Book Title: Beauty and Valor (D’Vaire, Book 32)
Author and Publisher: Jessamyn Kingley
Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations
Release Date: October 20, 2022
Genres: MM Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Tropes: Fated mates
Themes: Love, overcoming obstacles
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 88 638 words
It is not a standalone story but does the book end on a cliffhanger.
Amazon Series Link
Perfection comes in many forms, and true courage is beautiful.
Preston Hawthorneonca-Stone is a warrior. In a fit of rage, his father changed Preston’s life on a horrible day in 1994. Now a brain injury survivor, Preston lives with his brother and their growing family. A recent addition to the Council of Sorcery and Shifters, Preston has landed his dream job of working with animals.
Resurrected in 1995, Ridgely Walsh is dedicated to his job and the tightknit group of friends he considers family. With his penchant for honesty, Ridgely is the level-headed and sometimes hard-assed member of their little group. Ridgely doesn’t play foolish games, and he accepts people at face value.
Although Ridgely yearns for a mate, nothing prepares him for the moment he meets Preston. The beautiful jaguar-human hybrid with the big brown eyes halts Ridgely in his tracks. Ridgely rapidly discovers his true purpose is to be a good partner to his other half. Preston is equally taken with Ridgely but fears how the fallen knight will handle his imperfections. Together, they must navigate the path Fate chose for them and discover what it means to love unconditionally.
As Preston walked to the table, Ridgely rose and immediately understood by the hitch in the hybrid’s gate that his slow speech wasn’t the only unique thing about him. Ridgely’s mind processed that information. In the Council world, they staffed hospitals and clinics with druids capable of mending nearly every malady. What they could not fix was anything in the brain and some issues in the spinal cord.
Ridgely wondered if Preston had been born with some anomaly or if he’d suffered an accident. As a human hybrid, Preston was more delicate than an average shifter, but neither that nor his physical challenges bothered Ridgely. His curiosity was genuine, but Ridgely would allow Preston to reveal his secrets in his own time. When his mate was ready, Ridgely hoped to understand what set him apart, but it was one of the many things intriguing about Preston.
With a smile, Ridgely circled the table and aided Preston into his seat.
“I’m so glad to see you,” Ridgely told Preston.
“I’m sorry I walk slow,” Preston replied, consternation making his brow furrow, and he locked his gaze on the shiny white plates on the table.
His lips pursed, Ridgely strode to his chair and sat. “I can’t imagine why you’re apologizing to me for how you walk. It makes no difference to me how you get to the table, just as long as you’re here.”
Preston’s dimples deepened as he lifted his head and smiled at Ridgely. “Dates are scary.”
“Right? I changed my shirt three times.”
“I picked mine out yesterday. My family helped.”
Their server appeared and took their drink orders. Ridgely went with a beer, while Preston chose a raspberry tea.
“I feel bad that I’m drinking and you’re not,” Ridgely said.
With a twist of his mouth, Preston’s thick lashes concealed his dark eyes. “I have to take some medications, and I’m not supposed to have alcohol with them.”
“I hope you don’t feel like apologizing for that too.”
Preston pulled his lips in, and humor danced in his gaze. “I was considering it.”
“Believe it or not, I figured that out. Your face is pretty expressive.”
“I know. It makes me a terrible liar.”
Ridgely chuckled. “That’s fine with me. I’m not a fan of dishonesty.”
“I don’t like it either.”
“Let’s decide what we’re ordering so we can compare notes and find more things in common.”
“Okay,” Preston said. “Have you eaten here before?”
“Once. I had steak, I think. I remember the food being delicious.”
Their drinks arrived, and they informed the server of their choices of cuisine. The server took the menus and left them alone again.
“I have a hard time remembering things,” Preston informed Ridgely quietly. His lanky frame tensed, and Ridgely’s instinct was to soothe the troubled man. “Jordan used to make me lists for my daily hygiene and other routine tasks. Without them, I’d forget to do the basics like brushing my teeth, taking my medications, putting everything I need for the day in my bag, and feeding my kittens.”
“Sounds to me like you guys approached a problem and found a workable solution.”
“You have a positive attitude. I like that about you.”
“Thank you, Dimples. I like you too. Tell me more about your job. I know you’re a big animal lover. Have you always worked at rescues?”
Preston grinned at the nickname, and Ridgely loved the joy on his beautiful face.
“No, I couldn’t get anyone to hire me when we lived as humans. The Council has programs designed to help people like me, and that’s how I was hired at Felidaes. I worked in a restaurant prior to that. My boss was nice, but it was boring.”
“I’m glad you joined the Council, otherwise it might’ve been a long time before we met.”
“I read that humans killed the leaders of the fallen knights.”
Ridgely nodded. “They did centuries ago. I try not to be biased against anyone, but the humans I’ve interacted while I’m working haven’t treated me or my co-workers kindly.”
“It wasn’t horrible to live as humans, but it was a lie. I didn’t want to make friends because I hated being dishonest about myself. Although Jordan worked hard to ensure I had the care I needed, I had to switch doctors constantly so they wouldn’t discover I was a hybrid. I’m happy I don’t have to deal with that any longer. I have more opportunities, and it’s a relief to be myself. And we had to shift in our apartment, so my beast didn’t like that.”
Their food arrived, and Ridgely eagerly dug into his potatoes. Just as Ridgely remembered, the taste was exquisite, but not nearly as enchanting as the man across from him.
About the Author
Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.
Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.
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