Sweet and Steamy Freebie from one of my favorite authors!
Book 1 in the Entwined Realms Series
by Danielle Monsch
Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago.
Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets - that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle.
Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together.
In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa’s life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.
I've read several of Danielle Monsch's books, and loved them. When I saw this cover, I knew that I had to have it. There's just something about it that really grabbed me. I begged for an ARC and was thrilled to get it.
Stone Guardian pulled me in from the first page. It opens with on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, then barely gives you time to breathe as the story unfolded. It was great!
Terak is a gargoyle. He's the leader of the gargoyle clan. All alpha male...with wings, a tail and a profile to swoon over. When he curves his wings around Larissa, it gave me the warm fuzzies. And gave Larissa some, too.
He's not sure why the Oracle told him she was important, but she's been right about things too often for him to disregard her warning. As he watches over her from afar, he is entranced by Larissa, by her kind heart, and her strength of spirit. When he finally meets her, after the zombies tried to capture her, he falls hard.
Larissa hasn't had anything to do with the other races that have come to our Realm on the day she was born. It makes her dad, who was there when the great collision happened, nuts when anyone mentions the others. So she just doesn't, because she's a good girl. But there's something about Terak that pulls her toward him and she doesn't think it's just because he rescued her. He's warm and she feels safe with him. Of course, she believes that the zombie attack was rather random and she really doesn't need a bodyguard, right? She only agrees to it after she puts a deadline on the whole operation, and as long as the one female gargoyle is never one of those to watch over her. SHE is a horrible entity, no matter what her designation may be.
The mystery of who is after Larissa, and the supporting cast trying to keep her safe (or catch her), was a nice twisty little path.
There's a lot of world building here and I thought the information was smoothly integrated into the story. If you've read many of my reviews, you know that I hate "info dumping" and I was glad to not see that here.
I asked if there was a cliff hanger, and was pleased when the author told me that this is the start to a series, but there's no cliffie to contend with and some threads that will follow through in the next bookS. Whew...and, thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing more of Fallon (they call her Dragon Slayer), Laire, and Wulver. And Reign? Yeah...scary!
I definitely need more of these characters.
*Thank you, Danielle Monsch, for the ARC!
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Stone Embrace is Book 1.1 of the Entwined Realms series.
Entwined Realms order:
The Cage King (Entwined Realms, Book 1.5, coming August)
The Dream Crafter (Entwined Realms, Book 2, coming October)