C. Gockel has been writing stories for her friends and family since the dark ages (i.e., before word processors existed.) A few years ago, she started posting those stories to the intertubes. She received emails, messages, and reviews from her fans telling her she should 'do this professionally.' She didn't; she is a coward and life as a digital designer, copywriter and coder is more dependable. But in the end, her husband's nagging wore her down: "You could be the next '50 Shades of Gray' and I could retire!" Unfortunately, the author writes science fiction and fantasy, and isn't particularly good at writing erotica. She is sad about this; she'd love for her husband to be able to retire and just work for her so she could nag him.

At the moment, Ms. Gockel is working on the next installment of the Urban Magick & Folklore.

Ms. Gockel loves to hear from readers. She can be reached by email at: [email protected]

Her Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/CGockelWrites

I Bring the Fire: Parts 1-3 & In the Balance by C. Gockel

Sometimes the hero is the wrong guy at the right time.

When Amy Lewis prays for a savior, Loki Norse God of Mischief and Chaos isn't who she has in mind. Loki can't resist Amy's summons, but he can insist she help him outwit Odin, ruler of the Nine Realms. Can Amy trust a so-called God of Mischief? With a powerful evil calling him from beneath the city's streets, can Loki even trust himself?

This box set contains the first three installments of I Bring the Fire plus In the Balance. It is perfect for fans of The Dresden Files, American Gods, and Terry Pratchett.

Contains:

Wolves: I Bring the Fire Book 1

Monster: I Bring the Fire Book 2

Chaos: I Bring the Fire Book 3

In the Balance: An I Bring the FIre Novella

CURATOR'S NOTE

C. Gockel is a USA Today bestselling author who crafts urban fantasy and science fiction. I was a fan of her books long before I had the pleasure of making her acquittance. Her stories are wonderfully original and epically funny.

If you love Loki, Norse God of Mischief and Chaos, then you're sure to enjoy the brilliantly hilarious I Bring the Fire series. Magic & Mystery contains not just one, not just two, but three books and a novella. – Melissa Snark

 

REVIEWS

  • "Her Loki is more Loki than any others I've seen: smart, but fallible; mischievously curious to a fault; see-sawing constantly back and forth between his own selfishness and his better instincts."

    – Goodreads Review of Chaos
  • "These first 3.5 books in the series were a roller-coaster of action and emotions and did cost me a lot of sleep since I could not put it away."

    – Goodreads Review of I Bring the Fire
  • "This will burn you heart, make you laugh, and keep you up with excitement"

    – Amazon Reviewer
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Maybe it is her disbelief that propels her, because she certainly wouldn't have driven forward if she actually believed her car had dematerialized in front of her.

As the car goes forward, the dashboard, and then the steering wheel, disappear under her hands, and Amy is alone, surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow for the briefest of moments, her foot on the pedal of what would be the gas pedal if...

...and then her foot is on the gas pedal, behind her Beatrice is screaming, and next to her the man who still might be crazy is bracing his hands on the dash. "Stop!" he shouts.

Amy hits the brake.

Thor-Loki-Whoever, Beatrice, and Amy all take a deep breath. Fenrir whimpers.

"Have you recovered from your shock?" says Whoever-It-Is.

She had let the wheel go a little bit, and they might have run off the road. Amy turns her head to him. He's wearing armor again.

Her hands are shaking. "No," Amy says. "I really don't think so." Her eyes go to the window. Outside is a road, only a little wider than the alley—definitely not made for two way traffic. For some reason she isn't surprised it is yellow brick. On either side of the road is a dense forest. But...she peers either way. On one side it is dense and foreboding. On the other side it is open and light, and she has the urge to crack open the cooler and declare it time for a picnic right away.

He takes a long breath and rubs his face. "How can I help you recover?"

Amy looks around. "Can I get out?"

Thor-Loki-Whoever looks at the sun. "I would say yes, but it would be best if we reach our destination before sunset."

Amy looks towards the dark wood and then looks back to her grandmother. She is looking in the same direction.

"That side doesn't look friendly, Loki," says Beatrice.

"Exactly," says Thor-Loki-Whoever-It-Is, his voice grim.

Amy puts her foot gently on the gas. "Loki," she says. He really might be Loki.

"Exactly," says the man sitting next to her, and this time she can hear the smirk in his voice.

Amy wills herself to breathe and keep her eyes on the road. Which is hard. She wants to stop and look. The trunks of the trees look lavender on the light side, the leaves almost blue. On the dark side, the tree trunks look so purple they are nearly black.

"There was color when we...crossed," says Beatrice. "Like a rainbow—"

"Yes," says the man who actually might be Loki. "Time acts like a prism at the edge of the World Gates."

"The rainbow bridge," says Beatrice quietly.

Loki tilts his head. "I believe that humans did call it that once."

"The light," says Amy. "The light here is different." Everything seems a little bit blue.

"The star that is this planet's sun is much older. I believe you would call it a white dwarf," says Loki.

"Oh," says Amy. She blinks. "We're on another planet."

"Yes. In a whole other solar system," says Loki.

"My, my," says Beatrice. Amy looks in the rear-view mirror and sees her patting Fenrir on her lap. "My, my."

For a few minutes, Amy drives in silence, too overwhelmed to speak. Beatrice must feel the same because she says nothing. After a while, Amy hazards a glance over at...Loki. His mouth is set in a firm line, his eyes focused far ahead. He looks handsome, noble even.

"Can you drive faster?" he says. The question sounds genuine, not like he's second guessing her driving skill.

Amy looks down at the speedometer. She's going all of 20 miles per hour. "Can I expect any oncoming traffic?" The road is narrow and straight, and there are a few rolling hills that could be dangerous.

He closes his eyes. "There is none for at least 30 miles."

Amy glances sideways at him. "How do you know?"

He tilts his head and then blinks. When he speaks he sounds slightly awed. "Astral projection. The concept has entered your vocabulary in the last sixty years. Even though you're incapable of it."

She's on another planet, on a yellow brick road; astral projection doesn't seem like that much of a stretch of the imagination. "Good enough," she says and hits the accelerator.

For a few minutes, no one says anything. She glances and sees Loki's eyes focused on the road, his mouth a thin line. She focuses directly ahead, her brain churning.

"Why so solemn?" says Loki suddenly with joviality that sounds a little forced. "From you, Amy, I would expect it, but from you, Beatrice—"

He turns towards the back seat and then says softly. "She appears to be asleep."

Amy peeks in rear view mirror. Beatrice is slumped slightly to the side, her head bent, her eyes closed. Amy looks at the clock in the car. "Yes," she says. "She normally takes a nap this time of evening."

"This isn't exciting to her?" says Loki.

Amy tilts her head. "It is exciting, maybe so exciting she needs a mental break...and..." Amy bites her lip. "People tend to nap a little bit more as they get older, and then not sleep so well at night. That doesn't happen to...your people?"

"We don't get old," says Loki.

"Oh," says Amy. She tilts her head. "Lucky." She goes back to focusing on the road. Another planet...and Loki said something about time bending at the edges of the World Gate so —

Loki sighs loudly. "Come now, there will be plenty of time for silence when you're dead, and I'm..." He waves a hand dramatically, "Gagged with wire or stuck in a cave. Surely you have questions for me?"

Amy's eyes widen. "Sorry, I'm just over here quietly revising everything I thought I knew about the universe."

He chuckles. "What a novel way of expressing it."

And then Amy has a thought. "Astral projection isn't one of your powers in the myths, but it is in the movies and comic books."

"I'm not sure I'm clear on how comic books and movies differ from myths," says Loki. "Except in the medium."

"Well, myths exist for the purpose of explaining the universe and imparting moral values," says Amy.

"Don't leave out entertainment," says Loki.

"Okay, and entertainment," says Amy. "And comic books and movies, well, the type of movie and comic book we're discussing, are for entertainment."

Out of the corner of her eye she can see Loki turning towards her, puzzlement on his face. "They don't impart moral values or attempt to explain the universe?"

Amy is about to say no, but then she blinks. "Actually...I guess they do. But in a more round-a-bout way."

"Myths aren't exactly straightforward," says Loki.

"Touché," says Amy, scowling at the road in front of her.

"...or completely accurate," he mutters.

Amy smiles. "Yeah...no shape shifting. Right. Are you Thor's brother? In the comic books you are."

There is a snort. "No."

Amy grips the steering wheel and narrows her eyes. "What about Sif's hair." It's probably the most famous Loki myth. Sif was Thor's wife. Loki cut off her hair as a prank and paid dearly for it, if she remembers right.

She can hear the grin in his voice when he says, "Snip! Snip!"

"Really?" Amy says, twisting her hands on the steering wheel. "Why?" It sounds positively childish.

"To prove that she was a lying, cheating whore."

"How does cutting someone's hair prove they're a whore?" says Amy, gripping the wheel more tightly.

"It is the traditional punishment for female adulterers."

Remembering the story as her grandfather used to read it to her, Amy scowls. "So you sneak up on her in a glade and cut off her hair and that is supposed to prove she is a ho?"

There is a moment where the only sound is the hum of the engine. And then Loki erupts into what can only be described as cackles. "I didn't sneak up to her in a glade. I facked her!"

Amy's eyes go wide. "Facked?"

"Am I getting the verb right? Fac, from the Latin, 'to do'. Oh, wait, no that isn't right. I fuck—"

"I understood!" says Amy. She glances at him, her mouth agape.

He is blinking at her, smiling, looking very pleased. "It was really very selfless of me. No one really appreciates that. Everyone knew she was a whore, but no one else was brave enough to bring it to Thor's attention. Well, except Odin, but he went about it in this convoluted way where he disguised himself as an old man..." There is a snort. "...like that was difficult. And told Thor to his face, but as a stranger. I delivered proof."

She thought he was handsome? She thought he looked noble? Amy's lips curl up in disgust. "Wasn't Thor, like, your best friend?"

There is silence again. Amy glances over and immediately looks back at the road. She swears his eyes are glowing. "No," says Loki, and the air seems to ripple with his voice. "No, not then. Not at all."

Maybe it is her disbelief that propels her, because she certainly wouldn't have driven forward if she actually believed her car had dematerialized in front of her.

As the car goes forward, the dashboard, and then the steering wheel, disappear under her hands, and Amy is alone, surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow for the briefest of moments, her foot on the pedal of what would be the gas pedal if...

...and then her foot is on the gas pedal, behind her Beatrice is screaming, and next to her the man who still might be crazy is bracing his hands on the dash. "Stop!" he shouts.

Amy hits the brake.

Thor-Loki-Whoever, Beatrice, and Amy all take a deep breath. Fenrir whimpers.

"Have you recovered from your shock?" says Whoever-It-Is.

She had let the wheel go a little bit, and they might have run off the road. Amy turns her head to him. He's wearing armor again.

Her hands are shaking. "No," Amy says. "I really don't think so." Her eyes go to the window. Outside is a road, only a little wider than the alley—definitely not made for two way traffic. For some reason she isn't surprised it is yellow brick. On either side of the road is a dense forest. But...she peers either way. On one side it is dense and foreboding. On the other side it is open and light, and she has the urge to crack open the cooler and declare it time for a picnic right away.

He takes a long breath and rubs his face. "How can I help you recover?"

Amy looks around. "Can I get out?"

Thor-Loki-Whoever looks at the sun. "I would say yes, but it would be best if we reach our destination before sunset."

Amy looks towards the dark wood and then looks back to her grandmother. She is looking in the same direction.

"That side doesn't look friendly, Loki," says Beatrice.

"Exactly," says Thor-Loki-Whoever-It-Is, his voice grim.

Amy puts her foot gently on the gas. "Loki," she says. He really might be Loki.

"Exactly," says the man sitting next to her, and this time she can hear the smirk in his voice.

Amy wills herself to breathe and keep her eyes on the road. Which is hard. She wants to stop and look. The trunks of the trees look lavender on the light side, the leaves almost blue. On the dark side, the tree trunks look so purple they are nearly black.

"There was color when we...crossed," says Beatrice. "Like a rainbow—"

"Yes," says the man who actually might be Loki. "Time acts like a prism at the edge of the World Gates."

"The rainbow bridge," says Beatrice quietly.

Loki tilts his head. "I believe that humans did call it that once."

"The light," says Amy. "The light here is different." Everything seems a little bit blue.

"The star that is this planet's sun is much older. I believe you would call it a white dwarf," says Loki.

"Oh," says Amy. She blinks. "We're on another planet."

"Yes. In a whole other solar system," says Loki.

"My, my," says Beatrice. Amy looks in the rear-view mirror and sees her patting Fenrir on her lap. "My, my."

For a few minutes, Amy drives in silence, too overwhelmed to speak. Beatrice must feel the same because she says nothing. After a while, Amy hazards a glance over at...Loki. His mouth is set in a firm line, his eyes focused far ahead. He looks handsome, noble even.

"Can you drive faster?" he says. The question sounds genuine, not like he's second guessing her driving skill.

Amy looks down at the speedometer. She's going all of 20 miles per hour. "Can I expect any oncoming traffic?" The road is narrow and straight, and there are a few rolling hills that could be dangerous.

He closes his eyes. "There is none for at least 30 miles."

Amy glances sideways at him. "How do you know?"

He tilts his head and then blinks. When he speaks he sounds slightly awed. "Astral projection. The concept has entered your vocabulary in the last sixty years. Even though you're incapable of it."

She's on another planet, on a yellow brick road; astral projection doesn't seem like that much of a stretch of the imagination. "Good enough," she says and hits the accelerator.

For a few minutes, no one says anything. She glances and sees Loki's eyes focused on the road, his mouth a thin line. She focuses directly ahead, her brain churning.

"Why so solemn?" says Loki suddenly with joviality that sounds a little forced. "From you, Amy, I would expect it, but from you, Beatrice—"

He turns towards the back seat and then says softly. "She appears to be asleep."

Amy peeks in rear view mirror. Beatrice is slumped slightly to the side, her head bent, her eyes closed. Amy looks at the clock in the car. "Yes," she says. "She normally takes a nap this time of evening."

"This isn't exciting to her?" says Loki.

Amy tilts her head. "It is exciting, maybe so exciting she needs a mental break...and..." Amy bites her lip. "People tend to nap a little bit more as they get older, and then not sleep so well at night. That doesn't happen to...your people?"

"We don't get old," says Loki.

"Oh," says Amy. She tilts her head. "Lucky." She goes back to focusing on the road. Another planet...and Loki said something about time bending at the edges of the World Gate so —

Loki sighs loudly. "Come now, there will be plenty of time for silence when you're dead, and I'm..." He waves a hand dramatically, "Gagged with wire or stuck in a cave. Surely you have questions for me?"

Amy's eyes widen. "Sorry, I'm just over here quietly revising everything I thought I knew about the universe."

He chuckles. "What a novel way of expressing it."

And then Amy has a thought. "Astral projection isn't one of your powers in the myths, but it is in the movies and comic books."

"I'm not sure I'm clear on how comic books and movies differ from myths," says Loki. "Except in the medium."

"Well, myths exist for the purpose of explaining the universe and imparting moral values," says Amy.

"Don't leave out entertainment," says Loki.

"Okay, and entertainment," says Amy. "And comic books and movies, well, the type of movie and comic book we're discussing, are for entertainment."

Out of the corner of her eye she can see Loki turning towards her, puzzlement on his face. "They don't impart moral values or attempt to explain the universe?"

Amy is about to say no, but then she blinks. "Actually...I guess they do. But in a more round-a-bout way."

"Myths aren't exactly straightforward," says Loki.

"Touché," says Amy, scowling at the road in front of her.

"...or completely accurate," he mutters.

Amy smiles. "Yeah...no shape shifting. Right. Are you Thor's brother? In the comic books you are."

There is a snort. "No."

Amy grips the steering wheel and narrows her eyes. "What about Sif's hair." It's probably the most famous Loki myth. Sif was Thor's wife. Loki cut off her hair as a prank and paid dearly for it, if she remembers right.

She can hear the grin in his voice when he says, "Snip! Snip!"

"Really?" Amy says, twisting her hands on the steering wheel. "Why?" It sounds positively childish.

"To prove that she was a lying, cheating whore."

"How does cutting someone's hair prove they're a whore?" says Amy, gripping the wheel more tightly.

"It is the traditional punishment for female adulterers."

Remembering the story as her grandfather used to read it to her, Amy scowls. "So you sneak up on her in a glade and cut off her hair and that is supposed to prove she is a ho?"

There is a moment where the only sound is the hum of the engine. And then Loki erupts into what can only be described as cackles. "I didn't sneak up to her in a glade. I facked her!"

Amy's eyes go wide. "Facked?"

"Am I getting the verb right? Fac, from the Latin, 'to do'. Oh, wait, no that isn't right. I fuck—"

"I understood!" says Amy. She glances at him, her mouth agape.

He is blinking at her, smiling, looking very pleased. "It was really very selfless of me. No one really appreciates that. Everyone knew she was a whore, but no one else was brave enough to bring it to Thor's attention. Well, except Odin, but he went about it in this convoluted way where he disguised himself as an old man..." There is a snort. "...like that was difficult. And told Thor to his face, but as a stranger. I delivered proof."

She thought he was handsome? She thought he looked noble? Amy's lips curl up in disgust. "Wasn't Thor, like, your best friend?"

There is silence again. Amy glances over and immediately looks back at the road. She swears his eyes are glowing. "No," says Loki, and the air seems to ripple with his voice. "No, not then. Not at all."