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ATTENTION READERS: This is a sexy SHORT novella. Bite sized for your reading pleasure. A once-proud Viking stripped of his humanity. A botanist racing against the clock to save a life. Can these two unravel an ancient secret before time runs out?Over a thousand years ago, Carr and his Viking brothers were cursed. Carr has spent over a thousand years punished to exist as the very island he once invaded. Driven near to madness from isolation, everything changes when a gorgeous woman parachutes into his life.Becca never thought to pack lingerie for this trip. She’s a botanist desperately hunting for a last-ditch miracle cure for her dying nephew. The clock is running out when she realizes the island is more than it seems. What’s a woman to do when she discovers her remote island is actually an extremely passionate Viking? Go with it.Her Rock Hard Viking is a short, hot paranormal romance novella. If you like smoldering love stories with some rocky twists, then you’ll love this standalone installment from the Her Elemental Viking series. Buy Her Rock Hard Viking to feel the earth move today!
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Copyright © 2017 by AJ Tipton
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is for sale to adult audiences only. It contains substantial sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers. All sexually active characters in this work are 18 years of age or older.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and incidents appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is purely coincidental.
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Becca didn't notice she was screaming until she gagged on a bug. Spitting and choking, she braced against the intense rush of air billowing around her as she plummeted towards the island.
"Oh god, oh god, oh god," Becca panted. I'm not trained for this!
Parachuting out of a helicopter seemed like such a good idea on paper. Terror tightened its grip around her throat as her destination--the small Scottish island, a mere dot at this altitude--weaved back and forth beneath her dangling feet.
Time seemed to slow. Each second felt like an eternity. The rocky green dot grew as she descended.
Images of broken limbs and snapped spines flashed through her mind. She tried not to imagine herself crawling out of the surf with broken legs, unable to search for the sanare. All she had done to get this far would be for nothing.
Just remember, don't panic. Lola's words shouted from the cockpit just before Becca moved to leap out the helicopter echoed like a mocking tune in Becca's mind.
Don't worry, I'm not the panicking sort, Becca had said, her hands on her hips in what her leadership books called a "power pose". The gesture was supposed to increase confidence, but the shaking in Becca's knees showed how little it was working.
Sure, honey. Lola's raised eyebrow above her flashing violet eyes quite eloquently expressed how seriously she took Becca's posturing. Lola's bright red lips curled up in a familiar all-knowing smile. Safe landing, were the last words Becca heard before she forced her feet to jump out of the helicopter.
Don't panic, don't panic, don't panic. The words became a chanting mantra in Becca's head. Lola's advice really wasn't working.
"Oh god, oh god, oh god," Apparently I'm the panicking sort after all, she thought. An especially strong gust of wind blew Becca off course, and she bit back another scream. She'd only been falling for a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity.
The parachute’s harness was clipped in so tightly around her shoulders, the buckles dug into her armpits. If it wasn't for the air rushing past her face, she could have imagined she was floating, but it was hard to forget the plummeting of it all when the tiny island target seemed to purposefully dodge out of her way.
"Just remember, don't panic."Lola's husky voice might as well be coming from right next to her. Becca could have sworn--even in the midst of the whipping wind--she could feel the warmth of Lola's breath on her ear.
"Shut up, Lola," Becca said toward the departing helicopter.
She could hear Lola's chuckle like the woman was floating next to her in the air. The helicopter was a small orange dot vanishing into the clouds. "Watch out for puffin poop," Becca heard Lola's voice whisper before it faded away.
The helicopter was gone, along with Lola and her ghostly presence.
Becca didn't know whether to feel relieved or not. Lola was a good friend, an amazing bartender, and a decent pilot, but she was also more than a little terrifying.
Becca was on her own.
When am I supposed to pull the chute? Becca couldn't remember. Ten seconds? Thirty seconds? Sixty seconds? The downside of conducting a probably-illegal search for a probably-mythical plant--It's real! She told the doubting voice in her head for the hundredth time--was she didn’t have the luxury of a tandem instructor with her for her first jump. If she screwed this up, she'd be dead.
But if she didn't find that sanare, someone far more precious would be dead.
The island was getting closer. It was shaped like some enormous hand had pulled off the side of a mountain and placed it in the middle of the ocean. One side of the island was flanked by high cliffs of jagged black rock, and the rest of the island gradually sloped down from the cliffs, covered with trees and dotted with boulders and tiny peaks. A flash of silver between the trees hinted at a river or a lake weaving through the forest. At the far end of the island, at the bottom of the slope, a beach curved around like a giant sandy smile.
Becca had spent hours reading about the island in the old diary and what few other source materials she could find. She had spent hours memorizing the island's history and the names of all the known landmarks. All her intensive research hadn't prepared her for the awesome reality of seeing it with her own eyes.
The rest of her mind wasn't focusing on the wonder and beauty of seeing the island at last; all it could think about was:
Do I pull the chute now? Or do I pull it now? Isn't there supposed to be an Automatic Activation Device that will pull the chute if I don't?
When do I pull the chute?
Is this too high? Not high enough?
The island was closing in. Becca could see the bird nests and white lines of droppings scattered across the outcroppings of rock along the cliffs. Details of the scattered dead trees and debris along the other side's curving beach were coming into frightening focus.
Was I supposed to be counting? How long ago did I jump?
I should just pull it now.
What could go wrong if I pull it too early? Is it worse than if I pull it too late? Do I pull the chute now? Or do I pull it now?
"Ahhhhhhh!" At sixty seconds after free-fall, the chute deployed itself, the enormous orange and pink canopy billowing out to form an enormous arc above her head. The harness pulled around her groin, a pressure much less painful than she'd anticipated.
How do I land again?
She pulled gently at the handles of the steering line, looking around for a safe place to land. The diary had mentioned broad meadows filled with soft grasses, but it seemed the few hundred years had changed the topography quite a bit. She couldn't see any meadows and the beach was far too narrow--and too close to the choppy ocean--to be a practical landing spot.
Just trees and rocks. A lot of trees and rocks.
Terror got a tighter grip around her throat.
This wasn't going to be pretty.
The woman’s terrified screams echoing through the trees snapped Carr to attention. He had been enjoying a particularly entertaining encounter between a circus of puffins and an impressively tenacious vole when he heard one of the rarest sounds on his island: a human.
Shifting his focus to the source of the scream, he felt a body skimming the tops of his island’s trees, flailing and kicking. The breaking twigs felt like painful pinpricks along his awareness as the human descended through the foliage.
From the speed and angle of the parachuter's fall, it appeared a potentially-deadly landing was in store. Carr could feel the tree branches snap as they dug into the human's tender flesh. Back before the curse, he would have rolled his eyes at this person's foolishness. One of the many downsides of his long incorporeal existence was not being able to pull off the appropriate gesture of sarcasm.
Why jump from a fully operational flying machine? He thought to himself. It defeats the entire purpose of the invention.
Carr shifted slightly--the way he vaguely remembered shifting his weight when he still human--and the trees bent unnaturally out of the parachuter’s way. With the trees bent, he had a better view of his incoming visitor.
By the gods, it's a woman. Her screams of alarm filled the silence of his tranquil island. A woman. There hadn't been a woman on his island since…ever.
Shaking himself back to attention, he made soft mosses grow from the depths of the wood, bubbling and rippling across the surface of the turf as Carr concentrated. Once the moss was sufficiently thick, he raised the mass upwards toward the falling woman. Cradling her falling body with his awareness-filled extensions wasn't the same as catching her as a human man, but--he reflected ruefully--it was actually more effective.
The mossy turf enveloped her, creating a cushioned chair that gently carried her down toward the tree line to the ground. He struggled to restrain himself from taking liberties as he lowered her to the ground. The feel of her writhing, pressing her weight along his mossy embrace was an aching reminder of how many hundreds of years it had been since he'd held a woman in his arms.
The woman had stopped screaming, her hands skimming the surface of her landing spot, a look of confusion and awe on her face. Her face was perfect, complete with full lips and gently sloping eyebrows that gave her a beautiful seriousness. Her skin was darker than the Viking women of his childhood, a richer hue of earth and wood that brought out the brightness of her eyes. Her entire being radiated strength, even in her vulnerable position. Her light touch along his turf made him shiver with a want he hadn't allowed himself to think about in centuries.
Ugh, I've been an island too long, he muttered. As a Viking, raiding villages had been a major part of his job description--next to drinking ill-advised quantities of mead and bedding any and all willing women. I was awesome at being alive.
The memory made him so happy a flowering bush burst forth from the ground behind the woman's head, and she looked around, startled at the noise. She looked like she was still processing; her breath was coming quickly and beads of sweat trickled down her forehead. Her eyes locked on her path of destruction through the treetops and her eyelids widened.
You're welcome, At the last second he made himself not say the words aloud. The woman looked like she was about to have a heart attack; hearing a disembodied voice was the last thing she needed.
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