When single father Chris meets a Viking re-enactor on Lindisfarne, he thinks it’s the perfect recipe for a holiday fling -- and nothing more. Ian, or Ulf, as he’s known when in character as a Viking berserker, is a dreadlocked nomad who never stays in one place for long.
Chris had a relationship with a free spirit like Ian before, and it didn’t end well for him or for his bright but troubled daughter Kelis. He’s determined not to risk the stability of her home environment for Ian, no matter how well she gets on with him -- and no matter how much Chris is drawn to the man.
But Chris hasn’t reckoned with the Viking way of taking all you’re willing to give -- and coming back for more.
Summer flings were supposed to be kept light, weren’t they? Just a bit of fun, with someone you’d never see again.
Why did that thought feel all wrong for me and Ian?
Ian was smiling, his teeth white in the moonlight and his dreads casting eerie shadows on his face. “Maybe I like to hear all the heavy stuff. Tells me where you’re coming from,” he said, and kissed me.
He tasted of tobacco and outdoor living, and his soft beard stroked my face. The beads in it tickled a bit as they danced on my neck. I slipped my arms around his waist, where his woollen tunic bagged out over his thick leather belt, and pulled him closer, pressing our bodies together. I was pretty sure he could tell how into him I was. Even through all the layers of clothes, I could tell he was pretty interested too.
After a breathless few minutes, we drew apart about a millimetre or so. My heart was pounding and my head felt light. “Is that a broadsword in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?”
Ian laughed. He sounded giddy as well. “If you’re expecting a broadsword, it’s only fair to warn you, you might be a bit disappointed.”
“That’s okay. I’ve always been more of a dagger man myself.” I couldn’t stop myself from pressing my groin against his. God, he felt good. We were pretty even on height -- okay, maybe he was just an inch taller -- and I liked that. I liked it a lot. I kissed him again, and his hand dropped down to squeeze my arse.
Trying to return the favour, I felt at a distinct disadvantage. Under the tunic, Ian wore a linen undershirt that hung over his trousers almost to the knees. “God, how do you even get into all these clothes?”
“Want me to show you how I get out of them?”
“Here?” It was crazy. We were out in the open. Anyone could come along and see ... and see what? Vague shapes in the darkness, if that.
“Well, we could go back to my tent if you’d rather. But I guarantee you if we do that, every single person in camp is going to know exactly what we’re up to.”
“Here is good,” I managed hoarsely.
Ian stepped back and fumbled with his belt. A moment later I heard it hit the stones at our feet, and then he pulled his tunic and undershirt off in one fluid motion. He laid them down on the ground and grabbed hold of me again. “Your turn now.”
The skin of his chest was warm under my hands, with a soft down of hair. His flesh was firm, well-muscled, with the scent of honest sweat. I was still exploring when he grasped my wrists. “What?”
“Fair’s fair. Time you got some of that kit off.”
Thank God for darkness, I thought as I stripped off my shirt and let it fall on top of his. I still felt far too visible in the moonlight. Maybe I should start actually using that expensive gym membership a bit more often.
Then Ian pulled me to him, and all I could think of was the way my skin seemed to crackle where it touched his. This time, when we kissed, it was hungrier, more intimate. His tongue plundered my mouth as his hands laid claim to my flesh. God, I needed him.