Aug 21 2014 3:30pm

First Look: Christine Warren’s Stone Cold Lover (August 26, 2014)

Stone Cold Lover by Christine Warren

Christine Warren
Stone Cold Lover (Gargoyle #2)
St. Martin's Press / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Art restorer Felicity “Fil” Shaltis can read the magic in auras, but her fascination with a valuable statue her friend Ella Harrow asks her to locate is purely artistic. At least until the fierce stone gargoyle comes to life as a powerful, and powerfully hot, immortal warrior, who promptly saves her life from a cultist set on destroying them both. Suddenly “chiseled good looks” takes on a whole new meaning…

Spar expected nothing less than one of the seven demons of the Dark to wake him—and instead finds himself the unlikely savior of a spirited human female who now bears the mark of the demon. As one of seven Guardians created to vanquish the Darkness, Spar has no time for love—but he can’t deny that his destiny is clearly entwined with Fil’s. To battle the looming threat to humanity, first Spar must save the woman who summoned him...

Christine Warren’s second Gargoyles story, Stone Cold Lover, takes up just days after we left Ella Harrow and Kees. They located another possible Guardian frozen in his stone sleep near Ella’s college friend Felicity Shaltis in Montreal. With the Guild members missing and many of the Warden’s dead, Ella and Kees are hoping that Felicity’s ability to see auras creates enough magic to wake other Guardian, or the nocturnis and the Darkness may just win against the Light. But maybe they should have mentioned to Fil that there was more to it than just locating a statute?

There’s nothing Fil wouldn’t do for her friend Ella, but maybe breaking and entering at a monastery is going too far. Not that that is Ella’s fault. She only asked Felicity to find a large gargoyle statute. She didn’t ask Felicity to obsess over it to a point where she just had to see it again, in the middle of the night, while the monastery was closed to the public. Fil just can’t seem to stop thinking about it, and maybe she just wants to touch it, just a little. Okay, so it doesn’t hurt that he’s hot statue, in a sexy, winged gladiator sort of way, but she really needs to think about serious therapy, well maybe during her time in prison for breaking and entering might be good time to start.

The itching in her palms intensified, until it felt more like a burning than anything else. She rubbed the skin together to try to ease the sensation, but it didn’t help; nothing did. Not until she reached out and laid her palm flat against the cool, smooth stone.

Fil jerked at the contact, an involuntary gasp torn from her lips. It felt like she’d just licked a nine-volt battery, the sweet shock of electricity making her pulse race. And didn’t that just add to the bizarreness of this whole situation? Not only was she inexplicably drawn to an inanimate hunk of stone, but said hunk made her feel like she’d just plugged into an electrical outlet designed specifically for her. There had to be a reason for it, for all of it. She just wasn’t sure she was going to like it.

Except Fil isn’t the only one skulking about in the dark to look at the statue. The nocturnis have also located him, and the psychotic minion has a bomb intending to blow up the statue. It’s not enough of a trip to Crazytown when the statue suddenly jumps off his base and starts flying around the room, but then psycho-minion throws a spell at her…a freakin’ magic spell, but unlike any magic spell from a fairy tale, this one stains Felicity with a creepy tattoo marking her as a welcome home present for something called The Defiler. Well, she’ll definitely get that therapy when she ends up in the loony bin.

“A Guardian? Is that what you are? I’d have gone with figment of my imagination, personally, but I suppose you’d be the expert.”

“I am one of the seven Guardians of the Light,” the not-figment confirmed. When he hunkered down on his beast-like legs, she could see the serious expression gracing his stern, inhuman features. “What I am curious to know, however, is why you have awoken me from my slumber, little human, and in what manner you were able to accomplish it.”

Fil snorted, “You’re asking me? Buddy, I’m not even sure I know my own name anymore, so I am not the girl to go to for answers. You’d get more out of that tree over there.”

Fil is having a heck of a time wrapping her brain around everything her new friend, Spar, is telling her about Guardians, the Light, and the Darkness and its minions that want to destroy the world, for God’s sake. She might never talk to her dear friend Ella again and she certainly doesn’t want to join her Justice League to save the world, but with a demon’s mark glowing “come and get me,” Fil is going to have to stay close to Spar until they can find a way to remove it.

The reddened henna-like lines of the mark had darkened again, now appearing a dark, dark brown, almost black, with a charred look on the outer edges. It no longer pained her, she realized, but it was starting to freak her the hell out.

“What’s going on Spar?” She demanded in a whisper that threatened to break into jagged pieces. “It’s getting worse. Why is it doing that?”

“It is the way of the mark. I had hoped I was wrong, that it hadn’t fully settled on you.” He looked up at her, pinning her with his gaze. “The mark is attempting to claim you.”

“Claim me?” She choked on the words, and a sense of foreboding swept through her. “What the hell does that mean?”

What started out as a simple favor has dragged Felicity into a middle of a centuries old fight between the Light and the Darkness and if she isn’t careful, she’ll end up as a sacrificial snack for a soul-sucking demon. If she survives the next few days, this will definitely be the last favor she ever does.


Learn more about or order a copy of Stone Cold Lover by Christine Warren, available August 26, 2014:

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Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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