Twin Passions(121)

By: Miriam Minger

"Welcome, mistress of Sogn!" Hakon laughed as she approached the longship, breaking into her happy thoughts. He held out his hand to her as she hurried up the gangplank, then drew her into his strong arms and lifted her to the deck. He crushed her to him, breathing in the familiar fragrance of her silver-blond hair. "Are you ready to sail, my love?" he asked softly, his warm lips brushing against hers.

"Aye, my lord," Gwendolyn replied, a wave of intense happiness surging through her as she looked up into his handsome face.

Hakon kissed her smiling lips once again, then drew her with him over to the dragon-headed prow. "Oars to water!" he shouted, his deep voice ringing out above the crashing of the waves on the shore.

Gwendolyn turned around as the longship slid easily into deeper water, her eyes searching the sandy hillsides. She swallowed hard, tears glistening on her thick lashes as she spied first her beloved parents, then Wulfgar and Anora, standing not far from them. She waved her hand in farewell. She did not know if—or when—she would ever see them again.

Suddenly she felt Hakon's strong arm encircle her waist. It gave her the strength she needed. She lifted her trembling chin and looked up at this man who had so captured her heart, her love, her soul . . . with his searing kiss of fire. "Take me home, my lord . . . to Norge," she whispered fiercely, as the longship glided over the waves like a mighty serpent of the sea.