Frost and Flame (Gods of War)

By: Gena Showalter

“When I rip off your dick, even your future children will scream.”

“Should I cut off your head, remove your heart or burn you to death? Who am I kidding? I’ll do all three.”

“I’ll enjoy making you rest in pieces, you son of a bitch.”

Bane remained in place, the beast busy tearing through his skull. Deep breath in. Out. Maintain control. In, out.

The helmeted male lifted the Rod and announced, “You invaded our land and killed our men, because you did not fear us. I am Erik the Widow Maker, and I will teach you the error of your ways.” He slammed the tip of the Rod into the ice.

A brutal arctic wind erupted, howling and blustering, the ground shaking. Between one blink and another, ice grew over Bane’s feet, up his calves. Higher, higher.

Ice grew over all of the combatants.

Horrified, Bane battled for no avail. Trapped. Helpless. My fight over?

No! He hadn’t used his final weapon.

Bane stopped fighting the beast, and the transformation begun. Muscles and bones—

Nothing. The beast remained trapped as well, the ice unbreakable as it spread. Over his waist, his shoulders. Panic decimated what remained of his calm. None of the combatants escaped. Then, the ice covered his face.

I am...defeated?

I failed Meredith?

No. No! He refused to accept defeat. He would escape. He would find the Terran princess, win the All War and oversee the Blood Rite, finally severing his bond to Aveline. Aveline would come to Terra to claim the planet and then...oh, yes, then he would have his vengeance, die in peace and rejoin the love of his life.


You’ve got to tease to please!

Present Day

Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma

MAGNOLIA “NOLA” LEE swallowed a cocktail of medications, readjusted the mound of covers piled atop her and settled more comfortably in bed. Well, not more comfortably. Not really. Her entire body ached, her fingers looked like sausages, fatigue rode her like she was a horse and her every nerve ending sizzled, mini-bolts of lightning zapping her again and again. And again.

It—never—ended. Disease wrecked everything. Romantic relationships. Friendships. Goals. Fun. She’d only ever wanted to be a normal girl, with a normal life. But nooooo. Early on, she was diagnosed with lupus. After going into remission, fibromyalgia decided to come and play.

This was day too-many of a major flare-up, the pain too much. She felt like she was being poked with a thousand acid-drenched needles. Fatigue, foggy brain and insomnia continued to worsen. Basically, the party never stopped. She wished she had a medical marijuana card, but her pain management doctor considered it “unnecessary,” leaving her at the mercy of opioids.

Joke’s on me. Opioids had no mercy.

She’d already taken the maximum dose, but the pills had barely dulled the pain. If not for her upcoming vacation with her foster sister, Valerina London—Vale—she would have pulled the covers over her head and sobbed in the dark. Now, at least, she had a reason to get up in the morning.

“Which one of these dresses do you want to take on our trip?” Vale emerged from the walk-in closet, tall and willowy, with pale white skin and bicolored hair, half the color of snow, half the color of midnight. Thick dark slashes rimmed her hazel eyes; the tattooed liner gave her a perma-smoky look and the best Resting Bitch Face ever.

In one hand, Vale held a red dress with more cutouts than material. In the other hand, she held a conservative black dress usually wore to funerals. “The one that says my body is a wonderland, and there’s a price for admission,” she said. “Or the one that says come near me, and I’ll remove your testicles with the power of my mind.”

Nola chuckled. “You’ve met me, right? Wonderland. Obvi.” Once upon a time, she’d longed to fall in love and become someone’s wonderland. She’d had crushes, she’d flirted and she’d dated. For some reason, she’d vomited every time she’d tried to be intimate. Ultimately, she’d given up on love, relationships and romance, instead focusing on getting healthy and making money for her trip.

Well, she’d mostly given up on love. A few years ago, she’d started dreaming about a gorgeous man with golden everything, and the muscle mass of a hulk. No other man had ever measured up.

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