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“Releasing Chaos” by Lexi Ander | Blog Tour, Giveaway & EXCLUSIVE Flash Fiction Story!

Happy Friday! I’m so happy to introduce today’s post, part of Lexi Ander’s blog tour for her exciting new book, Releasing Chaos, the final book in her Sumeria’s Sons series. I LOVE this series, and I’m shamelessly in love with Ushna and Corey. If you enjoy paranormal romances, shifters, lycans/werewolves, urban fantasy, mythology, and a ton of other stuff — including M/M/M and poly relationships — give this series a go.

Find out more about the book below PLUS a special flash fiction story and a huge giveaway!

 

 

 

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.

 

Purchase now from the publisher, Less Than Three Press: Order Link

or from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Bookstrand

 

Find Sumeria’s Sons series on Goodreads

 

 

 

EXCERPT

Prologue

~The Nameless

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.”

*~*~*

~Jory Swaine

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.

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE FLASH FICTION STORY

A Note from Lexi Ander:

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!

 

Birth of a Hippogriff

The frantic scream pulled Justus from a sound sleep. He blinked up at the blanket that made up the fort in Randy’s room. Neoma and Dawn woke as well and they waited, making as little noise as possible as they stretched their hearing out. Where had the sound come from?

The cry came again and Justus realized the noise wasn’t human in nature but made by one of the Shirdals. He crawled out of the fort with Dawn and Neoma following.

“Justus,” Randy rasped from his bed. “Don’t leave this room. Stay with me.” His thin hand stretched out at him and Justus crossed to take it.

Neoma scrambled on top of Stan’s dresser to look out the window. This side of the house faced the horse barns and corral. He waited for his sister to tell him what she saw.

Another frantic cry sounded and Neoma gasped, placing her palm against the glass. “One of the Shirdals is pacing in front of the horse barn.”

Dawn climbed up next to Neoma nearly pressing her face to glass. “Do you think the baby is being born?”

“What baby?” Randy asked, attempting to sit up. Justus rushed to put more pillows behind his back but Randy waved him off.

Neoma answered him, excitement coloring her voice. “Corleone got Dancing Socks pregnant. Uncle Tristan wasn’t happy. He said hippogriffs were dangerous for horses to give birth to and he loves Dancing Socks.”

Dawn made a soft wounded noise. “Someone told him that hippogriffs were unsafe to have around when they grew older. That they would battle the Shirdal.” She glanced over her shoulder, hunching at Corleone’s shriek. “I want to tell him that it isn’t true. I know because I see things and I don’t want to tell what I see. Uttu will scold me again for giving away secrets. Even the smallest ones are dangerous.”

Randy sat on the edge of the bed, breathing as if he’d ran for miles. “Then don’t explain. If Tristan is a smart male, then he’ll believe you without too many questions.”

Corleone shrieked again and Dawn turned to look out the window. “Then I can help, you think?”

“Go,” Randy rasped.

Dawn and Neoma scrambled off the dresser and were out the door in seconds. Justus was torn. Go with them or stay with Randy? “You, too. There’s no need for you to stay. I’m only going back to sleep.”

Justus whined, giving voice to his wolf’s distress.

“Go, I mean it,” Randy said with finality.

Hearing Corleone cry again decided things for Justus. He couldn’t sit around while someone needed help. Sure, Corleone wasn’t what Uncle Tristancalled humanoid, but he was an intelligent creature who called Uncle Tristan friend.

Justus was out of the house and running to catch up to his sisters, surprised to see three Shirdal on the ground. Usually, only Corleone landed in the ranch yard to talk to Tristan and sometimes Randy, Justus had noticed. Warriors lined up three deep, barring Corleone’s access to the horse barn. The Shirdal’s feathered neck was puffed out and his wings spread in an intimidating manner. The two Shirdal with Corleone were clacking their beaks and hissing but Justus didn’t read intimidation from them, only worry and concern. He heard Dancing Socks’s whinnies over Corleone’s protests.

Dawn and Neoma slipped by the warriors without being stopped, the males’ attention taken up by Corleone’s protestations. Justus dodged a couple of the grabbing hands and made the interior of the horse barn without being stopped. He could see Neoma but he heard Dawn’s raised voice.

Outside of Socks’s stall stood Gregori and a couple other Magi with Uncle Ushna and Uncle Brian. When Justus moved by them, he stopped next toNeoma in the stall’s doorway. Dawn argued loudly with Uncle Tristan inside.

“No, she needs Corleone!”

Justus looked into the enclosure as Dancing Socks’s whinnies quieted. Dawn leaned into Socks’s chest, arms around Socks’s drooping neck. Sweat coated Socks’s withers and she was breathing hard.

Uncle Tristan stood near Socks’s rear end, a clear plastic glove fit his hand, going all the way to his shoulder. In his palm was some clear jelly-like goop. He regarded Dawn with a bone-weary gaze. When they’d thought Uncle Tristan died, Dawn spent all her free time with Dancing Socks. She loved Uncle Tristan’s horse as deeply as he did.

“If I let Corleone in—” Uncle Tristan paused when Corleone’s squawk interrupted, sounding like a ‘yes, you fool’. “I don’t know how he’ll react. Besides, there really isn’t enough room for him in here.”

Corleone’s angry bluster got louder. Justuslooked back toward the barn door where Corleone was attempting to push his way through the warriors.

“You don’t understand, Uncle Tristan,” Dawn said, her voice gaining volume. “Dancing Socks is special. We all know of the legendary hate Shirdal have for horses. They usually go out of their way to kill them. Not only have the Shirdal left the ranch horses alone, which you must admit is supremely weird, but Corleone loves Dancing Socks and made her his mate. Shirdal mate for life. He needs to be with her.”

As Justus watched, a couple of warriors fell back from one of Corleone’s forceful shoves. He quit listening to Dawn and rushed back to the entrance. “Stop!” Corleone turned to him and hissed, clacking his sharp, polished beak. He didn’t see the motion as a threat but as one of frustration. “Dawn is in there trying to help you and Socks. If you keep this up, Uncle Tristan will ignore her.”

He jumped when energy poked at him through the soles of his feet. “She needs me… us,” Corleone looked to the Shirdals who accompanied him. “My darling has to give birth near the lake. If my offspring isn’t born near or in water he will die very quickly.”

Justus blinked. Who knew that hippogriffs needed water? He didn’t but there was very little known about them. “Well then, did you tell Uncle Tristan?”

Corleone glanced away, his large yellow-ringed black eyes avoided Justus’s gaze. “Her cries of pain made me lose myself and then I was angry at him for keeping me from her. Socksis mine.” At the last word, Corleone looked into the barn and hissed angrily.

“Well, he is like her daddy, responsible for her, you know,” Justus replied. Corleone tilted his head haughtily and Justus shrugged. “Have a seat and I’ll tell Uncle Tristan.”

Corleone sat, his sleek golden lion’s body was stiff, wings tucked to his sides, and his tail lashing about like a whip. Justus went back to Sock’s stall. Gregori was smiling broadly as Justus returned. Was Gregori laughing at Corleone or Uncle Tristan?

“No,” Uncle Tristan said sharply. “I’m not taking her across to the lake. It’s safe here.”

“But it’s not what she needs.” Dawn didn’t sound like she was going to back down.

Justus stopped next to Neoma, again. Uncle Tristan and Dawn looked like they were locked into what Stan would call a showdown or was it a stalemate?

“Corleone says Socks needs him and the water.” Justus blurted into the continuing silence. When Uncle Tristan gave him anincredulouslook, Justus shrugged and hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Ask him.”

“I’ve tried but all he’s done is insult me.” Uncle Tristan left the stall still with the goop held in his gloved hand. He stared down the corridor at Corleone. “So you’re talking to me now?” he called.

Justus sensed the energy again but didn’t hear anything from Corleone. Uncle Tristan obviously did. He snorted, “I told you not to—” He frowned.

“Uncle Tristan! We don’t have time for you two to fight!” Dawn yelled from the stall.

Justus hopped out of the way with Neoma following closely when Dawn led Dancing Socks out of the stall.

“Dawn!” Uncle Tristan looked like he was going to throw his hands up but remembered the goop. He hurried back into the stall,returning without the glove.

Corleone pranced upon seeing Dancing Socks and she nickered at him.

“Why am I even allowing her to do this. She’s nine years old for Pete’s sake and has never delivered a foal before. I’vealways assisted in the birth of my stock.” Uncle Tristan murmured to himself as Justus walked next to him.

He tore his gaze away from Corleone meeting Dawn and Socks at the entrance. “Randy said that if you were a smart man you’d listen to Dawn’s advice even though she couldn’t explain how she knows stuff.” Justus grinned at Uncle Tristan’s ‘are you kidding’ expression.

Uncle Tristan pulled at his ponytail. “All right then, let’s go help deliver a baby hippogriff… by the water.”

Neoma ran after Dawn and Justus followed. Gregori and the Magi walked with Uncle Tristan, Uncle Brian, and Uncle Ushna. Gregori was giving Uncle Tristan a hard time about not listening to Dawn.

“She’s nine!” Uncle Tristan protested.

“She’s a seer,” Gregori replied as if to say, ‘you should consider that point first’.

Justus didn’t catch the rest of the conversation so he could catch up to Neoma. “Do you think she’ll be okay? Socks sounds like she’s in a lot of pain,” Neoma asked, taking Justus’s hand.

He had once swiped one of Uncle Tristan’s bestiary books. There was a section on animal birth, with detailed drawings and pictures. It was not something he wanted to explain to his sister, especially when he only understood a part of what he’d read.

“She should be fine,” he hedged, remembering the section on complications. Surely those wouldn’t apply if Socks carried a hippogriff. Mary Jane and Christie both exited the back door of the ranch house. When Neoma looked like she’d ask more questions, he pointed to his mother. “Christie could probably tell you more…” Neoma took off like a shot before Justus quit speaking.

He shrugged and hurried to get around the Shirdals and Dawn. The procession was drawing a crowd by the time they made it to the gate. Justus swung it open for them. Dawn walked on one side of Dancing Socks, the lead held loosely while Corleone kept pace on the other side. Every time Dawn halted at the sounds of one of Socks’s pained whinnies, Corleone plucked at Sock’s mane with his beak. Justus wondered if she was having contractions or perhaps the baby was moving around. He would love to feel it but didn’t believe Corleone would allow him that close. The two other Shirdal with Corleone urged Socks on when it seemed like she wasn’t going to walk without encouragement. Dawn cooed, telling Socks how good she was doing while Corleone made soft noises that Justus hadn’t heard him utter before.

Once they were all through the gate, Justus closed it and moved as close as he dared. Dawn unclipped the lead when they were about six feet from the water’s edge and hurried over to him. Hercheeks were flushed and eyes wide with excitement in the predawn light.

“Not much longer,” she whispered to him, leaning into his side.

The Shirdal surrounded Socks, edging her closer to the water while clacking their beaks. It was hard to see Socks with the Shirdals constantly moving, blocking his sight.

As if reading Justus’s mind, Dawn said, her disappointment clear, ” I can’t see anything.”

Uncle Tristan and Gregori stepped up beside them and he glanced up when Uncle Tristan said, “I can’t either. Can you feel that?”

“Feel what?” Justus responded.

Gregori’s hands were on his hips, a look of concentration on his face as he stared at the Shirdals. Uncle Tristan took Justus’s hand and then Dawn’s. At that simple touch, Justus understood what Uncle Tristan was sensing. “What is that?” Justus asked. It was almost like when Corleone touched him through the earth, but not quite.

“That is magic,” Uncle Tristan replied. “I knew they were a people of magic but I had no idea they could wield it like us. Corleone has never done so in my presence before.”

Justus thought about it, barely catching glimpses of a shimmering, gossamer wall between them and Dancing Socks. She’d reached the water and from what Justus could tell, waded in until her hooves were covered. Corleonesplashed through the water on the opposite side of her.

Tentatively, Justus sent out… he wasn’t sure what part of him, only that it was like he had an extra hand he used to feel the magic the Shirdals gave off. He poked gently, sensing the magic that wasn’t earth but had a gusty quality that reminded Justus of an oncoming storm.

“Their energy is different,” he said as he pulled back. When he looked at Dawn, her expression said this was old news. How much did she really know?

Gregori’s question stole his attention. “What kind of magic?” His tone was like Uttu’s when she was giving them a verbal test to see if they were listening to her.

Justus shrugged, suddenly uncomfortable because magic wasn’t something he usually paid attention to. What if he was wrong? But Gregori only looked curious and not judgmental.

“It feels like air.”

“I thought so, too. Which would make sense. Shirdals are people of the air.”

“Then why the need for water?” Uncle Tristan asked, but it seemed Gregori didn’t have an answer any more than Justus did.

Corleone and the other two Shirdal snapped out their wings at the same time and the sense of air magic flared as they gave excited cries. Justus barely heard Dancing Socks whinny followed by the sound of splashing water. Above them, the morning sky was streaked with reds and golds. Another five Shirdal screamed a joyous call that sent a shiver down Justus’s spine. He’d never seen so many Shirdal flying over head before.

When the magic broke, the Shirdal around Dancing Socks moved aside. The only creature revealed was Socks.

“Where’s the baby?” he asked.

Uncle Tristan didn’t answer, his frown dark and foreboding when he released Justus and Dawn’s hands to storm over to Socks. Justus quickly followed. Dancing Sock’s head hung low as if she was too tired and thinking about laying down right then in the water.

Uncle Tristan’s power was rising. “Corleone!” he called, a bit of fear in his voice that put Justus on edge. “Where is her foal?”

Corleone stood at the edge of the lake, his hawk’s feet clawing the edge muddy as he stared out over the water. Uncle Tristan had once told Justus that the lake had only been there about a year. He’d fought an enemy who’d pulled the ground water to the surface, causing the land to cave, creating the standing body of water that was now spring fed.

In the middle of the lake unnatural waves kicked up. The little hippogriff broke the surface, head and body above the water. Their little wings only had fluffy fledgling feathers that didn’t seem weighed down by the water. How did it get all the way out there? How did it not drown? It’s hawk’s head shook, excess water sloughing off in a shower of droplets. Corleone squawked and the little hippogriff started for the shore. Justus had never seen anything like the hippogriff gliding effortlessly through the water. As if it was born to be a water creature and not the cross between a horse and Shirdal that it was.

When the hippogriff reached the bank, it stumbled and righted itself before both Dancing Socks and Corleone reached it. On dry land, the hippogriff lost its grace and wobbled on four legs much like new born calves did.Like Corleone, it had the head and forelegs of a hawk but the body and tail were equine.

“How is it going to eat?” Justus asked because there was no way the hippogriff could nurse Dancing Socks.

“Look!” Dawn pointed at Corleone who was making a staccato noise. The little hippogriff staggered to him, head tilted back and beak open.

“Eww!” Justus said along with Dawn as Corleone regurgitated food for the new born. “That’s nasty,” Justus said under his breath.

“That’s nature,” Gregori responded with a laugh.

Dancing Socks lifted her head and saw Uncle Tristan. She made her way to him and then pressed her forehead into his chest. Uncle Tristan sang softly and this time Justus could feel the magic without Uncle Tristan touching him, he’d heard the song of rejuvenation before. When Uncle Tristan finished, Dawn hugged Dancing Socks’s neck. They both spoke to Socks, telling her what a beautiful baby she had.

Justus followed Uncle Tristan to get a better look at the hippogriff. “May I meet your offspring?” Uncle Tristan asked Corleone.

Justus didn’t bother trying to hear what Corleone said. His attention only for the foal. Up close it was uglier than Justus first thought. The fledgling feathers were a dull gray-white and the little wings looked like they belonged on a smaller creature. The coat was the same coloring as Dancing Socks with matching white patterns.

Uncle Tristan sang again, running his hands over the hippogriff. Corleone preened looking smug again.

“Is it the beak or do you always look so snooty?” Justus teased and then froze when Corleone’s large yellow-ringed eyes turned on him. Corleone was around the ranch a lot, often sneaking in the barn at night to be near Socks.Sometimes he played with Dawn and Neoma. Justus forgot for a split second that Corleone and he weren’t really friends. At least Justus didn’t think so. His sort-of-rude teasing wasn’t something appreciated by not-really-friends. Heck, the first time that Corleone spoke to him was tonight.

Magic brushed the soles of his feet. “If snooty means handsome, then yes, it’s the regal beak and my beautiful golden plume.”

Justus burst out laughing and then covered his mouth when Uncle Tristan glanced up from inspecting the hippogriff.

“It’s about time you and your sisters went back to bed.” Uncle Tristan stood up.

Justus glanced at the horizon where the sun was barely peaking over the edge as if to say, ‘it’s a little late‘. Instead he asked, “Are we leaving them out here?”

“Me and my warriors will guard them, little wolf. My son will be fine under our care,” Corleone said as he ushered the hippogriff back into the water.

With much protesting, Justus, Neoma, and Dawn were ushered back to the house. Before he fell asleep in the blanket fort, he made plans with his sisters to convince Mary Jane to letthem picnic in the pasture with Dancing Socks and her new baby. He wondered right before sleep caught him, if the hippogriff would take them for a ride when he got older?

 

 

 

 

**HUGE GIVEAWAY**:

WIN SIGNED paperbacks of Sumeria’s Sons series, SIGNED paperbacks of Releasing Chaos, Dragon mugs and Dragon Goblets

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

{Click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to go to the Rafflecopter widget and enter for a chance to win a prize, including the dragon mug pictured here!}

 

 

 

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.

Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

 

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4 comments on ““Releasing Chaos” by Lexi Ander | Blog Tour, Giveaway & EXCLUSIVE Flash Fiction Story!

  1. Thank you for hosting me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this!!!! I was wanting to hear how Socks had her baby!!

    Liked by 1 person

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