Norse Valor by Constantine De Bohon by Constantine De Bohon - Read Online

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Summary

Can Vakr and his warriors save his village from what appear to be bloodthirsty werewolves? Vakr, a Viking of the eighth century, jumps overboard into the misty ocean waters to rescue a woman being attacked by a shark. The powerful warrior claims the beauty as his own and takes her to his village, which he hasn't seen in over a year. Devastation has befallen his people in a great famine. A raid, a new move and wolves the likes of which he and his people have never known begin murdering his men and raping the women. How can this be? Svana, a woman of the twenty-first century, is dragged into a strange, unknown world. How is it possible that two rings have thrown her and her twin brother, David, back through time? All that is certain is Svana's overwhelming passion for Vakr, and compassion for his people, are needed to save Vakr's village from certain death and starvation.
Published: Torrid Books on
ISBN: 9781611601763
List price: $3.99
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Norse Valor - Constantine De Bohon

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Dedication

Prologue

This chicken is disgusting, Svana.

It’s not chicken, Svana said with a deep sigh. It’s Cornish game hen and it’s fine.

It tastes like salted rubber.

It’s perfectly seasoned. You’re just being picky, David.

Her brother scowled at her. Ever since your little stint in Africa, you’ve been so…so…

Enlightened?

Boring and accepting.

It just put my life into perspective.

Perspective is one thing, little sister, rubber chicken is another.

Svana just shook her head when her brother practically threw his dinner at Paul, their ‘water waiter’ as David called him when they were offshore. He ordered him to take it back and bring him something edible. Paul, a short, portly man with thinning dark hair in his mid-fifties, bowed respectfully and cast a quick glance at Svana. His eyes twinkled with mischief. Svana admired his patience. If she were Paul, she would already have thrown David overboard, with his dinner. They had been aboard their family yacht for three days. Svana’s father had insisted she take a vacation. She had admittedly been stressing for the last two months. Her father was of course too busy to accompany her so her playboy unemployed brother volunteered to take care of her.

The thought made Svana’s eyes roll. She wondered who would take care of whom. Svana’s gaze settled over the endless brilliant blue ocean. The waves had increased in size, giving them all white caps that rolled in a somewhat haphazard billow. Clouds were forming in the distance. A slight breeze ruffled her hair. She tucked a wayward auburn strand behind her ear. The food before her remained relatively untouched and unappetizing, it was good, no doubt, but her thoughts were elsewhere. Not more than three months ago she might have chucked her food back at Paul right along with David. It was a game they had played when they were young. The two of them had been little terrors. The cook, Abe, always knew no matter what he served, Svana’s and David’s first course was always returned. It would seem David still enjoyed the amusement. It was one of many juvenile pastimes Svana had outgrown.

You’re no fun anymore, David said with a pout, but his eyes sparkled with mischief.

She rolled her eyes at him making him laugh.

For Svana, the senseless game had lost its appeal. Especially when she could see a starving child in her mind’s eye. She reflected back on her trip to Africa as she had been doing so often lately. A new passion had engulfed her. Her mind just couldn’t seem to let go of the primal place. When Jo-Jo, her friend Joanne, had mentioned going to Africa on safari she had made it seem fun and exciting. It had started out that way. Their guides were fantastic and had been falling over themselves to be doting, if not smothering. The animals were beautiful and exciting. It was thrilling to see danger up close and remain safe and protected. It was unlike any feeling Svana had ever felt before. She liked it immensely. The sheer power of a rhino charging was exhilarating. Watching a cheetah stalk its prey had made her heart pound within her breast. They had been treated to the heated mating dance of two lions. The clothing the people wore, the dancing that they were shown in some of the villages was breathtaking. It was a magical place. So many smiling wonderful people they had met.

Then one night she and Jo-Jo had gotten drunk. They made the mistake of thinking they were invincible. Not two feet into the bush and they realized their folly. They had become separated from their guides then gotten lost. After wandering the jungle alone and terror stricken, they had been very lucky to happen upon a small, seemingly forgotten village. It had been a sobering experience.

The dilapidated huts were shacks. The food, what there was of it, was so meager and looked so bland and tasteless Svana hadn’t tried any. The water they were offered was brackish. While sitting on a woven leafy mat in a dirty corner awaiting rescue in a one-room hut, Svana had been appalled at the poverty. She had never seen such emptiness in a place. It was as though she could hear the walls of the hovel weeping. Svana’s family vacations were always filled with expensive lavish wonders. Everything around her had been controlled her entire life. Nothing but the best for daddy’s little angels. Especially after their mother had died when Svana was just thirteen. A time when a girl needed another woman to talk to. With their father away so often, she and David had grown even closer.

Svana’s eyes had watched the woman, owner of the hovel, no older than herself, care for four young children. She was obviously pregnant. She had no husband; he had died two years previously, from what she understood the woman to say. Svana didn’t ask how she had become pregnant. All of the children were malnourished. Spindly arms and bony legs begged for flesh to keep them warm. Not one of them smiled, as though they never had. Svana had never seen children who would creep and not skip. They huddled together instead of fighting or playing.

Jo-Jo had wrinkled her nose in disgust when one of the children, no more than eight if that, offered to share his meal. It was apparent they ate only once a day…and sometimes not even that. When Jo-Jo had refused and the boy had approached her, Svana couldn’t resist stroking his gaunt little face. Her pale skin was such a contrast to his dark cheek. He was beautiful. His eyes had looked so old when he gazed upon her. Dark brown eyes filled with suffering and strength dragged her into his very soul. Svana had felt trapped. Then it was as though a switch was thrown. A wrong path had led her in the right direction. Deep down, Svana knew she was a good person and that she had a good heart. She realized the world didn’t revolve around her. There was so much she could offer if she thought about others for a change. She had returned home and made it her mission to help that little village.

Earth to Svana, David drawled.

Svana realized she was toying with her mashed potatoes. She sighed, worried for the children she had been reminiscing about. Without any appetite, she rose and went to the railing to gaze overboard. Her brother joined her. His short auburn hair, much like her own, shimmered with crazy natural highlights. When he smiled at her cheekily and made a face, Svana couldn’t help but return the grin. Her brother was charming and charismatic. Unfortunately, he knew it and was a real devil when it came to the ladies and commitment.

I know what you’re thinking, he said.

Of course you do, you’re my twin. We always know what the other is thinking.

Thanks to you, that little ragamuffin and his siblings and friends are no doubt soundly sleeping with full bellies and teddy bears clutched in their little arms. And dreaming about a future.

Yes, but is it enough?

David turned and faced her. His hands gripped hers. It’s more than they’ve ever had. You can’t save everyone. Even we don’t have that much money.

For once, his dark brown eyes looked so serious that Svana gave him a spontaneous hug.

David squeezed her hard before setting her away from him.

If you could have seen what I saw, Svana muttered.

Ah, but you see, I won’t see what you saw. You’ve changed it. The village has clean water and new homes and they’re growing food. The kids have toys and games and clothes.

Until someone comes along and destroys it.

That’s why you hired the guards.

I know, but...

No buts. They’ll be fine, David insisted. You gave them the skills and materials. It’s up to them now.

There was an old woman there who cried when we returned with food and water. She cried harder when I told her I wanted to help make their village safe. She was such a funny thing. The village soothsayer. She told me my life would be hard, but filled with love. I told her I was rich and everything comes pretty easy to me, but she insisted my wealth would be found in people, not money. I wonder how she is.

I’m certain she’s okay. Take some time for yourself. You’ve earned it.

I just worry. They needed me, but I guess they don’t anymore. I’m happy they’re doing better. I guess I’m just feeling a bit useless now.

Be careful, little sister. Your heart is on your sleeve.

Svana snorted. You’re older by an entire five minutes. Don’t ‘little sister’ me.

I don’t mean age-wise. I’m almost a foot taller and a good hundred pounds heavier.

Svana had to agree. David was six foot three with a very muscular build. For all his great size, he was a big baby. She knew the real reason why he would never see the African village that had captured her heart. David was terrified of large animals, snakes, lizards…basically anything with scales, fur or feathers. Svana was the adventurous one. She knew it had struck a raw chord in their father that she was the tomboy. David could scream like a girl. He wouldn’t touch anything icky or slimy. David had redeemed himself upon occasion. When he wasn’t lazing about, he had a real knack for figuring out problems. Most often he preferred to be flirting and spending.

A splash captured Svana’s attention. Oh look! she squealed. A dolphin.

Yippee, David drawled.

Svana sighed, Mr. Cynical had returned. You have to admit she’s beautiful.

I admit nothing. And how do you know it’s female? Did you look up her tail? He snorted and elbowed her. "Tail, get it?"

"Yes I know what tail you’re thinking of. As in piece. Can you ever not think about women?"

No. He looked at her with mock horror.

Sir, your dinner, Paul interrupted.

David winked at Svana and taking her hand he led her back to the table. He returned to his meal, covered it in salt and cleaned his plate without further fuss.

Paul brought them coffee and the twins sat companionably. David drank his black, like their father. Svana sipped at hers with cream and sugar. Her virtually untouched plate was still before her. Left discreetly in case she changed her mind. Svana studied the mashed potatoes. It was a staple shipped monthly to her little village. The versatile potato. She had become proficient in her food choices. Much depended on the land for what the villagers could grow. The rest needed to calculate how many nutrients and vitamins could be packed in something easy to export. The ideas had Svana racing for books on nutrition. Then surprisingly, cookbooks. Svana, who had never cooked a meal in her life, was suddenly creating quick efficient dishes with few ingredients but with the most benefits. She wanted to share these dishes with her newfound friends the next time she saw them.

Svana’s entire world became engrossed in food preparations from land sources and not just grocery stores. She’d had no idea the earth provided so much that was overlooked. To her surprise it was a great deal of fun. It was also informative. Her father didn’t have the same appreciation. When sitting down to dinner on a rare night graced with his company, Svana listed off many numerous foodstuffs. Her father had tried to remain polite. But it was easy to see his interest was at best aloof when she tried to entertain the idea of making flour and coffee from acorns. As she went on and on, his eyes had rolled.

Daddy, you can make flour from the inner bark of a tree, she had told him, eyes wide. So many things are found wild, like yeast for breads and pectin to thicken jellies from crabapples. I tried it today and it worked. The other day I was making ketchup and…

His patience had then snapped, his fork filled with caviar stopping halfway to his mouth. His lobster forgotten. Her father demanded she take a vacation. His baby girl had no need to become a nature girl. There was no fear of her ever going without and the nonsense would end. He informed her that by tomorrow she would be on the yacht and soaking up sun. She had of course refused. Her decline fell on deaf ears. When her father insisted he was more than capable of hiring someone to make certain her village would prosper, only then had she conceded.

With relief, his hand had rested onto hers in a rare gesture of fatherly affection. He wanted only the best for her and her brother. It was why he worked so hard, so they wouldn’t have to. He had chuckled and told her secretly he could care less her brother was lazy and carefree since it was a life he would have wanted at the age of twenty-three. There was plenty of time for his precious children to decide what they wanted in life. They meant everything to him. Svana knew that. She just wished he had more time to spend with them.

The yacht pitched capturing her wandering attention. Her untouched roll dropped off the side of her plate and almost hit her lap. David made a successful snatch for it and put it back. The sun was setting and the wind was picking up. A gust rose swiftly from the side of the boat. Svana made a grab for her napkin. It fluttered to the deck. When Svana reached for it it blew away. She raced after it in hot pursuit.

Leave it. Paul will get it, David insisted.

It could go overboard. There’s enough garbage in the ocean. As she said that she made a dive at the rail as the fine material fluttered over the side. The yacht slanted on a large wave and she was flung forward, losing her grip on the rail. She was going over.

Svana heard a shrill, high-pitched god-awful scream from behind her. The sound made her hair stand on end even though she had heard it before. The next thing she knew David had his arm around her waist hauling her back to safety.

Damn it, Svana, David said, his breath coming out in heaving gasps. He was as white as a ghost. You almost went over.

Is everyone all right?

Paul and another man raced to them.

I’m fine, Svana said. David stopped me from taking an unwanted swim.

I heard you scream. You must have been terrified.

Svana hid her smile behind her hand when Abe said that. She saw David turn beet red.

Paul chuckled knowing immediately who had voiced the shrill scream.

I’m fine really, Svana said. David saved me.

Perhaps you should consider going below deck until this little squall passes us over, Abe said while giving her a once-over check with eagle eyes. They all noted the gray skies rolling in.

When Svana nodded her agreement Abe smiled and went back below deck.

Paul, still chuckling, also excused himself.

Svana couldn’t help herself; she