Bram smirked, but climbed down the side of the ship and into the rowboat. The first mate, one who always glared at him with a bleeding gummed snarl, and scurvy, snatch the oar. Without waiting for Bram to settle into the boat, the man pushed off with the oars. Bram fell against the back of the boat with a grunt.
“I paid your Captain handsomely to see me safely to shore.”
“Aye.” The man rowed, but his scowl did not lessen. Cliffs rose up on one side of the ocean and waves churned against the rocks.
Near the beach, the man quit rowing and yanked out a knife.
Bram didn’t move. “You go against your Captain’s orders t—”
“You made it to shore. That’s all we’s promised.” He spat at Bram’s boots. “No one said anything about you living afterwards.” When he dove forward, Bram ducked to the side and snatched the sailor’s arm, pinning it to his side. When the sailor slung with his free arm, Bram increased the pressure until the man was on his knees.
“Cease, or I will break your arm.” If it wasn’t for his pledge to Morga, he’d have snapped the man’s arm already. Once his contract was signed with the Laird, then he’d be free to fight in Ireland—or at least against other Vikings and rival Irishmen. The man continued to struggle, “Or perhaps a leg as well? What will your Captain say if you return without your weapon and injured? Will he be merciful and allow you to recover or throw you to the sharks?”
“Heathen scum!” He twisted his body to escape Bram’s grip.
As he did, Bram snapped the man’s wrist backward and the first mate let out a howl before the blade came closer to Bram’s chest.
“Now, hand me the knife.” When the man glared at him, he increased pressure on the bent wrist. “Or this heathen might do worse so that not even the sharks would want you.”
The first mate gulped and released his hold of the knife.
Bram broke his hold and snatched the blade out of the air before it hit the water. “Tell your Captain, I will not forget his hospitality nor will any of my eight brothers.”
The man paled. “What brings you to our island? To rape our women and pillage our churches?”
“No.” Bram rose and tucked the small blade into his boot. “To find my bride.”
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Her favorite childhood memories revolved around creating vibrant characters for her friends, and then acting out their adventures. Inside her fantasy worlds of darkened forests, dragon-filled glades, and iced islands, nothing was banned. From the ethereal Elvin to the most maligned Vampires, all were welcome in her fictional realities, a stark contrast to her home, where the magical and mythical was forbidden.