by Kate Hill
Heat Level: Erotic
Genre/Themes: Historical, Viking
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Purchase Links: Ellora's Cave / All Romance Ebooks / Amazon.com / Barnes and Noble
Related Books: Northman's Passion
Legend is Grim Hammerhand is half wolf. Vowing never to marry, the muscular, red-haired warrior saves his passion for the battlefield and the forge. That is, until the woman he secretly lusts after is abducted.
Asgerd has loved Grim for years, only to be ignored by the object of her desire. She has eluded the bonds of marriage, hoping that someday Grim will notice her, but her dreams are shattered when she is captured and defiled by the brutal warrior Stein.
After the king sends Grim to rescue his daughter and claim Stein's land, the passion between the couple finally ignites. In the end, Grim's mistrust of all women could destroy their one true chance for happiness.
The following excerpt from NORTHMAN'S PLEASURE is for readers 18 and over.
Other than curtly answering a few questions from his men, Grim ate in silence. When his mead ran low, Asgerd approached to offer him more.
"I've had enough," he said. "It's been a long day. I'm going to sleep. Are you coming?"
She moistened her full lips and said, "After I help clean up."
Grim had the feeling she was using domestic duties as an excuse to avoid him. Slaves could finish clearing the table.
"Don't be too long," he said. "I don't like being disturbed when I'm sleeping."
Her eyes flashed and Grim nearly smiled. She'd been so passive since Stein's death. He'd wondered what happened to the woman who had so bravely fought her captor. It seemed she just needed a little goading to bring out her spirit.
He rose and walked to the bed closet. It was tidy, and as requested, Stein's belongings had been removed, except for his weapons. The sword, daggers and axe hung on the wall. The women had been right to leave them. Extra weapons were useful and these were of a decent quality.
He removed his armor and weapons and placed them on the bed. Then he opened the wooden trunk at the foot of it. Finding only women's clothes inside, he couldn't resist touching the fabric, knowing it belonged to Asgerd. His stomach tightened. They wouldn't be sharing merely a bed closet, but their lives.
A sobering thought.
He pulled off his boots and placed them in the corner, then he undressed and put his clothes beside Asgerd's in the trunk. Naked, he climbed beneath the furs. Sighing, he closed his eyes and tried to relax, but couldn't. He had too much to think about.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed before Asgerd entered the bed closet. Apparently she thought him asleep since she moved so quietly that even he, with his keen senses, could scarcely hear her.
When she slid beneath the furs, his heartbeat quickened. He waited for the sensation of her warm curves against his. The bed was fairly small so she was bound to touch him. Yet she didn't.
Grim turned toward her and found her lying close to the edge of the bed, her back to him.
"Everything cleaned up?" he asked, unsure of what else to say. He wanted to talk to her, but Grim wasn't much of a conversationalist, especially with women. Talking to his men or his brothers was different. They had common interests and shared duties.
Even the few women he'd bedded simply to release tension, he hadn't spoken to. Most of them hadn't wanted to talk either. The only woman he'd engaged in extended conversation was his sister-in-law and there was no attraction between them. Asgerd was different, in particular because tomorrow she would be his wife.
"You don't have to sleep so far away you know."
He heard her draw a deep breath before she turned to face him. Her eyes glistened in the fading lantern light. "You expect to have me tonight so you can call off the wedding tomorrow."
Typical that a woman would think of something deceitful.
"Why would I do that?"
"Why not? Why should I believe you want to marry me when you've never shown an interest in me before?"
"I had my reasons."
"Maybe because you thought my father would try to force marriage upon you. Now, after what Stein did, I don't matter anymore."
"You matter very much to your father. Why else would he have sent me and his best warriors to avenge you?"
"Was he avenging me or showing the world that he wouldn't be taken advantage of by the likes of Stein?"
She snorted. "Well that was honest."
"I'm an honest man. Get used to it."
"Then why the sudden interest?"
He reached out to touch her cheek. It was so soft and smooth. He wanted to touch the rest of her, but held back. Stein had hurt her in spirit as well as in body. Unfortunately he knew from experience the former was harder to heal.
"Maybe the interest isn't sudden," he admitted. "You're a beautiful woman. A man would have to be dead not to notice you."