It’s almost here! Conquests: A Smoldering Anthology of Viking Romance releases tomorrow! Let me know whether you’re a Viking fan, too!
If you’d like to chat with the authors who contributed to this book, 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! Here’s the link: Conquests
And if you’d like to read excerpts from the stories inside Conquests, head to our blog: Conquests Blog
You probably already know what inspired the title of my story, “How to Train Your Skjaldmaer.”
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 see it one more time.
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.”
I loved this story!