Title: The Berserker’s Bride
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Viking Historical Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Captured by Viking raiders, Eadha MacEwan, daughter of a chieftain, dreads falling into the hands of the berserker, Tolljur Magnussen. An empath, she easily senses the emotions of others, but she can feel nothing from Tolljur until he succumbs to one of his berserker rages. Then she shares the fire, darkness, and agony of his affliction.
Rarely does Tolljur give in to impulse, and he certainly didn't plan to claim the Scotswoman. Yet he soon discovers Eadha's music is the one thing that can soothe his pain, and in an attempt to shield her from his enemies, he takes her for his bride. Can love grow amid fear and doubt? And how can Eadha's magic save Tolljur from a legacy that may destroy him?
She did not like feeling intimidated and in the past had always held her head high. Daughter of a chieftain and graced by the gods—what had she to fear?
This—she feared this. That a man, a stranger, would now throw her down onto her back and wrest by force what she did not want to give.
Her heart pounded sickeningly, and she swayed where she stood, hands fisted at her sides. She resolved to fight, whatever the consequences.
And what if he went into the maddened state of the berserker when she resisted him…what then? Would he kill her in his rage?
Yet he continued to stand there with the light in his hand, with radiance washing over him, and failed to move toward her. Peering at her 1 with those pale eyes, he said, “I am Tolljur Magnussen. You call me Master Tolljur.”
Master. The very suggestion of the word closed Eadha’s throat. Wildly, she shook her head.
His pale eyes narrowed. Would it come now, the first blow? Would he see fit to beat her before he took her?
His rough accent made an ugly thing of her beautiful language, that which she had always believed sang from the mouths of those she loved. She remembered times gathering kelp on the shore back home, hearing her friends and neighbors call to one another over the rocks, thinking it sounded less like speech and more like music. Yet he did not threaten, not now anyway. And she needed to survive, did she not? She drew a breath and nodded.
He gestured to a rug beside the hearth, and she huddled there, never taking her gaze from him.
To her surprise, he set about laying a fire in the hearth, busying himself in silence while stealing sidelong glances at her. When the flames leaped up, battling for dominance against the paler beams of gloaming, she could see the place—her new prison—better.
And see him better also.
He wore the same sort of clothing as all the Norse men—leather leggings covered to the knees by laced, leather boots, a woven tunic, gauntlets, and enough weapons to arm several ordinary men. Over it all he wore the shaggy, black-brown fur cloak which lent him such a feral quality. Eadha realized the bristling garment gave him additional bulk 1 he did not actually possess. Big he was, aye, but much leaner than the chief’s son, Friti, and surely not quite as tall.
His hair, a straight mane that reached his shoulder blades, looked golden brown in the leaping firelight; his angular face, nearly expressionless, was given a quizzical tilt by that scar which bisected the left eyebrow. The other scars that furrowed his cheeks perhaps explained why, unlike many of his fellows, he went clean shaven.
Once more, desperately, she sought inward knowledge of him, but his mind remained as closed as his expression. Did he guard himself from her? But why should he, when he knew nothing of her abilities?
She dropped her gaze to his hands and felt another shock. Broad-palmed and powerful, they bore more scars than unblemished skin.
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Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she's writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
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Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951