Breathless with anticipation, Cachet took his hand. A current shocked her, momentarily welding their palms. His eyes flared, but he held on, his expression intent. As the sensation faded, he raised her hand to his lips and then placed it on his arm. “Shall we?”
He was so tall. Dancing with him was like a dream. She didn’t have to worry about him accidently bumping her wings or treading on her large gargoyle feet. “There are four of you? Are there others nearby? Neighbors, perhaps?”
His smile was slow, a dazzle of sharp fangs. “I’m afraid not. I suppose that means I’ll have to keep you company.” He didn’t seem the least bit sorry.
The dance ended with them conveniently close to the French doors leading to the terrace. “Would you like to get some fresh air with me?” He smiled charmingly. “The scents are thick in here.”
“Would I!” she exclaimed. “I’ve been longing to escape since I got here.” She bit her lip, afraid he’d take that wrong. “I meant to say, you’re right about the air.”
He smiled and led her outside, but she balked when he made for the steps leading to the garden. At his inquiring look, she stammered, “I can’t. I have to keep up appearances.” It was important to fit in with the humans, and she wouldn’t risk all her grandmother’s hard work. Besides, it occurred to her that she didn’t really know him. She’d all but assumed he was her stone knight, but it was foolish to think he’d chosen her after less than an hour’s acquaintance. She had to be smarter about this.
“Ah.” He looked around and led her to a candlelit corner of the terrace and sat across from her at a small table. “Tell me about yourself. I had no idea there was a female close by. How long have you been here?”
She rubbed her hands nervously under the table. He was so handsome, he made it hard to think. “We moved into town last year, but we’ve been very careful. It’s just been me and Gran since the troubles.” The French had rampaged, smashing gargoyles. Thousands were killed in one night, and others fled the terror. “Gran was too old to survive the predators in the wild, and she felt I was too young. She said it was better to remain on the outskirts, to pretend to be poor gentry. Even though…” She’d been about to say “even though there’d been no chance of a mate”, but caught herself in time. “It’s difficult to be around so many humans, knowing what they’re capable of.”