Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Releasing Chaos by Lexi Ander ~ (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

blog banner rcTitle: Releasing Chaos

Author: Lexi Ander

Series: Sumeria's Sons #6
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Categories: Gay, Paranormal, Poly, Urban Fantasy  
Word Count: 132,000 words
Cover Artist: Kirby Crow
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Everything Tristan, Ushna, and Brian have fought for comes down to the moment they face Inanna and Marduk. Before then, Ushna must embrace his destiny and be transformed by Tiamat. But he returns with a fractured mind and will need the help of the new firebird or he'll be lost to the insanity of a primordial God. If he's lost, so is the balance Brian and Tristan sorely need.

Tristan has vowed to care for his ex-Flame, Theo Sullivan, who is doomed to forget more and more with each use of his new ability. When not dealing with his stubborn ex, Tristan must free the warriors stolen by the government and devise a trap for Inanna.

And that's only the start of the challenges, and everything that can still go wrong.

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~The Nameless
We Nameless had been running hard for many days. Something crawled under our ruff, beckoning us to go southeast. The part of us that was once human cowered in the back of our minds, pleading with us to stay in our dens, but we could not. The pull was strong, and we responded to the urgent need that seeped into our paws from the ground.
"Hurry," The Earth Mother whispered to us.
Months ago, our alpha freed us from the vileness of our human side, locking away the corruption so we could teach our humans the lessons they had either forgotten or were never taught. We shared the joys of running on four paws, of being family, of supporting each other through the hunt. We gave them our love for the land, the sky, the water, and for each other. We showed them how to work together and yet still be individuals. For we were wolf. Hunter. Predator. Mother. Father. Family.
Now as they proclaimed their fear, we would teach them how to stand together, to use their instincts to discern right from wrong. The Earth Mother called us to the alpha's aid. Though he made us Nameless, he had shown us mercy and set us free. He would forever be our alpha and we his tribe, his people.
As we loped, closing the distance between us and the one who needed us, the Earth Mother pushed healing through our paws, fortifying our energy and curbing our hunger. We stopped briefly alongside a stream to drink our fill before once again we hurried on. The urgency rode us as we ran across fields, through sleepy towns, over grassy plains, and entered foreign woods. We were close now and we hoped we would arrive in time.
As one, we threw our voices into the wind. "We come to stand by your side. To be your shield. To hunt with you and take down your prey. To protect our people. We come, our Alpha, we come."
~Jory Swaine
I didn't know what disturbed me from a sound sleep, but an itch between my shoulders forced me from my room to prowl the dark house. For a couple of days now, I'd been sensing… I pushed out the back door, barely catching the screen before it slapped noisily against the frame, waking the whole house.
Before tragedy had taken Tristan away from us for half a year, he'd entrusted into my care the wolf forms of the traitors who'd attempted to murder him. Members of Tribe Uras collaborated with the rogue, Craig Stoiler, and invaded Tristan's ranch. I would've had them killed for their treachery, but Tristan had another idea. He'd stripped the people of their human form, giving their wolf dominion. The demonstration of his power as the supreme alpha and prince of our people proved his lineage to the doubting members of the Council of Five, but there was an additional reason for his action. He'd given them a second chance, of sorts, and ordered some twenty-eight wolves to follow my commands as their handler.
Whatever type of transformation magic Tristan performed had a lasting effect. With the events that had transpired following his return, I didn't have a chance to relay to him I could still feel those wolves. He'd tied them to me that fate-filled day, not that I was upset. What I sensed of them was harmless, a simple awareness nestled in the back of my mind, telling me their state of being and general welfare… until now.

The stars shone sharp and bright overhead, the sky a virtual blanket of diamonds. The sight still made my breath catch, especially after spending so many years in California cities, where the light was muted. My eyes were drawn to the northwest. The string attaching me to them pulled with their sense of urgency. They were coming. Perhaps it was time to tell Tristan about my relationship with them. Something caused the pack to leave their dens in the Canadian tundra. I wasn't sure if this sense of urgency coming from them was a portent of good or evil. For Tristan's sake, I hoped the banished members of Tribe Uras didn't intend to attack him a second time. I'd grown quite fond of the playfulness of their wolves in the corner of my mind, and I'd hate to be the one who sent them on to their next reincarnation.

Exclusive Excerpt:

~Tristan Janick

Ushna's little green-and-yellow dragonet, Ladon, skittered into the room, his potbelly swaying from side to side as he scampered to us. Ladon communicated using his front fingerlike paws, but only Ushna understood the sign language mixed with the chirping. Many thought Ladon was Ushna's pampered pet, which Ladon encouraged with his unabashed begging when food was brought around. But Brian and I knew differently. The dragonet was sentient, highly intelligent, and too crafty for his own good. Like now when his showed care and forethought, bringing us damp cloths clamped in his mouth.

Shelving the disagreement, Brian and I wiped Theo down as I told Brian what little I knew of Theo's death. "Inanna tortured him. Theo discovered his chosen mate, Daniel, was… actually, I'm not sure. Whatever Theo suspected scared him into ensuring I had guardianship of his children. He photographed the people Daniel associated with and left the pictures for me in a safe deposit box. Upon investigation, we discovered they were a part of the Servants of the Glorious One, the group we told you about, assassins who wanted to end the Lycan royal line." Ladon sniffed Theo's hair curiously.

"When Ushna and I were enforcers, we hunted a serial killer by the name of Craig Stoiler. He was supposed to have been put to death, but the elder in charge of The Detention Center defied the decree. He suspected Craig was a member of the assassins, and kept Craig alive for questioning. Somehow, Theo discovered the people Craig murdered resembled me, and he finagled his way into seeing Craig. It wasn't until much later we exposed Craig Inanna's avatar. I'm pretty sure Theo was close to uncovering Inanna's and Daniel's plot. Either she or Craig tortured Theo to death before members of Tribe Uras broke Craig out of the Detention Center. They came to the ranch to kill me—not that they succeeded, obviously."

Brian pulled the soft blanket up to Theo's chest. "Poor bastard. What happens with him now?"

"Becoming a child of Tiamat, she made him anew, giving him a creature whose main purpose is to heal. There is a price though."

I frowned, recalling the conversation with Theo and Tiamat before I was reborn. He'd accepted her terms without hesitation. The cost was high.

"Isn't there always?" Brian moved to my side, rubbing his palm over my back as if he sensed my unease.

"Deep healings will eat his memories, eventually wiping everything away until Theo forgets who he used to be and what he did in all his incarnations." I crossed the room to the window, overlooking the three stone circles bordering the lapis lazuli-tiled pool.

The center of two of the three circles had dark, freshly turned soil. One was where I'd been reborn, the ground expelling and pushing me to the surface. I retained no recollection of the incident because I'd been lost in the dreams—the memories of all the lives I'd lived. The other was where Brian had been reborn.

Now, I stared at the third ring of stones, the ground covered in lush green grass and, as of yet, unblemished. There, Ushna would surface, and all Brian and I could do was wait.
Brian joined me at the window, looping his arms around my waist, encouraging me to rest against him. "Why would he give up his memories? That's insane."

"Imagine remembering your entire existence warped by Inanna's touch. What I didn't realize when bonded to Theo as his Twin Flame was that he never really liked himself. The two of us didn't balance each other as we should have. With each incarnation, I had you and Ushna, but Theo… he had no one. He spent so many lives being manipulated, pushed around like a pawn, and never regarded as a person. Even I left him to Daniel's machinations, in the end."

Brian's arm tightened. "Stop that. How were you supposed to know?"

"Yeah, I know, but looking back with the knowledge I have now, I feel guilty for not asking more questions. I assumed so many things and—"

"Please stop, my prince." When I glance to the bed, Theo leaned up on an elbow, scrubbing his palm over his face. He dropped his hand to look at me with sad, solemn blue eyes. "You carry no burden for my choices. I'm just grateful you encouraged Tiamat to give me a second chance."

Theo rose, pulling the scale silk around his waist, concealing his nudity before bowing on bended knee. I crossed quickly to him. "Don't kneel to me."

"No, this is as it should always have been between us. You are my prince, my future king. Brian and Ushna will be King Consorts. I will always kneel before you in respect." He looked up at me, his eyes partially shrouded by a curtain of curly blond hair, hope shining through. "Besides, you had enough compassion to allow me to atone, Xenres Tristan." Theo returned his gaze to the floor. "I agreed to the beast Tiamat chose because I'm not proud of who I used to be. I would rather forget than remember the hundreds of incarnations I acted like an ass. Tiamat removed from me all ties to Inanna so the Goddess will no longer be able to use me as a pawn."

"But what about your wolf, your children?" Brian queried, not cruelly, but with a curiosity that said he was trying to understand Theo's decision to leave behind his animal and all sense of his identity.

"My wolf is still with me, only his form has been changed into a bird of healing. As for my children, I love them with every fiber of my being, but I'm not worthy of them. They have the three of you to raise, love, and care for them as they should be. That I will see them from time to time as they grow, know they are happy, is enough."

I clasped the back of his neck, my heart aching for him. Theo didn't have to give up everything. "They love you."

He continued to stare at the floor, his voice rough as if he choked on his words. "You should know by now that I'm no good for them, my prince. Please. After so many healings, there will come a day I won't remember them anyway. Don't introduce me back into their lives only for them to lose me all over again when my memory of them is eventually erased. They have hurt enough. I'd rather watch them from a distance as they live a life full of joy, than crush them when the day comes when I cannot recognize their faces. I beg of you: I can only bring them pain."

Brian joined us, standing to my left. He reached out and rested his palm on Theo's bent head. "You can't mean that. What of your Twin Flame? Now that the false tie to Tristan has been removed, surely you will find the one meant for you."

Theo finally glanced up, his blue eyes stormy wells of sorrow. Had he always carried such pain? Or was the anguish caused by something else altogether? Perhaps the memories of his incarnations triggered the emotion. "Tiamat muted the pull of the Twin Flame so my Bashert would learn to love me for who I will become, not deny me for who I once was. I pray he or she will accept me even though I may forget them after a healing. As for my children." He glanced away from Brian's probing gaze, his eyes going to the open window, his bottom lip trembling as he said, "Sometimes I believe the only good in me came from the slice of Tristan's soul left behind when our bond was severed." Theo glanced at me. "Can I, the terrible person I once was… probably still am, have anything good to give them that is strictly me and not remnants of you?"

Before I responded or found the words to argue with him, Theo shifted into his new animal. The scale silk around his waist fluttered to the floor as he transformed into a large, brilliantly-feathered bird. In his human form, Theo's scars twisted his visage, making a mockery of the beauty he'd once been. But as the Firebird, his feathers gleaming orange, red, and gold, Theo was more breathtaking than he'd ever been before. When Theo stretched his neck and shook out his feathers, the plumage on his crest and tail was tipped with an iridescent blue that glimmered in the sunlight.

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Lexi 2014-11-07

About the Author:

Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners. 

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