Jorund's attention was still caught by Kirsten's sweet mouth and the soft fragrance of her skin. He hadn't really intended to kiss her. Yet he'd started to realize how hurt she had been by Alarr's disregard. Danr had made her feel like an object, and Jorund had been furious on her behalf. She hadn't deserved to be treated like that, and he'd wanted to defend her.
Even so…she didn't seem to realize that he did like her. She had spoken freely with him, as if he were nothing but a friend. And he was surprised to realize that he wanted to be more than that.
It had been a risk to kiss her, and he'd half expected her to slap him. Instead, he'd been stunned by the desire that had captured him. He'd wanted to keep kissing her, to lay her down in the grass and touch her until she moaned.
She had yielded to him, giving back a kiss he'd never expected. It was more than a touch of lips—it was almost an awakening. And when he drew back, he'd touched the edge of her lower lip with his thumb, almost as if he could mark her.
She scrambled up from the rock, trying to think of what to say. His kiss had disarmed her as surely as any sword. All words seemed to have left her.
You shouldn't have done that, his brain warned. He had come here to learn, to train until he could return to the north and slay the men who had slaughtered his family. Instead, he was allowing himself to set down roots where there should be none. It wasn't fair to kiss this woman and then leave her behind.
But then, she pointed to the horizon. "Jorund, look. Do you see them?"
Dozens of ships lined the horizons, the sails billowing as they came closer. He saw, as she did, that the ships were of all sizes and shapes, many from distant lands.
"Who are they?" she murmured. "Why are they here?"
They were likely guests arriving for Alarr's wedding. But he had an uneasy feeling about so many warriors arriving by ship. It had the feel of an invasion, and he knew not why.
Beside him, he could see Kirsten's uncertainty. She appeared nervous, and there was reason to be cautious.
"What should we do?" Kirsten asked. "Should we tell King Sigurd of their arrival?"
"We will," he agreed. "But first, let us watch them. We can learn a great deal before we tell the others." He drew her to sit down among the rocks. The ships arriving at the shoreline would be unable to see them.
"I agree," she whispered.
From their hiding place, her body was pressed close to his. He kept his arm around her waist, though he knew it wasn't right to savor the touch. For a while, they said nothing, but neither did she pull away from him. He could feel the taut nerves, but he did not apologize.
"Don't worry," he said against her ear. "If there is a threat, we will tell the others." And he would fight to keep her safe.
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "The Viking's Redemption"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.