Heart of Honor

He was a powerful viking warrior from an undiscovered world. She was a sophisticated London lady who became the object of his desire … and he was determined to have her.

 

Krista Hart, publisher of the weekly London ladies’ gazette Heart to Heart, is not afraid to speak her mind. Even on such unpopular issues as social reform, which risk her reputation– and her very safety– Krista will not be intimidated, although she knows full well she is the target of angry opposition for her outspoken views.

When she encounters a powerful Viking descendant imprisoned as a local sideshow attraction, Krista angrily demands his release. Although she tells herself that freeing Leif Draugr is simply the right thing to do, she can’t deny being attracted to the fierce Nordic chieftain, especially after her father transforms him into a “proper” gentleman.

But as anonymous threats against Krista become more and more aggressive, it is Leif who must face the unseen enemies desperate to silence her, even as they push her further into the embrace of a warrior prepared to do whatever it takes to make her his.

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Excerpt From Heart of Honor

Leif removed his sword from the upright chest in Krista’s office and walked ahead of her toward the door. At the sight of his ridiculous sword, she snapped at him as she hadn’t really meant to.

“How many times have I told you that a woman precedes a man. I can’t believe you have already forgot.”

His brilliant blue eyes darkened.

“And I told you that a man walks in front of a woman in case there is danger. There is danger here for you, Krista. Whether you wish to believe it or not.”

With that he jerked open the door and stalked out onto the porch. He disappeared for a moment, checking the area around the building to be sure it was safe, then hauled her a little too rapidly down the steps, lifted her off her feet as if she weighed nothing at all, and dropped her onto the seat of the carriage.

Leif climbed in behind her and hurled himself into the opposite seat. He was angry and she really didn’t blame him. It was scarcely his fault her thoughts were so unruly where he was concerned. True, he preyed on the attraction he knew she felt for him, but he was a man–a Viking, no less–and he wanted her. He had made his own desire perfectly clear.

By the time they were halfway home, darkness had settled over the city. They were rolling along the street when the carriage made an unexpected turn. Krista started to lean out the window to see why the coachman had changed direction, but Leif pulled her back inside the coach.

“What is wrong?” he asked.

“We don’t usually go through this part of town.”

Turning, he blew out the brass coach lamp, leaving the interior in darkness. She heard the sound of his blade sliding out of its leather sheath and realized he had drawn his sword.

“I’m sure it is nothing.” She came out of the seat to see what was going on, but Leif yanked her back down.

“Do not get up again. You will obey me in this, Krista.” There was steel in his voice. If she hadn’t known him as she did, she might have been frightened. Even now, her heart was thumping faster than it should have been.

“I am certain we are not–“

“Silence, lady!” His jaw looked as hard as granite and Krista’s mouth snapped shut. He had never spoken to her this way and it was clear he meant for her to heed his words.

Leif’s gaze searched the darkness outside the window and the muscles in his shoulders tightened. A little shiver ran down her spine at the fearsome sight he made. This man was no gentleman, no matter the clothes he was wearing. He was a Viking through and through, and he was ready for any sort of danger.

Surely, there was a simple explanation, she thought, then felt the jolt of the brakes as the carriage rolled to a halt. She started to call out, ask the coachman why he had stopped, but Leif’s dark look warned her not to.

Her heartbeat quickened even more. Across the street, light filtered out through the dirty windows of a seedy tavern. The sound of a woman’s high-pitched laughter drifted on the warm night air, followed by the gruff sound of men’s voices just outside the carriage.
Her stomach tightened. In the shadowy darkness, she saw Leif’s hand tighten around the hilt of his sword. Then the door jerked open and the barrel of a pistol appeared.

“Get down here. Both of ye. Now!”

Leif’s gaze found hers. There was cold fury in his eyes and bloodlust in the hard lines of his face. “Ladies first,” he said softly.
Pulse drumming almost painfully, Krista descended the narrow iron stairs. A big, heavyset man with a thick black beard waited at the bottom, also brandishing a weapon.

“Now you, bucko!” the first man shouted into the carriage.

Leif leaned forward, his head and shoulders appearing through the open carriage door. He took a single step down the stairs, then his arm shot out, the heavy sword flashing in the light of the seedy tavern, slashing upward as he leaped down from the coach. The first henchmen shrieked in pain and his pistol flew into the darkness. Krista bit back a scream as blood spattered over her gown and darkened the legs of Leif’s gray trousers.

“Bloody bastard!” the henchman shouted. “‘E’s cut off two o’ me fingers!”

Shoving Krista back out of harm’s way, Leif whirled toward the second man, sword raised for another cutting blow. Shaking all over, scarcely able to breathe, she watched the two opponents. Using the flat of his sword, Leif knocked the second henchman’s pistol away with an ease that made her shiver and planted his blade at the base of the big man’s throat.

Footsteps pounded as the first man shot down the alley and disappeared into the darkness. The coachman was nowhere to be seen.
Leif fixed his furious gaze on the ruffian beneath his blade. Krista looked up at him shivered. This was a far different man than the one who had danced with her in the drawing room.

If she had ever doubted the stories she had read about Vikings, she didn’t doubt them now.

 

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Book Details

 

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA; First Edition edition (December 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778323838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778323839
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.6 inches

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