Love's Fury (Viking's Fury #1)(2)By: Violetta Rand
The deep voice cut through her like a blade and she didn’t move. She should have never let her mind wander. Something sharp and hard stabbed her in the back.
“I accept your invitation.”
Accept her invitation? She gasped upon remembering where she’d told him to go. To hell.
Legs as heavy as lead, she did as he demanded, dreading the moment she’d see him clearly. In the smoke filled scriptorium, he had been little more than a nightmarish shadow. But in the light, truth hit her harder than anything. Despite the soot and ash covering his face, nothing could mask his exquisite features. Full lips—high cheek bones—a straight nose. Bronzed skin. His stark blue eyes impossible to avoid. And his hair, long and dark with coppery streaks. If she didn’t stop staring, he’d misinterpret her intention, possibly rape her. Silvia tried to avert her eyes.
His axe rested against his left leg. She swallowed hard, overwhelmed by the magnitude of his presence. When he pointed across the field, toward the courtyard, she shook her head, adamantly refusing to go anywhere with him. “I’d rather die than follow you.”
He growled, grabbing the top of her gown, her refusal obviously igniting his anger. The garment ripped, exposing her flesh. He gazed at her hungrily, a wicked grin splitting his face. Then his hands were on her arms, his filthy fingers digging into her skin as he shook her into submission. “Fail to obey me again and I’ll strip you.” He let go, shoving her backward.
She stumbled but didn’t fall. If he wanted her dead, she’d be dead. If he wanted to ravish her, she would have been flailing helplessly on the ground already with her skirt hiked over her waist. Hatred flowed as freely inside her as blood. But she didn’t know how to take his lack of violence.
He again pointed in the direction he wanted her to go. “Walk.”
Head held high, Silvia remembered the lessons her father had painstakingly taught her over the years. Hard lessons meant for people who lived in occupied lands. Her father had said subjugation doesn’t mean you must abandon pride. Christ instructed slaves to love their masters. She gritted her teeth. She’d never love a blasted Viking.
A crowd had gathered beyond the courtyard, Danes and Saxons surrounded dozens of men who were on their knees with their hands bound behind their backs. Silvia stopped short of the throng, embittered by what she knew was about to happen. Her captor gave her a little push.
“I’ll tell you when to stop,” he growled.
For a moment she feared she’d be forced to kneel, too. Her thoughts scattered the moment people parted and a man she well recognized, Ivarr the Boneless, son of the late king Ragnar Lothbrok, entered the circle leaning on a soldier. Battle worn and covered in dried blood, he resembled the depictions of malignant spirits in the books Silvia thumbed through in the scriptorium.
Then a sickening chant rose amongst the Vikings. “Vi som er krigere av Odin og hans lov. Be om hjelp og har tro på ham. Med ham er vi seir.”
They dared summon Odin while standing on consecrated ground. She whispered the verse, committing it to memory so one day she could write it down. Another important skill her father had imparted—how to write in order to keep historic records. “We who are warriors of Odin and his law. Pray for help and have faith in him. With him we are victorious.”
Ivarr scanned the horde, his gaze stopping on Silvia. She shifted nervously, unable to take a full breath with his eyes on her.
“Konal,” the prince greeted.
Konal’s fingers snaked around her elbow. He pulled her along as he stepped forward. “Everything you asked has been done, milord.”
Ivarr smiled. “I never doubted you.” He regarded Silvia. “Is this what you claim as your reward?”
Silvia flinched when Konal squeezed her arse. God help her, this is what she feared most. The Viking intended to make her a thrall. Anger pulsed through her. She’d slit her wrists first. Or disembowel him while he slept and escape. She was freeborn, the daughter of a respected scholar, not a lowborn foreigner. She pressed her lips into a tight line in an attempt to hide her emotions.
“There’s enough padding to please me.”