Authors: Kate Pearce
Tags: #sci-fi romance, #vikings
Table of Contents
VIKING UNBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kate Pearce. Encased in ice, traveling through space and thousands of years adrift from his world, Viking Einarr Bloodaxe can’t help but respond to the call of his female and finally break free of his magical entrapment.
For this woman he’s willing to defy everything—even time…
Welcome to the science-fiction erotic romance world of the Triad System where telepaths roam, and forming a three-way partnership often has its ups and downs. In this particular adventure a four-thousand-year old Viking is being transported through space. Now what could possibly go wrong with that?
Major thanks to Kate Laity for the Old Norse translations!
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Kate Pearce x
York, England 970. A.D.
“We’re not going to survive this time, brother.” Aki’s voice echoed around the dark cavern as they ran. “Someone betrayed us.”
“I know that,” Einarr snarled. “And, by the Gods, he will regret it.”
“If we live.”
Einarr took another turn and continued downward, the sound of underground water now in front of him. “We’ll live.” He slowed his step, as the light ahead grew stronger.
“By running away like cowards?” Aki was breathing hard. “They’ve blocked the entrance to this cave. All they have to do is come after us. We’ll be easy prey.”
“We’re not running away.” The eerie white light bounced off Einarr’s shield and axe. The power of his ancestors surged within him and answered the call of the ancient magic. “Grandfather told me about this place. He said that if I ever needed an escape, the waterfall would provide one.”
Aki gasped as they stepped into a huge cavern where water tumbled in a frothing white mass down from the farthest black rock formation.
“There’s a way out?” Aki had to yell to be heard.
Einarr reached behind him and grasped Aki’s arm ring, sending a wave of power that pushed his words directly into his twin brother’s head.
Aye. Behind the waterfall. We just have to walk through to the other side.
” Einarr took a step forward, one hand on his axe. “
Be careful. It’s slippery
Aki followed him as the well-worn path climbed steadily until they reached a smooth stone platform that seemed to disappear directly inside the roar of the white-flecked water. Einarr set down his shield and his brother did the same.
“Hold onto my cloak.” Einarr said.
“I’m not a babe in arms,” Aki complained, but obeyed him anyway. “May Odin protect us.”
As Einarr inched forward, everything inside him slowed and coalesced into a burning hot sensation in his fingertips. He reached out his hand and the water turned to steam, lifting the curtain to show him the continuing path and a narrow cavern behind the falls. He kept moving and the waterfall closed behind them leaving an eerie screaming silence that made him want to shove his fingers in his ears and shriek like a frightened child.
The noise rose until the rocks were vibrating, and all the hair on his body stood upright like an animal at bay. Sparks flew from his outstretched fingertips ricocheting off the walls and slicing through the water like the sharpest dagger cuts.
He looked back and Aki screamed as the water turned inward and coalesced into ice. Then he knew no more.
Trios Space Agency Ship QZ41
Trios System 229995.
“So what we have here, Tecky is a bona fide prehistoric popsicle?”
, but certainly ancient.” Frey glanced over at the ship’s captain and tried to smile. “My name’s Frey, Captain Travis, not Tecky.”
He held open a door and locked it behind her with yet another security code. “I know what your name is. We call all the science officers Tecky. It makes things easier to remember as you come and go so fast.”
“I suppose that makes sense.”
She tried to sound calm and approachable. It was her first job, and she didn’t want to give the wrong impression. The FREN organization, the Federal Research Environmental Nation, employed all the scientists on Trios System ships, and she desperately wanted to be one of them for more than just her probationary year. Unfortunately, from what she’d seen so far, the crew on this particular ship was rather casual about rules and regulations and found her insistence on following protocol rather amusing.
“I’ve been specially trained to keep an eye on this cargo, Captain.”
“Why, what do they think is going to happen?” Travis laughed, the sound bouncing off the spherical metal walls. “Hopefully that thing is frozen solid.”
“The ice is untouched. And that’s how it will remain until we put down on Alpha Station Three.”
Travis unlocked the last door and handed her the secure passkey. The temperature dropped as they approached the glass-viewing screen. Frey flipped the lights on.
“Well, Holy Magnet, he looks like a real live man, doesn’t he?” Travis whistled. “Like he was freeze-framed from a holo-image rather than really frozen. Do you guys know how it happened?”
“We’re not quite sure. It looks as though he and the other specimen were encased in ice so suddenly that they were preserved intact.”
“When do you reckon that was?”
“About four thousand Earth years ago.”
Travis whistled again. “Who found them?”
“Part of an old copper mine gave way near the ancient city of York and revealed the caverns beneath the city. The Earth scientists believe the males might be of Viking origin.”
“You’re kidding,” Travis leaned in on the glass and shaded his eyes with his hand. “Looks like the guy has some kind of axe.”
“You’re correct, captain. The other specimen on your sister ship is holding a sword or a bow. We’re not quite sure what it is yet.”
“So they’re going to defrost them on Alpha Three like frozen pigcow?”
“It’s a bit more technical than that, but I suppose it is a similar process.”
“We could stick him in our FoodPro and see if that would work. We’d save billions for the Trios Space Agency.”
Frey smiled tightly again as the ship’s captain laughed at his own joke and left her to survey her frozen science project. Travis was a confident man and despite first impressions seemed efficient, which was why she supposed he’d been chosen to carry such a precious cargo.
She went to switch the lights off and then lingered, one hand flat on the glass. Every time she looked at the Viking she noticed more details, the dark stubble on the warrior’s chin, the heavy rings on his fingers and the arm bands with the Nordic writing and runes no one had gotten close enough to yet to decipher.
But soon they would. Frey could only hope she’d be allowed to stay and watch the great thawing out. The Alpha Three scientists were renowned for rediscovering and reintroducing lost species to their native environments. As far as she knew, no one had ever tried to revive two ancient Vikings…
With a quick look behind her, she let herself into the holding cell. Despite what she’d said to the captain, the FREN team had already penetrated the ice around the male more than once. Four tiny microscopic probes had been inserted. She was the only one onboard with the necessary clearance to read and monitor those probes.
The block of ice stood about three meters high and a meter wide on a plinth that provided power and cooling jets to keep the ice from melting or deteriorating further. This close, the ice was almost clear. Sometimes, it felt like the warrior’s eyes were following her around as she worked, but they were still closed tight. She wondered what his eye color would be when he finally regained consciousness, and what he would make of the world he’d woken up in. She had to assume it would be terrifyingly unfamiliar.
She checked the sensors. Everything registered a big fat zero, which was just fine with her. It was quite a responsibility, but she was more than up for it. She’d also been given detailed instructions about what to do in any kind of emergency situation and how her primary function was to save the ice warrior at all costs. Not that anything would go wrong. The small crew flew this route at least twice an Earth month, and there was nothing hostile on the way to Alpha Station Three.
Tecky, you receiving me?”
She didn’t need to use her com to hear her fellow Pavlovan. They were both telepaths. Frey hadn’t made many close friends during her year on Earth. She’d either been studying too hard, or been too reserved to get into the whole college culture. As a result, she valued having someone around on the ship she could talk to so easily. “
Yes, First Officer Slavin
Come and strap yourself in, we’re about to depart.”
Frey blew a scandalous kiss to her important cargo, and after securely locking the series of doors, made her way to the bridge where the other members of the crew were already seated.
Slavin smiled as Frey went by her seat. “All secure down there?”
“We’re not anticipating any problems on this flight. It will take about five cycles. We’ll sleep through most of it.”
“Good.” Frey settled more comfortably in the deep padded seat and studied the blackness of space. There was so frakking much of it that sometimes it scared her. She liked her world to be ordered and controllable and…why the
had she ever wanted to work for an intergalactic corporation?
During the first space jumps, they’d all be immobilized in a semiconscious state as the ship followed its pre-programmed course and brought them closer to where they needed to be. The chairs acted like life support, monitoring body signs, offering the necessary nutrition and sending all pertinent information back to Earth and the various planets involved in case of emergency.
“There is one interesting thing happening out there,” Slavin added. “We’re expecting an up-close and personal look at a massive eclipse.”
“Oh, that’s right! Five planets are lining up.” Frey grinned. “Being a science geek, I’m ridiculously excited about this.”
“Alpha Station Three is between the last two of the aligning planets, Thor and Odin.”
“Then my Norseman will appreciate that.”
Slavin raised her eyebrows. “Your Norseman?”
Frey pointed down at the hold. “The frozen guy. Thor and Odin are Viking gods.”
“Then it’s a shame he won’t be awake to see it.”
“Maybe I’ll open up the viewing screens in the lab so that he can get a peek at it. I’ll probably have to view most of it from there anyway to catch and interpret the data stream for TSA and FREN.”
“Lucky old you.”
Frey relaxed as the thrusters started to rumble, and Slavin turned her attention to piloting the ship out of the dock and into open space. Sensors emerged from the arms and back of the chair and coiled themselves around Frey as the big engines kicked in and they set up for their first jump.
Now all she had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.
Something called to him…
Something he couldn’t see, but could sense deep within, like the pounding of his heart, the suck of air into his lungs or the throb of his cock…
Did he want to respond to that nameless urging? He’d tried before, but had given up in despair, his power too weak to force himself out of his stupor.
But this was more visceral. More of a demand, as if something gripped his heart and threatened to rip it from his chest while it was still beating… Had Odin finally released him from his hell with the promise of a fight to the death and the ultimate glory of a seat in Valhalla?
The smallest pinprick. A blackish glow that infiltrated his skull like a red-hot wire or the tang of a bloodied lip. It burrowed inside him and shattered into a thousand pieces. He screamed in agony.