Loki's Daughters

Loki's Daughters

Delle Jacobs

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When Arienh encounters a Viking in the hills, she stabs him and escapes. She hates Vikings, who have killed all but the women and children in her village. But the mysterious Northman, who won't die, won't go away, and insists she belongs to him eventually forces Arienh to re-think everything she's ever known about life and death, about living, about love.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Delle Jacobs
ISBN: 978 1 61658 497 9
PUBLICATION DATE:
WORD COUNT: 98000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 4 4 4 4
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Historical
KEYWORDS: Vikings, Celts, Viking romance, Celtic romance, stone circle, Cumbria, medieval romance, culture clash, humor, adventure
 

EBOOKS BY Delle Jacobs

EBOOKS BY Delle Jacobs

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Delle Jacobs/

Cumbria, 9th Century, A.D.

She had not been to the stone circle in a sennight, and Arienh yearned to escape to its quiet serenity. But rain had fallen long and hard for six days, and the river lapped threateningly at its banks. In the high mountains the deluge melted the snow, and if the slopes lost their white coats too quickly, disaster loomed for her narrow valley at their feet.
Arienh paused in the doorway of the little stone cottage, glancing back and forth between the gathering dark clouds and her sister's pale green eyes. Beside the hearth, little Liam sat with his lower lip protruding in an exaggerated pout, for he had already been told he could not go.
"Do you go to move the stones?" Birgit asked.
"Nay. There is no time before the next storm. The stones will have to wait." As if she had no worries at all, Arienh stopped to watch in fascination as Birgit reached into the willow basket beside her and pulled out a skein of brown wool to wind on her shuttle. In the cottage's dim light, Birgit's failing eyes probably could not even see the colors of the patterns she wove, yet her work was always perfect. Arienh shook her head. Birgit could tell the color of her wool just by the texture the dye gave it.
Birgit smiled lightly, her pale eyes brightening at Arienh's unspoken question. "From Mildread's old ram," she said, fingering the brown skein. "He gave the softest wool. I will miss him."
"The ewes will miss him more. I will not be long, but I must climb the low mount near the estuary to look at the mountains. Perhaps I can tell if the snow melts too fast."
Arienh closed the door, hearing the latch click into place. Already the wind had shifted, blowing stiff, cold, and damp from the sea, so she knotted her shawl and strode briskly across the valley. When the slope steepened, the path deteriorated into a slick, muddy rivulet, then ended abruptly. Grabbing a handful of soggy brown bracken, Arienh hoisted herself up past jutting rock faces. If she avoided the mud slides, the climb was not difficult. Yet after a winter's inactivity her heart raced faster and her breaths came more quickly. It felt good.
A lone, slender ash tree drooped down a branch, and she grasped it and tugged herself up onto the next ledge. Already she longed for the rough weather in her face at the top of her climb, and the view out over the grey, churning Irish Sea, and inland to the high peaks with the snow on their slopes that worried her. She looked up to find her next hand hold.
Terror slammed into her.
Her gaze slid swiftly up a huge masculine form, past alien boots, legs stout as tree trunks, broad chest and husky arms, and screeched to a stop at startled blue eyes.
Viking!
Her gasp burst into a shriek. The Viking lunged for her as she twisted away, hurling herself down the way she had come. His steps crashed behind her. Arienh dashed along a ledge, leapt, landed on a mud slide and skidded down the rock-strewn slope. She scrambled to her feet, clambered over jutting stones to another slide of mud, ignoring bruising rocks and snags that tore at skin and cloth as she hurtled downhill. Behind her the Viking shouted in his heathen tongue.
Arienh hit the valley floor hard, stumbled, lurched to her feet and ran, dodging around boulders, forcing her legs as fast as they could go. Her lungs burned as she gasped, commanding herself, run faster! Faster!
The Viking caught her hair, yanked her backward. A huge arm ensnared her waist, cutting short her breath. Jerking her dagger from her waist cord, she stabbed backward, and felt the sickening give of flesh beneath the blade. The raider dropped his hold, staggered back, astonishment flooding his wide blue eyes.
She stared, stunned. Surely this was not hers, but some alien blade, that was gripped in her hand, dripping bright blood. Inside herself, she screamed at her legs to flee, but they rooted into the mud like house posts.
The giant man fell to his knees, hands lacing over the bloody wound in his gut. He pitched forward, arms suddenly swinging to catch himself, then his blood-slick hands slipped on the boulder before him. His head cracked against it, the sound muffled by a sudden, quiet gasp, cut short.
He was dead. --He was, wasn't he? Arienh inched closer.
The Viking moaned. Blood oozed from the side of his head as his eyes rolled open, closed, open. His hand groped toward her. A silent word formed on his lips.
Her scream stuck in her throat as she ran across the rock-strewn valley to the safety of her cottage. She slammed the door behind her and threw the bolt.
Birgit startled at the noise and dropped her shuttle. "Arienh? What?"
"Vikings! They're back!" Arienh leaned against the barred door, gasping for breath, horror still pounding in her chest with the frantic thumping of her heart.

 
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