If he could, Rorik would remain on this boulder by the river for the duration of the evening and into night. His stomach growled in protest, and he realized he had little food this day. He reached for his aleskin and took a sip.
Even the thought of entertaining Hallgerd left a hollow ache within. “For all I ken you might have the face of a goat.”
Rorik sensed the intruder’s approach behind him before the first footstep sounded. He lifted his left hand and rested it on the hilt of his sword by his side.
“I happen to cherish the faces of my goats, though they are stubborn creatures.”
The ale soured in his gut. “Seer.” He released his hand from his sword and continued to stare outward.
When silence greeted him, he dared to glance over his shoulder. Wariness from her all-knowing eyes reflected at Rorik, not the bitter coldness she often imparted to him. “Why have you come?”
Ragna lifted her chin. “I have a message you must hear fully.”
Shrugging, Rorik resumed his gaze outward. “Then speak your words.”
Again, the woman remained silent. Rorik pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
“Do you not deem it best to put on your tunic?” she suggested, stepping closer and brushing the garment against his arm.
Slowly, Rorik lifted his head to look at her. Even her words sounded different. They were almost a plea, not filled with terse venom. A rosy stain had blossomed on her ivory cheeks, and her breathing appeared labored. He pondered two things—either his naked form disgusted her or perchance appealed to her. Surely, she despises me, nothing more.
The barb he wanted to fling out at her became trapped on his tongue. He guzzled deeply from the aleskin. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he dropped the empty skin next to his sword and swiftly got off the boulder.
Ragna gasped and clutched his tunic to her breasts. Yet she did not avert her eyes.
He dared to move toward her.
Her eyes widened and she stumbled back, dropping his tunic.
Rorik reached out and grabbed her hand, preventing her from falling. The contact of her skin against his sent a tremor of warmth up his arm. This time, his breathing became labored while he stared into her gray eyes. He found no hatred there—only beauty within their depths. His gaze traveled down to her full red lips, partially open and begging to be kissed.
Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.
After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.
In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?
Standing abruptly, Elspeth glanced around the table. She wanted to shout at them all. Did they not understand how exhausted they were? From the moment they arrived at Lord Sutherland’s castle, they were ushered into the great hall to await the king. No food given. Only wine served. Bright red splotches covered her nephew’s cheeks.
Moving away from the table, she went to her nephew and placed a firm hand on his shoulder. “My king. If you would be so kind, I shall see Erik to his chamber.”
King William smiled. “Do not fret, Lady Elspeth. There was not much wine in his cup. I deemed it best to acknowledge his new position as chieftain with a small amount.”
Relief coursed through her, and she gave him her best smile. “Then with your consent, may I fetch him some food from the kitchens?”
The king rose from his chair. “Lord Sutherland has prepared chambers for you both.”
“Chambers in the south tower?” asked Magnar, taking a hold of her elbow.
Lord Sutherland gave him a slight nod.
Startled once again by the man’s silent movements, Elspeth remained mute, trying to control the warring emotions from the man’s touch. The heat of his fingers seared into her gown and onto her skin.
Giving the king a small smile, she permitted Magnar to usher her out of the great hall. Erik kept a steady pace with their movements as he continued to entertain their overly bold guide with yet another tale of how they escaped their home.
Her steps slowed as the torchlight danced off the giant tapestry hanging on the wall near the stairs. The eyes of a white wolf bore into Elspeth as she drew near. Though only the head of the animal was represented within the woven threads, she half expected the wolf to jump out at her.
Elite Guards. Wolves. King William.
Elspeth returned her attention to the man holding her in his grip. “I heard my brother once mention the elite guards for the king. He spoke with reverence and with fear. They are loyal to the king but had one leader—one who all of Scotland should fear because of his magic.”
The man’s eyes darkened and a smile tipped the corners of his mouth. “Your brother was wise in his account.”
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.