SHADOW AND ICE (Gods of War) by Gena Showalter
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.
Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.
Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.
Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.
Wearier by the second, Shiloh scrubbed a hand down his face. “This is my first All War. I knew it would be tough, but I am my home’s strongest competitor, and I believed I could do…anything. I was wrong.”
“You sound as if you’re eager to die. Good news. I’m happy to help.”
“I’m sure you are, but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to kill, either.”
“Ah, I see. You’d rather make your people suffer.”
For the “privilege” of participating in an All War, a realm’s sovereign had to give the High Council thousands of children. The exact number depended on a combatant’s order of elimination. The faster you were eliminated, the more your realm had to pay. But in order to forfeit a war entirely, sovereigns had to hand over even more children.
From infancy to the age of eighteen, boy or girl, children were chattel, commodities raised to be Enforcers.
Only the winning realm was exempt.
“My people already suffer,” Shiloh said. “Our realm is overcrowded.”
Iviland was overcrowded as well, more and more immortals born or created every day. New realms were desperately needed.
In the beginning, whenever a new one was discovered, multiple armies invaded at once. Battles raged, the trespassers hoping to seize control. Violence spread far and wide, ultimately destroying everything, leaving the lands uninhabitable.
Under the guise of saving future domains, ruling factions created the High Council and All War—an ongoing battle between a single representative from each otherworld, the new realm acting as the arena.
In the past few months, the people of Terra had begun fighting back and setting traps. Not a first, but definitely a problem on days like today. The citizens weren’t bound by assembly rules. But then, they had no supernatural abilities and were no match for immortals.
Knox had seen no sign of a human army today. Maybe they’d fled in fear? To them, combatants were gods.
Knox, they’d nicknamed Loki, the “evil trickster.” A moniker he bore with pride.
“When I killed a woman I respected, a part of my soul died,” Shiloh said, pulling him from his thoughts. “Why can’t the realms reach terms without bloodshed?”
“Greed.” Why else?
Movement at the side of a mountain. Knox slid his gaze across the ice—at last. Zion. A man of six and a half feet, like Knox, with dark hair, wide shoulders and a body honed on the most savage battlefields with no hint of softness. Also like Knox.
But unlike Knox, he refused to use the weapons he won. Reasons unknown. The choice angered Knox, even though it aided his cause. Such a waste.
He tightened his grip on his most prized possessions—the daggers he’d taken from his first victim. The blades were serrated, hooked at the tip, and had brass knuckle hilts. With a single blow, he could slice, dice and pulverize.
Zion reached the check-in point and spread his arms, all Here I am, come and get me. Embedded in his arms were jewels, each one set in specific patterns, as bold as the man himself. On his hands, a pair of spiked metal gloves able to punch through anything.
I want. I take.
Locked on tonight’s target.
Anticipation resurged and redoubled, burning inside Knox, and growing hotter by the second. Zion was a warrior he would gladly slay.
“Come.” Knox jumped from his perch, falling down, down, landing a few yards away from the check-in point. Though the impact jarred him, he walked forward without a hitch in his step, boots crunching in the snow.
Shiloh jumped, as well, and hurried to catch up.
As they passed the invisible wall that sealed them inside the clearing, Knox experienced a familiar and abhorrent vibration from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His ability to control shadows had just been neutralized.
“So nice of you to join us,” Bane said, his tone as smug and condescending as ever.
Like most Adwaewethians, he had pale hair, golden eyes—and a beast trapped within. When the creature took control of his body, his appearance changed. He became a monster, hideous beyond compare, strong beyond compare, and developed an appetite for blood. No one and nothing was safe.
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.
She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfan