Wulgar is a womanizing Viking when he's not fighting or taking care of business as a jarl. But because of his habit of bedding women, an irate Faery princess, Catriona sends him forward in time, where he meets Raven who is a published romance author. Together they have some sensual and harrowing times between dodging an atrocious villain and the faery princess.
Before Wulf could gather his words to reply, a sound like metal hitting rock bounced off the building near them.
The woman jerked and squeaked, then grabbed his arm.
“Someone’s shooting,” she hissed. “We have to get out of here.”
For one so much smaller than he, her grasp was strong. He allowed her to pull him down the hill, as more sounds echoed all around them.
“Hurry up, do you want to get killed?”
She towed him along until they reached some type of wire fencing. The woman grabbed the wire and began to climb rapidly to the top.
“Get a move on, will you? Those are bullets not popcorn coming our way.”
Another round of sound and the dirt in front of his feet bucked up.
“God help us!” Her voice conveyed the urgency he was beginning to feel, and Wulf followed the woman’s lead and began to climb, all the time wondering what else could go wrong.
Once over the side, she moved to a large metal object. He jumped back with alarm when she opened it up and climbed in.
She growled at him. “What are you waiting on, an engraved invitation? We have to go.”
Wulf copied her prior movements and tried to fold his body into the small area.
“Shut the door, Viking.”
He looked and then found what looked like a lever. He grasped it and then pulled it forward—enclosing himself inside with, as much as it hurt to admit, his rescuer.
“Whew, looks like we made it.” Raven’s heartbeat began to slow somewhat, but her hands still trembled. “I have no earthly idea why someone was shooting at us, but I’m definitely calling the police.”
Raven looked over at her passenger. Wulf’s face still had not regained his previously tanned color. The man’s hands gripped his thighs in such a way, if he wasn’t built like he was, he’d leave bruises. For pity’s sake, she wasn’t driving all that fast. You’d think the man had never been in a car before.
Well he said he was born in 976. She shushed the tiny voice in her head. Time travel was a myth. He probably just didn’t like female drivers… Still—
“Hey, you okay?”
“What is this thing?” His words were uttered through clenched teeth.
“What?” The man was more loony than she’d originally thought or a good actor. Or maybe he’s telling the truth.
“This thing we are riding in.”
“It’s a car. Haven’t you ever seen one before?”
“We do not travel this way in my time.”
Raven gritted her teeth. “Look, you have to understand, what you’re telling me about being from the past is totally crazy to me.”
“As it is to me. I wish to return home, but I cannot.” The Viking’s voice held anger as well as regret.
“Okay, so let’s say you’re for real. Maybe I can help.”
“I thank you, but Princess—”
“Whoa, princess? That’s the second time you mentioned this princess. I think we need to talk. I’m going to hit a drive-through and pick up some food, and then we’ll go to my place. I need to call the police about what happened, but after we eat, you can tell me your story.”
“You would open your home to me?”
“Well, if what you’re telling me is true, you don’t know any one else in this century.” Raven would weigh the pros and cons of having the seductive and hot bod in her house at a later time. For now, the man could use some help one way or the other.
“I do not even know your name.”
A quick glance reiterated she needed to keep her eyes on the road. His silver eyes glowed with frustration and probably homesickness. Poor thing. She’d bet whatever caused him, if it was true, to be sent to the future had not been his fault. Poor baby.
“I’m Raven. Raven Harrison.”
“Your father named you after a bird?
“Actually, my mother did. She used to do a lot of bird watching.”
Apparently Wulf’s curiosity was satisfied for the time being. He remained quiet as she rolled through a fast-food restaurant and ordered hamburgers, fries, and shakes.
Not long after that, she pulled into the circular drive of her home. Being an author had been a second job at first, but now with the revenue from her books, she’d put down a down payment on her first real home away from her childhood home.
After putting the car in park and turning off the ignition, she opened the door and got out. Raven walked around to the passenger side and opened the door for Wulf, who held the bags with their food. She retrieved the cardboard holder with the shakes.
“You about ready to eat?”
His puzzled stare went from her to the bags and then back again. “You eat parchment?”
Raven’s laughter brought a slight smile to his lips.
“No, silly, the food is inside the bags.” Unable to resist, she touched him lightly on the arm and couldn’t help but enjoy the feel of taut muscle under her fingertips.
The man was built like a brick house.
She stepped back as Wulf finally managed to unwedge his body from the car. He stood silent while she closed the car door, and she motioned for him to follow her up the walkway.
One minute later they stood inside the entryway. After bolting the door, she started toward the kitchen.
When she turned after taking the bags from him and putting the food on the old farm-style table, she almost stepped on his bare feet.
Funny, Raven had failed to notice he didn’t wear any type of footwear. She gave his scrumptious body a once-over and noticed the gold bands he wore on each massive forearm.
“What are those for?”
Wulf glanced down and then his gaze speared hers. “They are bands with my family crest.”
“I see…a hammer for Thor?”
“Yea, but for Thorrason not the god of thunder.” The slight grin he gave her revealed even and extremely white teeth.
“Come on, sit down. I’m starved.” Raven yanked out a chair and promptly sat. Her hopefully short-term house guest did the same. She took a burger out of the bag, dumped it and a large order of fries onto a paper plate, and slid it across the table.
Not sure if Wulf knew what a straw was or how to use it, she prepped his shake and pushed it within hand’s reach.
His eyes followed her as she took a bite of burger and crunched on a fry. He did the same. When she took a sip of her chocolate shake, he mimicked her move again, like he really had no clue as to how to eat junk food.
“This is good; I like it.”
Raven hid a grin when he picked up a napkin and dotted the catsup off his lips.
“I’m glad. When we finish eating, I need to call about the shooting at the cemetery, but after that I really want to talk to you about where you came from. Now tell me about the pendant you wear. Is it a family heirloom?”
Suddenly the tantalizing taste of meat tasted like ashes to Wulf. What if she still didn’t believe him? And if she did, what then? Catriona’s words he needed to learn love in order to return home made no sense to him. He’d cared for all the women he’d taken to bed. And there had been many. Raven would think him a womanizer. Why it should matter to Wulf, he did not know, but it did.
“Earth to Wulf. Did you hear me?”
“Yes, I am sorry. Of course, we shall talk about my home. My mother gave me the pendant when I became a jarl.”
After gathering and tossing the remains of their meal, he followed Raven into a room she called a den. She motioned for him to sit. If he were not so beholden to her for a place to lay his head tonight, or if he were not dazzled by the now dry waves of blonde hair drifting over her breasts and the soft blue of her eyes, he would order her to stop treating him like a hunting dog to be commanded.
Once he did as she asked, he shrugged his shoulders. “You may ask your questions.” He prayed his rescuer would believe him. Until he could figure out how to get home, he could not afford to make her think him more crazy than she already did. Thor’s hammer, he certainly did not want to leave—just yet. Something about Raven called to him. He wasn’t sure in what way, but it was more than lust that caught his interest.
The smile Raven shot his way bordered on irritated. Who did he think he was? Oh yeah, right, a Viking.
“Thank you, I believe I’ll start with, what did you do to make someone mad enough to banish you from your home?”
“I uh…I was…” Wulf’s words trailed off.
Yep, he was a bit perturbed. Good. He’d had her in a tizzy ever since they met. It was his turn now.
“I was accused of rutting too much.”
Raven bit her lip until she tasted the salty tang of blood. Oh my Lord, the man got banished because he couldn’t keep his pants up.
Well…maybe it wasn’t all his fault. The women were probably all over him. He was more than a bit cute, he was hunk city with all the chocolate in the world thrown in for good measure.
“I see. So did you?”
“Did I what?”
The blaze of color turning his cheeks a deeper bronze was actually endearing, but she wasn’t ready to let him off the hot seat. And she still needed to find out if his story was true.
“Have sex with all those women?”
This time Wulf’s face turned a rich crimson.
“Ye should not be talking that way. Ye are a woman.”
His statement threw her for a moment and then she laughed.
“Look. Viking warrior or whatever, this is 2010. Women not only talk that way but they actually participate.”
Shock lanced through his eyes, turning them almost black.
“Do you participate that way?”
Heat scalded her cheeks. “That is none of your business, Mr. Thorrason.”
“ ’Tis Jarl Thorrason. And you asked me, so I’m asking you.”
Raven cleared her throat. “Well, I think this conversation is finished. Why don’t I show you where the bathroom is…” Her words trailed off at his look of confusion.
“It’s a place you can take a bath and take care of any personal needs.”
Her guest stood up when she did, and followed when she moved out of the kitchen and to the bathroom. He flinched but did not say a word when she turned on the light. He moved closer when she pulled back the sliding door to the walk-in shower and turned a knob.
“How did you do that?”
“You mean make the water come on?”
“Yea, I do not think you would be part of witchcraft, but how?”
The man was either an expert in reenactment skills, or as she truly began to believe, a visitor from the past.
“Water is channeled through underground pipes. There is a heater that warms the water when you turn one knob and then there is also a knob that makes the water run cold.”
“Do you think I could try it?”
“Of course. Just let me check this and I’ll leave…” Raven’s words disappeared in a throat suddenly gone dry. Wulf, the split second she’d turned to test the water temp, stripped off his pants. His bottom half was just as impressive as his top portion.
In fact, the male portion of him, even unaroused, was way more imposing than she could have imagined.
She brought her gaze back to his face, and cringed at the smirk on his sensual lips.
“So you see, sometimes, I was the hunted instead of the hunter.”
“So, you’re telling me you just allowed yourself to be led to the slaughter...or should that be bedroom?”
“I may have allowed myself to be led to the bedchamber, but I assure you once there ’twas I who did the leading.”
Raven would have—should have—knocked the sensual smirk off his lips, but instead decided to do the prudent thing and retreat.
Moments later, she pulled a flannel gown from her clothes bureau and prepared for bed. She couldn’t get the scene in the bathroom out of her mind. Sure, his chest had looked just fine in the kitchen. Well, actually, a bit more than fine. Muscular and probably warm if she’d dared to touch his bronze skin, but combined with a full frontal sans braies, Wulf oozed testosterone until her knees almost buckled. Something she would definitely have to guard against if he stayed.
Stayed? That would be pure lunacy on her part. The man was a walking advertisement for sex. She certainly didn’t need him in her life, and she positively did not want him anywhere near her bed.
Raven snorted out loud. Maybe if she said it enough, she might believe it. But that was the least of her worries. Somewhere between the cemetery and the shower, she’d found herself warming to him, not just the physical perfection of Wulf, but his smile, his accent, and his old-world charm.
Just her luck to pick up a stray that could be endearing, obstinate, and would make a great sex toy.
Whoa. Don’t go there, girlfriend.
The man was just staying the night, and then she’d find him a nice hotel until she decided if he should be committed. Or, if he spoke the truth, she’d help him find his way back home.
Once in bed, she flicked off the bedside lamp and settled under the covers. Ten minutes later, she still lay awake. The Viking’s movements in the adjacent guest room filtered in through every nook and cranny. Why didn’t he go to sleep? She was more than ready for a good night’s sleep after today. She frowned. Crackers, what with listening to Wulf and doing a more than adequate fill of looking at his drool-worthy body, she’d forgotten to call the police about the shooting at the cemetery. First thing in the morning, she’d fix that mistake.
Wulf’s muffled exclamations on finding and exploring new objects finally ended, and Raven took advantage of the quiet and closed her eyes.A creaking noise woke her sometime later. She punched her pillow and tried to go back to sleep. Wulf undoubtedly suffered from insomnia. Raven turned on her back and stared straight into the eyes of a masked man.
Next week we will explore what happens to Princess Catriona in "Semper Fi Magick."