Petra Pedersen has lived as a recluse all her life thanks to a genetic double whammy—a strange deformity and a shameful power inherited from the father she will never know. The power to incite lust in men and women with just a touch.
Exploring the garden of the mansion she’s just inherited, she comes across a fascinating stone gargoyle whose raw, passionate expression draws her to caress its broad chest. Her imagination follows her fluttering fingers. As she closes her eyes and gives herself up to the arousal, something shifts beneath her touch.
Long ago, failure to stop a demon battle trapped Octavius in a prison of stone. Freed by the woman’s incendiary touch, he doesn’t hesitate to unleash his pent-up rage and desire in a blistering fury. Yet once the haze of lust clears, he discovers he isn’t really free after all.
They are both trapped in another realm where he must choose between his last chance for redemption or returning Petra home…
Not wanting to waste the waning light, Petra hurried down the stairs and into the large open living room. French doors led to the garden. They opened easily on quiet hinges. She let them close behind her and stepped onto a tiled porch. Stair steps led to a flagstone path. From this elevation she couldn’t see the boundaries of the planting beds they were so choked with weeds.
Three steps downward, a sensation, like the softest velvet brushing past her exposed skin, glided over her as she entered the garden. The late afternoon sunlight dimmed instantly to dusk and she blinked to adjust her eyes. She had to hurry to get her first look at her new home before darkness fell.
At the end of the pathway bordered by tall bushes and made impenetrable by dense vines and weeds, she saw an opening and walked steadily toward what she assumed would be the grassy area beyond the formal garden.
Frogs croaked, crickets chirped, creating a cacophony of sound that reminded her again just how far from home she really was.
The open grass was farther than she’d thought and she considered turning back, but the smells welcomed her. She recognized a hint of roses and paused to inhale the sweet fragrance from small white flowers studding a long vine wrapped around a leggy bush.
She smiled, recognizing the blooms from the pictures of the travel book she’d read on her flight across the sea. The scent was sweet, nearly cloying, but she inhaled deeply, entranced with her discovery. She plucked a bloom and held it cupped in her palm and continued down the narrow pathway.
At the end of the path, she exited the dense, tall foliage into a clearing. A gazebo, its lattices intact but in need of paint, stood against the darkening forest. To her left a stone bench sat next to a large statue. The fading sunlight limned the statue and lent its surface a pearlescent sheen. The figure of a winged gargoyle, its massive body upright, its arms and wings outstretched as though ready to take flight was so exact, so detailed, she couldn’t help but stare. “Oh my.”
She crept closer. Oddly, the large statue wasn’t supported by a sturdy base. Instead, the feet of the mythical creature were mired in dirt and grass. Vines crept up the thickly hewn calves and thighs, curling around and around. Leaves like ivy and blooms of honeysuckle entangled to clothe his naked body, even twining around the masculine appendage rising between his thighs.
She wondered how such a large statue remained supported by only the two feet planted in the dirt, and thought the artist must have been truly gifted to achieve the balance. Entranced, she could only stare in awe at the massive object.
Shadows accentuated the outline of the long muscles cloaking his legs; light sparkled on the bulging, straining curves; veins tracked along arms and thick, leathery wings.
While she stared, she realized there was nothing stopping her from touching it with the bare pads of her fingertips. She’d touched intimately only one masculine body in her life and had learned to her dismay the dangers. But this figure carved in stone couldn’t respond to her curse, and she could indulge her curiosity about his masculine form.
Timidly, she touched his knee, opening her palm over the cap. Surprised, she pulled back her hand. The stone wasn’t cool to the touch. Perhaps it had soaked up the warmth from the sunlight. The surface was so smooth it had felt real, almost pulsating.
The allure of the forbidden was too great to resist and she pressed her hand against his thigh, trailing it upwards, admiring the sleek, hard muscle. But vines impeded her exploration.
She reached up and took the uppermost strands and peeled them away, one by one, exposing his body to the fading light, unwinding them as she moved around him. “Almost like undressing a man,” she mused whimsically.
When the vines lay in long tendrils on the ground, she stepped between his bent thighs and stared into his face. Here wasn’t the bug-eyed gargoyle she’d expected, but rather he wore a warrior’s fierce grimace, frightening in its intensity.
She smoothed her fingertips over his heavy brow, caressed the sharp blades of his cheekbones and blunt nose, and traced the curve of his thinned upper lip and the surprising fullness of the lower.
“How would such a man’s lips feel beneath mine?” she whispered.
She glanced over her shoulder at the house that seemed farther away than it had when she’d first entered the garden, but found no curious glances trained her way through the windows.
She shook her head, her mouth curving slightly. “If they see anything, I will tell them it must have been someone else.”
Turning back, she gripped the tops of his broad shoulders and stood on her toes and grazed his mouth with hers. The texture of the warm stone was soft, deceptively malleable, but perhaps it was only the give of her own lips as she brushed over his again.
She dropped down, her glance following the flow of her hands as she cupped and molded the densely muscled chest, swept over the hard whorls of hair, marveling over the detail. The abdomen, a study of tautly ribbed slabs, caused her breaths to deepen and her imagination to imbue them with life that rippled gently beneath her caress.
Downward she trailed her hand, halting just above the whorls framing the phallus, and again, she noted the veins tracing along the long shaft, the finely carved cap, so smoothly sanded there wasn’t a single rough edge or bump to mar the surface. Her hand smoothed up, then down, then dropped away. She’d gone too far.
The engorged state of the statue tempted her beyond common sense. Beyond her own natural modesty. Moisture dampened her sex. Her heart fluttered. Her breaths betrayed a ragged texture.
Waning sunlight glimmered through the trees, flashing bright orange, then fading. Darkness settled around the garden, and still there were no lights beaming from the house.
No one could see her in this dark, lonely garden. No one would be disgusted or repulsed by the impulse that burned inside her.
She’d lived alone so long, repressed desires that were natural for a woman, due to the curse that kept her separate from others.
Her touch couldn’t arouse this beast-man, couldn’t incite him to rape. For once, she could pretend she was any other girl, learning the wonder of completion with something other than her own fingers. She could pretend she held a lover inside her embrace, one who wouldn’t be so consumed with lust that her pleasure was forgotten. She could take what she desired to serve her own needs.
Petra stepped backwards and dropped her gaze from his stony, unseeing glance, nevertheless embarrassed by what she contemplated. Just once, she’d heed the urge. Just once she’d dare something indescribably erotic. Tomorrow, she’d be surrounded by her new family, and again, she’d hide her true nature within gloves.
She opened her blouse, her fingers gliding down the row of buttons. Her bra opened with a deft twist and she dropped both items onto the ground beside her. She stepped from her slide-on mules, unbuttoned her jeans and pushed them down her hips.
When she was naked, she succumbed to the urge to cover her breasts as she approached the statue. At the last moment, she reached behind her head and removed the clasp, letting her hair fall like warm silk between her shoulder blades.
The bend of his upper thighs made a convenient perch, and she stepped onto one thigh then slid her left leg around his waist. Holding his shoulders again, she squatted over his cock, finding the nudge of the warmed marble, and circled her pussy over the blunt tip.
The feeling was indescribable. And almost enough to send her over the edge. She did it again, moaning when liquid seeped from inside her to anoint the rigid tip. Growing more breathless, she knew she must slow down, must breathe, must savor this moment because she didn’t know if she’d ever find the courage to try this again.
Wrapping her hands around his thick neck, she leaned toward him, kissing his open lips, sucking on the lower, pretending he was alive and responsive to her overtures. And she sank, slowly, her slick folds consuming his cock, inch by inch, her moisture and warmth heating up the thick phallic stone she rode as she began to move on him.
Her heartbeats quickened, growing louder. “Can you hear them?” she whispered. “Can you hear my heartbeats? How they tremble for you, my gargoyle?”
Petra rose and fell, her body melting inside and out, growing slick with desire and sweat. Her breasts rubbed against his stone chest, chafing softly, her nipples blooming. Her belly undulated, rocking slightly forward and back as she thrust downward, her inner walls stretching to surround him.
He filled her, the notches of his hips and the strength of his shaft supported her as her limbs weakened the closer to release she climbed.
Her eyelids fluttered downward and her mouth gaped open as fine ripples began to climb along her inner walls, vibrating around his solid cock. And then her mind flew, imagining a pulsing tension emanating from the cock lodged so deeply inside her, imagining that the stone gave slightly as she sank then rocked, shallowly stroking inside her.
It wasn’t until something soft caressed her shoulders and back that she opened her eyes.
The expression of her stone gargoyle was no longer gray and frozen, but dark and taut; his dark eyes stared back at her. The wings were no longer spread, but folded forward, surrounding her in heat and trapping her against his body as he brought her to the ground.
But it was too late to scream because her orgasm erupted, bowing her back, shoving her pelvis hard against her demon lover’s as the rhythmic pulsing swept over her body, causing her to tremble and moan.
With the corners of his lips curving upward, Petra’s heart thudded against her chest. Indeed, her curse was so vile she’d incited lust and awoken a stone god.