Ashe Barker gives a little introduction to her new release, Her Dark Viking.
I have always been fascinated by Vikings. Strong, sexy warriors, ruthless, dominant and determined – what’s not to like? It was only a matter of time before I wove a story around these fierce raiders who rampaged through Scotland and England for over three centuries, eventually settling and leaving their indelible mark on our history.
A Viking raid was indeed a ferocious affair. They relied on what would nowadays probably be termed ‘shock and awe’ swooping in from the sea on their fast dragon ships to attack with vicious and deadly effect. The Nordic raiders would be gone almost as swiftly as they arrived, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The modern equivalent would be a helicopter attack on a sleepy rural village by SWAT teams armed with automatic weapons– the local people would hardly know what hit them.
I have employed a certain amount of poetic license, but in writing this series of stories I have been determined to recreate the Viking era to the best of my ability – their homes, their clothing, what they ate, how they lived. I hope readers will be as entranced as I am by these creative and charismatic raiders, and perhaps forgive them their more outrageous little foibles.
He saw her. He wanted her. So he returned to take her
After she is captured by Viking raiders, twenty-five-year-old Mairead is left with no choice but to depend on Gunnar Freysson, the battle-hardened leader of the Norsemen, to protect her and her young children. Though he makes it clear that she is his property to do with as he pleases, Gunnar shows remarkable concern for Mairead’s wellbeing, and when she risks her life in a dangerous attempt at escape he does not hesitate to strip her bare and spank her soundly.
The strict punishment leaves Mairead thoroughly ashamed yet helplessly aroused, and when Gunnar takes her in his arms and claims her properly she cannot deny her body’s response to his dominant lovemaking. As the days pass, Mairead realizes that Gunnar cares for her deeply, and despite her situation she finds herself falling in love with the stern, handsome warrior. But can she truly give her heart to the man who took her from her home?
Publisher’s Note: Her Dark Viking is a stand-alone sequel to Her Rogue Viking. It includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
A shrill scream halted his stride, followed by the rumble of derisive laughter. Gunnar cocked his head, and listened. The scuffles and grunts he could hear coming from behind the building closest to him betrayed the location of the sport. Doubtless some Celtic wench had been a little too slow to make her escape.
A pity, he supposed. Rape was commonplace among Viking raiders, but Gunnar entertained no personal fondness for it. There were plenty enough willing females back at home, but this act had nothing to do with lust or sexual desire. He had encountered many quite lovely women in his time. He appreciated their appeal and much enjoyed their company but had yet to experience even the slightest impulse to rape any of them. In his view, the raping of defenceless women was about power, conquest and violence. These villagers were already defeated, it was not necessary to further torment and abuse the weakest of them.
He rounded the building and his eyes narrowed at the sight before him. Three of his men held a Celtic female pinned to the ground. She was spread-eagled, her overtunic ripped and her skirt hiked up about her thighs. One Viking warrior secured her hands, another her feet. The third knelt between her splayed legs and was already unfastening his woollen breeches.
The man holding the woman’s feet laughed as the female struggled to free herself, her efforts futile in the face of superior numbers and strength. “Be quick, Sven. We’ll all be wanting a turn on her afore we go.”
“Aye,” agreed the man who pinned her arms. “An’ you can see how eager she is for some Viking cock inside her. Let’s not be disappointing the slut, eh?”
Another terrified scream pierced the air, though Gunnar doubted their victim understood the Nordic tongue. Still, the intent of the three who assaulted her was clear enough. He knew full well that his men expected him to leave them to their sport, let them enjoy a juicy piece of Celtic pussy to relieve the tension of battle. Many a Viking felt that was little enough to expect on a raid, but Gunnar disagreed. These men would have their share of the spoils, they would just have to settle for that.
“Let the wench be. Back to the longships. Now.”
“Eh?” The man who crouched between their victim’s thighs, his heavy cock now exposed and swaying before him, turned to scowl at his leader. “We’ll be no more than a minute, Jarl.”
“Now,” repeated Gunnar, stepping forward. “Or you can stay here to face the rest of her kin when they venture back. The boats leave the moment I return to the beach and any man not aboard will be swimming home.”
“But—” The man at her feet stood up, ready to argue the point.
“Am I not making myself clear, Olaf Ingrssen? Or do you fancy getting your feet wet, is that it?” Gunnar lifted his sword to rest it across his broad chest, the threat implied rather than explicit, but there nonetheless.
The three shuffled awkwardly, backing away, their grumpy muttering a signal of their discontent. Gunnar was unmoved. He was Jarl here, his word was law. He tossed his head in the direction of the beach. “Get on your way, I’ll be right behind you.”
He knew they didn’t believe him. They would fully expect him to take the trembling wench for himself. From the look of her as she cowered before him that was what she expected also. She spoke to him, brief, desperate words in her Gaelic tongue. He could not understand her, but knew she pleaded for her life if not her virtue. She would be permitted to keep both as far as he was concerned, though she was not to know that.
Gunnar extended his hand, offering to help her to her feet. She stared back at him, disbelief and confusion flitting across her delicate features. Now he came to look at her properly he would own this Celtic peasant was not so much pretty as stunning. Eyes of a vivid green gazed up at him. Her hair was a flaming shade of dark red, the locks tumbling from her hood which had become dislodged in the struggle. She shoved her rough wool skirt back down to cover her lower limbs but not before he could appreciate the sight of long, slender legs, creamy thighs and exquisitely sculpted ankles. Her tunic hung from her shoulders, exposing the upper curve of her breast. He was treated to the sight of more flesh, the rich hue of buttermilk, before she managed to right her clothing. Only then did she accept his outstretched hand and allow him to draw her to her feet.
The wench was tall, though he still towered a full head over her. And she was not as young as he at first assumed, perhaps twenty summers. She eyed him warily, clearly uncertain what he intended to do to her but fearing the worst still.
Using just a lifting of his eyebrows toward the trees behind her, Gunnar signalled to her to go, to make her escape while she still could. She took no further encouragement, just turned and ran. In moments, she had disappeared into the forest, just the swaying of a pine branch betraying the path she took.
Gunner sheathed his sword, slung his battle axe across his shoulders, and sauntered back to his dragon ship. The wealth of Lindisfarne Abbey awaited him.