QSFer Lexi Ander has a new MM fantasy book out:
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.
Sumeria’s Sons Book Six
It was no use trying to convince myself the human military only questioned my people, attempting to gather data about Lycans. The Servants of the Glorious One had organized the transfer of my warriors into human hands. Sold them, actually. Jory had uncovered the tidbit a couple of days after we’d freed the warriors from their Lupe form and destroyed The Center. The Servants were given millions of dollars in exchange for some seventy Lycans, with more promised. They had helped the military bypass the barrier surrounding Bahbelle, giving away the location of our largest Tri-City, and endangering over five hundred thousand civilians. All the while, the Servants had taken over The Center and conducted their own heinous experiments. On my desk was a list of every warrior who had died in their care or was currently missing. It was far too long.
“Tristan.” Brian’s soft voice brought me out of my dark thoughts. Smoke rolled from my nostrils, turning the air hazy. “We’ll bring our warriors home.” His grave gaze was tinged with sorrow.
Suddenly, it hit me. Brian would be leaving with the scorpion-men within hours, and wouldn’t be coming with us to free our people. My skin rippled uncomfortably as my dragon reacted to my volatile emotions, demanding to be let loose. Needing to be outside where I wouldn’t damage anything, I hurried through the chamber. The warriors and Magi took one look at my countenance and rushed to move out of my way.
Finally, outside on the open green, I release my tenuous hold on my human self. My dragon emerged in a blink of an eye: my outer clothes tore, splitting asunder, while the scaled silk I wore underneath absorbed into my skin. I’d never transformed so quickly. The power of Sanctuary surrounded me, like calling to like, and I kept growing. The ground moved further and further away. My body filled with so much energy I thought my skin would burst. My dragon shouldered me aside, pushing me behind him in his bid to protect me as my rage and terror bled over us. When we couldn’t stand the pressure anymore, we lifted our long, barbed neck and bellowed, releasing the internal agony in a great gout of red fire and smoke.
Usually, when I took my other forms, whether it be wolf, Lupe, or dragon, I shared a mind with my beast, our dual personalities in sync, never overwhelming each other or one dominating the other. Perhaps if I hadn’t suppressed my emotions, or if I hadn’t reacted so strongly to the information Jory had given… Yeah, perhaps I would have had more control and kept our thoughts coherent, logical. Perhaps. But I’d failed. And so the dragon took over, and I was swept along by the unbridled fury pouring from me.
“Mine!” he thought, over and over again. The recent bouts of jealousy and possessiveness over my inner circle clearly did come from my dragon. “My people. My brothers. My children. My mates. None can have. None can take. Make them pay!”
Around us, our warriors took their Lupe form, their blood-red eyes scanning for a threat, not understanding that there was no immediate danger. We counted our wolves, fierce pride flaring at their loyalty and their protectiveness.
“Silly wolves,” Dragon thought, “I’ll be the one to protect them.”
Dragonets and serpents poured onto the green, their jewel-toned scales glinting in the bright sunlight. “Mine, too.” We growled smugly. They were fierce and dangerous. Perfection for our hoard.
The call of our name by familiar voices drew our gaze to the doorway of the King’s Tomb. The ziggurat was the perfect size and shape to drape our form over and bask in the noonday sun.
Stepping from the doorway, the dark figure of our Ushna held out his arms, beckoning to us. Behind him followed our Brian.
The worry and pain caused by the thought of losing him dimmed immeasurably when we took in Brian’s scent, the taste of his strength clear on our tongue when we licked the air. His power was unlike ours. He was Tiamat’s Sword, the weapon bringing judgement. At his center sat a hard, cold core much like a length of steal. When he chose to act, his resolve could be just as unbending. Resolute. Unforgiving. Only the Heart nudging, guiding the Sword would bring about mercy. I worried for him, but Dragon found Brian’s strength exceeding the challenge and danger looming before him. He didn’t doubt our mate’s competence. Reluctantly, I allowed my beast’s confidence to soothe my concerns, although they didn’t completely vanish.
As our ire eased, we shrank back to our original size, still large but not towering over all. As we flopped onto our belly, the dragonets and serpents crawled over us, rubbing our scales together. The warriors released their Lupe and took up defensive positions. Corey stood in the doorway to the King’s Tomb and we rumbled at him, wanting our brother to come to us. “Mine.” He hadn’t seen our form before and we preened, stretching our long neck so our blue-green scales would sparkle like precious gems. We wanted our hoard around us so we could watch and guard all we held dear. Overhead, the firebird circled, sending haunting cries into the now quiet mid-day. “Mine.”
The hunters peeked around smooth white columns, their dark faces filled with awe and fear. We beckoned them through the soil. “Come, you are mine, too,” we sent, rumbling our pleasure when the hunters didn’t hesitate.
They came to us, transforming into the original forms Tiamat had given them. At one time, the defeated children of Tiamat had been depicted in the oldest of calendars, their likeness carved into the night sky. Fierce scorpion-men with humanlike torsos, their deadly bodies carrying the scent of heated desert. Weather-Beasts with their regal lion heads and dark, golden manes falling thick over their shoulders, eagle-taloned feet scraping polished stones as they rushed to greet us. In the very rear we espied two Mushussu, the furious serpent, their sleek dragon body too big to be hidden by the pillars, their long, scaled necks stretching to see us over the crowd. We stared back at their horned countenance, seeing Tiamat’s touch in the color of their sea-green eyes, the scent of their longing so poignant we responded with a low clucking. “Come to us,” we pushed to them. “Mine.” They came, their feet marching daintily across the stone.
Our hoard gathered around us and we hummed with pleasure, but there were more we had to bring together. Those who’d been imprisoned. We gazed to the northeast, stretching our senses to the Earth, and searching for our lost ones.
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.