Series: Blind #4
Author: Violetta Rand
Published: February 25/15 by Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: historical romance
Back Cover Blurb:
Abandoned by the woman he loved, Captain Marteinn wants to escape his misery by winning the summer games in Lagenheim. The champion is entitled to ask one favor from the jarl and he’s prepared to request his freedom.
A woman desperate for passion ...
Taken to Scandinavia after the Normans invaded England, Mercia works hard to prove her loyalty to the Vikings. Despite multiple offers of marriage, she fears she’ll never find true love. Until she meets a brooding warrior, who ignites a hidden passion she can’t ignore.
Once Mercia disappeared from sight, he headed outside. Fifteen recruits were waiting, anxious to improve their combat skills.
He divided them into three groups, each brandishing wasters so they wouldn’t maim each other with real blades. The oldest and most experienced stood center, waiting to be challenged.
“You two.” Marteinn signaled two brothers to advance. “Come at me as fast as you can.”
Leery at first, both edged forward.
“Is that how you would engage an enemy in battle?” Marteinn scrubbed his face with his free hand, frustrated at their timidity. “Women don’t win places of honor at Odin’s table in Valhalla.”
The boys eyed each other, then raised their weapons and rushed him. He grinned, kicking the closest in the gut, sending him toppling to the ground. The second attempted an awkward stroke, but he blocked it with his ax, splintering the wood.
Shocked and amazed, both boys stared silently at him. “Get up,” he instructed the one on the ground. “Fetch a new sword and challenge me again.”
The brother, still holding his waster, scrambled to his feet, then screeched a pathetic war cry, running toward him at full speed. He sidestepped, letting the runt miss him, then booted him in the arse, once again causing him to hit dirt. The other students laughed, pointing and making obscene gestures at the brothers.
“There is no room for hesitation or you will die,” Marteinn warned. “You tire too easily. See those sacks of dirt over there?” He pointed to a spot underneath some nearby trees.
“Aye,” the group answered collectively.
“Grab one, hold it above your head, then run up the hill and back.” Each bag weighed nearly two stone. The lads lacked stamina and wouldn’t survive a real fight. “Why are you still here? Do as I say or I’ll make you do it twice.”
The threat worked, they disappeared.
Marteinn slung his ax over his shoulder, satisfied he’d proven his point. He approached the other boys.
Apparently, two things pleased him more than he ever realized; he enjoyed turning weaklings into skilled warriors and teasing Mercia.
Being single-minded to the extreme is a character trait possessed by both members of our leading couple. It leads to some comical & explosive moments. These two were great together. Mercia’s need for something more drives her forwards. I loved Marteinn’s caveman attitude. He was the true Viking stereotype, taking what he wanted and expecting to keep it.
This novella was a compelling return to Rand’s world of the Norse. It was a great addition to the series.