Kiss of Temptation
By: Sandra Hill
Ivak Sigurdsson had led a lustful life, leaving a trail of broken hearts--and lives--in his wake. Of course, a man can only live that way for so long, and when a vengeful husband finally breaks through Ivak's defenses, he is given a choice: die, or serve the archangel Michael and become a vangel.
A thousand years later, determined to prove his worth to Michael and finally gain reprieve, Ivak is successfully avoiding temptation...until he meets Gabrielle Sonnier. The sexy lawyer is just his type, and Ivak wastes no time in telling her so. But Gabrielle has bigger problems on her plate than a horning Viking. So Ivak has no choice but to help Gabrielle, and in doing so, they might both discover there are more tempting things in life than work or play...like love.
Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.
The Norselands, 850 a.d., where men ... and life ... were always hard ...
Ivak Sigurdsson was an excessively lustsome man.
Ne'er would he deny that fact, nor bow his head in embarrassment. In truth, he'd well earned his far-renowned wordfame for virility. On his back. On his front. Standing. Sitting. On the bow and in the bowels of a longship. Behind the Saxon king's throne. Deep in a cave. High in a tree. Under a bush. On a bed. In a cow byre. Once even with...well, never mind, that had been when he was very young and on a dare and another story entirely.
He liked women. Everything about them. Not just the sex bits. He liked their scent, the feel of their silky skin, the allure of their secrets, the sound of their sighs and moans, the taste of them. And Women liked him, too. He wanted them all.
You could say lust was a sixth sense for Ivak. He was a Viking, after all.
He'd been twelve years old when, swaggering with over-confidence, he'd tried his dubious charms on his father's eighth concubine who'd laughed herself into a weeping fit afore showing him exactly which hole he should aim for. Now, twenty years and at least two hundred bedmates later--he'd stopped counting after that incident in Hedeby--there was naught he did not know about sex. Men came to him for advice all the time. Women, too.
The cold Norse winds blew outside his keep now, but he and his comrades-in-arms were warm inside as they sat before one of the five hearth fires that ran through the center of his great hall at Thorstead. Their body heat was aided by the mead they were imbibing and the satiety that comes from having tupped more than the ale barrel, and it not yet eventide.
When bored and having no wars to fight, or any other time for that matter, taking an enthusiastic maid to the bed furs was always a worthwhile pasttime. Leastways, it was for Ivak. You'd think his jaded appetites would have waned by now. Instead, he found himself wanting more and more. And the things he tried these days pushed even his sensibilities for decency... but not enough to stop him.
And, of course, when bored and having no wars to fight, men did what men did throughout time. Drank.
In fact, Esbe, the widow of one of his swordsmen, walked amongst them now, refilling their horns from a pottery pitcher. When she got to him, she smile, a small, secretive smile that Ivak understood perfectly. Women told him that he had an aura about him...apresence, so to speak. By leaning against a wall just so, or merely staring at them through half-slitted eyes, or gods forbid, winking at them, he sent a silent message. Here was a man who knew things.
He smiled back at Esbe, who shared his bed furs on occasion, and watched
appreciatively, along with every one of his men, as she walked away from them, hips swaying from side to side.
Another thing men did when bored and having no wars to fights, and especially when drinking, was talk about women.
"Tell me true, Ivak," demanded Haakon the Horse, a name he'd been given because of a face so long he could lick the bottom of a bucket and still see over the rim, not because of other bodily attributes. Haakon was a master at swordsplay if ever there was one, a soldier you'd want at your back in battle, but an irksome oaf when drukkinn, and he was halfway there already. "There must have been times when your lance failed to rise to the occasion. It happens to the best of men betimes."
Ivak exchanged a quick glance with his best friend, Serk the Silent, who sat beside him on the bench. Serk, a man of few words, did not need to speak for Ivak to know that he was thinking: Here it comes!
Ivak tapped his chin with a forefinger, as if actually giving the query consideration. He could feel Serk shaking with silent laughter. "Nay, it never has, though there have been times I've had to take a vow of celibacy to give it a rest." He cupped himself for emphasis.
"For how long?" scoffed Ingolf, his chief archer. A grin twitched at Ingolf's hugely mustached upper lip, knowing when Ivak was about to pull a jest.
"Oh, a good long time. Two days at most," Ivak admitted.
Everyone, except Haakon, found amusement in his jest, including Kugge , the young squire he'd been training of late. Gazing at Ivak in wonder, Kugge blurted out, "Did it hurt?"
"The celibacy or the excess?" Ivak asked, trying to keep a straight face.
A blush crept over Kugge's still unwhiskered face as he sensed having made a fool of himself.