Authors: Dana Marie Bell
Dana Marie Bell
His Fate is finally in front of him…and he’s never letting go.
True Destiny, Book 4
Morgan and Magnus Grimm return from their search for Skuld, Norn of the Future, only to find that she’s been living under their noses this whole time. Now that Morgan finally has the woman of his dreams within reach, nothing—not amnesia, not Odin, not even his father’s death—will prevent him from claiming the Fate he’s wanted for centuries.
Skylar Kincade is lost among these crazy people who swear that they’re the old Norse gods. But…there’s something that strikes a chord deep within her. Something from which the hot, redheaded Morgan wants to protect her.
But when the memories burst free, there’s no softening the devastating blow. For overstepping her bounds and changing their fates to save their lives, her powers were stripped away, leaving her as just another Norn.
And it seems more punishment is coming down: one of Logan’s children is missing. Skye is determined to do her part to make it right—by journeying all the way to Valhalla to meet a fate from which Morgan may not be able to save her.
Warning: This novel contains explicit nookie on a kitchen table, graphic language in one or more dialects, and a Fate worth living for.
To Mom, who is always proud of me, even when she thinks I’m being an idiot. You keep asking me for that mansion and yacht. I’ll keep laughing my ass off.
To Dad, who
wants to know when I’ll write a book he’s allowed to read. I love my parents. They make me laugh so hard.
And to Dusty, who is fully aware he’s about to become a Dragon Age widower once more. Here’s hoping they’ll give me another hot, hunky elf love interest! Oh, and some female LI for Dusty, just to be fair. May she be small breasted and dumb as a box of rocks. Not that I’d be jealous or anything…
Modi grimaced as Hrungnir laughed raucously, the sound crass in the golden halls of Valhalla. The Jotun was uncouth, loud and rude, and had insulted god and goddess alike more than once with his boasts and his constant demands for ale and wine.
Valhalla, the highest seat in Asgard, should not house such as he.
It had all begun with a wager, a silly one that Odin had, for some unknown reason, chosen to take up. Whether it had been Loki egging him on, or Thor’s smug belief that none could best a god, Modi did not know, nor did he care to. While Sleipnir and Gullfaxi raced to see who was the swiftest, Hrungnir chose to make a pest of himself at his grandfather’s table.
How could anyone think a mere horse could defeat Sleipnir? He was so swift it was believed by some that he had eight legs instead of the normal four. Indeed, some mortal artists had begun to depict him that way, much to Odin’s amusement. He did nothing to disabuse them of the notion, going so far as to cast illusions when he stopped to talk to mortals in Midgard, making it appear that Sleipnir did, in fact, have eight legs.
It always surprised him that Sleipnir was so different from his half brothers and sister. Born of Loki and a mortal horse, Sleipnir was not the shape shifter his siblings were and exhibited none of the signs that he held human intelligence. He was certainly smarter than your average horse, but that was it. Loki grieved for that more than he wanted known, but at least Sleipnir was well treated as the favored mount of the king of the gods.
The giant’s raucous laughter rang out once more and Modi hid a cringe. While not all Jotun were like this one, there were several who would think nothing of acting in exactly the same way.
He exchanged an annoyed look with his twin, Magni, who looked equally disgusted by the giant’s antics. What right did he have to come here and mock the gods? ’Twas bad enough he’d sworn his horse Gullfaxi could defeat Sleipnir, son of Loki. But to then enter Valhalla and demand sustenance, to grope the younger goddesses as if they were his personal playthings? It was not to be tolerated. By the gods, even Loki was becoming annoyed, and it took much to move the Trickster to action for more than amusement or personal gain. If someone didn’t do something soon, the Trickster would act, and not even Odin would be able to stop him.
Who knew what mayhem would ensue, should Loki become involved?
“More ale, wench!” The giant laughed once more as he slapped a Norn on the ass. “’Tis pleasing to be surrounded by so many lovelies, Odin. You are a lucky man indeed.”
The Norn he’d slapped scowled at him, her blonde hair pulled back from her face, her strong jaw clenched. When Modi realized which Norn Hrungnir had insulted, he nearly stepped in, despite the man’s guest status.
should touch Skuld without her permission.
To Helheim with that. No one should touch her without
Her gaze darted toward him and she blushed, but instead of making her way toward him she joined her sisters away from Hrungnir. Modi relaxed as the woman he’d been yearning for put herself out of harm’s way.
He wanted her with a fire that refused to be quenched by any other female he bedded. He just couldn’t stop watching her. Oh, the pale blonde hair that brushed her shoulders was certainly pretty enough. But he’d seen shinier, more golden locks. There were plenty of goddesses with fairer, rosier skin than hers. And her blue eyes were the color of the summer sky on a cloudless day, pure and pale, but Morgan had stared into eyes far purer and more brilliant a blue. Her nose was broader than the delicate one most of the goddesses sported, and her jaw was far squarer, giving her face an appearance of strength rather than delicate beauty.
And there was the draw. She exuded an inner strength that belied her slender, fragile frame. The only truly delicate thing about her features was her lips. Painted a pale rose and glistening, they were a perfect Cupid’s bow. They, more than anything else, drew his gaze.
His grandfather had told him those particular Norns were not to be touched on pain of death. He could bed any other he fancied, but the three—Skuld, Urdr and Verdandi—were off-limits.
It was one of the few times he’d been drawn to go against one of Odin’s edicts. The temptation to taste those honeyed lips, to see those pale blue eyes darken as they pleasured one another, was almost overwhelming. But his father had sided with Odin, and for once the man made a good point.
One did not bed fate without facing the consequences.
Magni had tried to get Modi to ignore the edict, knowing how Modi pined for the pale-haired Norn with the sky-blue eyes. Magni understood what it was to yearn in secret, even if he’d never once admitted to Modi how he felt about…
No. Modi wouldn’t even think the name of the woman his brother wished were his. Not here, in Odin’s hall, while Thor looked on. He smiled grimly.
To do so would be to tempt fate.
But Magni, despite his temper, had a compassionate side none but those he cared deeply about ever saw. Perhaps, he claimed, if Modi wanted her so badly, then maybe fate wanted them joined.
Such thoughts led to treason. Modi had chosen to obey his father and the All-Father. He backed away from her and hungered in secret. None other would ever satisfy him, but she was part of a greater plan, one not even Odin himself could control or contain.
She was off-limits by the simple virtue of what she was, and Modi respected her role enough not to force his attentions upon her. Even when it caused him pain to walk away.
Hrungnir’s rough laughter once again drew him away from his melancholy thoughts. Odin smiled as they all watched the giant make a fool of himself. What was the Old Man up to? He would not tolerate such behavior from his kin, so why did he allow it in an unwelcome visitor?
Magni was becoming enraged. Modi was uncertain if he would be able to stay his brother’s wrath. Sons of Thor though they might be, they did not have their father’s strength. Children of his affair with the giantess Járnsaxa, they were looked down upon as less than the other gods, unworthy to sit by their father’s side.
Sometimes, Modi understood how Loki felt, the only Jotun living in a sea of Aesir and Vanir. Not that he would ever speak such blasphemy within earshot of either his father or grandfather. Odin was not known for his understanding ways.
“I hear your apple wine is famous, dear Odin. Will you not allow me to try some?” Hrungnir slapped Sif, Thor’s wife, on the ass, and Modi had to stop his brother from running forward and breaking the giant’s hand. “Fetch me some, wench!”
Odin’s smile was…strange, but Modi did not have time to contemplate why his grandfather’s expression gave him chills, for the Aesir roared their disapproval of the giant’s audacity at touching the wife of the mighty thunder god.
Frigg’s shrill voice rang out through the hall, demanding satisfaction of her husband. “My lord, will you allow such a creature to abuse us so?”
Modi snorted, unheard. Of course Odin would if it meant his amusement. He sipped his wine and grimaced.
Apple again. Perhaps he’d give the giant his cup and sip the ale Hrungnir disdained so. He sipped again, the sweet tartness spilling over his tongue, reminding him why the apple wine had become so famous among gods and Jotun alike. Perhaps he’d wait, sit back and watch as his grandfather did. Was this buffoon worth his anger?
“If grandfather does not do something soon, then I will.” Magni clenched his fist so tightly his goblet cracked.
He had best nip this in the bud. Magni could get into a great deal of trouble if he interfered in the Odin’s plans. “Peace, brother. The Old Man is up to something.”
Magni grumbled, but drained his cup. “So be it, brother.”
Modi sighed. Sometimes reining in Magni’s temper was a full-time job, but where Magni would balk at such interference from others, he accepted it from his twin. Strength and Anger, they were called, just pieces of their father rather than the whole. But some forgot that Anger was as strong as his brother, and that while Strength was quiet, that did not mean he held no anger.
“Allow me to teach the wretch some manners, Father.”
Modi refrained from rolling his eyes, his attention once more on the fool of a Jotun seated at his grandfather’s table. Of
Thor would step up, offer to defend the non-existent virtue of the goddesses, especially if there was a chance he would get in their furs this evening.
Yet another reason Magni wished so desperately for Sif. If his father had truly loved her, been faithful to her, then perhaps Magni would have been content.
Instead, both he and his twin had to watch while the women they loved were mauled by an ass parading as a man, and do nothing.
“So be it, my son.” Odin stood and clapped his hands, and Modi instantly found his attention focused solely on him. As Valhalla fell silent, he was reminded of why his grandfather was the king of the gods. “Hrungnir, you have abused the hospitality of my hall.”
“And lost, it seems, to Sleipnir.” Loki was hanging out the window, his dark, fiery hair blowing in the wind. The wistful pride as he spoke of his bestial son was strange. Had Loki not voluntarily given Sleipnir to Odin, giving up all claims to the creature? “Look, Sleipnir returns, leading the way for Gullfaxi.”
“No! You lie.” Hrungnir tossed his mug at the Trickster, who danced out of the way at the last minute.
“Normally I would say I do, but in this case, I don’t.” Loki grinned, that maddening look that had sent more than one warrior reaching for his blade. And in truth, he was proven right, for Sleipnir leapt into Valhalla with a triumphant whinny, his white mane tossing around him as the stallion reared on his hind legs. The beast smelled of sweat, the exertion of defeating the golden-maned Gullfaxi glistening on his hide.
“My pet. You have done well.” Odin stepped forward and offered Sleipnir his favorite treat, an entire apple from Idunn’s garden. “Rest, my pet. I will have need of you later.”
The horse snorted and shook his head, accepting the apple with grace before leaving the hall. It astonished Modi that such a slender beast carried the great Odin upon his back. Some days he looked as if a stiff breeze would break him.
“Father.” Thor stood before the throne, waiting for Odin to acknowledge him.
Odin turned to his son, and Modi shuddered. Odin did not look pleased, his single eye gleaming with godly light. Thor paled, but did not move. Modi was never after certain if it was bravery or foolishness, but Odin seemed to soften in his regard toward his favorite child. “Yes, my son.”
Thor nodded once and turned to the Jotun Hrungnir. “Face me, and know your death.”
Hrungnir stood, his stone shield before him, his stone mace held aloft. “You think to attack me, a guest in your house?”
Loki laughed. “A guest or a pest, it matters not if you have overstayed your welcome.”