Authors: Zoe York
he first growl
came before he’d stripped off his spacesuit. Navena stomped ahead of him into the common room and pulled two dehydrated meals off the shelf, muttering under her breath the whole time.
He followed, giving her the space she needed to process what they’d just seen. To the best of his knowledge, and he assumed Navena’s as well, Midgard was the only human colony outside of Earth and its moon.
To find a group of human scientists in an obscure corner of space, working on
top-secret—that shook Aldric. And he already distrusted the FedNat with every fiber of his being.
“I know your sworn loyalty is to the organization these people are hiding from,” he started, but stopped when she threw her spoon across the room at him.
“Stop it,” she cried. “You don’t know where my loyalties lie. And I get it, okay? I get that this ship isn’t designed for deep space travel and we’ve already pushed it to its limits. I know we need to head back to Midgard and that there’s no drama down
.” She gestured madly at the floor of the ship and the moon’s surface below. “So take your damn meal and start the lift-off systems check, okay?”
So this was what it would be like to be married. Aldric understood better now why Reinn couldn’t just let his wife yell at him. Two people with two different perspectives were bound to butt heads, and it was hard to bite one’s tongue.
“Don’t look at me like you want to figure out how to tell me I’m overreacting,” she warned, rounding the counter and approaching with his dinner.
“Don’t assume I’m going to judge you for the overreaction. That’s just human nature. I’m am trying to figure out how to tell you that—” He cut himself off as she shoved his meal packet into his chest. Her dark eyes glinted up at him from a flushed, angry face. And
he understood why arguments in the Ragnarson household didn’t last long. His insides warmed as his wife’s frustration pulsed around them, becoming his own frustration. “I’m on your side, Navena. But when you’re upset, I need to be the voice of reason. Like you would for me.”
“You think I would?”
“I know you would.”
“I haven’t had a chance yet.”
Her face crumpled, but she didn’t let herself cry. “Go. Get us off this moon before I launch another protest.”
He did as she requested, giving he space as he went through the pre-flight check and fired up the engines. It wasn’t until they reached the edge of the solar system, a few hours later, that she came to him.
He felt her presence before he heard her footsteps, and he felt her pain before she inhaled roughly and started speaking. “I’m sorry, Aldric.”
He sighed and turned his chair, holding out his hand to her. “Come here, woman.”
She folded herself into his lap and buried her face in his neck. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.”
“You’ll be my wife.”
“And anything else you want to be. Unless it is still to be a FedNat soldier, because that I might forbid.”
She laughed quietly. “You can’t forbid anything.”
“I can try.”
Silence stretched between them until he wondered if he’d gone too far. But then she sighed. “On this point, I will let you.”
“Thank you.” He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. “We will go back. When we are invited.”
“That’s not very Viking of you.”
“I’m Viking where it matters most. When it comes to protecting my people.”
“And who protects you?”
He craned his neck back so he could see her face. “I don’t need protecting.”
“Neither do I, but I’ve been thinking about the day you rescued me.” She swallowed hard, her gaze pinned on his face. “And what you said to me.”
His pulse grew heavy in his neck. Perhaps he hadn’t been as subtle as he’d intended.
“Like you said when we got back to the ship, I’m on your side. I’m sorry it took me so long. I’m sorry…” She squirmed out of his grasp and sank to her knees, kneeling before him. “I’m sorry I didn’t know you were making a serious vow to me the day we were married.”
She shouldn’t apologize for how he tricked her. It felt wrong, but he couldn’t speak. His insides were all lodged tight in his throat, and the feeling intensified as she opened her hand, letting a length of twine fall loose against his thigh.
“You kept this for a reason, Aldric.”
I love you.
It wasn’t enough to just think it. He tested his voice. It cracked. He kept going anyway. “I love you, Navena. I’ve loved you for years. You are my mate.”
She nodded, her eyes soft. “I owe you my own vows, husband.” She laced the fingers of her left hand into his, and with her right hand, slowly tied them together with the twine.
“I will not hurt you. Your pain is my pain. Your…” She trailed off.
“Joy,” he whispered, his voice rough as he shared the vow he’d held inside.
A smile crawled across her face as she beamed at him. “Your joy is my joy. I will take care of you.”
Min smukke kone
,” he murmured, overwhelmed and consumed by his love for her.
“I love you, Aldric. I am your mate, forever and always.”
Want more sexy second chance romances?
If you liked A Viking’s Bride, try my SEALs Undone series. Different planet, different century, same sexy men getting stripped out of their uniforms by determined women. Turn the page for an excerpt.
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