Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pact Days: Alpha Trine #ValespianPact #AlphaTrine

Well, this is a last minute post. I was floundering on what to do for today.

In July, I renewed my contract with Less Than Three Press for Alpha Trine. On the blog here I mentioned editing Alpha Trine and ended up spending the majority of that month combing through it. 

Why, you ask? There were issues, such as the dozen different names I called the military or the police. Uses of children were changed to younglings (children is a human term). I simplified the time telling. Logically each planet has a way to mark time. The Mar'Sani mark their years as summers. But in space, time is standardized and I reinforced that by using 'Galactic Standard days/years' outside of a planet. I misused the word galaxy--a lot--when it should have been solar system or something else. The Vondorians are Atlaintician royals not Mar'Sani royals. I loved capitalizing things I considered important when it shouldn't have been (I continue to struggle with this today). There were just things that needed to be fixed. 

No new scenes were added but I did take care of some things that have been bugging me for a long time. Sometimes just how something was said. Probably things that only I would see. :)

Since there wasn't a major overhaul or new scenes added, the files will be updated with the vendors. So if you bought the book through LT3 Press, you just go to your account downloads to get the updated version. The same goes for Amazon. It'll be a week or two before the updated version is posted, but like I said, the changes are probably things that you won't notice. 

Talking about Alpha Trine, did you know that you can find the first two books of The Valespain Pact on audio?

Title: Alpha Trine
Series: (The Valespian Pact, #1)
Genre: Sci-Fi / Gay / Poly
Advisory: this story contains a threesome relationship

Formats: Audiobook / eBook / Paperback

Buy Links: LT3 Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes


The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar'Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes, and the nobles of his parents' court refuse to ever trust a frail and treacherous human.

Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover, Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. After narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs but find that the Psionics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port's master mechanic, unaware that the man they've brought on board is more than he seems and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.

Title: Striker
Series: (The Valespian Pact, #2)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi / Gay / Poly
Advisory: this story contains a threesome relationship

Buy Links: LT3Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

The peaceful respite for which Zeus and his intended, Dargon and Alpha, had been hoping is shattered when Zeus is unexpectedly drawn to the Waters of Poseidon and told that the safety they've been promised is a trap. But the Fal'Amoric aren't the only important cargo on the Oethra 7, and countless others are depending on the success of their mission. If Zeus hopes to break the silent siege on Valespia and protect those most precious to him, he will need not just powerful allies but the fortitude to survive overwhelming odds.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Four #blogstory #Gentleman #ION #amwriting

Alonzo and Zane needed some alone time. That doesn't mean they had sex, but there is copious amounts of cuddling. Seriously, after the torture that I have put Zane through, I'm surprised he hasn't killed someone yet. Enjoy!

Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Twenty-Four

Alonzo was worried about Zane. He looked… the best description for Zane's ashen skin and wide eyes was shellshocked. Though Zane's body language and voice spoke of calm, Alonzo could see what most could not. Zane was his patrón and as his guardian, Alonzo was tied to him in a supernatural way that defied human logic.

When Zane lay next to him, Alonzo shivered at the wave of cold coming off Zane's skin. He drew Zane closer, worried. The icy touch rivaled the freezing rock still resting in Alonzo's torso.

"You should have come to me sooner. I am sorry I failed you." Alonzo's sore muscles twitched as he recalled hitting the Valkyrie's invisible shield.

Zane growled. "You did not fail me, but if you do that again, I will… I will…"

"Think of a punishment that won't harm me?" Alonzo chuckled into Zane's hair, unable to keep from pressing a kiss there.

"I did not like feeling helpless to help you." Zane's whispered confession warmed Alonzo. Of course he didn't, Zane was a patrón through and through. Perhaps Zane was not of Alonzo's people, but the spirit was still there.

"I would have stayed with you—"

"You had the Valkyries and their charge to deal with. Midnight explained when I woke." There was a downside to not being in a traditional clan, and Alonzo was willing to deal with the complications. Thankfully, Midnight had known what Alonzo required to be revived more quickly.

"Tell me what you need if something like this happens again. One of the guys stressed how unusual being alone is for you. I…" Zane's arms tightened around Alonzo, causing his sore muscles to twinge in silent agony, but he said nothing. Instead, he ran a palm down Zane's back, almost petting him, willing Zane to sense the calm reassurance Alonzo directed at him.

"Alonzo, I don't think I can give you up," Zane rasped. "I should help you find a clan to take care of you, but the thought of you leaving me—" Zane shuddered in his arms.

"Oh, mi rey, I would never willingly leave you."

"The thought makes me crazy inside and I want to kill… I am never trigger-happy. I don't allow my emotions to dictate my actions. But today… today, I have been so angry that I would lay waste to a whole family line." Alonzo carded his fingers through Zane's hair then gripped the strands tight, making him look up instead of talking to Alonzo's throat.

The anger Zane spoke of was there in his gaze. He was not a handsome man, but neither was he unattractive. The nondescript nature of Zane's appearance probably served him well, allowing him to disappear among the masses. But underneath the average-looking shell, Zane emanated a power that drew Alonzo like a moth to a flame. "You are my patrón and my family. I chose you Zane Snow Cortese. If you desire to wipe out a people, I would still serve at your side."

"But you need more than me," Zane whispered, pupils blown as he tested the grip Alonzo had on his hair.

He paused, unable to lie to Zane, but not wanting to pressure him either. "I need you more."

The fire of rage dimmed in Zane's gaze to be replaced by a softness Alonzo treasured. "I will take care of you."

"Yes, you will." He had no doubts.

He wasn't upset or put on edge by Zane's soft vow. He had bonded to Zane. His people would tsk and shake their heads at such foolishness. Zane was not one of them, he was not Maricoxi, and did not know their ways or customs. Therefore Zane could not appreciate what it meant that Alonzo had chosen to be his guardian. And perhaps they were correct, in a sense, but Alonzo didn't worry. Zane was a true leader, and as such he would care for all he took under his wing.

Pulling Zane closer, Alonzo nestled Zane's face against his neck where his pheromones would be stronger. The skin to skin contact was fortifying Alonzo much faster than the contact Midnight and Raine were kind enough to share with him. Zane wasn't wrong, if he had a tribe, then yes, the more people with Alonzo the quicker he would recoup. But not having a tribe wasn't a detriment to Alonzo either.

"Your skin is warming up," Zane murmured, his lips feathering against Alonzo's neck, and he shuddered but not from the cold that had been eating at him since he woke.

He was warming up. He had taken damage—not of the physical kind—when he broke the Valkyrie's barrier. The energy that connected Alonzo to his god had been sapped. He hoped that he hadn't jarred connection enough to arouse his god from slumber. The last time he woke Tezcatlipoca, he had defied his patrón which had resulted in a broken bond. Tezcatlipoca's help had made it easier for Alonzo to live alone until he found a clan. He wasn't sure how his god would react if roused to discover that Alonzo had bonded himself to someone not of the people. His heart twisted in pain, wondering if Tezcatlipoca would make him give up Zane.

"Hey," Zane said softly, his lips firmly pressing into Alonzo skin. "I can practically feel your anxiety. Whatever you are thinking, stop." Zane's arms tightened around Alonzo, almost painfully, but instead of making Alonzo uncomfortable, he was able to breathe out.

"I don't know or understand the culture of your people, yet, but I will do my best to learn so I can meet your needs."

Alonzo tilted Zane's chin so he could steal a kiss. It had been a long time since someone had put him first. He'd forgotten what it felt like to be valued. Tears stung the back of his eyes. If his god did not take Zane away immediately, Alonzo would still lose him when the era of the Fourth Sun ended and the jaguars came for him. He could refuse to go and die with Zane when the Fifth Sun came. If—when—the time came, then he would worry. For this moment, he relished the taste of his patrón, slowly sweeping his lips over Zane's, teasing until his hair was grabbed and Zane took over. He ate Zane's moans of pleasure, taking the sexual energy into himself and using it to chase out the last remnants of cold that had gripped him. If he wasn't careful, he would become drunk off the sheer amount of power that rolled off Zane. Was Zane stronger today than yesterday? Perhaps, it felt like Zane was but Alonzo wasn't sure.

Unknowingly, Zane had kept feeding energy into Alonzo. Afraid of taking more than what was healthy, Alonzo kept a metaphorical finger on the pulse of Zane's power, shocked when he realized that though Zane fed him a vast amount, what Zane held never diminished. In no time, Alonzo felt hail and whole, his body finally stirring with lust.

Zane chuckled against Alonzo's mouth. "Ah, you must be feeling better now. I sense…" Zane gently palmed Alonzo's cock. He moaned and pushed into the touch. "I thought I sensed you getting better, though I am not sure how. Hell, if I had known a kiss would wake you up, I would have done that when I first got you inside." Zane frowned, his brown gaze pensive. "I'm sorry."

Alonzo brushed Zane's thick, hair from his eyes. "Normally, a kiss from a patrón does not pack such a punch of… power."

"Well, now I know how, I can help you."

Zane cocked his head as if listening, giving a grimace. Alonzo listened as well, hearing a voice he hadn't heard in quite some time. Things had to be dire if Myranda Anatha was out in the field. Normally, she did not leave headquarters. Subjects were brought to her. Cord had said the Valkyrie's superior was coming. This—she—was unexpected.

"Have you been told what happened?" Zane rolled off Alonzo to lay flat on his back, giving the impression he was weighed down by heavy burden.

Alonzo hid a smile. Zane looked adorable brooding. "You're a scion hidden from the House of Oden's Runes who has been blackmailing other scions into swearing to serve the house. When are we going to dismantle Oden's Runes?"

Zane's abrupt laugh caused Alonzo to grin wide. "I think you were made for me," Zane said after his levity faded. Before Alonzo could think of a reply, Zane continued. "We will take care of them after I have helped Cord."

"And the oracle the Valkyrie brought here?"

"Saja's manager… superior… I forgot the title she used, that person arrived a little while ago to uncover what is going on."

Alonzo rolled to the side of the bed and sat up, a wave of vertigo hitting him but quickly dissipating.

"Are you all right?" Zane slid his hand up Alonzo side to his shoulder.

He reached up and grasped Zane's wrist, pulling him closer until Zane's naked chest was pressed to his back. He kissed Zane's palm. "I am much better. The bigger question is how are you? Are you ready to face more revelations? The last couple of days… You have not had time to acclimate to everything that you have learn so far, and it seems there will be more to come."

"I think…" Zane suddenly sounded vulnerable and he squeezed Alonzo tight. "I think that as long as you and Skyld are with me that I will be… perhaps not fine, but I will be able to manage.  I—we—will be questioning Oden's ballsack about what I learned today." Alonzo leaned to the side so he could see Zane's expression which was hard, unforgiving, and he was sure the questioning of the oracle would involve pain if Zane had anything to say about it. "But first we deal with Ella if the ION organization overlooks what she has done."

"I worked for ION for many years. They don't mess around when righting an injustice."

Zane looked skeptical. "Yes, but if ION is operated by oracles, how can you be so sure they will go against one of their own?"

Alonzo rose to his feet, scratching his stomach, watching Zane crossed to the dresser and pull out a pair of sweats. "They are taking this very seriously, they sent Myranda Anatha. She's judge, jury, and executioner. There is a very good chance that Ella will not walk out of here alive." He accepted the clothes offered. Zane's brows puckered in contemplation.

When dressed, Zane went to the door, then glanced back at Alonzo. "Do you think they will let me watch?"

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

What's on the Reading Radar? #WishList #TBR

I was looking at my book buying over the last 3-4 months and made a decision to only buy 1-2 books a month until the end of the year. Hopefully, this will encourage me to read things that I have had forever!! I was/am spending a ton (Holy, crap! A TON!) of money. That one-click with Amazon is killing me and I need to save money so that I can go to GRL, you know? So for the rest of the year, I will have more books go on my wish list than my TBR pile. Reading Radar might become Reading the Back List. LOL!!

Just kidding! 

Well, maybe not. 

This is going to be hard!

Title: Rob the Daemon
Series:  Chronicles of Rob the Daemon
Author(s): Brad Vance
Length: 124 pages

Genre: Romantic Elements / Contemporary / Paranormal / Demons / Gay /


Blurb: When Sol meets Rob Sabat at the ski resort, it’s magic…literally. But their hot sexy romance could be short-lived, because Rob is really Barbatos, immortal daemon, cursed by an evil magician to spend the eight months of Daylight Savings Time buried underground. So now it’s up to Sol, descendant of King Solomon, the original daemon wrangler, to break the curse on his beloved. And to do that, he’ll have to become a sorcerer himself, maybe the greatest sorcerer ever. He’ll need Rob’s help, of course, as well as that of his faithful sidekick Celia – who just happens to be the descendant of the Queen of Sheba –and his dog Gary, once Sol understands Dogspeak. But daemons are a dangerous lot, and Sol’s experiments with the power may unleash and unlock more things under the earth than just Rob…

Title: Happy Endings
Author(s): Alice Winters
Length: 190 pages

Genre: Romance / Fantasy / Paranormal / Gay /


Blurb: Miles, a powerful mage, thinks life is right where he wants it. With a werewolf, a witch, and a demon in his house, what could go wrong? When fifteen people die at the same time in different locations, things start to look a bit bleak. The police are looking for someone to help, someone worthy of helping, but instead they get stuck with Miles and his demon Havoc, whose weakness is any woman that looks his way. They have been together for hundreds of years and, when things start to go wrong, they may be the only two that can save humanity. Which is really sad because they’re definitely not cut out to save humanity. When an attack leaves Miles’s life in Havoc’s hands the two start to question if there’s something more between them other than three hundred years of bickering. Along with a forest spirit, a perverted minotaur, and the two human detectives (that wish they’d have asked for help from anyone else), Miles and Havoc try to find the answer to their happy ending. No, not that happy ending you pervert. Okay maybe there’s that kind of happy ending too.

Title: A Matter of Oaths
Author(s): Helen S. Wright
Length: 322 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Caravel; 1 edition (November 23, 2017)

Genre: Sci-Fi / Space Opera / Intrigue / LGBTIAQ Character / 


Blurb: When Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there's no one else around qualified for the job. Shunned by his previous shipmates, Rafe is ready to keep his head down and do his job, but his competence quickly earns him respect, admiration, and, in one particular case, love.

It's difficult to maintain the glow of acceptance however, when his past is chasing him across the galaxy in the shape of an assassin, intent on dealing once and for all with Rafe, whatever the cost.

Originally published in 1988, A Matter of Oaths is a space opera with heart, intergalactic intrigue and epic space battle.

Title: Diplomacy Squared
Author(s): Sydney Blackburn
Length: 33k
Publisher: LT3 Press

Genre: Romance / Sci-Fi / Non-binary / Gay / 

Notes: Available for pre-order. The Release Date is September 26th

Blurb: When Fold pilot Diego is assigned to space station Mikesi, he expects his biggest problem will be boredom, even if it is circling a recent First Contact alien home world. Much of the Human speculation aboard the place revolves around the mystery of Antho females, as all those encountered so far seem to be male. Being gay, it's not a question Diego gives a lot of consideration.

All his attention is soon taken, anyway, by station admin Portya. Though they have many physical differences, they also have enough in common that Diego is confident they'll get along just fine—and they do. The sex isn't just amazing, it's addicting.

Until Portya winds up pregnant, a surprise for which Diego was not remotely prepared.

Title: Bone and Bourbon
Author(s): Dorian Graves
Length: 268 pages
Publisher: NineStar Press (April 23, 2018)

Genre: Romance / Urban Fantasy / Fantasy / Gay /


Blurb: Half-huldra Retz Gallows is having an awful day. First, he wakes up in the middle of driving to who-knows-where with an angry unicorn head in his passenger seat. This is almost normal, thanks to a lifetime of sharing a body with Nalem, a bone-controlling spirit with a penchant for wicked schemes and body-stealing joyrides. It’s probably a bad idea to ask what else could go wrong.

Jarrod Gallows left home with plans to rescue his little brother from possession. Instead, he got saddled with a dead-end job as a paranormal investigator, a Faerie curse, and a daredevil boyfriend who might be from another world. At least he’s got a new job—except why is his brother Retz here and why does this sudden reunion feel more like a bane than a blessing?

This day’s going to get worse for the Gallows brothers before it gets better. To survive, they’ll have to escape the forces controlling them, as well as the wrath of carnivorous unicorns, otherworldly realms, and even their own parents. Only time will tell if they’ll make it out alive…or sober.

Title: How We Survive
Author(s): Michele Notaro
Length: 368 pages

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Gay / 


Blurb: Nate~

With the world in chaos around us, the only thing I could do was try to keep Felix safe as we searched for our older brother. We’d been traveling for over two years, searching Ministry camp after Ministry camp and trying to steer clear of the Rebels. I didn’t know what to do when we ran into a whole group of shifters with guns. But then, the huge, gorgeous guy that found us did the unthinkable…


At first I thought the two young shifters were trying to sneak up on me, but I soon realized they were only passing through. I was going to send them on their way until I heard the others coming. What was I supposed to do? How else was I supposed to save them? The delicious man and his brother would’ve been killed had I not claimed him.

Will Nate and Tre be able to work together to keep themselves and their packmates alive? Or will they let the cruelty of the outside world tear them apart?

***How We Survive is the first book in the Reclaiming Hope series, but is a standalone novel. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but the couples will show up throughout the series. It’s a paranormal shifter romance between two men with explicit language and graphic sex intended for Adults Only.***

Title: Lonewolf
Author(s): JL Merrow
Length: 26 pages

Genre: Paranormal / Gay / 

Notes: This is a free read. 

Blurb: Sex with a stranger can be riskier than you know… particularly if that stranger turns out to be a werewolf. A companion to — or appetiser for — my novel Camwolf.

Two years ago a casual encounter in Stuttgart left Carl changed forever. He thought he could handle being a werewolf—until he passed the curse on to his English lover, Nick Sewell.

Now Carl's come back to Germany to look for answers from the man who made him a monster. But Stefan's disappeared, and in his place Carl finds Christian, who may have as much to hide as Carl does—or even more.

This is a short story in the same universe as Camwolf, but with different main characters. If you've read the novel you may recall that Nick Sewell was turned into a werewolf three years before the start of Camwolf by his then lover, Carl Fisher. This is Carl's story, and it's a dark little tale.

Title: Pack of Lies
Author(s): Devon West
Length: 139 pages
Publisher: Etopia Press (July 20, 2018)

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Poly / Gay / 


Blurb: Can the passion of three shifters survive the secret one of them hides?

Lion shifter Cameron Wright has been hired to get back the money loaned to Adrian Miller—a werewolf struggling to make ends meet—any way he can. But when he goes to the Vegas club where Adrian works, he doesn't count on the intense attraction he feels for either Adrian or the wolf shifter's lover, Jaxon Marshall, who works as a dancer. Things quickly heat up between the three of them in ways Cameron never expected. But the secret he's keeping from his new lovers, the lies and shady things he's doing to get the money, make it impossible to deal with his growing feelings for them. Cameron knows he is betraying the two shifters...but how can he tell them the truth without losing them forever?

Adrian might not have much, but he has Jaxon, the tiger shifter he loves more than anything. He’s struggling to pay back a big loan from Jaxon's brother, a shifter with a dark reputation, but he's determined to make good. And things start looking up in the relationship department when the quiet-but-sexy Cameron walks into the club. Jaxon has no qualms about threesomes, and they are both eager to bring the new shifter into their lives...and their bed. The three of them spend wild nights together, but the closer Adrian and Jaxon get to Cameron, the more pain the man seems to feel. There is a secret looming over them that threatens to destroy the passion they share...and they may discover it sooner than any of them want.

Reader note: contains M/M/M menage romance, male/male love, and paranormal romance elements including wolf, lion, and tiger shifters. A stand-alone story with a happy ending

Title: Secret Cravings
Series:  Pantarius Brothers 1
Author(s): Stormy Glenn
Publisher: Siren Publishing (April 5, 2018)

Genre: Romance / Paranormal / Gay /


Blurb: Gabriel Pantarius had a problem, and he's pretty sure if he didn't find a solution, he'll lose his mind. When he finds an old man at a bookstore who seems to have the answers he seeks, Gabriel is astounded to discover that the paranormal world is alive and well, and he's a card carrying member. Hoping to find more answers, and the brothers he never knew he had, Gabriel starts searching. What he finds is more than he ever could have dreamed of. One of his brother owns a motorcycle shop with a man claiming to be his mate. Chayton Garon is excited to find his mate, but shocked to learn Gabriel knows nothing about being a shifter. He doesn't even know anything about mates. Refusing to give Gabriel up, Chayton tries to stand by his mate's side and support him as he searches for his long lost brothers. The threat that separated Gabriel from his brothers is looming closer every single day. If he doesn't find them soon, the homeland where they were born could be lost forever.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pact Day: Fun Constant Excerpt #ValespianPact #Constant

Today's topic is a continuation of the excerpt posted last Thursday. If you haven't read it, I suggest you you here before starting here. :)

Copyright Lexi Ander

Canry scales, with the exception of his neck and belly, were black as night. The larger, thicker scales along his spinal ridge, where his retractable barbs would grow, would eventually turn the signature red of the Vondorian bloodline, signifying their barbs were poisonous. Mestor gently ran his claws along the edge, marveling at how the dark scales were already lightening to a black-red. Azaes on the other hand seem to be stuck on nasty foods, he made a gagging noise and reflexively Mestor clapped his hand over his mouth to stifle his giggles. They quickly moved away from Canry when the youngling whimpered and moved. If the monitors thought he was waking up, they would send an attendant if Meme was unavailable.

::What do we do now?:: Azaes walked to the pen that took up one quarter of the room.

Mestor shrugged. He had not thought past getting to the nursery. He and Azaes did not want to be left out when Canry was introduced to the Waters of Poseidon. He joined Azaes at the pen's fencing. The sunken area was filled with sand and in the corner was a pool of salt water. This was where younglings learned to control their bowels. The sand was easy to clean and sanitize. It also helped when younglings molted. They rolled around in the sand sloughing off dead scales as newer, bigger ones came in. Mestor thought the area looked smaller than the last time he was there.

Azaes glanced around the room and Mestor followed suit, knowing that his brother was looking for places to hide.

::Everything seems—::

::Smaller,:: Azaes finished.

Mestor pointed to a cabinet. ::We used to fit into those cubbies.::

::And now it looks like only my leg will fit.::

::We could climb to the top.:: Mestor pointed to the carved crown of the sturdy armoire next to the window.

::We would have to climb the curtains.::

Mestor's shoulders slumped. ::Last time the curtain rods tore from the wall.::

::And the window broke.::

::We were lucky a balcony was directly below.::

::Father yell really loud.::

::Meme cried when she thought she was alone.:: Mestor and Azaes had rushed from their hiding spots to console her, promising they would never climb curtains again.

::If not there, then…::

A noise in the hallway caused Mestor to turn toward the door. The crack spanned only two or three fingers but activity in the corridor still echoed. Mestor had not heard approaching footsteps before the familiar voice spoke on the other side.

"I believe I have found them, Valdor. It was not too hard. I only needed to follow the dirt trail." Sohm'lan said.

Azaes's red-yellow eyes were huge when Mestor glanced at him and then down to Azaes's dirt stained pants and tunic. The cuff of the pants had filled with dirt. Azaes made an angry noise and jabbed a clawed-tipped finger at Mestor's matching dirt speckled trousers. One of his hems was torn and a small scattering of dirt sat on the floor at his feet.

"I will keep them here until it is time," Sohm'lan said after a long pause.

Frantically, Mestor searched for place to hide. Azaes grabbed his hand and pulled him to Shaneva's bed. She had grown out of her birth bed and now used a small sleeping platform more suited to her size. As the door rattled, he and Azaes dropped to the floor and quickly crawled behind it.

The clearance under the bed was not large enough to allow them to hide underneath, but Mestor could see the doorway and where Canry's bed was suspended from the ceiling. The door slid all the way open and the decorative boots of a high-ranking warlord entered the room. Mestor had the insane urge to giggle.

The boots stopped at Canry's birth bed, the delicate chains holding it aloft rattling. Mestor startled, almost giving away his hiding spot when something grabbed the end of his tail. Rolling to the side, he spied his sister, Shaneva, looking over the edge of her sleeping platform. He had not realized that both his and Azaes's tails were sticking straight up in the air as they lay on their bellies. Shaneva not only held his tail but would not give it back. Azaes gestured for her to release her prizes but Shaneva giggled and pulled harder.

When Sohm'lan's head appeared over Shaneva's, Mestor froze, suddenly feeling like prey as those of luminous blue eyes pinned him in place. "Do you know how many people are looking for you two?" Sohm'lan's rumbling voice held displeasure.

Tears pricked at Mestor's eyes. He had not meant to let his waterfather down.

Azaes was not affected with the same emotion. He glared up at Sohm'lan in defiance. "We will not be left behind. We want to be with Canry when he takes his first swim."

Mestor was impressed by his twin's fierce scowl.

"Who said you could not come?" Sohm'lan's frown was worse than Azaes's.

"Nanny Kalika said we would be too much of a destruction on Canry's big day."

"Distraction," Mestor corrected.

"She probably meant both," Sohm'lan replied.

"Maybe," Mestor and Azaes said in unison.

Sohm'lan sighed, but Mestor noticed the corners of his mouth twitched as if he hid a smile. "Get off the floor and give me your dirty clothes. You are leaving a trail of dirt everywhere."

Mestor did not need to be told twice. He finally got Shaneva to let his tail go and he stripped, sending the garments down the laundry chute. Then they were instructed to clean up their mess.

"How long before we can work in the kitchens," Azaes asked Sohm'lan as he dumped his small pale of dirt into the recycle bin.

"You must be seven summers," Sohm'lan replied. He hoisted Canry into his arms and sat on a corner swing.

Azaes made a disgruntled hiss. "Why so long? I want to help."

"You want to eat sweets and learn how to make your own," Mestor countered, knowing his twin all too well.

"By seven, you will have better control of your tails." Sohm'lan's eyes narrowed when it seemed Azaes would argue.

All Mar'Sani earned merits through their own endeavors. Mestor was just as eager as Azaes to earn status. It was how the people rose in station, everyone started at the bottom and worked their way up. As heirs to the throne they were not allowed to participate with the youths living outside the palace. Sohm'lan told them about collecting trash in the streets when he was a summer younger than they were. Sometimes Mestor and his twin would beg him for stories about the street ruffians who tried to take his trash bags and claim his work as their own. At five summers, their waterfather had been no stranger to battle.

"Look!" Azaes exclaimed, running to Sohm'lan's swing. He turned around showing his red ridge to his waterfather. "My spines are coming in."

Mestor grimaced but moved in close. This was not the first time Azaes claimed his spines were growing. Sohm'lan ran his fingers over this thick-scaled ridge that went from the crown of Azaes's head and followed along his backbone, down to the tip of his tail. Holes were set in the center of the bigger scales where the retractable spines would eventually come through. The barbs were hard as bone and grew to different lengths. Sohm'lan's retractable spines are big, but Mestor's father's were longer. Father said it was not the size of the barbs that mattered. All the Vondorians were poisonous and as such were able to hide their spines. There were some Mar'Sani who could not retract their barbs but could make them relax enough to lay flat against the body.

"Wait. Wait. Wait," Azaes said, then hissed as he flexed. True enough, the heads of three spines on his neck barely protruded from the holes.

Shaneva crawled off her sleeping platform and waddled over to where Azaes stood showing off. She would one day join the People of the Longing, Mar'Sani who could not leave the Atlaintician oceans. Meme schooled Mestor and Azaes on what signs to look for in other children. Webbing between their fingers and toes, and the tail merging with the youngling's legs. The three appendages would eventually grow into one powerful limb, making them unable to walk on land but perfect for in the Waters of Poseidon. Those were the easiest indicators. Another was a loss of scales that were replaced by thick, sharklike hide when the youngling was close to leaving dry land permanently. Shaneva's legs were fused to her short but still growing tail. She walked well but with a slight waddle when she hurried. Shaneva moved to climb onto Sohm'lan's lap and Mestor helped her up.

Younglings in the nursery did not wear clothes, even if they were taken out of the royal wing… Well, that was the rule until recently. A visiting dignitary from a nearby coalition made loud, snide remarks claiming they could not tell the males from the females. Then mimicked Shaneva's particular waddle in such a way that implied Shaneva was addled-minded.

Dignitary or not, Meme grabbed spears from the nearby Basilisc guards and threw them to the vile male and his two attendants, challenging the three of them for their breach of etiquette and rudeness. The dignitary attempted to laugh off the challenge, unwilling to sully his reputation by fighting a mere servant… until one of the guards called Meme by her title. Their father had explained the visitors did not expect to be greeted right away and thought they were surrounded by servants who could not understand their language. Mestor had watched his meme with pride as he hovered protectively over Shaneva. Meme beat the three in only five devastating moves, leaving the dignitary unconscious on the floor. They were escorted back to their ship and out of Atlaintician space. The vid of the dignitary's arrival, his comments as well as the resulting challenge was sent back to the coalition's counsel with a note that the trio were not allowed to return.

"You will need to be careful as your spines mature," Sohm'lan counsel Azaes, patting him on the shoulder. "You will not be poisonous until the barbs are fully grown, but you could accidentally stab someone if you do not control them."

"Yes," Mestor added, looking for a spot on Sohm'lan's lap where he too could sit. "Hitting people with our tails is nothing. Draw blood and suddenly no one is laughing."

Canry was quiet. His eye color was different than the rest of the family, more green than yellow. He always watched everything as if he understood what was going on. Mestor had asked his Meme about it once. He remembered some things from when he was younger, such as his first time in the Waters, but most of his memories were murky and unclear until he started walking on his own. His meme said Canry did seem to focus more than other younglings his age, but then she said that if he was more aware then he and Azaes would have to be on their best behavior, eat what was given to them, and watch what they said. Canry could mimic them and get into trouble. Mestor thought Mimi was sneaky, his twin on the other hand, took her words to heart. Now they had to eat nasty greens so Canry would eat them too.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Three #blogstory #Gentleman #ION #amwriting

I was finally able to add words to Assassin's Retirement. Sorry for the delay! Some times the words come so easily and other times it is like pouring molasses and then there are times other projects swallow up the hours I need to work on this. So, without further ado!

Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Twenty-Three

Zane stopped breathing, certain he'd heard wrong. Skyld was his brother?

"Zane, talk to me."

On one hand, Zane was pissed off. No, that didn't even begin to describe how furious he was. Skyld could have told him anytime since Zane was ten years old. Why didn't he? But did this… this… the fault of this debacle actually fall at Skyld's feet? He glanced at the door leading to the mudroom. Everything kept coming back to Ella and her family. If Skyld was protecting Zane from the fucking House of Odin's asshole… Well, Zane didn't need Skyld to protect him anymore. He would wipe out the Rune bloodline from the face of the earth.

"Zane, please," Skyld's voice bottomed out.

Breathing out, Zane finally admitted to himself that if the rolls were reversed, he probably would have kept Skyld safely away from such a threat. Even though he was angry and confused, Zane was happy Skyld was his family.

Zane leaned heavier against Skyld instead of pulling away. He wanted to take comfort in the embrace while he could. When he got up form the table, he had plans to make and people to kill.

"If we are brothers, do we have the same father or mother?" Better to get the details now. Zane didn't want to be ambushed with information later or to have knowledge he might need later.

Skyld's arm around his shoulders tightened. "We share the same father. The man you called dad was our brother. I've been trying to find a way to tell you since I arrive." Zane remembered their earlier conversation in the music room. He'd sensed that Skyld had something to tell him then. "Mikael found out about you a year or so after he married Candice. They were living abroad at the time. Candice couldn't have children, though no one in her family knew. He'd convinced her they should adopt you and had papers forged to show you as their biological child.

"Decades earlier, Mikael had faked his death, living a mundane life. Grandfather even held a funeral, which allowed Mikael to fall off Odin's Runes' radar. I didn't know about you until you were almost two years old. I argued he should take you to Grandfather, but Mikael refused. He wanted you to have a normal life. He made me promise not to bring you into the world of Others unless Odin's Runes discovered you."

"And when Dad died?" Zane asked even though he really didn't want to know the answer.

"When Odin's Runes found and killed him, they left you alone because children born to humans are always mundane. They left you alone. If I had taken you, they would have known you were not what you seemed. If I had killed Paul Bishop, they would have asked why and looked deep. So instead, I taught you everything I knew and gave you the means to take out that conniving bastard who thought making you his pet assassin was a novel idea," Skyld was practically snarling his words. That was more emotion than Zane remembered ever seeing from Skyld. After a few deep breaths, he continued. "I found I wanted for you what Mikael did; for you to have a normal life away from the danger… at least for a while. I would have had to tell you at some time. Our life span is much different than a human's."

"Who is my birth mother?" A calm had settle over Zane as his world once again realigned—again.

He was trying to look on the brighter side of things. Really, he was, but perhaps too much had happened in such a short time. He wanted to lose his temper and rage. He wanted to shoot something and maybe torch a building or four. He wanted to raise his father, who was really his older brother, from the dead and demand why he hadn't prepared Zane for all of this Other bullshit. Why didn't he tell Zane he had more family? That his father had gotten himself murdered in the first place, especially after the things Skyld has said about his father's abilities, seemed wrong. Too simple. When Zane had grown up, he'd searched for any information on his father's murder and found nothing.

"He never told me where he found you or who your mother was." As if sensing Zane's turmoil, Skyld continued. "He worked very hard to make sure everyone believed you were his and Candice's son. It was for your protection."

"How do you know that?" Zane snapped, unable to keep the anger from his voice even as he knew his question was unreasonable.

"Because if you had come to me, I would have done the same. You were overlooked since Candice is human. Humans and Blood don't produce scions. You should have been safe. For some reason, Ella became suspicious."

Zane didn't know how long they sat in silence, Skyld's arm still holding Zane tightly to him. There were questions he should ask while there was time, but he was too full of information. He felt as if his mind was melting under the weight of data. And he really, really wanted to kill something.

Through the kitchen window, Valkyrie alighted in the snowy expanse between his house and Alonzo's cabin. He counted almost two dozen. Saja motioned for her injured to remain seated and she rose, greeting a tall Valkyrie with white blond hair. The main body of Valkyrie remained in a circle, shielding their charge. Saja's superior Zane guessed.

Suddenly, Zane didn't care about any of it. He was done. Done. And, done. He rose form the table, Skyld's arm falling away. "You can use my office to speak with the rep from I.O.N. I'll be in my room."

Skyld didn't speak or try to stop him, but Zane felt Skyld's gaze follow him from the room. Stepping into his bedroom, Zane abruptly halted. Seven pairs of eyes were trained on him with varying degrees of concern.

"Saja's superior is here." Was all he said before turning his attention to the men in his bed.

Alonzo was awake and looking quite comfy between Midnight and Raine. The sight lightened something in Zane, helping to somewhat bank the rage rolling under his skin.

"I'm sure she will have questions for all of us." Cord motioned to his guys.

Before they left, each one gave Alonzo a kiss then stopped, rocking Zane's world with each taste of desire. Cord's beard scratched Zane's face, the brush of lips full of promise. Xander's kiss was just as all-consuming as the night before. Anson cupped Zane's face as if he were precious and Prince swept Zane in as if he owned Zane. Midnight never closed his eyes but watched Zane, parting with a stinging bite to Zane's bottom lip. Raine swaggered over, the tip of his pink tongue peeking out of his mouth as if he intended to lick Zane all over. Zane expected Raine's kiss to be like his personality: a bit of snark, teasing, and a little angry. The reality was Raine waited for Zeus to take the lead. Zane gripped the nape of Raine's neck, his arousal heightening when Raine opened for him, tangling tongues and eliciting a soft moan. Zane was instantly addicted, and immediately delved deeper. When they parted Raine looked supremely smug and a little drunk.

When the door closed behind them, Zane stared at the door, stunned.

"How long do I have you to myself," Alonzo rasped.

Zane pulled the sweater over his head and crossed to the bed. "As long as you want," he finally replied. Anything outside of his bedroom could damn well wait.

"Good." Alonzo threw the covers aside. "I need you."

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Four

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