In just a few days, autumn arrives, and with it, a Viking Invasion! Norseman's Revenge, Book 1 in my newest series, The Norsemen Sagas, will be released September 23. It's available for pre-order now at Amazon and Kobo; you can find those links below. I'll also put up an updated list of links once the book rolls out next week.
I've mentioned before that this book was an experiment for me in a lot of ways, and while it took a little longer than I'd planned, in the end it was worth it. I'm not a patient person by anyone's stretch of the imagination, but somehow, I managed to make it through a good year and half of said experiment without adding too many more grey hairs. I had some amazing help putting this together as well, and this book has been dedicated to some very special and awesome women.
So obviously, I'm very excited that Norseman's Revenge's release day is finally approaching. I can't help it - I'm about halfway through the second book, and my focus has been a little distracted related to that book. Having Norseman's Revenge released will hopefully help in that situation, thought a part of me feels kind of like I did when I left my daughter at college a few weeks back. I'm scared out of my mind, but still proud and looking forward to what the future holds.
And because I am such an impatient person, I thought I'd share a little bit of Norseman's Revenge. Geira's wedding night is about to take a turn she never expected!
Einnar eased away and looked behind him. "We are alone now."
She peered over his shoulder and saw everyone had indeed left. A wave of relief came over her and she sighed. While some clans still insisted on having witnesses to the deflowering, she hated that idea and was glad his people didn't adhere to the old custom
He sat beside her and reached for the pitcher on the table next to the bed. He poured the mead into a wooden cup and handed it to her
"Drink, you'll be calmer."
That he showed concern now further perplexed her. The charming flirt he sometimes appeared to be made her curious. She peered closely into his face, finding only a troubling arrogance and expectation. Accepting the goblet, she took a large swallow. When she returned the cup, he did the same, then moved to climb under the blanket with her. His warm body pressed against her. Worry churned in her gut
"Geira, look at me."
She lifted her head, slowly, half-afraid at what she might find. Concern and tenderness softened his expression, though a strange gleam kept her worries roused. The knot in her gut tightened.
"I thank Freyr for his blessings. He clearly found my sacrifice worthy."
Geira recalled the gathering and spraying of the boar's blood. Her husband had shown great skill in the ceremony. The ease of the sacrifice assured a fertile marriage. Still, doubts about the joy to be found in the union lingered.
A gentle caress of her shoulder didn't stir further fear. It didn't stir anything. Her earlier yearning returned with force. Why didn't her husband inspire the passion she so longed for? Though her mother had been gone for several summers, Geira recalled the adoration her parents had felt for each other. Even if they stood just a few inches away, the love they shared had shone clear in their longing gazes. They always found a way to express their utter devotion, with a kiss, or a glance, or a sliding of their hands as they passed. That's what Geira wanted. But she didn't feel anything remotely similar to that now. Was that the root of her concerns?
Another stroke of his hand and she forced herself to concentrate, willing her body to respond to his touch. Surprisingly, it did, her nipples peaking into tight buds. The sensation was far less intense than she hoped
"We will share many pleasures in this marriage. Trust me on this."
His voice had thickened, deepened. His desire came easily. Why didn't hers? She took a deep breath, determined to hide her true feelings
"I do, it's just –"
The door crashed open, screams of terror and pain now filling the air. In the doorway, a hulking dark warrior stood, sword raised
Einnar leapt to his feet, diving for the pile of clothes where his own sword lay. He barely had a chance to raise it when the other warrior swung, forcing Einnar into a defensive position. Geira screamed, terror pounding in her head.
"Einnar of Fellsskoger, I claim my vengeance!" The invader's voice thundered within the small hut
Geira scrambled out of the bed when the intruder fixed his furious stare on her. Cold fear pooled in her belly when he strode across the room. Another slice at Einnar sent her husband to the floor, clutching his gut.
"Einnar!" she shrieked and attempted to run toward him. The warrior caught her by the arm before she darted past. She kicked and pummeled him with her free hand, but he quickly captured her other wrist, forcing them both into his tight grip
"Bastard! Let me go!" She looked over at her husband, who struggled to his feet, sword in hand.
"Unhand my bride!" His voice was not nearly as strong as before, blood seeping from the wound slashing his stomach
Geira fought the urge to retch, focusing instead on pulling against the restraining grip of her captor. She swore at him, unable to free herself. His strength overpowered her, her attempts to escape futile. Hopelessness welled within, but she forced it aside, refusing to stop fighting, twisting and squirming against his hold
"She is mine now, repayment for your crimes against me!"
The booming words sent ice along her spine and Geira froze.
"What? No, I am not yours! Let me go!"
She caught Einnar's stare and her blood chilled. He knew exactly what this giant meant. Anger speared the fear, escalating her panic. What had her husband done? The earlier doubts flashed again in her mind. Had she been right all along, and everyone else so terribly wrong?
"Einnar, what does he mean?"
He took an unsteady step toward her, then another before collapsing to the floor. She screamed again, and tugged against her captor, surprised at how quickly he released her, making her stumble. Just as quickly, she was brought up short by the rope now binding her wrists.
"By the blood of Odin I will see you dead!" she swore. Fright left her limbs heavy and trembling. The strength to stand seeped from her legs, yet she somehow remained upright.
The warrior threw his head back and laughed. "You can try, but it's useless to fight."
"You killed my husband." She looked at Einnar's lifeless body.
"He earned it. He's lucky I killed him so quickly!"
Geira choked on a sob, drawn by fear of her own fate, rather than her husband's. "Please let me go. I don't know what this is about. I've done nothing to you. Please. Let me see to him."
A fierce stare accompanied a shake of his head. "He's dead."
Einnar's blood pooled beneath him, the puddle growing larger. Oddly, Geira felt no real sadness. Squeezing her eyes shut, she turned away from her dead husband.
The raider tugged on the rope, drawing her close, then bent, hoisting her onto his shoulder. She kicked and screamed, pounding his back with her bound fists.
He strode through the open door. Geira twisted and tried to free herself, lifting her head. She froze at the sight greeting her.
Everywhere, the huts and homes of the clan burned, the longhouse where the celebration had been taking place also eaten by flames. Judging from the screams, many people remained trapped inside. Her stomach rolled, sweat ran down her face, mingling with tears. Shrieks, shouts and the sounds of weapons clanging together filled her senses. Grunts and bellows of pain pounded her ears. The entire village was under attack. The acrid scent of smoke mingled with the bitter smell of spilled blood, nearly choking her.
Where were her brother and father? Perhaps their disappearance saved them from the slaughter now taking place. The urge to weep grew stronger. All around, bodies littered the ground. No! That wasn't… it was, she realized, recognizing one of the women from her village. An agonized howl escaped her. The warrior continued on his way and her clanswoman's body disappeared from Geira's view
Terrified she was about to meet the same fate, she squirmed, searching the chaos, desperate to find someone to help.
"Papa!" she cried, hoping someone in her family would hear. But her voice was drowned by the sounds of battle, the screech and thud of weapons against flesh, shrieks of terror and agony, and wailing sobs. She offered a silent prayer to Thor to keep her father safe, wherever he might be
As the giant continued to stride out of the village and to the water, she realized he carried her away instead of raping and killing her here. Why?
She fought again, pounding the man with her fists, trying uselessly to kick against the arm wrapped around her legs. His hand slammed into her ass, briefly startling her into stillness, but just as quickly she fought once more. Again, the giant's hand came down hard on her rear and she screamed her outrage. It did nothing to stop him. All too quickly, they were at the water's edge and he paused only to shift her before making his way to the boat anchored at the shore
"No! Let me go!"
Her efforts to free herself failed again and soon she found herself on the oselvar, roughly shoved to a seat in the middle. Shocked at the speed with which she'd been captured, she fell momentarily still.
As promised, here are the pre-order links for Norseman's Revenge. Check back next week for a complete listing of retailers where the book will be available.