Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(4) read online by Kresley Cole
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Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(4)
Author: Kresley Cole

conveyed you safely to my people.”

“You can never locate her without me.” As a sister Valkyrie, Regin could sense her if she got

close enough. “And we haven’t time to dally.”

“You came to me for guidance, and this is my decision—”

“Guidance! You are mad. And arrogant. I am the daughter of gods. I came to you for a horse, food,

and mayhap a pair of outriders. So I could be on my way!”

“’Tis a done thing, brightling. In this realm, my word is final.”

They were interrupted by the brunette from the hall, now carrying in a tray of food and drink. As

she served two trenchers of some kind of savory stew, she made sure her ample bosom was displayed

for Aidan.

Regin thought of her own barely budding chest. For the first time in her life, she felt lacking.

And mayhap jealous. Ah, but ’twas Regin who sat at the warlord’s table like a woman grown.

’Twas Regin the stubborn, mad mortal wanted to wed. She cast the wench a smirk.

“No ale for the girl, Birgit,” Aidan said to the woman. “Do we not have milk?”

Regin’s face heated. And all the worse, because she would dearly love some milk.

When Birgit returned with some, Aidan dismissed her so absently that the worst of Regin’s pique

was soothed.

The rich scent of game stew called to her hunger, and she eagerly dug in. The meat melted in her

mouth. Gods, mortals did know how to cook.

“Tell me of your home,” he said, breaking a piece of flatbread for her trencher.

“’Tis a beautiful land of mists,” she said around bites. “Slow and peaceful.” Usually. Unless Loki

descended upon them, or someone released Fenris, the giant wolf.

“What was your life like?”

Regin swallowed a mouthful of bread. “You truly wish me to … talk?” Most of the time, her

sisters bade her be quiet, serious.

“I am curious about you.”

She shrugged, deciding that she might as well enjoy this short time with this stubborn, immovable

warlord—because unless he could be made to change his mind, she planned to slip away in the night

and continue her search.

At least now she’d have food in her belly and likely a stolen horse.

So she regaled him with stories of Valhalla and the silliness of the demigods. He laughed at all of

the tales, seeming genuinely amused.

At one point, his expression seemed even … proud, earning another frown from her. “You do not

mind my humor?”

“Not at all. I’ve not laughed like this …” His brows drew together. “I think I’ve never laughed like

this.”

“Usually I exasperate people. And I jest at inappropriate times. Such as during executions. Freya

says ’tis my gift and my bane to frustrate others.”

“I like your manner, Reginleit. Life is long without humor.”

She felt like preening in the face of this steely-eyed warrior’s praise—until he added, “We will

suit well, brightling.”

She sighed. “Still you believe we will be together.” Though she sensed that Aidan was an

honorable male, he was misled in this. Wóden would never allow Regin to wed a mortal berserker.

And the ohalla Aidan sought? She’d only ever heard of one berserker in all of history who’d

earned it. The rest died in battles long before their two hundredth one.

A fact that the cunning Wóden well knew.

“I am certain we will, little wife.” Finished with his meal, Aidan rose and crossed to his bed,

dividing the furs into two pallets on opposite walls. He waved her to one, then took the other. Easing

to his side, he propped his head in his hand. “When you are older you’ll come to see that every

woman needs a man, even a Valkyrie.”

“Why?” She plopped down across from him.

“You’ll understand when you go through the change.”

“You mean when I become immortal?” When she would change from a growing, vulnerable girl to

a nigh invincible woman. Her sisters spoke of this time in whispers, but Regin didn’t know why.

Mayhap this male would tell her.

“Those months will be sweet.” He lay on his back, his hands behind his head. In a knowing tone,

he said, “You’ll definitely want me around then.”

“Why? What happens?”

“You’ll become a woman. And you’ll need me as much as I will surely be needing you.”

“Would you try to kiss me?” she asked slyly.

“Depend on it.”

“And?”

“And now you should go to sleep. We’ve a long journey ahead of us.”

“Warlord, tell me!” She crossed her arms over her chest and lightning struck outside.

He chuckled.

“Why should I choose you to kiss, then?”

He turned on his side again, his gaze holding hers. “Why not me?”

“All you do is war.”

“True, and I’m damned skilled at my trade. Which means I’ll always be able to protect you. And

by the time you’re grown, I’ll have accumulated enough loot to spoil you.”

“You’re not noble or refined.”

He nodded easily. “I possess no refinement. But that also means I’ve no guile—you will always

know what I’m thinking.”

“And you believe you are entitled to a Valkyrie for your bride?”

“I am the most powerful berserker ever to live,” he said, not with conceit but as if he merely stated

an indisputable fact. “So if not me, then who?”

She shrugged. “I remain unconvinced of your charms, Aidan.” Also an indisputable fact.

“There is another reason. …”

“Tell me.”

His voice gone gruff, he added, “You should choose me because … I will love you, Reginleit.”

Her heart seemed to skip a beat. “How can you say that? You cannot know the future!”

“I know because, at twelve years of age, you’ve won me with your wit and bravery. Your staunch

loyalty, too.” He leaned back once more, grinning up at the roof of the longhouse. “When you have

your wiles about you, I’ll be no match. I concede defeat well in advance.”

“When I’m grown, others will vie for my hand.”

“Undoubtedly. But you belong only to me.”

Lightning struck again from her frustration. He truly believed he had the right to take away her

freedom, to keep her as his untouched prize while he continued his debauched lifestyle. Perhaps that

was the way of things with mortals. But such is not good enough for the likes of me.

“Berserker, hear my words,” she said. “I vow to you that I will stay as true to you as you do to

me.” That would shut his mouth. He couldn’t go a week without a Birgit. “Every wench upon your lap

means I sit upon a warrior’s. Every woman’s mouth you kiss is a man’s lips upon my own.”

His fierce gaze met hers, his eyes ablaze once more—as if the mere thought of her with another

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