Shadow and Ice (Gods of War #1) ~ Page 1

Read Online Books/Novels:Shadow and Ice (Gods of War #1)Author/Writer of Book/Novel:Gena ShowalterLanguage:EnglishBook Information:

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.Books in Series:Gods of War Series by Gena ShowalterBooks by Author:Gena Showalter Books

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."

You check in, and help others check out.

Acid coated the inside of his chest, scalding him, but not by word or deed did he reveal his discomfort. With combatants, perception was vital. Reveal a weakness, become the day"s target.

An assembly lasted an hour, occurred once a month, and helped hurry the war along. Attendance was mandatory, forcing every participant in the Terran All War to visit this icy tundra, even the cowards and hiders.

Stroll in one second late, and you would be disqualified. A fate worse than death. You were hunted by an Enforcer who had the means to track you and disable any special abilities"your own, and those of your weapon. All because of a mystical tattoo.

Before the war, every combatant was permanently marked. The ink permitted the Enforcer to link with you anywhere, anytime. Supposedly this allowed the High Council to facilitate a fair war. Knox had his doubts, and suspected the ink did so much more. Considering he bore the mark on his left shoulder"a tree inside a circle"there was nothing he could do about it. He was as vulnerable as everyone else.

Removing the tattoo wouldn"t help. The ink got in your blood. Running from the Enforcer wouldn"t help, either. When he caught you"and he always caught you"he would chop off your limbs, and nail what remained of your body to a wall of ice that was within sight of the assembly. While you were still alive.

You were to serve as a cautionary tale.

If your limbs regenerated, the Enforcer removed them again. However many times were necessary. You were executed only after a winner was declared.

Sometimes combatants set traps before an assembly to encourage others" tardiness without actually breaking the rules. The very reason Knox had yet to move from this spot high on a cliff, hidden by boulders and trees. Last month, Zion of Tavery managed to trap him in an ice pit; by some miracle Knox had climbed out and crossed the threshold with eight seconds to spare.

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