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
Find Sumeria’s Sons series on Goodreads
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 sat on the front porch between Ira and Marek, eating a popsicle while they waited for Uncle Tristan to call for them. Tonight, the full moon would rise. Lycan’s weren’t commanded by the moon’s cycles. But the full moon was a hunter’s moon and all the better to run by when the pack came together to hunt.
“Do you think we will actually shift?” Marek asked as he pushed his blonde hair from his eyes. He was large for a twelve-year-old. Those born to be warriors usually were, making both Marek and Ira much bigger than Justus even for the age gap that separated them. They were three years older than him, but even with the size difference he felt as if he could take them now whereas almost a year ago he couldn’t. His wolf chuffed in agreement with absolute certainty. Much had changed within him since his wolf had surfaced early.
Ira rolled his shoulders. “I sense something different and my skin feels too tight.”
“I’ve been that way for weeks now,” Marek groused, rubbing his forearms. “It means nothing.”
“Uncle Tristan says—”
“Uncle Tristan, Uncle Tristan, Uncle Tristan,” Marek snapped. “All you can do is repeat things he says. How does he know just by scenting us that we will change? I don’t believe it.”
A growl of warning rumbled up from Justus’s chest and both Marek and Ira startled. This was something else that had changed. The two had been there for almost a week. With each passing day, Justice sense of them had changed, his wolf recognizing they were… In many ways, his two friends weren’t as strong as he was. Ira and Marek whimpered and when Justus’s gaze met Marek’s, Marek dropped his eyes.
“Uncle Tristan is our supreme Alpha, he knows what he is talking about. If he says you’ll change tonight then you will.” As far as Justus was concerned Uncle Tristan was always right. He never said anything he didn’t mean, ever.
Marek looked as if he wanted to argue but Justus ignored him to glance over his shoulder. He’d sensed Uncle Tristan for the last couple of minutes, his alpha energy rolling over him in soothing waves of comfort.
“Are you ready?” Uncle Tristan asked through the screen door. Marek and Ira jumped again. Uncle Tristan matched Justus’s grin. He didn’t know how Marek and Ira missed that Uncle Tristan had been there waiting. Were they too on edge to notice anything than their own worries?
“I am,” Justus said, standing.
Uncle Tristan exited the house and Justus followed him around the side of the building. He didn’t glance back at his friends but heard them scramble to follow. The sun kissed the horizon as they walked to the back pasture where the tribe would change and run. In front and behind them, groups joined them on the track to the river. With each step, Justus’s wolf paced with excitement. They loved to run with the other wolves.
By the time they arrived, some of the tribe had already disrobed and were waiting. Justus hurried over and shed his clothes, dropping them in a pile near Corey’s. Ira and Marek glanced around, their awe plain to see. They’d hadn’t been to a group run yet. Justus remembered his first time, how he felt like he ran with only left paws but still had been exhilarated.
When he smelled Ace Cimarron and his brothers, Justus turned to watch them join Uncle Tristan. He sensed the tension they carried. The five brothers hadn’t changed in front of the tribe before. Earlier in the week, they had shown themselves as a favor to Ira, but only Justus and a few other guards had been in attendance. Today there would be more than fifty wolves participating in the run. Would the other Lycans smell prey and give chase? Or would they feel the same protectiveness that Justus did?
He hurried back to Tristan, barely noticing that Ira and Marek had disrobed and followed close on his heels.
“Until the tribe gets used to you, stay close to us.” Uncle Tristan was saying to Ace as he gestured to Uncle Ushna, Uncle Brian, and Corey. “I don’t expect any trouble, though.”
“We haven’t changed in front of so many before. Chicago doesn’t give us a lot of space to be free with our animal form. We get together on father’s preserve once a year to run as a herd, but this,” Ace gestured not to the Lycans waiting to change but the open range. “So much space makes us nervous. We will probably stay in the middle of the tribe where we will fill the safest.”
Huh? Justus hadn’t thought the pasture would be so scary to them. He figured Ace would want to run the length of it and stretch his legs.
“Hello, little brother,” Ace said to Ira. “I am honored to attend your first change.”
Ira rubbed at his hairline where a nub for an immature horn hid. “Ah… Thank you. Would you mind if Marek and I stayed near you through the run?”
Ace glanced to Uncle Tristan as if gauging Uncle Tristan’s reaction before he said, “Certainly.”
Ira stood straighter and even gave a small nervous smile.
Justus didn’t see what Uncle Tristan did to signal the people to change, but he felt the power, the wild magic that resided in every Lycan unleash as the crowd shed their human form. There is no popping of joints, breaking a bone, or stretching of skin. Uncle Tristan always talked about falling into his wolf shape. As Justus watched he could understand why. His people leaned forward, and by the time they touched their hands to the ground they had paws and were shaking out their fur.
Justus held on to his human shape, resisting the call of the wild magic. Ira and Marek could not resist so much energy that beckoned forth their beast. They too dropped on all fours, their new fur ruffled by the night breeze coming off the prairie.
Ace knelt before Ira whose wolf pelt was as black as his hair. Ira bent his head and allowed Ace to fill the nubs that signaled he would one day have a curl of a horn around his ears. Ira’s head was bowed as he stared at the ground, the scent of his nervousness and need tainting the air like a spritz of lemon.
“Hello, little brother, I see you,” Ace said, his tone conveying acceptance and a hint of awe. When he moved to the side, each one of Ace’s brothers dropped to a knee and recited the same words, as if they performed a ritual.
When they were finished, the Cimarron brothers all changed, the air filling with the scent of prey. Justus straightened and stepped between them in the pack, watching for anyone who might mean the brothers harm. But all he saw was curiosity. He couldn’t take on a full-grown wolf but he could divert their attention until Uncle Tristan took care of the situation.
He didn’t jump when Uncle Tristan laid a hand on his shoulder. “Always the protector.” Justus felt uncomfortable under Uncle Tristan’s intense scrutiny, unsure if he was supposed to answer. When he glanced around, only Stan, Corey, Uncle Tristan, Uncle Brian, and Uncle Ushna were unchanged. “Come on it is your turn and time to run.” It wasn’t a command in Uncle Tristan’s tone but the power of his shift that pulled Justus along for his change.
Justus and his wolf settled into their skin and harmony. They sighed as they shook out their fur, happy when their alpha stood still, allowing them to rub against him. Corey raised his voice and the tribe echoed his howl. The Cimarron brothers waded through the wolves, enduring playful rubs and curious sniffing. Ira and Marek followed, Marek’s lighter coat gleaming in the moonlight. With Ira’s dark coat he practically disappeared into the shadows as they joined Ace. Justus made a wide circuit around them eyeing each tribe member as he passed. His tail high in the air as he willed everyone to know he would protect the True Bloods with tooth and claw. He huffed at the indulgent wolfy grins and took position ahead of the Cimarrons, following Uncle Tristan.
Soon the tribe lost interest in the True Bloods, and fanned out. Some played, others chase jackrabbits, flushing them from hiding. The Cimarrons stretch their legs and yes, they ran with a haunting grace that whispered to Justus, as if to say, “we remember you.”
He didn’t know what to think of the strange, fleeting thoughts. Instead he ran, yipping when Ira and Marek joined. There was nothing better than being in wolf form, surrounded by his tribe, and basking in the glances of approval his alpha shot his way. He howled at the moon, giving voice to his joy, swelling with satisfaction when others answered his call.
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