“Let me go!” Although she was certainly tall for a female, he stood taller. Rolf had been the largest man in his clan since his father handed over his prized weapons to him, being his only son, while on his deathbed. Few men were stronger, and this woman stood no chance of escaping from him, no matter how hard she kicked, scratched and struggled. All three she did—in fact she put up a very good fight while sending him a string of Celtic, but well understood, curses that willed him to a fate worse than death.
“Be still woman and no harm will befall you.” Rolf loosened his hold, but instantly tightened his grip when, with another string of abuse from her tongue, she tried to escape. There would be no escape for her—he fully intended to keep this prize as his own.
His men now laughed and cheered, their words abusive, as befitted a victorious warrior. “Let us now take the other women,” one cried, waving his sword above his head, while Rolf thanked his gods that his men dared not make a move without his consent.
When Rolf pressed his mouth against Brigid's ear, she squirmed away, but relentlessly he held her fast. “Tell your womenfolk to come out willingly and no harm will come to them this night,” he said, taking the opportunity to taste her skin before she pulled away, twisting her neck aside. Her scent filled his nostrils. She smelled of bracken, lavender, but mostly female. His body reacted instantly, and she froze like a wild animal that knew it was in the sights of its hunter.
“You think they will believe that any more than I do?” she hissed, a tremble in her voice. “They have probably already taken their own lives.”
“And the lives of their children?” Rolf knew very well that Celtic women valued the lives of their children as much as any Norse mother did. Perhaps the virgins might be tempted to end their lives rather than submit to his Norse warriors, but he doubted a mother would leave her children undefended.
When he moved his arms until one hand rested beneath the soft swell of her breast, she spat another Celtic word at him. Rolf swallowed hard and closed his eyes at the rush of sensation surging through his blood. In all his life no woman had ever caused such a reaction. Usually he took what the willing females of his clan offered and shared the spoils of victory with his men.
But this was different. This woman would be shared with no man—he would kill them before they set a hand on her. He wanted this woman to succumb willingly. If it took him until his dying breath, he would make her his own.
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