Book Title: Matebond Dance (D’Vaire, Book 36)
Author and Publisher: Jessamyn Kingley
Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations
Release Date: April 27, 2023
Genres: MM Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Tropes: Fated mates
Themes: Enemies to lovers
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 95 600 words
It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger.
Shane is a talented dancer, adores his family, and cannot imagine the world without his best friend. Fate made him a shifter, and at seventeen, Shane discovers the boy he has been crushing on for years is his mate. Sadly, Shane’s best friend is not interested in a romantic relationship—especially not with a man.
Gryphon cannot handle learning that Shane is his mate. For most of their childhood, they dreamed of sharing a stage and confided their innocent secrets. But Gryphon never thought of Shane as a potential love interest. Shane is a man, and Gryphon is not gay. Confused and terrified, Gryphon asks Shane to end their matebond forever.
Destroyed by Gryphon’s rejection and refusing to defy the goddess who put them together, Shane leaves everything behind and starts fresh thousands of miles away. Nine years later, both men are accomplished dancers and have barely spoken in years, despite the connection they hide from nearly everyone. Shane is called home to help his father, and he must confront his past—and the other half of his soul.
With time and space, Gryphon has cast aside the lies he once told himself, and he no longer pretends he is not attracted to Shane. However, Shane has zero interest in reconciliation, and there may be no salvaging their matebond. The choreography of two devoted lovers sets sparks flying, but these two mates have little left between them but spite.
Shane was used to having to catch on to routines swiftly, and it was expected of a dancer to learn without needing to be told repeatedly. But Shane wanted to invite no comment on his abilities or performance, so he concentrated harder than ever as they wound through the first hour of rehearsal. When Shane figured out that he’d be within inches of Gryphon for the entire thing, he wished he’d asked more questions.
The last thing he wanted was the rich scent of pine trees distracting him or the curiosity of his pony about their mate. His first shift had been weeks before Shane left Nevada, so his beast wasn’t that familiar with Gryphon or his griffin. Or the way Gryphon stirred up every one of Shane’s senses just by existing. It was annoying, and he was already feeling worn out by midday. Ian called out for a five-minute break, and Shane wanted to run from the room without ever returning.
“You picked up the steps quickly,” Gryphon said as Shane sat on the floor and stretched.
“Don’t sound so surprised, and stop towering over me. The room is big enough for you to pick another spot to stretch.” Normally Shane took no issue with anyone’s height, but it was annoying that Gryphon topped him by about six or seven inches.
“I guess you aren’t going to try to be friendly.”
Shane didn’t bother glancing up at Gryphon. “No, I’m not. Now go away.”
“You’re going to have to talk to me at some point.”
Bracing his elbows on the floor since his legs were in a full split, he glared at Gryphon. “Why would I have to do that?”
“Seriously? You’re going to pretend—”
“Do not start this shit at work,” Shane snapped. “In this room, you act professional. Whatever else exists between us has nothing to do with this show or what is expected of us as dancers, so you leave that crap at the door. Do you understand?”
Without a word, Gryphon pivoted on his heel and stalked off. If Shane didn’t immediately look away and enjoyed the taut muscles of Gryphon’s ass as he angrily crossed the room, then it was his business. Once Gryphon was occupied elsewhere, Shane focused on himself and ensuring his brain had held on to the choreography by playing it through his head.
His personal life was not allowed to follow him into a rehearsal or show, and he’d be damned if he’d discuss his matebond at work. Shane had no desire to debate it afterward either, and his plan was to leave Nevada exactly how he’d done so nine years ago. Gryphon had made his choice. They were not going to honor Fate, but Shane’s stance hadn’t changed.
But maybe it should. Lightning hadn’t charged from the sky to smite Shane, and he’d been denying his mate for nearly a decade. His beast would never be happy if he and Gryphon continued this way, and the last thing Shane wanted was an angry or melancholy pony adding to his woes. Thankfully there were plenty of public spaces in Vegas to shift in because Shane foresaw many miles being run as he prepared for the show. He shook his head. Severing Fate’s decision would never sit right with him, but he’d give it some more thought.
The strange thing was that Shane could not picture a second matebond replacing his current one. Maybe it was because his feelings about the situation were too strong, and the sting of Gryphon’s rejection gutted him constantly. Or perhaps Shane had accepted that genuine happiness like his parents shared—and what he hoped his siblings had found with their other halves—was too far-fetched for him.
Shane didn’t think himself undeserving of love despite his selfishness and misery. It took keeping himself isolated to navigate a world that rarely made sense to him, and yes, it still dearly hurt that Gryphon was so eager to be rid of him. The first day of rehearsals, and Gryphon was in his face demanding they discuss the demonic severing he so desperately desired. The petty part of Shane that wanted to prevent Gryphon from fully enjoying his future with Mallory flatly refused to consider even formal separation papers.
It was difficult to admit that he was a shitty person, but he’d accepted that about himself years ago. Without Shane, Gryphon wouldn’t have a family or be performing as part of the Ó Dubhghailes’ dance company. Shane had offered that boy his heart, and everything else he had to give. In return, Gryphon had spent only minutes deciding that their matebond didn’t suit him. Shane closed his eyes, and both man and beast relived that moment of absolute agony.
His pony groaned, and Shane echoed the sound as he stood and took a moment to tug on his unkempt hair. He had to get his brain focused on the present. There was no way he’d survive the upcoming months if he kept delving into the events of nine years ago. It was imperative that he stay far from those memories and keep up a façade of pure professionalism.
Shane wasn’t in Nevada for a family reunion or to rekindle his lost friendship with Gryphon. That little boy who’d loved Gryphon was long dead, and Shane was a man in no mood to resurrect him.
About the Author . . .
Join her Facebook group, Jessamyn's Ruffian's