Gargoyle by Shelley Martin
sweet paranormal romance novel (YA/New Adult)
Release Date: 10/18/2012
Elizabeta's secrets will kill her, but the devotion of a gargoyle can save her.
In 1891, seventeen year old Elizabeta Riemma pulls the clothes from her dead twin's body and assumes his identity. To avoid her murderous uncle, she attends her brother’s school on Marettimo island, which is forbidden to women. Elizabeta takes solace in sculpting and one night, she awakens her gargoyle.
Gorgeous and fiercely loyal, Aelius uses his abilities to aid Elizabeta in keeping her secret. He only asks one thing in return- a kiss. As Elizabeta learns confidence from her creation, suspicions rise and the island’s bloody history threaten to bury them.
Elizabeta must hide her gender. Aelius must hide his existence. But both of them dream of the impossible- to be together.
The only male figure I’d ever created filled me with pride.
“Now, what to call you?” The full moonlight glinted off his flawless face. “Something ancient, Roman maybe.” I used the damp rag to wipe the dust from his jaw. “Aelius... What do you think?” His gentle features looked down at me, accepting and understanding. I ran my thumb over his full lower lip. I had secretly studied many lips of the young men at this school to be able to create the perfect mouth. The mouth I would most like to kiss.
But I would never get to kiss lips like those, since I was pretending to be a boy.
I dared to pull myself up another few centimeters. No one lingered below. The hour was well past curfew. My breath reflected off his marble face as I turned my head ever so slightly to the side. He was only a statue, and therefore I knew his lips would be cold and unyielding. But I was mistaken...
I discovered warm, soft lips when I pressed mine to his.
Then they gave a bit.
And then they kissed back.
The impossible yanked me back in surprise. The thought I had lost my mind was swallowed by fear as I lost my balance. Gravity pulled me from the ledge.
As I fell backward my eyes locked with his. Dark and full of wonder, they beheld me. I reached out for him as I slipped farther away. The muscles my hands had carved flexed in motion. Black wings sliced through the air as he lunged forward, his slender fingers grasping for mine. My falling body abruptly came to a stop, muscles pulling as I dangled from the gargoyle’s hand.
The warm, soft lips I had just kissed smiled. “Are you all right, my master?”
Confusion flooded my mind. A gargoyle was talking to me as I hung several meters away from broken bones or death. Was I crazy? Or sleeping? Perhaps my classmates were playing another prank on me. Had they dosed my food with laudanum? Either way, I had to get down before anyone saw me.
“Uh... just help me down, please!”
He swiftly pulled me to him and caught me midair. I braced myself as his arms encircled me and drew my body to his chest. I thought I would meet the impact of cold stone. But his expansive chest radiated heat as warm as his lips. Those agile muscles had lost the coldness of marble. My figure came to rest against smooth flesh. His legs were hidden from view by a simple white wrap as he stood us up. His great leather wings unfurled and gracefully moved against the wind, to drop us down onto the balcony.
My trembling hands grasped his shoulders. As the gargoyle straightened, he looked down at me. His pale arms held together my sanity. Black spices mixed with oak and vanilla filled my senses as I panted against him. The fragrance was heavenly. Then I realized the tantalizing scent was him. My rattled senses finally tore me from utopia. Taking pleasure in the arms of a monster was absurd. This could not be happening.