Please enjoy this sneak peak at my latest WIP – feedback is welcome!
Standing in the village center, Niall gazed over the crowd with his back to his men. They’d succeeded in cleaning out most of the stores, and left only enough to ration among the residents for the winter. It would be hard for them, he knew, but he had hundreds to feed. Not dozens. Clearing his throat, he prepared to address them.
“We have shown leniency here this day. Despite having to regrettably kill many of your people, we mean no harm. Thank you for your hospitality.” He paused and scanned the crowd with his blue-green eyes and nodded. “You have nothing more to fear from us, for we are leaving.” He turned and nodded to his men, signaling for them to return to their ships. “Stop!” came a yell from behind Niall. He stopped and turned. What he saw stole the words from his mouth.
A petite and curvy woman stared up at him with large brown eyes. “Stop,” she ordered him. “You will not leave with our food, and a handful of your dead are not worth the price for it.” She stood barely to the middle of his breastplate, but her attitude spoke of much taller ambition and attitude. “Return our stores and be gone.”
Niall couldn’t help but smirk. “And who are you to issue directions to me, miss? Are you the mistress of this tiny clan?” His eyes grazed every inch of her. She couldn’t be more than five feet. “You’ve no stature here. I recommend you tend the wounded and prepare for winter.” He turned and started to walk away, until he felt a thud against his shoulder. He whirled around and barely missed a stone to the face. Quickly covering ground, he stood directly in front of her. “You would do well not to provoke me, miss,” he growled quietly.
Putting her tiny hands on full hips, she curled her lip and snarled. “And you, Viking, would do well not to provoke me.” Her eyes roamed across his shoulders and to the sword in his hand before meeting his eyes. “My name is Adara, and I am the priestess, here. You have my name, Viking. Now, go.” She pointed behind him and waited. “Well?”
He smiled. Oh, he liked this one. She was fiery and defiant. If he hadn’t already declared no people be taken, he’s gladly toss her over his shoulders and put her below decks. “Adara, you are tempting my demons.” His tone was fierce, but his eyes sparkled playfully. “We planned on leaving, however, your display here has prompted me to change my mind.” He turned to his men and spoke in a language Adara did not understand. The men began walking back towards the village.
“What are they doing,” Adara asked, exasperation and confusion emanating from her. “No! You’re supposed to leave us!” She tightened her hands into fists and cocked her hips. “I demand, by grace of Gaia, that you take your men and leave. Now, Viking.”
Laughing, Niall moved closer. “Oh, no, miss. We are staying this night. And, you,” he paused and lowered his voice, “will lodge me in your dwelling.”
Adara backed away with wide eyes. “I will not, heathen!” She yelled for two of her kinsmen and they came to stand beside her. “You’ll lodge with these men and make no move to join me. Should you attempt such action, they will see to it you are unable to…lodge…anywhere, again.” She glared at Niall openly. “Heed my word, Viking, for it will ring true.”
Niall watched Adara walk towards a small crowd of older women and small children, tucking down to speak to them. The men she had placed at his side stood a head shorter than himself; he’d have no problem subduing them. Vander came up next to him and cleared his throat. “Something you wish to say, old man?
Vander shook his head. “Nay. I’m wondering what changed your mind. The men are as confused as I,” he started. “We need to be home before the celebrations begin or the King will be very displeased.”
“Aye, I know,” Niall sighed. “We’re only here a night. We’ll leave when the sun rises.” He turned to Vander and smiled. “The priestess is rather intriguing.”
“Ah, so this is about the spitfire, is it?” Vander stroked his beard. “Well, I wish you luck taming that one, boy.” He clapped Niall’s back and laughed. “You’re certainly gonna need it.”