Published by Carina Press on May 14th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Loyalty to the Brotherhood comes before all. Including women.
Formidable Viking leader Rurik knows the law. His loyalty to the Forgotten Sons is his bond, and no woman will threaten what he's built from the ground up. But the Sons are a roving band of Vikings, and Rurik is growing restless—so when Normandy's chieftain offers land, the proposal intrigues him. And the sultry Parisian thrall he finds in his tent intrigues him even more…
Safira is cunning and clever and full of secrets. Rurik's men have no interest in securing her safe passage home, but, piqued with lust, Rurik views Safira's wiles as a captivating challenge—one he's determined to conquer, even if lying with her is as defiant as it is inevitable.
Traveling with Safira has been a fantasy come true—what started as lust is quickly turning to the kind of partnership Rurik could never have dreamed. But their arrival in foreign lands marks a new chapter, one that demands a Viking wife. With impossible decisions to be made, Rurik's alliances are fraying, and past promises may not be enough to save him from having to betray those he's sworn loyalty to—including Safira.
This book is approximately 75,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!
Sipping from her water pouch, she tried hard not to dribble water down her chin. Rurik was coming. Helmet dangling from his big, battle-scarred hand. Sword slanted across his impossibly broad back.
“Outlaws, beware,” she said under her breath. “Stay away or it will be your last day.”
“You look well.” His voice was pleasant.
“And you look wet.”
Rurik was the cleanest of the lot because he’d doused himself in a stream. He’d scraped his jaw too. Mostly. A few blonde-brown whiskers defied his blade. What would it be like to kiss him smooth-faced? Her heart tripped. Last night’s kiss…she’d never acted with such abandon.
His mouth’s harsh slant eased. “I took the chance to wash myself since I didn’t get to last night.”
“Because you were being nice, trying not to scare the Frankish woman.” She took another drink. He’d slept beside her fully clothed too.
Rurik chuckled and braced a hand on the tree. “Let us agree to a truce.”
“A truce?” She sealed her water pouch and set it aside. “Are we at war?”
His shrug was easy. “We are traveling companions, and I would have some peace.”
“That’s why I’ve been sitting over here, quiet as a mouse.”
“Something tells me that goes against your nature.” His grin turned lop-sided and enchanting.
Head bent, she rolled her eyes. The abduction had made her soft in the head. From Bermon’s open gate, a heavy wooden wheeled ox cart lumbered down the road. Elaborate Viking carving on the side was a sign of the owner’s wealth. The driver waved to Rurik, the distance too great to exchange words. Rurik waved back.
“Now that you have checked on me, Viking. Be assured I am safe and well.”
“That sounds like a dismissal. Yesterday in Sothram’s yard you said being at my side was the safest place. Having a change of heart?” Storm-blue eyes pinned her. There was mischief in their depths.
Was he daring her to idle a summer afternoon with him? Impossible. Butterflies hovered over dandelions near her feet. She plucked bits of grass and let the blades sift through her fingers. This would be a good time to ask Thorfinn if the pack horse had recovered and if they could move on.
“Your tongue doesn’t seem to work. Must be from ill-use,” he teased.
She blushed. Hotly. Could feel her skin flame. Rurik spoke of conversation and last night’s carnal kiss.
“I’m trying hard to forget that I was…naked with you.”
The Forgotten Sons fight for fame and land, falling in love in Viking Normandy as each man battles the long shadow of his father.
Historical romance sweeps you away to other times and place. I love that books take us all over the world as we’re tucked safely in bed. One place I’ve always enjoyed is France…especially the countryside. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that back in 2012 I started a Viking series set in Normandy’s early days.
Rollo the Walker founded Normandy in 911, a small triangle of land northwest of the Epte River. His son, Will Longsword a fierce and cunning jarl, expanded the borders. Longsword was the one to shape the borders you see on maps today. How he did it glued me to history books. Got me filling up a three-inch binder with maps, notes, timelines, and character sketches.
You could say the Forgotten Sons were born the summer of 2012—all seven raiders and the women who steal their hearts. There’s quite a cast of secondary characters too. Will Longsword is one, and his fictional half-brother, Ademar is another. Ellisif, a talented warrior woman with ice-blonde hair and a lot of attitude is one who jumped onto the page uninvited. But she was so interesting, I let her stay. The mysterious woman will eventually get her own love story too.
Developing this series, many things stood out. One of them is the distinct differences between Nor’man Vikings and other Norse kingdoms. Here is a list of interesting points for those who love to dig into historical romance:
- Vikings everywhere expected the annual Thing (also Althing). It was the democratic meeting to hash out disputes, have one’s voice heard, and discuss community law. Will Longsword ruled with an iron hand, never allowing the Thing in Normandy.
- Longsword’s Christian neighbors called him Count of Rouen. He was supposed to “pay homage to” and “serve” Frankish King Rudolph (and his son, King Louis IV). Really, the Franks nodded, smiled, and said yes to whatever he wanted. It was all good as long as he stayed on his side of the Epte River.
- Vikings who lived under Longsword called him Jarl or Chieftain, according to Norse custom.
- Longsword, like his father, played careful politics because he allowed Christians to live under his rule. It was part of the deal his father struck with Charles the Simple: Pagan Vikings ruled over monasteries and Christian towns that Vikings once raided. Quite a situation!
- Most people automatically think Nor’man Vikings cast an eye to Paris. Instead, they pushed south and southwest, taking land Bretons claimed. The sticky issue is the Franks staked Breton lands as theirs too. It was a mix of Christians and pagan tribes, much of it wild and uninhabited. When Longsword headed south, the Franks didn’t stop him. The Viking leader scared Parisians. Letting Breton lands go was a no-brainer for the Frankish king. The rebellious people didn’t always pay their taxes. No taxes, no protection.
- Southwestern France has bigger and more numerous stone rings than anything found in Britain. Stonehenge just has better PR.
- Vikings brought whaling and seafaring skills to struggling tribes on the Contentin Peninsula (part of Normandy). Historians say small bands of Vikings settled the Cotentin Peninsula and lived peacefully with other pagans. The Contentin Vikings held Althing/Thing meetings…until Longsword conquered them.
- There were many small, non-Viking pagan tribes struggling to survive south of Rouen. Supposedly, Longsword fell in love with a woman from one of them (though her name, Sprota, is Frankish). Some historians say Sprota came from a pagan, Germanic tribe north of Rouen.
- Vikings in Rouen soon began to speak a polyglot of Norse mixed with Frankish (which is really old German). It’s not accurate to say people during the Viking Age in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all spoke the same language. That’s like saying someone in Scotland uses the same terminology and diction as someone in Alabama. Could they understand each other? And have basic communication? Sure. But, there are many discrepancies in long-stave and short-stave runes (the alphabet which also served divination purposes). Viking kingdoms used their region’s “stave runes.” Pronunciation and meanings differed with Iceland the most unique. Denmark and Norway shared the most similarities. Sweden had its own dialect, and Normandy evolved that way too.
- Jarl Will Longsword turned Rouen, his main town, into a great textile trading center. Vikings and Christians got wealthy, but in 933 Viking’s living under Longsword led a bloody revolt. They thought he allowed too much Christian influence into Rouen, while Christians thought he was too Viking.
- The famous Wandrille Abbey was founded in the 7th century in what eventually became the Nor’man lands. The Benedictine monastery, renowned for its beer, still operates today. It continues to make its famed beer too (this shows up in the series).
- Vikings referred to the land under Longsword’s control as Rouen after his “seat of power.”
It was from this cauldron of power plays and politics that the Forgotten Sons were born—seven men who once roamed the world find their destiny in newly formed Nor’man land.
I hope you enjoy the series!
Thanks to Buried Under Romance for hosting me. ~Gina Conkle.
Click HERE to read a true story of what happened when Rollo went to negotiate his take over.
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