For Today’s shared post an excerpt and the buy links for the Novella of Darkness Awaits. Now just to let you all know if you buy the Novella now when the Novel releases you will automatically receive the upgrade to the book through Amazon…You will also save yourself about four bucks as the price to buy the book will be 6.99 or free to read with your subscription through Kindle Unlimited.
#EpicFantasy #Adultfantasy #Valkyries #PNR
Book one in the Valkyrie series! Book link, Amazon blurb and apart of chapter 1
Gil Swanson has been struggling with PTSD for years after the death of his comrades. When a mysterious woman from his past appears pleading for his help he jumps to her aid. Suddenly he finds himself in an epic battle between light and darkness.
How the story began from Darkness Awaits:
This place gives me the creeps.” Gil Swanson mused out loud as he walked amongst the grave markers at Gettysburg. As a soldier, he had been on his fair share of battlefields. He could imagine the carnage and smell the stench of war. On this hallowed ground, one hundred and fifty years after the greatest battle of the Western Hemisphere had been fought; the locals believe the dead still walk.
‘Are you remembering when you fought here, Warrior?’ A musical female voice whispered behind him.
At the first syllable, Gil spun and dropped to a defensive crouch, his eyes narrowing when he saw nothing but empty air. His reaction seemed to pleasure his unseen watcher as a ghostly ripple of delighted laughter went through the air.
‘Well done Warrior, I see you have not lost any of your edges in the years since I saw you last.’ The disembodied voice continued.
Gil with his head on a swivel muttered to himself. “The docs back at the VA are gonna love this. Not only do I suffer from PTSD but now I have an imaginary friend.” After looking around to ensure his solitary presence, he stood.
He hadn’t been standing for more than five seconds when the ghostly voice whispered again.
‘While I’m gratified you consider me a friend, we have never been formally introduced. I have, however, been your companion on several of your campaigns.’
The ex-soldier kept scanning the area, making his way toward a copse of trees. If this unseen woman was a professional assassin, why hadn’t she killed him? He was in the open, easy prey. She didn’t even have to shoot him, just stab him and walk away. In this section of the park, it would probably be a couple of hours before a park ranger found him in the offseason. If he could keep the woman talking, he might even find out something useful. It was then the realization hit him. The voice wasn’t audible; it was inside his head.
Concentrating, Gil emptied his mind and carefully formed the question that he both feared and desperately needed the answer to. ‘Who are you? Oh Goddess, what are you?’
In response to the question, a fog formed, coalescing into a female form. The woman was tall, black-haired, with skin like newly fallen snow, and green eyes that demanded all of his attention as she walked toward the stunned Gil with a predatory glide. She was dressed in a simple yellow sundress, looking like every other tourist.
“Who I am is Mist. I’m very pleased to meet you at last. What I am is Valkyrie.” Mist walked around the man.
From Gil’s perspective, it looked like she was examining him in every detail. She was at least four inches taller than he. When she moved behind him she ran her fingertips across his shoulders. When she once again faced him, she was nodding as if satisfied with what she saw.
A shiver went through the ex-soldier as she touched him. It was as if his spine had been dipped in ice water. When he got his voice back, he couldn’t help but stammer.
“A V-V-Valkyrie, oh shit, how can I help you m-ma’am?”
When she smiled at his question his mouth went dry as his mind wondered what it would be like to kiss her. Mist’s right eyebrow lifted slightly. Gil went crimson to his ears. He felt like a teenager again.
“Fear me not, Warrior. I need your help with a grave matter. We have no one in Asgard with your skill set. I require someone who is both bold and exceptionally sneaky.”
Gil couldn’t help but grin at the word sneaky. When he was younger and thought he was invincible, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do. Over the years he had learned a little caution but his reputation had been made on sneaky. Now that the initial shock of Mist’s appearance had worn away, he took on his professional persona.
“I’ll do what I can, Lady Mist. At least I can tell you where to start. What’s the job?
The Valkyrie’s eyes changed from green to steely gray, as if storm clouds crossed over her eyes. “We need to recover from Niflheim an artifact of great power. The hammer of Thor, Mjölnir.”
Gil’s eyes widened as the Valkyrie spoke, at her final word they were practically falling from his head. If he had ever wished for a challenge of a lifetime, this was it. This took crazy to a whole new level.
“Let me see if I have the details right. You want me to sneak into a realm from which, according to myth, no living man has ever returned and steal back Thor’s hammer? Where the hell is Thor?” Gil couldn’t keep the fear from entering his voice.
Mist looked down at the ground. Her last hope had been to get the warrior to help them. Then Gil reached out and gently raised her eyes to meet his.
“I didn’t say no. Actually, it sounds like fun. How do I get there?” He said gently, somehow it pained him to see her sad.
“This enterprise is going to take everything you have and to enter the realm of the Dark Elves will take preparations. As to Thor’s location, he was taken prisoner along with the rest of Odin’s court. Many were slain in the Dark Elves assault, but there are at least forty hostages.”
“Forty hostages? We need to rescue them.” Gil thought aloud as he strategized. “We could use the diversion the rescue causes to get Thor’s hammer back.”
Mist watched as Gil paced back and forth; now more than ever satisfied that she had chosen correctly.
Then the warrior stopped abruptly. “And with that in mind, there’s no way I can do this by myself. What kind of help can I expect?”
“Myself, of course, and any of my sisters that can be spared from the defense of Rihmsjalier. Some of the Aesir could be persuaded to come. Then last, but not least, the Einherjar, the honored heroes who died in battle; the legendary legions of Valhalla.”
Mist’s voice faltered as she saw the far away haunted look in his eyes. A lone tear slid down his cheek for his fallen comrades. She knew of at least five.
Gently placing her hand on Gil’s shoulder she spoke more softly. “They are treated with honor and want for nothing. You can pick them if you wish to be reunited.”
The ex-soldiers eyes refocused on his companion at her words of comfort. Gil whipped the tear off his cheek as he sniffed and cleared his throat. “Really? Who exactly? There have been so many. I can’t remember them all,” Gil replied, lying rather badly. He remembered every single one, how they died, where and when. They haunted his darkest nightmares.
“One of them told me where to find you. He told me of your skills.” The Valkyrie continued with a gentle smile, remembering what Gil’s former comrade had told her.
Gil turned to face her with a look of apprehension. He hadn’t thought of the possible consequences of this quest. His voice shook with emotion as he repeated the previous question.
“Robert Morant. Actually, some of the stories he told were really funny. Did you really run through an Arab Prince’s harem armed with a broomstick in your, how did he say that…”?
Gil mentally groaned as Mist struggled to remember what Rob had told her. Morant had been with him for almost his entire career until his luck ran out. “The word you’re looking for is underwear. Yes, I did, Rob and I both did.” Gil went scarlet as Mist’s face tried to turn itself inside out in an attempt to keep from laughing.
He even managed to sound a little aggravated as Gil found himself wanting to explain the circumstances of the event to the laughing Valkyrie. It included a previous long mission, many shots of tequila, and well-developed Arabian women. Long, leisurely sex surrounded by the aroma of jasmine was the plan. That’s not how it ended.
More like, grabbing their clothes and running full tilt for their lives. The only weapon they had found was a sawed-off piece of broomstick. As funny as it sounded to the Valkyrie, you could do a fair bit of damage to a man with a four to a five-foot-long piece of broomstick. The basis for an Oriental weapon called a Tonfa. You could kill in a heartbeat with one.
The fight degraded to a perverse reverse strip poker game. When you clobbered some poor slob, you got to put on a piece of clothing. The first man fully dressed got the next opponent’s weapon and Gil ended up with a Belgian FN-FAL. Then Rob got his, the same exact gun. By the time the festivities were over, there were 13 dead and over 200 wounded men.
“How was I to know that the hottest Arabian woman I have ever known in my life, would pick up two of the men hunting her husband? Coincidence? I don’t believe in them! And that was my first mission with Rob Morant.” Gil explained finally.
By this time the Valkyrie was laughing and crying at the same time.
Fortunately for Major Swanson and Staff Sergeant Morant, the Pentagon states the incident never took place. They were never there. Gil had carte blanche to do whatever was needed. Though their commander, a tough old ex-paratrooper turned Brigadier General named Robert Norton Swift was less than impressed with their performances.
General Swift chewed them out for what seemed hours. Then he smiled slowly. The whole of dressing them down had been for show.
“How many of the enemy did you bag?” He asked finally.
“Thirteen sir!” Came the frank reply.
Then the old soldier stood up, waited for them to come to attention and exchange salutes. He waived Gil and Rob out of his office with a wolfish grin on his scarred face.
Morant just looked at him as they left and muttered under his breath, “The Brigadier must have been a terror when he was young and limber.”
Gil couldn’t do anything but nod in agreement