Viking god of thunder and bear-shifter Thor has been married to the earth goddess Sif for millennia, but tragedy and betrayal tore them apart long ago. Now husband and wife in name only, they avoid each other when they can and barely tolerate each other when they can’t.
Too bad they’re still in love—though they’d never admit it.
But ancient prophecies are beginning to turn against them, leaving them no more room for misgivings. The apocalypse is coming, and unless they work together, they don’t stand a chance against the enemies they face.
Can they learn to trust again, or will the end of the world consume them both?
She froze at the sound of her name, one foot inside the door to the guest chambers she used whenever she stayed in her father-in-law’s home. No one should be here when she wasn’t, but her estranged spouse liked to think he was above such rules. “Thor.”
Arms folded over his brawny chest, he leaned back against the footboard, which was carved with ravens and falcons—symbols of his parents, Odin and Freya. The armoire, dressing table, and several tapestries on the walls featured the same animals. But Freya had designated this room for Sif, so the bed’s gold-and-bronze silk canopy and duvet were embroidered with her standard, a rowan tree.
The elegant furnishings only made Thor look that much more rugged and dangerous, the calm before a brewing storm. He was the picture of casual, yet his laser-blue gaze seared into her. One hand rose, his thumbnail rasping over his bearded jaw. “I understand you went over to Earth today.”READ MORE
Her heart skipped a beat at the leashed rage in his tone, but she raised her chin and stepped into the suite. How he always knew where she was and when, despite the fact that they rarely spoke anymore, was a source of constant annoyance for her. Why he bothered keeping tabs on her was a mystery she’d never solve.
“I go quite frequently. In fact, I practically live there.” She arched her eyebrows and shut the door. “This may have escaped your notice in the last few millennia, husband, but I’m an earth goddess.”
The sarcasm did nothing to appease his temper, but she had no real interest in appeasing him. As far as anyone in Asgard knew, they had a good marriage, were cordial when together in public, never spoke ill of each other, and had diverse interests that often kept them away from their home at Bilskirnir hall. In reality, they’d had a love-hate relationship for centuries and tried never to be at Bilskirnir at the same time, which was why she was currently “visiting” Valhalla.
Since they’d broken up, they’d mostly just gone about their lives as if they weren’t married—traveling where and when they pleased, spending time in their separate vacation homes, sleeping with whomever they wanted—and it had worked out well enough. They stayed out of each other’s way, but when push came to shove, they were technically still wed.
However, if the ancient prophecies were correct, their marriage was about to come to an end with his death in Ragnarök—the Twilight of the Gods—the apocalyptic battle between gods and giants that would destroy Earth. She’d gone to help those who wanted to stop it, but she doubted Thor would thank her for it.
For all she knew, he was now on the jötunn side, the giants she loathed with every fiber of her being. He wouldn’t be the first major god to switch sides—to decide he could change the prophecy through treachery, thus avoiding his death. Another of the major Viking gods, Frey, had done so, and there was no telling who else would make the same choice.
The bottom line was, she had no idea who she could trust anymore, including her husband.
It was just a shame she still loved him.
Not that she’d ever tell him but, hoping he’d remain loyal to the gods, she’d done what she could to make sure there were warriors to fight beside him when the time came—a group of berserkers lead by Erik Siegfried, the one man the prophecy said would survive the coming battle. The World’s Chosen.
Though if she were completely honest, she’d admit she wanted the giants to lose the fight because one of their kind had murdered Thor’s and her daughter, Thura. Centuries ago, and yet the wound still felt fresh. Not to mention the one giant who’d felt free to put his hands on Sif while she was blitzed out of her mind—the memories of that incident still gave her nightmares. Since both of those events combined had made her marriage implode…why, yes, she’d like every single oversized bastard wiped from the known realms. Maybe a peaceful earth goddess shouldn’t think that way, but she was a Viking. Taking a breath, she tucked her fury away. The future was what she needed to focus on, not the past.
Thor’s nostrils flared and his gaze dropped to her midsection. “Is that blood?”
“Probably.” She tugged at the hem of her T-shirt, seeing a dried, dark smear across the fabric. “There was a battle, as I’m sure your terrifyingly efficient informants have told you. Frey and his giant friends kidnapped a valkyrie—Bryn, Siegfried’s lover—and nearly killed her. Siegfried wasn’t exactly happy about that, and Frey’s dead now. Most of the giants with him too.” Good riddance, but she kept that thought to herself and just provided a bare-bones report of events. “I brought Bryn here to be healed and then took her to the farm she owns in Virginia. Some of her blood must have gotten on me while we teleported.”
A low snarl issued from his throat, the sound more animal than man, the bear inside him coming to the fore. Vikings had often called him Björn or Björn-Thor when he appeared as a massive brown bear before them. Most never saw him shift between forms, but they knew him for who he was—a god, a warrior, a ferocious beast. One whose enemies quaked before him.
Maybe she should have been scared, but she wasn’t. Mostly, she was wired from having witnessed a bloody skirmish, stressed about the end being nigh, and just didn’t have the patience to deal with her irate, possibly treacherous spouse. Rubbing her forehead, she sighed. “I’ve had a long day, Thor. What do you actually want?”
The question seemed to make him even angrier, and his cheeks flushed red. He dropped the casual pose and was across the room in three long strides, backing her against the wall beside the thick wooden door. He loomed over her, his nose a hairsbreadth from hers as he got right in her face. “I want you to stay out of this. You’re no soldier—don’t act like you have any place in a battle.”
Did he want her out of the way because he was worried about her safety, or because he was worried she’d help the gods win? Which side was he on? Either way, her answer was the same. The end of the world was coming, and no one had the luxury of standing on the sidelines. Inaction meant annihilation.
She glared up at him. “I won’t stay out of it and you can’t make me.”
A bit of fang showed when he curled his lip in disgust. “You sound like a petulant child.”
Spank me, then. Another thought she kept to herself. He’d actually take her over his knee, and she’d no doubt enjoy it far more than she should. No matter how crappy their relationship became, the sex was amazing. Chemistry was a bitch that way.
Shoving aside the carnal awareness that filtered through her whenever he was near, she tilted her head toward the door. “If that’s all you have to say, you can go now.”
“Damn you, Sif.” And then his mouth slammed down on hers, an act of possession and dominance that wouldn’t change her mind.
But her body didn’t care about logic. No, her hormones went wild the moment he touched her, just as they always had. Two thousand years, and she still craved this man like an addiction. No matter how she’d fought it, the need was never ending, uncontrollable, consuming. His hard angles fitted to her softer curves, and fire danced over her skin everywhere their bodies met.COLLAPSE