Malice Striker (Viking Vengeance #1)
by Jianne Carlo
Published by Etopia Press
57,000 words (eBook format)
Erotic Historical Romance
Contains Elements of Action, Adventure and Suspense
Heat Level: Sizzling
Can a mere Viking save the daughter of a goddess?
When Scotland’s King Kenneth orders his death and kidnaps his sister, the Viking Brökk—the Malice Striker—plans his vengeance: he’ll steal the king’s bastard daughter from Sumbarten Abbey and use her to buy his sister’s freedom. But his schemes go awry when his liege lord commands him to wed Skatha—and when he finds five women instead of one at the Abbey, none of whom will claim the King as father.
When the Viking abducts Skatha and her women, she’s bewildered. Why did Brökk seize her? Why does he want her for his wife? She weds him willingly enough when he threatens to kill her companions, but she vows to control her own destiny and escape. For if the Viking discovers her secrets, the laws of his people will force him to cast her aside…or kill her. And even Skatha, daughter of a goddess, might not escape the Viking’s wrath.
Warning: This title contains scenes of an erotic nature (highly explicit sex scenes/course language).
All at once Skatha’s shoulders slumped and the enormity of her situation brought tears to her eyes. She blinked and clenched her jaw. “My lady. How will I do this? Why does he want me for a wife? What will I do when you all leave?”
“Where is my stouthearted, fearless girl? The one who defied all and mastered a wild stallion?” Lady Gráinne squeezed Skatha’s hand. “All will be well. Focus your attentions on this day. The rest will come.”
If only ’twere possible to halt the questions popping into her head with every step. She chewed the inside of her cheeks and focused on her surroundings. “’Tis not noisy. I hear none milling about, and we have walked thirty paces.”
“The Lady Hilda left to visit a neighbor at dawn, and the maids were twiddling their thumbs, so I suggested to them that the lord might look more favorabllyfavorably on them if they used the good hands he gave them to launder the linens of the keep.”
Skatha repressed a smile. When Lady Gráinne gave a ‘suggestion,’ one obeyed without delay. Prisoner though the abbess may be, she wore her god-given authority with such confidence that none would defy her direction.
Elspeth leaned closer and whispered, “They cowered like mice and sped to the river.”
“Stop that whispering, Elspeth, and go help Dagrún up the steep part of the hill.”
“At once, my lady.”
“We approach the main entrance to the longhouse. ’Tis a double door similar to that of Sumbarten. The longhouse is made of stone. To be cert, ’tis a formidable fortress. The jarl has spared no coin building his holding," Lady Grainne spoke in a low voice.
“The holding is guarded. Four men, fully armed, are at the door, two on either side.” Skatha kept quiet as they entered the great hall, not speaking until their shuffled footsteps echoed in the chamber. “’Tis warm. More than one hearth?”
“Aye, three. Six men are in the great hall. All are older with missing teeth. They are hunkered at a bench and table close to the entrance to the kitchens.” Lady Gráinne slowed her pace, and Skatha adjusted hers.
“I have not heard a dog bark. And only the occasional cat’s meow.”
“Why ’tis the truth of it.” Muíríne caught Skatha by the forearm. “I have seen nary a one. ’Tis most peculiar. And mayhap why the rats have the run of the place. For the only cats Lady Gráinne saw last eve were moth-eaten creatures in their dotage.”
“Our words and footsteps echo. The chamber is bare?”
“Bare of rushes. There are no tapestries; instead weapons cover the walls. Axes, swords, daggers, bows and arrows, all gleaming and polished and ready to be used. Mayhap while we are here, your jarl will consent to make Bita Veðr more of a home than an armory. The floors here are stone and whitewashed. The roof is timbered, high, and arched.” Muíríne squeezed Skatha's forearm.
“It smells clean and fresh, and I can feel the sun beating upon my back. There are windows?”
Lady Gráinne answered Skatha’s question. “Aye, seven on the right wall, six on the left, and arrow slits twixt and tween. The dais is opposite the largest hearth. Elspeth and Murine will walk you up and down the chamber. They will lead you to your seat at the high table. When you are comfortable walking around and seating yourself, then they will bring you to the kitchens and to me.”
“Yes my lady.” Skatha dipped a curtsey and waited until she could no longer hear Lady Gráinne’s half boots slapping the stone. She turned to Muíríne. “Why is she angry? Who has spurred her ire?”
The silence that greeted her questions made her heart thump like a rabbit facing a pack of wolves. “What? Tell me true. And be quick. I am cert you have naught but dire news to impart.”
“’Tis said the Lady Hilda sleeps in the master’s chamber.”
Skatha frowned, tipped her head to one side. “Nay. I slept in his chamber last eve.”
“Nay. Skatha. He has a chamber adjacent to the Great Hall. ’Tis where he normally sleeps.”
She stumbled into a table and gripped the rough wood so hard a sliver pricked her thumb. Skatha collapsed onto a bench. “Tell me ’tis not true. He left me and went to…her?”
About the Author:
Award winning, author Jianne Carlo’s motto is simple: “Alpha Me Please”. While strong heroines, exotic locations, and cultural differences are her forte, she goes weak in the knees for warriors of any type: rebels, SEALs, Vikings, and bad-ass mercenaries.
Send her a man with an attitude and she’ll find the right woman to tame him.
Jianne’s writing career began in 2008, and since then she’s been lucky enough to have over twenty books published. Most of her books are TOP PICKs and several have been nominated for and won awards and prizes.
Nothing makes Jianne’s day more than an email from someone who’s read one of her books. So far, she’s received emails from almost every continent on the planet. Almost…
Contact Jianne at:
Email - Jianne@jiannecarlo.com
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Giveaway Info: Prize is 1 eBook copy of “Malice Striker”. Contest is tour-wide and open internationally. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Ends Dec 8.
Link to Schedule: http://cblspromotions.blogspot.com/2012/11/scheduled-vbt-malice-striker-viking.html
Jianne Carlo also is holding a giveaway as part of her "Alpha Me Not" release. The link to the contest is http://www.jiannecarlo.com/Contest.aspx. Thanks bunches!