One of the perks to being a contributor to an anthology like this is getting to devour the other stories before everyone else, and reading those has been FUN. This anthology does what it says on the box: it smolders. And one thing I have loved about these stories (there’s lots of others) is how there’s plenty of women who are a match for their men in strength and spirit. That was the theme I wanted to explore with my story.
Captured during a raid on her village, Idonea’s fate is squarely in the hands of her Viking captor, and what he wants from her is clear. But, instead of disregarding her reluctance and just taking what he wants, he seems intent on showing her exactly what she’s missing out on.
Here’s one of the pictures that served as inspiration for this tale:
So with only 2 days to go now until our Vikings are unleashed upon the world, it’s time to offer up a little snippet of my story.
Idonea stayed where she was by the pigpen. Einar was not watching her now, apparently satisfied in the knowledge that, this time, she was watching him. He scooped up handfuls of water from the trough and rubbed them over his face, and then did the same for the back of his neck and his armpits. Idonea watched breathlessly as the fine, gold hair on his chest turned darker and clung to his skin. A familiar ache was building between her thighs. She wanted to touch the wet tendrils of hair on his chest, to brush the drops of water from his skin and—
She looked away abruptly. Her gaze fell upon her own hands. They were so filthy. She rubbed at a smudge of soot on the back of one hand. It did no good. Grime lurked under her nails and in the creases of her skin. The sleeves of her dress were filthy and ragged. She looked back at where he stood, clean and damp, leaning against the wall. Watching her again.
“Idzunn!” he summoned her, beckoning. Reluctantly, she went. He took a cup hanging from a peg on the wall above the trough and gestured for her to put out her hands. Hesitantly, she held them up. He poured cold water over them, and she rubbed them together, watching the dirt drip away.
He gestured for her to stay where she was, and disappeared back inside the house. A minute later he
returned, carrying a short stack of folded garments. He set them on a bench beside the trough and motioned for her to undress.
Idonea went red.
He folded his arms and gave her a meaningful stare.
He cannot mean…
She glanced around uncomfortably, as though she did not understand what he wanted her to do. But he made impatient motions with his hand, and she had to relent. Slowly, she dragged her ruined dress over her head and threw it aside. She stood in her shift, shivering in the cool air, waiting for him to show her what next. But he wasn’t satisfied. His next gesture made it clear she should remove her shift, as well.
Yesterday, she would have been terrified. She was still frightened. But last night something had changed. Half in terror and half in trembling excitement, she pulled off her shift and sent it after her dress.
Then he dipped the scoop into the trough and poured a torrent of icy water over her head.
Behind the curtain of sodden red hair plastered over her face, Idonea heard him start to laugh. Furious, she shoved aside her hair and glared, wrapping her arms around herself as her skin turned to gooseflesh. Still laughing, he made a helpless gesture. Half-apology, half-plea for her to see the humor. Shaking his head, and making those soothing-shushing noises, he scooped up more water, this time pouring it more thoughtfully over her right shoulder.
The slow trickle was still so cold it made her bones ache, but it was bearable. She rubbed at her skin briskly, then bent her head and pointed at her scalp, gasping as he drenched her there. After that first piece of mischief, he was most considerate. He poured where she pointed, and made no move to do anything else. Still, she couldn’t help noticing, as he scooped and poured, and she scrubbed and clenched her teeth against the cold, the growing bulge at his crotch.