Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(2) read online by Kresley Cole
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Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(2)
Author: Kresley Cole

startled by his reaction.

The man she’d insulted shot to his feet and stalked closer, his green eyes narrowed. “I’ll show you

a low guard.”

At once, Regin dragged her long sword from its sheath, raising it between them.

He gave her a look of disgust. “That sword’s bigger than you are, cur.”

“The better to teach you to raise your guard, mongrel.”

As more chuckles sounded, the man’s fists clenched, his muscles tensing, growing. … Already on

the verge of berserkrage.

“Stay your hand, Brandr,” Aidan ordered.

Perhaps coming here was a mistake. These men were too violent and quick-tempered to aid her.

And that was something for a Valkyrie to suppose!

Even Aidan, who had appeared to possess more control of himself than the others, now seemed to

seethe with … something.

And though the berserkers were Wóden’s guards, perhaps they would hurt her if they found out she

was female. What would Lucia do? She’d leave this place anon without revealing herself as a

woman.

“Boy, you are either very brave or very stupid to goad one of my strongest warriors,” Aidan

remarked. “Now, tell me why you’ve come to my hall.” He tilted his head at her. “And why you’ve

covered your skin like an aged druid.”

Brandr grated, “The whelp probably had the pox.”

Pox? She’d just stifled a hiss at him when Aidan said, “Enough.” He rubbed the blond stubble on

his chin. “Were you ill, then? Mayhap you haven’t the strength needed to wield that long blade—or to

taunt men bigger than you.”

Regin’s eyes went wide. “Haven’t the strength?” She might only be twelve, and still vulnerable to

harm, and ’twas true her blasted sword was far too big for her, but she could massacre all these

mortals with tooth and claw if need be—

Brandr struck without warning, lunging for her. Before she could defend herself, he’d delivered

two punishing blows to her wrist, knocking the sword from her grip.

When he straightened with a smirk, she gladly dismissed the weapon as her instincts took over.

She leapt atop a table to her right, then bounded back to the left in front of him, raking her claws

across his chest.

Gods, the feel of rending flesh … what need have I for a sword?

Landing softly, she hunched low, ready to spring again as the towering warrior bellowed, “He

carries hidden daggers?” He gaped at the deep furrows in his skin, slashes that had severed even his

leather scabbard. “Aidan, his death is mine! Any taller, and he’d have slit my throat.”

Regin said, “I chose not to slit your throat. Thank me with ale.”

Suddenly a huge palm closed over her nape. Another hand captured her wrists behind her. Hissing

with fury, she twisted around and sank her small fangs into a brawny forearm.

’Twas the warlord! Aidan had her. How had he moved so quickly?

Lightning struck outside, thunderclaps rattling the hall. If only the bolt would hit me!

“Cease this!” He roughly jostled her until she had to release her bite. Before she could blink, he

had her cloak clutched in his fist.

“Nay! Do not!”

He ripped it back. Sucked in a breath. Promptly dropped her.

All around her, wide-eyed men closed in. She hissed again, pivoting to keep the threats in sight,

baring her claws and her fangs.

One of them asked, “What is she?”

Aidan frowned down at her. “She is merely a little … girl.”

Brandr said, “By Wóden’s beard, she glows!”

Regin spat, “He does not wear a beard!”

At her words, recognition flashed in Aidan’s expression. His gaze lit on her pointed ears, then her

eyes. By the way he stared, she knew they were wavering from amber to silver. “You are a Valkyrie.

The one whose skin lights up the night. We’ve heard tales of you.”

“You know nothing of me!”

Raising his brows in challenge, he quoted a recent edda: “‘Eyes like amber cast in sun, skin and

hair of firelit gold. Formed to war, courage as none, beauty to behold.’ You are Reginleit the

Radiant.”

Now several of the men murmured, “Reginleit,” in awed tones.

But not Aidan. He shook his head. “Brightling, you are a very long way from home.”

Of course that ass Brandr said, “She is one of Wóden’s treasured daughters?”

Shoulders back, Regin said, “Most treasured. Above all my sisters.” Except for Lucia. And Nïx.

Likely Kaderin. No need for these mortals to know that perhaps she was not a favorite of his. At

present.

“Then why are you in the middle of a war, instead of the safety of Valhalla?” Aidan seemed angry

about this. “You’re so small.” He’d begun to look at her with a peculiar intensity, different from the

other men’s, more … protective.

“What concern is it of yours where I might be?” She shoved her braids from her forehead, lifting

her chin. “And I’m not that small.”

“You are”—he ran a hand over his face—“young.”

Beside him, Brandr asked, “What is it, friend? Your eyes grow fierce.”

Aidan opened his mouth, closed it. Then he gazed around the scene as if seeing it anew. “Gods.”

He reached for her with a hand raised, as if to shield her vision. “Come with me, little one. ’Tis no

place for you.”

She backed up a step.

He cast her a disapproving frown. “I have pledged my life to serve your father; you were born of

his lightning. I could no more harm you than I could myself.” When she relaxed not one whit, he said,

“Come. You must be hungry. You can dine in my quarters.” He gathered her sword, offering it to her

hilt first. “There will be plenty to eat.”

They would have plenty of food. His army had scavenged this countryside like locusts. All the

game that she could have hunted had been slain.

She peered up, regarding his face. The mortal did seem to have an honest visage. And mayhap he’d

do as she bade, or at least give her a horse and enough food for her journey.

Regin accepted her sword, sheathing it. But when he wrapped his arm around her shoulders

protectively, she stiffened. “I can walk on my own, berserker.”

Under his breath, he said, “’Tis a display of favor I offer you before all.”

“A display of favor,” she said in a dry tone. “From a mortal. Then how can I possibly continue

without it?” She allowed him to usher her through the crowds of staring warriors and wenches.

A few berserkers sought to touch her “fair locks” or “alight skin,” but Aidan’s hand tightened over

her shoulder, his eyes blazing even brighter. He cast the men a baleful look and they all retreated

without another word, their faces paling.

Once she and Aidan had navigated the hall’s gauntlet and exited into the summer night, he visibly

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