Humans are so unobservant. All they have to do is look up… and hope the gargoyles looking back down don’t target them as prey.
Gargoyles were created centuries ago to protect mankind, but something went horribly wrong. Now only the sentinel—a mortal chosen to control the stone beasts—stands between them and their human prey.
When the latest sentinel is killed, Kate Mercer is destined to take his place. But Kate has enough going on in her life—like a skyrocketing film career, a delusional ex-boyfriend, and a crazed stalker who will stop at nothing to get to her. But the powers that be have decided, and Kate is transported to Shadow Wood, a mysterious castle that serves as a sanctuary for the supernatural. Although beautiful, Shadow Wood is no safe place for a mere mortal. Yet Kate is drawn not only to the gargoyles but also Ian McGuire, a charming novelist who might be in the greatest danger of all.
As Kate decides whether to accept the most perilous role of her life, she discovers there are more secrets than answers within the castle’s walls. Her survival and Ian’s depend on her ability to master the gargoyles before time runs out. Is fate really cast in stone?
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Part of chapter 2:
For Kate Winters, the work day started at one a.m. and ended up with her shooting one of her lovers to death an hour before sunrise.
One clean shot, right to the head.
Still in character as the film crew panned in, Kate slid the Glock G30s back into the waistband of her well-fitting faded Jeans and let the tears flow silently down her cheek.
“Sleep well, my love,” she said through soft voice. She swiped at her cheek and bent down next to her co-star who lay as silently as possible in his tattered clothing and zombie makeup at her feet. Kate reached into her form-fitting t-shirt and yanked at the chain around her neck. The chain broke away as designed. Gently, she placed the silver chain and locket in her co-star’s palm, curling his fingers tightly around it. Choking back more tears, Kate stood and turned on her boot heel. Slowly, she made her way to the frame of the cabin behind her, took a moment to reflect and steady herself before walking around the corner and into the dark, away from the camera crew and lights.
The scene needed only one take. But for Kate, that wasn’t the difficult part.
Now came the hard part: getting through the next scene in front of the camera crew, producers, and director. The one with her former real-life love.
“Cut!” The film’s director shouted. Bells sounded and the crew scrambled to set up for the next scene.
In a flurry, Kate’s makeup artist and hairdresser hurried onto the set, perfectly tousling her hair and adding well-positioned dirt smudges on her face.
Brent Marshall, the actor/heart-throb who played her now deceased lover, Sam, arose from his well-rehearsed death. He walked over to her and gave her a hug. “Nice, Kate!” When they parted, he fisted his hand and tapped it lightly against hers in solidarity.
As the makeup artist applied final touches, Kate’s eyes locked onto Michael Owen’s for a brief second before she looked away, doing her best to ignore him. The problem was, Michael didn’t like to be ignored.
Kate sighed softly as he approached. He wasn’t going to give up easily, but then, she wasn’t going to back down, either. Even if it weren’t in her nature, there were some things any self-respecting girl couldn’t pretend never happened.
“Once more for old time’s sake,” he said, smiling and acting as though nothing had happened between them. Or more appropriately, as though nothing had happened between him and the model-actress wannabe he’d been caught with just three weeks ago.
“Maybe you’ll remember what it was like between us.” His voice was like silk, but his eyes belied the desperation within. “Maybe you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.”
Kate managed her own smile, ever aware of the two women finishing the last touches on her face and hair, prepping her for the movie’s final shot—the one with Michael. They were eager to stick around and listen in on the conversation.
“Don’t do this, Michael. Not now. Please.” Kate thanked her makeup artist and hair dresser then walked away, taking note that the sound of her boot heels against concrete were keeping time with her heartbeat.
Michael quickened his step alongside of her. “Kate, please. Try to understand, it meant nothing.“
By now, she’d hoped seeing him wouldn’t hurt. It did. God help her, but it did. She’d hoped that time and her experience practicing lines—the ones she’s already said to him before—would get easier, that he would detect nothing but sheer resolve in her tone. “I do understand, Michael. I understand perfectly. Do you? We need to finish this scene. Don’t make it any harder that it has to be.”
Keeping her anger in check, she stepped around him and left him standing in the middle of the set floor. She wanted to tell him that apparently, he had meant something to him or he wouldn’t have screwed around. He’d been caught in the act—literally—by another party goer.
Of course, the girl he’d been with had also come forward and the media made it headline news. Being in the news was par for the course for a lot of Hollywood stars. But that didn’t mean Kate enjoyed it. It was the one thing she didn’t like.
“Kate!”He was running to catch up to her, she could hear him right behind her.
All eyes were on them now. Hollywood’s once darling couple at war with each other. They hadn’t been married, but the rumors had once been flying that an engagement announcement had only a matter of time.
If she kept going he’d only cause even more of a scene—and Michael knew how much she hated the publicity all this was creating. She turned to face him just as his hand reached out and took gentle hold of her arm.
“I love you, Kate. Only you. Take me back,” he said softly, eyes pleading.
“Don’t,” Kate said, meaning it. He was using the situation and she didn’t care for that a bit. She didn’t want him touching her. Not any more. Some people could set aside such acts, especially in Hollywood, but not Kate. She had a reputation for being bad-ass on screen and disciplined and often tough off screen. But for her, love couldn’t survive such a breech of trust. His words were just that, words. And Michael Owens knew how to play heartstrings all too well.
His cell phone rang and Michael glanced at his pocket. The ringtone was familiar—his agent.
When their eyes met, she let the tougher side show through. The phone rang again. “You should get that.”
Michael took the phone from his front pocket and stared blankly at the screen as though unsure what he should do next, but clearly wanting her to wait for him to take the call.
One of the production assistants, the one she knew as Hatch, hailed her. “Kate!” he called. “Brent says he needs to talk to you about the next scene.”
Kate frowned. She’d just talked to Brendt, but was happy for the intrusion. As she and Hatcher walked away, Hatcher said, “I made that up. Looked like you need a rescue line.”
Kate smiled. “What ever they’re paying you, it’s not enough, Hatcher. Thanks for coming to the rescue.”
“You’re welcome.” Hatcher looked like he might blush.
Kate turned and headed back to the set. One last scene.
Kate waited while everyone scrambled into place. A trickle of anger and hurt wanted to slip back into her heart, but Kate shoved it aside. Hadn’t she practiced this moment in her head enough to make it easier? She no longer loved Michael, not in the true sense. All she was feeling was something close, memories of what had once been.
Keep it together, Kate. Just this one last scene, then the worst of it will be over. One scene. One kiss. Make it look real, but don’t forget where those lips of his have been, either. Don’t forget the lies they told you before the truth came out. She could do this. As her agent liked to tell her, she could do anything she set her mind to.
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