Survival demands sacrifice. Healing requires forgiveness.
After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm builds a new life in Sierra Pines, California. When the Norse Fates predictthe she-wolf will destroy the world to save her unborn child, her duties as Freya’s priestess conflict with her responsibilities as Odin’s Valkyrie.
Sawyer Barrett has hunted Victoria so passionately, he doesn't know whether he loves or hates her. Desperate to end the fighting, he will take chances with everything—except his heart. This hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the tentative ceasefire and his father’s continued disapproval.
Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett—the notorious Hunter King—values loyalty to family above all else. When he believes his eldest son was murdered by a wolf ally, he releases a chain reaction of violent destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters.
An ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry doesn't end quickly, there is no hope for the Hunters, Victoria's pack, or the mortal world.
Attribution: Norns weaving destiny, by Arthur Rackham (1912). Public domain.
Shadows enshrouded Skuld, and her voice manifested upon the air, thick and oppressive, closing in from all sides. "Your daughter will not grow to adulthood in Midgard."
Victoria's heart slammed against her breastbone. Her breath expelled in a horrified gust. The bowl dropped from her hands which flew to protect her abdomen. "What do you mean?"
"Your daughter will be taken from you on the eve of her third birthday," Skuld said. "The one you trust most, a member of your own pack, will give the child over to your greatest enemy."
A growl trembled in Victoria's throat, and her entire body shook under the dual assault of fear and rage. The suggestion of betrayal from within her own pack filled her with disbelief to the core of her being. It was unthinkable. Gritting her teeth, she sought a solution, refusing to dwell on it. "How am I to prevent this?"
"We speak of what will come to pass," Verðandi said in a sympathetic tone.
"Your predictions are not carved in stone," Victoria said. Arguing with Fate was a foolish endeavor, but she refused to accept their prophecy.
The old woman, Urðr, smiled with a frightening gleam in her eyes. "Predictions, carved into the trunk of the World Tree, carved into the spiritual fabric of the world."
Stubborn determination settled over Victoria like armor. Her mother had taught her there was no absolute fate, just as there was no absolute free will. Life consisted of a wide range of possibilities between the two extremes. She refused to allow her daughter to die at three years of age. She would move worlds, alter fate, slay gods.
Whatever it took.
"Do you wish to save your child?" Skuld asked.
Victoria answered without thought. "Yes. I'll do anything. Tell me. Please."
"The final days are upon us," Verðandi said.
Skuld took over speaking. "To save your daughter, you will side with Loki against the Aesir. You will use your enchanted dagger to cut the binding of the great wolf Fenrir. You will be responsible for freeing the beast that kills Odin."
Victoria's stomach turned. Her head shook in automatic denial. "When the gods imprisoned Fenrir, my people pledged fealty to the Aesir. We have served them loyally ever since. Even when we were driven from the homeland, almost a millennium ago, we remained faithful. I will never cut Fenrir's bonds. To do so would end the world we live in and doom us all."
Skuld's gaze held steady. "You will."
Victoria snarled her denial. "No. I will never become the servant of the Trickster or willingly take part in bringing about Odin's death."
Skuld turned her head and pinned Victoria with one black eye that rolled in its socket like a liquid marble. "To save your daughter, you will."
Fast Facts About Melissa Snark:
- Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press &Nordic Lights Press with six
- Her Loki's Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON and BATTLE CRY.
- She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.
- She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.
Connect with Melissa Snark:
Email: melissasnark at gmail.com