Home > Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(6)

Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(6)
Author: Kresley Cole

“I felt so certain.” He raised his head, revealing a miserable expression. “Last night, I dreamed I’d

found her.”

Regin stifled a gasp at his appearance. Aidan’s striking face was weary, his mien defeated. Yet

underneath the signs of the ongoing years, he was still the most beautiful male she’d ever seen.

Brandr handed him a jug. “Here. Drink this.”

Aidan pushed it away. “I need a clear head. We ride north tomorrow.”

“Forget for one night,” Brandr said with an exaggerated slap of the whore’s bottom.

Aidan scowled at that, then all around at the men groping and the women writhing. He took the jug,

turned it up. When he’d emptied it, he swiped his tunic sleeve over his mouth. “Gods, what was that?

It burns my throat.”

“That was the choice spirits! Now follow them with a choice woman.”

Nay, do not!

“For once, Aidan.”

For once? He truly had kept his vow?

When Aidan cast him another scowl, Brandr sighed. He lifted the woman to her feet, telling her,

“Go pleasure others for this hour. I’ll find you for the next.”

Once the two men were alone, Brandr said, “This cannot go on, Aidan. I am your friend, and I

cannot see you like this any longer.”

“What would you have me do?”

“Return to being the leader you used to be. For all the gods’ sakes, Aidan, I am closer to ohalla

than you are, and you’ve half a dozen years of age on me. Forget this obsession. You think of nothing

but her.”

“And can you blame me? Imagine the woman she would be.” He gazed up at the cloudy sky as if

picturing her at that moment, and Regin’s heart clenched again. Then Aidan faced Brandr. “Nay, do

not imagine her.”

Brandr exhaled. “There are women aplenty in this camp. Women who burn to bed you. Surely you

can replace her.”

“The idea is laughable. As well you know.”

“I’d take a warm woman in my hands over a cold Valkyrie in my mind.”

I am not cold!

“By the way,” Brandr added, “that was enough drink to put down a horse. You’ll be on your face

soon. Mayhap you’ll actually sleep a night through.”

With a snarl, Aidan shot to his feet, then lurched toward a nearby tent.

“Go to your lonely bed, old man!” Brandr called.

Brandr and I are going to cross swords one day, Regin decided. Then she leapt from one limb to

another, settling in a tree outside Aidan’s tent. From there, she could spy the dimly lit interior through

the outer flap.

Inside, he angrily ripped off his tunic, displaying broad shoulders and a brawny back that tapered

down to narrow hips. As he moved, his muscles flexed beneath smooth tanned skin.

Magnificent male. She hissed out a shaky breath at the sight.

He kicked a shield on the ground, then knocked a tankard from a table. He was like the

approaching storm, his ire building as he began to smash his belongings—weapons clanging, wood

splintering.

Regin tilted her head in wonder, frowning at the mortal’s rampage.

When the storm gave up its first bolt above, he froze. She thought she heard him mutter, “Lightning.

Lightning?” Out of the tent he staggered, clearly the worse for the liquor, and headed away from the

camp.

Regin dropped down and silently followed as he made his way out of the forest into a nearby field.

He stopped before an ancient rune stone—an upright slab of rock more than ten feet tall, carved with

glyphs. They were numerous in these Northlands, each created to be a direct path to Wóden’s ear.

He faced the stone. “You give me lightning this eve?” With every word, his voice grew louder,

until he was shouting: “To remind me of what I have lost?” He launched his mighty fist against the

rock.

Regin’s jaw dropped at the blasphemy.

Aidan punched it again, bloodying his hand. “To remind me of what I cannot find?”

With his every word, she felt his pain. It washed over her like a flood, temporarily numbing her

desires. She’d never known hurt like this—a torment not of the body but of the mind.

Of the heart?

She’d never known he would come to this.

As if pulled to him by an invisible force, she eased closer. When he drew back his bloodied fist

again, she stayed his arm with a touch.

He went still, but his whole body seemed to be thrumming. Regin’s was as well; her own lightning

lit the sky from her turbulent emotions.

Slowly, he turned to her. With a shaking hand, he reached for her cloak. She didn’t think he even

realized he spoke aloud: “Be her, be her, gods, let it be her. ”

He unfastened the garment, let it drop to her feet, then sucked in a breath at her uncovered face. His

bloodshot eyes now glowed gray as they flickered over her features. Brows drawn together as if he

were pained, he held up a lock of her hair, threading his fingers through it. “So fair.”

A light rain began to fall, misting their skin, but he seemed not to notice as his gaze dipped to her

body. Rocking on his feet, he rasped, “Gods, ängel. I dreamed of you like this. Every night.” Then he

frowned, muttering to himself, “Still in reverie. That was the choicest spirits.”

“’Tis no dream, warlord—”

One strapping arm shot out to circle her shoulders; the other was a band around her arms and

torso, dragging her against him. She felt him groan from deep in his chest as their bodies met.

The closest she’d ever been to a man.

“You’ve returned to me. No longer must I worry for you, out in the world alone,” he said, his

voice breaking lower with emotion. “You were just a little girl. Without my protection.” He nuzzled

her hair, inhaling with another groan. “But you’re a woman now.” His erection pressed against her

belly as he growled, “My woman.”

The bare skin of his chest was smooth against her cheek and felt so hot in the rain. His scent

surrounded her, enticing her as much as his muscles rippling all around her. When he rubbed his chin

over the sensitive tip of her pointed ear, her claws curled, readying to sink into his body and pull him

ever closer.

Yet then he drew his head back, suspicion in his expression. “Have you lain with another?”

She frowned, genuinely curious when she asked, “Would you not want me if I had?”

A muscle ticked in his jaw. He ignored her question. “Has there been another, Valkyrie?” His wild

eyes were seething gray. “Tell me! The beast in me stirs. It can’t share its mate. I can’t share my

mate.”

Regin swallowed at the intensity of his gaze. He would never give her up, would never accept the

mere months she’d intended to give him. “Th-this was a mistake.”

“There has been.” He threw back his head and roared like an animal in pain, crushing her against

him with one arm as he pounded his fist into the wet stone over and over. “You were meant for me,

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