QSFer Lexi Ander has a new MM sci fi/fantasy romance out, book three in the Valespian Pact: “Constant.”
Can a Warlord and a Prince find love when the galaxy is on the brink of war?
Chief Warlord Sohm’lan has a job he loves protecting the family who claims him as one of their own. He has known the loss of a mate and believed he would walk alone for the rest of his life… that is until Prince Mestor demanded more from him than duty. Unable to fathom why Mestor would want a widowed older warrior, Sohm’lan maintains his distance believing Mestor will eventually choose an amor closer in age and experience, even though the thought causes him more pain than it should.
Prince Mestor is tired of pretending and his patience is eroding. He needs Sohm’lan to see past their respective ranks and duties to who Mestor is underneath it all. Worried Sohm’lan will be lost to him if he pushes too hard, Mestor and Sohm’lan are caught in a dance of denied desires and tangled obligations.
Warlord Sohm’lan and Prince Mestor struggle to find a way to their heart’s desire against the backdrop of galactic conspiracies, the dangerous mission escorting the Fal’Amoric royals, and discoveries within the Vondorian family that threaten to tear apart everything they hold dear. The two of them stand together to fight the coming battle whatever the consequences.
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For the past summer, Prince Mestor had become increasingly aggressive in his pursuit of a relationship with him. So far, Sohm’lan had successfully ignored the subtle advances, waiting for someone else to catch the prince’s eye. If they were not careful, the noble houses would notice that he circled Sohm’lan as if readying to make a declaration. The unseemly behavior would cause people to draw the wrong conclusion and that Sohm’lan could not allow. Prince Mestor could pick from any of the eligible nobles, and yet, frustratingly, every time Sohm’lan turned around the young bull was there in his space, breathing his air as if daring Sohm’lan to do something about it.
At first, he thought it was an itch the prince was looking to scratch. Sohm’lan was twice Prince Mestor’s age and though he was a bull still in his prime, there was nothing remarkable about him that would explain the attention. The palace abounded with rumors of the princeling’s voracious appetites and sexual conquests. He had no need to hunt for a lover when they flocked to his sleeping platform unbidden.
Unfortunately, Prince Mestor persisted even when Sohm’lan had ignored his overtures, a stubbornness he knew all too well. The prince had started sleeping alone and turning away previous lovers who had decorated his sleeping platform like flashy limpets. People noticed, and rumors circulated like a hurricane. Sohm’lan listened as others speculated why the youngest twin now barred his door at night, wondering who had caught the prince’s attention, causing him to eschew all would-be lovers. So far, no one had guessed Prince Mestor pursued him, but that ignorance would only last so long.
When he was selected to accompany the heir apparent to pick up Prince Zeus, Sohm’lan had been relieved. Prince Zeus’s contract with the Imperial Space Station Bashker’Qa had come to an end and they would be bringing him home. Not that Sohm’lan was not overjoyed to see the youngest princeling again… but Sohm’lan needed to put some much-needed distance between him and Prince Mestor. He wanted space to breathe, especially since the princeling had stepped up his quest to lure Sohm’lan into his bed. While Sohm’lan was away, he had hoped someone worthier of Prince Mestor’s attentions would catch his eye. But then, Prince Mestor announced he was coming as well, dashing all Sohm’lan’s hopes.
He should have known better. With Princes Azaes taking over the throne in the next Galactic Standard year, he had been assuming more duties and responsibilities from his father. Emperor Valdor found it hard to keep from interfering and decided he would go to Valespia, leaving Prince Azaes in charge. Empress Ashari would be around if Prince Azaes needed assistance and Emperor Valdor was one vidcall away. But Emperor Valdor was not the only one who would be transitioning out his position, Sohm’lan would be retiring as his Chief Warlord and replaced by Prince Mestor. Sohm’lan would serve another year or so as Warlord before retiring completely from service. He had been chosen to take this trip to pick up Prince Zeus was a test run for Prince Mestor to act as Prince Azaes’s Chief Warlord. Sohm’lan’s responsibility was to mentor and guide, allowing Prince Mestor to assume full command.
Sighing wearily at his thoughts, he strode through the nearly deserted corridors; shift change was hours away and he had purposely taken a little-used pathway. He was exhausted and not in the mood to be stopped for any reason. The sooner he reached his cabin unimpeded the better. He needed every minute of rest he could get before his shift began. Though, he guessed he could have his schedule rearranged, if he contacted the Lieutenant assigned to the Warlords’ Administration, but he had too much to do to take time off.
The barest swish of a tail sweeping against the floor warned Sohm’lan he was being stalked. He gave no indication he heard the sound, continuing at the same pace. Someone was ready to pounce and all he could feel was irritated. Since the mercenaries had successfully boarded The Gorgon without detection, taking everyone by surprise, the ranks had taken to conducting sneak attacks in order to hone their senses. No one wanted to be caught unawares again. Many were ashamed, believing they had let the Vondorian family down. Though Sohm’lan approved of this new training, he was not in the mood to play.
Summers of training kicked in when his senses warned him of the impending blow. Sidestepping, he twisted and grabbed the uniform of the bull who dared attack him at this hellish hour. Uncaring how roughly he manhandled the warrior, he shoved the person into an alcove, ready to scare the tail off the warrior. Initially, he planned to give the warrior one of the least desired work details for getting caught… until he registered who stared back at him. Prince Mestor’s gaze was full of mischief and expectation.
Sohm’lan allowed himself a moment of weakness, raking his gaze over the unpolished black scales. If Mestor had the touch of a lover, his scales would gleam like the richest onyx. The Vondorian royals had red retractable spines, the coloring a clear warning that their barbs were poisonous. Sometimes, when stressed, the spines would unsheathe but lay lax against their back. Even with Sohm’lan’s roughly handling of Prince Mestor, his barbs did not flex and unsheathe. The twins were tall for Mar’Sani, not taller than their father, but Sohm’lan towered over them all. He must have been more tired than he thought, imagining how Prince Mestor would fit against him if he but took one step closer. He allowed himself the desperate wish to be younger, or better yet, another person entirely, then he would take Prince Mestor up on his offer of sexual congress.
Alarmed at the direction of his thoughts, he quickly released the uniform as if it burned him. “Prince…” he stammered as he went to step back.
Everything about the young bull’s countenance spoke of determination. With a snarl full of frustration, Prince Mestor lunged and Sohm’lan found their positions reversed. His back against the wall, the princeling’s fists curled around handfuls of his uniform, and the corner of his lip lifted in a silent snarl.
A two-time Rainbow Award recipient, Lexi has always been an avid reader and started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch) at a young age. She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a notebook, 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 80-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.