Her Rogue Viking
By Ashe Barker
● Approximately 76,000 words
● HEA ending
Though Fiona puts up a brave fight when her village is raided by Vikings, she ends up being carried off over the broad shoulders of Ulfric Freysson, the leader of the Norsemen. The stern, ruggedly handsome warrior quickly makes it clear that she belongs to him now, and her best efforts to escape merely earn Fiona a painful, humiliating switching on her bare bottom.
Her captor’s bold dominance sets Fiona’s passion ablaze, and when he brings her to his bed she cannot help begging for him to claim her completely. As Ulfric begins training her to please him in any way he demands, Fiona finds herself falling in love with her new master, but she soon realizes that there are those among his people who still see her as an enemy. When her life is threatened by a member of his own family, will he stand ready to protect her no matter the cost?
Publisher’s Note: Her Rogue Viking includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
Excerpt 1 (PG)
Her chest burned, her side felt as though it had been speared by a hot dagger. Fiona paused to drag in a shuddering breath, then forced herself to run again. Her leather-shod feet pounded the bracken and undergrowth as she tore across the barren landscape toward her home.
Already, smoke spiralled up from among the Scotch firs that encircled Pennglas, the fertile little settlement on the east coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which she called home. The mud and thatch dwellings would ignite easily, fired by the Viking raiders who even now would be plundering the defenceless cottages. They would seize what they wanted then the vicious barbarians would swarm back across the beach with as much plunder as they might carry, back to their infernal dragon ships in readiness to raid further down the coast. Their attacks were frequent and deadly, but mercifully swift.
The damage the marauders left behind was likely to be of a more permanent nature. The homes and barns of Pennglas would burn fiercely unless someone was on hand to direct the firefighting. Would her father’s serfs know to form a chain, to pass water up from the burn to drench the flames whilst her father and brother mounted a fruitless pursuit of the invaders? Fiona doubted it. Rather, the villagers would stand and watch as their homes were consumed by the fires. By the time her father returned, empty handed as he always did, their homes would be ashes.
Why had she chosen this day of all days to visit Aikrig, the neighbouring village? She had wished to consult with Taranc, her friend and—just possibly—her betrothed, but the matter was not urgent and he was not even there when she arrived. Her errand could have waited. She should have been at home, at Pennglas. She should have been on hand to rally their people, to chivvy them into hiding in order to save their lives and then to command the subsequent scramble to save their homes.
As she neared the forest clearing, the sounds of battle reached her. Swords clanged, shouts rang out. A child screamed, a horse whinnied in startled fright. The raiders had not yet left, and already their village was aflame.
“Dear sweet God,” Fiona murmured to herself. “What if the wild Norsemen intend to linger this time, to see our homestead actually razed to the ground?”
The bastards. They were savage enough to do that, truly brutal in their greed and their cruelty.
The clamour of fighting grew louder as she approached. Fiona slowed her steps now, caution and fear for her people causing her to hesitate. How best to combat this new manner of threat? How best to respond when their peaceful settlement lacked the might and weaponry, not to mention the bloodlust needed to face up to these warlords from across the sea?
Fiona halted on the outskirts of the village and peered between the trees. She recoiled at the sight that met her. Many of the villagers, mostly the younger, stronger men, were crammed together in the centre of the village, surrounded by huge warriors wielding swords and axes. The Vikings were fearsome indeed, monstrous in stature and even more terrifying in deed. They were ferocious, pitiless, bearing their murderous panoply with savage effect. Any daring soul who attempted to break free was immediately threatened with those formidable weapons, to choose whether to return to the growing throng in the middle or die there in the mud, surrounded by what was left of their homes.
Most did not choose to die, and as Fiona watched from the cover of the forest it became clear to her that the Vikings were not bent on murder. At least, not as the first resort.
They intended to take prisoners. The realisation hit her with the force of a battering ram. These Norsemen would take their menfolk, probably as slaves. She could not allow that. She had to do something.
Fiona reached for the slingshot that always hung from her waist. She was a keen shot, could take down a rabbit from at least thirty paces away. Without a doubt she could hit a man. She would only need to fell two, maybe three of the raiders, and that would be sufficient to disrupt their plan. If just a few of her people could break free to mount a counterattack, offer some sort of defence…
Fiona crouched and reached blindly to scrabble in the earth at her feet for a stone. She located one, smooth and round and just the right weight. She groped for a second, which she tucked into her pocket. A third, and she was on her feet once more, taking aim.
She swung the sling around her head and let fly. Her shot was true. The Viking closest to her crumpled to his knees as her missile found its target, his right temple. Fiona picked her next victim and let loose her second stone. That man fared no better than his comrade and in seconds the two were prone in the dirt, blood trickling from the wounds on their heads. A third soon dropped to his knees when she hit his unguarded shoulder, his angry yowl of pain ringing in her ears.
Fiona knew a moment’s remorse as she bent to find her next missiles, but she quelled it. She had never aimed at a person before, only animals and then only for food. But the situation was desperate and she would do what she needed to do to save her family, her village, her people. She rose and sighted her next victim.
“Do not do it, little one.”
The voice was soft, deep, and stern, and emanated from a point no less than an inch from her left ear. Fiona started, tried to turn, but the press of cold metal against her neck halted that. A sword lay across her throat. One move, and she was dead.
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