As soon as she laid eyes on him, her breath faltered, her heart hitched, “a-Viking-we-will-go” settled into her foggy brain. Eric Leif, the Red, that’s who he had to be—tall, broad-shouldered, muscular arms shown off by the fur vest he wore. No tux for this guy. In fact, she doubted he could find one to fit that kind of a build. Hoisted striped sails for a living on the Seven Seas, took damsels wherever he landed, the only thing missing was a broadsword to go with his broad shoulders. Eyes the color of the stormy blue sea studied her, his mouth as generous as the rest of him, slightly curved upward.
His gaze shifted to her, uhm, necklace, probably figuring it looked like a good piece to rip off if he was in the market for plundering. Or maybe his gaze shifted a bit lower. She fought jerking up the bodice of the gown, in front of him, but if she ever found that darned restroom…
“Armand told me to check on you.” The Viking cast a deadly glare at Jean Pierre, effectively telling him to cast off or he’d make mincemeat of him, probably with his bare hands.
Jean Pierre gave Tricia a little bow with his head. “Later, my dear.” His eyes sparkled with devilment as he looked back at the Viking, not intimidated, too much. Then he moved away.
“And you are?”
Her mouth gaped a little.
“For the masquerade. We aren’t really supposed to give our true identities, are we? Not until after the new year has begun.” He offered his arm to her. “Care to dance?”
Pearl white teeth gleamed in the chandelier light. “I have been here long enough to observe a few dances to know how it is done.”
Okay, she couldn’t resist. Her favorite romance heroes were roguish Vikings. Why not? With a roomful of dancers, she couldn’t go wrong.
She reached out her hand, but Romeo, uhm, Eric Leif, rather, pulled her into his hard embrace. She should have objected, she should have pulled away—after all, she didn’t even know him—but nah, he felt good, warm and the right kind of hard, and smelled like the fresh sea. She took a deep breath and relaxed in his arms and was swept away across the floor with visions of passions unleashed, until…