Title: Viking For Hire
Author: Jo Grafford
Format: eBook/Paperback, 59 pages
Published: February 6th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Branwyn O’Tyre’s estranged brother summons her for a healing ritual. Fearing he actually plans to arrest her for witchcraft, she drinks a protection potion before he arrives.
Eirik, a Viking sea captain pretending slumber in the tavern corner, witnesses Branwyn’s magic and offers her safe passage from Exeter if she will attempt to reverse a curse that plagues him. Alas, every woman who touches him falls madly but falsely in love with him.
There’s only one hitch. If she fails, Branwyn’s heart will fall prey to the same madness...forever!
“I am not a witch! I am a healer,” she cried. “There is a world of difference between the two."
“Call yourself whatever you will, Branwyn. Your powers do not scare me. In truth, I sought you out a-purpose in the hopes you would heal me from the effects of a spell. ‘Twas cast on me by a wretched sorceress when I refused her…ah…advances.”
Fearing another trap, Branwyn stared at the ground. “Methinks you mistake me for another. I am naught but a lowly healer, cast off by an overzealous brother in a fit of religious fervor. Wh-why do you ask me such things, m’lord?”
“Very well,” Eirik snapped and pocketed her wand. “If you wish to indulge in games, at least choose one that gives me equal pleasure. By Thor, I’ve been long without a woman.” He closed the distance between them and hauled her into his lap.”
VIKING FOR HIRE by Jo Grafford was an excellent, quick, wonderfully witchy historical romance! I've been going thru witch withdrawal since reading PROTECTING HIS WITCH and this little treasure was exactly what the doctor ordered to remedy what ailed me! I am so thrilled to have come upon it. It is the first book I've ever read by Jo but it certainly won't be the last as I am resolved to check out more of her works soon.
VIKING FOR HIRE was both romantic and action-riddled, replete with Viking pirates, mermaids, evil sorceresses, wolves and witches! I love fairy tales and this was a fast-paced magical treat without a single dull moment. I can honestly say that my attention never wavered from the first scene to the last. As to the heat level, there was some kissing but no hanky panky - so this book is appropriate for young adults on up.
I fell in love with both Branwyn O'Tyre, our fierce and feisty heroine, and Eirik, our kissable, chivalrous, hunky, tortured hero. I can't believe how fast I became attached to both of them - but I did! I especially appreciated that Eirik refused to take advantage of women who were ensnared by the curse upon him. He was beyond noble! I also became quite fond of Sven, a supporting character. He was another delectable Norseman and a member of Eirik's crew. I fervently hope that the author sees fit to give Sven his own story - with his own woman - soon!
As the story opens, we learn that Branwyn is a good witch. She is waiting for her brother at an out-of-the way decrepit tavern. She is fully aware that her brother means to accuse her of practicing witchcraft and arrest her. It breaks her heart. However, instead of falling apart, she makes an out-of-the-blue offer to the only other occupant of the room, a Viking raider, who she initially believes to be deep into his cups, i.e., inebriated:
"I've a need for knowing what potion you mixed with these, lass." The rich baritone of his voice washed over her with a mesmerizing quality. She liked the sound. A lot. 'Twas deep and majestic, the kind of voice a body would never tire of hearing....
Apparently we have company. We shall finish this conversation anon."
"I highly doubt that we will," she retorted. "My brother has arrived to accuse me of witchcraft and arrest me. Unless you are available for hire as my protector, this conversation is quite finished."
Instead of appearing shocked, the stranger's eyes took on a twinkle. "Is that so? Most damsels in your distressed shoes would be either weeping or swooning by now. Instead you offer me employment. I'll admit I am fascinated by your offer."
KUDOS to the author! She has woven an utterly charming tale with fully developed characters that had me alternately on the edge of my seat, laughing and swooning - all in just under a hundred pages. This is a story I would not hesitate to read again! There are twists and turns galore and the ending is pure perfection! I highly recommend VIKING FOR HIRE to anyone who enjoys bewitching tales with sexy, seafaring pirates and damsels in distress - who are actually quite capable on their own. Generally, such a short story wouldn't rate five wine glasses... but this one deserves it!