Today at my site we have a wonderfully entertaining and steamy historical novel featuring a unique heroine and a to die for hero. Malice Striker by Jianne Carlo is a wonderful read that you can learn even more about by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour listed here. Along with learning about this book, you can also enter a great giveaway. So keep reading to get a taste of this book that you'll definitely want to read.
When Scotland’s King Kenneth orders his death and kidnaps his sister, the Viking Brökk—the Malice Striker—plans his vengeance: he’ll steal the king’s bastard daughter from Sumbarten Abbey and use her to buy his sister’s freedom. But his schemes go awry when his liege lord commands him to wed Skatha—and when he finds five women instead of one at the Abbey, none of whom will claim the King as father.
When the Viking abducts Skatha and her women, she’s bewildered. Why did Brökk seize her? Why does he want her for his wife? She weds him willingly enough when he threatens to kill her companions, but she vows to control her own destiny and escape. For if the Viking discovers her secrets, the laws of his people will force him to cast her aside…or kill her. And even Skatha, daughter of a goddess, might not escape the Viking’s wrath.
Lady Gráinne escorted Skatha to the high table and sat next to her on the bench. A moment’s hush felled the raucous hullabaloo of a keep assembling for the evening meal, the one the Vikings called the náttverðr.The chamber reverberated with noise.
Occasional shouts rang out over the low, murmured conversations of men, women, and children. Booted feet pounded the stone floors. Metal clanked and glass clinked. But what interested Skatha most was the absence of any animal sounds. Not a cat mewled, not a dog barked.
“The Viking approaches.” Lady Gráinne gave her hand a squeeze. “Have courage.”
An aroma fast becoming familiar wafted to her nostrils. She inhaled the tangled fragrances, a spicy odor combined with the scent of leather, soap, and a man coming in from a day under a clear sky. Every muscle in her body clenched. He walked with a light tread for such a large man. She flinched when he grasped her fingers.
“My lady wife.” He turned her hand over and kissed the center of her palm.
His lips tickled her flesh, and she warmed from the inside out, as if flint had been applied to a banked fire fluttering low in her belly. She bit her tongue to still the urge to yank her hand from his hold.
“I must give thanks to my brother for his dowry. ’Tis ravishing you are in this gown. Your eyes shine like jewels.”
Thin, with pinched features and a wild mane of hair.
According to Lady Arianne, who had come to Sumbarten for her final training before her marriage to King Kenneth’s cousin, Skatha had not improved upon gaining her ten and ninth summer. For Lady Arianne had described her to an audience of visiting noblemen and women as having too-large lips, too-large eyes of a violet hue that must have been a result of a sorcerer’s spell, and hips too slender to birth a weasel, far less a babe.
Lady Gráinne nudged Skatha in the side. The sharp dig helped to focus her tumultuous thoughts.
“I bid you good eve, Jarl. I pray the hunt yielded much game.” How long would he stand there holding her hand? So mesmerized was she by his touch, his scent, his presence, she never realized that another warrior had joined them until he spoke.
“Take you a seat afore Ragnarök arrives, brother? Or stand you there all eve gazing into your wife’s eyes?”
Skatha had heard the visiting Norse speak of Ragnarök, the great battle that would end the world.
“Good eve, Lord Konáll,” Lady Gráinne murmured, and she prodded Skatha again.
“Greetings, Lord Konáll,” Skatha hastily said and turned in the direction of his voice. “I offer you my thanks for your generous gift of dowry.”
“’Twas my pleasure, Lady Skatha. If there is aught else you require while you settle here at Bita Veðr, come to me, and I will ensure your needs are met. And may I echo my brother’s praise. You are indeed most regally beautiful wearing the royal colors.”
Heat scaled Skatha’s throat and face. She bent her head and muttered, “I thank you for those kind words, lord.”
“Cease your prattling, brother. Wife, should you have needs, you come to me. I am your jarl.” Thunder laced her husband’s deep growl, and she stifled a wince when his fingers tightened on hers.
’Twas akin to two dogs fighting over a lone bone.
A pang of acute yearning banded her chest so hard her ribs ached. How she missed her beloved Lawri, the wolfhound, gifted her by Lady Gráinne after the darkness descended. Never had she to worry about missteps or losing her way, not with the stalwart, trusty Lawri at her side. What she wouldn’t give to have her hound here in this strange and confusing keep.
“Konáll, will you yield your chair to my wife this eve?”
Nigh swooning in relief when her husband finally released his grip on her hand, Lord Brökk’s words did not register at first.
“You read minds, brother. Indeed, I yield my seat to the Lady Skatha this and all other eves. I will have another carved for me. Lady Gráinne, will you allow me to be your trencher companion?”
Skatha wanted to hit Lord Konáll when he ne’er even waited one breath for an answer but inserted himself between her and Lady Gráinne. How would she get through the meal without the abbess at her side?
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Award winning, author Jianne Carlo’s motto is simple: “Alpha Me Please”. While strong heroines, exotic locations, and cultural differences are her forte, she goes weak in the knees for warriors of any type: rebels, SEALs, Vikings, and bad-ass mercenaries.
Send her a man with an attitude and she’ll find the right woman to tame him.
Jianne’s writing career began in 2008, and since then she’s been lucky enough to have over twenty books published. Most of her books are TOP PICKs and several have been nominated for and won awards and prizes.
Nothing makes Jianne’s day more than an email from someone who’s read one of her books. So far, she’s received emails from almost every continent on the planet.
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Email - Jianne@jiannecarlo.com
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