Rocked by Love (Gargoyles Series)(8)

By: Christine Warren



Kylie pushed to her feet and wrapped her arms around her torso. She told herself she felt cold, not vulnerable. “I said I had information, not that I understood it. I didn’t know my friend was one—a Warden—until you mentioned them, and I guess I can’t promise he was, but I can tell you for certain that he had a whole bunch of information gathered on all the things you just mentioned. Wardens, Guardians, nocturnis, demons. The whole shebang. I’ve been going through it for months without being able to figure it all out. Maybe you’d have better luck.”

Now he did step back into the bell tower, but his expression and his whole demeanor had changed. For the first time, Kylie could see the ferocity of his shape and feel the menace in his hard, dark gaze. The black depth glittered in the night, seemingly backlit by a thousand tiny flames.

“How did you get this information, human?” he repeated, his lips curling back to expose long, gleaming white fangs.

She actually took a step back. Her. The girl voted most likely to spit in a golem’s eye. “It came from a friend, like I said.”

“And he simply gave you, an ordinary human, access to such powerful secrets?”

The low rumble of his voice sounded like an approaching storm. New Englander she might be, but Kylie had a sudden vision of tornados tearing across the horizon. She shook her head and retreated another step. “No, he didn’t. But when he died, I took a look.”

That provoked a snarl. “How did he die?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to find out.”

“Explain.”

He stopped moving forward, but considering he had her backed into the corner of the belfry a good four stories in the air, she figured he’d gotten her right where he wanted her.

She swallowed against the lump in her throat. “Bran Powe was my closest friend. A year and a half ago, he disappeared. Just vanished. No one knew what had happened to him, not me, not his family, not the police. No one.”

Her hands shook as she told the story, but her heart had stopped fighting to beat its way out of her chest as she remembered how she’d gotten into all of this. When she remembered why.

“No one heard anything for a full year, and trust me, we were looking. Then, six months ago, I got a call from his sister. She told me he was dead, that his body had been found and that there were no signs of foul play. She tried to tell me that he must have had a heart condition that no one knew about, that his death had been tragic, but natural.”

“You do not believe that.”

“I don’t.”

He still watched her intently, but the snarl had faded, and his fangs no longer looked like they were five seconds from ripping her throat out. Hey, look at that. She really did remember how to breathe!

“I didn’t even before I saw his notes,” she continued, “which is why I looked into them in the first place. I don’t know what I thought I’d find, but I figured maybe he’d gotten himself mixed up in something ugly, drugs or gambling or something. I never figured him for the type, but what else was I supposed to think? Demons and secret societies of superheroes somehow never even crossed my mind before I started digging. And then, I wondered if maybe he’d just … lost it.”

“Lost it?”

“Went a little crazy.” She felt bad saying it out loud, but she couldn’t pretend she hadn’t entertained the thought. The Bran she remembered had been as sane as the next person, but the impression left by his ramblings had made her wonder. He’d mentioned things that sane people just didn’t mention. Who had computer files full of strategies to avert demonic apocalypse?

Of course, at that very moment Kylie was standing in a bell tower talking about those very same things with a creature she was pretty sure should not have existed, so who was crazy now?

The gargoyle scowled and Kylie reminded herself that if he hadn’t killed her yet, she was probably safe. Maybe. “Most humans don’t spend a lot of time thinking about demons, let alone collecting all sorts of information on them and how they and their minions want to take over the world. So I worried a little. So sue me.”

“Most humans live in ignorance.”

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