#WIPItUp – Sneak preview of Her Dark Viking (releases on 12 May)

WIPimage12This is WIPItUp, the blog hop where authors share excerpts from their works in progress. And please feel free to comment – we authors love feedback.

This week please also feel free to join me in drooling over this gorgeous cover that Korey Mae Johnson has made for Her Dark Viking, the sequel to Her Rogue Viking.  Her Dark Viking is due to release on 12 May.

No blurb yet, but this is the story of Gunnar and Mairead and features another seriously sexy Nordic invader and the sassy Celt who brings him a lot more than he bargained for

Here’s today’s snippet:

Gunnar stood a few yards away, his back turned to her. He wore no cloak, and his ebony hair hung loose to his shoulders, lifting slightly in the gentle breeze. The black leather of his tunic caressed the hard contours of his shoulders, masking the power sheathed within. His heavy sword hung from his belt and the hilt of a dagger protruded from his boot. The man was never other than armed to the teeth, yet she could not bring herself to consider him dangerous. Not any more.

He spoke with two of his men. Their tones were low, as though they did not wish to disturb those who they believed to be sleeping. Mairead could pick out one or two words which were becoming familiar to her – thrall, boy, woman. They were discussing her, and her child, but she did not feel threatened by this knowledge as she would have even a few short hours ago.

“Thank you, for Donald.” Mairead spoke softly and laid her hand on the black leather sleeve of the scarred but strangely beautiful Viking.

He turned to face her, his expression one of concerned surprise. His response was to gesture back to her little nest of furs.

Mairead shook her head. “I am fine, really. I just wanted to… talk to you.”

He frowned and turned to Steinn, who quickly translated.

“What?” The single word, spoken in Gaelic, did not suggest any great desire on his part to chat, but Mairead was undeterred.

“You saved my son’s life. He told me what happened, what you did…”

He shrugged and murmured something which sounded nonchalant and dismissive, which at least suggested he had understood her words. Mairead was not fully convinced that he grasped the magnitude of today’s events, at least to her. Donald had told her of his misadventure, and that the dark Viking had climbed down the cliff to save him. Her child would in all likelihood be dead now, but for the courage of this enigmatic man.

He attacked defenceless villages, killed without mercy, enslaved, robbed, yet he would deliver a baby without flinching and risk his own life to save the child of a thrall. He made no sense to her at all, yet she was drawn to him. She had been both terrified and fascinated by him from the outset, right from that first meeting when he rescued her from certain rape or possibly worse.

She might not understand him still, but she knew she no longer feared him.

The baby shifted in her arms and started to snuffle, seeking out her nipple once more. Mairead began to arrange the infant within her clothing but paused and again lifted her face to regard her unlikely champion.

“What is your mother’s name?”

His puzzled frown was answer enough, but again Steinn intervened.

“The Jarl’s mother is dead, ” Stein explained after a brief exchange with his chief.

“I see. Then, would you ask him if he might object if I were to name my baby after her?” Mairead enquired.

Gunnar’s expression was one of utter incredulity when his karl conveyed the request. He held out his hands and, unhesitating, Mairead placed the infant in them. Gunnar lifted the tiny form to his face and scowled at her. The child turned her unfocused gaze on him and pursed her mouth in a toothless parody of a smile.

The corner of the dark Viking’s lip curled. He said something to Steinn who grinned and nodded. Then Gunnar fixed his attention on Mairead.

“Tyra. Name is Tyra.” He handed the baby back and turned on his heel to march away.

Mairead watched him go, clearly intent on performing some sudden and urgent errand concerning the horses. She smiled at his retreating back and hugged the baby to her, then kissed the soft reddish-gold curls on her head.

“Hello, Tyra,” she whispered. “I believe we have both made a friend this day.”


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