QSFer Lexi Ander has a new fantasy book out:
In the wake of birth and betrayal, Ushna takes the God Ashur to Tristan in a last desperate bid to save Tristan’s life—and is helpless to do anything but watch as Ashur instead buries him in a grave.
Though he has no desire to go on living, having now lost Brian and Tristan, Ushna has no choice. Not only do their children need him, the mysterious Simurgh has come out of hiding and forces him to continue on—for there is much to do and little time to do it, especially with treachery and danger closing in on them from every side.
For your added pleasure, here is an exclusive excerpt from Dragon’s Eye. This is from Ushna’s POV. He’s topside waiting for Tristan to return, but while he waits trouble is brewing and brings a big bad wolf to his front door. The leader of the Order of Anat responsible for all warriors has come to take the infant king, by force if necessary:
The stretch of yard between the front door and the security gate seemed interminable. Colonel Koma stood with his lieutenants on the far side of the iron bars. Construction equipment tore at the forest that abutted the front of the eight foot walls surrounding the grounds. The felled trees were dragged away and the sight of warriors working to clear the area only fueled the rage thrumming through my veils.
The colonel’s assessing gaze took in all who’d came with me. Years ago, I’d met Koma once or twice in passing and knew practically nothing about him. He was imposing in size with salt and pepper hair, and a growing sneer. “Pathetic. I’ve never seen such a worthless group of warriors and Magi.” Disdain filled Colonel Koma’s voice.
My fury rose, and I moved to confront the colonel. Gregori grabbed my elbow, holding me in place. Corey stepped forward. “You have no place here, Colonel. Why exactly have you come?”
“Don’t toy with me, warrior. You already know why. I’m here to collect the heir to the Seat of Zeev. ” The warriors gathered behind Koma shuffled their feet, nervously glancing between the colonel and us. Did all of warriors with the colonel agree and back this bold move? Could we be lucky enough for there to be dissention among his ranks?
“Oh, shut up!” Elder Ion Argus pushed through the warriors to stand next to the colonel.
Gregori growled low and harsh, his dislike of the elder palpable. Ion Argus was the member of the Council of Five responsible for policing the Magi College, which seemed to be a farce. The day before Tristan was put in the ground by Ashur, Elder Argus argued with him over his claim to the Wolf Throne. Tristan had gone through great measures to prove himself, going so far as forcing Elder Argus to his knees. That day the Council of Five swore an oath of secrecy. Who had betrayed Tristan was no longer a question.
With Gregori still gripping me, I charged forward dragging him along. “No! Neither one of you have the authority to take the pup.” Did Elder Argus know there was more than one babe? In case he didn’t he wouldn’t glean that information from me.
Elder Argus’s gaze settled on me where I stood behind Corey, still shielded. “Ah, Ushna Ahura-Yazda, I wondered if you would show your face. You have no standing here. It would be in your best interest to turn the heir over to the colonel who has the ability to protect our future king.”
“He is safe where he is,” I countered hotly. “What do you mean I have no standing? I’m the sire and—”
Colonel Koma chuckled darkly, there was bite to his words when he said, “Come now, concubine. There is no official recording of your union with Tristan Janick. You’re not his Twin Flame. There is no record of Tristan mating with you nor any proof of magical bindings. You would have me believe Tristan’s offspring are safe in the hands of the same warriors that allowed Tristan to die in the first place. Your nameless Oklahoma tribe is unworthy of such an honor. If you give the boy to me now, I will allow you to come along. I won’t be so callous as to separate the pup from his only parent.”
My gut twisted because the colonel wasn’t wrong. Tristan and I were waiting until after the pups were born to have a mating ceremony. Neither did we have time to report the binding to the council before Tristan was taken away. Yes, we called each other “husband” and the members of our tribe acknowledged me as consort, but Tristan and I had eschewed the legalities in order to keep from drawing attention to us. Our plan had backfired and by some antiquated law, I was now relegated to the status of a concubine, one step above a slave.
Even knowing all of this, I held out my hand, palm outward for all see the binding scar. Here was the evidence of my status. “Contrary to what you believe, we were bound the day before he was… he was… If you need proof, here it is. Call me a concubine again, Colonel.” I left the threat—the promise—there for Colonel Koma to pick up or ignore. His choice, but I would not roll over for him or anyone else.
“How convenient. I don’t suppose you can fabricate witnesses?” Elder Argus said snidely.
Around me the warriors moved restlessly, many gripping the weapons at their waist. The air filled with growls of warning. For one second, their response humbled me. Their actions said they would fight to the death to protect the pups and me.
Corey’s bark of laughter was loud and sharp, causing everyone, even me, to still. “Nice move, colonel but you’re wrong. You’ve overlooked one law.”
The colonel’s hard gaze switched to Corey, whatever he saw he didn’t seem impressed. “And who are you to challenge my authority?”
“I am Corey Bahar, Arms Master to Prince Tristan Javed Ksathra Janick. When the sovereign is away and in the absence of a prince consort, I am the highest ranking person on royal property. You can speak to Elder Janis Koller and Elder Miguel Luis, Tristan filed the proper documents with them. The Magi Triad, the Council of Five, even you are answerable to me. Bahbelle—Tribe Enkidu—is royal property. Now, I suggest you take your men back to the Order of Anat before you force me to do something you’ll regret. You have five minutes to remove yourselves. Elder Argus, you and I will talk later about your treasonous behavior.”
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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.
Web site: http://www.lexiander.com
E-mail: [email protected]