Author: Heidi Vanlandingham
Genre: WWII paranormal
Natalya Volkov has two dreams—marry the only man she has ever loved and become a pilot. When she is killed in a plane crash defending Mother Russia, the Norse goddess Freyja gives her a second chance at life—for a price. For immortality, she must hunt down the most powerful man in Europe or give up the man she loves.
Romani-Jew Mikhail Abramovich has known hardship. He escaped a Nazi camp, became a Resistance soldier, and the love of his life died in his arms. Yet, when Natalya miraculously returns to life, he is plunged into a world that is no longer black and white.
Is the hunt for Hitler and immortality worth giving up everything they have ever known and loved?
“What valor!” Freyja exclaimed, her gaze riveted on the battle scene playing out in the Gods’ Glass. Millennia ago, Odin had stolen the looking glass from a Greek oracle to see anywhere in the nine worlds, and Freyja had stolen it from him. Her hand gripped the edge of the huge glass disc suspended from the ceiling by thick, black metal chains. “Look at how the pilots maneuver the nimble planes to avoid the German cannon and machine gun fire. I believe these planes are called U-2s, but there are several models, so I could be wrong. The differences are slight, and in the glass, they are too small for me to be certain.”
Idunn stepped up beside her, a frown marring her beautiful face. “Why do you insist on watching the humans battle each other? Nothing good will come of their war. They will continue to kill each other until no one’s left.” She leaned forward and stared hard at the unfolding air battle. “Who’s flying the planes anyway?”
“Women. Russian women.”
Idunn’s frown deepened as she followed the two-winged planes. “There are how many—forty? Why are half of them veering off like that?”
Freyja leaned closer to her best friend. “Watch as the lead planes maneuver away from the others, drawing the German spotlights.” She pointed with a purple-tipped fingernail. “There. Did you see that?”
Idunn peered closer, her face almost touching the glass. “What? What am I looking for? They’re all moving too fast!” Idunn’s gaze followed Freyja’s purple fingernail to another lead plane. A flash of light dropped from the back of the plane. “Did the pilot drop a flare?”
“I think they’re marking the targets for the second planes to hit.” Freyja shook her head, a look of wonder on her face. “Truly amazing. And the Germans can’t seem to hit the target planes.” She grabbed Idunn’s arm and pulled her around to the back of the Gods’ Glass.
“What are you doing?”
“Shush.” Freyja closed her eyes and concentrated, trying to remember the words to the ancient spell. Raising her hands, she laid them in the center of the glass. Opening her mind, she let the power of seidr, or fate, flow through the fire opal amulet hanging from her neck as she searched for the hidden passageway through the Well of Urd.
The bronze backing swirled, turning darker in the center then swirling out, blending the colors together. The farther out it expanded, the lighter it became. Suddenly, a bright burst of white light exploded outward like a million crystal shards.
“Freyja, this isn’t allowed—I’m not allowed to go through the glass!”
“Hold onto me—wrap your arms around my waist and don’t let go, no matter who or what you see,” Freyja commanded. Her necklace glowed, and the magic swirled around them, siphoning the air from the room and pulling them into the back of the glass.
Freyja held Idunn as they flew through the center of Yggdrasil. The tree of life opened up around them as they sped through the cosmos. Cosmic dust clouds of vibrant golds and purples billowed in a giant rolling fog and blended into larger gas bursts as they became massive nebulas. These ethereal wonders contained every color imaginable, as if the artist’s color palette was unlimited.
“Why are the nebulae and galaxies always named after Greek or Roman pantheons and none of them our pantheon?” Idunn whispered.
Freyja smiled, her gaze scanning over the galaxy the humans had named Andromeda. The magnificent white center swirled outward and faded to a beautiful shade of blue. “I guess we’re not exciting or romantic enough for them.”
Idunn made a coughing noise in her throat. “What hogwash. We have Vikings and berserkers for goodness’ sakes! What more do people want?”
“Handsome Scottish men in kilts with muscles and a sexy accent?”
“Oh, well, there is that. I’ve read some of those books too. Hard to beat Scottish muscles. Now focus, Freyja. Where are you taking us?”
Freyja wrapped her free hand around the amulet hanging from her neck and centered her magic, letting it flow through her mind as she pictured the pathway through the center of the tree to Midheim—Earth in the ancient Norse language. “Hold tight and brace yourself. This may be a hard landing for both of us.”
As she said the words, their acceleration slowed. Freyja didn’t flinch, her smile widening as she stared at the expanding Milky Way galaxy. She focused her magic on the small blue planet, and they found themselves traveling through the outer Oort Cloud. They sped through the thousands of comets, then traveled inward through the Kuiper belt and its icy rocks. Closer to Earth, they came perilously close to being pummeled by several hundred of the millions of rocks speeding through the asteroid belt orbiting between Jupiter and Mars.
“Hold tight to me, Idunn!” Freyja screamed, her words pulled away as the force of the magic drew them toward the planet. Idunn did as she was told and squeezed her eyes together. Together, with the force of several large bombs, they hit the ground, sending large chunks of dirt, trees, and rocks skyward.
The two women lay at the bottom of the crater while all around them, bombs fell, their bright yellow-orange blasts lighting up the night sky.
“The next time you tell me to hang on tight, remind me of this so I’ll walk away. I don’t think I have a single bone in my body that isn’t shattered,” Idunn complained.
“Heimdahl guards the bridges between worlds and is bound to know what we’ve done—and what’s wrong with traveling by the Rainbow Bridge?
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
"Natalya" is an electrifying WWII paranormal historical thriller that will keep readers on the edges of their seats! Throughout Natalya and Mikahail's story, Ms. Vanlandingham expertly integrates historical events of the war, along with the ever-present fear of death, bombings, and starvation. Furthermore, the whims of a goddess add a paranormal twist that will engage readers' imaginations as they consider "what if..." An emotional roller-coaster ride of action and romance that transcends time, "Natalya" has it all!” ~Tricia Hall, InD’tale Magazine
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Heidi Vanlandingham writes sweet, action-packed stories that take place in the Wild West, war-torn Europe, and otherworldly magical realms. Her love of history finds its way into each book, and her characters are lovable, strong, and diverse. Heidi’s stories transport the reader to a different place and time for understanding, compassion, and most of all, love.
Growing up in Oklahoma and living one year in Belgium gave Heidi a unique perspective regarding different cultures. She still lives in Oklahoma with her husband and youngest son. Her oldest son is in the autism spectrum and is working toward his own dreams. Heidi’s favorite things in life are laughter, paranormal romance books, music, and long road trips.
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