Descent (The Path) by Deborah Austin
Loki’s path to madness is paved with love and loss..
As it is in every realm, so it is in Asgard. Life is altered in the drawing of a breath, the speaking of a word. When Loki, second in line to the throne of Asgard, bests his brother, the Crown Prince Thor, in a sparring match, he is unaware that the events to follow will truly change the course of his own destiny. Thor has wagered and lost his new servant, a girl named Eidra who comes to serve the sullen dark prince. Angry at her incompetence, believing Thor has deliberately thrown the match to rid himself of the girl, he lashes out at her, treating her with brutal cruelty, indifference. Eidra struggles to survive with the help of the staff cook Helgi and Loki’s young houseboy, Silas, enduring Loki’s treatment until one evening, she can no longer bear it and confronts him. His retaliation is swift, painful, but something has changed within him as the brave young woman resists, refusing to back down before the enraged prince.
An uneasy truce is reached between Loki and Eidra, turning into a cautious friendship as they start to spend more time together. The line between servant and master becomes blurred, finally disappearing altogether when Loki admits Eidra has become vital to him. Their friendship blossoms into love despite the danger of palace intrigues and idle gossip. However, they have fallen under close scrutiny by Crown Prince Thor who poses the biggest threat of all and Loki is forced to face the possibility that love may not be enough to escape the hand of fate.