The Elsker Saga #2
by S.T. Bende
Publication: July 17, 2014
Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.
Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak -- not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming.
And the gods aren’t even close to ready.
When I came to, my chest heaved with sobs. Cold sweat cloaked my body from my forehead to the backs of my knees. My hair was damp, my pulse was racing, and my fingers gripped the sheets so tightly my knuckles ached. I was in my room at Ýdalir, the one place I had always felt safe. Only now I was absolutely terrified.
I ripped the covers off and wrapped my arms around my legs. My nose twitched at an unfamiliar smell. I pulled the cord on the bedside lamp, and looked around to see what might be burning. There was no smoke in the room; all of the furniture seemed to be intact. But when I glanced down, I saw the hems of my pajamas. They were black, singed from the fire I’d desperately hoped had been part of a dream.
This time things had gone too far. If my smoldering pant legs were any indication, being injured in a vision could have far-reaching worldly consequences. And if Elfie had come that close to killing me . . .
Ull had his rules, but I no longer cared. I jumped out of bed and raced down the hallway. When I reached his door I pounded on the distressed wood. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t bother to wipe them away. The downpour was too intense; it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.
The door flew open and Ull stood on the other side. He wore a loose pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. Oh hot bejeebus. There was no way this guy was for real. It just wasn’t humanly possible to look that good.
Oh, right. Ull wasn’t human.
Despite the agony coursing through my awakening consciousness, this was a moment of glory I’d remember forever—the first time I saw Ull’s naked torso. His sweats hung low on his hips, affording me a view of the cut just above the bone.
“Kristia?” Ull rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He took in my matted hair, tear-streaked face, and shaking hands. “Great Odin. What happened?”
He pulled me to him, crushing my face against the muscles of his chest. The knot in my stomach loosened infinitesimally. Just being near Ull gave me peace, but being this near Ull was like taking a sedative. Breathing in his woodsy smell made my panic subside. And when he pressed his hands against me—one to my hair, the other against the small of my back—my gut knew I was safe. Nothing bad could happen to me so long as I was in Ull’s arms. I inhaled again, letting his familiar scent fill me from the inside until my shaking stilled. Then I pressed my lips against his skin. Hard.
“Sweetheart?” he asked again.
“I had another vision and it freaked me out. Can I stay with you?” I didn’t take my lips off his chest as I spoke. I couldn’t. He tasted divine—like spruce and soap and home. There was a very real possibility my mouth might be permanently adhered to his flesh, like a kid who’d tried to lick a frozen railing.
Only this was far less unpleasant.
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