Can a mere Viking break the curse of a sea god?
Cursed by the sea-god Ægir to be burned at the stake, Lady Nyssa seeks the one man who can save her–the warrior who bears the mark of the Saracen. When she finds a Viking warrior wounded and senseless on a beach, she knows he is her savior. But Ægir’s wrath extends to others in her life as well. He’s killed her father and stepmother, turned her stepbrother into a mountain lion, and imprisoned her people. And worse, he’s cursed any man who lays with her to have his manparts wither and die. Konáll has traded coin a-plenty to gain a wife with lands, the daughter of the King of Moray. He expects a refined, comely, trainable damsel, not a doomed warrior princess with the strength of a giantess who cannot bear the touch of a man.
But once he learns more about this woman who speaks to talking mountain cats and hides as a peasant among the rabble, he cannot deny his feelings. There’s more than one way to breech a maidenhead, and if teaching her the ways of a woman’s pleasure with a carved ivory dildo is what it takes to make her his, then he’s more than happy to challenge the wrath of a god…
Please welcome bestselling author Jianne Carlo, who is here today to share profiles on the main characters from her book Death Blow, Viking Vengeance Book Two. Let’s hear it for Jianne and for Konáll and Nyssa!
Ne’er had Nyssa seen such masculine beauty, nigh too painful for unveiled eyes.
Slanting him a shuttered peek, she held her breath at his bronzed beauty. Not a single scar marred his perfect torso. She frowned, recalling the myriad cuts across his belly and groin, and his blood dripping onto the moss when the Picts had pushed him into the cave. Had her eyes deceived her? She raked him from head to bare feet.
Broad shoulders melded into a bronzed, chiseled chest. Layers of muscles defined each rib bone and led to a flat belly and narrow waist. A sprinkling of gold hair dusted the middle of his pectorals and tapered to the top of his hose., and heavy with muscle and sinew.
“Witch, enchantress, wife, you are mine in all forms. Albeit I seem to remember a promise of ravishment?” Konáll winked at Nyssa.
At that moment the moon shed her clouds and beamed a silvery stream of dazzling brilliance. Konáll’s belly knitted. How had he not seen Nyssa’s beauty? She wore the allure of elves and pixies combined. The shorn hair should have lessened her womanhood, yet the silken, jagged edges somehow enhanced features of absolute perfection.
Wide eyes framed by thick fringes of muddy brown lashes stared at him, streaks of amber threaded through a gray only a threatening storm cloud could claim, and twin dark points punctuated the middles. Ash brows rose, and her nostrils flared.
“The sirens have a collection of dildos in their pleasure chambers. I had ne’er seen such afore.” Color suffused her cheeks and the tips of her ears. Nyssa rolled her eyes. “The sirens laughed so hard they cried, when I plucked one from a pile and informed them that all their hammers were bent.”
“Nyssa? ’Tis to your liking?”
All thought fled, and try though she did, Nyssa had no notion of to what he referred. “I…what is to my liking, Konáll?”
The back of his hand brushed her cheek and his smile widened. “My name from your lips is a sound most sweet and arousing, wife. All day I have recalled the way you screamed Konáll when your women’s pleasure hit you on Thrimilici. This night I will hear my name from your lips when we both find our pleasure and I am buried deep inside you.”
Cert flames licked her head to toe, Nyssa ducked to check whether she stood on a lump of fired coal, but soft pine needles littered the tent’s floor.
“Know you why I chose this cyrtel?” He trailed a long finger around the scooped neck of the gown.
Her sex clenched and she could not tear her focus from his slow tracing.
“Breathe, mìlseachd.” His hot palms cupped her cheeks and he tilted her head back.
Once again he confounded her, his stare so fierce and predatory she shivered. “’Tis necessary.”
She frowned. “What?”
“Breathing.” He grinned. “Methinks I have you all aflutter, handfast wife.”
His reference to her status gathered her scattered thoughts. “You are not angry about the handfasting?”
“’Tis done. On the morrow, I will speak with Thōrfin and Grelod and learn more of the custom. Understand this, Nyssa: I have claimed you. You are mine. Both King Kenneth and King Harald have blessed our union and naught will take you from me. Naught but death, and I am not yet ready to ascend to Valhalla.” He turned her around.
She bit her lip and then glanced over her shoulder at him. “You are addling my brains, Konáll.”
“I chose this cyrtel over Grelod’s objections, because of the laces. They are easy to remove and I long to hold you naked in my arms.”
Afore she could utter a protest, he quickly worked the laces loose. She grabbed the bodice when he began to draw it down and whirled about. “We do this now?”
“Aye. Now. And when you have recovered later, and before dawn.”
Thrice? Her mouth went dry. She swallowed.
He tugged her hands away from the gown and with a few deft moves slipped the cyrtel away. With a soft whoosh the dress puddled around her feet. His deft fingers made quick work of the ribbons tying her transparent chemise together and that garment joined the cyrtel on the ground.
She cupped her hands over her breasts and averted her gaze.
Nyssa squeaked when he scooped her into his arms, strode to the pallet in the center of the tent, and set her down gently on the packed straw covered by a sheet of fine linen. She fought when he tried to pry her hands free.
“What is amiss? I have seen your bounty afore.” He stood and untied his boots.
She snorted recalling her cousins’ taunts about her meager titties. “Bounty? My breasts are not bigger than a plump boy’s. And they are stamped with Aegir’s curse.”
Konáll tugged his tunic o’er his head. She had not even noticed when he set aside his axe and sword.
“’Tis a birthmark, Nyssa.”
“Nay. Four seasons past, I had no such mark.”
He sat next to her.
She fixed her gaze on the platter next to the pallet and her mouth watered when she saw a fat loaf, a round of cheese, and a few pears and apples. Her stomach growled.
Konáll chuckled. “Come handfast wife, let me feed you.”
He lifted her onto his lap and set her bottom on his engorged shaft. ’Twas hot and hard and throbbed. She could scare draw breath and did not know what to do with her hands. He surrounded her, one arm around her waist, and his broad chest so close the tip of her nose grazed a clump of golden hair. He smelled of soap and spice and warrior, hard and relentless.
Nyssa flinched when he brushed a slice of apple over her lips. She glanced up and found him watching her like a hawk about to snatch a tasty morsel. The thumping of her heart roared in her ears.
“Prefer you pears to apples?”
She shook her head and opened her mouth to take the slice but he whisked the fruit away. Frowning, she said, “I like apples.”
“Good. Take the slice then.” With that he slipped the apple between his lips and waggled an eyebrow.
“You are daft.” She smacked his shoulder.
He cocked his head and his hand slipped between her thighs.
‘Twas as if he had been waiting for her to do so, for he dipped his head, and thrust the apple into her open mouth. Her eyes crossed. She closed them and sucked on the slice. His tongue brushed hers and the tantalizing touch made her female parts spasm and dew. She nibbled on the apple, caught the tip of his tongue between her teeth, and froze.
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