Gargoyle Addiction (Otherworlds Summons #1)
by Livia Olteano
Summonari don’t trust. Under their command, they summon any number of creatures from the Otherwolds—but never trust them outside of the summoning.
Gargoyles don’t love. Fierce descendants of dragons, they function on power and fear—never love.
Karla isn’t the happily-ever-after type of girl. No territory-hungry guy is going to stick flags all over her unclaimed grounds.
Kann’s world is death and betrayal. As Dar Primus of Haus Varis, he’s expected to follow tradition but he’s not your regular gargoyle. In fact, he’s anything but.
One fateful Friday night, Otherworlds collide. Stuck together in one world or another, Karla and Kann face everything from Awakenings and turbulent love to Festnavals and bloodthirsty scorned suitors.
If there’s one thing they can’t escape, it’s the addiction to each other. And they’ve got it bad.
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My vision swam and I giggled. My eardrums pounded worse than the music. A sea of bodies squirmed around. A wow opening night for G’s club, that much was clear. My vision though…not so much.
I sighed. “Okay, I think I’m about ready to head home. I’ll embarrass myself and trip all over these death contraptions you insist on calling shoes.”
“Oh shut up, Karla, you’re seriously hot in heels.”
Sweet as that might have been, Mike wasn’t exactly my target audience.
“Sucking up to me doesn’t take away from the pain in my feet. I really need to say goodbye to G before I pass out all over his fancy VIP booth.”
Mike snickered. “I don’t know…remember what happened with his other club after you fell asleep on his couch? You drooled all over the thing, but I mean, the place was a hit…”
I punched his arm and swayed on my feet. Okay, sudden movement—not such a good idea.
“You’re drunker than I thought you were…” Mike muttered as he steered my fabulously frowning self through wiggling bodies.
“Uhm, well, that last cocktail wasn’t my bright idea.”
He shrugged and dragged me to shore, so to speak. Whoa, the place was packed! G was hanging around with a very, very bosomy blonde. It may have been my own relative lack in the department but those things were intimidating, sort of scary actually. They looked rock-hard, almost malicious, pointing belligerently toward the sky. Maybe they were fond of a particular constellation? I’d need a belligerent-boobs specialist on that.
George watched me like a hawk, something he’d been doing ever since I’d hit puberty. With some effort, my eyes tore away from the scary twin warriors on his date’s chest.
G’s brows furrowed. “Going home already, kids?”
Jerk. I stuck out my tongue and scowled—in a mature way, of course. It made him smile with something more than simple amusement. Ah, no amount of money was too much to have that memory erased by next morning. Being tipsy would help me get away with it. Somewhat.
Mike spoke up, my usual hero. “Well, Georgie, the club looks like a hit, huh?”
“Yes, Mikey, it does,” his brother sneered.
They gave each other the famous Spalding death glare, a scary weapon they sometimes used on others but mostly one against the other. The almost palpable proof of their ‘brotherly love’ was as warm as gnawing bones. My giggle drew George’s attention back.
The blonde was staring knives, so I smiled blindingly out of a pure desire to spite her. A pair of war-cannon-boobs wouldn’t intimidate me, no matter how belligerent they looked. Her overly swollen lips twitched into something quite hard to understand. I frowned, studying the strange spasm thing going on. George snickered.
“You need to get her home, Mikey. Unless you’d like me to give you a ride, Karla?”
Oh yes, the war-cannon-breasted blonde would’ve loooved that.
“It’s Mike’s fault, so it’s his responsibility. I think he put something in my drink, no doubt planning to have his way with me when he gets me home.”
All three of us snickered, something of an inside joke that the blonde didn’t get. Hopefully she didn’t get how nervous my laugh was either. G’s eyes were signaling trouble. Time to bolt, and I was amazing at bolting if nothing else.
“Okay, bye, G. Congratulations on the grand opening.”
The kisses on both his cheeks held more affection than I would’ve normally displayed—all Mike’s fault for those extra cocktails. G’s arm snuck around my middle and lingered a little longer than necessary. His lips brushed against my ear and I almost quivered with the surprise of it. Maybe with something else too, but I wasn’t nearly drunk enough to ponder on that.
“It’s a pleasure seeing you, Karla. Always has been.”
Was the club getting hot? My skin got clammy.
“Thanks, G. Good to see you too.”
Mike gently peeled me off of his brother, his smile never wavering, and we finally made it into a cab. The chill of night air helped some but my head was still foggy. The full moon fascinated me as it hovered there in the night. It had that pinkish hue, looking like an impossibly large ball of cotton candy. Reaching for the glass of the car window seemed a sure way to touch the dusty surface of the large sky-dweller.
Mike’s voice woke me from my reverie. I cuddled close to him on the cab’s backseat, suddenly feeling cold. His hand rose to play through my hair with lazy motions.
“Happy birthday, sweetheart.”
A wet, sloppy and obnoxiously loud kiss pressed into my forehead and steel arms held me prisoner. I squeaked in an attempt to squirm away.
“Did you orchestrate this whole thing just to get me drunk, and slyly creep that up on me, in my moment of weakness?”
He didn’t let go and trying to pull away seemed pointless after a while.
He sighed. “Yeah?”
I blamed my sudden burst of emotion and the tremble in my voice on the liberal amounts of alcohol consumed during the night. He patted my arm as I pulled away a bit and settled my head on his shoulder. I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the full, rich moon. It made my thoughts buzz with something strange, intense and new.
“He still carries a torch, you know.”
“George. He still carries a torch. His eyes take that wild glow when you’re around.”
A sigh crawled out of my chest. “Maybe it’s a virus or some STD. I hear they can get your eyes pretty glow-y, you know?”
“You’re impossible sometimes.”
“Oh, Mike, you’re sweet to think I’m that charming. I’m sure the glow was all about his war-cannon-boobed date, though.”
He laughed. Truth was, things between George and me were slightly off. They’d been so ever since I was eighteen and he had a crush on me the size of, well, the moon. Of course, at the time, I had a crush on Mike. He was the best friend though, his generous affection unwavering but brotherly. It all became clearer when Mike had his first real crush—Tommy Hobbs. Win some, lose some.
In my disorientation, I’d gone out with G a few times. He was a cool guy, sure, a looker too—in that regard very much like his brother. But he was also suffocating, stomping all over my personal space and making claims like I was some virgin territory and he was the explorer sticking bold flags all over new grounds. I’d wiggled out of dating him, but he never really got over the desire to flag my territory. There was a sturdy part of me that recoiled from the hunger in his eyes. I just had no way of saying that to his brother.
“I think he’d be good for you if you’d give him a chance,” Mike said.
You’d think years of saying ‘No, thanks!’ would get the point through. Sigh. I couldn’t do anything more than light, casual dating. G had territory-hungry eyes. He was itching to build himself a colony, expand and multiply on my grounds. It sent chills down my spine. Hell no, I couldn’t do anything but light and casual.
I wasn’t the happily-ever-after girl; I’d known that for a good while. Becoming the adorable housewife or the poster girl for mommy of the month would be someone else’s job, never mine. Considering my family history, I’d most likely die before age thirty-five. I couldn’t have kids thanks to a stupid accident from when I was ten. Sure, men drooled to flag my territory first thing when we met, it was their thing. Mike thought it had to do with my responsible aura and good karma, but my karma sucked if you asked me. I was false advertisement: my grounds were barren and the structures would implode in a couple years. Best-case scenario, the guy would fall for me…and I’d be crushed to give him the ‘good’ news. Worst-case scenario, I’d fall for him and he’d leave well before that particular confession point. Either way, it wasn’t looking like much of a plan.
I shook my head. “You know, if you’re that desperate to find him a date we can always put up some ad or something. They have places online for that, too. Plus I’d hate to see how that blonde’s lips would twitch at the news you were trying to hook me up with her sugar daddy.”