Authors: Sandra Hill
|Rough and Ready|
|Viking Series II |
Lt. Torolf Magnusson and his team of Navy SEALs have gone back in time to eleventh-century Norselands on a search-and-destroy mission, but when they find they've landed in the middle of a sanctuary-filled with women-well, hoo-yah! Their plans are put on hold, much to the distress of Hilda, the head of the sanctuary. At first resistant to Torolf's pursuits, she soon succumbs to his passionate advances. But with victory in sight for Torolf, Hilda must face the fact that their love may not survive the test of time.
Sandra Hill - [Viking II 06] - Rough and Ready
Color-- -1- -2- -3- -4- -5- -6- -7- -8- -9—
Text Size-- 10-- 11-- 12-- 13-- 14-- 15-- 16-- 17-- 18-- 19-- 20-- 21-- 22--
Rough and Ready
Praise for Sandra Hill's previous novels
"Another wonderful story that includes action, adventure, passion, romance, comedy, and even a little time travel."
"A perfect ten! Wet and Wild is a must-read for everyone who loves great romance with heartfelt emotion. If you buy only one book… make it Wet and Wild."
—Romance Reviews Today
"Only the mind of Sandra Hill could dream up this hilarious and wacky scenario.
The Vikings are on the loose once again, and they're wreaking sexy and sensual fun."
"Feeling down? Need a laugh? This one could be just what the 'dock whore'
—All About Romance
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Lid.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr. Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
ROUGH AND READY
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / December 2006
Copyright © 2006 by Sandra Hill.
Cover illustration by Jon Paul.
Cover design by Richard Hasselberger.
Interior text design by Stacy Irwin.
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY SENSATION is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The "B" design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
This book is dedicated with much appreciation to all those fans who have told me over these past ten years how much you appreciate my unique… okay, warped…
of humor. You know who you are. You are teachers, pilots, therapists, ministers, housewives, Norwegian sailors, college students, nurses, men and women from all walks of life. I have been particularly touched by those of you who say my books have helped you through some life struggle… and by those readers who are nobly serving in the military in harm's way.
When I first started writing romance, I had no idea that humor could touch readers so strongly. I thought only books with serious messages helped people.
The most extreme example I can offer is the precious fan of mine who died of cancer and asked to have one of my Viking books placed in her coffin so that, at the viewing, people would look and then smile. Yep, humor to the end. But I am equally touched by the working mothers who need a little humor in their lives at the end of the day.
Let's face it, in these often depressing times post 9/11, humor can make anyone's life better.
To show my appreciation, please visit my website, where I have something FREE
If I see a maid with whom
it would please me to play,
I can turn her thoughts.
Yea, I can touch the heart
Of any white armed woman.
Hávamál, circa 11th century
This maid with ash-smooth arms
is already getting used to
my bad ways.
Egil's Saga, circa 13th century
At the loves of man To laugh is not meet for anyone ever.
The wise oft fall
When fools yield not
To the lure of a lovely maid.
Hávamál, circa 11th century
"What would you do if you could change history?"
"Huh? I drove all the way from Coronado for you to ask me that!" Torolf Magnusson was not amused.
The question had been posed by his sister Kirstin, a Ph.D. scholar of ancient studies who taught at UCLA. Her Mensa brain was always pondering crap like this.
"If you could go back and eliminate a Hitler before the Holocaust or prevent the Black Death, would you do it?" she persisted.
"Whaaat? This is why you dragged me into these dusty stacks? To ask some dumb-ass hypothetical questions?" Torolf sneezed for about the twentieth time.
"I'm serious. Would you?"
Torolf shrugged. He had only a weekend liberty from his Navy SEAL duties, and he was wasting time playing what-if games with his sister. He'd rather be back at the Wet and Wild having a beer with his buddies and a little female companionship, not of the sisterly persuasion.
"Don't be such a grouch." Kirstin pulled a thick tome with a crumbling leather cover off a high shelf and placed it carefully on a table. "Look at this."
He exhaled with a weary sigh of surrender and sat down in a chair next to hers.
The sooner he got this over with the better.
"I think I might have discovered some of the lost pages from The Old Norse Chronicles. Look at this."
In this year, Steinolf proclaims himself king of all the Norselands, following a ten-year reign of terror. Thousands upon thousands of Vikings from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden fall to his sword. Torture and rape abound. The heads of babes are carried on his soldiers' pikes. Goblets of sword dew are drunk by his chieftains. God save us from this heathen beast.
A chill ran up Torolf's spine. His family had suffered much at the hands of this monster. Here was proof that his bloody path had gone way beyond what any of them imagined.
"What does this mean? Why do you show it to me?"
Kirstin got that earnest—some might say rabid—look on her face, the one that meant she wouldn't give up till she got her say. "I know that history can't be changed, that a Hitler and the Holocaust can't be erased. But this history…"
tapped the ancient book, "… no one knows of it but us. Maybe this kind of history can be changed."
"Why me? Our family is safe and happy in America. I thought we decided long ago that revenge wasn't worth the danger." He knew how selfish his words sounded once they left his mouth. This went way beyond his family and vengeance.
"This changes everything."
Kirstin just stared at him.
"You're right," he said after several long moments of thought. "Someone has to stop the madness."
Wanna take a little road trip, buddy? …
Navy Lieutenant Torolf Magnusson put his face in his hands and counted silently to ten. Only then did he look up at four of his teammates from Force Squad, Eighth Platoon, SEAL Team Thirteen and say, "Get lost!"
"Not a chance!" his best friend, Petty Officer Justin "Cage" LeBlanc, said with a laugh. LeBlanc was a Cajun from southern Louisiana and the biggest thorn in this sailor's ass when he wanted to be. Like now.
Torolf, who was known as Max to his friends, resumed packing. His sea bag sat on the bed in his apartment in Coronado, California, home of the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, as well as BUD/S training ground for the Navy's elite special forces unit. He would soon hitch a ride on a military transport to Germany and from there take a commercial flight to Norway.
His buddies surrounded him in his bedroom, trying to change his mind about leaving. Not just Cage, but also Lieutenant (J.G.) Zach "Pretty Boy" Floyd, an ex-race car driver. And Lieutenant (J.G.) Jacob Mendoza, JAM, ex-Jesuit priest.
There was also Ensign Merrill "Geek" Good, a young computer prodigy. Geek was the only ring knocker among them, being a Naval Academy grad.
Cage shoved the duffel bag to the side and lay down on the bed, arms crossed under his head, smiling up at Torolf with exaggerated innocence. Hah! Cage hadn't been innocent since he'd fast-roped down his mother's umbilical cord and out of the womb thirty years ago. Right now, Cage was playing self-appointed spokesman for, this buttinsky bunch who nodded… or grinned… at every blinkin'
thing he said. Even simple stuff, like, "Where you goin', Max? Really?"
"Norway. I've told you that a dozen times."
"When will ya come back?"
"Will ya come back?"
"Against me? I don't know. Hundred to one, maybe."
"Greedy, vicious invaders."
"Mon Dieu, that defines any terrorist cell in the Third World."
"One in particular who would make Osama and Saddam seem like kindergartners."
Cage frowned. "Who the hell would wanta invade Norway?"
Torolf refused to answer and continued packing.
There was a communal rolling of eyes at his evasiveness.
"Well, that settles it." It was Pretty Boy speaking now. "We'll all go with you." While he spoke, Pretty Boy flipped through Torolf's little black book, which sat next to his wallet on the bureau. Torolf grabbed it from him with a snort of disgust. Pretty Boy—who was… well, pretty, according to women from two hemispheres—got enough action already. Then Pretty Boy's words sank in.
Oh, great! That's just what I need. A herd of Navy SEALs riding my tail. "I don't need four oversize babysitters."
"That's debatable," JAM interjected. The Hispanic guy was checking out Torolf's books on a nearby shelf. Torolf read everything from Clive Cussler to his sister Kirstin's romance novels. JAM probably had a dozen versions of the Bible.
"Not babysitters, precisely," Cage elaborated. "Ya cain't serve the gumbo 'less
ever'one's at the table." He loved to quote his Cajun grandmother's hokey bayou sayings.
"What the hell does that mean?"
"All fer one and one fer all." Cage grinned. "Hey, you guys were there for me and my maw maw during Katrina and Rita." Maw maw was Cajun for grandmother.
how could I do any less… even if ya've lost yer friggin' mind, chèr?"
"Norway?" Pretty Boy said, frowning. "It's cold there, isn't it?"
"Damn cold. Norway is where I come from."
"For chrissake, he's gonna start the Viking bullshit again." JAM might have trained for the priesthood at one time, but he used the language of a sinner.
fact, after 9/11 he vowed to kill "every motherfucker terrorist in the world."
His exact words, repeated often.
"Guess I'll have to pack my long Johns," Pretty Boy said with a loud sigh of resignation.
"You guys are not going with me," Torolf insisted.
No one listened.
"Those Scandinavian women are supposed to be hot." This from Pretty Boy, of course. "Whoo-hoo! What do I see here?" He waved a long accordion strip of condoms that he'd picked out of Torolf's duffel bag. "Planning a marathon, are you, good buddy? You plannin' to keep all those hot Norse mamas to yourself?"