Friday, September 29, 2017

Flash Fiction: The Wrong Story #ValespianPact

This series of flash fiction/ficlits surrounds the mounting tension between Prince Mestor and Warlord Sohm'lan and this takes place during Striker. If you haven't read the first part, Unwanted Attention, you can find it HERE.

For those who haven't read Alpha Trine and Striker, you could read these but I didn't go into detail about the people or the situation on board The Gorgon. So there is a chance that you'll be lost since it relies heavily that the reader already knows the main stories.

This is unedited and copyright by me. Enjoy!

The Wrong Story

On his way to the Oethra 7, Sohm'lan calmed enough to remember that no Mar'Sani had ever been injured in Atlainticia's seas, especially in the dream. Perhaps the injuries were merely bruises and such. He had convinced himself of exactly that… then the lift doors opened to the corridor outside of Captain Dargon Kal-Turak's cabin. 
The bitter scent of Prince Azaes and Prince Mestor's anger coupled with the fact that Prince Zeus was bleeding caused alarm and fear to grip Sohm'lan's heart. 

Prince Zeus barred the door against the aggravated Elite Honor Guard. The meager hope the situation wasn't as bad as he first thought staggered Sohm'lan with the first whiff of not only Prince Zeus's blood but that of the twins. He rudely pushed Mayra and Athena out of the way to reach Prince Zeus in time to catch him when he fainted. Not that Sohm'lan cared if he offended them. One simply did not allow a person of the royal house to fall. That was a lesson impressed upon him by his father and a tenement that served him well over the years. Becoming a warlord had not been easy. Putting the royal family before himself had been his way of life even before Niobe passed into the fade.

"Monticore!" Sohm'lan's commanding voice caused the honor guard to come to attention. "Two clear the room."

He rose to his feet gently cradling Prince Zeus to him, unconcerned with the prince's nudity. No, what made his blood run cold was the fact that Prince Azaes and Prince Mestor lay in crumpled heaps upon the cabin floor.

"The lavatory's door won't engage," one of the Monticore reported. "When we first arrived, Captain Kal-Turak opened the door for the princes, but now he is not present. He may be stuck in the laboratory." The Monticore glanced at Prince Zeus and then his brothers, their suspicion plain to see.

"Prince Zeus did not say the captain had a hand in their condition." Sohm'lan waited for the guards to agree. "Then until evidence presents otherwise the captain is innocent. Find a way to free him from the laboratory."

Not being able to immediately rush to Prince Mestor's side caused an unsettling disquiet to take up residence in Sohm'lan's gut. He was taken aback by the unbidden emotion and forced himself to focus on the situation at hand. Once the Monticore deemed the room clear, Sohm'lan pointed to Prince Azaes, commanding two to move the prince to one side of the sleeping platform. Still holding Prince Zeus, he placed him in the middle next to Prince Azaes, then finally — finally — he turned to Prince Mestor. He tamped down on the hiss-click of warning when a guard turned to help him lift Prince Mestor. He couldn't allow anything, not even his emotions, to interfere with the care of his Water Sons.

Stepping back, he watched Mayra and Athena as they carefully administered one treatment after another that failed to heal the wounds the three had. He turned his back sharply to the sleeping platform when the medic withdrew a needle and thread. He was sure he would lose his mind if he watched her pierce their — his — skin with the sharp implement. Instead, he busied himself with the Monticore until Prince Zeus exploded awake, swinging across the room to land before the lavatory. The Monticore had finished cutting through the metal and was ready to open up the attached room.

Once Prince Zeus had been placated, Sohm'lan moved back to the platform were Prince Azaes and Prince Mestor lay awake and alert. Prince Azaes held out his hand and Sohm'lan helped him to sit up, following the conversation with one ear as he turned to Prince Mestor.

Prince Mestor's uniform shirt had been cut down the side so Mayra could access the slice along Prince Mestor's abdomen. The wound was worrisome. If it had been much deeper, Prince Mestor would have been gutted. The pant leg had been cut all the way to the groin, revealing a puncture to the muscle of the upper thigh that missed a major artery by a hair's width. Both wounds had been stitched and bandaged.

A hot rage coursed through Sohm'lan at the thought that his Water Sons had come away from what should have been a safe place, wounded. Other than the battle fought on The Gorgon against the would-be pirates, he couldn't remember the last time any of the three had been physically injured in a fight beyond bruising. Prince Mestor, especially. He was more hotheaded than Prince Azaes or Prince Zeus but instead of that being a liability, Prince Mestor channeled his temper and became one of the more ruthless fighters Sohm'lan had ever trained. Whatever attacked them had to be powerful indeed. When he discovered who dared touch Prince Mestor, Sohm'lan would conduct a hunt, and there would be a reckoning unlike anything the being had ever experienced.

"Come," Prince Azaes motioned to Sohm'lan. He had missed the exchange between Prince Zeus and his brothers and Sohm'lan swallowed back his embarrassment, abashed by his inattentiveness.

"I am hungry but we need to shower before first meal," Prince Mestor mumbled as he limped along next to his brother.

Sohm'lan signaled for four of the eight Monticore to lead the way while he remained one step behind the twins. He did not offer them help. Any suggestion they were impaired would be met with demands for a physical challenge in the wrestling ring. But he watched them notheless, ready to come to their aid if one or both of them fell. The scent of their blood clung to Sohm'lan's nostrils and he thought he would have to shower as well to rid himself of the odor.

"It is peculiar that our advanced medical devices cannot heal the wounds." Prince Azaes mused aloud as if he did not expect anyone to answer.

"I've been thinking about that," Sohm'lan said hesitantly. When Prince Azaes merely looked at him questioningly, he went on. "There is a story my father tells about the first Mar'Sani who set foot on land, following Pegasus the Explorer."

"I have never heard of it." Prince Mestor replied limping stiffly down Oethra 7's ramp to the docking bay of The Gorgon.

Sohm'lan didn't really believe the story would help them but it would distract Prince Azaes and Prince Mestor from the pain. They had a long way to go and with how slowly the two walked, the trek would become more painful, unless their minds were on something else.

"It's a very old story originally written in the ancient tongue. Father translated a copy when he was apprenticing with the famous Bard Stahan Tan."

"Ah! I have heard of Bard Stahan. Father has spoken of him. Do you remember?" Prince Azaes swatted Prince Mestor on the arm.

"I do." Prince Mestor glanced at Sohm'lan out of the corner of his eye.

It was then Sohm'lan realized he walked between the twins, instead of his customary place behind them. Without him realizing it, they had dropped back which was wildly inappropriate. They were far above his station but he could not bring himself to chastise them.

"Father also said your father, Bard Echo, had surpassed Bard Stahan long before Bard Stahan signed off on the completion of your father's training."

"I believe Meme had something to do with that." Prince Mestor chuckled, his shoulder casually brushing against Sohm'lan, causing Sohm'lan's scales to tighten.

"She could never stand for those who took advantage of others. I was present when she had Bard Stahan summoned. She was not in a forgiving mood when Bard Stahan last performed for the palace."

"The next day it was announced that Bard Echo had received his master's endorsement." Prince Mestor brushed against Sohm'lan again, this time catching Sohm'lan's gaze. "I have never heard of better Bard as your father."

Heat flared to life in Sohm'lan's stomach at the complement. His family had very humble origins. When Sohm'lan was a youngling, he had vowed he would do everything he could to better his family's circumstances, working diligently to be one of the best warlords on Atlainticia. There were few ways to gain status among the Mar'Sani. Growing up on the streets of Thrace, he'd learned to use his aggression to protect what was his. It was his only worthwhile asset and he put it to use to become Atlainticia's best soldier, and later a royal warlord of unsurpassed skill. For some time, all his extra credits were funneled back to his family. His baby sister married a wealthy merchant, a male of worth that Sohm'lan had thoroughly researched. He then scared the fear of Poseidon into when the male when he requested his sister's hand as his mate.

Sohm'lan's parents changed occupations as people with status did every forty to fifty years. That was when Sohm'lan's father threw himself into his secret passion, apprenticing to become a bard. Now his parents' status had increased through their own endeavors and Sohm'lan could not be more proud.

"What is this story you mentioned?" Prince Azaes asked, drawing him out of his thoughts and Sohm'lan switched his tail to hide his embarrassment.

"My apologies. The story was about the Numina, in the time before the Mar'Sani followed Pegasus to leave the Waters of Poseidon. The Numina would sometimes fight in a section of the ocean above a circle of standing stones. It was believed the stones could sense who was in the right and would sap energy from the one in the wrong. The fighters would be hauled to the shoreline by their family pods and there they would tend the wounds."

"That is an interesting story and I would be interested to find out if it is history or merely a story, but I do not see a correlation between that and our wounds," Prince Mestor said.

The lift doors opened and everyone entered, Prince Azaes and Prince Mestor still kept Sohm'lan between them. Sohm'lan was very aware Prince Mestor hadn't taken his eyes off him. In turn, he directed his attention to Prince Azaes.

"The story mentioned the wounds couldn't be healed by conventional means because the stone's energies interfered with their technology. They resorted to one of their ancient remedies." Sohm'lan opened his mouth to tell them what it was and he faltered, assailed by images of him on the beach and Prince Mestor lying next to him, wounded.

"What did they do?" Prince Mestor prompted.

When Sohm'lan met his gaze, he couldn't look away. Suddenly his throat was parched and the lift was too hot.

"Sohm'lan?" Prince Azaes encouraged.

"Their saliva had special properties. Their pod would take turns licking the wounds until the person was healed," he said in a rush.

Prince Mestor's eyes widened and a sexy smirk twisted his lips. "Huh."

The lift doors opened, breaking the uncomfortable silence. Sohm'lan was relieved this floor only housed the royal family. He'd soon be able to retreat to his quarters where he could… he could… Poseidon help him, his clothes were too tight.

"I think we should try it," Prince Azaes said into the silence.

"What?" Sohm'lan exclaimed.

"Yes!" Prince Mestor hissed before coughing into his fist. Prince Azaes turned to stared his brother, a suspicious glint in his sunrise-yellow eyes. "I mean," Prince Mestor stammered. "We are still children of Poseidon and though we do not live in the Waters we should have the same abilities."

Sohm'lan thought for sure Prince Azaes was going to call Prince Mestor out on the utter skink shit he just spewed, but was disappointed when Prince Azaes only nodded his head. "My thoughts exactly. Our family have lost two people to the Waters. Our bloodline must have a strong connection to the Numina."

Sohm'lan threw up his hands, an uncharacteristic gesture for him, with the Monticore watching nonetheless. "It is a story that only has similarities in regards to the injuries. The Numina were some of the first children of Poseidon. They were fabled to have abilities we are simply not capable of. They could cross any open waters in the galaxy without the aid of a starship. The strongest of them could move whole armies from the Waters of Poseidon to another planet's ocean. They had the ability use the siren's song, heal others with saliva, obviously, and some had the gift of foresight."

Instead of dissuading them, it seemed they became more convinced with his every word. What were they thinking?

"It could not hurt to try. Perhaps the Monticore would volunteer." Prince Mestor's glowing smile caused alarm bells to go off and Sohm'lan scowled at the surrounding Monticore who nodded in agreement. The thought of one of them putting their mouth on Prince Mestor's upper thigh caused his jaw to clinch as he flexed his claws.

"If it works, then we have an emergency medical procedure for our people if they don't have immediate access to medics." Prince Azaes glanced at the guards who were agreeing.

"Sohm'lan you tend to Mestor and I'll take one of the volunteers," Prince Azaes said as his cabin door swished open.

Sohm'lan's heart sped up and he was barely able to hide his alarm. "Wait. You cannot be serious," he argued. "It was just a story."

Prince Mestor continue down the corridor moving faster than he had when they first left Captain Kal-Turak's quarters.

"Was it?" Prince Azaes countered as one of the guards slipped into his room. "It won't hurt to find out. You'd better catch up to him." Prince Azaes pointed to where Prince Mestor entered the security code for his rooms.

Sohm'lan didn't want to catch up. He didn't think this was a good idea at all, but it would look suspicious if he backed out or shamed Prince Mestor by ordering another Monticore to take his place.

Three guards arrange themselves outside of Prince Azaes's door and the other four beat Sohm'lan to Prince Mestor's cabin. Prince Mestor stood in the doorway, watching Sohm'lan. The look of eager anticipation on his face made Sohm'lan's scales pull tight. He could have sworn he heard a death knell sounding when he crossed the threshold.

Concentrating too hard on trying to find an excuse not to attend Prince Mestor, Sohm'lan startled when Prince Mestor suddenly nuzzled the back of his neck on the right side of his small spinal ridge. "First, I need your help to shower."

He spun around to tell Prince Mestor absolutely not… only to be confronted with Prince Mestor holding the bandages over his abdomen, the pinched expression saying Prince Mestor was in pain but he would deny it if asked. Though Sohm'lan was proud when his Water Sons pushed through the pain and agony, something about the prince's condition brought out the protector and him. He vowed again he would make the individual rue the day they touched what belonged to him.

Biting back the angry snarl caused by his last thought, Sohm'lan spun on his heel and headed to the lavatory. "I will ready the shower," he barked back over his shoulder, needing a moment to himself.

Prince Mestor was his Water Son to groom and protect, but he was afraid of the depth of this sudden bevy of emotions. He'd loved Prince Mestor since the day the Empress Ashari had laid the youngling in his arms. But this sudden need… He looked down at his trembling fingers hardly recognizing them because he wanted to lay his hands on Mestor, and not in a Water Father way either.

"Niobi, please forgive me," Sohm'lan whispered as he shrugged off his uniform jacket, determined to do his duty while keeping an emotional distance from Prince Mestor.

Not once since her death had he thought about another with any kind of longing. He'd been content to be alone, but this last year, with Prince Mestor stalking him like a lizard on the hunt, Sohm'lan found himself wanting more and feeling guilty for the unwanted need.

There were widows who found other mates. Mar'Sani lived three hundred years on average and losing a mate when young, well, a couple hundred years alone was too much for most. But there were a few who did not find another mate, choosing to go through life living a solitary existence. He had believed he would be one of those individuals. Then Prince Mestor made him question what he thought he knew about himself, what he believed his future would hold.

Hissing in frustration, Sohm'lan switch the controls of the shower from sonic to water. He didn't know if the cleansing gel would aggravate Prince Mestor's wounds, thinking water would be best. He typed in the temperature and set the device to preheat before he returned to the main cabin to find Prince Mestor accepting a uniform from the guards in the corridor. How long had he been in the lavatory, distracted by his inner turmoil? Wait. Was that one of his?

When Prince Mestor turned, seeing Sohm'lan staring at him, he grinned almost sheepishly.

"There is no reason for you to return to your cabin when you could easily change here."

"Nothing is wrong with the uniform I am wearing now." Sohm'lan snapped, frowning suspiciously at Prince Mestor.

The prince draped the uniform over the armor stand. "It's just a precaution." Why did Sohm'lan think Prince Mestor was blowing hot air at him?

"Come, the water will be warm by now." He did not move towards Prince Mestor, curling his hands into fists as Prince Mestor slowly shrugged off his uniform jacket. When the foot of Prince Mestor's injured leg dragged, causing him to hiss and stumble, Sohm'lan shot forward and caught him before he fell. Prince Mestor released a heavy sigh and leaned into Sohm'lan.

He pressed his nose against Prince Mestor's temple and inhaled. "Let's get you in the water."

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

#PactDays : The Asani

Welcome to Thursday's Pact Days! Today, we have the Asani. Yes, I'm going in alphabetical order. I thought that would be a good way to make sure that I didn't unintentionally place importance on a species and possibly give away spoilers.

For those who have read the series might recognize the Asani from Alpha Trine. They were Zeus's mechanic crew on the space station. 

Something to note: I will leave off information on the species that will spoil future books. My standard sheet has the same categories for all species. 


Species: Asani

Planet: Asan

Other races on the planet: Occasionally the Numina are seen in the waters but no one knows if they have a colony on the ocean floor and the Asani won't speak of them. This is also a holiday retreat for other water loving species such as the Kracciam. Two of the strip lands has been set up for tourists looking for simplistic vacation destinations, looking for huts and nature and miles of sand instead of urban chaos.

Planetary Terrain: Vast oceans with underwater cities. There are long sinuous strips of continents that are the lands surrounding mountain tops.

Capitol: Aswana

Country: Uthary, Dushian, Aspais

Patron Ryo Pardeep: River 

Description: Average height range – 2'9" to 4' (need to convert to meters) most are around one meter tall

The Asani closely resemble Terren sea otters although they are much taller with longer legs. They have gills that are clearly seen on those with lighter coats of fur. They are able to breath underwater but live just as comfortably on land. They have long whiplike bodies covered in sleek fur in varying shades of brown, gray, black, and white. Many have buck-teeth.

Dargon indicated they have breeding patterns as prolific as Terren swamp rats. They are very sensitive to pheromones. When trapped in an enclosed space with the lusty scents, the Asani behavior devolves into shameless rutting and public sex. They don't care who is around and believe the more the merrier.

First contact with the Gaziniti helped them to take to the stars. The cute Asani can be more deadly than their appearance would leave one to believe. Their society is divided into small tribes with the oldest living being the tallest and thereby the leaders whose word is final. The tribe heads gather 4 times a year to discuss issues and vote 5 of them to handle interstellar affairs.

The land strips criss-crossing the oceans have rocky hills, forests, and sprawling organic cities that are very green.

Common Occupation: love occupations that require teams so they can be around each other. Mechanics, Healers, Navigation, Hunter

Government Systems: Tribal

Current Leader: n/a

Council of Neighn of Member: Oko Thea

Oko keeps an entourage of at least 8 Asani with her in Haven. The halls are full of enticing scents and hormones. Swimming and being in the water helps but the days she must be inside on land, she needs the release. The emperors have made sure there are plenty of rooms set aside where the different species can "gather themselves together" when needed.

Allies: Numina, Kracciam, Gaziniti, L'Eema, Battion,
The Erdaians have recently been seeking an alliance with the Asani for trade in sea pearls and other ocean delicacies.

Star System: Lyra Lyrea System

Other planets occupied by species: n/a

Military Leader:

Cultural names and terms specific to species:

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Flash Fiction: Unwanted Attention #ValespianPact

I'm going to be lazy today. I forgot to put together a Reading Radar post for today. Instead of working on it this morning, I want to write so I'm moving up a post that I had scheduled for this coming week.

If you have read the Valespian Pact, you might recognize the names of Prince Mestor and Warlord Sohm'lan. Mestor is Zeus's brother, the hothead of the twins. Warlord Sohm'lan is Emperor Valdor's (Zeus's father) best warlord.

Within the confines of Bespoken and the books following, Mestor and Sohm'lan have a rocky relationship that weaves through the plot. The tension between the two of them started before Azaes and Mestor left Atlainticia to bring Zeus home. There are going to be a couple of flash fictions for Mestor and Sohm'lan that span Striker. There are things that happen in the background between the two that I'd originally planned to be for my eyes only. I typically write character pieces that help me come to know the person so when I write them into the main story I have a good grasp about who they are and what came before. This time around, Sohm'lan kept talking to me which lead to today's flash fiction. Again, I'd only planned two flash fiction stories, but as I was writing part two yesterday, I realized this little side story might be three or four parts. So I'm just rolling with it. 

For those who haven't read Alpha Trine and Striker, you can read this as is but I didn't going into detail about the people or the situation on board The Gorgon. So there is a chance that you'll be lost since it relies heavily that the reader already knows the main stories.

This is unedited and copyright by me. Enjoy!

Unwanted Attention

Sohm'lan sat in the lounger, the lights of the cabin dimmed. The other warlords would be rising soon to start the day. The Monticore would be readying for a shift change. Prince Mestor… Sohm'lan surged to his feet and began pacing.

He had done the right thing last night, turning the prince away. For a year now, Prince Mestor had been increasingly aggressive in his pursuit. If Prince Mestor wasn't careful, people would begin to notice how the prince circled him as if he was getting ready to make a declaration. Sohm'lan could not allow that. Prince Mestor could pick from the eligible of any noble house and yet, every time Sohm'lan turned around Prince Mestor was there in Sohm'lan's space, breathing his air.

At first, Sohm'lan thought it was an itch the Prince was looking to scratch. He was twice Prince Mestor's age and though he was still in his prime, there wasn't any reason for Prince Mestor's attentions. The palace abounded with rumors of Prince Mestor's voracious appetites. He had no need to search out a lover when they flocked to his bed unbidden. That Prince Mestor persisted when Sohm'lan had ignored all of his overtures spoke of a stubbornness that Sohm'lan knew all too well. Prince Mestor had started going to bed alone, turning away lovers who decorated his sleeping platform like flashy limpets, causing rumors to circulate like wildfire. Sohm'lan listened as people speculated why the prince made the change, wondering who had caught Prince Mestor's attention.

When Prince Azaes selected Sohm'lan for this detail he had been both relieved and happy. Relieved to have a reason to put some space between him and Prince Mestor, and happy to lay eyes on Prince Zeus once again… thenPrince Mestor announced that he was coming as well.

Then last night Prince Mestor had cornered Sohm'lan as he returned to his cabin after late meal. The barest swish of the tail sweeping against the floor had given gave Prince Mestor away. Sohm'lan had sidestepped and with a twist grabbed the uniform and shoved the person sneaking up on him into an alcove. Sohm'lan was in no mood for games and had planned to dress down the foolish warrior who thought attacking him would be fun… until he registered he stared into Prince Mestor's expectant gaze and not that of an ambitious recruit.

Sohm'lan quickly released Prince Mestor's uniform as if it burned him. "Prince…" He stammered as he went to take a step back. With a snarl full of frustration, Prince Mestor lunged and Sohm'lan found their positions reversed. His back was pressed against the wall and Prince Mestor leaned into him, the corner of his lip curled. The moment thickened with tension as Sohm'lan stared back at Prince Mestor, waiting for what the prince would do or say. He could not remember the last time Prince Mestor attempted to ambush him. It had been at least five years.

"Why do you not touch me?" Prince Mestor finally asked. "Why will you not engage? I have signaled I am amiable to more and yet you look past me as if you see nothing. Are you otherwise entangled? With someone no one knows about?"

Sohm'lan blinked, not surprised by the question but still confounded that Prince Mestor hadn't already devised the answer. Prince Mestor was many things but he wasn't thick in the head.

"I do not participate in bed play for entertainment," Sohm'lan replied, spreading his palms flat against the wall, wishing for something to hold onto because suddenly he itched to smooth out Prince Mestor's wrinkled uniform.

"Neither do I," Prince Mestor replied. When Sohm'lan lifted his brow ridge incredulously, Prince Mestor suddenly smiled and his countenance turned breathtaking. "Now, that is," he amended with a mischievous grin. "I have given up frivolous bed partners. Have you truly not seen my efforts?"

"Prince M—"

"Don't call me that. Say my name. Just my name."

Sohm'lan refused to be informal with Prince Mestor, it would only spur him on, encouraging whatever mad idea that was brewing behind that arresting gaze.

"I'm ready to settle, to build a nest." Sohm'lan met Prince Mestor's probing gaze again, those sunrise yellow eyes so familiar and yet not. In all of Prince Mestor's life, he never looked at Sohm'lan as he had this past year, as if Sohm'lan held the key to a great treasure.

He realized Prince Mestor was waiting for response. "I am happy for you."

The fierce scowl returned to Prince Mestor's features. "What is that supposed to mean? Happy for me?" Prince Mestor gave an indignant hiss.

"The court young have been clamoring for years, waiting for the day you would choose one of them to stand by your side." Sohm'lan held his breath when Prince Mestor snarled and pressed his body hard against Sohm'lan's. His lips pulled back to show needle sharp teeth and black gums.

"There are none among their number that I would tie to me. You on the other hand…"

For the first time in decades, Sohm'lan panicked and shoved Prince Mestor away with enough force that he stumbled back several steps. "Do not bring me into your games! I will not be a part of it. If you are wanting to bed someone older than go somewhere else."

"Is it Zeus then?" Prince Mestor said as Sohm'lan stepped out of the alcove and brushed by him. "Is it he the onw who holds your heart? Even I can see he has chosen the Dar Massaga."

A swell of pride filled Sohm'lan at the thought of little Zeus. "Don't be ridiculous," Sohm'lan snapped. "Zeus is like a son to me."

Prince Mestor's thunder-filled expression brightened. "Then your heart is unencumbered?"

This time Sohm'lan snarled because the question brought up unwanted memories. He had not worn the black veil for years, but the memories of what had been always tore him asunder. He hiss- clicked a warning, signaling the peril Prince Mestor had unwittingly uncovered. Without replying, Sohm'lan spun on his heel, leaving Prince Mestor standing there in the middle of the corridor. He did not look back, only prayed to Poseidon that Prince Mestor had the good sense not to follow him.

Once behind his locked cabin door, Sohm'lan sagged against the wall, his legs no longer able to bear his weight. The memories of his beloved took him away to a time when he'd been the happiest. When life had been filled with innumerable, wonderful possibilities. Then he recalled how it all had been taken away when his beloved and unborn passed into the fade.

Sohm'lan had spent the evening and the long agonizing night sifting through his recollections, unable to sleep. When he lost his Niobe he allowed himself to publicly mourn the allotted time and then packed up his heart, even as he continued to wear the black veil for another two years.

The day Empress Ashari gave birth to twins, Sohm'lan's life had changed once again. Emperor Valdor had summoned him to the nursery. As soon as he'd entered the room, Empress Ashari placed the two youngling's in his arms. His protest stuck in his throat when he looked into two sets of beautiful yellow eyes.

"As I thought." Emperor Valdor grinned. "I will announce to the court you have accepted our offer to be our sons' Water Father."

Sohm'lan had not been foolish enough to tell his ruler no. That night he'd finally removed the black veil of mourning, putting it aside so that he could in turn be absolutely everything the younglings needed. Over the years he had been their father, brother, friend, mentor, and when needed, disciplinarian, first for the twins and then for Zeus.

He stopped pacing, tired but filled with purpose. Ignoring Prince Mestor had not dissuaded him. So Sohm'lan would speak with him and explain why he could not be what Prince Mestor wanted, what he needed. Then Prince Mestor would understand and turn his attentions to another.

With the course of action decided upon, he approached his cabin door. His com beeped.

"Switching Prince Zeus over," the bridge's communications officer announced.

When he heard the click, he said, "Prince Zeus, how may I help you?"

"Could you please come to Dargon's quarters? An incident has occurred. Azaes, Mestor, and I have returned from the Waters of Poseidon injured. The medic is on her way here, but there are Monticore outside. If they smell the blood, they will react without question. I do not have the strength—"

Sohm'lan started running the moment Prince Zeus said Mestor's name. His heart pounded in his ears to the rhythm of his pounding feet. "I am on my way."

He sent up a hurried prayer to Poseidon that the three--that Mestor--was not mortally wounded. He did not think he could endure the loss of someone else he cared for.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Guest Post: Andrew Gordon with Champion of the Gods Series #contest #giveaway

Today's blog guest is Andrew Q. Gordon, author of one of my favorite epic fantasy series, Champion of the Gods. If you haven't picked it up, I highly recommend it!

First, I want to thank Lexi for hosting me today. I appreciate being able to speak to her fans and readers. 

For those who haven’t met me yet, I write epic fantasy. My current series – Champion of the Gods – is a five book epic fantasy work. Books One through Four are already available and Book Five is almost finished.


To introduce you to the series, I’d like to give everyone a free eBook copy of Book One – The Last Grand Master. And to pique your interest a bit more, I’m holding a gift card giveaway. If you sign up for my newsletter, you get a free copy of The Last Grand Master, a 35% off DSP Publication coupon and you’ll be entered to win one of three gift cards. Click the link below to enter the contest and get your free gifts.  

Click HERE to enter the contest.

(The details are on the sign up page.)

Or keep reading for more details. If you already get my newsletter, thank you very much. But you can also get the 35% coupon and enter the contest by clicking the same link. 

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[Yeah, I get that might be confusing, email me if you have questions or click THIS LINK and you’ll be taken to a blog post on my site with info about the contest.] 

If you want more information about the series and The Last Grand Master, click the image below and you’ll be sent to the series page on my website with more information about each of the books. There are video trailers for those who want something visual (Five points if you just said, “that’s not too abysmal, we can take in an old Steve Reeves movie) and information about the characters, geography and culture of the world.


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Enjoy The Journey!   

Andrew Q. Gordon



 “So”—Erstad arched his brows, keeping both hands around the steaming mug—“what prompted this morning ritual of beating Farrell?” 

“Miceral and I were discussing magic and why it made me so tired.” He couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at his lover. “He asked whether better conditioning might assist my wizardry.” 

Miceral reached out and squeezed Farrell’s hand. “I figured better conditioning would give him more stamina for working magic.” 

“So to improve his physical condition, you suggested he let you beat him on a daily basis?” Erstad’s light tone let Farrell know he was only half-serious. “Why not tie him to Nerti and make him run after her as she gallops around Gharaha?” 

Farrell snorted water through his nose. 

“Actually,” Miceral said when he’d stopped laughing, “this is very good conditioning, and it also serves to hone his self-defense skills.” 

“Or at least his self-preservation skills, judging by the welts.” 

“Hey!” Farrell gave them a mock scowl. “I’m still in the room, you know.” 

“Yes, I can see that from the red glow of your body.” Erstad’s shield went up just before Farrell considered tossing a ball of water at him. 

“So, what prompted your unexpected visit?” Hopefully, that would end the talk of his bruises. 

“I haven’t seen much of you lately. I figured I’d come early and we could talk on the way to the Elder Circle.” Erstad gave him a sharp look, and Farrell stood to hide his frown that the mere mention of the session brought to his face. “You are planning to attend?” 

“Of course. We began our training earlier today so I could make the meeting. Just because I’m in love doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my responsibilities. Horgon and I went over the agenda last night.” 

“Wesfazial and I are still amazed at how well you and Horgon work together.” Erstad arched a bushy eyebrow at Farrell. “Especially after how you treated him when you first met.” 

“Hey!” Miceral pointed a finger at the elder wizard. “My father didn’t exactly welcome Farrell with open arms.” 

Erstad nodded once. “That’s true, but dropping Northhelm’s leader onto the dirt within minutes of meeting him wasn’t an exercise in restraint.” 

“Once we put that behind us, we found we liked each other.” Farrell shrugged. “I guess we both realized neither of us were a spawn of Neblor. And I needed someone to run Haven besides me. None of the other displaced rulers have the ability, so I figured I’d try the new guy.” 

“He’s being modest.” Miceral wrapped an arm around Farrell and gave him a brief hug. “Father told me Farrell’s offer upended his feelings toward us. Rather than use his authority to humble my father, Farrell reached out to try to make amends. He didn’t expect that, not after how they met. Once they started working together, Father found he couldn’t help but like Farrell. That of course changed his attitude toward me, and now we’re all getting along.” 

About Andrew:

    AQGLogo Full Size 

 Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. 

Since devouring The Lord of the Rings as a preteen, he has been a fan of all things fantastical. His imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic. He also writes the occasional contemporary story. 

He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband of twenty-two years. Together they are raising their pre-school age daughter and three dogs. Andrew tries to squeeze writing time in around his most important jobs, being husband and ‘Papa.’ Along with teaching how to kick a soccer ball or ride a scooter, he has become fluent in cartoon characters and children’s books. To find out more about Andrew, his writing and his family, follow him on his website or on Facebook. 

You can also sign up for his monthly newsletter and get an exclusive short story only available to subscribers. Use the link below to join:

Follow Andrew:

Twitter: @andrewqgordon 


From DSP Publications: 

The Last Grand Master: (Champion of the Gods–Book 1) 
The Eye and the Arm: (Champion of the GodsBook 2) 
Kings of Lore and Legend: (Champion of the GodsBook 3) 
Child of Night and Day (Champion of the Gods—Book: 4)

Self published: 

Ashes of Life

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#PactDays: The Aetherians

Good Morning!

Welcome to the second ever Pact Days. If you missed last week's post, every Thurday I will be sharing information on a species from The Valespian Pact. 

Fair Warning! If you haven't read the series so far, Alpha Trine and Striker, you might want to ignore these posts because some of will give spoilers to species that were present in those two books. 

Those who have read the books, any new species I reveal will not have spoilers for future installments in the series. With the Aetherians, their description (among a couple other details) has been removed because it would giveaway too early who they are in Bespoken.

Species: Aetherians
Planet: Hellion
Other races on the planet:
Planetary Terrain: Blue lava fields surrounding a tropical paradise
Capitol: Nyx
Country: Olgaria, Etrua, Mostro
Patron Ryo'Pardeep: Black Night, Shadow Dark


Sanctuary of Nyx- The brothers of the sanctuary are trained in pleasure, subversion, and combat. But they're also good at the arts such as singing bards and poetry. They are rumored assassins for hire, or are hired to secretly rectify a 'situation'. The saying of "going to Hellion in a handbasket" means the situation is so dire *fucked up* that one may or may not be seen again.

In dire straits, someone will offer up their most prized possessions to pay these assassins for their help. Occasionally, the petitioner will offer up the life of another in exchange/to pay for a deed. No one knows what happens to the people sent to Hellion in a handbasket. Sometimes the person is returned to the petitioner but they refuse to speak of what they've seen. Others don't come back at all and rumors widely vary about what actually happens to the people. But whatever the reason, everyone knows that going to Hellion in a handbasket isn't good.

Handbaskets are crafted of chiseled stone by Choron, The Guardian of Nyx. As the gatekeeper, Choron has a strong all seeing third eye. They take the palm of the requester's dominant hand and press it to their forehead, and will lay their hand over the person's heart. Empathic. Even though no one is required to give personal information, the gatekeeper gleans that and more as a touch clairvoyant. They will then choose one of their handcrafted baskets and send the 'offering' down the Styx lava flow. The 'blue river'.

When the handbasket is taken down the lava flow, monastery acolytes will collect it or its occupant along with the requester's written request. All of it is brought before Thanatos Titus. Thanatos is twin to Choron and will either know Choron's thoughts or he'll speak to them telepathically.

If the request is accepted by a member of the sanctuary, then the price is set by the assassin who takes on the job. The person's child, an object of great worth (to the monastery), or other item may be demanded for payment. If the petitioner has already sent a child/person, the assassin will always ask for something else but will still keep what was already sent. If the petitioner is willing to pay any price, they will do anything to acquire their goal. The assassin's view is that they are doing the person offered as payment a favor by not sending them back to the petitioner. But those petitioners deemed worthy will have the payment they offered returned to them

If the request/job offends the assassins, the petitioner could find themselves dead. This rumor has detoured many who thought about petitioning for help, but there are still fools in the universe who think they are above reproach.

Many of the sanctuary's servants have been acquired through petitioners. Usually, these people are never turned away because they more than likely came from abusive homes or kidnapped by the petitioner from deplorable origins. They are given a second chance at life on Hellion with most flourishing and thriving. Some even join the Sanctuary of Nyx and learn the trade of assassination.

Those people who are returned to the petitioner are going back to a people who love and care for them (Info gleaned by Choron). Before they leave, they have to drink from the Spring of Lethe.

The Spring of Lethe: when given the water of Lethe, the person will forget what they've seen.

Those living in the bustling city of Nyx are a mixture of species. Some come from petitioner offerings. Some are Fal'Amoric who are born with white hair. Some were picked up by the assassins while they were offplanet.

Space Station Oneiroi: No one, other than citizens, is allowed on Hellion's surface. All trade is conducted on the space station. No one can see the surface of the planet through the opaque shielding. The people on the planet can see the sky and stars just fine. The shielding acts as a two-way mirror.

Those who wish to petition must wear a helmet that blinds them for the shuttle ride down to the gatekeeper. Four guards chaperone the person. The shuttle has no windows in the passenger section. The flight corridor lands the shuttle outside the gates. The area is blackened and gray, with an oppressive air. The area had been over run in the past by the blue lava and looks like a warfield. Gray, cloudy skies are caused by the nearby volcanic activity. An unusual fog comes from the blue lava river. The object of note is the gateway is between the legs of a colossal carved statue. It really freaks people out. Just the sight has scared petitioners away.

Common Occupation: Assassin, Monks, Artisans, Bards

Government System: council of elders with one who decides when the group is at an impasse. If the others disagree, then they petition the Ryo'Pardeep

Current Leader: Thanatos Titus

Council of Neighn of Member:


Star System: Epsilon Hydrae System

Other planets occupied by species: n/a

Military Leader:
Their planet is surrounded by a clouded shield designed and built by the Gaziniti. There is one entry point.

Cultural names and terms specific to species:

Moros (doom, destiny)
Ker (destruction)
Thanatos (Death)
Aether (brightness)
Hemera (day)
Hypnos (sleep)
Oneiroi (Dreams)
Momus (Blame)
Oizys (pain, distress)
The Herperides, the Moirai (fate) (Chtichlian)
The Keres, Nemesis (indignations, retribution)
Apate (Deceit)
Philotes (friendship)
Geras (old age)

Ushas (dawn)

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What is on the Reading Radar #TBR #WIshLIst

What have I been doing? Working on Bespoken and such. I was without a car for a little while so I wasn't able to get up much mischief. 

Today's Reading Radar is short. I haven't been searching for new reads for a few days so the folder is a bit bare. :)

Title: Dragonwatch
Series(Wytch Kings Book 4)
Author(s): Jaye McKenna
Length: 274 pages

Genre: Romance / Gay / Fantasy / Dragons / 


Blurb: The balance of power in Skanda is about to shift…

Beautiful, broken Tristin of Ysdrach would rather hide in his dragon form than live with a Wytch power that forces him to feel the pain of the past in every object he touches. Struggling to come to terms with a future he never believed he’d have, Tristin needs a reason not to surrender to the beast within.

Without Wytch power, Prince Mikhyal of Rhiva is not qualified to be his father’s heir, but newly discovered knowledge possessed by Rhiva’s allies could change that. On their journey to a secret negotiation that could shift the balance of power in Skanda, Mikhyal and his father are attacked, and Mikhyal is left bonded to an ancient sword with a mission, an attitude, and a penchant for blackberry tarts.

Even with the distractions of a royal betrothal ceremony, an enemy striking from the shadows, and the complex negotiations of alliance and rebellion, the painfully shy Tristin still manages to catch Mikhyal’s eye. The two men barely have time to acknowledge their mutual attraction before another attempt is made to end the line of Rhiva.

Can Tristin and Mikhyal get to the bottom of the plot? Or will the Northern Alliance be torn apart before the ink on the treaty is dry?

Title: The Warrior's Mage
Series(The Warriors of Love & Magic Book 4)
Author(s): AC Fox
Length: 213 pages
Publisher: Etopia press

Genre: Romance / Fantasy / Gay 


Blurb: A ruthless warrior, a curious mage, and an ancient secret that could destroy them both...

When Tamas discovers the long-forgotten ruins of the Nystrean Mor—an ancient and powerful civilization—he's certain the incredible find will lead to fame and respect. Instead it leads to the end of a Boa Visk sword, its poison blade biting his throat. Tamas, a scholar mage without the power to defeat the Boa Visk warriors that surround him, is certain he'll die unnoticed in the haunted Tyrasha Forest, where no one will venture to find him. And the secrets he's spent his life trying to uncover will die with him. Until a mysterious swordsman drops from the trees and saves his life...

Damen has only two things left in his life: his dragon-forged swords and his personal vendetta against the Boa Visk. The monstrous beings who've subjugated humans all across the continent have taken everything from him, leaving him broken and alone, with nothing to sustain him but the death of any Boa Visk who wander into his forest. But when he sees their captive mage, poisoned and weak, he hasn't the heart to let the man die alone. Compassion is his first mistake. The kiss he shares with Tamas is his second. With emotions he believed long dead flaring back to life, and the foolish mage destroying the walls Damen worked so hard to erect, Damen is certain his next mistake will be his last. But the secrets of the ruins that compel Tamas might be more dangerous than they imagined, more dangerous even than the Boa Visk, who have no intention of allowing them to leave the forest alive...

Title: In the Ruins
Series: Metahuman Files, 2
Author(s): Hailey Turner
Length: 362 pages

Genre: Romance / Gay / Military Sci-fi / 


Blurb: Truth and lies.

Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.

Dirty little secret.

Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.

Play the game to win.

Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.

In the Ruins is a 105k word steamy gay sci-fi military romance with a HFN ending that skirts HEA. There is military violence within the story that may not be suitable for everyone, as well as explicit intimate scenes not suitable for readers under the age of 18. This is a sequel to In the Wreckage and reading the first book in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

Title: Laurent and the Beast
Series: Kings of Hell MC
Author(s): KA Merikan
Length: 322 pages

Genre: Erotic Romance / Gay / MC Club / Urban Fantasy / 


Blurb--- Nothing can stop true love. Not time. Not even the devil himself. ---

1805. Laurent. Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart.
2017. Beast. Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living.

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

Title: Mirror Skin
Author(s): Eric Del Carol
Length: 87 pages
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (August 29, 2017)

Genre: Romance / Gay / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Detective-Cop /


Blurb: Seedy private detective and burnt-out ex-cop Nick Jordon receives a visit in the night. It's his long-dead lover Dane, naked, his memories wiped, asking for help. Worse, Dane is being pursued by armed goons.

Together the onetime lovers flee, but now Nick must solve the craziest case of his life. How can Dane be alive? And want him back? To complicate matters, Nick starts to feel his old desire for his long-gone lover. But is this really Dane?

Title: Present Uncertain
Author(s): Harrison Phillips
Length: 181 pages

Genre: Romance / Gay / Military / Fantasy / Alternate Universe /

Note: OMG "he can't deny the attraction when his wings pop out every time he's around the man"

Blurb: The First Solis Elf in 500 years, Callon joins the military to escape his father's plans. Unfortunately, he can't escape his Solis Genes. Sent from the Elvan Army to the Fae Honor Guard to the Fae Marines, he knows the transfers are his father's manipulations to make him marry Brant, his ex-fiancé.

Gunny, a Fae Master Gunnery Sergeant, wants nothing more than to stay away from love and take care of his platoon. Playing nursemaid to the pretty Elf Lieutenant is not on the list but he can't deny the attraction when his wings pop out every time he's around the man.

But Callon's father has plans for the power he will gain through Callon's marriage and he's not about to let anything, even the Marines, stand in his way.

A protective platoon, Ex's who don't understand no, and Callon's father's plans stand in the way of Callon and Gunny, making a Present Uncertain let alone a future.

Title: On Borrowed Luck
Series: The Chanmyr Chronicles, 1
Author(s): TJ Muir
Length: 322 pages

Genre:Non-Romantic / Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery / Coming of Age / Queer Characters /


Blurb: Fatherless. Foreign. Out of Luck.

Scrappy but small, Kirrin gets beat up. A lot. So, when he hides from the local bullies in a powerful man's carriage, he's inadvertently transported to a vast rural estate. Far from home and hungry, Kirrin is caught stealing from the kitchen and fears the worst.

But the So’har Hak’kar is impressed with Kirrin’s tenacity and quick wit. Instead of having him criminally punished, the great ruler sentences Kirrin to serve him while learning to fight, move with stealth, and solve intellectual puzzles. Unfortunately, Kirrin doesn’t realize he’s being trained as the lord’s personal assassin until he accidentally kills his first victim.

Now, Kirrin’s family is at risk. His life is at risk. He struggles with who he's becoming. After all, he's living a life on borrowed luck. But borrowed luck never lasts.

Title: Taoree
Series: Taoree Trilogy #1
Author(s): Michele Notaro
Length: 242 pages

Genre: Romance / Gay / Sci-Fi / 


Blurb: If you’re reading this, I hope that means that we’ve survived, but after everything I’ve seen, I’m sure that’s only wishful thinking…

This is my story… a story of what happens when you trust an alien race. A race that lived peacefully with humans for over two years, but something suddenly changed. When all hell breaks loose, can we count on the Taoree to step up and help or could they be the real cause of all the terror?

Three of my friends and I try to make our way back home to our families, but there’s chaos at every turn. We can trust no one; we only rely on each other. And even though we work together, nothing can stop the heartbreak and terror that surrounds us.

Before you judge me, ask yourself this: When there’s danger at every turn and nowhere safe to hide, what would you do to keep you and yours alive? Some of us won’t survive… What will happen to those of us that are left behind?

Taoree is Book One in the Taoree Trilogy and is meant to be read as part of a series. This book ends on a cliffhanger, but there is a promise of a happy ending at the end of the trilogy.

***WARNING: This book is recommended for ADULTS ONLY. It is rather gruesome, so if you don’t like violence, death, blood, and the like, don’t read it. There’s also explicit language, as well as romance and graphic sexual content between two male characters.***

Title: Triad Soul
Author(s): Nathan Burgoine
Length: 379 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes

Genre: Romance / Gay / MMM / Paranormal / 


Blurb: The law of three is everything: three vampires for a coterie, three demons for a pack, and three wizards for a coven. Those alone or in pairs are vulnerable to the rest. Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—sidestepped tradition by binding themselves together. 

When something starts brutally killing demons in Ottawa, the three find themselves once again moving among the powers who rule the city from the shadows—this time working with them to try to stop the killings before chaos and blood rule the streets.

Hunting a killer who seems to leave no trace behind, the triad are forced to work with allies they don’t dare trust, powers they barely understand, and for the good of those they already know to be corrupt.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!