Jade: First & Last
by M.D. Grimm
Series: The Stones of Power (Book 9)
Release Date: July 11, 2023
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Primary Plot Arc: Romance
LGBTQ+ Identities: Gay, Demi
Length: Novel / 67,000 Words / 253 Pages
Tropes: soulmate, redemption, villian-to-hero, found family, forgiveness, anti-hero
Keywords/Categories: elves, wizards, dragons, quest, war, fantasy, gay romance, mm romance, romance, mm, new release, announcement
Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life.
Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.
However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness.
Morgorth and Aishe must contend with a deadly threat that could spell disaster for their world.
Payshthas were the first of the Mother’s intelligent children. It is rare for true friendship to form between them and another species—which makes Morgorth’s bond with Enfernlo unique. And it is due to their friendship that Morgorth doesn’t hesitate to answer Enfernlo’s plea for help.
A thief has stolen something vital from Enfernlo’s colony—a stone of power.
Their hunt for the stone leads them to a war torn kingdom, and Aishe can hardly stomach what he sees. The devastation urges him to assist however he can, no matter the risk. Meanwhile, Morgorth is faced with reminders of the monster he used to be, and contemplates how far he’s come, and yet how far he still has to go. And when his estranged mentor joins them on their search, Morgorth is forced to confront his resentment and sense of betrayal, and use Master Ulezander as a tool to save the payshthas.
Forced into a deadly quest where trust is in short supply, and faced with challengers for the stone, Morgorth must put his faith in those he loves and in himself… and become a champion not just of the Mother but for Karishian itself.
Warnings: magic violence, dragon violence, war-torn country
✨ Exclusive Excerpt ✨
Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Jade: First and Last.” This is the latest entry in The Stones of Power, and the structure became a quest story, much the same as the first book in the series. I kept making it worse for my guys as they searched for the jade stone of power. And I had a bit too much fun doing so. I only have four books left before I wrap things up for Lord Morgorth and Aishe, and I am both excited and saddened. They’ve been with me for a decade, and it will be an end of an era when I let them go. If you like magic, surly, anti-hero mages (wizards), their loyal, long-suffering mates, and a fun setting with quirky supporting characters, this series might be for you!
Enjoy this exclusive excerpt!
The scent of morning tickled my nose, though it was still dark when I finished with my last patient. I stumbled to my feet and leaned against one of the poles holding up the tent, taking careful breaths. Despite the added boost of the bond, I was about ready to fall flat on my face, and my headache was throbbing at the base of my head. I’d managed to heal twice as many as I would have before, and Morgorth had gotten the rest. Putting someone to sleep was the only healing magick he was confident with, and he’d used it effectively.
For the first time in hours, the tent was quiet. Peaceful.
I scrubbed my face.
Someone touched my elbow, and I turned, almost falling into Morgorth’s arms. The pity and anger in his eyes reflected my own emotions.
“Once we get that cursed stone, we have to find a way to stop this madness,” he whispered, his words strained.
I nodded, resisting the urge to hug him. I was covered in blood and spit and tears. He sighed and placed a hand on my chest, a simple spell wiping away the evidence of my labor. Then he hugged me, and I clung to him. After all that healing plus lack of sleep made me a bit delirious, and I struggled not to pass out. I suspected Morgorth was in the same state.
“Y-you didn’t say you were a m-mage.”
We pulled apart and faced the old guard who’d led us here. He glanced between us, upper lip sweaty, hands fidgety.
Morgorth crossed his arms and shrugged. “I don’t like to advertise myself unless there’s a reason.”
The guard swallowed hard and held out a small pouch to me that jingled with coins.
I pushed it away. “You need it more than we do.”
He let out a sob and covered his face. Morgorth gaped at me in alarm as I moved forward and touched his shoulder.
“Thank you,” he said, though I could barely hear him through the blubber. “Thank you so much. I can’t repay you. I can’t.”
“We didn’t do this for payment,” I said. “You never told us your name.”
The guard sucked in a breath and gathered himself. He wiped his face, and despite looking a bit embarrassed, he met our gazes.
“Bernard. Captain of the Patrol Guards.”
My eyebrows snapped up as he turned to me.
He nodded. “You h-helped my g-grandson.” He swallowed hard to stop another outburst.
I wanted to hug him, the poor man. I squeezed his shoulder instead and nodded.
“I heard this kingdom has a mage?” Morgorth said, his tone at its gentlest.
Bernard nodded as he clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes. “Aye. As if it helps at all. She never leaves the castle, preferring to stay with the nobles and eat pretty.” He spat on the ground before paling and glancing at Morgorth. “Not to say that I think that of all mages. I mean—”
Morgorth staved off a panic attack when he shook his head. “I don’t like a lot of mages myself. They’re arrogant assholes, all of them.”
Bernard exhaled sharply and gave a short laugh.
“Do you know her name?”
Morgorth nodded. “Thanks. Look, if you still feel the urge to repay us, since we won’t accept the coins, I wonder if you could keep your eyes and ears open for me, and gather information. A thief stole something very important to me. To mages in general, actually. They’re possibly a sorcerer. I don’t have much to go on, sorry. But they might show a more than passing interest in the payshtha colony that lives near here. And keep all this under your hat, will you? I don’t need nosey people getting in my way.”
Bernard appeared delighted to help us. “Of course. Not a word will pass my lips about anything. In fact, I’ve gone suddenly deaf, and I don’t know anything. About anything.”
Morgorth grinned. “That’s the spirit. I don’t know how long we’re going to be in Kirg but you know this place better than we do. So you’ll find us, I have no doubt.”
“I will. You should stay at the Pony Inn. It’s not far from here, just down that way.” He pointed. “Tell them Bernard sent you. They’ll set you up, no charge.”
Morgorth raised a brow. “I have plenty of coin.”
“It’s no good here.” He smiled.
Morgorth snorted. “If you say so.”
Bernard looked around the quiet tent as the healers seemed to ignore us on purpose. The five other guards who had followed Bernard had left as soon as we’d arrived, continuing their patrol. I’d thought Bernard had stayed to keep an eye on us. Now I knew it was due to fear over his grandson.
“I, uh.” Bernard scratched his head. “I never got your names.”
I met Morgorth’s gaze. He shrugged. “It’s going to get out that another mage is here. I wasn’t exactly subtle with my spells.”
“Great,” I said, but I couldn’t regret what we’d done. “I’m Aishe of the Ravena Tribe.”
“I’ve never heard of that tribe. Though it’s clear you’re not from here, and I don’t know much about dialen except for the Jesllan tribe in the desert.”
My heart pinched with his confession. “No. My tribe once lived far northeast of here. But I’m the last of them.”
Bernard frowned but didn’t prod. He turned to Morgorth.
Morgorth let out a dramatic sigh. “Don’t freak out on me, Bernard. I’m starting to like you.” He grimaced as if taking a plunge into ice water. “I’m Lord Morgorth, Dark Mage of the North.”
Bernard’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped. Disbelief mixed with shock as Morgorth stared at him, unamused.
“B-but… you can’t… I mean….” He stared at the wounded Morgorth had helped.
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” Morgorth said softly. “I was a villain, I won’t deny that. But that was another lifetime.” He glanced at me, his gaze softening. “These days, I pick and choose my battles, and I’m more discerning about who deserves my wrath.”
He turned back to Bernard and touched his shoulder. “And I promise you that it isn’t this city and it’s not your people.”
The Stones of Power 1-9 are available for purchase at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.
I’m currently working on the next Shifter Chronicles book, as well as the first book in a duology concerning two sisters and their love lives with dragons and wolves.
More information on my catalog can be found at my website.
I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams
M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).
After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.