The Norsemen Sagas, Book 3
* Can She Survive His Cruelty - And Save His Tortured Soul?*
Jolinn Gallarsdottir has trained hard to become a fierce shield-maiden. Hoping to impress Brosa Sorensson with her skills, she seduces him when he is vulnerable, in an attempt to win his heart as well.
Wracked with guilt over his failure to save his men, Brosa has spent many months attempting to restore his honor and once more gain the blessings of the gods. The goal is pushed further out of his reach when he beds Jolinn, tarnishing his reputation further. He vows never to let it happen again, though he cannot escape his thoughts of a dark-haired temptress with a sexual appetite to match his own.
When Jolinn's request to go raiding with the men is rejected, she stows away, disobeying her father's orders. As punishment, she is given to Brosa as his slave. Vowing to prove her worth as a warrior and his equal, she defies him at every chance.
Determined to dominate Jolinn and bend her to his will, Brosa soon finds himself enjoying her fire and their battles lead to more passion. But when the gods ask him to make the ultimate sacrifice, will everything between them be destroyed?
** Contains A Kinky Twist on History! love scenes, including bondage, spanking and more!
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Brosa accepted yet another horn of ale from one of the serving slaves and drank it quickly, holding the hollowed horn out for more. Finally, the effect of the drink had taken hold and the gut-knotting guilt ebbed, though it didn't disappear. It never did when these moods overtook him.
All around him, the celebration continued unabated, music from the harps and flutes and lurs enticing several clan members to dance. Brosa sneered at the revelers. They cared nothing for those lost.
Sensing someone watching him, he turned, once again meeting the dark eyes of the lovely woman who had seated herself at his father's table. She seemed familiar, but he found himself unable to recall her name. She offered a smile, accompanied by a strong attraction clear in her gaze. For the first time in months, he felt a stirring of desire, his own gaze dipping to her full lips. Did she taste as sweet as the mead she now sipped? The urge to find out took over his thoughts, addled as they were from the ale.
He motioned her to come and sit beside him. The innocent way her eyes widened, followed by the immediate broadening of her grin, stirred him further. A moment later, she'd taken up the intended seat, her eyes focused on him adoringly. Again, he found him struck by her familiarity, but again, failed to recall her name or who she was.
"You are enjoying the feast?" she asked. Her voice, low and husky, sent a shiver along his spine.
He nodded, unwilling to voice the lie. "And you?"
"I am glad you are all returned safely, even if Geira did not accompany you. She is happy where she is?"
"You are a friend of hers, then?"
"Brosa, don't you recognize me?" the dark-haired woman asked.
He didn't answer for several moments, admiring the thin braids woven through her long locks. Once more, his gaze returned to her lips and the urge to taste her grew stronger. He leaned close.
Her hand on his chest stopped him. "Brosa, you don't know who I am, do you?"
He fought the urge to shove her hand aside and haul her against him. Instead, he shook his head.
"Forgive me, I do not."
She laughed, a light carefree sound that somehow carried over the din of the feast.
"It's me. Jolinn."
He gaped at her. Jolinn Gallarsdotter? She couldn't possibly be. Jolinn was no more than a child.
"I am no child!"
He'd spoken aloud? The ale had truly scattered his wits.
"I am a woman now," Jolinn continued. "A shieldmaiden. I've trained hard these last two years."
"But… how… I mean –"
Another laugh and he found himself enraptured by the sound.
"You have not been here in Allesgatt for most of the last two years. Between your journey to Fellskoger, and your journeys after, you spent little more than a couple of days at a time. I am not surprised you did not recognize me."
"Jolinn. A shield maiden. Your father must be proud."
Some of the happiness faded from her eyes before she offered a nod. "And you? Are you proud of me?"
He recalled the little girl who had dogged his every step years ago. He had indulged her, and honestly had enjoyed her attentions, flattered by her childhood adoration. But now, she was a woman, and to see that adoration in her eyes again roused very different emotions.
"I am surprised at how… lovely you've become." The truth sparked a blush creeping into her cheeks, one he found attractive. It must be the ale making him feel this way. That and the fact he had been too long without a woman's warmth.
He turned to his trencher, picking up a rabbit leg and biting into it. The juicy meat did nothing to stop the ever-growing desire. He reached for another piece of meat and handed it to her. The smile of thanks incited another rush of desire. She was truly lovely, lovelier than any other woman he'd known.
But surely she knew what a failure he was as a warrior. Why did the thought of her disappointment feel like a rusty axe slicing into his gut? He averted his gaze, unable to look into those dark adoring eyes a moment longer.
"Brosa? Are you unwell? Or just drunk?"
He gave a bitter laugh. "Jolinn, I am many things. Drunk is but one of them."
"Maybe you should rest. You've had a long journey and with all that ale, surely you must be anxious to find your bed."
Despite the drink, there was no mistaking the invitation in her words. Was little Jolinn actually trying to seduce him? No longer little. Though mostly hidden beneath the leather armor she wore, he still made out her sensual curves. His fingers suddenly itched to touch her, to remove the apron and the dress underneath. To stretch her out beneath him and savor the heat of her body.
He shouldn't. He was no longer worthy of her esteem, might never be again until the gods saw fit to forgive him for allowing his clansmen to die. Damn the gods! Jolinn was clearly offering herself. This might be his last chance to be selfish and take what he wanted.
She leaned in close, placing a hand on his arm. Slowly, her fingers crept upward, until they rested on his shoulder.
"Come, Brosa. I have the perfect place for you to seek your… rest."