The winner of the signed copy of Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors is…Jana!
It’s almost here! Conquests: A Smoldering Anthology of Viking Romance releases in 13 days on July 14th!
Today, we, the authors who are contributors to this book, will begin posting short excerpts and talking about what inspired our stories. There will be prizes along the way, bribes really, to keep you checking in.
There are a couple of things you can do so that you don’t miss any of the fun!
1) Subscribe to this blog. Look to the left side of this screen below the carousel of books. Enter your email address where it says “Subscribe to Blog Via Email.” That way, every post describing the exciting things we have coming will be delivered right to you inbox. You won’t miss a thing!
2) Go like our Facebook page at: Conquests: Viking Romance. We’re busy planning events to tempt you to play. And again, there will be prizes involved, so I know you don’t want to miss that either.
And in the meantime, you can pre-order our book. Right now, it’s just $0.99—but that price won’t last! Just click on “The Book” in the menu above and look for “Pre-order Here.” While you’re on that page, learn about the exciting stories in this collection! We hope to see you here in the coming weeks!
To encourage you to play today, I’m offering a signed copy of my last collection, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors! Post a comment and let us know whether you will be joining us for the fun, and whether Vikings are your thing!
Now, about that title…
Yeah, I’m a big fan of the movie. I think I’ve watched it a dozen times with the kids. I never mind when they beg to watch it.
So, when I was trying to come up with a title for my story in Conquests, the phrase “how to train…” kept banging around. Add that to my love of stories about Viking shieldmaidens, who were female warriors who fought alongside the men, and there you have it.
I loved my story from the first scene when my hero, who has come to retrieve his bride, first sees his wife. Enjoy!
How to Train Your Skjaldmaer
A Viking jarl tricked into marrying a shieldmaiden
sets out to tame his fiery bride
“That creature is a Jarl’s daughter?” Left unsaid in Lothar’s wide gaze was the fact she would also be Torvald’s wife.
Given the sight that beheld their eyes, Torvald might have felt it unfair to chastise his companion, but he couldn’t overlook the disrespect. So he jerked his elbow backward and up, neatly breaking Lothar’s nose. While the man groaned and bent at the waist to keep the blood streaming toward the rushes covering the rough dirt floor, Torvald stepped deeper into the taproom.
The brawl was well underway. His bride seemed to have things well in hand. Something that might have amused him in his younger days, but he had a position to uphold and ambitions beyond his own jarldom. Bringing back such a wife to his holdings could prove a hindrance to his plans.
Not that she wasn’t a handsome woman. Beneath the dirt on her cheeks and the blood smeared on her chin, her face was nicely formed and her eyes a direct and chilling blue. Her hair was such a pale shade as to be nearly white, and so thick it escaped her braids to fly about her back and buttocks like a wild mare’s mane. And she had surprising strength and stamina in her tall robust frame, which admittedly intrigued him.
As he watched, she turned sideways, gripped the edge of a table, and flipped over it, planting her feet in the center of a large, brutish man’s belly to topple him. The man went down with a roar then kicked out his feet, pulling himself to stand in a single, astonishingly graceful motion.
His bride glanced up the big man’s frame then planted both fists on her hips in a fearless stance. “I tipped a bull once. He thrashed a bit, but didn’t get back to his feet nearly as quickly as you.”
Her words were brusque but admiring, and her expression gave away her cheeky lack of contrition.
The red-headed brute glanced down at her, nostrils flaring, his cheeks so flushed Torvald feared he’d pop a vein—and then suddenly, he tossed back his head and laughed.
The sound was large and loud inside the small, ale-saturated room. He clamped his arm around the woman’s shoulders and turned her toward the bar. “Mead for the lady,” he roared.
The brawl ended in an instant. Laughter and loud claps to shoulders filled the room.
Lothar sidled up beside Torvald, a cloth pressed to his nose as he stared through bruised and swelling eyes. “Will you break something else if I say she’s not exactly the woman Hagar promised?”
Torvald blew out a breath and nodded. “It can’t be the same woman. A sister, perhaps.”
Hagar, the chieftain of the neighboring jarldom, had promised a girl so fair roses blushed in dismay. A woman as slender as a reed, as graceful as a soaring falcon, with hair as dark as midnight, skin as pale as snow.
This harridan’s tall angular frame and blonde hair were the exact opposite of what he’d been promised, and her ruddy complexion was berry brown from exposure to the sun and weather.
“Is it a trick to save his treasure for a higher bidder for the beauty’s hand? This one’s more skjaldmær—shieldmaiden—than bride.”
“I don’t know, but this…” Torvald said, pointing toward the sturdy figure dressed in a man’s breeches and kyrtill wasn’t an acceptable trade. “This will never do.” No matter that she appeared strong and would likely birth warriors full-grown. She’d never stand up to the scrutiny a future queen would face.
Taking a deep breath, he indicated to Lothar to watch the door and strode toward the woman who’d raised a full horn of mead and drank it like water. He tapped her shoulder.
Her gaze swung toward him, a scowl digging a crease between her cold blue eyes.
“Are you Solveig, Hagar’s daughter?”
She set down her empty horn with a thump. “And who is asking?”
“Torvald Haroldson. I have come for you.”