Please join us in welcoming author Lexi Ander today to celebrate the release of the final book in the Sumeria’s Sons series, Releasing Chaos. Lexi has written a Flash Fiction piece especially for this visit, and there’s also a huge tour-wide giveaway, so be sure to check out those details below.
Thank you for having me on the blog today! Releasing Chaos is the last book in the Sumeria’s Sons series. For the final sendoff, I have put together a series of flash fiction pieces that happen near the end of Dragon’s Eye or in between Dragon’s Eye and Releasing Chaos. These are little on-the-side scenes that don’t have an impact on the plot arc of Sumeria’s Sons so you won’t encounter any spoilers for the final book. This takes place between the end of Dragon’s Eye and the beginning of Releasing Chaos. Enjoy!
Justus whimpered. He knew he was dreaming but he couldn’t wake up. Even his wolf was unable to drag him out of this fantasy land… or was this place that plagued him something more?
Always the dreams started out with him running on four legs through the forest, but he wasn’t a wolf. He feared nothing but neither did he love anyone. Sure, he loved the land and the creatures that roamed it but there was only one of him. At first, he didn’t mind until he met the beautiful priestess who taught him about his man shape and lured him to the city kingdom of Uruk. There he met Randy for the first time which confused him because Randy’s name was that of an ancient hero. His Twin Flame didn’t belong among the mud brick city that didn’t have electricity or phones. And the Randy in his dream was different, cold and unforgiving, always shadowing a Goddess. But the people feared Randy, their voices lifted in prayer to the Gods, crying for help from their beloved and dreadful king.
He woke gasping for breath, feeling as if he’d been running for miles. He lay between his sisters in the tent fort they’d built in the corner of Randy’s room. Carefully, he crawled out and tip-toed past Stan who slept on the cot next to Randy’s bed. When he woke from the confusing dreams it was hard to look at Randy. Not all the Randys were scary. There were other dreams where Randy smiled at him with love and laughter, who roughhoused with him and brought sweets to eat. Then there was the Randy who was sad and cried, raging up and down the halls giving voice to his grief. But nights like this when he dreamed of the mean Randy, Justus slipped out of the room and the house, needing time for the images to fade.
He tip-toed by Randy’s bed, not glancing at the gaunt figure who’d returned after being gone months. Looking at him now would cause Justus’s chest to hurt. So he averted his eyes and slipped out of the room. The door to the nursery was closed and he could hear the pups playing, but he wasn’t drawn to them. He left the house by the back door. Once outside, he undressed in the shadows and changed into his wolf. He would get into trouble with Stan for changing so much if Stan knew how often Justus was chased from the house by nightmares… but only if Stan found out. He understood why others worried for him. His wolf was strong and when Justus was upset or angry, his wolf demanded to be free so he could protect them. Justus had to work hard to not transform at such times, even though it would be easier to be a wolf. Changing skins would not help Justus to learn control. But this is not one of the times in which Justus struggled to stay in his human form. He wanted to run, stretch his legs, and clear his head.
After he tucked his clothes into a safe spot, he fell into his wolf form. He took time to check out the main grounds of the ranch. He was careful not to allow the warriors on guard to see him, but he suspected a few knew he was there no matter how quiet or silent he was. Night time was excellent for working on his stalking abilities and he was pleased when he was able to creep past a couple of guards without them tensing in awareness. The shift was changing and as several guards left one of the bigger buildings, Justus crept in behind the group, happy when they didn’t notice him slip down a hallway.
The corridor was dimly lit and the rooms he passed had sleeping figures. He wasn’t aware of why they were there but knew from the whisperings he’d heard around the ranch that these people were in trouble with Uncle Tristan or they had done something terrible. He also knew this was the place they had put Uncle Nathan. He followed the familiar scent to one of the rooms near the end. For a moment, he stopped and eyed the magical barrier over the doorway, but his wolf was sure he wouldn’t be harmed, so he walked through.
Uncle Nathan slept facing the doorway and Justus sat near his uncle’s face and stared, waiting patiently to be noticed. From experience, he knew some people did not come out of the sleep easily and knew better than to touch when trying to wake them. Sometimes that would get him hit. He’d learned that wolves had the uncanny ability to know when they were being watched so if he stared intently Uncle Nathan would wake. And true to form, Uncle Nathan’s big brown eyes blinked open and stared at Justus incredulously.
For the first time Justus considered that perhaps Uncle Nathan would call the guard and alert them to his presence. He didn’t want to go back to the big house yet and tried to look really cute, letting his tongue loll out the side of his mouth as he smiled.
Uncle Nathan glanced from the door to Justus then back to the door again. Justus glanced back only seeing the magical barrier and the empty hall. He wasn’t sure what confused his uncle. Perhaps he was still mostly asleep. Justus licked him across the face, trying to help him to wake up. Uncle Nathan sputtered and set up. “What are you doing here?”
Justus took the question as permission and transformed back to human so he could talk. Uncle Nathan pulled off his shirt and put it over Justus’s head. “I had a bad dream.” Justus explained before crawling onto the bed to sit next to Uncle Nathan.
“What do you mean you had a bad dream? Was there nobody at the house to help you? Is everybody okay?” Nathan glanced at the door again, concern etched in his frown.
“They are all sleeping,” Justus replied fidgeting with the hem of the T-shirt. He crossed his legs and pulled the shirt over his knees. “I didn’t want to wake them up.”
Nathan snorted. “But you are okay with waking me up?”
Justus stared up at Uncle Nathan, thinking he looked funny with his hair standing on end but was sure Uncle Nathan wouldn’t see the humor if Justus pointed it out. “Of course. You’re a doctor and doctors are on call.” At least they were all the TV shows. When Uncle Nathan didn’t contradict him, Justus was sure he got it right.
Nathan’s gaze moved from the doorway back to Justus and he squirmed under those assessing eyes. “And you need a doctor?”
“I’m having bad dreams.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but that is not the type of doctor I am.”
Justus screwed up his courage and confessed to his uncle what he’d never told anyone else. “They, the dreams, started right after my wolf woke. Randy’s in them and it’s like… Everything’s different. How the people dress. What the buildings look like. I’m not even a wolf in my dream. I have horns like a ram, and even when I’m in my man form I have hooves instead of feet.”
He glanced up from where he fiddled with the shirt, willing Uncle Nathan to understand. He was pretty sure there was nobody else he could talk to. Sure, Justus could speak to Uncle Tristan but he was so busy Justus felt bad interrupting him. And when Uncle Tristan had free time, Justus didn’t know how to explain his concerns. Even as he looked up at Uncle Nathan, Justus couldn’t tell if he understood what Justus was trying to say.
Uncle Nathan’s expression had gone blank. Justus couldn’t help but wonder if he’d said something wrong. Since the moment he and his sisters arrived at the ranch, Uncle Nathan had been kind to him. He had examined Justus and listened intently as Justus explained how he got the cigarette burn scars and the other old wounds. He didn’t chastise Justus but praised him for his courage, explaining how wrong it was for people to do things like that. If it happened again, he was to tell Uncle Nathan or Uncle Tristan or Uncle Ushna. They made Justus feel safe, but Justus felt as if he could trust Uncle Nathan with any of his secrets.
So he pushed aside his worries and waited for his uncle to talk to him.
“You know that we are reincarnated?” Uncle Nathan asked, taking one of Justus’s hands where he gripped the T-shirt. Justus nodded. “Every time we die, we wait to be reborn again, but our memories of our prior lives don’t come with us. Sometimes events happen that open a door, so to speak, for part of those lives to become ours again.”
Justus thought about what Uncle Nathan was saying: His dreams were about one of his incarnations. Oddly, the explanation eased him.
“You know what I think?” Uncle Nathan asked. Justus shook his head. “I think that when your wolf awakened early it opened a door to memories, and they are coming out in your dreams. The same thing happen to your Uncle Tristan.” Justus sat up straighter, the knowledge he wasn’t the only one this had happened to made him feel better.
“Yes really. He used to dream about a prior life before he…” Uncle Nathan was suddenly sad but before Justus could say or doing anything, his expression turned hard and slightly scary. A coldness that Justus hadn’t seen before crept into Uncle Nathan’s eyes, as if he was thinking about something that made him mad. Justus didn’t ask what was wrong because he didn’t want to upset his uncle more. Instead, he used his free hand to pat Uncle Nathan’s. What would a grown-up say, he wondered? Telling Uncle Nathan that it would be okay didn’t seem right, so he held his tongue.
The patting seemed to help because Nathan’s eyes had soften when he looked back at Justus. “So see—” he said as if he hadn’t been staring off into space for several minutes. “—you have nothing to be afraid of. They are memories from another life. You are safe here with us.”
“Randy was mean in some of the dreams—memories,” Justus confided. He wasn’t worried about his safety. Even in these… memories, his first concern hadn’t been from himself. First, he’d worried for the people then he’d protected Randy. In so many of the dreams, he’d been shielding Randy.
Uncle Nathan’s growling pulled Justus out of his thoughts. He stilled, the hair on the back of his neck raising at the sight of Nathan’s wolf so close to the surface, looking out of Uncle Nathan’s eyes. Justus’s own wolf responded. He was young and his wolf still a pup but, instinctually, his wolf sensed he was alpha and Nathan’s wolf was not.
“If Randy hurts you,” Nathan snapped, making Justus’s wolf prick his ears. The rising alpha power popped like a bubble. Uncle Nathan wasn’t growling at him but was concerned for him. “I don’t care where I am, you come and tell me. Do you hear me? If Randy hurts you, I’ll take care of it.”
Justus smiled because the thought of Randy actually harming him in the way Uncle Nathan worried would never happen. Randy was his Twin Flame. “Okay,” he promised Uncle Nathan so he’d stop worrying.
“Now, you need to run along home before you’re found missing. I doubt you want to be caught, and I don’t want to have to explain how you came to be here.” Nathan ran a palm over his face and Justus saw how tired he was, as if he wasn’t getting enough sleep.
“I know Uncle Tristan is angry, but if you say you’re sorry he’ll let you out.” Stan constantly reminded Justus to stay out of other people’s troubles. He was supposed to tell an adult and not get involved, but everybody seemed to know already his uncles were fighting. He didn’t know what Uncle Tristan and Uncle Nathan were fighting about, or why Uncle Nathan had to stay here, but surely it couldn’t be that bad. Justus got mad at his sisters but he never stayed angry long.
Uncle Nathan rubbed Justus’s head playfully but Justus knew the smile was fake. “I wish things were that easy, kiddo. Now, get back to your bed before they send out a search party.”
Justus sighed, wishing he could do more for Uncle Nathan. When he fell into his wolf form, he’d forgotten to take off the shirt, and Uncle Nathan helped to untangle him. Before he jumped off the bed, he gave Uncle Nathan a long, sloppy lick on the chin that made him sputter. At the door, he crouched and listened. Once he discerned there was no one in the corridor, he slipped out of the room and to the closest shadow. Looking back to Uncle Nathan, Justus was concerned to see his countenance had turned hard and cold again as he stared at the floor.
About the Book
Title: 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
BLURB: 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.
Find Sumeria’s Sons series on Goodreads
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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