The Norsemen Sagas, Book 5
* What Cruel Game are the Gods Playing? *
In the market at The Thing, Elin Korisdottir encounters a mysterious and handsome stranger. Intrigued by the attraction he rouses, she endeavors to meet him again. Her excitement that he returns her sentiments is quickly dashed by the news her father has negotiated a marriage for her, in order to make an alliance.
Torsten Dragmállson has long traveled the world, rarely remaining at home for more than a few months before setting out again. Throughout his voyages, he has made powerful alliances but has decided the time has come to return to his village and stay. When he encounters Elin in the market, he is surer than ever he has made the right choice.
When she comes to him in desperation, offering herself in an attempt to get out of an arranged marriage, he is more than happy to oblige. After a passion-filled afternoon, he promises to seek out her family, vowing to use the power and wealth of his own clan to counter her father's bargain. But despite his search, Torsten cannot find her. Without knowing which region or country she came from, he fears he will never see her again. He vows to keep looking for her.
On her wedding day, Elin's despair turns to disbelief and bewilderment to see Torsten standing beside the man she is to marry. The unbearable reality is worsened when enemies from within Torsten's village take drastic measures against them both.
Standing together could save them. Or kill them. How could the gods be so cruel?
** Contains A Kinky Twist on History! love scenes, including bondage, spanking and more!
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Elin turned, and without even taking a step, collided with someone. Someone tall. A solid body that practically formed a wall. Shocked by the sudden impact, she gave a small cry, immediately backing up a step. She looked up into face of the man blocking her.
Her heart slammed against her chest. It was him! Suddenly shaky with excitement, as well as caution, she somehow contained the grin that tried to force its way.
"Hello again, Elin."
His low voice, rough and yet charming, surrounded her, muffling the shouts and buzz of those around them. A smile lifted the corners of his mouth and her gaze was instantly drawn there.
"H-hello." At least this time, she didn't sound like a wounded sheep.
"I was hoping to see you again," he said. He remained immobile, so close, his warmth reached her, his heady scent seeping into her awareness and sparking an unfamiliar yet intriguing desire.
"And why is that?" Her nervousness faded, replaced with an eagerness to ascertain his true intentions. Determine if those intentions met her own, uncertain as they were.
He held her stare, amusement dancing in his eyes. The urge to look away from his probing eyes grew stronger, but she refused to heed the demand. A moment later, the feel of his hand gently gripping her upper arm almost upset her courage. The touch was innocent, but it stirred a fiery heat that swept over her, leaving her breathless with the suddenness of sensation. When he gave a gentle tug, pulling her away from the masses, she followed, any intention to resist muddled by the flaring questions.
When he stopped in a secluded corner, cloaked by the merchant booths, she found herself with her back to the wall, Torsten shielding her from the people passing only a few feet away. Somehow, despite the way he loomed over her, she felt safe and oddly protected. She met his dark stare, her body warming under the heat of his gaze.
"You want to know why I'd hoped to meet you again." His voice, low and heavy, rumbled with a nuance she couldn't name but left her trembling with excitement that he knew her thoughts.
"Yes, I do." Pride in the strength of her voice bolstered her against the odd sensations leaving her uncertain and wary, despite her desire to know more of him.
"You are quite lovely."
She rolled her eyes, hoping she appeared unimpressed. "I have heard that before from others who seek only to woo me for an advantage because of my position. Certainly, you can do better."
His sudden grin, accompanied by a hearty chuckle, set her heart to pounding. "You are right. I can. And I will."
A promise lingered in his words and she wanted to hold him to it. Why? Since meeting this man only a few days ago, so many unknown thoughts bombarded her, accompanied by a recklessness that urged her to throw all wariness to the will of the gods and let them and her instincts guide her. Still, she must not let any hint of her inner turmoil show. She lifted her chin, meeting his gaze and noting a pleasure that seemed to border on pride. She willed the tangle of emotions to calm.
"And I have heard that from others as well. You are not very good at courting a woman, are you?"
He threw his head back, his loud full laugh echoing around them. When he calmed, he once again pierced her with his stare, rendering her immobile more securely than if he had bound her with rope.
"Clearly, those who tried to win your affection failed. I will not."
"And why are you so sure of that?"
"Because you feel it too."