by Chris Redding
Half gargoyle, half fairy Aileen Foley has never fit into either world. She’s spent her life separated from humans and would like to keep it that way. Along comes Tex, a human who disregards the walls she’s put up. But when she is assigned to protect his sister and the pair stumble on a plot by goblins to take over the world she can’t deny that being a part of something bigger than herself feels pretty good. When her assignment is done and the bad guy is defeated, will she succumb to what Tex has to offer? A place in a family. Her relationship with Tex will only last as long as the assignment. Her past just may destroy whatever they’ve built.
A Delicious Taste
Turning from a stone to an animated gargoyle, Aileen Foley unfurled her wings.
She let out a sigh of relief, as her phone, which magically stayed with her even in stone beeped, letting her know she had a text message. Where would the nightclub called Grotesque set up tonight?
She stretched her legs, flapping her wings. Not being able to read the text in gargoyle form, she transitioned to human. Her teeth shortened. Her claws retracted to fingernails. To anyone looking at her on the dark roof of a tall, Philadelphia building would only see a tall woman with white blonde hair.
“39.9046° N, 75.1452° W Think. Question. Don’t trust,” the message read. The last part of was just words of wisdom from men who had seen too much.
Each time she read it, she wondered if she should go back to working alone. It always chafed at her that her income and her life depended on others.
Of course, her directions to the nightclub would be terse. Aileen worked for a group of ex-military guys who were paranoid. They weren’t doing anything illegal, but no need to have the cops sniffing around; especially when all the men involved were gargoyles. Most of the patrons were former military and former spies for the United States. Only a select group of customers would get the text, and the origin account changed each week.
She laughed, but she knew where she was going. The nightclub was always on a roof. Of course, they were gargoyles and knew that the highest points gave them an advantage. Aileen didn’t know from what, but she’d learned early on not to question her bosses. They were crazy and tough, but they’d rescued her from her former life.
Besides, she preferred working for gargoyles rather than goblins. The latter could never be trusted.
Turning back into a gargoyle, she let her wings lift her off the roof where she’d spent the day sleeping. A breeze blew off the Delaware Riving letting her coast on it. She took in the city as streetlights blinked on.
Landing a few minutes later on a warehouse by the docks, in sight of the Philadelphia International Airport, she shifted back to human form.
A buzz of activity drew her attention, as Trent Mulligan, the least crazy of her bosses, barked orders as if his partners were his minions. With an unlit cigarette hanging off of his lips, he mumbled “Aileen? Nice of you to show up. Stock that bar.”
Besides working security for the bar, she’d been known to mix a few drinks. Trent had admitted to her a few months before that she was one of the sights that drew people to the exclusive club.
Deke Turner, a former Marine sniper from what Aileen had discerned, wheeled the boxes of alcohol up to the makeshift bar. The sun had almost set, but the lights were coming on at the perimeter of the roof. She could see to work. “Thanks, Deke.”
“No problem, Aileen. Kel will be behind the bar tonight, but are you willing to trade off with him?”
“Not a problem. You know I’ll fill in where I can.”
He smiled down at her, his eyes so dark she couldn’t see his pupils. He kept his hair pulled back into a ponytail. At times, it was in a man bun, but no one would accuse Kel of being a hipster. She’d had a crush on him when she first started working for Grotesque, but he’d made it clear the relationship wasn’t going beyond friendship.
They were all about the same age, but the look in Deke’s eyes said he’d been alive longer than his age spoke of and seen too much. She often wondered what demons he fought on a daily basis. Not real ones, but the ones in his soul.
“That’s why we like you, Aileen.”
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Meet Chris Redding
Paranormal romantic suspense author Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her family. When she isn’t writing, she teaches workshops.
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