The Viking’s Captive by Quinn Loftis
(Clan Hakon #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: November 27th 2018
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Will duty come before love?
The Viking’s Captive is the exciting sequel toThe Viking’s
Chosen by USA Today Bestseller Quinn Loftis.
Two worlds collide in this epic historical fiction centered on an undeniable chemistry
that smolders against the odds. Richly written and injected with moments of humor, this
action-packed romantic tale will leave you breathless.
Novels in The Clan Hakon Series Include:
The Viking’s Chosen (February 12, 2018)
The Viking’s Captive (November 27, 2018)
The Viking’s Consort (Fall 2019)
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“If you vomit on my lap, I will most likely throw you overboard,” Dayna, my incredibly helpful sister, told me for the fourth or fifth time.
“If you hadn’t come running after me like a sodding fool, you wouldn’t have gotten yourself captured. Then you wouldn’t even be on this boat, and you wouldn’t have to worry about me vomiting on you, now, would you?” I asked as I clutched my midsection. My stomach seemed to think it should take its cues from the ocean upon which we sailed. It rolled and flipped just like the waves.
“First, if I hadn’t come after you, then that would make me a coward and not much of a sister, so that was never an option. Second, if I hadn’t gotten captured, then you would be all alone with no one to hold your hair while you vomit, now, wouldn’t you?”
“Do we have to use the term vomit in every sentence?” Hilda, the Hakon clan Oracle, healer, and Torben’s mother, asked dryly.
“Apparently, we do since you just used it yourself,” Dayna pointed out.
Hilda shot me a sly grin, with one eyebrow raised, asked, “You don’t mind if I just put a small hex on her, do you?”
“She is my sister, so I’d rather you didn’t.”
“Thank you,” Dayna said a bit smugly.
“But if you feel it’s absolutely necessary, I guess I could overlook it,” I added, earning me a pinch from said sister.
I had no idea how long it had been since Magnus, Torben’s jarl, had captured us. On one hand, he’d done me a favor. I certainly wasn’t going to have to marry Cathal now. On the other hand, my sister and I were now the prisoners of a man who was slowly losing his mind. I wasn’t sure which was worse, being married to a madman or being stolen by one. For whatever reason, I seemed to have suddenly become a hot commodity to lunatics. I chuckled to myself.
“Pray tell, sister, what is so funny?” Dayna asked.
“Madmen want me,” I said as I groaned and shifted my head, which was indeed lying in my sister’s lap, where I very well might have been sick at any second.
“Do you think she’s already delirious from being at sea?” Dayna asked Hilda.
Hilda snorted¾a most unladylike sound. “We’ve only been at sea for half a day at most. If she’s already delirious, then we are going to need to shore up her constitution.”
I was just about to tell her where she could shove her shoring up when I quickly covered my mouth and sat up. I refused to vomit. If I did, it would feel like Magnus was winning in some bizarre, silent game between the two of us. Once I was sure I could open my mouth without anything but words coming out of it, I addressed Hilda. “I am feeling more than just my own illness, worry, and fear.” I pressed my hand to my heart and rubbed it as if that could somehow remove the ache. “There’s a pain deep in my breast.”
Hilda nodded. “That would be the anchor bond between you and my son. You are feeling his worry and fear as well as your own. And knowing how deeply Torben feels anything, I imagine he is in quite a bit of distress, though he won’t show it on the outside.” She shook her head. “No, he’s a warrior through and through. On the outside, he will look as though he could slit your throat without a second thought. But on the inside, he is frantic to get to you.”
“Is that why you weren’t wailing about the possibility of Torben being dead when Magnus said he was?” Dayna asked.
“I would know if he were dead. A part of me would die inside as well.” I looked back to Hilda. “Will he kill Magnus?” I asked.
She nodded. “It is his destiny to become jarl of the Hakon clan, as it is your destiny to rule at his side. For that to happen, the old jarl must die. Magnus will never relinquish power willingly. Our two nations will grow stronger, not only because they embrace one another’s differences, but because they need new blood. Your offspring will be strong.”
The boat gave a mighty heave, and Dayna and I both nearly fell off the small bench upon which we were perched. Hilda didn’t appear bothered at all by the motion. She noticed the expression I was giving her and shrugged.
“I’ve lived at sea a long time. She and I are well acquainted.”
“Forgive me for speaking out of turn,” Dayna said, gripping the seat beneath her as though it might try to toss her into the bottom of the boat, “but your life has been about as fun as a house rat’s on cleaning day if you’ve spent that much time on the ocean.”
Later in Chapter 1
I closed my eyes once again and focused on the man my heart and soul longed for.
“Torben?” I asked hesitantly. There was no response, and I felt the momentary spark of hope dwindle. How could we have just found one another, just accepted what we were to one another, only to be ripped apart? Was life really that cruel? I snorted inwardly. Yes, you fool, it is. The fact that I had been betrothed to a monster like Cathal was proof that life was a cruel joke at times. It dangled bits of tasty fruits in front of your face that, when you snatched them from the air like a famished horse, you discovered were rotten and putrid.
“It’s not so bad, love.”
His voice once again filled my head, and I felt my heartbeat begin to race. It pounded painfully in my chest as I waited, scared that I’d only imagined him.
“I need to hear your voice, too. Speak to me, Princess.”
“It’s really you? You’re not just a figment of my imagination?”
“That depends, is your imagining of me better than the real thing?”
“Nothing beats having you before me, breathing, flesh and blood. But if this is all I can have for now, then I will take it,” I admitted without shame.
“I am real, Allete. Our bond is strong. I refuse to give you up.”
I smiled to myself. “Your mother said something similar about you.”
“She knows me well. How are you, my love? Has he hurt you?” The words came out in a husky growl.
“No, he hasn’t touched me. Not yet, anyway,” I added before I could censor myself.
“What do you mean, not yet?” His voice was a deadly whisper.
Okay, so I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that.
“Allete,” he warned.
“Well, you see, there was this warrior that needed my help,”
“ACCH! You healed one of his men?”
“Don’t sound betrayed, Torben. It’s not like I lifted my petticoat and flashed the man.”
“Thank you for that image, Princess,” he said dryly.
“I’m a healer, Torben. You know I cannot ignore the call of my magic.”
“And how did Magnus respond?” he asked, sounding very much like he didn’t really want to hear the answer.
“Your mother seemed to think that his interest in me has grown. She said he no longer sees me as just a healer, but as a woman, a potential lover,” I admitted slowly. I could feel the anger and worry inside of him. It was like lava building inside a mountain, growing hotter and more volatile by the minute.
“He won’t touch me,” I said, attempting to reassure him. “I’ll cut off his hands before I let him, and Dayna has threatened to gut him like a fish.”
“You must be careful about insulting him, Allete. There are worse things than death. I need you to survive, but… I’ve seen Magnus do unspeakable things, even to his own men. And that’s nothing to what he does to his enemies.
“I will survive, but you need not worry that it will be at the expense of him getting anywhere near me.” I didn’t have to say that I would die before I let Magnus violate me; it was understood in the tone of my voice.
“I love you,” Torben said suddenly. The longing that filled his voice matched my own. “I never thought I could feel this way about someone, but I do. I want the chance to know you more, to have a life with you. I want to see you swollen with my children and tired from being up all night nursing. I want to hear your laughter at my bad jokes and to taste your kiss after years of togetherness.”
If someone had told me, a few short months ago when I met Torben, that he would say such moving words to me, I would have laughed. But here we were, destined for one another yet unable to be together. Here he was, my Viking, whispering words of love in my mind, yet I could not touch him.
“We will have those things and many more,” I said finally after several minutes of silence. “It’s worth fighting for, Torben. I will fight to the death for you. I love you.”
I heard the sigh he breathed out as if he were standing there beside me. I could nearly feel his warmth, and I couldn’t decide if it was a gift or a curse.
Hilda’s voice intruded on the blissful moment. “The expression on your face suggests we are witnessing something no mother should ever witness between her son and his bride.”
“Your mother is summoning my attention,” I told him, hoping he could hear in my voice the affection I had for her.
“By all means, don’t leave the Oracle waiting. Reach for me as often as you need. Our souls communicating like this will help keep you anchored and strong. And if you can help it, do not heal any more of those bottom-feeders.”
“Thank you for your words of wisdom, Oh Mighty Viking,” I crooned. “I will do my best to resist the call of my magic to heal some scallywag.”
“I’m going to cut off his fingers one at a time, and then I’ll cut off his hands, and—”
“You’ve had lots of practice at cutting off appendages. Perhaps while you’re cutting on the jarl, you could thank him for giving you the experience,” Brant said, interrupting my tirade.
“He won’t be able to respond because I’m going to cut out his tongue, so I don’t have to listen to his lunacy,” I snarled. Leaning down, I cupped some water from a small stream into my hand and slurped it into my mouth. We’d pushed the horses hard all night and late into the day. Both the animals and my men needed a break, no matter how badly I wanted to keep riding.
“So, what I hear you saying is there will be a lot of cutting,” Brant chuckled. “Is this before or after you torture him and make him wish he’d never been jarl of Clan Hakon?”
I narrowed my eyes on him. “He has your woman, too, ya know?” I saw the way Brant’s jaw tightened even though he tried to appear nonchalant.
“Yes, I know,” he responded. “But she can probably kick his arse. I should be more worried about the poor, unsuspecting men who are going to be dealing with her. The lass has quite a temper.”
I snorted. “Wicked temper,” I muttered under my breath, though I wasn’t talking about Dayna. My thoughts were on another princess whose temper could be quite as volatile as her sister’s, though Allete would be more likely to set traps for her enemies and watch silently as they fell. Dayna would simply run them through with a sword, laughing all the while.
Two days had passed since Magnus had captured me and my sister and tossed us onto the ship that had become our personal hell. I never knew men could smell so bad or that I could hate singing with such a passion. I mean, damn it all, who in the bloody hell had taught these men those songs?
“Ugh!” Dayna groaned. “Do they ever shut up?” She was lying on the cot that doubled as her bed, hands covering her ears, but it was no use. It was as if the crew knew how much we hated the singing and sang louder for the sole purpose of torturing us.
Hilda shook her head. “They believe their singing keeps away the sirens.”
“Sirens?” I asked. “You mean they really believe there are women who live in the sea and lure men from their ships into the depths?”
She nodded. “Some swear they’ve seen it happen. Mind you, they wouldn’t tell you about the barrel of ale they drank before they saw it happen.”
“If they’re so scared of these sirens, then why do they ever bother to sail at all?” Dayna asked.
“Because when the jarl says to do something, his men obey—sirens or no,” Hilda answered. “Someone has to be in charge. Someone has to lead. Unfortunately, our current leader doesn’t always have the clan’s best interests at heart.”
“That’s why Torben needs to take over,” I said. It wasn’t a question. I felt a sense of urgency and worry flow through me, and it wasn’t my own. I knew I was sensing Torben’s emotions, as if speaking his name had somehow stoked the power of the bond between us. I’ll admit it was comforting to be able to feel him, but, at the same time, it made me long for him to be there with me.
“It takes a strong person to lead, and not just physically, though that’s certainly part of it among the Northmen. The clan follows the man who’s proven himself by besting challenges to his claim of leadership. Magnus, crazy as he may be, is still a skilled swordsman. And he doesn’t fight fair, so he’s going to win by any means necessary. My people don’t see that as a negative thing. A true leader must be strong of both mind and body. The Vikings see Magnus’ tactics as cunning, using every resource available to him.”
“And you believe Torben can kill Magnus?” Dayna asked.
Hilda smiled. “Without a doubt. Torben is destined to rule. And now that he has his other half, the prophecy can be fulfilled.”
There was a commotion above, and the singing stopped. Praise all that is holy, I thought.
“Land ho!” a man yelled.
“Land!” Dayna and I yelled at the same time. I considered kissing the dirt when my feet touched down on the earth again. If I learned nothing else on the voyage from England to… wherever our captor had taken us, it was that I was not meant to be on the ocean. Dry land, with firm ground beneath my feet, that was my home.
“Let’s go and see where the mad jarl has taken us,” Hilda suggested as she stood and walked to the ladder.
We followed her up to the deck and found the crew was scurrying about like ants defending a recently kicked-over hill. They ran to and fro, tossing tools and pulling ropes. But I noticed a rhythm to their scrambling. It almost seemed like a dance on the deck of the ship. Each man knew his own steps, and somehow, they managed to keep from running over one another.
I finally lifted my eyes up from the organized chaos to see the land that had caused all the commotion. There was nothing significant that stood out. I shivered as I stared at the beach directly ahead of us. It was only then that I noticed the temperature outside was much cooler than when I’d last been on deck. At least I knew the direction we’d travelled. North.
“Do you know where we are?” I asked Hilda.
“Hmm… brown sand resting in front of a thick, impassable forest… yes, of course. I know exactly where we are.
“No, of course not. I’m a seer, not a cartographer. One beach looks like another.”
Dayna laughed. “I want to be like you when I grow up.”
Quinn is an award winning author who lives in beautiful Western Arkansas with her
husband, two sons, Nora the Doberman, and Chewy the Cat who thinks he’s a dog. She
is the author of 17 novels, and 2 novellas, including the USA Today bestseller, Fate and
Fury. Quinn is beyond thankful that she has been blessed to be able to write full time
and hopes the readers know how much all of their support means to her. Some of her
hobbies include reading, exercising, crochet, and spending time with family and friends.
She gives all credit of her success to God because he gave her the creative spirit and
vivid imagination it takes to write.