Kadlin woke with a start. The first soft rays of morning light were
creeping into the room, and Bjorn was beside her, thrashing and crying out in
his sleep. The nightmares were growing more frequent. They’d had to move young
Hjortr to the front of the house with the others. He was sharing a pallet with
Agata and Finnr’s son, Bassi. The boys were only three months apart in age and
seemed happy with the arrangement, but Kadlin wished her little family could be
in the same room. Bjorn’s terrors kept the child up at night, and once the big
Viking had begun to walk in his sleep, it wasn’t safe to have the four-year-old
in their chamber.
Bjorn was striking out at some unseen tormentor, and Kadlin leapt from the
pallet a moment before his arm crashed down where her head had lain. She
watched his handsome face contort and tried to make out the muddled words that
spewed out of him. When his movements slowed, she knelt beside him on the furs
and whispered his name, but he didn’t respond. She repeated herself more loudly,
then reached out and brushed the copper-colored braids from his forehead. His
eyes flew open, and he grabbed her wrist then flipped her onto her back,
pinning her beneath his big body. He balled his other hand into a fist and drew
it back as if to strike.
“Bjorn, stop! It’s me!” she cried.
He seemed to stare right through her, and Kadlin knew he was not yet awake.
“Husband, please,” she whimpered. His green eyes were wide with horror, and she
watched as he seemed to come slowly to his senses. He loosened his grip on her
wrist and looked down at her, then glanced at his fisted hand as if it belonged
to another man’s body.
Opening his fingers, he reached out to touch her face, and Kadlin couldn’t stop
herself from cringing. Regret crashed over her when she saw the pain her
reaction had caused him. He flopped onto his back and slung his thick forearm
across his eyes, but Kadlin pulled it away and covered his face with kisses,
only to find his cheeks and forehead slick with sweat.
She poured mead from a pitcher on the small side table and offered him a drink
before quenching her own thirst. “Hush, Bjorn. All is well now.”
“I could have—“
Kadlin set down the cup then cradled his face. “But you didn’t. Won’t you
please tell me what torments your dreams so?”
He shook his head, and the beads in his long braids clattered. “Always the
same. There is a mirror, and I see myself in it, but it is not truly me. I feel
something lurking behind me, and I know I am in danger, but I cannot defend
myself. And then all is black.” Wrapping his arms around her naked body, he
crushed her to his bare chest. “I am so sorry, my love.”
Kadlin could feel his heartbeat thundering beneath her cheek. The same dream
had been haunting him for months, and his reaction to it had grown ever more
frightening. She couldn’t imagine what horror could cause her powerful man such
worry, and she longed to find an answer to this omen and ease his suffering.
Gods, please guide me. I love him so.
When she kissed the giant’s pounding chest, he released his grip and began
stroking her back. She moved her mouth over his taut skin and felt his nipple
pucker under her lips. He traced the rise of her backside then kneaded the
flesh. Straddling his muscular thigh, she ground against him, and he moved his
hand lower until his fingertips grazed the wet divide of her nether lips. When
she pressed against his touch, trying to force him to probe inside, she felt
his rod grow and stiffen against her hip.
“Always so impatient, my little imp,” he growled in her ear.
A shiver ran over Kadlin’s body at the sound of her pet name. When he called
her “imp”, their play always left her weak and spent. Her mind wandered back to
the first time he’d taken her this way. He’d lashed her to the trunk of a
willow tree and delivered to her such exquisite pleasure and pain that she’d
had to beg him for rest.
If there was a blessing to his awful night terrors, it was that they always
seemed to stir in him the need to assert his strength, and Kadlin was only too
willing to be conquered by her big Viking. She trusted him with her life—giving
over her body and soul to this magnificent man was her honor and her desire.
Because the game was more exciting when the prize was hard-won, she pushed off
of his chest and moved as though she intended to flee from their bed. He caught
her arm and jerked her back against the furs.
“Oh, no you don’t, imp.” She giggled as she fought against his hold, confident
that she was no match for his strength and even more glad for it. She struck
out at him with hands and feet, and he subdued her by sitting on her thighs and
catching her wrists in one massive hand.
“So that’s the game you’re playing at,” he growled.
Kadlin struggled just enough to heighten the illusion as he reached for the
shearling restraints that always dangled from the bedposts and secured them
around her wrists and ankles until she was spread out for his pleasure.
He knelt between her knees, and she raised her head to look at his huge
manhood. It was so engorged that it nearly brushed his taut belly. The sight of
it caused her pulse to race. He reached up to touch the outline of her lips,
and she pulled his finger into her mouth and sucked hard at it. She could feel
the coolness of her saliva as he traced a path down her chin and throat, then
over her heart.
As his hand neared the center of her breast, the nipple puckered. Bjorn grazed
the hardened bead, and it was as though it were connected to her sex by an
invisible thread. He rolled it between his finger and thumb—gently at first—teasing
her until she cried out in frustration but when he finally pinched hard, she
arched into him and felt the warm wetness of her lust gather in her secret
The Viking tightened his grip then twisted the pink flesh, and the balance of
pleasure and pain was exquisite. When she thought she could take no more, he
released the aching peak and bent to slurp it into his mouth, alternately
sucking and swirling his tongue until her entire focus was on that tiny spot.
Then his hand was between her legs, and he squeezed hard at the soft mound.
With one finger, he followed the slick divide with a feather-light touch.
Kadlin raised her hips, trying to force him to delve inside, but he only pulled
his hand away, leaving her groaning with need.
Raising his head, he smiled down at her. “Oh, poor little imp, is that sweet
sheath aching for my touch?”
“Please, Bjorn,” she panted.
He slid down her body, leaving a trail of kisses behind until his head was
between her thighs. “I can smell your want, my love, and it makes my mouth
water.” His breath ruffled her curls, and again, she lifted herself toward him.
He pressed his lips at the top of her crease, and each time she tried to push
against him, he moved with her—always maintaining contact but never giving her
relief. Finally, she forced herself to be still and was rewarded by the press
of his tongue against her cresting pearl.
“Ah,” she sighed.
Tickling the inside of her thighs with his fingertips, he lapped softly at the
throbbing nub, driving her mad with want. Kadlin bit her lip, concentrating on
keeping her hips motionless.
“Good girl,” he whispered, and the vibration of his deep voice fueled her lust.
She had pleased him with her submission, so he thanked her by sucking the
little jewel between his lips and plunging a thick finger into her. Kadlin’s
release was immediate, causing her to cry out his name.
Even as she bucked against him, he slurped hard at her most sensitive place and
stuffed another finger inside of her. Waves of pleasure shook her body, but she
was not allowed to step back from the cliff. Bjorn continued to tease the
enlivened flesh until she whimpered. Kadlin struggled not to say, “Stop.” In
their years together, her lover had taught her that she could endure more
pleasure and pain than she thought possible.
Testing her limits, and trusting him to know them, had strengthened their bond.
The word was poised on her tongue when he slowed his ministrations long enough
for her to catch her breath. Then, she felt herself climbing again. This time
she did not hold back, but gave her passion free rein, moving her hips in a
wanton dance. When she was at the brink, he moved until he was kneeling between
her thighs. She looked down and saw him grasp his hardness then rub the
engorged tip over her wet entrance.
He circled the rosy head over her still-throbbing pearl until she begged him,
“Please take me, husband.”
Without further coaxing, Bjorn positioned himself on his target and rammed into
her. Kadlin gasped as his thickness stretched her wide. He plunged into her
four times more then rose up, reached behind himself and unbound her ankles.
Pushing her knees up, he thrust wildly, and the sound of their bodies slapping
together rung out in the chamber. With her arms still outstretched, Kadlin
grasped the leather ties that bound her wrists to the bedposts and braced
herself against his powerful advances. The energy gathered at the place they
were joined, and each stroke brought her closer to the brink.
She grunted in time with his movements until her moment came, and she cried
out, “Yes! Yes! Oh, gods, yes!”
Her insides quivered and clamped down around him. He threw back his head and
let out a feral snarl. She felt him swell within her before his rod jerked and
knew he had reached completion.
He covered her face with sweet kisses, released her hands from their bonds then
slumped against her. She stroked his back and listened as his breathing became
deep and even. This time when he slept, he was peaceful and still.
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