Lachlan (Knights of Stone)
Lachlan (Knights of Stone)
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He's the gargoyle alpha. She's a wolf pack beta. Sworn enemies.
But a bigger threat forces them to join forces.
"If you like shifter books, romance, and hot alpha men, you have to read this series." ~ Alpha Book Club
- Shifters in Kilts
- Gargoyle vs Wolf Shifter
- Fated Mates
- Forbidden Love
- Enemies to Lovers
He's the gargoyle alpha. She's a wolf pack beta.
But a bigger threat forces them to join forces.
Gargoyle shifter alpha Lachlan attends the peace talks between the shifters and witches. Cooperation is crucial to their survival, but tensions are running high.
And when wolf shifter beta, Raina, arrives, it’s difficult to concentrate.
Raina has her hands full with pack problems and the source of them is clear—gargoyles. She wants nothing to do with them, especially their alpha. But his not-so-surreptitious glances are hard to miss.
Not the kind of attention she needs.
But Raina must work with Lachlan when humans come to investigate the wolf attacks.
And an attraction to her enemy becomes more difficult to resist.
"If you like shifter books, romance, and hot alpha men, you have to read this series. These magical creatures will bring a smile to your face and maybe put you in a happy place."~ 5 Stars from Alpha Book Club!
Shifters in kilts, fated mates, enemies-to-lovers, and forbidden love. Escape with five brothers to a mystical Scottish isle and binge this complete 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
“Ready to head to the peace talks?” Lachlan asked his younger brother, Bryce.
It was the second night of the talks with each of the island’s three main groups—gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters.
“Aye,” Bryce replied. “We’re flying to the moors, right? Or, would that be too much of a spectacle?”
Lachlan snorted. “After the trouble at the concert, I don’t think that will shock them.”
A few young wolf shifters had lost control during the full moon two nights prior and had trespassed into gargoyle territory. Lachlan and his brothers had been performing a concert with their band, the Knights of Stone, and the wolves had attacked some humans. The incident had forced the three groups to put their differences aside to discuss how to address the situation, after the humans had left the isle.
“Good luck with that,” Gavin teased, arching his brows.
Lachlan grunted. Last night, he’d had a taste of how difficult it would be to make progress. Still, it had been a start.
He turned to his youngest brother. “Calum, make sure Gavin stays on watch.”
Calum pounded his right hand over his left pec. “Will do.”
“Hey,” Gavin protested. “I’m older than he is.”
“You also tend to wander to wherever the lassies are,” Bryce teased.
Gavin’s face broke out into a grin. “We all do that.”
Lachlan and Bryce exchanged glances. They unfurled their wings and flew out of gargoyle territory into the moors, the neutral area on the Isle of Stone.
When the three groups divided the island into territories after a great battle twenty-five years prior, they designated the moors as the neutral zone. Spotting the ancient stones standing vertically amid the tall grass and swaths of purple heather below, Lachlan and Bryce descended. They were the first ones to arrive.
Within minutes, Ian, the alpha of the wolf pack arrived, followed by two elder tree witches, Matilda and Claire.
After they’d settled in with initial greetings, Lachlan brought up the first matter they needed to address. “We don’t have much time before the humans come to investigate.”
“How can you be certain?” Ian asked.
Although two representatives were invited from each clan, today Ian attended alone. Lachlan had no complaints there. The arrogant young beta who’d joined Ian yesterday had rankled Lachlan.
“I’ve been around enough humans to know,” Lachlan replied. “If they hear reports of wolves attacking humans, they’ll look into it.”
His statement stirred up the tree witches.
Here we go again.
“Your fault having those concerts,” one said pointing at the gargoyles while the other muttered something that sounded like, “Damn wolves.”
Lachlan paid no attention to the repetitious tirade. The humans had already discovered the Isle of Stone after the magical veil thinned; all they did was make the best of the situation. “This endless banter will get us nowhere. Each side must be able to talk without interruption or else we may as well just go back to our corners of the island.” He bowed toward the two elder witches, and, through gritted teeth, added, “Ladies first.”
The white-haired witch named Matilda spoke about injustices done to them during the battle, pointing a bony index finger that protruded out from the edge of her frayed gray cape. “Many talented witches were killed by gargoyles and wolf shifters during the great battle.
Lachlan raised his eyebrows. The gargoyles had a different version of that story, one in which the tree witches were the perpetrators.
Bryce caught his eye. Leaving isn’t a half bad idea, he communicated silently. I don’t see how we’re going to make any progress with the witches if they’re just going to reiterate what happened in the past.
Agree. Although he shared the skepticism of the plan to work with the others, it was their only chance to save the island. But this is what we must do.
Mason had started this mess. No, Lachlan was being too harsh on him, the second youngest of the five gargoyle brothers. Just because Mason had fallen for a tree witch didn’t mean the wolf attack was his fault. The wolves were responsible—they couldn’t even control their pack. And the young ones, no willpower at all. They’d lost all self-control from something as natural as moonlight. Pathetic.
In fact, Mason and the witch Kayla had opened the lines of communication between the different groups on the isle with their illicit affair, which had been critical. Better the island’s natives work together than let humans intervene and make things worse.
For all of us, Lachlan answered. If we want to have a future on the Isle of Stone.
He inhaled to clear his harried mind, taking in the fragrance of wildflowers and heather as he gazed over the rolling slopes of the moors. The land exuded a sense of tranquility and hope under the soft light of the morning sun. The peace between the Isle of Stone’s natives, however, had lasted only minutes before the cacophony began with ceaseless bickering. Agreeing to work together might have been a mistake.
Not that he had much of an alternative.
When Matilda stopped to take a breath during her speech, Lachlan seized the moment to interrupt her. “We all know of the injustices done to each of us, which led to the division of the island. Time to move beyond the past and address the current situation.”
“Part of what led to the schism is poor communication,” Ian added. “By meeting together to discuss the future of the island, we can avoid making the same mistakes our predecessors did.”
“Predecessors!” Matilda said. “It was only twenty-five years ago. I was there and remember it well.”
“My apologies,” Ian said, bending forward. “With your experience, you’ll be valuable in ensuring we don’t make those same errors in judgment.”
Lachlan had been a young gargoyle during the battles, but he remembered fragments with vivid recall. Battles with magic and bloodshed. Countless deaths. A senseless tragedy.
The sound of movement through the tall grasses made him turn. A female ran toward them, dark hair blowing behind her like the mane of a wild filly. Her red dress blazed like a siren, but he didn’t notice the pattern until she’d slowed her pace—similar to the one on Ian’s kilt.
“What the—” Bryce said at his side, adopting a defensive stance.
“It’s all right,” Ian said. “She’s my daughter.”
Lachlan didn’t recognize her, but that wasn’t a surprise. The wolves had kept to their territory on the isle for over two decades. Around what he’d guess her age to be as he scanned her nubile body with soft, supple curves.
A wolf shifter. With storm blue eyes like the ocean at dusk.
And the daughter of the alpha wolf.
“Sorry, I’m late,” she said through quickened breaths, drawing his attention to her parted lips.
She dropped her hands to her knees as she panted from the run, and her hair fell forward in tempting disarray. Her movement offered him a glimpse of her cleavage, breasts rising and falling with each deep breath.
“I was held up by—” She glanced at her father before adding, “pack matters.”
“You haven’t missed much,” Ian replied before addressing the crowd. “This is Raina. Second-in-command in our pack.” He then introduced the others to his daughter.
Lachlan widened his stance and narrowed his eyes at Ian. “You introduced your beta last night.” That wolf shifter’s pride had bordered on arrogance; nothing like his alpha, Ian.
“Aye,” Ian acknowledged. “Seth and Raina share duties.”
The tree witches exchanged glances. Claire, the younger of the two, whispered, “Inconsistency.”
Raina assessed him through inquisitive eyes, making Lachlan forget what he was about to say.
Straightening to his full height, he forged ahead. “We all need to be in human form when they come.”
Claire snorted. “Some of us are always in human form.”
Lachlan addressed his brother: Here they go again.
But now we have a bonnie lass to improve the view. Bryce glanced at Raina.
Lachlan’s stomach hardened. An odd reaction. He and his brothers often pointed out fine lassies at their concerts.
Ignoring Bryce’s comment, he replied, We can’t let the squabbles deter us. The only way to restore the magical veil is if we work together.
I’ll follow your lead, Bryce said.
“No need for snipe,” Ian said to the witch. “What Lachlan said is true—for most of us. When the humans come—I agree they most likely will—they’ll look for evidence of wolf attacks.”
“How should we explain what happened?” Raina asked her father.
Matilda interrupted. “Aye, how are we going to cover up your attack?”
Lachlan agreed with the witch, though he kept his accusation to himself so as not to impede progress. What was done couldn’t be undone and pointing fingers didn’t change that.
He had no doubt humans would investigate reports of wolves attacking people at a concert. If government officials discovered supes, they’d likely capture them to study in some lab.
The gargoyles knew their unconventional rock concerts shows wouldn’t last forever; something was bound to happen. It seemed to end all too soon, though.
Too bad; it had been fun while it lasted. Not only did they have the opportunity to perform as their true selves for the first time, they’d seduced many bonnie lassies during those months.
“No, we can’t hide what happened,” Ian agreed. “Too many witnesses. But we can say we’ve taken care of the problem.”
Raina shot her father a skeptical look. “And how will we do that?”
Ian was on to something. Lachlan stepped forward and said, “Say we’ve destroyed all the wolves.”
Bryce caught on to where they were going with this line of thinking. “Blame the attack on a few wild wolves that made it to the island. Say we shot them with bow and arrow.”
“And threw the bodies out to sea,” Raina added.
At last, they were making progress. Coming up with ideas of how to fix things instead of casting blame on each other. Lachlan nodded to acknowledge her idea. The humans might buy it. If so, the locals might have more time to fix the problem with the veil.
As if reading Lachlan’s mind, Raina asked. “Wouldn’t it be easier if we just repaired the veil as soon as possible? They’d never find the Isle of Stone to even question us.”
True. The gargoyle clan, wolf pack, and tree witches had worked together decades ago to generate the veil for privacy, shielding the island from humans and their technology. Since the division of the island after the great battle, each group had kept to their territories, letting the veil disintegrate. Enough so that humans had recently discovered the Isle of Stone.
As the eldest gargoyle remaining on the isle, Lachlan shouldered the responsibility of helping to restore the veil. He had no idea as to what type of magic to use, let alone if he was capable of creating it. But he sure as hell wasn’t going to admit his lack of knowledge to the wolves and witches.
Especially in front of an attractive female, even if she was a wolf.
He skirted around his uncertainty. “Aye, that’s one of the things we need to discuss. What do we each need to do to restore the veil?”
“Each species contributed a magical component in the past.” Matilda narrowed her eyes. “You do know it, don’t you? I mean, you are rather young to lead a clan.”
Bryce shot him a quick, worried look, which he covered up by looking elsewhere. Then he communicated silently. I don’t. Do you?
No, Lachlan admitted. We need to figure it out. And fast.
Agree. It’s the only way.
“Of course we know our magic.” Lachlan stood straighter and used a confident tone to belie his lack of knowledge. “It takes time to conjure enough to cover an entire island.”
What are you going to do? Go to the clan? Bryce asked. After humans had discovered the island a few months ago, the Calder gargoyle clan had returned to their ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands. Lachlan had taken on the role of alpha in their small group of five brothers who remained.
Och, no. No way was Lachlan going to swallow his pride to beg them for magic they should have left him with anyway. Not after all the grief the other gargoyles had given them about their band, their concerts—an endless broken record. Plus, admitting he and his brothers needed help undermined any respect for their new clan, however small it might be at this point. As well as weakening confidence in Lachlan’s ability to serve as alpha.
He would have to figure it out himself. He considered their abilities. Gargoyles could shift from stone to man to a creature in between. They could communicate telepathically. They could shield themselves in flight, making themselves invisible. Yet nothing came to mind about how to shield an island. His ribs tightened. He tried to concentrate despite the mounting frustration. I’ll think of something.
“As does our magic,” Matilda replied. “We need two more days to prepare.”
Lachlan resisted an audible exhale of relief. “Two days should be enough time for us.”
Two days? Bryce said. You think we can figure this out in two days?
We have to, Lachlan replied, not sure how they’d pull it off in such a short period of time.
“Let’s meet here, two days from now, at sundown,” Ian said. “In the meantime, what are we going to do about the ferries with humans coming to the island? You’ve drawn quite a crowd with those spectacles.”
“I’ve already taken care of it with the ferry operators,” Lachlan replied. “Said our shows are canceled for a fortnight as we go on a European tour.”
An ocean breeze rolled his way, making the purple heather and high grasses sway. A female scent followed, with a hint of berries and wild herbs and a distinct wolf aroma. His body heated from the core, spreading out like a rising brush fire.
The beast inside reared to lunge forward and wrap itself in Raina’s scent while he took her on the forest floor.
Lachlan stiffened, halting the overwhelming drive to raise his hand and touch her skin. What was with his odd reaction? He’d never found anything appealing about a wolf, before. Yet, something about this one elicited this surprising response.
Raina tilted her head, studying him with a curious expression that did nothing to alleviate the tightness in his groin. “The humans won’t come to explore the island, then?”
He cleared his throat and refocused on the situation at hand. “Not likely. Some might—by boat. But the ferries won’t bring them. Part of their whole package was a concert. There’s nothing else on this island that would draw tourists.”
“I’ve heard the witches have exceptional gardens,” Raina added, nodding in their direction.
The witches nodded, agreeing to that, clearly proud of their landscaping efforts.
“The humans haven’t discovered that,” he replied. “They stayed over in our territory to watch our show.”
“We were quite the experience,” Bryce added with a grin. “Ensuring nobody would want to wander elsewhere.”
Let’s not get them started up again about the concerts, Lachlan told him.
“All right,” Ian said. “So the problem with tourists is likely small. But we’ll still have to watch for humans coming to investigate the attacks. We may need another two days before we can restore the veil. If it works,” he added with a note of skepticism.
Lachlan nodded at Ian. “My brothers and I will patrol from the skies.” His gaze traveled to Raina and lingered longer than it should.
Raina’s skin burned under someone’s gaze. When she glanced up, she caught Lachlan staring at her. She’d heard of the gargoyle brothers but had never seen any of them until now. They appeared more wild and rugged than what she’d envisioned for glamorous rock stars. He didn’t shift his eyes when she’d caught him but continued to watch her; his posture straight and sturdy as the oaks behind him. She propped her hands on her hips and glared back to show her displeasure, however the shade of his eyes distracted her—a blend of green and brown, reflecting the colors of the island’s forests.
He winked and flashed a cocky grin. Och. How arrogant. What did he think she was, one of those impressionable human females who’d fall over themselves to get closer to one of the band mates? Not going to happen.
The rumors about the reckless gargoyle brothers were now easy to believe. They were notorious on the island for rebelling against their clan. Instead of keeping their identity from humans, they’d played music for them. Entertained them. Encouraged them to return to the island.
She turned away with disgust. Damn him. The gargoyles were the main reason they were all in this mess right now. If they didn’t keep the humans coming back with their unconventional rock concerts, the humans may have left the isle alone. But no, the gargoyles’ wee antics kept them coming back, drawing more humans each time. Her father spoke, snapping her out of her thoughts about the brash gargoyle.
“Our pack is committed to working with all of you to restore the veil.”
The only upside to the horrendous incident was it forced the islands natives to come together in these peace talks. After all, her father had been the one to appeal to a gargoyle and tree witch who’d been meeting in the moors. The veil was essential. Not only did it keep the island undetected by humans, it also provided a shield against the potent effect of the moon on wolves. Young wolf shifters were especially prone to the moon’s power.
Raina shuddered as she remembered the way it had been for her. In her teens, the moon had driven her half mad and with a longing for blood, and she’d ravenously torn into many deer on the island to sate the blind need. With the veil having thinned even more in the last five years, the young wolves struggled to maintain self-control.
In recent weeks, her stirrings had returned, different than the bloodlust of her youth, yet one that left her restless and prowling in search of something. The problem was, she didn’t know what her wolf wanted. Confusion and frustration often followed.
Her pack mates teased her saying she was getting ready to mate. No, she couldn’t even think of that. She and Seth already bickered like an old couple, and they hadn’t even mated, yet. Today he’d made her late for the peace talk. He’d tried to convince her he should be the one to return, although they’d decided the day before they’d each have a turn at the momentous event, which would affect the future of the pack on the Isle of Stone. It was her chance to make a difference, take on more of a leadership role; she couldn’t let him take it from her.
Lachlan responded to her father, recapturing her attention. “We need to organize these ideas into a plan.”
His brogue was deep and gravelly; he spoke with a commanding yet reasonable tone. Despite her objection to him and his cocksure attitude, she caught herself sneaking another glance. After all, she’d heard so much about this mysterious species they shared the island with.
Still her gaze traveled over him, somewhat transfixed. His long black hair gleamed under the sun’s rays, falling over defined shoulders and halfway down his back. He’d assumed a confident stance that fit his powerful body. Wolf shifters were naturally strong, but gargoyle shifters transformed from stone. Every ripple and contour of his bare torso reflected that aspect. The overall package was enticing, making the lure for human females understandable.
She wasn’t a human female and knew better. How foolish they were to fall for womanizing bad boys in a wee, appetizing parcel wrapped in blue tartan.
Wee wasn’t the term to describe the massive gargoyle.
As if reading her mind, Lachlan stared at her again, his eyes now filled with wicked amusement. Raina turned to her father, hoping he didn’t catch her gawking at the gargoyle, but he was invested in the discussion.
“In years past,” her father began, “the tree witches have prepared a potion that helped protect our youngest and most vulnerable wolves against the effect of the full moon. We could use it again.”
Her father had a reputation as being more tolerant than other alphas she’d heard about, but that was because he had to be. It took a tremendous amount of courage to admit he needed help from the tree witches and gargoyles—they’d kept to separate parts of the island for so many years. But he did what was necessary for the pack, swallowing the notorious wolf pride. She’d always looked up to him. The two of them had a closeness forged in shared grief and a mode for survival after her mother had died. She hoped to develop his sense and patience for when it was her time to rule.
“Aye,” the witch named Claire replied. “Kayla already asked us to prepare the potion, and it’s brewing. It should be ready tomorrow.”
“Brilliant,” Ian replied. “We will send someone to retrieve it at midday.”
“I’ll go,” Raina piped up.
She’d heard about this witch Kayla and was curious. She was the one who’d sneaked away from her coven to watch the gargoyle shows and fell in love with a gargoyle shifter named Mason. When Raina’s father had spied them in the moors, he’d seen an opportunity—they’d been the best chance at bringing the feuding groups together, and he’d appealed to them. Was the tree witch courageous—brave enough to cross the boundaries separating their lands? Or was she just pure mental, an outlier who chose outside of her coven?
“Don’t come into our territory,” Matilda, the other witch, added. “We have a protective shield up.”
“Kayla will bring the potion to the new house she’s building,” Claire said. “At the copse in the moors. With the gargoyle,” she added, unable to keep the distaste out of her voice.
Raina glanced at Lachlan to see his reaction. He kept his expression neutral, although she caught his jaw twitch. Turning to his brother, Bryce, she noted the resemblance in their features and strong physique, but Bryce’s hair was shorter and lighter, with reddish highlights.
“I’ll meet Kayla there,” she replied.
“We’ll meet here two nights from now at sundown,” Matilda declared. She turned and toddled through the moors with Claire toward their houses in the trees.
“Shite,” Lachlan muttered.
Before she had a chance to ask what was wrong, a winged male flew in from overhead. She turned to her father. He nodded and mouthed “gargoyle.”
The gargoyle landed in front of Lachlan and his brother Bryce. It must have been one of their brothers. Aye, similar strong features—wide eyes that appeared to take in everything, a strong nose, carved lips—but different hair. The newcomer’s was russet, far lighter than Lachlan’s raven mane.
“Did you get my message?”
“Aye,” Lachlan said.
“What’s wrong?” Her father stepped up to them.
“They’re coming,” the gargoyle barked, his expression grave. “They’re coming now!”