Hela Takes a Holiday

CHRISTMAS WISHES: BOOK 1

LENGTH: NOVELLA

RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 6, 2018

AVAILABLE IN DIGITAL: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO | ITUNES | SMASHWORDS

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BLURB:

It’s lonely being the queen of the dead. Hela longs for a life among the living, and a chance at love. When Loki grants her wish, she’s elated…only to discover later that even a trickster god’s daughter isn’t safe from his deceit. How can she learn to adapt to life on Midgard if her presence disrupts the balance of life and death?

Björn the Untouchable requires a wife…but isn’t in a hurry to find one. Escaping the festivities of Yule, he discovers a naked woman in the middle of the forest. Something about her isn’t quite right, and having the same name as a death goddess is a bad omen to be sure. Nevertheless, he’s completely enchanted by her.

Hela has only twelve days of the Yule celebration to remain human, but otherworldly threats linger. Can she find true love in the arms of a Viking warrior in the land of the living, or will she be the cause of an entire village’s destruction? Only Loki knows, but he’s not one to share his schemes…

 

EXCERPT:

Ice crystalized on the pillars of Hela’s throne room as she watched the rise and fall of Níðhöggr’s chest while the great frost dragon slumbered at the roots of Yggdrasil. So dull was her company that even a dragon gave up its one task—gnawing through the roots that tethered him to this realm—and slept. Hela could not blame the creature, for she could scarcely stand the sound of her pacing as she wandered through the fortress her father, Loki, along with the Æsir had built for her.

“It is a great honor to be given your own realm to rule over as you wish,” Loki had said. “Even Thor has not been offered such a gift. He is forced to remain on Asgard with the rest of us.”

Hela wasn’t sure gift described the situation all that well. More like prison. A punishment for her status. Sure, she was part-giant by birth, but unlike her beastly brothers Jörmungandr and Fenrir, she could pass as a god or mortal without fail due to her appearance and height. Since giants were prone to violent natures, however, the Æsir didn’t trust her despite the fact that Hela had never so much as swatted an insect for daring to fly too close on the rare occasion anything crawled so low on Yggdrasil. Instead, while everyone she’d ever known was forced to live together, she was shunned and trapped in a world of ice, darkness, and death. Where she feared she would be as cold and unyielding as the frost surrounding her if she wasn’t already. Even her skin and lips had taken on a bluish hue from the cold she felt but didn’t suffer from.

“What has my daughter pacing the halls of Helheim this day?”

With a gasp, Hela whirled around and spotted her father leaning against one of the icy pillars with his arms crossed over his chest. His black leather tunic and trousers stark against the pale snowy white and blue of her fortress behind him.

She didn’t dare betray her excitement at having someone to talk to. Loki found her yearning for interaction unsavory. Unbefitting of the queen of the dead. Instead, she tried to sound as nonchalant as possible. “Niflheim.”

Loki frowned. “Hela… How many times do I have to tell you? If you want to invoke fear and respect, the name of your realm should be bold. Naming it for yourself does that.”

Always the same argument. He had been the one to name the fortress Hel, trying to sway others to refer to Niflheim as Helheim instead. Why didn’t he respect her desire to leave it alone? “I do not wish to invoke fear and respect. I would rather leave this realm and explore the other eight.” How she lived in a world of cold, stale death and ached for warmth and light, she didn’t know. She dreamed of experiencing life the way the souls who ventured through her hallowed halls had. To understand why they begged her for a second chance. Why mortals and gods alike wished her to break the laws of nature and release a soul back to Midgard or Asgard or whatever realm it came from. “At least one of them. Any of them.”

Well, mayhap not Muspelheim, with the fire giants who longed for war against the rest of the nine worlds, most of all Asgard. Yet, the others…

Loki shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “You are sheltered and inexperienced despite the many centuries you have lived.” Mayhap because nothing ever changes! She resented being called inexperienced, even if it rang true. “One day, you will grow out of this impudence and embrace your birthright. You, of all my children, are the only one to be treated respectfully by the others. Why would you risk ruining that by going out into the world to be corrupted?”

© 2018 Rebekah Lewis.

 

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