When an unknown evil lingers in the distance, Viking daughter Freya is forced into a marriage to keep her safe. Defiant at first, Freya soon finds herself wanting the attention and touch of the stranger whom is set to be her husband.
Asgar never worried about finding a wife, he only wants to take care of his people the way his father always has. When he sees Freya, he's pulled in, knowing he has to protect her no matter what.
Thrown into a life neither really wanted, can these two learn to love? Can they share one heart? Is the unknown evil really the one they need to worry about?
Prepare to be thrown into the dark world of Vikings, mixed with a love story and betrayal that will tear at your soul.
Asgar watched his future wife being led from the hall by the two stout women whispering in her ear as the blonde man across the room argues with those surrounding him. He takes his eyes off of Freya’s disappearing figure to watch the angry man argue with Ivan and the Chief tower over him, but Asgar just puts his mug up to his lips, cringing at the sweet taste of the mead.
“Brother,” Asgar turns to face one of his older brothers, Herlof, and nods for him to continue as he keeps surveying the room and the rising tension between the Chief and the younger man. “At least her father didn’t lie about the beauty but I wonder if she is still a maiden.”
The brothers laugh as Asgar just shrugs and their father silences them all, slamming his mug down on the table and sloshing the sweet fermentation over the lip. “If Ivan says she is a maiden, than she is. He is an honorable man. Do you think he would be giving his only daughter away to the likes of us if he wasn’t? He’s afraid and he can sense the same thing I can.”
“And what is that father?” Keir asks, his blonde braid swishing against the chain mail of his vest as he averts his attention from the Chief still arguing with the lad in the corner to look at his brothers.
Halvard takes a long drink from his mug, feeling the liquid dribble down his chin and into his beard but he doesn’t care. There are no pretty ladies to impress and his wife is thousands of miles away, but knowing she would scold him and swipe her apron across his face he wipes the back of his hand across his chin, grumbling silently to himself. He skirts his eyes over to his friend Ivan, the tall man’s face being red from arguing with the son of slaves he had told Halvard about. The one who will object to the wedding for he loves Freya himself and he lets out a snort of a laugh, knowing the boy doesn’t stand a chance against Asgar if he were to challenge him.
He knows Ivan’s reasoning for wanting him to take Freya as far away from here as he could manage with someone he trusts and Halvard can’t say that he wouldn’t do the same thing. Traders who visit their inlet village have passed the story of the mysterious raids along the Scotland coast; telling of the massacred bodies and horrific scenes they have witnessed and they chilled even Halvard’s battle hardened heart.
In his younger years, Halvard the Hammer was one of the most feared men on the battlefield. He had had tribes turn and run from his men when he raised his mighty hammer and swung it over his shoulder even before the first contact had been made. He had had men fall to their knees, their faces bloodied with the blood of his men and have them beg for their lives but he showed no mercy to those that killed his kin. He had executed only Thor knows how many sniveling and screaming men with his hammer that sits proudly at the side of his chair back in their village; it being too valuable to bring with him to a peaceful exchange.
“There is an evil brewing,” he mumbles half into his cup as he spies Ivan shoving the boy away, towards the door and the boys’ eyes fall on him and his sons. Halvard feels the hate radiating off the young man as he stalks past, his blonde hair following in the breeze and the sword at his side shining in the sunlight as he hits the dirt.
Throwing back the last of his mead he slams his mug down onto the table and turns back to his sons, signaling a servant girl for another. “There is an evil growing and both Ivan and I know it will come here in due time. He wants to protect his daughter the best that he can.”
“The stories from the traders are true?” Asgar rests his elbows on the table and leans towards his father. He had heard the many stories but hadn’t given them a second thought. They were probably just drunken tales from sea weary travelers.
As his father just nods his head, turning his eyes down into his mug and taking a long drink, Asgar glances up to the dais. The tower of a man Ivan is sitting in his massive throne, his head resting in his hand as he rubs his forehead and temples. The worry on the man’s face pulls at something inside Asgar that scares him.
He’s never been one to want to be married, but faced with his father telling him that they need this alliance, Asgar agreed. Now seeing the worry on the usually stoic face of Ivan the Good, Asgar feels something he has rarely felt in his twenty eight summers of life; he’s worried. Even when he was a young toddler and his father had left for months on raiding expeditions, Asgar had never worried. He turned all his faith into his father, his father’s crew and the Gods.
But now? Well now he looked from Ivan, rubbing his temples and talking quietly to his brother on the dais beside him to his father, Halvard the Hammer, seeing the same worry play across the normally strong and emotionless features. His three older brothers were silent as well, all studying the men around the room or watching the servant girls giggling off in the corner.
“Does the girl know she’s basically being traded for around one hundred men and the promise of assistance if needed?” Raghnoll chimes in, smiling and waving at one of the plumper servants as she blushes and whispers to another. Asgar just snorts out a laugh at him; both at his question and his flirting. If his wife Katla saw him do that he’d be strung up and stuck like a pig.
“No, but I’m assuming she’ll find out soon enough.” Their father takes another drink and Asgar sees him nod to Ivan, who stands and approaches them trying to wear a welcoming smile.
Asgar can see the hesitation and hurt behind it. The man has the weight of an entire island on his shoulders and the hard job of trying to smooth everything over with an already angered daughter. Asgar pitied the man and tried to gather his strength to face the feisty Freya by downing the mead and signaling for another.
He is the tallest of them, his dirty blonde hair to his shoulder in a single braid as tight braids line his scalp on each temple. He is not a small man and as Freya takes in his broad, muscular chest through his shirt she feels a slow heat rolling over her skin. When her eyes meet his, she is pierced by the ice blue color as it pins her to her spot, her body feeling as if it is paralyzed.
“And Asgar,” her father says finally after what seemed like days. The sound of his name and the way he held her gaze made a hot blush burst forth from somewhere inside and Freya lowers her eyes, trying to regain her composure. She hears him clink his mug with those around him and the wooden bench creak as he sat, but she couldn’t bring her eyes from her hands in her lap nor could she keep her heart from racing.
“Why are they here?” a voice called from the back over the murmurings and she finally picks her face up to see one of her father’s friends, Linder, standing at the end of one of the tables, his gut hanging over his pants as usual and mead dribbled on his shirt. The sight of the jolly man makes her smile and he nods at her, giving her a kind wink as he usually does.
Ivan clears his throat, waving for his longtime friend to sit and takes another drink from his mug. He needs the fermented beverage to give him strength as he knows what he says next will bring a wrath upon his head. Placing his hand on Freya’s shoulder he waits for her to turn and look up at him with her sweet, innocent smile and for a second, his resolve falters. He pushes it away just as quickly as it came and squeezes her shoulder as she pats his hand.
“They are here to celebrate with us,” he says as Freya looks up at him expectantly, her green eyes reminding him so much of his beloved Dagny. How would she see what he is about to announce? She would side with him after many arguments, which is usually how their love worked. She would concede after hearing about the horrifying stories of raids in Scotland by an unknown tribe. This was what was best for everyone. It gave his island a little extra protection and muscle and made sure his precious Freya is away is something was to attack.
“Celebrate what, Ivan?” yelled another and Freya’s heart started to race. What is her father talking about? He shared everything with her. What was he keeping secret and why does she have the sinking feeling that it concerns her?
“They’ve come to celebrate a wedding,” her father says, squeezing her shoulder once again as she gazes up at him. His golden hazel eyes seem to be tearing up as he speaks and it puzzles her. She rests her hand on his, perched on her petite looking shoulder under his massive size, and she can feel what is coming.
“A wedding between Halvard’s youngest son, Asgar, and my daughter, Freya.” Her eyes never leave her father as she hears the low mumble run through the room. Her mouth drops open as her father tries to give her a smile, but she can see the hurt in his eyes, the unshed tears still lingering on his tough lashes.
Theresa Marguerite Hewitt is a very laid back person; enjoying the simpler things in life more than most sometimes. She grew up in a very, VERY small town in Central New York and she will always be a Redneck Woman. She loves reading, writing, taking long pointless drives and long dusk time walks. Fall and winter are her favorite times of year and she spends more time outside then than in the summer. She loves hearing from fans and isn’t above fan-girling on those that show her tons of support. She is addicted to the cheap-Harlequin romances you can pick up in most drug stores and can't go in and out of a store without picking up at least one. She reisdes in Buffalo, NY with her boyfriend, two dogs and two cats.
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