Book Title: Scales & Stone (D’Vaire, Book 40)
Author and Publisher: Jessamyn Kingley
Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations
Release Date: November 9, 2023
Genre: MM Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Trope: Fated mates
Themes: Love, resolving the past
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 89 000 words
It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger.
Sometimes it takes finding love to appreciate the best parts of yourself.
Decades after leaving behind a king who attempted to sell him for wizard experimentation, Lex D’Vairedraconis lives in a place filled with loved ones. At Court D’Vaire, the dragon shifter has access to everything. He wants for nothing. But his lack of purpose frustrates him. Surrounded by successful people, Lex can’t figure out how to channel his energy. And he dearly wants to know why Fate hasn’t paired him with anyone.
Rutledge Blackstone is alone. As a gargoyle, he shouldn’t live among humans, but he fears the many enemies hunting his kind. To survive, gargoyles must separate. His parents, and even his twin brother, have left him in a house slowly crumbling around his ears. To comfort himself, he records every happy moment in a notebook, and waits for the day to add more memories to his treasure trove.
But the gargoyles aren’t being tracked by foes alone. The new gargoyle rulers and their allies want to aid people like Rutledge. To his shock, the Council of Sorcery and Shifters wants him to join, and he soon lands an invitation to the renowned sanctuary at Court D’Vaire. Before he can decide whether to accept, he meets Lex. Their attraction is instant, but Rutledge is anything but intrepid.
To build a life together, they must learn to love unconditionally and find their true purpose in life.
Everything inside Rutledge went on instant alert. To his shock and mild horror, his dick sprang to life, and he hoped no one noticed he was fully erect. The scent of dishwashing detergent, fabric softener, and household cleaner hit his nose with unrivaled intensity. The smells of a happy home, something Rutledge yearned for but feared to ask Fate for. His gargoyle roared with excitement, and the feeling of safety flowed through Rutledge as his gaze locked with a brown-eyed stranger.
The man was probably about six-foot-three, which made him about five inches taller than Rutledge. Although he wasn’t lanky by traditional standards, his shoulders weren’t nearly as broad as a gargoyle’s. His dark hair was short and combed away from his handsome face. Rutledge’s newfound ability to categorize multiple races told him the man was a dragon shifter.
The stranger had paired a soft beige sweater nearly the color of Rutledge’s shirt with faded jeans and boots that matched his scaly irises. His expression was as astonished as Rutledge felt. Rutledge wondered if he was unhappy with Fate’s choice for him, and he wished he could ask without embarrassing them both. Desperate to remember every detail of this life-altering moment, Rutledge didn’t think. He yanked out the notebook from his shirt pocket, along with a tiny pencil, and scribbled a detailed description of his mate onto the first blank page he flipped to.
No one in the room said a word as Rutledge muttered and glanced back at the man in between his hastily scrawled words to ensure that he described his gift from Fate properly. His gargoyle wanted to know more, but Rutledge could get to that once he’d finished recording everything to read later when he was alone again.
On his third page, Rutledge finally noted that there were wolves in the room, and he barely bit back his scream.
“Wolves,” Rutledge yelled.
“Conley, you didn’t tell him we were bringing Nox and Mortis?” asked a man who had to be six-six and had straight locks that fell to his shoulders in a silky rain of blue and navy.
“It’s better to explain that in person, I think,” Conley defended. “Rutledge Blackstone, allow me to present their Highnesses, High King Aleksander and High King Rafe D’Vaire. The wolves on either side of them are resurrected sentinels tied to their souls to protect them.”
“You’re supposed to introduce Squirt first,” Aleksander replied. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Blackstone.”
“I’m sure Dra’Kaedan doesn’t mind if I do things a little out of order,” Conley argued.
“No, but it’s irritating when people talk about me like I’m not in the room,” a short man with blond ringlets retorted. “Anyway, I’m Dra’Kaedan, and the guy scowling behind me is my mate, Brogan.”
“Why do you always assume I’m scowling?” Brogan asked, his navy eyes narrowed.
“Because he has yet to be wrong about it,” a man with a striking resemblance to Aleksander drawled in a beautiful, crisp English accent. The others in the room had fainter echoes of something far from the Texas drawls Rutledge was used to hearing, but this stranger’s accent was thicker. “Excuse us, we don’t know how to act appropriately. I’m Worth, and next to me is my best friend, Lex.”
Lex caught Rutledge’s full attention again, and he nearly jotted his mate’s name down, but he needed to know if the short name was as simple to spell as it was to pronounce.
“L-e-x?” Rutledge clarified.
A smile played around Lex’s mouth, and Rutledge noticed dimples so faint he nearly missed them, which he hurriedly added to his list.
“Yes, Rutledge, that’s how I spell it,” Lex said, his accent even more toe curling than Worth’s.
“How do you spell your name?” Lex asked.
“R-u-t-l-e-d-g-e,” he responded immediately and wondered why that was important. There was no notebook in Lex’s hands, but maybe he kept a journal at home?
“Hush, Mortis, I don’t know,” High King Rafe whispered loudly to the black wolf with hints of navy in his fur. Like Lex and Worth, his accented English told of a man who’d once lived far from Las Vegas.
Rutledge’s gaze widened as Lex winked at him.
“It’s okay, Mortis,” Lex said. “Rutledge is my mate, and that’s why it’s important to know how to spell our names.”
“Yes,” Worth shouted as he lifted his fists in celebration. “I told you your other half was out in the world waiting for you. Now you’ve finally left the house, and right here he is.”
Lex glared at the taller dragon. “That’s not quite how I remember the conversation.”
“Yes, well, if you’d written it down like our fair Rutledge, you could prove your point, but alas, it is your word against mine,” Worth countered. “Congratulations to you both.”
“Kind of makes you want to hit him with your car again, doesn’t it?” Aleksander asked Lex.
“It’s a frequent feeling I’ve grown used to in the years that have passed since,” Lex groused with a glare for Worth as he took two steps closer to the gargoyle, who was reeling from the extraordinary meeting with the D’Vaires. “Thank you for agreeing to this visit today, Rutledge. It is an absolute pleasure to meet you.”
Overwhelmed by Lex’s beauty, sexy accent, and lovely scent, Rutledge managed a blush and a nod.
About the Author. . .
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