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ATTENTION READERS: This is a sexy SHORT novella. Bite sized for your reading pleasure. An outcast hiding from the world. A leprechaun ashamed of being different. When outside forces threaten what they most cherish, will their magic be enough to save the day?Over a thousand years ago, Erik and his Viking brothers were cursed. With useless, immense wings sprouting from his back, Erik is forced to flee from town to town from angry mobs. Tired of running, Eric hides out at a theme park where he can stay close to the one person in the world he cares about: his best friend, Siobhan.Sarcastic, efficient, and beautiful, Siobhan is an immortal leprechaun who works as the Chief Financial Officer of a small theme park, the Winter Wondernasium. She would do anything for her oldest friend, Erik, including hiding her feelings to protect him from the forces who hunt her. When an illicit scandal at the park threatens Erik and Siobhan’s secrets, they have to decide what’s most important: freedom or love?Her Winged Viking is a hot paranormal romance novella. If you like smoldering love stories you can read in a day, then you’ll love this standalone installment of the Her Elemental Viking series. Buy Her Winged Viking to soar towards a sizzling romance today!
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Her Winged Viking
Letter from the Authors
Meet AJ Tipton
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.
Created with Vellum
Siobhan trudged to work in a haze, dragging her fingers through the tangles in her unruly red hair and pulling her fedora lower around her head. A cup of watery diner coffee slowly burned her fingers through the cheap paper, but she barely noticed.
Did that actually just happen?
After three years together, Steve had the balls to tell her, "Maybe we should just be friends…with benefits."
Siobhan sighed. Too bad hexes are so hard to find these days. She straightened her fedora for the third time since she parked her car. In the seventeenth century, I could have gotten a good toad spell on any corner.
Fucking Steve and his fucking commitment issues.
Her heart ached like it had been wrung out and hung to dry. She would have loved to spend the day going through her long-perfected post-breakup routine instead of going to work, but her vacation days for the year were long gone.
Siobhan made her way through the entrance of the Winter Wondernasium, plastering a professional smile on her face. The effort burned her cheeks. She said a quick hello to the ticket takers and waved to the security guards.
They wouldn't be so friendly if they knew what I was, Siobhan thought, concentrating on her smile.
She caught a reflection of her hat in a plastic snowman's glassy eye and Steve's words from last night slammed into her unexpectedly. "You know how much I like you, but your horns…they freak me out. Would my children look like that?"
Siobhan stopped herself from adjusting her hat again. Three years. It was long enough she'd let him in, begun to think he would accept her for who she was: an honest-to-goodness leprechaun. Most people thought leprechauns had pots of gold (false) and granted wishes (true), but almost nobody knew about the horns. Even when she was honest on dates about what she was, the horns were always a third-date surprise. Luckily, a simple hat could cover the smooth, rounded appendages from all but the most intimate of companions.
Siobhan had an astoundingly awful track record selecting those companions.
She told herself, in the long run of her life, three years was practically nothing. Steve would only have been around for another 60 years, tops.
You're over seven hundred years old. You're better than this.
She hated how much his rejection still hurt.
Her feet wound their way down the plastic snowflake-covered walkway running through the center of the winter-themed park.
She looked around for Erik, but her best friend was probably still in the changing room trying to fit his bulging muscles and enormous wings into his mascot costume. Siobhan met Erik back in the 1850s when she fled Ireland and came to America. Erik—a cursed, immortal Viking--had recently arrived as well, his con posing as a fallen angel finally blown by the Vatican. Although she would never tell him, Siobhan understood well why the scam worked for him for so long. Erik's perfect features and toned muscles fit were a near perfect match for the images of heavenly beings from stained glass windows' cautionary tales. Unlike centuries of dupes, Siobhan knew the wings were far from angelic: they were the burdensome consequence of a curse cast over a thousand years ago.
Imagining him slowly getting naked in the locker room as he prepared for his shift, she bit back another sigh.
Don't even think about it. Erik is off limits.
It was a rule so old she'd almost forgotten why they made it.
Almost. All it took was a look in the mirror to remember. She paused in front of the reflective sign for the Hall of Mirrors, taking stock. She was petite, but not as comically small as leprechauns from the stories. Her pale skin was quick to redden in the sun and was covered in tiny auburn freckles. She was lean, but strong, and took extra care to ensure her long red curls were perfectly coiffed each day. She didn't look bad, really; Steve hadn't had any complaints about her face.
It was the damned horns.
Siobhan shook her head, bringing herself back to the present. Usually this was her favorite time of day at the park: the hour before opening when all the rides slowly creaked to life like enormous creatures stretching themselves awake with squeaking gears and flashing lights. The hordes of screaming children and bored parents hadn't arrived yet, and the morning sun glinted off the winter-themed decorations, sparkling with possibility.
She walked around a gaggle of plastic snowmen with eerily realistic eyes and the thirty-foot high statue of Percy the Penguin, the park’s mascot, with its slowly rotating head and waving wing. She told herself--again--that the statue was charming, not creepy. Siobhan had never understood why the Smitheen family, with all their abundant wealth, had decided a winter-themed amusement park was something the world needed. But Siobhan couldn't deny she had a soft spot for the increasingly run-down joint.
Just being at the park helped unknot one of the painful tangles in her chest. She had a purpose here, something to keep her mind off of Steve and Erik and the mess that was her personal life. Siobhan flicked on the air conditioner in her office and breathed deep as the cool air welcomed her. The office was efficient and bare; the only personalization a small painting of St. Patrick that no one needed to know was an original from the 18th century.
As CFO of the Winter Wondernasium, Siobhan was responsible for the park's finances: from the worthless prize-dispensing games in the arcade, to the even more worthless goods in the gift shops, to the nightly take from the park's surprisingly upscale bar, the Ice Palace. Her workday consisted of hours of calculations and tough decisions that would have sent a lesser person either drooling asleep with boredom or running in circles in panic.
Siobhan wouldn’t have it any other way.
After nine glorious hours of calculations, meetings, and one conference call that ended with Siobhan implying the bank manager’s mother was prone to mating with yetis, she was finally done.
Siobhan smiled at the bustling park as she exited the office building. It was after sunset and the entire Wondernasium was lit with hundreds of white twinkle lights, sparkling everywhere like fireflies. Even after two years of working at the park, the sight still managed to take her breath away.
“Bejesus, lass!” a deep voice called out in a poorly-imitated Irish accent, “Stay away from me pot of gold!” The voice’s owner laughed, a deep, contagious laugh that shook his large frame and sent his dark shoulder-length hair flopping. As always, Erik's voice caused tumbling leaps in Siobhan's stomach that pranced down between her legs. And, as always, Siobhan ignored it.
“Wow, Erik, that's positively the worst accent I’ve ever heard,” Siobhan felt a broad smile grow across her face. There was nothing like her best friend to cheer her up.
“What? I’ve been working on it all day!" Erik’s face contorted in mock outrage, his oversized trench coat billowing in the wind. "Just trying to fit in with my favorite leprechaun!”
Only the coat's top button was closed, allowing the rest of it to flutter freely and reveal the drool-worthy body barely hidden by his tight t-shirt. Siobhan tried to ignore it, but Erik was truly beautiful to behold. His chest was strong and lean, tapering off in a perfect 'V' to meet his exquisitely-curved hip bones.
“What an excellent use of company time,” Siobhan lowered her voice to a whisper, “and you know not to use the 'L' word at work.” She rolled her eyes. It was always like this with Erik: their conversation was easy and intimate, but her mind was always one breath away from fantasizing about running her tongue along the strong line of his jaw.
“It was either that or solve world hunger,” Erik said with a wolfish grin. That familiar curve of his lips always made her libido dance a merry dance, but years of practice helped Siobhan brush it off. “There’s only so much I can get done in a giant penguin costume with kids kicking me in the shins.” Erik’s face turned suddenly serious. “I saw your text about Steve. I'm sorry I couldn't catch you this morning. How are you doing?”
Siobhan looked around, conscious of the crowd of coworkers and strangers milling about the park. After banishing thoughts of Steve all day, the sympathy in Erik’s deep blue eyes made all her grief and anger come rushing back like a swarm of bumper cars.
“I think we should probably step into your office," she said. "There’s no way I’m going to get through this conversation without using language little ones shouldn't hear.”
Erik offered his arm like a gentleman in a black-and-white film. “This way, youngin’,” he said with his lovable grin.
Laughing, Siobhan took his arm and walked with him towards the large Ferris wheel near the back of the park. Only Erik could call her ''youngin'' and get away with it. At 1200 years and change, he was one of the only beings she knew older than her 700-ish years.
Stan, the chipper fellow running the Ferris wheel, gave Erik and Siobhan a familiar nod. He was used to their habit of occupying a car for hours at a time. It was the only place, perhaps aside from their favorite bar, AUDREY'S, where they could speak freely and privately, not having to hide their true natures.
Erik and Siobhan settled onto the bench of their Ferris wheel pod, sitting so closely in the small space their thighs pressed together. Tiny sparks of electricity zinged through Siobhan's nerves every time she felt the heat of his skin through her slacks.
As the giant groaning wheel lifted them off the ground, Erik gently took Siobhan's hand and stared deeply into her eyes. His eyes were so blue they made the garishly painted icescapes along the park look dim in comparison.
“This is the start of something special.” He licked his full lips and increased the intensity of his gaze. Siobhan felt her breath catch. His tongue running along his lips sent shivers deep into her stomach. “We are finally going base jumping!”
“Get off me, creeper!” Siobhan exclaimed, pulling her hand away and blushing as she laughed. “I thought that was the plan for your next breakup, not mine.” She shifted in the small space, brushing her leg against Erik’s muscled thigh, keeping her expression carefully neutral as her leaping libido danced under her skin. “Let’s see. So far we’ve done skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with the sharks, parasailing,” she ticked off her fingers with each item. “Oh and cliff diving!” She smiled at the memory. “Does it say something awful about us that every time either one of us goes through a breakup, we engage in life-threatening activities?”
“Life threatening? Ha!” Erik gave Siobhan a cocky grin that wobbled the enticing cleft in his chin. “You know as well as I that the witch who cursed me wouldn’t let me get out of my punishment by anything as simple as death. Friends and enemies have tried to kill me in every way you can think of,” he raised an eyebrow nearly to his hairline. “It didn’t take.”
Siobhan reached over and ran a finger along Erik’s eyebrow, pressing it down into its normal position. A strange expression appeared in his eyes as her fingers brushed his face, but Siobhan ignored it.
“Okay there, Viking man, calm down. Don’t want to see you getting over-excited and pillaging the food court.”
Erik shifted on the hard Ferris wheel bench until he faced her, his wicked grin growing. With a smooth grip, his fingers encircled Siobhan’s right wrist and placed it gently above her head, against the cold metal casing of the faded green pod. He lifted his eyebrow higher than before in a slow act of defiance.
“They had chocolate pudding today. Pillaging is pretty much a given at this point,” he pitched his voice low and smoky.
Siobhan rolled her eyes and used her free hand to push Erik’s eyebrow back down again, feeling the tingle through her whole arm as her fingers touched his skin.
“You look like a cartoon villain when you do that with your eyebrow, you know that, right?” she said.
Erik clasped Siobhan’s palm from his face with his other hand, bringing her two wrists together above her head. His grip was soft enough she could have broken free easily if she tried, but the position was intense enough to make Siobhan's heart pound. He looked at her with a smirk.
“You know...we haven't been single at the same time since the night...” he started to say.
He was cut off by a gust a wind that enveloped them, swirling Siobhan’s red hair around her pale freckled face like a whirlwind.
Oh fuck, not again, she thought. Many stories made a big deal about the difficulty of binding leprechauns to force them to grant wishes, but what the magic actually considered "binding" was irresponsibly loose, in Siobhan's opinion.
She could feel her eyes glow like a hundred fireflies buzzing behind her eyelids, turning her irises a brilliant green. The magic of the wish pulled her body straight up like a puppet extending on its strings until her bound hands brushed the ceiling of the pod. The two rounded horns under her fedora extended so far her hat fell off her head and onto the floor of the pod. She wanted to kick out and grab it before the hat blew away, but her entire body was frozen, locked under the ancient rules that governed her kind.
“You have bound me, speak your wish and it will be granted!” The deep voice echoed from Siobhan’s chest and up through her throat although her mouth didn't move.
“Oh, right, leprechaun,” Erik muttered to himself. "Sorry, S, totally forgot."
Siobhan wanted to glare daggers at him through her frozen face.
You FORGOT?I'm going to kill you once this is done, she thought at him. Of course, a badly worded wish to a leprechaun could be deadly in itself. Just let go! She screamed at him with her eyes.
“My bad. Although...” His face broke into a sly smile that would have made Siobhan break out into a cold sweat if her body was still under her control. “I bet I can cheer you up." He paused, and then he leaned in close enough their noses nearly touched. He whispered in a low and serious voice, "My wish... is that you have three of the most unbelievably intense orgasms of your life. Right now.”
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