Nolan had screwed up by hitting on the wrong human—a mated human. In his mind, it’s just one more mistake in a long line of screw-ups. After years of hiding his sexuality, the wrong shifter spotted him with a guy in town. He’d been driven from his herd—earning a life-changing injury in the process. Nolan no longer has a sense of smell. Due to that, he hadn’t been able to scent the humans in the area when he’d shifted to stretch his horse’s legs. He’d been captured and tortured by psychotic humans for months. After over a month of living and recuperating with gargoyles at their massive estate, he’s approached by a gargoyle…one that claims they are mates. While Nolan finds Craven super sexy, he doesn’t know if he can trust it. He can’t smell Craven, after all. Would tasting his blood be different…or would that just be one more screw-up to add to his growing list?
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“It’s your lucky day,” Kardamon murmured as he stepped backward. “There’s the object of your sudden obsession now.” He winked as he grinned widely.
Craven would have scowled at Kardamon, but his focus had been riveted by Nolan. The man was even more stunning up close. Admiring the horse shifter’s lean lines, he twitched his fingers with a sudden desire to trace over his pale skin.
When Craven noticed Nolan’s eyes, his brow ridges shot up in surprise. The shifter’s left eye was blue, while his right one was brown. Along with his high cheekbones, plus the scar at the bridge of his nose that ran over his right eye, bisecting his brow, he had a gorgeous, exotic look that Craven wanted to get lost in.
Finally, the horse shifter’s scent reached Craven. He sucked in a harsh breath, using the receptors on his tongue, and nearly moaned. His cock filled so fast it almost left him dizzy.
By the gods! Nolan is my mate!
How the fuck had he missed him all this time?
That was something Craven planned to remedy damn fast…but how to approach him?
As Craven watched, Gus grinned widely and nodded, then lumbered into the wing where he lived with his gargoyle mate, Tible. Taolma fist-bumped Nolan as he said good-bye, then headed down the hall that led to the front doors. That left Nolan with Roland and Cornelius.
“Come on,” Cornelius urged. “I’m starving! You have to eat with us. I know your stallion must be hungry, too.”
Nolan appeared uncertain, eyeing the door to the dining hall apprehensively. “I don’t know,” he murmured, his brows furrowing. “Maybe I’ll just grab a plate and take it to my room.”
Thinking that was the perfect opening, Craven stepped around Kardamon, who was leaning against the wall, probably putting him out of sight of the group. That was okay with Craven. He smiled as he approached the trio—Roland was now quietly telling Nolan that joining them in the dining hall would be good for him and his animal.
“Hi, guys,” Craven greeted, closing the distance between them. His voice came out raspy, but his throat had gone dry as he’d approached. After swallowing hard and getting a little moisture into his throat, he held out his hand to Nolan. “Hi, Nolan. I’m Craven.”
Nolan peered up at him, his eyes wide and his lips parted. Craven didn’t need to scent the shifter to know he’d shocked him. To Craven’s pleasure, however, his mate still reached out and took his hand.
Craven rubbed his thumb over the back of Nolan’s hand where he clasped him. “I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to meet you until now,” he rumbled, smiling down at the shorter male. He’d put Nolan at about six feet tall, a good eight inches shorter than his own six-foot-eight height. “But I’m so pleased that our paths have finally crossed.”
His heart tripping in his chest, Craven wondered what it’d be like to pull Nolan close, to feel him tucked up against his body. He desperately wanted to taste the man, but Nolan trying to tug his hand free pulled Craven out of his lustful thoughts. Confused, he released him.
“Um, n-nice to meet you, too,” Nolan responded softly. He tucked his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he rocked from side to side just a little. “Um, what—” He paused and cleared his throat, glancing away, then back again.
When Nolan looked Craven up and down, the heady scent of his arousal filled the area. Craven’s body responded to the amazing aroma, causing his pulse to race, his blood to heat, and his cock to twitch. Pre-cum oozed from his shaft, and he prayed he wasn’t leaking a wet spot.
Since it was obvious Nolan couldn’t find his tongue, Craven offered, “Why don’t we both go get a tray, then we can go to the gardens and eat. I don’t care to eat in the dining hall much, either.” He reached out and lightly touched Nolan’s neck. “Get to know each other.” Hearing Nolan’s gasp, Craven smiled heatedly. “We have some things to discuss, don’t you think?”
To Craven’s surprise, Nolan actually took a step backward. He swallowed hard enough that his Adam’s apple bobbed. His smile appeared extremely uncertain.
“I-I, uh, no, that’s okay.” Nolan took another step backward. “It was super nice to meet you, though,” he continued as he took a third step away from him. Nolan glanced between Roland and Cornelius. “Thanks for the run, but I gotta—yeah.” Then he turned and fled.