Shadow and Ice (Gods of War)

By: Gena Showalter

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, the most ruthless warrior in All War history, has spent his life fighting others to the death, winning new realms for his king. Now the stakes are higher than ever. If he prevails in the battle for Earth, his slave bands will be removed. Victory is his sole focus...until he meets her.

On an arctic getaway with her foster sister, street tough but vulnerable Vale London is shocked to stumble upon a cave filled with ancient gods waging epic combat. When she is inadvertently drawn into their war, she is forced to team up with an unlikely ally—the sexy god who makes her burn with desire.

Though Vale is his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can triumph, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.





To Jill Monroe, brainstorming champion of the world! Thank you for all the amazing things you do.

But mostly, thank you for being the best friend

a girl could have.







1026 AA (After Alliance)

To: Members of the All War Alliance

Welcome to the 103rd All War.

We are pleased to announce a new realm has been discovered, known by its citizens as Terra, Midgard or Earth. The next battle is set to begin.

You don’t want to miss this one!

You’ll find: Inhabited and uninhabited territories teeming with resources. A climate and terrain for every preference. Massive bodies of water—both salt and fresh. Mountains. Flatlands. Swamps. Forests. Ice lands and deserts. Whether you prefer animal or plant, there’s an unending supply of food.

This world is a prize among prizes, but only one among you will earn the right to rule it.

In one week, a fight to the death will commence, winner takes Terra.

Currently, there are thirty-eight thirty-nine battle-ready realms recognized in our alliance. A single representative from each location must portal to Terra. (Date and coordinates enclosed, Addendum A.) Choose wisely, for your warrior must go head-to-head with every other.

Your combatant is allowed to bring one item from home. ONLY ONE. No exceptions.

*Supernatural abilities inherent to genetics/race/breed do not count as a weapon.

*A “matching pair” is acceptable.

The rules are simple:

(1) Once they enter Terra, the combatants may not exit the realm until the war ends.

*Time isn’t a factor.

(2) A monthly Assembly of Combatants is mandatory. (Addendum B.)

(3) Warriors may choose to withdraw by carving the Mark of Disgrace on their forehead and contacting the assigned Enforcer for transport home.

*Kings and queens of each participating realm are responsible for punishing the disgraced.

*The disgraced cannot reenter the war, or participate in any other battle.

(4) After making a kill, your combatant will be granted the power needed to activate and use the victim’s chosen weapon.

*A kill is rendered through decapitation, removal of the heart, and/or burning the body to ash.

(5) You may not send anyone or anything else to Terra. However, you may communicate with your combatant to (a) learn the status of the war and (b) offer instruction.

Those who violate these rules will be hunted, captured and punished by Enforcers.

May the best realm win.

Happy warring!

High Council of the All War Alliance.





PROLOGUE

AD 701, human timeline

103rd All War, Month 5

Terra

TWENTY-FIVE COMBATANTS stood between Knox of Iviland and victory.

He waited on a mountain plateau, a dagger clutched in each hand. Shadows bathed him, frigid wind battering his bare chest. One of his myriad trainers once told him he was as cold and treacherous as the icy world now surrounding him.

The trainer wasn’t wrong.

Over the centuries, other Iviland soldiers had called Knox sadistic, barbaric and pitiless. They weren’t wrong, either. Or alive. They had died painfully, by his hand. As practice.

Live a violent life, suffer a violent end. Sow seeds of suffering, reap a harvest of the same. One day, Knox would meet the same end as his victims, could not avoid his dreaded fate.

He might meet his end tonight—assembly night.

In eleven minutes, forty-three seconds, green and purple lights would set the night sky ablaze, and the next Assembly of Combatants would begin. A time mockingly dubbed “check-in.”