Author: Lori Devoti
Copyright: 2008 (Harlequin); pgs. 276
Series: Silhouette Nocturne #41; Unbound #3
Who: Geysa (Valkyrie), and Venge Leidolf (hellhound)
The horn has long been the tool of the ErlKing, used to call his pack to the Wild Hunt. The Erlking and his pack would steal and destroy the souls of fallen warriors meant for Valhalla. The last victim of the Hunt was a Valkyrie. After her death, the ErlKing disappeared and the Hunt was no more. Now, someone is using the horn, and the Valkyrie — guardians and keepers of the souls at Valhalla — are determined to get the horn and stop the Wild Hunt forever. The only problem: they can’t hear the horn. Their plan: follow the hellhounds and spy on them.
Venge Leidolf is a hellhound, formerly bound to the witch, Lusse. Life in Lusse’s kennel was horrible for her pack, particularly for Venge, who was brought into existence to be used against Risk, her pack’s alpha and Venge’s father. Venge has known only rejection, humiliation, and torture. Even when he was made aware of the fact, Risk had little choice but to show no interest in the fate of his son. He wanted Venge to live and eventually be free of Lusse, and he couldn’t allow Lusse to use that weakness against him. With this background, it is no wonder that Venge cares for nothing and no one, with only one goal in life: killing Risk. Venge goes from place to place among the nine worlds, not caring if he lives or dies, acquiring skills and weapons he hopes will help him achieve his goal. When he hears the horn’s call, Venge answers it more out of curiosity than anything else and sticks around just in case the horn can be of use in his quest to commit patricide.
Geysa is half-Norn, half-Valkyrie. Norn are fortune-tellers, but Geysa’s never shown talent in that area like her sister, Runa. Though she has the inborn talent of the Valkyrie, the ability to lure men’s souls, Geysa doesn’t feel much like a Valkyrie, either. To complicate matters more, the luring ability has an unexpected effect on the hellhounds, so Geysa must keep her emotions shielded. In an unguarded moment, she snares Venge.
Venge frustrated and confused by Geysa. One moment he’s irresistibly drawn to her and can smell her emotions, and the next — he still finds her attractive and her scent compelling, but he can’t read her at all. Venge still finds himself falling for her, something he’s never felt for anyone else, and is afraid to admit those feeling or dare to hope that the feelings are returned. For her part, Geysa feels guilty for entrapping him, not realizing that his desire for her — after the shields are back in place — is real. Geysa’s mother was the last prey of the Hunt, so her hatred for hellhounds is more personal than the general enmity between the two races — yet she still wants to be with Venge, even if it means never returning to Valhalla.
I really enjoyed this book. The world building, based on Norse mythology, is fun. I have to say, hellhounds are not very observant — I mean, they weren’t a teeny bit suspicious of the fact that only Nordic warrior women seemed to live in the town. 😉 I loved the ending, and it seems that Lori left a few plot lines open for her future books. I think we haven’t seen the last of Sigurd or the Valkyrie.
Started: 19 May 2008
Finished: 26 May 2008