The Gathering is a female fighting band of winged warriors created by the god Skuld. These girls/women are taken at the moment of death and offered a chance to return to the living. For some strange reason this always starts with an offer of fruit. The god, Skuld, believes it is a good way to break the ice. They remain human, but each are gifted with a set of crow's wings that they can unfurl when necessary. These wings allow them to fly. They each also receive an additional gift from Skuld, but this gift must be discovered by the individual, usually during the heat of battle. The Ravens are a seperate band of male warriors collected by Odin. They have a set of wings as well.
Denise “Neecy” Laurence was murdered by her drug dealer boyfriend when she was a teenager and many years later is still atoning for the mistakes she made in her past. She feels unworthy of love. She is the second in command of the Jersey Crows and has a gift of being able to call a flock of actual crows and ravens (the birds) to her. When Wilhelm Yager was promoted to the post of New York-New Jersey Raven Leader, he was branded with Odin’s Rune and presented to the audience as the new leader. While giving his speech, he saw Neecy in a new and different light: “Neecy Lawrence went from the occasional wet dream to a full on sex goddess.” He had a vision of Neecy during his acceptance speech – a vision of her right after sex with him. Yager decides that he will have Neecy and he starts showing up at many of the events where Neecy and her band of Crows are fighting to regain and return the stolen property of the gods after removing the power they imbue on the possessor – usually by killing the thief.
Yaeger and Neecy strike a bargain whereby they will have 24 hours of amazing sex. Neecey hopes to work Yaeger out of her system, for she feels unworthy of him due to her past. Yeager wants far more than 24 hours. In fact, he wants forever, and comes up with a plan to win Neecy's heart. But a group of Hunters serving another goddess, led by Karl Walgrave, are intent on destroying the Crows; one Crow in particular is at the top of their hit list. The Hunters have their own set of tricks up their sleeves and are determined to destroy the ***.
How Ms.Laurenston manages to make Yaeger both a hot bad boy and a sweet nice guy is beyond me, but the combination definitely works. The way the relationship between Neecey and Yaeger develops is fun to watch. The point of view flows between many of the characters which allows the reader to really understand so many of the different relationships and characters. There are wonderful secondary characters in the story, both Crows and Ravens. The gods are also very interestingly written. As represented by Odin’s penchant for selecting new Valkyrie’s based on his strip club visit and Skuld’s fruit offering ice breakers, plus his fondness for Penthouse Forum magazines, they are far more than the violent leaders of Viking myth.
This is a re-release of one of Ms. Laurenston's earlier books, and it was fun to read this earlier work to discover how her voice has changed and grown. Her snarky style was just emerging in this book.