The next morning, Jorund awoke to find Kirsten in his arms. He didn't know how it had happened, for he had only been holding her hand when they had both gone to sleep. But her body was tangled up in his, and he was captivated by the warmth and softness of her skin.
Leave her alone, his conscience chided.
But his physical instincts had a mind of their own. Was this what it was like to awaken with a wife in your arms? It was both a torment and a pleasure, for he could easily imagine touching her, laying her back while he slid deep inside.
She sighed in her sleep, tucking her head beneath his chin. Her leg was between his, and he wanted her so badly, he could hardly breathe. His hand rested upon her hip, and it would be so easy to slide his hand beneath her skirts and pleasure her.
Don't, his brain warned again.
But then her eyes opened, and she suddenly grew aware of her surroundings. For a moment, she bit her lower lip in surprise.
"You're leaving tonight, aren't you?" she whispered. "After the wedding."
"Yes." Against his better judgement, he slid his palm over her hip in a silent caress.
"Don't fight them alone," she warned. "Please."
Her words unraveled his sense of responsibility, making him crave the taste of her skin. He indulged in the desire, kissing the softness of her throat. She gave a slight intake of breath before she wound both arms around his neck.
By the gods, he needed to touch her, needed to pleasure her. He didn't know what had brought them together or why, but he simply knew that he could not leave without showing this woman how much he needed her.
"I shouldn't do this, I know." She lifted her mouth to his, kissing him gently. Her lips were like oil to a flame, igniting his needs even hotter. "But I just…don't want to think of what could happen. I know you're a strong fighter…"
"I'm not going to take foolish risks," he swore. He unlaced the leather tunic he was wearing and pulled it over his head, baring his chest to her. "And I have a good reason to come back, Kirsten."
She touched his chest, running her hands over his skin. His body was deeply aroused, and he was holding on to his control by the slightest thread. When she pulled his mouth to hers and lifted her leg over his hip, he lost command of himself. He was only aware of her mouth on his, the overwhelming needs coursing through him.
His hands pulled at her gown, and she tore at the brooches holding the overdress in place, fumbling with her gown until he bared her shoulders. Jorund lowered his mouth to her heartbeat, feeling the pulse against his lips as he drifted lower. Her breasts were tight, and she gasped when he cupped the first, stroking the tip.
But when he took her nipple in his mouth, she gripped his hair, arching her back. He gloried in pleasuring her, watching her reaction to see whether she wanted him to suckle harder or tenderly swirl his tongue over the hardened tip.
"Don't stop," she ordered. "I want this memory, before you go."
Her words stopped him cold, for it sounded as if she believed he wasn't coming back. Did she doubt his strength and abilities? Or was it her fears?
"Jorund," she pleaded. "Please."
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