Title: Dreams of the Forgotten (Sumeria’s Sons #3)
Author Name: Lexi Ander
Publication Date & Length: April 15, 2015 – 193 Pages
For Tristan and Ushna, nothing comes easy and with each passing day the challenges grow and the dangers multiply. The safe home they are building for their family and tribe is threatened from all sides, and the peace they seek is being torn apart by enemies and internal strife. Tristan dares not reveal his condition to any but those closest to him, all the while he’s plagued by dreams he cannot remember upon waking…
And over all of it hangs the knowledge that his time with Ushna is running out. Because Ushna already has a Flame awaiting rebirth, and though Tristan would die to protect that bond, he constantly struggles against his beast who demands they bind Ushna to their side.
Lexi Alexander considers some universal themes in this story. I love the idea of a Twin Flame, a predestined soul mate. Even better is her characters’ scrutiny and challenging of this teaching.
I love the mix of gods, magi, shifters and others who form this world. Alexander’s world-building is as complex as it is unique and I was intrigued.
This is the third book in the series and the first I’ve read. For me, it didn’t quite work as a stand-alone. To fully understand Alexander’s complex world, I think readers will need to start from the beginning of the series.
Alexander’s characters are well developed and I enjoyed watching relationships form, strengthen, and in some cases re-form under new circumstances.
For a warrior prince, the pregnant Ushna spends a great deal of time caring for children and pups. I really struggle with m/m books about pregnant men. To be fair, I find most books about any pregnancy tedious and avoid reading about breeders.
Personally, I need a little more action and a little less domesticity in my fantasy stories.
Ushna’s Lupe, the third form of half-man and half-wolf that all Lycan warriors used for battle, pushed forward as his need to protect took over. Short, fine, black hair burst through his skin under my hands as his chest and arms thickened, his face elongated, and his mouth filled with jagged teeth. Even with fingers tipped with razor-sharp claws, he was careful as he delicately held me in his protective arms. He growled loud and long in warning.
The light switched on, flooding the room with blinding white light. I heard Gregori in the background yelling in anger, followed by a hollow thumping noise, and wounded yells. I scented who’d invaded our bedroom before I gazed over Ushna’s shoulder.
Several weeks ago, Elder Koller had made a call to pull childhood friends of ours, Stanley Kendall and Jory Swaine, from California. The suggestion had been made after the Magi Triad had tried to kidnap both Gregori and Ushna, and the elder knew these two were men I trusted. We had been expecting them at any time, and I would’ve laughed at their antics if I wasn’t worried Ushna would eviscerate our friends.
Gregori, his red hair wild, clad only in blue sleep pants, had a fistful of Stan’s dark hair and a foot planted in the middle of his back, bowing Stan over backward. Gregori wielded a shoe like it was a Sumerian sword and beat Jory with it. Jory tried to defend himself against the onslaught of the shoe and fight off the two guards who were attempting to subdue him.
“You stupid idiots!” Gregori yelled at the top of his lungs. “You could’ve hurt him, you oversized oafs! What’s wrong with knocking?!”
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
“Ushna is going to eat you and I should let him! It would remind you to respect your alpha!”
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
“Senseless overgrown children!”
Half a dozen guards filed into the room, taking charge of Stan and Jory, relieving a bedraggled Gregori. Scowling furiously at our friends, Gregori gradually crawled onto the bed, talking soothingly to Ushna, who hadn’t stopped growling. I ran my hands down his fur-covered back to soothe him.
“Everything is okay, Ushna,” Gregori cooed.
I cupped my hands around his face, gazing into his ruby red eyes. “I’m okay,” I whispered to him. “Come back to me.”
He released the Lupe, and Ushna the man emerged, the harsh and horrific features melting away. His body shuddered, muscles clenched and convulsed as his control returned.
It’d been years since I’d seen our two friends. Where Stan was dark, Jory was light. Stanley Kendall had wavy dark brown hair that roughly covered his brow, but didn’t quite touch his collar. His eyes were so brown they were virtually black. He sported a couple days of growth on his chin and cheeks. The stubble looked good against his bronzed skin.
Jory Swaine, on the other hand, had short blond hair, was clean shaven with bright turquoise eyes and golden skin. Stan was broader through the chest with his athletic build while Jory was leaner. Both wore leathers; Jory’s pants where loose, hanging low on his hips and revealing the waistband of his boxers, while Stan looked like he was poured into his.
Ushna turned a furious gaze on Stan and Jory, who were standing in the farthest corner, appearing chastised and contrite. “What in the hell were you thinking!” He roared at them. Gregori and I made shushing noises, but Ushna continued to rumble.
“Ah… surprise?” Stan offered weakly, slightly confused.
“Ushna, it’s okay; they didn’t know,” I said.
Ushna snapped his human teeth at our friends. I swear if we’d been alone, I would’ve jumped and taken him right there.
“Xenres, are you injured?” Corey Bahar was the first to swear a blood oath to me. He’d been Captain until this unexpected growth of the tribe and now he was the newly appointed Arms Master of the Royal Guard. In private, he was most adamant in the use of my title, Xenres, which meant prince in our language. Corey didn’t take his sable gaze off Stan and Jory as he approached me. The man looked like he’d been up for hours with his braided blond hair gleaming, clothes pressed and tucked. Did he ever sleep?
Jory chortled at Corey’s words, which caused Gregori to throw a shoe and bean Jory in the head.
A string of curse words exploded from Jory. “Dammit, Gregori! What the hell was that for?” He rubbed the sore spot.
Gregori didn’t answer. Corey’s question was all it took to make Ushna start snarling again as he ran his hands over me, checking for obvious injury. Gregori rubbed small circles on Ushna’s back. I grabbed his hands and craned my head around to get him to look me in the eye, to see me.
“Hey, hey! I’m okay. I’m not hurt.” I kissed his hands.
“I want Nathan to look at you.” Ushna’s worried gaze continued to study me. Nathan Janick, my brother and the resident doctor, had meticulously cared for me during my pregnancy so far.
“All right.” I knew nothing less would appease him.
Stan watched our exchange. The longer he listened, the more confused he appeared. “What’s the big deal?” He crossed his arms, scowling hard. He and Jory had acted as they normally would around us, with carefree roughhousing.
I grabbed Ushna’s attention before he could bark back a reply. We’d purposely kept my pregnancy within my inner circle. I hadn’t left the Clearwater area, which was my territory. When I needed to go to town, I wore a ring Gregori had made for me, a ring of illusion that had hid my swollen stomach. I didn’t meet with outsiders without it.
We hadn’t told Stan and Jory. All communication had gone through Elder Janus Koller, who’d recruited them to work for the Elder Council in the Enforcement Division. Neither Ushna nor I had spoken to these two before now. Needless to say, we hadn’t anticipated their surprise.
“Master Corey,” I calmly said, “we’re all right. I’m sorry we woke you.” I needed privacy for the talk we were going to have with our old friends.
Corey gave a slight bow. The expression on his face let me know we would be revisiting the issue of posting guards outside the bedroom. I had been successful at convincing Corey that the small group of warriors staying in the house was enough security. We didn’t need someone standing on sentry duty in the hallway. To appease Corey, I had even agreed to allow an armed detail to shadow me around the ranch when I left the house. This stunt of Stan’s and Jory’s would make Cory feel vindicated in his original assessment. I would have to talk quick at the next security meeting to keep the arrangements the way they were now.
“It was no bother, Xenres.” Corey shot Jory a hard look when my friend snorted a laugh. He appeared to be gauging whether Jory was being disrespectful to me or making fun of him. “I won’t be far if you need me,” he said before closing the door behind him.
Jory tried to hide his smirk by rubbing a hand over his face. I knew what was coming before he opened his mouth. “Damn, Tristan. You’ve got people bowing and scraping to you. What’ve you been doing?”
- Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I have two writing environments that I prefer to use. My desk in the loft. My husband built it for me so it can take just about anything… not that I dance on my desktop or anything. The walls behind the desk look like swiss cheese because I have a habit of printing out and tacking up inspiration collages for the series I’m working on. Recently I bought a new office chair. It’s like sitting in the seat of a luxury car. And the chair is RED, thank you very my. The second place I use is the living room couch with a lap desk. The room has huge windows and lets in all this light. In the winter, there is the fireplace which I utilize—a lot. ^_^ It’s a nice alternative space.
- Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
*soft smile* That would be Athena from the Valespian Pact. I didn’t realize it until over year after I wrote the story. When I was building Athena, I wanted her to be this character stuck in the middle of events not of her making. What she wanted and her fervent wishes were pitted against what would be, and she had to learn to cope and compromise. Athena ended holding much more of me than what I usually apply to any character. My parents divorced when I was eight. I didn’t understand my parents and I spent many years trying to hold my brothers together in a family, even though they were determined to drift away. All that frustration and heartbreak, I applied to Athena.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
Ha! Every time I’m asked this question, the answer changes following what I’m in the mood for. It was the same when I was in high school. Trying to pinpoint an occupation that I wanted to study changed all the time. Today, I would go back to school to become a zoologist.
- Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
Don’t be afraid to let other people to read your work before you submit it to a publisher. My first manuscript was terrible. I knew it was terrible, and I subbed it because I wanted feedback from someone who didn’t know me from Adam on how to make it better. Instead of a rejection letter, I received an acceptance but that whole “I know my manuscript sucks” came back when it went to an editor. Nowadays, I don’t worry about what others will think when they read a raw manuscript but it took quite some time to become comfortable with it.
- Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Not really. Well maybe. I sorta wish I had alternated Tristan and Ushna’s POV. I had not anticipated that the story would need more than Tristan’s POV. The way I had originally envisioned Sumeria’s Sons, his POV was all that was needed. But along the way, some fundamental things changed, requiring more than Tristan’s incite. That’s was happens when the author is a pantser.
- How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Wow, uhm, lots of stuff. Pictures. Songs. Conversations. Book hangovers. Can’t find that one story I want to read but it doesn’t seem as if anyone wrote it. After I read a comment that *insert subject* would be a terrible love interest. Random pieces of information that I picked up doing research from something else. In short, I can pick up story ideas pretty much anywhere. ^_^
- What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on the last book of Sumeria’s Sons. When that is complete I’ll work on the next couple books in the Valespian Pact, Bespoken and then Axis’s story. I’m also plotting out an Urban Fantasy MC Biker story with Kenzie Cade. *happy wiggles*
- Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in central Indiana. It doesn’t influence how I write. I spend way too much time in my head. Since I stick predominately to Science Fiction/Fantasy genres, where I live doesn’t influence what I write either. Well, unless Indiana suddenly becomes a moon or something.
- What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Non-romantic urban fantasy. Sometimes romance is such a huge part of the plot that a fantasy setting/world goes unexplored. So falling back on something like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher can be very refreshing and I get the type of plots that’s not as popular in romance.
- Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
Coffee, coffee, and coffee. I do drink a good amount of tea as well. My other vice is book shopping. I love going through websites, looking at the covers, and reading the blurbs. I horde my book money for all the good sales because I can never buy just one.
Thank you for having me. I had such a delightful time. ^_^
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty- pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.