Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles

Magic of the Gargoyles, Book 1

To help a baby gargoyle, Mika will risk everything.

Mika Stillwater is a mid-level earth elemental with ambitions of becoming a quartz artisan, and her hard work is starting to get noticed. But when a panicked baby gargoyle bursts into her studio, insisting Mika is the only person she’ll trust with her desperate mission, Mika’s carefully constructed five-year plan is shattered.

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld of Terra Haven, Mika must jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster—and to stay alive…

Magic of the Gargoyles is a spellbinding adventure set in a world full of elemental magic and adorable gargoyles that is sure to enchant young adult and adult readers alike.

Series Reading Order
1. Magic of the Gargoyles
2. Curse of the Gargoyles
3. Secret of the Gargoyles
3.5 Lured (a bonus novelette)

Other novels set in Terra Haven

Terra Haven Chronicles
0.5 Deadlines & Dryads

Excerpt
Chapter 1

With one last twist of a filament of earth magic, I fused together the delicate seams of the quartz tube. Slumping forward, I braced my elbows on the table and rested my cheekbones on my palms, cupping my weary eyes in darkness. Six down, six finicky tubes to go. The specifications of this project taxed my substantial skills with quartz magic, which was the point. This project would launch my business and prove that even though I was only a midlevel earth elemental, my quartz skills were equal to or better than more powerful full-spectrum elementals. These fussy tubes would fund the down payment on the lease for the shop I coveted in the Pinnacle Pentagon Center. I could finally quit my demeaning job at Jones and Sons Quarry, be my own boss, and begin a career creating one-of-a-kind quartz masterpieces I could take pride in.

My entire future rested on these fragile vials, and they were due tomorrow at four.

Dull pain pounded my back muscles. Night had crept over the city while I worked, and my jerky movements as I stood and stretched were reflected in the semicircle of bay windows in front of my worktable. Purple smears of exhaustion beneath my green eyes were exaggerated in the dark windows, and my pale face floated above a dirt-smeared navy shirt. I checked the clock: almost midnight. Sixteen hours until my deadline, and eight of those would be taken up by my Jones and Sons workday. There was no time for a break. If anything, I needed to work faster.

Groaning, I redid my ponytail, tucking shorter wisps of strawberry-blond hair behind my ears before giving my hard wooden chair the stink eye. Mentally chanting Pinnacle Pentagon to motivate myself, I reached for another seed crystal.

Frantic tapping shook the glass in the balcony door. I pulled the door open, knowing it was Kylie, my best friend and the tenant who shared my second-floor apartment balcony. “I really can’t talk. I need to finish—”

“Help! Help! They’ve got—”

Something small and hard slammed into my stomach. I staggered backward into my chair and crashed to the floor. A small boulder skipped across the wooden floor and smashed into the wall.

“You’re a human!”

I shrieked. The voice came from inside my room. I twisted, scrambling onto my bed.

Against the wall, the rock moved.

Beautiful blue dumortierite quartz veined with green aventurine twisted into a winged panther no bigger than a house cat. A pissed-off, solid-stone, magical, winged house cat. A gargoyle—no, a baby gargoyle. A hatchling.

Her eyes glowed feverishly. Long polished blue claws gouged into the floor when she launched into the air. Her agile stone wings unfolded with a soft gritty sound.

I lurched backward across the bed until I was pressed against the wall. The mattress shook when the hatchling pounced on the space I’d just vacated. Sharp claws bunched in my yellow bedspread. She raised her muzzle, mouth open, and sniffed the air.

I eased toward the foot of the bed, readying my escape into the hallway.

“It’s you! Your magic smells so good. I thought—”

My magic has a smell?

The gargoyle’s eyes darted to the open door, then back to me. She arched her stone back and hissed at me, the sound dying to a hair-raising growl. The tip of her stone tail slashed back and forth, gouging my wooden headboard.

“I need help.”

“My help?” Gargoyles—even baby gargoyles—didn’t interact with midlevel elementals like me, and they certainly didn’t ask for our help. “There’s a full-spectrum elemental just—” I started to point up the street but froze when she snarled at me.

“No other humans! Before it’s too late.” The gargoyle’s words were smooth coming out of her rock throat, with just a hint of a lisp from her tongue working around enormous teeth.

I stared into her glowing blue eyes, seeing past the bared fangs and agitated movements, reading her fear for the first time. I reached for her, then pulled my hand back when she shied from me.

“Too late for what?”

“You can save him. Hurry!”

“Save him? Save who? If someone is hurt, I can send for a healer.” Where were this gargoyle’s parents?

“No. I need you.” Large blue eyes implored me. “Please!”

A thousand reasons I should find someone else to help the gargoyle crowded my mind, but the hatchling’s urgency was contagious. Someone was injured. I didn’t want to waste time arguing with her, but was I really the best choice? I could work earth, but healing usually took someone talented with all five elements.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to get—” someone stronger? I started to ask, but she cut me off with another sharp, “Please!”

Gargoyles were creatures without guile, and this baby was obviously terrified for someone’s life. If she thought I could help, I had to try. I took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s go.”

The gargoyle whirled and launched for the open doorway, moving with the silent fluidity of a flesh-and-blood panther.

“I’ll take the stairs,” I said. I snatched up my shoes and coat and raced to the door.

My studio apartment was one of four on the upper floor of a converted Victorian house. At midnight, everyone else in the house was asleep, just the way my landlady Ms. Josephine Zuberrie liked it.

As I sprinted down the stairs as quietly as possible, shoes in hand, I reviewed everything I knew about gargoyles. It wasn’t much. Gargoyles favored those strongest in magic—full-spectrum pentacle potential, or FSPP, elementals. When they chose, they could enhance a person’s magic, but I’d only heard of them doing so during large-scale rituals conducted by five linked FSPPs. Despite being creatures of earth, they were not partial to any particular elemental magic; instead, they were attracted to a person’s strength of earth, wood, air, water, or fire magic.

Which is why, as a midlevel earth elemental, this was the first time I’d spoken with a gargoyle.

I eased the front door shut and dropped my shoes to the porch, wiggled my feet into them, and yanked the laces tight. When I spun around, the gargoyle dropped from the roof to the porch railing, almost clipping my head with a heavy rock wing. I swallowed a startled scream.

“Hurry,” she trilled. With a squeal of protesting wood, followed by the crack of stone smashing into stone, the gargoyle leapt from the balcony to the sidewalk ten feet below. Wincing, I raced down the porch steps after her, praying to be out of sight before Ms. Zuberrie investigated the racket.

By the time I reached the sidewalk, the gargoyle had almost a block lead on me, moving unexpectedly fast for such a small creature made of stone. In wing-assisted leaps, she bounded into the darkness. I sprinted headlong down the center of the deserted street, chasing the sporadic glimpses of panther-shaped dumortierite in the puddles of lamplight. The baby gargoyle kept me in sight, but only just. My lungs and legs burned after the first five blocks. My vision tunneled to the broken asphalt and gargoyle in front of me. I didn’t notice when the lamps ended, only that the dark blue gargoyle was harder to see, and by the time I did take in my surroundings, we were deep in the blight and I was lost.

To continue reading, pick up your copy of Magic of the Gargoyles today!

Reviews
“jam-packed with action and excitement.”

Books That Hook ★★★★★

“I highly recommend this novella to readers who enjoy fantasy. I also encourage you to read the entire Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Trilogy.”

A Drop of Ink

“Ms. Chastain’s world-building is beautifully wrought”

So I Read This Book Today

 “Magic of the Gargoyles is a such a fantastic book. The plot is unique and exciting. The story line packs such a punch that you can’t help but be drawn into and fully engaged in the story.”

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews ★★★★★

 “unique and captivating right from the start…a beautiful quick read that was hard to put down and finished in one sitting.”

The Reading Diaries

“Gargoyles, magic, a feisty MC, and strong world-building…Magic of the Gargoyles has it all! If you enjoy magic, fantasy, and urban fantasy give this series a try!”

Reading Between the Wines ★★★★★

 “I loved everything about this book. The writing is excellent, the pace is quick…A great story that mixes elemental magic with gargoyles, whipped into a cocktail of suspense.”

Endless Reading

 “a good story to spend an afternoon reading…Magic of the Gargoyles is a tenderhearted novella that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.”

One Book Two

 “Magic of the Gargoyles is a captivating, imaginative romp that moves fast from start to finish…I loved this book and I rushed to read the second one in this series because of the fresh urban fantasy story creation and the outstanding writing.”

Laurie’s Thoughts and Review ★★★★★

 “Rebecca Chastain’s talent is in taking a magical path not taken, filling it with charm, energy, an amazing heroine and packing it all neatly into a quick and fast-paced tale! The perfect read for anytime you need a break and want to have some fun, because sometimes, that is exactly what you need!!”

Tome Tender

 “If you like this one – pick up Fistful of Evil and Fistful of Fire also by this author. You won’t be disappointed.”

Must Have Fiction

 “Fast paced action +  Daring heroine + Supportive allies = Magic of the Gargoyles”

The Travelogue of a Book Addict ★★★★★

 “I enjoyed every minute of this story…Magic of the Gargoyles is a fantastic little novella full of action and adventure and a very well built world considering how short it is.”

Feeling Fictional

 “This book was non-stop action and will please the readers who love magical stories.”

Kam’s Place

 “I freaking love this book!…All I can say is I think you should read this.”

Happy Tails and Tales ★★★★★

 “If you are one for a happy ending, this novella will delight you to no end”

Reads to Live

 “Well-paced action, interesting and strong female characters, and a fresh and imaginative take on a magical world all contribute to the strength of this story…read it in one day with great enjoyment.”

Wind and Silence ★★★★★

 “I quite enjoyed this story… It’s a quick read and nicely done.”

Women of Badassery

 “I have never read a story like this. It was fun, adventurous, dangerous and rewarding. I loved the originality and the attention to detail. I highly recommend Magic of the Gargoyles to adults/young adults who love a great fantasy!”

Juniper Grove ★★★★★

 “intense from the beginning to end…I thoroughly enjoyed Magic of the Gargoyles

Musings of a Bookish Kitty

 “a cracking good story with a great premise and an intriguing world”

Trawling the Amazon

 “Fans of urban fantasy, the steampunk genre, or fans of gargoyles (they are neat) – this read is well worth the temporal investment. Magic of the Gargoyles is a charming light, short read that well deserves its 5 stars. It leaves an almost magical mark on you when you finish.”

Open Book Society ★★★★★

 “you will love this!”

Lovely Reads ★★★★★

 “From the very beginning, I was hooked! The book weaves together a tale with magic in a way that reminds me of why I love fantasy.”

Pretty Little Pages

 “all you could want in a fantasy adventure”

Carole’s Book Corner

Curse of the Gargoyles, Book 2

Mika was trying to save a gargoyle, not doom the world…

Mika Stillwater isn’t known for her skills with combat magic. As a gargoyle healer, she spends her days mending broken appendages and curing illnesses in the living-quartz bodies of Terra Haven’s gargoyles. But when a squad of the city’s elite Federal Pentagon Defense warriors requests her assistance in freeing a gargoyle ensnared in a vicious invention, Mika jumps into the fray.

No one could have predicted that her involvement would ignite a chain reaction set to destroy the city, the world, and magic itself.

Brimming with epic magic and loveable gargoyles, Curse of the Gargoyles is the second story in the mesmerizing Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy. Fantasy fans young and old will delight in this highly original world and exciting, action-packed adventure.

Series Reading Order
1. Magic of the Gargoyles
2. Curse of the Gargoyles
3. Secret of the Gargoyles
3.5 Lured (a bonus novelette)

Other novels set in Terra Haven

Terra Haven Chronicles
0.5 Deadlines & Dryads

Excerpt
Chapter 1

“How’s Oliver doing, Mika?” Kylie asked.

I jerked and glanced up from the journal open across my lap. We sat outside at a bustling café, soaking in the afternoon sun, and while I’d started out focused on double-checking my notes about my latest patient, a prasiolite and onyx gargoyle who had ingested moldy quartz loam, I’d long since stopped seeing the words. Instead, I’d been idly spinning a pentagram of the five elements above the pages, tuning them to perfect harmony with Oliver.

“Should I get another coffee?” Kylie asked, indicating her empty cup.

“Let me check.” We’d been here a little over an hour. It was probably long enough.

I nudged the pentagram into flight, lifting it above the heads of people in the busy city pentagon before zeroing in on Oliver. The half-grown gargoyle crouched two buildings over and three stories up on his favorite perch on the peak of the library’s marble facade, craning his long neck to peer over the edge to watch people come and go. Several government buildings and a few restaurants, including the café, ringed the pentagon, but Oliver preferred the magic of library users. I’d chosen the table where Kylie and I sat partially because it afforded me a view of Oliver at all times, but mostly because it was an outdoor seat close enough for me to reach him with my magic.

The pentagram kissed Oliver’s side and dipped into his body. In the past five months, I’d perfected the elemental blend of my gargoyle companion: carnelian quartz earth, with a strong band of fire and smaller portions of wood, water, and air. I tried to be discreet and not disturb him, but he lifted his head to find me even as my magic told me he was feeling balanced and healthy.

“He’s better now,” I told Kylie. “Between an hour or two a week here and a couple hours at the market, he’s stabilizing.”

I let the weave dissolve and shut the journal. It’d been a gift from Kylie, and she’d had Mika Stillwater, Gargoyle Healer embossed in gold on the leather cover. After all these months, I still got the same nervous thrill at seeing my name and title together. Most of the time I still considered myself a midlevel earth elemental with a specialty in quartz—a specialty that happened to make me uniquely suited to work with the living quartz bodies of gargoyles. I loved my new career as a healer, but I kept expecting someone more powerful and knowledgeable to come along and replace me.

Standing, I hefted my bag filled with twenty-five pounds of seed crystals that I’d purchased earlier and wedged the journal on top before tightening the drawstring. Kylie deftly wove a basket out of air and levitated the cumbersome bag to knee height. I admired her skill. I could have created the same elemental lift, but I would have needed a boost of extra magic from Oliver to help me. I grabbed the over-the-shoulder straps and used them like a leash to keep the bag close to us as Kylie collected her research books and we exited the café.

“Do you think Oliver will stay behind this time?” Kylie asked.

“I doubt it.” He might if I encouraged him to. I ignored the thought. “He’s not like other gargoyles. He likes to wander.”

“I think he just likes to be near you,” Kylie said.

“Which is the problem.” Gargoyles had a symbiotic relationship with humans. They could enhance our magic, making them coveted additions to any building or home. In turn, while they bolstered a person’s magic, they also fed off it. Despite being made of stone, gargoyles required a balance of the elemental energies to be healthy. I suspected it was why most gravitated toward busy public buildings and the households of full-spectrum pentacle potentials, or FSPPs, where the inhabitants all possessed powerful control over all five elements. Living with me, Oliver consumed mostly earth, and it threw his system out of whack, making him lethargic and potentially stunting his growth. As soon as I’d realized the problem, we’d started making frequent trips to public places where he could supplement his diet.

“It’s not a problem,” Kylie said. “You’ve figured out how to keep him healthy, and when he’s with you, he’s happy. Besides, look at it from his perspective. He’s assisting Terra Haven’s one and only gargoyle healer. I bet the other gargoyles are jealous.”

“Ugh. That makes me sound disgustingly self-important.”

Oliver released a trill loud enough to turn every head in the busy pentagon, and the sound lifted my heart. He launched from the roof, startling a flock of pigeons when he unfurled enormous stone eagle’s wings from his sinuous Chinese dragon body. Oliver was a glossy orange red of almost pure carnelian, from his square muzzle and stone beard to the feathery rock tufts at the tip of his long tail. With the sun shining through his rock feathers, he looked like he was suspended on wings of fire as he dove toward us. The graceful roll of his long body through the air made it easy to forget he weighed over a hundred pounds—until he landed too hard and his stone feet clapped against the cobblestones loud enough to echo through the surrounding buildings.

“Where are we going now?” Oliver asked. His voice had deepened as he’d grown, but it still carried the undercurrent of chimes and in no way sounded like it came from a stone throat.

Here was the moment to encourage Oliver to stay. With the variety of elementals who frequented the library, it would be a good, healthy home for him. But the words stacked up in my throat, and I swallowed them.

Oliver and his four siblings had been my first gargoyle healer case, and after I’d saved them, they’d stuck around to roost on the Victorian where Kylie and I both rented rooms. However, over the last few months, the other four had begun to explore various rooftops around the city, looking for more permanent homes. I kept waiting for Oliver to follow suit, all while hoping he’d stick around a little longer. Life without him was going to be lonely.

“To the gallery and then home. Unless you have somewhere else to go, Kylie,” I said. I’d been pointedly avoiding looking at Kylie so she wouldn’t see my guilt, but I glanced her way when she didn’t respond.

Kylie had stopped a few feet behind us, eyes riveted on a whirl of tangled air hurtling through a gap in the buildings and heading straight toward her. Though it moved fast enough to blur, I recognized her signature elemental twist on the bubble of captured sound: One of Kylie’s rumor scouts had found something.

She pulled her white-blond hair aside as the air cupped her ear, feeding the message privately to her. Her blue eyes lit up and a flush brightened her pale cheeks.

“Well?” I asked. “What’s the story?” If anything put that glow on my journalist friend’s face, it was the possibility of a front-page piece of news.

“I don’t know. Maybe nothing. I’ve got to go.”

The weave dropped from beneath my bag and it crashed to the cobblestones, jerking my shoulder with it.

“Oh, sorry. Here.” Kylie thrust her books into my arms. “I’ll send word if I’ll be done by dinner. Bye!” She spun and sprinted toward the nearest alley, shoulder-length hair streaming behind her as she disappeared around the corner.

“Okay, then. It’s just you and me, Oliver.” I crouched to add Kylie’s books to my bag. This wasn’t the first time Kylie had literally raced away, chasing a story. If it panned out, I’d find out about it tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, I had errands to finish and work of my own. “Unless you want to stay,” I forced myself to say.

“I want to see what sold,” he said.

The tightness in my chest eased as I shared a smile with the little gargoyle.

I swung one strap of the bag over my shoulder and rested the awkward, poky bulk against my left hip, leaning to the right to compensate. After two steps, I switched sides with Oliver. His long body and four stubby legs gave him a bunching, loping gate, and his back kept bumping the bottom of the bag. Perhaps little wasn’t the right term for him anymore. He was almost three feet long and half as tall with his wings closed. When he’d first come to live with me, he’d been small enough to hold. If I didn’t stunt him and he kept growing at a normal rate, he’d reach over six feet long.

“Want to make any predictions?” I asked.

“The gargoyle pendants will be sold out, of course,” he said. “Especially the ones of me.”

“That goes without saying.” My lifelong dream of becoming Terra Haven’s preeminent quartz artisan had veered off course when I’d discovered I could heal gargoyles. Now, I wouldn’t change a thing, but I still enjoyed working with inert quartz, and since being a gargoyle healer provided sporadic income, I made jewelry and sold the items through a local gallery to supplement my earnings.

“Maybe the wind current earrings, too,” Oliver said, eyeing the earrings I wore. I wriggled my head to set the earrings in motion, and the gargoyle’s bright eyes tracked the movement.

Like all my pieces, the earrings were made out of quartz. These were carnelian—at Oliver’s request—and I’d reshaped the sturdy rock to slender, twisting ribbons so light the breeze fluttered them against my neck. Maintaining the structural integrity of the quartz while stretching it so thin took a level of skill that had taken me almost a decade to master. I owed my abilities as a gargoyle healer to those years of dedication, too. I’d worn my hair up so the sun could shine through the slivers of orange rock and catch people’s eyes. Since I was the only person in the city escorted everywhere by a gargoyle, I tended to attract attention, and I wasn’t above trading on the free advertising.

Oliver wriggled the ruff of rock fur behind his ears, as if he were trying to mimic the movement of my earrings. Laughing at his antics, I completely missed seeing the bundle of elemental energy barreling toward me. The outer air layer hit me like a pillow upside the head, then bounced back and expanded into an oval sheet of fire held together with traces of air and water. Heat radiated from it, and I retreated a step when the golden and red flames reshaped into the perfect likeness of a man’s face. He scowled, his bright eyes blazing straight into mine.

“Mika Stillwater,” he snapped. “Your services are required on an urgent matter. Come at once.”

Seeing the fiery face move was disconcerting enough; hearing the burning mouth bark my name chased a thrill of alarm down my spine. I clutched the handle of my bag tighter and shifted another step back. The disembodied flaming head followed.

I’d seen long-distance projections sent with such precision before, but only as invitations to special events. Given the tension in the man’s face, he wasn’t summoning me to a social gathering.

I opened my mouth to respond, but he looked to the side at something only he could see, then back at me. This time his gaze rested beyond my shoulder, and I realized it was a captured message, not a projection. I also realized I knew him.

“Your specialty is needed,” he growled. The sphere collapsed into an arrow of pure flame. It darted away from me, then spun and pointed left down a side street. It held that position, quivering in place.

“Wasn’t that—”

“Full-spectrum guard Velasquez,” I said, finishing Oliver’s question. The most powerful fire elemental I’d ever metI added silently. You didn’t make it into the ranks of the Federal Pentagon Defense, the country’s most elite law enforcement organization, unless you were an FSPP or nearly so. I’d had the good fortune to meet the local FPD full-five squad when I’d rescued Oliver and his siblings, but I hadn’t expected to encounter the specialized team again, let alone receive a personal summons from the burly fire elemental.

Velasquez’s words sank past my surprise. The only reason he would need me was if a gargoyle was in trouble.

“We need to hurry,” I said, yanking my backpack’s straps securely over both arms.

“Someone needs us!” Oliver shouted gleefully.

The moment I lurched into motion, the flaming arrow moved. As if attached to me by a stiff tether, it kept exactly the same distance between us even as I picked up my pace to a run. Oliver loped like an enormous inchworm ahead of me, his back arching and straightening with each stride, and he unfurled his wings for short glides to increase his speed.

Watching his increasingly long leaps, I was struck by a feeling of déjà vu. It’d been a race through the streets after a baby gargoyle that had altered the course of my life. Until that moment, I’d been a rather typical earth elemental, with a stable job and a life spent mostly behind a worktable. These days, I did a lot more rushing about, usually racing toward injured gargoyles, and I didn’t think I’d ever get used to this nauseating jolt of adrenaline.

Between Oliver’s stone feet pounding on the cobblestones, my heavy steps, and the clatter of seed crystals knocking together in my bag, we made enough racket to sound like a rampaging minotaur. People scurried out of our way and gawked from the edges of the road. Several waved and pointed, calling out encouragement. A few actually knew my name.

Our guiding arrow took us through downtown, winding along the least crowded roads. We pounded down wide sidewalks and through narrow alleys, and every time the arrow darted out of sight, I prayed it had stopped just around the corner so I could rest. My lungs and legs burned, and the heavy sack pummeled bruises into my lower back.

I zigzagged past a tavern and a haberdashery, before the narrow street opened into Focal Park. Or it should have. I stumbled to a halt. A massive blue-green ward twice as tall as the nearest building cordoned off the mile-long public park. As far as I could see up and down the street, emergency personnel held focal points of the shimmering ward at regular intervals. I braced my hands on my knees, sucking in oxygen. I’d never seen a ward that huge. It looked like it was designed to keep out an invading army.

And Velasquez’s fiery arrow pointed straight at it.

* * *

A crowd of people loitered outside the park’s earth entrance, where guards blockaded the pathway to a tunnel hidden behind the ward. Most of the people must have been herded from the park, judging by the number of blankets, picnic baskets, and various sports equipment they held. Questions rumbled through the displaced citizens, but I didn’t hear any answers.

Together Oliver and I wormed through the crowd, and as people noticed Oliver, they cleared a path.

“Is there a sick gargoyle in the park?” someone shouted.

“I’ve heard gargoyles go berserk. Is that what happened?” another person asked.

I shook my head at the absurd question, but I couldn’t take my eyes from the towering ward. What was Velasquez involving me in?

A woman burst through the crowd and grabbed my arm, and I yelped before recognizing Kylie.

“What’s that?” she asked, pointing to the burning arrow hovering just this side of the ward. It’d received some nervous looks from the crowd and a few from the guards, too.

“Don’t scare me like that,” I said. “It’s a summons from Velasquez.” Kylie knew who the fire elemental was without me needing to remind her. She’d been there when the full-five squad had carted away the man who’d kidnapped Oliver and his siblings. Since then, she’d followed the squad more than once for a story. In fact . . . “Was your rumor scout about the captain?”

Flushing, Kylie crossed her arms defensively. “Yes.”

My stomach sank. Kylie had a standing rumor scout patrolling for mention of Captain Grant Monaghan, the air elemental in charge of Velasquez’s squad. If the captain was here, the whole squad probably was, which meant the danger level of whatever I was rushing toward was far greater than a sick gargoyle. The ward more than confirmed it.

“What did he say?” Kylie asked.

“He needs me.”

Kylie’s eyebrows shot upward. “That’s what Mr. Gruffy-Pants himself said?”

“Basically.” My footsteps had slowed while I talked, and Oliver butted my palm with a soft whine. The same urgency hummed in my veins, but I couldn’t have Kylie following us into danger.

“Wait here,” I told Kylie. “I’ll tell you everything later. It’ll be an exclusive.” I winked, then spun toward the tunnel entrance.

“Really? You thought that’d work?” Kylie fell into step on the other side of Oliver. “The people have a right to know what’s going on in there, and if Grant is in there, I need to make sure he—ah, that the squad—is okay and . . . acting in the best interest of the citizens. A government that keeps secrets from the people is a corrupt government.”

Her slipup was more telling than her ongoing protests about democracy and the balancing power of the press.

“Fine,” I hissed as we approached the guards posted at the park entrance. The burning arrow hadn’t moved from where it pressed an inch away from the ward, crushing my meager hope that Velasquez stood on this side of the ward.

“The park is closed,” a tall woman in uniform said.

“I see that,” I said, and Kylie snorted, then turned the sound into a cough. The guard scowled at us both. “I was summoned by FPD Fire Elemental Velasquez.” I pointed to the arrow. “I’m a gargoyle healer, and he said I’m needed.” I added a point toward Oliver, in case she’d missed the presence of the excited stone dragon who pranced between Kylie and me.

“And I’m her assistant,” Kylie said. I wanted to protest, but I knew how much her career meant to her, and there was obviously a story on the other side of this magical curtain. Plus I was beginning to suspect her crush on Captain Monaghan might have developed into something more, so I kept my mouth shut and tried not to fidget.

The guard looped a bubble of air around the burning arrow and yanked it to us. She probed the elemental strands, and the message unfurled again. Velasquez’s hard expression glared at the guard this time as he called me to his side without a single please or an ounce of deference in his tone.

When the message reverted to an arrow of flame, the guard released it and gestured for her companions to let us pass. Oliver trundled ahead with Kylie close beside him, but my footsteps lagged. As long as I remained on this side of the ward, I was safe.

But a gargoyle wasn’t.

I hurried to catch up with Kylie and Oliver.

To continue reading, pick up your copy of Curse of the Gargoyles today!

Reviews
Curse of the Gargoyles is a fantastic book…I enjoyed the book so much that I read it in one day and immediately purchased Book 3 from Amazon when I was finished.”

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews ★★★★★

“non-stop, nail-biting action”

Kam’s Place

“a helter-skelter ride through the story of a lifetime…[it] will leave you breathless”

Open Book Society ★★★★★

“the action is never ending and…the ending really melted my heart.”

Travelogue of a Book Addict

“I’ve completely falling in love with the characters from this book…I think you should pick up a book by this author–any book–because her writing is so worth it!!”

Happy Tails and Tales ★★★★★

“a complex system of magic, excellent world building, and interesting characters”

Books That Hook ★★★★★

“I loved Oliver”

Endless Reading

“It’s another fun adventure in this fantastical world!”

One Book Two

“a very unique story”

Kimmie Sue’s Book Reviews

“The details and pace are even better than the last. It’s just one of those books where you can easily tell that you’ll be hooked.”

Lovely Reads ★★★★★

“non-stop, break-neck action…I can’t wait to read the next book.”

Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

“If you enjoyed Magic of the Gargoyles then Curse of the Gargoyles will blow you away!…Everything I enjoyed in the first story is back here but bigger and better than ever.”

Feeling Fictional ★★★★★

“Rebecca Chastain’s world and the characters that inhabit it are going to have you wanting a little gargoyle of your very own…I love this series, great for any age, any time!”

Tome Tender

Secret of the Gargoyles, Book 3

I place the lives of all gargoyles into your hands with what I am about to tell you…

In her brief career as a gargoyle healer, Mika Stillwater has faced some daunting challenges, but none have stumped her—until now. A strange sickness infects a handful of gargoyles in Terra Haven, rendering them comatose and paralyzed. Worse, the cure she seeks is shrouded in the gargoyles’ mysterious culture and the secret they guard with their lives.

Gaining the gargoyles’ trust is only the first step. To save the sick gargoyles, Mika must embark on a perilous mission into the heart of deadly wild magic to a place no human has ever survived…

The captivating conclusion to the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles trilogy, Secret of the Gargoyles will charm readers of all ages, especially those who love extraordinary magic and endearing gargoyles.

Series Reading Order
1. Magic of the Gargoyles
2. Curse of the Gargoyles
3. Secret of the Gargoyles
3.5 Lured (a bonus novelette)

Other novels set in Terra Haven

Terra Haven Chronicles
0.5 Deadlines & Dryads

Excerpt
Chapter 1

I fanned a tiny hummingbird feather back and forth, collecting the swirling air element from the breeze before scooping up the soft bands of fire element from a guttering candle flame. An equal mix of water element came from a bowl of spring water, and wood element from a pot of wheatgrass. Splitting my concentration, I kept the four-element cocktail spinning to one side and plucked a quartz seed crystal from my pocket.

I tuned a tendril of earth magic to quartz and used it to flatten and stretch the marble-size crystal. When the tensile structure of the quartz began to give, threatening to crack, I eased my magic out of the crystal. The flattened disk lay across my right palm, barely a foot and a half across and so thin it bent toward the ground around the edges. Hopefully it’d be enough.

“Stand back, Oliver,” I said, glancing toward my gargoyle companion.

He undulated sideways, his carnelian Chinese dragon body moving as fluidly as a flesh-and-blood dragon’s.

“Is this good, Mika?” he asked, studying the motionless sick gargoyle in front of me. Oliver didn’t voice the doubts I read in his glowing sunset-orange eyes, and his magic boost never wavered. He wanted this to work as badly as I did.

“Yep. Here it goes.”

The sick gargoyle’s marmot body had once been a beautiful brown jasper, with vivid blue dumortierite tipping his reindeer antlers and long wings, but now he was pockmarked and only a few dull shades more colorful than gray. From his lifeless brown eyes to his rigid posture, everything about the marmot gargoyle looked dead, but he was only dormant. Inside him, a spark of life remained, and I was determined to wake him from his comatose state.

Ignoring the chilly morning air that brushed my stomach when I raised my arms, I lifted the sheet of quartz high above the gargoyle. Standing on his hind legs, the marmot was almost eye level with me, and his antlers cleared my head by several feet. Ideally, I would have placed the thin quartz across his antlers, but their points were too far apart, so I settled for positioning the quartz above his head. With exaggerated care, I layered the four-element mix across the surface of the quartz disk, gradually sinking it into the thin membrane until the clear crystal swirled with magic. Hardly breathing, I collected air to cushion the bottom of the quartz, then retracted my hand. The disk remained floating above the marmot.

Crossing my fingers, I backed up, buried my eyes in the crook of my elbow, and dropped the quartz onto the marmot. The fragile sheet shattered, tiny grains spraying against my thighs. I lowered my arm. The five elements rolled down the marmot, coating his crown and ears, then muzzle, neck, wings, and stomach before sliding off his bottom toes and the tips of his stone feathers. The moment it touched the ground, the spell dissipated.

A fine glitter of quartz dust circled the marmot, and it crunched under my feet when I stepped closer to examine him. The gargoyle’s eyes remained dull. His ears didn’t twitch. Weaving a basic five-element pentagram, I tuned it to the gargoyle’s resonance and tested him. His life pulsed against my magic, the reedy sensation encased in muted pain.

“No change.” I brushed quartz dust from the marmot’s upraised paws, then blew more from his forehead with a heavy sigh. It’d been silly to get my hopes up.

Many people believed gargoyles went through a dormant phase as a normal part of their lives, opting to check out for decades at a time, but my healer instincts said otherwise, and one test of the marmot’s failing health had backed up my suspicion. Gargoyles typically enjoyed a sedentary life, choosing to remain near specific buildings for most of their days, but they still moved. Frequently. They were also picky about whose magic they enhanced, yet this paralyzed marmot gave a magic boost to anyone in the vicinity, as if his powers were as out of his control as his limbs. He was trapped inside his own body—and he wasn’t the only one. I’d found six other dormant gargoyles in Terra Haven stuck in an identical dormant state.

“What now?” Oliver asked.

“We try something else,” I said, which was better than saying, I don’t know.

I slumped, dropping my forehead to rest against the marmot’s. I’d already tried everything I could think of. I’d attempted healing him with and without Oliver’s enhancement, beneath new and full moons and all the days in between, using exotic, expensive resources and basic seed crystals. I was running out of ideas—even the desperate ones, like today’s modified, outdated spell originally designed to heal lethargy in humans—and the marmot was running out of time. Never strong to begin with, his life signs grew fainter every day. Even the other dormant gargoyles fared better than he did, but not by much.

Familiar weariness pulled my eyes closed. In the three months since I’d first learned about the comatose gargoyles, I’d been searching for a cure nonstop, and sleepless nights bent over my table scouring increasingly obscure references combined with a series of hope-crushing failures had sapped my energy.

“We’ll find something, Mika.” Oliver planted a paw on my hip, nuzzling my side, and I staggered beneath his weight.

“I know. Together we can do anything.” The words tasted bitter.

A shouted curse pulled my head up, reminding me we weren’t alone in Focal Park. A few hundred feet away, one of the cleanup crew tumbled into an enormous sinkhole, only to swing back up to solid ground on thick bands of air wielded by her four coworkers. She clutched the arm of the woman who grabbed her while one of the men reinforced the crumbling cliff, using hefty bands of earth element to reshape the granite beneath the topsoil and strengthen their footing.

The eroded crater in the middle of Terra Haven’s premier park hadn’t occurred naturally. Neither had the mutations in the botanical gardens or the flow of now-cool magma that had decimated a fifth of the grounds. The entire park had been deformed, all thanks to Elsa Lansing.

May she rot in prison.

Elsa had attempted to manually re-create a gargoyle’s magical enhancement in an inanimate invention and failed spectacularly, nearly destroying the city along with Focal Park. But that was the least of her sins.

I ran a finger over five smooth patches on the marmot’s neck. The clear crystal integrated into his fading brown jasper neck was my healer handiwork, and it’d taken me over a month to coax his weak body to graft enough layers of quartz to seal the five stab wounds. It turned out that to mimic a gargoyle’s enhancement, Elsa had required the magic of a gargoyle, and she’d had no compunction against drilling into the marmot and draining his life to fuel her invention. Comatose and paralyzed, the marmot hadn’t been able to fight back or even flee.

Rotting in prison was too good for Elsa, and knowing her invention had nullified her, leaving her unable to ever touch the elements again, was only a small consolation.

The earth rumbled behind me where towers of three-foot-wide granite pillars jutted from what had been a smooth slope before Elsa’s invention went haywire. One of the taller granite posts snapped off at the base, then flew across the park to hover above the sunken ground. Cables of wood element pulverized the rock, crumbling the entire thousand-pound column into the gaping earth. Magic glowed around all five workers, funneling through the woman who had fallen into the pit, as they selected another pillar to demolish.

If not for my status as Terra Haven’s sole gargoyle healer, I would have been banned from the hazardous park with the rest of the city’s citizens during the restoration process. Instead, I had special clearance to tend to the marmot and one other dormant gargoyle in the park. The other, a large fox, lay out of the way atop a high granite outcrop, but after righting her internal imbalance caused by the invention’s malicious magic, I’d stuck to the more accessible marmot for my healing experiments. He’d had the good sense to be on level ground when sickness struck, not perched at a vertigo-inducing height.

“Let’s get this cleaned up, then see if the library has received the journal we special ordered,” I said, unable to infuse any enthusiasm into my words.

“She’s here,” Oliver whispered.

My shoulders stiffened. I didn’t need to turn to know he meant the onyx and amethyst gryphon gargoyle. She’d been following me around for the last month, observing from a distance any time I interacted with a dormant gargoyle—a critical witness to my repeated failures.

The first time she’d shown up, I’d thought she’d come to help. Every gargoyle I’d asked about the dormancy sickness had refused to talk to me about it except for Oliver and his four siblings, and they were as perplexed as I was—by the disease and by the other gargoyles’ silence. But the gryphon was different. She’d helped me in the past: When Oliver had been a baby, he and his siblings had been kidnapped and imprisoned by Walter, a mercenary earth elemental who had tortured them to steal their magic for himself—and for the highest bidders in his black market scheme. While I’d been desperately trying to rescue the hatchlings, the gryphon had convinced the city guards to investigate my wild tale. Without her timely arrival, I wouldn’t be alive, and neither would Oliver or his siblings.

I’d been wrong about her intentions now, though. The gryphon refused to let me or Oliver get close enough to talk, and I’d grown to resent her judgmental presence. It was bad enough that I hadn’t found a cure after months of research and experimentation; having an audience made it ten times worse.

I ground my teeth and used a soft push of air to sweep the quartz powder into a pile. With Oliver’s help, I packed up my supplies, the weight of the gryphon’s censure boring into my back the entire time. Irritation made my movements clumsy. I didn’t need the gryphon to point out my deplorable incompetence; I lived it every day, watching the dormant gargoyles slowly fade while I tried useless spells. My frustration with today’s failure was made worse by the fact that I’d never really expected the spell to work; I simply hadn’t had anything better to try—and I hadn’t for weeks. But the gryphon’s silent condemnation was the final straw.

“I’ve had enough of this.” I spun and locked gazes with the gryphon. She lurked closer than normal, and I could easily make out her glowing lavender eyes, despite her location in the dappled shadows fifty yards away.

“Do you need help?” I called, my tone conveying the butt out meaning of my words. I projected my voice through a cone of air to direct it toward the gryphon and away from the cleanup crew. I didn’t need them sticking their noses into this, too.

The gryphon’s neck feathers ruffled, and sunlight ghosted across the ripple of onyx. Her hard eyes remained expressionless.

“Look, I’m doing my best here.” I shrugged off Oliver’s placating gesture and stomped up the incline toward the gryphon. “I’m trying everything I can think of, so unless you have any suggestions—”

The gryphon surged forward, leaping into the air on stone eagle wings and hurtling straight for me. I dropped to all fours to avoid being clipped by her massive eagle talons, my heart lifting into my throat. The backdraft of her wings whipped my hair into my eyes as she shot past us. She banked, spinning through the air as if she’d anchored one wingtip in the ether, and swooped back toward us. Her enormous body temporarily blocked the sun before she landed on silent stone feet close enough to snap my head off. Oliver reared up protectively in front of me, but even with his wings flared, his slender body looked fragile next to the gryphon. She ignored him, folding her enormous amethyst-striated onyx wings against her body and glaring at me.

“Stop shouting.” The gryphon’s voice was that of a lion’s, soft and rumbling, despite forming in a rock throat and emerging through an eagle’s beak.

“Uh, of course.” I straightened on shaky legs and squared my shoulders.

Dismissing me and Oliver, she stalked around us to stare into the marmot’s blank eyes. I released a quiet breath and patted Oliver. He dropped to all fours, keeping his wings partially cupped to give himself extra bulk. I shuffled in a wide arc around the gryphon until I could see her face again, and Oliver twined beside me, moving slower than normal. I think it was his version of being tough, and I appreciated the effort.

“I’ve been watching you,” she said.

“I know—”

She turned the full weight of her stare on me, and my mouth clicked shut.

“I have talked with the gargoyles you’ve healed,” she continued, “and I have talked with the gargoyles this cub has been spreading tales to.”

Oliver bristled, the orange-red ruff around his face flaring. I crossed my arms over my chest. Was this where she accused me of being an unfit healer? If so, she was wrong. I’d been an exemplary healer—at least until I’d encountered the comatose gargoyles. She was welcome to point me in the direction of a more practiced healer or even a book that might provide an answer to the dormancy sickness, but otherwise I wasn’t in the mood to listen to her recriminations.

“You risked much to save the hatchlings when they were so foolishly caught. You risked more to save Rourke.”

My indignation faltered. She knew the sick gargoyle’s name.

“I’m still trying to save him—to save Rourke,” I said. “But you know that. You’ve watched me every day.”

The gryphon acted as if I hadn’t spoken, observing without speaking as the cleanup crew broke off another pillar of granite, spun it through the air, and crumbled it into the deep pit on the other side of the park.

I tried to read her expression. She didn’t look ready to chase me out of town for being a miserable healer. She looked more torn than angry.

Had I misjudged her? Was it possible she wasn’t here to berate me? Something had made her approach me today, and I bit my lip to hold in a babble of questions and demands that might scare her off.

“You have proven yourself twice, Healer, and perhaps you’ve even earned the honorific this pup has been claiming. It’s been centuries since we’ve known a true guardian.”

I twitched as if she’d poked me. Oliver had started calling me guardian after I’d saved the marmot and a half dozen other gargoyles Elsa’s invention had ensnared while it’d been tearing up the park. I hadn’t put much stock in it. He was young and worshipful, and working with Guardian Mika sounded more impressive than Healer Mika. I hadn’t realized the title meant anything, but the gryphon implied it did.

“If I’m going to trust you . . .” She pivoted on a hind foot and paced away from me and back, tail lashing. “If I’m going to save you . . .” She paused to peer into Rourke’s faded eyes. With a choked roar, she spun away and thrust her beak so close to Oliver’s snout that their breaths mingled. My brave companion didn’t flinch.

The gryphon’s voice rumbled with anguish when she asked, “Is she really a guardian? Is she worthy?”

“My life is hers,” Oliver said.

“You are too young to know what you say.”

Oliver quivered, wings flaring in anger. “I’ve held her spirit inside me. My age doesn’t matter. I felt her in my heart. I know Mika is a guardian.”

I shuddered at the reminder. I’d once transplanted pieces of my spirit into Oliver and his four siblings in a colossally stupid maneuver that would have shredded my brain if it hadn’t worked. At the time, it’d been the only option I could use to save the gargoyles from being ripped apart by Elsa’s invention, and I hadn’t fully considered the ramifications. Nor had I realized Oliver had been able to glean anything from that piece of me, let alone that it was what convinced him I was a guardian.

I was beginning to suspect the title of guardian was more than an honorific, too.

The gryphon broke off her staring match with Oliver and straightened to turn her piercing regard upon me. I did my best not to fidget, but my bubbling hope made it difficult. If I guessed correctly, she knew what could save the marmot—what could save all the dormant gargoyles—and she seemed to be talking herself into telling me. I hunted for the right words to convince her I deserved her trust, but the longer I looked into her glowing amethyst eyes, the more certain I became that nothing I could say would be enough. Either she believed me worthy or she didn’t. I crossed my fingers behind my back.

“Guardian.” The gryphon paused as if testing the word. “My name is Celeste, and I place the lives of all gargoyles into your hands with what I am about to tell you.”

To continue reading, pick up your copy of Secret of the Gargoyles today!

Reviews
“There is a lot of adventure packed into this short read, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy every moment of it.”

Open Book Society ★★★★★

“I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting where Rebecca’s creative mind takes us next.”

Kam’s Place

“The blurb says Secret of the Gargoyles is the end but when you reach that last page you will be praying that Chastain will pick up where she leaves Mika, Marcus, and Oliver.”

Reading between the Wines ★★★★★

“The author has breathed life into the characters and the plot with fantastic story telling…A very satisfactory ending to a great series!”

The Travelogue of a Book Addict ★★★★★

“Mika and her gargoyles remind me of how I felt reading Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy for the first time”

One Book Two ★★★★★

“a fantastic finale to the Gargoyle Guardian trilogy…I’ve loved every minute of this series”

Feeling Fictional ★★★★★

“Truly a great read”

Endless Reading ★★★★★

“spectacular… one of the most suspenseful books I’ve read in a while.”

Happy Tails and Tales ★★★★★

“Such an amazing journey with Mika, and I’m so excited that I was able to read these books. Rebecca has got serious writing skills!”

Lovely Reads ★★★★★

“If you liked book one and two, you are going to absolutely love this book.”

Kimmie Sue’s Book Review

“this final hoorah is one action-packed, secret-filled high danger read…What a plot! What a wild trip!”

Tome Tender ★★★★★

Lured (a bonus novelette)

If something threatens a gargoyle, Mika’s confident she can handle it. But can she save the day when it’s Marcus who needs to be rescued?
Series Reading Order
1. Magic of the Gargoyles
2. Curse of the Gargoyles
3. Secret of the Gargoyles
3.5 Lured (a bonus novelette)

Other novels set in Terra Haven

Terra Haven Chronicles
0.5 Deadlines & Dryads

Special Edition: Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Omnibus, Books 1–3

Mika is a midlevel earth elemental. Her dreams are moderate—work hard, earn a reputation as a quartz artisan, and one day open her own shop.

She’s no hero … but a panicked baby gargoyle insists otherwise.

Mika is the only person the gargoyle will trust with its desperate mission.

How can Mika say no to the helpless gargoyle’s pleas?

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld, Mika must jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster…

…and to stay alive.
_________________________

Brimming with epic magic and lovable gargoyles, the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles will delight fantasy fans young and old. Find out for yourself why readers can’t get enough of this spellbinding world and all three exciting, action-packed adventures.

Included in this bundle*:

Magic of the Gargoyles
Curse of the Gargoyles
Secret of the Gargoyles

*Print Bonus: The print edition of the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Omnibus includes the novelette Lured.

Other Novels Set in Terra Haven
Terra Haven Chronicles
0.5 Deadlines & Dryads
Excerpt
Magic of the Gargoyles (Book 1)

With one last twist of a filament of earth magic, I fused together the delicate seams of the quartz tube. Slumping forward, I braced my elbows on the table and rested my cheekbones on my palms, cupping my weary eyes in darkness. Six down, six finicky tubes to go. The specifications of this project taxed my substantial skills with quartz magic, which was the point. This project would launch my business and prove that even though I was only a midlevel earth elemental, my quartz skills were equal to or better than more powerful full-spectrum elementals. These fussy tubes would fund the down payment on the lease for the shop I coveted in the Pinnacle Pentagon Center. I could finally quit my demeaning job at Jones and Sons Quarry, be my own boss, and begin a career creating one-of-a-kind quartz masterpieces I could take pride in.

My entire future rested on these fragile vials, and they were due tomorrow at four.

Dull pain pounded my back muscles. Night had crept over the city while I worked, and my jerky movements as I stood and stretched were reflected in the semicircle of bay windows in front of my worktable. Purple smears of exhaustion beneath my green eyes were exaggerated in the dark windows, and my pale face floated above a dirt-smeared navy shirt. I checked the clock: almost midnight. Sixteen hours until my deadline, and eight of those would be taken up by my Jones and Sons workday. There was no time for a break. If anything, I needed to work faster.

Groaning, I redid my ponytail, tucking shorter wisps of strawberry-blond hair behind my ears before giving my hard wooden chair the stink eye. Mentally chanting Pinnacle Pentagon to motivate myself, I reached for another seed crystal.

Frantic tapping shook the glass in the balcony door. I pulled the door open, knowing it was Kylie, my best friend and the tenant who shared my second-floor apartment balcony. “I really can’t talk. I need to finish—”

“Help! Help! They’ve got—”

Something small and hard slammed into my stomach. I staggered backward into my chair and crashed to the floor. A small boulder skipped across the wooden floor and smashed into the wall.

“You’re a human!”

I shrieked. The voice came from inside my room. I twisted, scrambling onto my bed.

Against the wall, the rock moved.

Beautiful blue dumortierite quartz veined with green aventurine twisted into a winged panther no bigger than a house cat. A pissed-off, solid-stone, magical, winged house cat. A gargoyle—no, a baby gargoyle. A hatchling.

Her eyes glowed feverishly. Long polished blue claws gouged into the floor when she launched into the air. Her agile stone wings unfolded with a soft gritty sound.

I lurched backward across the bed until I was pressed against the wall. The mattress shook when the hatchling pounced on the space I’d just vacated. Sharp claws bunched in my yellow bedspread. She raised her muzzle, mouth open, and sniffed the air.

I eased toward the foot of the bed, readying my escape into the hallway.

“It’s you! Your magic smells so good. I thought—”

My magic has a smell?

The gargoyle’s eyes darted to the open door, then back to me. She arched her stone back and hissed at me, the sound dying to a hair-raising growl. The tip of her stone tail slashed back and forth, gouging my wooden headboard.

“I need help.”

“My help?” Gargoyles—even baby gargoyles—didn’t interact with midlevel elementals like me, and they certainly didn’t ask for our help. “There’s a full-spectrum elemental just—” I started to point up the street but froze when she snarled at me.

“No other humans! Before it’s too late.” The gargoyle’s words were smooth coming out of her rock throat, with just a hint of a lisp from her tongue working around enormous teeth.

I stared into her glowing blue eyes, seeing past the bared fangs and agitated movements, reading her fear for the first time. I reached for her, then pulled my hand back when she shied from me.

“Too late for what?”

“You can save him. Hurry!”

“Save him? Save who? If someone is hurt, I can send for a healer.” Where were this gargoyle’s parents?

“No. I need you.” Large blue eyes implored me. “Please!”

A thousand reasons I should find someone else to help the gargoyle crowded my mind, but the hatchling’s urgency was contagious. Someone was injured. I didn’t want to waste time arguing with her, but was I really the best choice? I could work earth, but healing usually took someone talented with all five elements.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to get—” someone stronger? I started to ask, but she cut me off with another sharp, “Please!”

Gargoyles were creatures without guile, and this baby was obviously terrified for someone’s life. If she thought I could help, I had to try. I took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s go.”

The gargoyle whirled and launched for the open doorway, moving with the silent fluidity of a flesh-and-blood panther.

“I’ll take the stairs,” I said. I snatched up my shoes and coat and raced to the door.

My studio apartment was one of four on the upper floor of a converted Victorian house. At midnight, everyone else in the house was asleep, just the way my landlady Ms. Josephine Zuberrie liked it.

As I sprinted down the stairs as quietly as possible, shoes in hand, I reviewed everything I knew about gargoyles. It wasn’t much. Gargoyles favored those strongest in magic—full-spectrum pentacle potential, or FSPP, elementals. When they chose, they could enhance a person’s magic, but I’d only heard of them doing so during large-scale rituals conducted by five linked FSPPs. Despite being creatures of earth, they were not partial to any particular elemental magic; instead, they were attracted to a person’s strength of earth, wood, air, water, or fire magic.

Which is why, as a midlevel earth elemental, this was the first time I’d spoken with a gargoyle.

I eased the front door shut and dropped my shoes to the porch, wiggled my feet into them, and yanked the laces tight. When I spun around, the gargoyle dropped from the roof to the porch railing, almost clipping my head with a heavy rock wing. I swallowed a startled scream.

“Hurry,” she trilled. With a squeal of protesting wood, followed by the crack of stone smashing into stone, the gargoyle leapt from the balcony to the sidewalk ten feet below. Wincing, I raced down the porch steps after her, praying to be out of sight before Ms. Zuberrie investigated the racket.

By the time I reached the sidewalk, the gargoyle had almost a block lead on me, moving unexpectedly fast for such a small creature made of stone. In wing-assisted leaps, she bounded into the darkness. I sprinted headlong down the center of the deserted street, chasing the sporadic glimpses of panther-shaped dumortierite in the puddles of lamplight. The baby gargoyle kept me in sight, but only just. My lungs and legs burned after the first five blocks. My vision tunneled to the broken asphalt and gargoyle in front of me. I didn’t notice when the lamps ended, only that the dark blue gargoyle was harder to see, and by the time I did take in my surroundings, we were deep in the blight and I was lost.

To continue reading, pick up your copy today!

Reviews
“Rebecca Chastain has put her heart and soul into the three books of these Chronicles, and I love them.”

—Amazon Review

“kept me tuning pages long into the night”

—Amazon Review

“I absolutely love the Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles, I’ve read the entire series and the books just got better and better with each new instalment. “

—Goodreads Review

“I was captivated from start to finish. Wonderful plot, great characters, gargoyles with attitude and personality, and one young woman determined to do what is right.”

—Amazon Review

“Totally enchanting! I was captivated from start to finish.”

—Goodreads Review

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