I got the rights back from Harlequin for most of the books in my Unbound series based on Norse mythology! (Nocturnes/Paranormal Romances) To celebrate, I’m posting the prologue from Guardian’s Keep. :)
Guardian’s Keep by Lori Devoti (coming soon in ebook)
The wind howled and leaves slapped against branches. The smell of damp earth and animals panicked by what was roaming the forest tonight was everywhere. Fenrir, the cause of their fear, strode on.
What was his had been taken, and he would stop at nothing to save it.
“Garm,” a voice boomed.
Fenrir ground to a halt, the length of chain he held knocking against his knee at his sudden stop. He gripped the links more firmly in his fist, readied himself to use the makeshift weapon when his hidden opponent decided to show himself.
“Let him go,” he called out, the chain heavy and hot in his hand, his heartbeat slowing as he let his senses travel over the surrounding woods, searching for those who had stolen what was his.
“Will you come?” the voice asked again.
“Let me see him.” A demand this time. Fenrir didn’t believe in playing meek, didn’t know how.
“If we do, and he’s safe, you’ll come with us?”
Fenrir hesitated, his mind going back to Aesa, her face pale, drawn, worried. If he went with them, would he see her again? But.. .his fist tightened around the chain.. .if he didn’t, if they went through with their threats? That would kill her…kill him, too.
Lifting his chin, he replied, “I’ll come.”
A second chain was looped around his neck, pulled tight—not cruelly, just enough to remind him that it was there, that he was no longer free.
His captor stepped in front of him—Tyr, one of the lesser gods, sent to do the bidding of those more powerful but also more cowardly.
“Aesa—” Fenrir began.
“Not part of the bargain,” Tyr replied, then lowered his voice. ‘Too many are afraid of you, and your strength grows every day.”
“How did you—?” Fenrir asked.
Tyr smiled, but regret touched his eyes. “Not all garm follow you. Some fear you almost as much as the gods.”
“But he’s safe? I have your word?”
Tyr stepped back, towering over Fenrir. He laughed. “As safe as any pawn can be in these worlds.” He gave the chain around Fenrir’s throat a tug. “Come. There’s a portal near—one of the few that can take us to your new home.” Fenrir paused, his thoughts going to Aesa waiting at home and the life he was leaving. He snapped the chain he still held against his thigh.
Tyr spun, his hand sliding up the fetter that was wrapped around Fenrir’s throat until the metal dug into the garm’s neck. “Safe—for now. Don’t do anything to change that.”
Fenrir stared at his captor, anger bubbling inside him. His rage nipped at his control, urging him to change.
“Your choice,” Tyr said.
Fenrir tilted his head back and stared into the dark sky. His choice. No choice, at least not a good one. He’d go with the god, but someday he’d escape. Then he’d destroy not just the gods who feared him, but the garm who betrayed him.
He lowered his head and, letting his anger flow through his eyes, gave Tyr a short nod.
Tyr nodded back then turned and bellowed into the woods, to others who hid there, ‘To the portal… and Lyngvi.”