"If you shoot one more blasted arrow, I shall slit her pretty throat without hesitation!" He yelled, his rancid breath reaching my nose.

I closed my eyes, my breathing faint as I felt the knife press deeper into my throat. This was it. I silently pleaded to the gods to make this end. A low chuckle vibrated my back and I opened them to find a familiar group of men standing before us.

I could not help the small sob of relief.

It was my captor.

The brute and his most trusted men stood a small distance away, on edge of the stranger's next move. The Jarl held his large axe, poised to throw at any moment's notice. Ragnar, Trond, and Balder tightly grasped long swords, glaring down at the man with absolute loathing. Ivar held a long bow and I could not help but mouth a thank you to him, fathoming he was the one that saved me from being attacked.

His deep forest green eyes flashed with an unknown emotion before his head tilted in a small nod. He was cautious, they all were. 'Tis a delicate situation and I was in the middle of it all.

"Let the maiden go and I shall consider not killing you slowly, limb by limb, vermin." The brute's low words were said softly.


The man only snorted in amusement, tightening his grasp around me even more so. I could barely breathe, his arm around my waist squeezing painfully. The blade of the knife stung, digging into the soft skin of my throat; not enough to kill, but to warn. I instinctively knew that more ribbons of blood trailed down my neck into the low neckline of my gown.

I stared hard at the handsome brute, begging him with my eyes to save me. I desperately wished to be freed from the stranger's malicious grasp. I wished to be anywhere but here. The Jarl did not respond to my plea, his face expressionless, and that sent a thread of dread through me. His eyes flickered between the blade at my throat and the man behind me.

The brute did not care if I died tonight. But his erstwhile reactions and touches made me almost believe differently. I was horribly wrong. Helplessness made my body begin to tremble.

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, now waiting for the blade to slide against my throat, ending my life.

I would be reunited with my family. A small part of me could not wait.

"Why would I kill my future dronning? She is to be with me, ruling by my side once we reach the walls of my clan." The stranger's low rumble was heard.

A small flash of irritation rolled through me. These men...if I were not in a deadly position, I would have smacked the man who held me in a tight embrace. 'Tis severely bothersome that these individuals treated me as property. I was not to be tossed around like a sack of grain.

The barbarian only smirked at him in response.

The man began leaving wet trails of kisses on my neck, teasing the group of men and I was forced to remain still. Disgust and panic made bile rise in my throat, but I had to shove it down in fear of moving my neck.

A low growl echoed from the men, and my eyes shifted to the brute. If looks would slaughter, the stranger would be long dead.

I wanted this torment, this torture to be over.

I slowly felt myself being roughly pulled into a stand before the four men in front of us. They all shifted, preparing for his next move. He was outnumbered, but I fathomed he was fatuous enough to try something. I clenched my eyes shut, not wanting to see the looks on the men's faces.

The blade released its pinch on my throat and my eyes flashed open in surprise.

I felt his tongue roll across my neck, and repulsion sliced through me as he licked the blood from my throat.

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