Bryce (Knights of Stone)
Bryce (Knights of Stone)
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Gargoyle Bryce captures an intruder on the isle, then discovers she's on the run for her life.
He vows to protect her, but a problem arises…
His clan may be targeted next.
"Bryce by Lisa Carlisle is a spicy, seductive, passionate, and witty read. The story of a forever bachelor who is resigned to never mating and a female who has watched the brutal murder of her entire clan coming together and taking us on an adventure ride and seduces our hearts with their passion… This book and series is a MUST read! ~ Sensuous Reviews
- Shifters in Kilts
- Gargoyle protectors
A shifter on the run for her life.
When Mairi spots two winged creatures flying high above her in the Scottish Highlands, she hides. Are they the same beasts who murdered her clan?
No, they’re gargoyles like her. She follows them to an island.
Beta gargoyle Bryce senses someone spying. He captures the intruder and stares into the eyes of a flame-haired beauty.
When Mairi reveals why she's on the run, Bryce must protect her.
Their attraction blooms into passion. But a problem arises…
His clan may be targeted next.
If you like forbidden paranormal romance, escape to a mystical Scottish isle with five brothers. Binge this complete shifters in kilts series today!
- Mason - a forbidden Scottish gargoyle shifter and witch romance
- Lachlan - an enemies-to-lovers gargoyle and wolf shifter romance
- Bryce - a gargoyle shifter protector romance
- Seth - a Highland wolf shifter fated mates romance
- Calum - a star-crossed gargoyle and pegasus shifter romance
- Alec - a forbidden Highland gargoyle and witch romance
- Gavin - a gargoyle rockstar romance
Two winged beings soared across the stars. Demons?
Mairi’s heart thudded. They’d tracked her here, miles from home. She slid down to hide in the shadows of the forest as the stark realization chilled her.
God, no. She couldn’t let them find her. Not after what they’d done to her clan.
The claws. The long, curled talons that had trapped her. She squeezed her eyes shut, forcing away the image, but their acrid scent lingered in her mind.
Reliving her captivity would only paralyze her at a time she had to act. She needed a weapon. Not much to choose from in the woods. That branch with a sturdy point would have to do. It wouldn’t deter a demon for long, but better than nothing.
Her drive for survival had kept her moving for two or three days, she’d lost track of how many. Seeing the demons again triggered a red hot desire to lash out. Vengeance. Its tendrils wrapped around her like a fiery vine, consuming all thought. They had to be destroyed for what they’d done to her family. And to her. One day, she’d find a way.
If she survived the night. She squinted to discern where the monsters had flown to. The dark shadows soared in the opposite direction. They hadn’t spotted her. She exhaled and tension drifted out of her muscles.
Wait—the forms and flight patterns were familiar. Not like demons, but human forms with wings. Were they gargoyles?
No, they couldn’t be like her, could they? Wasn’t she the last surviving gargoyle shifter in the whole of the northern Highlands? Maybe she’d flown farther than she’d thought.
Her curiosity bloomed. After a moment of hesitation, she spread her wings and pursued them, trailing from such a distance that they wouldn’t spot her. They were barely pinpricks ahead in the charcoal sky. Still she flew close to the tree line to drop under cover of foliage if one turned back. For miles, she followed them over the slopes and valleys of the Highlands, past mountains and lochs, which shimmered with the reflection of the stars.
What are you doing?
Snorting inside, she answered herself. No flipping clue.
Following those who appeared to be her kind had to be a better option than sitting around to wait for the demons to track her. Most likely it was only a matter of time. Taking action with any sort of purpose had to be better than hiding like a rabbit among a pack of wolves in the Highland forests.
The beings ahead soared for many miles and headed over the North Atlantic. Several times, she paused to debate this foolish pursuit taking her farther away from home, but she pushed on. She didn’t have a home any longer. Didn’t have a clan. She was alone.
Bryce and his elder brother Lachlan cloaked themselves in invisibility before flying back to the Isle of Stone. Only the brightest of stars shone through the blanket of fog while the moon loomed with a ghostly iridescence. Even in its waning state, it conveyed its power through the drifting mist. Yet, it hung blameless, as it always did—no matter what damage it inflicted on those below.
Bryce flinched, prickled by the oddest sensation. Like he was being watched. He searched the earth and sky but only saw the dark canopy of trees, with the breeze ruffling through the leaves. The only scent was of the forests below.
He communicated silently to Lachlan. Do you sense anything unusual?
Lachlan paused for a moment. No. Do you?
Aye. Not sure how to describe it. Something I haven’t felt before.
Do you think it could be related to the reports?
While they visited their former clan in the Highlands, the other gargoyle shifters had mentioned strange incidents they’d overheard while on patrol.
Possibly. Bryce shook his head. Or maybe I’m just being hypervigilant after them putting the idea in my mind.
That had to be it. After all the recent incidents he’d faced with wolf attacks, interfering humans, and close calls, even the calmest gargoyle would be on edge.
Either way, stay on high alert until we get back.
Besides, they were cloaked. Humans wouldn’t be able to see them.
But supernatural creatures could.
They landed on the isle without incident and met up with two of their younger brothers, Gavin and Calum.
Lachlan, their eldest brother and alpha of their small clan, announced, “We’ve come to terms with Duncan.”
“And?” Calum asked.
“He recognizes our new clan,” Bryce said.
Gavin put his arms around their shoulders. “Brilliant. How did he end up coming around?”
“He said turning us away had been a test,” Lachlan said.
Duncan had rejected their request for assistance when they’d sought help with gargoyle magic. His dismissal stemmed from a long-standing feud between the island’s inhabitants—gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters.
Bryce crossed his arms. “It was hard to get past his idea of us as reckless boys who sought trouble wherever they could find it.”
They all chuckled. His youngest brother, Calum, said, “We were always good at that.”
The main reason they’d visited the Calder clan was to establish new ties. Their best bet at establishing their small clan of five brothers on the Isle of Stone was to be recognized by their former one, which had relocated back to the Highlands. Other gargoyle clans existed in the world, and although they might never encounter them, establishing good relations was essential, especially in times of trouble.
“Things might finally settle down around here,” Bryce said, feeling lighter for the first time in days. They could move forward and establish their new future on the Isle of Stone then resurrect their band.
The odd sensation returned, piercing his consciousness. He scanned the misty skies above and shrouded forests ahead for signs of movement. Nothing.
“Shite, I feel it again,” he said.
“Feel what?” Calum asked.
“Like we’re being watched,” Bryce said.
All the gargoyles turned and searched the area, the surrounding forest and the sky. Nothing.
“We’re a wee bit wary after our visit,” Lachlan said. “There were mentions of strange incidents on the north coast.”
“What sort?” Gavin asked.
“Mysterious beings seen flying. Some of their sentries heard whispers from the humans while patrolling the nearby areas. Whether it was other gargoyles or something else, they didn’t know—or even if it was true. You know how humans react when they see anything unusual in the air.”
“Aye,” Gavin said. “UFOs, aliens, and other such nonsense.”
“We must all stay on watch,” Lachlan said. “The chances that any of those reports are real are slim and any threat to the island even slimmer, but we mustn’t let our guard down.”
Bryce agreed. Something was out there. He mounted the stage and took his favored vantage point before shifting to stone form, staying alert to search for who—or what—it was.
When the two beings reached an island, they descended. Mairi held back and scanned the terrain. The isle was vast with widespread moors in the center, surrounded by pockets of forests and clearings. One part had structures built into the upper branches; she avoided flying into that populated area. She slanted and bolted toward a wooded refuge. Vibrations rippled over her skin, making it tingle. A barrier. Magic she didn’t recognize. Powerful.
She assessed her body for damage. She was in human form with her wings extended and scanned her human flesh. The barrier hadn’t hurt her as far as she sensed. Why was it there? To keep something out or something in? Clearly, this isle had mystical qualities.
Which could be dangerous.
Maybe this wasn’t her best course of action. Yet, she landed, hoping her chances were better here than alone in the Highlands with the demons.
Surrounded by a dense forest scented with Scots pine and oak, she considered her next step. Retracting her wings, she searched through the trees for the beings she’d followed. She was confident they were gargoyles, but that magical barrier worried her. Was it dark magic?
When they descended, she took cover in the highest branches of a pine tree. She had to ensure they were indeed gargoyles and she wasn’t stepping into greater danger like a wretched fool. Without anyone left to count on, she had to take care of herself.
She dropped onto the soft earth. Treading with light steps over soft undergrowth rather than crunchy leaves on the forest floor, she couldn’t avoid occasional sounds of twigs breaking underfoot. The sound seemed to amplify in the quiet darkness, announcing her trespassing.
A stone stage stood in a clearing ahead with three gargoyle statues perched around the perimeter. She inched closer to determine if she sensed life behind the stone.
If they were dark beings, alerting them of her presence was a terrible idea. She retreated into the woods. Impossible to know who to trust anymore. If anyone.
She’d wait to see if they shifted to human form. Then she’d decide whether to approach them.
It would also give her some time to rest and rejuvenate. Something she hadn’t been able to do in days. She ventured to an area in the forests that offered the most coverage, yet with access to escape if necessary. Sitting on a bed of soft green groundcover, she closed her eyes for a moment. Images of the attack instantly flashed before her. The blood, the smoke, the blanket of corpses…
Minutes passed, or maybe hours, as she relived her horror in a dream-like state.
Something grabbed her arm. Warm breath tickled the back of her neck. Before she could react, someone pinned her back to the forest floor.
“Who are you?” the man looming over her demanded. “Why did you follow us here?”
“Get off me!” Mairi struggled to escape.
He had the definitive scent of a gargoyle. And from the strength of his grasp, he was a powerful one. Quick enough to catch her without her detecting him. Or it was another sign of her exhaustion.
“Stop fighting me.” He adjusted his hands on her wrists, pinning her down, while he sat on her legs, preventing her from kicking.
She fought harder. No way did she escape what she’d gone through only to be captured, again.
She soon discovered just how strong he was. She couldn’t wiggle out unless he lessened his grip.
“I asked you a question. Who. Are. You?”
He stared at her with fury in his gaze. Gold in his amber irises burned with a feral glint. Had she made a terrible mistake? Why on earth had she followed strangers?
She wouldn’t cower. But after their eyes locked with an intense glare for several heart-pounding moments, she decided it wouldn’t hurt to answer. “My name is Mairi.”
“Why are you here?”
“I—uh.” How should she explain how she’d ended up on the island? “I needed to rest.”
His expression conveyed suspicion, indicating he didn’t buy her excuse. “Rubbish. Why were you spying on us?”
“I wasn’t spying,” she replied, twisting beneath him for a way out.
Not only was it unsuccessful, it made matters worse. He pressed down against her body, preventing her from moving. His massive chest crushed her breasts, which were heaving from the struggle. She had to stop the fruitless attempt and calm down. When she ceased fighting, he relaxed his hold, but didn’t release her.
“Then what were you doing watching us?” His breath fanned her cheek. “Who are you with?”
“No—no one,” she stammered.
“I don’t like being lied to.” He tightened his grip on her wrists. “Tell me the truth, or this will become more unpleasant.”
Tears of frustration stung her eyes. She forced them back and cried, “I’m all alone.”
“You will tell me everything,” he commanded.