Book Title: Immortals
Author: Ednah Walters
Release Date: August 5th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Length: 342 Pages
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR
I stared after the girl, intrigued despite the fact that I stayed emotionally uninvolved with Mortals while on a job. There was something different about this one. I touched my lips. The feel of her, the taste of her lips, even her scent was familiar, yet she was a total stranger. The tears didn’t make sense either. No woman ever kissed me then burst into tears afterwards.
“Good evening,” a sing-song voice called out and I turned. An older woman in a floral shirt and tan pants hurried across the cul-de-sac, her eyes twinkling. “Welcome to the neighborhood. Welcome… welcome.”
I gave her my most charming smile. “Thank you.”
“Clare Rutledge from across the street.” She offered her hand.
I took her hand and raised it to my lips. “Torin St. James. It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”
“Call me Clare.” She beamed, clasped her hands and pressed them against her chest. “Is your family here too?” she added, looking at my new home.
“They’ll be arriving shortly.” I’d been told to expect company, hopefully not Andris and his women. Half the things he did pissed me off.
“Well, welcome to the cul-de-sac, Torin. If you need anything, just knock on my door.”
“Thank you, Clare. I hope my other neighbors are as welcoming as you.” I pointed at the house next door.
“Oh, the Coopers are wonderful. Tristan is a good man. Wife’s a bit high-strung and their girl takes after her.” She lowered her voice. “He went missing a few months ago. You know, his plane crashed into the sea. Everyone thought he was gone because they couldn’t find his body, but I always knew he’d come back.” She tapped her nose. “I have a nose for these things, you know. And guess what? He came back. Today. A miracle everyone said, but I always knew. Next house is the Petersons. Odious man, but the wife is nice if not a bit timid for my taste. My friend Renee’s house is next to mine. Anyway, you’ll meet them all soon enough. We’re close, always helping each other.”
No wonder the Cooper girl had acted strange. Her father just got home and she must have decided to kiss me in her excitement. Mortals did weird things like that. Still, that didn’t explain why she’d expected me to recognize her.
I thanked the very nice, but obviously gossipmonger neighbor, retraced my step to where I’d parked my Harley and grabbed my satchel. Removing the key from my pocket, I unlocked the front door and grinned. Furnished apartments usually meant a new base. As earth-based Valkyries, we tend to move around a lot or people noticed we never age.
I closed the door and walked through the living room to the kitchen. Nice place. A family room. Fully stocked kitchen. Two furnished bedrooms downstairs and two more upstairs. I stopped on the bedroom facing the Coopers’. The two houses were so close I could see inside the upstairs room. I could see through the lacey curtains to a dresser, a computer desk and half of the bed with yellow comforter with lace. Was it her room?
There was movement, then she came to the window. A feeling I couldn’t explain clenched my gut. For a moment, she just stared at me as though surprised, her doe-shaped eyes wide. Earlier, she didn’t give me a chance to appreciate her looks except the golden freckles dotting her pretty nose. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Thick hair fell softly on her shoulders, her nose tilted slight upward, and her lips naturally pouty. Lips meant to be kissed. I could still remember how they’d tasted, their texture.
My heart pounded with excitement.
She yanked the draperies and I grinned. Ah, this assignment was going to be very interesting. I threw the satchel on the bed. This would be my bedroom.
A sound came from downstairs. The rest of the crew was here. I’d been told to expect a partner. I hated reaping souls with a partner, but rules were rules. Half of the dead went with me to Valhalla with the other Valkyries took the second half to Goddess Freya in Falkvang.
I pulled out an artavus and walked to the mirror to scribble the right runes. The mirror shimmered and shifted until the surface looked like water. A partial portal formed so I could see downstairs without them seeing me. A familiar dark-haired woman in violet robe was walking around downstairs.
Lavania? What was she doing here?
I added the necessary runes to complete the portal and stepped into the room.
“Torin, I thought I sensed your presence,” she said and opened her arms.
We hugged, then she leaned back and cupped my face. “Look at you, sonny. Still breaking hearts?”
I snorted. “Sonny? You were two years older than me when you became an Immortal.”
She pinched my cheek. “But I’m hundreds of years older than you now, so show some respect.” She sauntered to a chair, sat and patted the seat of the chair adjacent to hers. “Sit down.”
I sat and studied her. Lavania had been a powerful priestess in the Roman Empire around 10 BC before she became a Valkyrie. Last I heard, she was getting married to the son of one of the gods, a good enough reason for her to be in Asgard. Most earth-based Valkyries looked forward to the moment they’d be stationed in the Realm of the Gods. Not me. Earth was my playground and I loved roaming it. Rarely do Asgard-based Valkyries come back to earth unless there was a natural disaster.
“What are you doing here, Lavania? I thought you were getting married.”
She stopped studying her manicured nails, their bright red color matching her lipstick, and leaned forward. “The marriage ceremony can wait. What happened here?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s not often I’m pulled off the training field, summoned before Forseti and Freya and sent to earth to help some Mortal girl you two have been messing with. I stopped being your keepers centuries ago.”
I frowned. Forseti was the God of Justice, Peace and Truth, and Goddess Freya was in charge of all Valkyries. “I don’t understand. What girl?”
She studied me and frowned. “There’s a girl, a special girl I’m supposed to find and train. You also pissed off someone so powerful Goddess Freya had to make an appearance in Forseti’s Court on your behalf. What was your last assignment?”
I frowned. “A bunch of kids on a field trip in Seattle. Their bus slipped on ice.”
She studied me intently. “Did you rescue them?”
“No,” I protested. “I reaped the twelve that didn’t make it.”
“You wouldn’t lie to me, would you, sonny?”
For years I’d hated reaping children, so I’d do whatever I could to save them. The souls would cry and ask for their mommies and daddies. Worse, they rarely understood the standard explanation that their souls would be recycled in newborns and they’d have a second chance at live. All they cared about was going home and where I was taking them and why. I hated reaping kids.
I sighed and looked at her straight in the face. “I swear, I took the twelve souls to the Norns Hall for recycling.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Did you piss the Norns off again?”
I grinned. Norns were powerful beings in charge of fate. They controlled the destinies of everyone—Mortals, Immortals and the Gods—from birth to death. They came from all races on earth and other realms and always worked in groups of threes. They also distrusted male Valkyries, a fact that made no sense since they were technically in charge of all destinies. Perhaps it was because they took vows of chastity and men were a temptation they had to live with. Whatever the case, I’d never gone beyond the massive gates of their hall even though it was in Valhalla.
Lavania sighed. “You saved some of the children, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t.”
She studied me intently then nodded. “Then it must be something your brother did. Whatever it is, I’m here now.” She patted my leg and jumped up. “Show me my room, sonny.”
“On one condition.”
Lavania’s perfectly arched eyebrows shot up. “You’ve giving me orders?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Ma’am? I’m not that old.”
I grinned. “We agree on something. Here’s another. Please, stop calling me sonny.”
She chuckled. “Okay. I’ll stop.” She frowned and angled her head. “Hmm, I sense the presence of something. It’s powerful.”
“I felt it too when I was outside. It’s faint now.”
“Maybe living here and going to high school all over gain won’t be so boring.”
“How do you expect me to keep an eye on you two?” She grinned and looped an arm around mine. “Come on. Show me around. I want to choose a bedroom before Andris gets here.”
“Don’t worry about Andris joining us,” I said as we started upstairs.
“I know you haven’t lived together ever since he turned Maliina and you ended up on Hel duty, but you boys have to make up and play nice. I told you I was sent down here to clean up your mess. You two are going back to being brothers now that Maliina is gone, which means living together.”
I frowned. “She’s gone? Where?”
“To serve Norns, the evil ones. Just as well. She was too high strung for him. He needs someone calmer, like Ingrid. I don’t understand why the two of you can just stop talking to each other. You’ve watched each other’s back for centuries.” She slanted him a hard look. “You’re older, so you fix this.”
“Are you this hard with your other ‘former’ charges?”
“No.” We paused in the upstairs hallway, and I directed her right. “I never had to worry about you two because Andris idolized you and always tried to please you.”
I laughed. “Not true.”
“He did. You just didn’t know it. Whatever mess you boys have gotten yourself into this time, we’ll fix it while I train this Mortal girl, so I can go home. It’s been a while since I trained a budding priestess. This one caught the attention of Goddess Freya, so she must be special. Are you listening to what I’m saying?”
“You have a new charge. Someone special.” Big whoop. He’d watched her train would-be-Valkyries before, so it was no big deal. I pushed open the door of the bedroom across from mine. “Here you are. There’s an empty room through that door you could convert into a private living room.”
Lavania studied the bedroom and smiled when she saw the large mirror dominating one wall. “Portal straight into my room, I love it. I’ll have the girls bring my things. Oh, and could you get me a car?”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course not. I’ve no intention of riding around with you in that two-wheeled monstrosity. Andris will drive me, which reminds me. Your brother will be home tonight. Kiss and make up before I come back.” A portal appearing before she reached the mirror, then she was gone.
Walking to my new bedroom, I went to the window and studied my neighbors’ house, hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl next door.
Andris and I had a stare down. Ingrid had made herself scarce as soon as they walked in. “Are you just going sit there with that annoying smirk on your face?”
“Yeah. I was always Lavania’s favorite and now she’s back.”
I threw him an annoyed glance. “What are you? Ten?”
Andris chuckled. “Fifty odd years younger than you, old man.” He leaned forward. “Okay, I forgive you for hating Maliina. You never liked her, never thought she was any good and in the end you were right.”
I frowned. “What happened?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I took a bunch of warriors home and was told she went rogue. No explanation why or who she’s serving.”
She was probably in Hel. The Valkyrie Council tend to erase the memories of any Mortal we came in contact with, but never ours. “You don’t look so broken up about it.”
He made a face. “I’m keeping it bottled inside. If I start to cry, will you hug me?”
“You’re in idiot.” The next door’s reaction flashed through my head. “Have I been here before?”
He rolled his eyes. “Duh. Of course. Don’t you remember?”
I shook my head.
He laughed. “Yeah, right. You even fell for a Mortal girl. The quintessential girl-next-door, only she’s smoking hot. What did you tell me? She was the most important thing in your life and you couldn’t live without her.”
Half of the things that came from his mouth were calculated to get a rise out of me. I’d never get emotionally involved with a Mortal girl and we both knew it. “We need to get a ride for Lavania, something you all can use.”
Andris grinned, his face lighting up. “A Ferrari. She likes fast cars.”
“The last time she was here, they used horse-drawn carriages.” I got up. “A minivan it is.”
“Oh come on,” Andris protested.
“Go ahead and get a Ferrari. You can afford it. But you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to drive two cars.”
“Okay, we’ll go with an SUV and I get to choose the make, color, the whole nine yards .”
“Fine.” I headed for my Harley in the garage. A jeep drove past as I stepped out of the house. It was the same Jeep I’d seen earlier. It pulled into the driveway of my neighbor’s and two teens got out, a girl and a guy. My eyes connected with the guy’s. I nodded, but he glared before following the girl inside the house. The guy’s reaction made no sense.
“She’s pretty,” Andris said. “Thought so from the moment I saw her.”
“No more messing with Mortal girls.” I threw Andris a glance over my shoulder. “I mean it.”
EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.
Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at www.ednahwalters.com
Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She is presently working on book 3, GRIMNIRS (Release date TBA). Read more about this series and the world she’s created here www.runestheseries.com
Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six. You can visit her online at or www.ebwalters.com.