AD 71 Northern Roman Britain
Lorcan of the Brigantes knows that unity of the northern tribes is essential when the Ancient Roman legions advance northwards to Brigantia. Yet, everything comes at a price. Using his captive, Nara, as a political bargain with the Selgovae comes with impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.
Will Nara have her Beltane choice?
The adventures of the Garrigill Clan begin…
The story so far…
A.D. 71 ‘Borderland’ Brigante Territory, Northern Britannia
Nara of the Selgovae has been attacked by a wild boar but her rescuer has turned out to be an enemy Brigante who names himself Lorcan of Garrigill. When she realises he is still intent on seduction as his due for saving her – even though she has already managed to give him a minor flesh wound – she knows she’s in trouble…
Rolling away from him, Nara sidled herself upright. Unable to locate her weapons she used her feet, a swift kick that contacted his solid thigh. Lorcan’s amused rumble irritated her even more, because it had been a half-hearted kick from one who was warrior-trained.
“You lie.” He grinned, challenging her honesty before an expert spin took him out of her reach while she readied for another attack. Springing to his feet, he chided, “Admit it. Your body tells me.”
Incensed by the truth, Nara glared, a hot flush blistering her cheeks when he plucked her hands from the sword hilt she yanked up.
“Why should I leave you be? Did I not save you from the boar’s tusks?”
As he disposed of the sword Nara fought against frustration and confusion. “I am beholden to you for that, maybe, but that is all. Would you force me, Brigante?”
“You think I need to force you? Or any woman? As in your tribe, the women of mine mate when they like what they see.”
Arrogance dripped from him, confidence filling his gaze, though a glint of some humour twinkled there too.
“You have a high opinion of your prowess, but your fame as a fabled lover has not reached the Selgovae, yet.”
Her words had the opposite effect from she intended since her bold scorn stimulated the warrior even more. “Maybe you are the one who needs to inform your worthy bard of my skills. Time my prowess is tested?”
The sudden ripping startled her when his one tug burst open the leather strap around her waist, tumbling her pouches to the ground. Raising her tunic, the Brigante’s questing fingers tunnelled. The tightening and tingling at her chest drove her gaze skywards in confusion. A deep groan escaped while he whispered kisses at her neck, one hand reaching inside the gathered waist of her braccae.
“Dé thu a déanamh?” Her gasp shared the warrior’s breath. Her head swam from a lack of breath and something else. “By the Lady Rhianna? What are you doing?” Sagging against him her legs could no longer support her weight. “I cannot…” she mumbled, unable to think coherently. Like a runt puppy, she lapped up the scraps of his handling. Seeking. Something. Yet, she did not know what she sought.
“Aye. Let go. Let the feelings take you, Nara,” Lorcan muffled more encouragement into her ear. He changed her position against the tree his questing lips, tongue and hands continuing to roam. His fingers explored through the soft wool of her tunic before he pulled it clear of her head, the cloth unbearable when it scratched past her sensitised skin, the coarseness of the tree bark against her bare spine not mattering a whit. His lips continued their torment while he loosened his sword belt and let it thud to the ground. Releasing the thong of his forest-green braccae, he allowed them to glide to his knees. She felt the urgency in his movements.
“I’m a…aahhh!” The words of explanation died in her throat as the warrior’s twisting search found spots Nara had not known existed. Supporting her body against the tree, Lorcan wrapped her legs around his waist.
“What is wrong? Has it been such an age since your man took you?”
Wriggling away from him, she yelped. “Rhianna’s wrath be upon you! I have never coupled with any man.”
“What did you say?”
He held himself immobile before the breath rushed back into him; noisy inhalations through his nose. His eyes displayed great confusion when he stared at her, glazed with some enormous emotion Nara had no name for before they screwed tight shut for a few heartbeats. With a frightful force Lorcan yanked himself free and dropped his grip of her body as though scorched. She slumped to the ground, her hands flattening to bear her weight while she gawped up at him. His disbelieving eyes raked her, the veins in his neck pulsating, his breathing laboured.
“You cannot possibly still be an unmated woman?” Bewilderment shrouded Lorcan’s expression, but his fury was even more dominant. “You must be more than twenty summers?”
She refused to answer the man whose resentment could not possibly be greater than her own. Her gaze slid sideward, since she could not face the warrior who now despised her.
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)
A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
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