This year we’re doing a monthly post about First Times: First Kiss, First Meeting, First Argument, etc. This month we’re focused on First Kiss.
The except below is from THE VALKYRIE’S SWORD, book 2 of the Warbler Peninsula series. Balder is a former assassin with the fanatical group Sword of God and Svanhild is a banished Valkyrie. She’s starting to like him despite her initial thoughts about him.
A Shield Maiden defying Odin? He’d never heard such a thing, but Svanhild didn’t strike him as someone who doubted herself or refused to speak up when something was wrong. If she found someone unworthy of Valhalla, he suspected there was a damn good reason. I’d never qualify for the sacred halls of warriors.
He shoved the morbid thoughts away and sat up straight. “I’m sorry. That’s a hard place to be, separated from your confederates.” He knew the feeling well, yet didn’t regret the change. “Would it be untoward of me to say I’m rather glad Odin sent you here to this world?”
Her brows lowered. “Why?”
“So I had the chance to meet and share this meal with you.”
She blinked slowly. “Balder, are you flirting with me?”
He swallowed hard and nodded his head. “I think I am.”
“Uh…” He’d never expected that question. “Because you’re beautiful and I like your company.” He added a half smile. “Besides, I already swooned twice with you. Surely that means we’re meant to be like in some old romantic tale, right?”
She stared for a few more moments as if she didn’t quite understand his words. Eventually, she shook her head and snorted.
“You did swoon, but I’m not convinced it was my beauty that made you do it.”
“Oh come on. Chalk it up to being so breathtaking as to make all the men fall at your feet.” He’d never flirted for himself before, but he enjoyed the hell out of bantering with Svanhild.
“This is the most surreal moment of my life. And I’m a Valkyrie.”
“What’s surreal? Me flirting with you?”
She nodded as she finished her sandwich and brushed the crumbs off her hands.
“Hasn’t anyone ever flirted with you before?” Balder gaped at her.
She shook her head and gestured to his mug. “Do you want some more tea?”
“Yes, thank you.” He handed her the mug, but didn’t try to touch her. More than likely she’d lop off my hand. “Come on, seriously? No one, ever?”
“No, not ever, Balder.” She threw the comment over her shoulder as she took their mugs to the kitchen.
Not ever? What the hell was wrong with those men? More than likely she lopped off more than their hands.
He levered himself up and shuffled over to the fireplace. The heat increased as he closed in on the hearth and he sighed with pleasure. He’d always enjoyed a real fire in a hearth. He settled himself near the grate and shook his head, both at his temerity to flirt with Svanhild and at her lack of experience in it. Perhaps she’d been too intimidating, but he found her intelligence and sharp wit intoxicating. He didn’t expect her to respond favorably to a former assassin offering her something as tender as flirtation, but he couldn’t seem to stop. I don’t want to stop.
Emotions are dangerous, a weakness easily exploited to cripple and distract.
The voice blared out its warning in the back of his head and he gritted his teeth against its ferocity. He closed his eyes and tightened his hands into fists, holding back the howling fury and insanity. Shut the fuck up. I’m done listening to you.
Emotions weren’t dangerous or crippling. Instead, they gave people drive. He’d seen the ferocity of people fighting to save or protect their loved ones, and the love made them stronger, more determined. He wanted someone to fight for him, someone he could defend and protect. He’d once been able to feel something other than anger and righteousness, but the negative emotions had taken all his energy and focus for decades.
I’m so tired. Tired didn’t begin to cover his exhaustion. Anger took so much energy, he wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep. The voices increased in volume and drowned out all the lovely emotions, making him swallow against losing his meal.
“Balder, are you all right?”
He opened his eyes and stared at the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, her expression creased with concern. I need her.
“Help me please…”
The voices shrieked, demanding he fight and kill the warrior woman who crouched beside him. She set the mugs aside and grabbed one of his hands, drawing him into her embrace. His back hit her chest and fire seared through their clothes, burning through his chest. Oh sweet mercy, what’s happening to me?
He might have whimpered as Svanhild’s arms tightened and the fire between them flared higher. He couldn’t move, yet he wanted to writhe against the intense pain in his core.
Begone! A new voice thundered the order and a vision of a warrior woman with wild hair and leather armor filled his mind’s eye. You have no place here and no one will mourn your passing. Leave this man in peace or face me. He is under my protection. She slammed her sword against her round wooden shield and raised her chin.
The voices retreated, taking the fiery pain with them and Balder came back to himself, panting and sweating in Svanhild’s embrace. She was singing a tune he almost remembered. Something soft and comforting, yet with a Viking edge to the words. Norwegian sounds flowed over him and he sank into the familiar syllables.
Balder tilted his head back and looked up at her. Winter-gray eyes met his, but instead of cold, he found the heat of hearth fires and the comfort of thick woolen blankets. He wanted more. He freed one of his arms and reached for her face, brushing his fingertips over her cheek.
She snorted softly, but there was no heat behind it. “Flatterer.”
“No, not flattery, truth.” He swallowed and took a deep breath. “Thank you for your help.”
She shrugged. “It was nothing.”
“No, not nothing. Not to me. No one’s ever defended me before.” He looked down at her arms around his waist. “I’m not…” He stopped and shook his head. “Just thank you.”
Svanhild squeezed him gently. “You’re welcome.”
He loved being in her arms, her breasts pressed against his back. The heat from her body and the curves made his cock stand up and take notice. What is up with you? He’d never experienced the rush of arousal so quickly before and wondered if regular men had such raging lust. Maybe it’s just me because of Svanhild.
Balder rolled his head back and took another gamble. “May I kiss you?”
He slid his hand behind her head and tugged her face down to his. Her breath smelled like the tea and their meal, but the brush of her lips against his sent his heart into overdrive. Oh, God, I want this.
At first, she did nothing as if testing the sensations of the kiss. But after a few seconds, she moaned and pressed her lips harder on his.
Balder sighed, relief tumbling through him. She hadn’t rejected his offer and he refused to lose her favor. But he couldn’t resist trailing his tongue over the seam of her lips. Svanhild stiffened a moment and her arms tightened around him, but not in a comforting way. He didn’t press his luck, but nibbled at her lips, tickling them with his tongue.
When at last she opened her mouth, he slid his tongue between her lips and caressed hers. She jerked in surprise, but didn’t pull away, and he kept tasting her. Eventually, her own tongue made forays into his mouth and he swore his cock would burst through the fly of his pants.
He moaned and tried to deepen the kiss, but she pulled back and met his gaze. They both panted as if they’d engaged in a much more strenuous activity than mere kisses.
Mere kisses? Nothing ‘mere’ about it.
“What are you doing, Balder?”
There you have it. You can find the rest of this story at your HERE, and I’ve included the cover below. And be sure to check out what the other authors have posted as their firsts.