Rating: 4.5 🌈
Its been a year since the first book in The Gargoyles of Arrington series by Jenn Burke so I needed to get reacquainted with the arc storylines and particulars before diving into Stone Skin, the novel that’s centered around brother Rian O’Reilly. He’s one of the three remaining O’Reilly brothers who were cursed with turning into Gargoyles and eventual stone death until a witch aunt altered the curse just enough that finding true love would break it.
There’s just two now with the curse hanging over them. The others have either died or met with their true loves.
I admit I connected with this story more fully than I did with Drew and his human mate/lover from Stone Wings. That book had to set the foundation (a lot of information), and lay out the mysteries of the curse and O’Reilly family. It then had even more important details to be worked into the narrative such as a invasion of mountain lion shifters, then a wolf shifter pack element. All that put the fake boyfriend romance under a smaller spotlight, bookwise.
But from the beginning, I was highly invested in the lives of Professor Logan Davis, a person haunted by loss, and Rian, the tattoo artist brother, who’s determined to find a way out of the curse for himself and his remaining brother before it’s too late. And hoping that the unknown professor of legend and mythology will help him to find a clue in the past to unravel their ancient mystery.
Burke shows us so clearly how Rian is desperate to find the cure. We watch as the effects of the old magic falter and he’s sure he doesn’t have much time left. It’s hits us as hard as it does him and his family.
Then we shift to the Professor and a portrait of grief that’s raw and real.As the Professor isn’t even emotionally or mentally available in this world, traumatized by recent events. The author has made us care for him, for Rian, and now the reader is committed to solving the mystery and to the couple to finding their own happiness.
There’s multiple plots also brought forward from Stone Wings that get futher development. I enjoy a found family trope and this one is coming together beautifully.
While all the side storylines are still continuing, they take a secondary role and leave the relationship between Rian and Logan as the main focus. It works perfectly to let the reader understand the overall arc theme is coming together towards a resolution and yet still gives us enough information about the third brother to make us want to continue following the story into the next book.
The drama isn’t over yet.
I’m eagerly awaiting Stone Heart , the last in this series. Love a paranormal hurt/comfort love story? Then I’m recommending Stone Skin and the beginning novel, Stone Wings. Read them in order before the final book in the trilogy comes out.
The Gargoyles of Arrington series:
✓ Stone Wings #1
✓ Stone Skin #2
◦ Stone Heart #3 – June 27, 2023
Stone Skin: An M/M Paranormal Hurt/Comfort Monster Romance (The Gargoyles of Arrington Book 2)
Can he break his curse before time runs out?
Despite being cursed to sleep as a gargoyle for a hundred years, and awake for only twenty-five, Rian O’Reilly is an optimist. He knows he can find a way to break the curse through the tattooed runes he’s spent years mastering. No need to wait for this true love crap. But he hasn’t found the right combination of magic and his time is almost up. Rian isn’t ready to lose everyone and everything. Again.
Professor Logan Davis knows about loss. In the past year, he’s lost his mother, his twin, his werewolf pack, and he’s on the verge of losing his mind. So when he’s invited to Arrington to learn about a legend he’s never heard of, he jumps at the chance for a working vacation. He doesn’t expect to find a handsome gargoyle who needs his help to break a centuries-old curse—and he certainly doesn’t expect his grief to finally overwhelm him.
As Rian comforts Logan, he starts to wonder if there might be something to this true love crap after all. He’d give anything to help this gentle giant of a man, but Logan needs time to heal…and time is the one thing Rian doesn’t have.
STONE SKIN is a male/male hurt/comfort paranormal romance featuring a magical tattoo artist gargoyle who doesn’t want to go, a werewolf professor who needs time to rediscover himself beneath his grief, and a budding love that might be the answer to everything…if only it has time to bloom.