I’m incredibly happy to share the fourth book in the Blind Series, Blind Confession (available Feb. 25th). Dear to my heart, out of all my projects this year, Vikings remain my first love.
Sorry I’ve been absent on my blog–but from here, I have lots of fun things planned, so stay with me.
A heart closed to love …
Abandoned by the woman he loved, Captain Marteinn wants to escape his misery by winning the summer games in Lagenheim. The champion is entitled to ask one favor from the jarl and he’s prepared to request his freedom.
A woman desperate for passion …
Taken to Scandinavia after the Normans invaded England, Mercia works hard to prove her loyalty to the Vikings. Despite multiple offers of marriage, she fears she’ll never find true love. Until she meets a brooding warrior, who ignites a hidden passion she can’t ignore.
What kind of man leaves a woman standing half naked in the woods? Mercia couldn’t put it out of her mind as she labored in the kitchen. After a restless, almost torturous night spent tossing and turning in bed, she’d gone downstairs well before sunrise and volunteered to help prepare the morning meal. She scooped eggs and smoked pork onto trenchers, then placed them on a large tray.
“Do you want me to serve the men?” a thrall asked.
“No. Prepare another dozen plates and I will return to get them.”
She stalked into the great hall, setting the plates in front of hungry soldiers, then returned to the kitchen. She repeated her effort five times before reaching the high table. Tyr and Rachelle were not awake yet, but several captains waited. By the time she reached the end of the table, she found Marteinn staring blankly at her.
“Good morning,” he said.
She wanted to smack the smug look off his handsome face. “Is that all you have to say?”
“Tis a common enough greeting in the day.”
“If you’re on kind terms with the person you address.”
“Shall I wish you a cursed existence instead?”
Mercia slammed her tray down, then snatched the trencher off it. “Perhaps you were weaned in a stable next to a pack of jackasses, but in the Trondelag, we extend a certain amount of courtesy to the women that serve the meals.”
“All right,” he said, leaning forward on his elbows. “Do you know how beautiful you are when you’re angry?”
She bristled, his praise only served as a bitter reminder of his cold rejection. “I’d rather you called me an ugly whore.” She dumped the food on his lap, followed by the plate. “Now you know how I feel.” She stormed away, the rising laughter from the soldiers quickening her retreat.
“One night and you’re already wearing the food.” The man seated next to Marteinn slapped his back. “A viper is less poisonous than Mercia.”
“We’ve all felt the sting of her wicked tongue,” another teased. “Just not on the right spots.”
“She’ll not hike her skirt for anyone,” a man called from below. “I wager cobwebs keep those slim thighs stuck together.”
Marteinn could attest that her legs opened quite easily for him, but not for these fools. Bastards. He stood, the trencher clattered to the floor and he brushed the food off his lap.
“Should I order another serving for you?” his tablemate asked.
“Only if you want me to shove it down your bloody throat,” Marteinn roared. “Never insult the woman in front of me again.” He eyed the kitchen door, determined to confront her.
In private, she could sling insults at him until she couldn’t speak. But in public, no woman, high or low born, would get away with embarrassing him. He entered the kitchen and the servants stared.
“Where is Mercia?”
One pointed toward the back.
He nodded and headed that way.
He watched intently as she kneaded, pounding dough with both hands, then rolled it into large balls. She set it aside and reached for more.
“Are you wise to speak to me the way you did?”
Her shoulders stiffened at the sound of his voice. “Get out. Some places are sacred to women.”
“You consider yourself a woman?”
She spun around, fury flashing across her face. “Woman enough to defend myself against an animal like you.”
“Defend?” He laughed. “Who resisted who last night?”
She fisted her hands at her sides. “Why do you insist on tormenting me?”
“Look at me.” The large stain covering his crotch made it look like he’d pissed himself. “There’s only one reason my braes should have a wet spot.”
She clucked her tongue. “Arrogant fool. You made your opinion well known to me. If you prefer the company of boys, check the stables.”
He lurched closer, angry that she’d even suggest it.
She slapped his face. “Get out!”
Marteinn cupped his cheek, shocked and amazed by her violent reaction. He grabbed her shoulders, snapping her to his chest. “I believe you asked me for something last night.” His mouth collided with hers, his unforgiving tongue invading her mouth. By Odin, she tasted like paradise.
She attempted a protest, but he swallowed her words, one of his hands cupping the back of her neck. He slid the other up her chest, palming her breast. He moaned as his prig begged for release. It wouldn’t take much to lift her onto the edge of the work table, hike her skirt, and ride her until she screamed.
She dug her fingernails into his arms and he kissed her harder, sucking the air out of her lungs. Her body relaxed then, and she returned his kiss with fiery enthusiasm. But when she boldly squeezed his arse with both hands, he broke away, staring down at her in wonder.
“Did I surprise you?”
He smirked. “The only surprise will be when I bend you over …”
“Mercia?” Rachelle called as she came down the hallway. “Did I hear correctly? You and Captain Marteinn exchanged unpleasant words in the great hall?”
Mercia blushed as she wiped her hands on her apron, then stepped around him. “Just a misunderstanding.”
Marteinn faced Rachelle.
Her gaze darted between them. “Did I interrupt something?”
“Nothing of importance.” He brushed past her.
Damn his uncontrollable temper. If he’d been paying attention last night, this would have never happened. How she’d managed to ever sneak up on him was disturbing on many different levels. He hadn’t slept well in days, but never let his guard down, even when he was drunk.
Undeniably, Mercia needed taming, sooner rather than later. And if he didn’t do it, one of those slobbering miscreants in the great hall would.
Where to find it…