" He would risk his honor to win her heart. the heart of the Warrior Woman. "
When Jarl, Rannick MacRaghnaill meets the woman who stole his warship, she’s dressed in clothing so strange her every curve teases his senses. The alluring warrior woman enchants him, but is she, as she claims, a woman from the future or an irresistible lying theft?
With his fae blue eyes and god-like body that makes her heart pound like no other, the Viking warrior comes to her in a dream. After studying Viking warfare all her life, Ainslie dreams of fighting alongside her dream warrior.
Who knew fate would lend a hand when Ainslie follows her sister-in-law and the crazed lunatic who kidnapped her back in time to the Vikings of Dunstaffnage, where she comes face to face with the very man who’s haunted her dreams.
She’d risk her life to save her kidnapped sister-in-law. He’d risk his honor to win her heart. But could both hardened warriors save everyone from the evilest Fae’s mind combined with the most dangerous humans?
She finds her true love in the past but is their love worth risking their future?
An excerpt from stone of Lust
Ainslie took a fruit cutting and ate it as she studied Rannick’s profile. “Tell me about the vow, the one about ye father.” Rannick sat up, then turned to watch at his mother by his side, who was busy speaking with Gunnar at the end of the table. He studied them for a moment. Ainslie watched Rannick staring at his mother, then watched her as well, wondering what Rannick thought. Gunnar bent his head to whisper something in Astrid's ear, only to have her blush and look away. Then she peeked at him from under her lashes. She might have missed the flirting if she wasn’t specifically watching, but they were both flirting with each other. Her gaze returned to Rannick. He sighed, and she hoped he approved of the flirting. Gunnar seemed to be a good man and warrior. He took a handful of nuts, popped one in his mouth, and chewed. Ainslie tapped his arm. “The vow?” Rannick glanced back at her. “It is nothing. Ye do not need to concern yourself with.” Ainslie took his left hand in hers and faced him. “I wish to know. I want to understand.” He sighed, removed his hand, and took a long pull on his ale. He stared into the mug. He dumped the nuts on the trencher and spoke in a low voice. “My father was one of Dougal’s greatest warriors and a good friend. They grew up together. Fiona and my mother are best friends.” He smiled. “My father loved my mother deeply. He courted her for a full year before her father relented and allowed the true love match. For a time, they were happy.” He watched his mother, and her gaze followed. Astrid turned her head to the side as Gunnar whispered in her ear. She put her hand on his chest, and he raised his head and gazed at her with longing. Astrid returned the gaze and smiled. Ainslie turned to Rannick, and he smiled. It seemed they were happy now, and she bet it was long overdue. He fisted his hand as he spoke again. “It was the drink that got him angry. He often raided for Dougal and was away when I was young. Another's husband who couldn’t raid took to helping her with chores and needs.” He took another long drink of his ale. “His drunkenness and jealously led to his anger, which kept coming out of his fists.” He sighed. “My mother is a healer and weathered the bruises well, but one night he was hard on her and knocked her out. I had just started training with the sword, and we argued. I thought he had killed her and killed him in my stupid youth.” Ainslie placed her hand on his arm. What a difficult thing to face as a youth. Her heart went out to him. “Ye were young and defending ye Ma. It took a lot of courage to stand up to your da like that.” He laughed bitterly. “That’s what Dougal said. Declared me innocent of any wrongdoing and demanded I move in with the warriors’ training at the castle. He said I was to make a great warrior one day.” He stared ahead. “That was when I vowed never to hurt a woman, ever. I pledged to defend them.” Ainslie rubbed his hand as she still held it. “And ye have Rannick.” He fisted the hand that she held. “My anger at my father cost him his life. I should be better controlled in my fighting. Not permit the bloodlust to control me.”
Ainslie smoothed her hand over his firm fist, and he relaxed it a little. She continued to rub his hand as she spoke softly. She understood his warrior's heart and desire to control the fierce energy within him that wanted to wage war but still needed to be gentle to his friends and family. People he loved deeply. Maybe if she explained how she saw the bloodlust, he might understand the balance between the two. “Bloodlust is something every fighter has, Rannick. Even women.” He watched her hand gently rubbing his, and he sighed and relaxed a little more. She continued softly. “Fighting comes in many forms, not just the sword a warrior wields, but a mother’s fight to bring an infant into the world, a man’s fight to hunt for food for his family, a warrior’s fight to defend his land.” She opened his palm and lightly rubbed her fingers along his palm, fingertips to his wrist and back. “A child’s fight to survive in a hard world.” She slowly traced the lines in his hand. “Using the bloodlust for the right causes, the right moments, that’s the art of being a great warrior.”Rannick glanced at her hand, then at her face. His free hand came to her face and caressed it. He used his thumb to tilt her head till their eyes connected. “Warrior for the children, woman of war. Is your bloodlust only for the children?” Ainslie gazed into Rannick’s bright blue eyes and was lost. She spoke before she thought. “Everyone, I fight for everyone. Who does your bloodlust fight for, Rannick?” He leaned toward her, and their breaths mingled. “I fight for many things.” He licked his lips and spoke softly. “But tonight, I use it to pursue the woman I love.” He brushed his lips on hers, and they paused for a moment, a breath, as they stared into each other eyes. The room erupted in a roar of cheers, and they broke apart. Ainslie dropped her head, blushing, knowing they had both forgotten where they were. Dougal slammed his cup on the table. “Rannick, my man. Courting the woman at my feast table? And in front of her brother? Ye grow bolder by the day!” Colin growled next to Dougal. Ainslie peeked at her brother, who was watching her intently. He smiled, nodded at her, and spoke. “Ainslie is a rare woman, a bright spirit. She has a will of her own, and I permit her to pursue her heart. I desire her to find true love as I have.” Dougal turned to Colin. “Aye, and as I vowed before, we shall find ye, true love, soon. I suspect my messengers to return soon, and when they do, we shall go raiding and bring her back.” Colin nodded as he watched her, and Ainslie shifted in her seat but winced from her injury. “Ainslie, ye should rest from ye injury.” She glared daggers at him. “I am fine, brother," Colin smirked. Rannick spoke up. “I shall see her in her chamber.” He turned to her and rose. He helped her up and bid all a goodnight. ***Colin watched them leave, Rannick carefully escorting his sister from the hall. Her gaze was for Rannick only. The love growing between them for all to see if one only looked. He turned and sat staring into his mug. He hoped what he saw in Ainslie was love, and then again, he hoped not, for it would make traveling back to their time that much harder for her.