From the Cover: They are the gargoyles--a race of shape-changing immortals who have watched over humanity through the ages. But now, they must fight for something more...
She could not forget what she saw.
Years ago, Rachel Vandermere witnessed the brutal murder of her parents by a demonic winged creature--but no one believed her story. Now an agent with Interpol, Rachel quietly tracks unusual leads and evidence that may point her to her parents' killers. Then, while in Chicago to guard a diplomat, she notices a man in the crowd unlike any she has ever seen--dark, handsome, and strangely alone.
He could not forget what he was.
Nathan Cross looks like a man, but he is something much more dangerous--a gargoyle. Created long ago to protect mankind from evil, Nathan and his kin exist in darkness, cursed with the knowledge that their race is slowly dying out. When he crosses path with Rachel, the desire he feels is overshadowed by what will happen if her reveals himself if he reveals himself to her.
Yet, even as Rachel is determined to discover the truth about the enigmatic Nathan, both will be faced with a nightmare from the past that threatens their love, their lives, and their very souls....
Rachel Vandermere can never forget what she saw, what she heard, it has been burned into her memory as only a trauma from childhood can. What she saw were the monsters that only come out at night to haunt her dreams, now and forever. As an agent with Interpol, she has many resources at her disposal, but still she can't discover the monsters who took away her mother and father. She repeated the tale throughout her childhood, only to be called crazy. It's the one thing she will not tolerate, her sanity called into question.
Nathan Cross has lived many lifetimes, cursed with the immortality of his species, the Gargoyles, the protectors of humanity. When Rachel Vandermere crosses his path, his first desire is to protect, his second to mate. But he has sworn that this will be his last life of existence, he will produce no children in this life, his existence will end with his one true death. Until he meets Rachel, he has been able to fight The Awakening, fight the powerful need to change to his cursed Gargoyle form. But Rachel sends his senses reeling, his needs come pounding back to life. Though he has been excommunicated for his beliefs, he will sacrifice those firmly held beliefs to save his friends, family, and for Rachel herself.
Rachel is trapped in her search for the monsters until Nathan comes into her life. Then she's not so sure who the true monsters are. It couldn't be Nathan, though sour and taciturn, he has the greatest capacity to love that she's ever seen. It couldn't be her father, her eyes couldn't lie. Who are the true monsters that ripped her life apart?
Carved in Stone, Book One of the Les Gargouillen Series by Vickie Taylor is a new adventure in the genre of Urban Fantasy. Not often do I read a fantasy with shape shifting abilities that allow the characters to shift into creatures long forgotten, beasties of centuries past. Legend has it that the Gargoyles are the protectors of society, guarding what is held sacred. So it is with the story of the Gargouillen, cursed by an evil priest who promises to rid a village of the dragon Gargouillen that's been terrorizing the villagers if they convert to Christianity. But, in keeping his promise, he uses the villagers own pagan ritual magic against them. He curses the men of the village to everlasting immortality and forces them to become the monsters of nightmares. With every male child born, the soul of a departed Gargouillen is reincarnated to live again. In Carved in Stone, our hero, Nathan Cross has lived 14 lifetimes, but he has vowed that this lifetime will be his last, he will remain childless, and when this lifetime is finished, his soul will perish never to reincarnate again. He has been excommunicated from his congregation, his community, for his beliefs. If the younger men follow his example, their species will cease to exist, ending the curse but their existence as well. The Gargouillen are the protectors of humanity, charged with watching over the frail humans, but have they outlasted their usefulness? In this new millennium, are the Gargouillen still necessary? Rachel Vandermere, our heroine, is a new breed of woman, not dependent upon anything but herself. She has little fear of the unknown, only her nightmares bring her fear and then her monsters come to life, the monsters from her childhood who killed her mother and father before her eyes. The choking fire, the winged monster, and death was all she remembered. Could her child's eyes have been deceived? Nathan Cross is the monster that she dreams of and who steps into her life. But, his tenderness belies his monstrous form, making her question all she has thought to be true. How can she accept his love, when deep inside the monster lurks to be born again and again?
Carved in Stone was a sweet ride for me, I enjoyed meeting Les Gargouillen, an entirely different view of shape shifting, mythical beasts of old legends which can be any combination of beasties, from forest creatures to ancient beast. Urban Fantasy has become one of the genres of choice for me, and Vickie Taylor has yet to lead me down a path that I didn't want to go. Her alpha males are strong and powerful, yet tender and loving, capable of strong emotions. Her heroines are kick ass and not afraid to seek what they want, no matter what it is. If you want a different take on shape shifting in your Urban Fantasy, try Carved in Stone. I wasn't disappointed, not for a minute. I highly recommend this book for all readers who enjoy urban fantasy/paranormal romance. It was great fun.
I received this book from Anna at Anna's Book Blog. The opinions I've expressed are my own.