Viking romance was my first published sub-genre. Book one in this series, Norse Jewel, is also the first romance I ever wrote. Originally a single title length, I was asked to cut the story down to what's called category length. To my regret, I did. Aren't mistakes the best teachers?
Over time, I reworked the chopped parts from Norse Jewel and revamped the series. The result turned into an expanded world, including six books and one short story. Here's a taste of To Find a Viking Treasure.
I call this excerpt “I’m good at taking what doesn’t belong to me”
“I’m not a highborn woman to sit aside and do nothing,” she said, planting a hand on her hip. “I can help. You know I can.”
Sestra tried for her usual brazenness, but sleepy-eyed and draped in his bulky fur she was no more ferocious than a kitten. She stood her ground, red curls falling free around her mud-smeared face. He stood squarely before her, breathing scents of fresh water and clean earth from her skin, good smells to a man who preferred forests to longhouses and women doused with scented oils.
In a moment of weakness, he tucked the fur’s open ends over her breasts. “It pleases me to take care of you.”
Sestra’s lips parted and starlight showed an entrancing indent on her bottom lip. How easily his mouth had fit there. It could again. If he kissed her, he’d test the tiny dip with his thumb, gently stroking her lip and the tantalizing freckle at the corner of her mouth. He’d not rush; he’d savor every part.
“All this time I thought you couldn’t wait to be free of me,” she said, her honest brown eyes searching him.
His pulse quickened, spreading molten heat through his chest, landing hot and hard between his legs. Sestra embodied Odin’s test, the one woman he had no business touching, yet his hands rubbed the fur over her nipples as if he had every right to her. And by the cadence of her breath, a tender flame kindled Sestra’s flesh hidden under layers of fur and wool.
If he didn’t take control of his impulses, he’d steal more than a kiss.
With a slow growl, he let go and slid the bag off his shoulder. “If you want to help me, take this and wait by the pine tree.”
She took the humble leather pouch. “What is it?”
“All my worldly possessions.” His voice was raw and mocking in the dark.
Sestra tested the weight easily with one hand, her cinnamon brows furrowing. “How is it a warrior of your stature and experience has so little?” Her gaze touched Jormungand’s hilt over his shoulder. “Yet you possess the finest of swords.”
“Maybe I stole it?”
“Maybe you did,” she said softly. “By strength alone you can take what you want.”
Challenge lit her eyes. The flame-haired thrall dared him to spill another truth about himself. Why did she want to pry open his deepest places?
“I’m good at taking what doesn’t belong to me.”
Sestra’s mouth curled in a tolerant smile when he glowered at her breasts swelling under his sleeping pelt. Fur lay flat where his hands had pressed the pelt.
She touched his arm and he nearly jumped out of his skin, the pressure of her hand palpable against his leather arm brace. “You’re good at a great many things, raiding, scouting, rescuing a woman dangling from a cliff.”
“But never enough to keep a woman.”
A thick red curl blew across her mouth. “I’ve never known you to want one.”
Behind him, water tapped the narrow shoreline, the rhythm of time and tides, a gentle going in and pulling out. Were the gods taking turns testing him? He was sure the wind carried Freyja’s seductive laughter. The goddess could laugh all she wanted. His will would be stronger.
Survival’s in his blood…
Rough-souled Brandr’s ready for a new life far from Uppsala, but the Viking has a final task —protect the Frankish slave, Sestra. Her life's full of hardship…until she learns the location of a treasure. With war coming, stealing the enemy's riches will save lives, but only one man can defend her —the fierce Viking scout, Brandr.
The two have always traded taunts, now they must share trust. Passions flare as secrets unfold on the treasure hunt, leading to a shocking sacrifice.
I’m Gina Conkle, and I write Viking and Georgian romance, which makes for interesting characters in my head. I grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, I love books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now I live in Michigan with my favorite alpha male, Brian, and our two sons where I’m known to occasionally garden and cook. Living in snow gives me the perfect excuse to get lost in reading and writing.