Read Perfekt Balance (The Ære Saga Book 3) Online

Authors: S.T. Bende

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Perfekt Balance (The Ære Saga Book 3)

BOOK: Perfekt Balance (The Ære Saga Book 3)
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Perfekt Balance

The Ære Saga: Book Three

 

 

by

S.T. Bende

 

 

The Ære Saga

Perfekt Balance

Copyright © 2015, S.T. Bende

 

Edited by: Lauren McKellar

Cover Art by: Cora Graphics

 

All rights reserved. Except as permitted
under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication
may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the
prior written permission of the author.

 

This book or any portion thereof may not be
reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any
information storage system without the express written permission
of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book
review.

Scripture taken from 
The Message
.
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by
permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

 

First publication: 2016, S.T. Bende

This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents either are products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Back Cover Copy

Dedication

Chapter
One

Chapter
Two

Chapter
Three

Chapter
Four

Chapter
Five

Chapter
Six

Chapter
Seven

Chapter
Eight

Chapter
Nine

Chapter
Ten

Chapter
Eleven

Chapter
Twelve

Chapter
Thirteen

Chapter
Fourteen

Chapter
Fifteen

Chapter
Sixteen

Chapter
Seventeen

Chapter
Eighteen

Chapter
Nineteen

Chapter
Twenty

Mange Takk

About the Author

 

 

 

Praise for
Perfekt Balance

 

 

“An amazing story filled with non-stop
action, romance, intrigue, and mythology. I read it in one sitting
and by the end I wanted…no, I needed the next one.
The Ære
Saga
is an outstanding series.
Perfekt
! S.T. Bende is my
new author crush and I can't wait to see what comes next.”

– Jaymin Eve, International Bestselling
Author of
The Walker Saga

 

 

 

Back Cover Copy:

 

Become what you believe.

Elsa Fredriksen knows there’s a thin line
between love and fear. As High Healer, she rights the wrongs
committed by those who choose the darkness. But even Asgard’s
secret weapon can’t undo every injury—especially when her fate is
completely entwined with the god she’s trying to save.

Elsa’s in
love with the Norse God of Justice. But Forse’s heart is ruled by
fear—fear that the past will repeat itself; fear that opening his
heart will compromise his ability to do his job; fear that he’ll
hurt the one girl he desperately wants to protect.
Again
.

When Elsa
faces off against the very monster she once swore to protect, her
survival depends on a power she isn’t sure she can control. And
when Forse’s worst nightmare unfolds in front of him, Elsa has to
decide whether it’s more important to hold the realms in
perfekt
balance…or hold
onto the guy she can’t imagine existing without.

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

To my three boys—may your kind hearts
continue to brighten every realm you touch.
Jeg elsker
deg
.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

An
eternity of love to my handsome husband, for being my very
own
perfekt
balance.
Jeg elsker deg.

Tusen takk
to our biggest little blessings, who bring us
laughter, joy, and so very much love. We thank God for
you.

Takk
to my editor, Lauren McKellar, for keeping the
Ære
crew in line and
filling my inbox with smiles, and to my proofreader, Sara Meadows,
for helping our crew put their best broadsword forward.

Mange takk
to my authorial Asgardians, Stacey Nash and
Kristie Cook, for your friendship, and for always making my stories
so very much richer.
Takk
to my real-life Unifiers, Heather Brandt and Lorna
Richmond, for all that you do for me, our Asgardians, and our
collective crews. Heather, you’ve jumped right in with both feet
and made all of our groups such joyful places to be. Lorna, your
Padawan gained so many of her gifts through your tutelage, and both
Elsa and I are grateful you’ve shared your wisdom with
us.

To the
teachers who introduced me to the beauty of Elsa’s gifts,
takk
for bringing a new
layer of grace to my worlds—both real and imaginary.

Thank you
to my RagnaRockstars and our Valkyrie Team for your tireless
enthusiasm and support. You always know how to make me smile, and I
adore you for it.
Tusen takk
to every single reader who’s taken a chance on
these stories. YOU are the reason I get to keep on dreaming across
the realms, and I am so very grateful for the privilege. Thank you
for choosing to share your reading time with me.

And to
MorMorMa, for everything.
Tusen takk
, from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

 

“Awake, dear heart, awake. Thou hast slept
well. Awake.”

-Prospero,
The Tempest

CHAPTER
ONE

 

 


I’LL SHOW YOU MINE
if you show me yours.” Forse Styrke lifted one corner of
his mouth in a lazy smile. My heart thudded before tumbling
headfirst into a familiar abyss.

“It doesn’t work like that, and you know it,”
I reminded him.

Forse shrugged. “Fair’s fair.”

“And if the God of Justice says it, it must
be true.”

Forse just winked.

“Are you going to let me do this or not? Odin
knows I need the practice.” I planted my hands on my hips and
blinked at my longtime crush and longer-time friend. It didn’t take
him long to break.

“All right, all right.” Forse held up his
hands. “The big, blue deal-closers win.”

I batted my eyelashes with a smile.

Forse reached up and brushed my temple with
the back of one finger. A wave of goose bumps broke out across my
neck as I leaned into the touch. Seconds after his knuckles grazed
my cheek, Forse pulled his hand back and took a step to the side.
“All right, Miss Unifier, give me your best shot.”

I pressed
my lips together and extinguished the feeling of disappointment.
Forse and I had danced this dance for a few months—longer, if I
counted the time before I was stuck in the coma. Forse liked
me
…or I thought he did,
but he pulled back every time we started to get close. And even
though Odin had gifted me with the ability to read feelings, auras,
and the occasional mind, I couldn’t get a grasp on
why
Forse wouldn’t let
himself fall for me. My normally intuitive brain picked up on an
inkling of fear flashing from somewhere in Forse’s emotional
center, but I couldn’t for the life of me determine its
source.

The God
of Justice was proving to be one irritating wall of
hard-headedness. And my supposed
gift
was completely letting me down.

“Elsa?” Forse waved his hand, and I snapped
back to the present.


Mmm?” A
gust of wind pulled my attention to the redwood grove outside the
window of my tiny house. Another storm was blowing in—the second
one this month, and the sixth since December. A March shower in
Northern California wasn’t unusual…but a winter of snowfalls this
close to the ocean sure was.
Better keep an eye on
that
.

Forse furrowed his brow in concern. “I lost
you. Do you still want to practice your energy analysis, or do you
need to lie down for a while?”

“I’m good. Let’s get started.”

“It’s only been a few months since you came
out of the coma, and you know there can be residual effects. Maybe
we should—”

“I’m fine, Forse, I swear. I just got
distracted. There’s a lot riding on me getting this right, so
pretty please stand there and let me practice.”

“I would, but—”

“But nothing. You and I both know that if I
don’t get a grip on this ability soon, the realms will be in
serious trouble. Asgard needs a proper Unifier. My mom held the
light realms in balance so well, they’ve kept it together since she
died. But that can’t last much longer, and I don’t even want to
think of how powerful the dark worlds will become if I don’t make
this work.”

Forse shook his head. “I still think it’s too
soon. Fenrir nearly killed you. You—”

I placed my hand on his arm and kept my voice
soft. “I’ve got this.”

Forse and I stared at each other for a
seemingly endless beat. He was the first to blink. “You’ll let me
know if you need a break?”

I ran my fingers along the throw that rested
on my tan sofa. The soft blue fibers matched my new curtains
perfectly. “You have my word. Now let’s go over what we’ve learned
since the Norns named me interim Unifier. Maybe we can avoid
repeating some of our earlier, uh, mistakes.”


Like the
time you accidentally filled my energy with so much love I very
nearly kissed Brynn?” Forse raised one eyebrow, and my cheeks grew
hot. That hadn’t been an accident. Right after my parents’ deaths,
the Norns had named me my mom’s replacement, and Forse had
volunteered to help me practice unifying—bringing opposing factions
together. On my first attempt, I’d pushed an overwhelming amount of
adoring energy into Forse’s love center, thinking it would make him
own up to his feelings for me. Brynn had walked in at just the
wrong moment and almost reaped the benefit of my misguided
work.
Right place, wrong goddess. Lesson learned.

“Um, yes. Like that.” I stared at the
recessed lights in my living room, willing the blood to drain from
my cheeks. “So we won’t try that one again. Just like we won’t try
to override your consciousness—sorry I ended up making you think
you were a fairy.”

Forse glared at me.

“And we won’t try to mute your sense of
self-preservation—seriously, I did not see the whole ‘handing over
your broadsword and kneeling before my brother’ thing coming.” I
giggled.

Forse glared harder.

“Right.” I covered my mouth. “And we
definitely won’t invoke the guardian spirits from Valhalla. That
did not end well.”


Thanks
for pulling me out before the inebriated ones tried to decapitate
me. Remember, they train during the
daytime
. Off hours, it’s
one giant mead-fest.” Forse folded his arms across his perfectly
sculpted chest. His grey T-shirt strained against a set of flexed
biceps, and his profile was backlit by the lamp beside the
three-quarter-length window, giving him an almost ethereal
glow.
Oh dear gods, he is beautiful. So beautiful. It’s
completely unfair that Odin would—

BOOK: Perfekt Balance (The Ære Saga Book 3)
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