love they share may not survive the battle.
Genre: Paranormal RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon ARe iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Gargoyles, Demons, Scottish
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Excerpt & More
Two winged beings soared across the stars. The demons?
Mairi’s heart thudded. They’d tracked her here, miles from home. She slid down to hide in the shadows of the forest as the stark realization chilled her.
God, no. She couldn’t let them find her. Not after what they’d done to her clan.
The claws. The long, curled talons that had trapped her. She squeezed her eyes shut, forcing away the image, but their acrid scent lingered in her mind.
Reliving her captivity would only paralyze her at a time she had to act. She needed a weapon. Not much to choose from in the woods. That branch with a sturdy point would have to do. It wouldn’t deter a demon for long, but better than nothing.
Her drive for survival had kept her moving for two or three days, she’d lost track of how many. Seeing the demons again triggered a red hot desire to lash out. Vengeance. Its tendrils wrapped around her like a fiery vine, consuming all thought. They had to be destroyed for what they’d done to her family. And to her. One day, she’d find a way.
If she survived the night. She squinted to discern where the monsters had flown to. The dark shadows soared in the opposite direction. They hadn’t spotted her. She exhaled and tension drifted out of her muscles.
Wait—the forms and flight patterns were familiar. Not like demons, but human forms with wings. Were they gargoyles?
No, they couldn’t be like her, could they? Wasn’t she the last surviving gargoyle shifter in the whole of the northern Highlands? Maybe she’d flown farther than she’d thought.
Her curiosity bloomed. After a moment of hesitation, she spread her wings and pursued them, trailing from such a distance that they wouldn’t spot her. They were barely pinpricks ahead in the charcoal sky. Still she flew close to the tree line to drop under cover of foliage if one turned back. For miles, she followed them over the slopes and valleys of the Highlands, past mountains and lochs, which shimmered with the reflection of the stars.
What are you doing?
Snorting inside, she answered herself. No flipping clue.
Following those who appeared to be her kind had to be a better option than sitting around to wait for the demons to track her. Most likely it was only a matter of time. Taking action with any sort of purpose had to be better than hiding like a rabbit among a pack of wolves in the Highland forests.
The beings ahead soared for many miles and headed over the North Atlantic. Several times, she paused to debate this foolish pursuit taking her farther away from home, but she pushed on. She didn’t have a home any longer. Didn’t have a clan. She was alone.
Bryce and his elder brother Lachlan cloaked themselves in invisibility before flying back to the Isle of Stone. Only the brightest of stars shone through the blanket of fog while the moon loomed with a ghostly iridescence. Even in its waning state, it conveyed its power through the drifting mist. Yet, it hung blameless, as it always did—no matter what damage it inflicted on those below.
Bryce flinched, prickled by the oddest sensation. Like he was being watched. He searched the earth and sky but only saw the dark canopy of trees, with the breeze ruffling through the leaves. The only scent was of the forests below.
He communicated silently to Lachlan. Do you sense anything unusual?
Lachlan paused for a moment. No. Do you?
Aye. Not sure how to describe it. Something I haven’t felt before.
Do you think it could be related to the reports?
While they visited their former clan in the Highlands, the other gargoyle shifters had mentioned strange incidents they’d overheard while on patrol.
Possibly. Bryce shook his head. Or maybe I’m just being hypervigilant after them putting the idea in my mind.
That had to be it. After all the recent incidents he’d faced with wolf attacks, interfering humans, and close calls, even the calmest gargoyle would be on edge.
Either way, stay on high alert until we get back.
Besides, they were cloaked. Humans wouldn’t be able to see them.
But supernatural creatures could.
They landed on the isle without incident and met up with two of their younger brothers, Gavin and Calum.
Lachlan, their eldest brother and alpha of their small clan, announced, “We’ve come to terms with Duncan.”
“And?” Calum asked.
“He recognizes our new clan,” Bryce said.
Gavin put his arms around their shoulders. “Brilliant. How did he end up coming around?”
“He said turning us away had been a test,” Lachlan said.
Duncan had rejected their request for assistance when they’d sought help with gargoyle magic. His dismissal stemmed from a long-standing feud between the island’s inhabitants—gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters.
Bryce crossed his arms. “It was hard to get past his idea of us as reckless boys who sought trouble wherever they could find it.”
They all chuckled. His youngest brother, Calum, said, “We were always good at that.”
The main reason they’d visited the Calder clan was to establish new ties. Their best bet at establishing their small clan of five brothers on the Isle of Stone was to be recognized by their former one, which had relocated back to the Highlands. Other gargoyle clans existed in the world, and although they might never encounter them, establishing good relations was essential, especially in times of trouble.
“Things might finally settle down around here,” Bryce said, feeling lighter for the first time in days. They could move forward and establish their new future on the Isle of Stone then resurrect their band.
The odd sensation returned, piercing his consciousness. He scanned the misty skies above and shrouded forests ahead for signs of movement. Nothing.
“Shite, I feel it again,” he said.
“Feel what?” Calum asked.
“Like we’re being watched,” Bryce said.
All the gargoyles turned and searched the area, the surrounding forest and the sky. Nothing.
“We’re a wee bit wary after our visit,” Lachlan said. “There were mentions of strange incidents on the north coast.”
“What sort?” Gavin asked.
“Mysterious beings seen flying. Some of their sentries heard whispers from the humans while patrolling the nearby areas. Whether it was other gargoyles or something else, they didn’t know—or even if it was true. You know how humans react when they see anything unusual in the air.”
“Aye,” Gavin said. “UFOs, aliens, and other such nonsense.”
“We must all stay on watch,” Lachlan said. “The chances that any of those reports are real are slim and any threat to the island even slimmer, but we mustn’t let our guard down.”
Bryce agreed. Something was out there. He mounted the stage and took his favored vantage point before shifting to stone form, staying alert to search for who—or what—it was.
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