It took Finn a quarter of an hour or so to make his spare room fit for Eira to use. He really should have made up the bed as soon as he arrived at the conclusion that he wasn’t justified in making her spend the night in a cell, since it was obvious she had nowhere else to go right now. In the morning he could probably sort out alternative accommodation for her, one of the hotels, perhaps. But for now, for her own safety and protection, she could use his guest room. He cast a final eye over the neat bed and stack of towels, then headed back downstairs.
What the fuck? His kitchen was empty.
Finn sprinted through and into the custody suite, just in case, but of course she wasn’t there. He checked the living room, then charged back upstairs taking the steps two at a time.
“Eira? Where are you?” He stood on the landing and shouted. Nothing. He raced back downstairs again, calling her name into the empty house.
She had gone. He knew it.
Finn flung open the back door and there was the proof, a set of footprints disappearing across his rear yard. He bent to examine them more closely, and swore.
She had gone out without shoes on.
Idiot woman. Does she have a death wish?
He would cure her of it, but first he had to find her.
From the dusting of snow that already partly obscured her prints he surmised that Eira had perhaps a ten-minute start on him. He was fortunate that the storm had abated somewhat or the evidence might already be obliterated. As it was, he had to hurry.
He noticed his leather biker jacket was gone. He was pleased; it meant she did at least have some protection from the elements. But it wasn’t enough, nowhere close. Finn took valuable minutes to find his own weatherproof boots and hiking jacket and grab the keys to his police issue four by four. The Land Rover Defender could manage pretty much all terrain, though these conditions were especially difficult, but without doubt the vehicle would buy him valuable extra minutes in which to locate her. He made a run for it across the yard and flung open the garage. His two motorcycles occupied one half of the space, and the police Land Rover the other.
Finn leapt into the driver’s seat and started the engine. In moments he was tearing across the snow-covered landscape, his nose pressed almost up against the windscreen as he followed a fast-disappearing set of footprints.
He lost sight of her tracks several times and had to double back on himself, but each time he was able to pick up the trail in the dipped headlamps. She appeared to be wandering around in circles, aimless, directionless. He didn’t like it one bit.
Fuck! He almost ran right over her. But for the sudden glimpse of black leather silhouetted against the snow he might not have spotted her at all. Eira was face down, motionless in the snow. He leapt from the Land Rover and waded through the crisp, white covering to where she lay.
“Eira, can you hear me?” He rolled her onto her back and shook her. Her eyelids fluttered.
Holy fuck. He lifted her in his arms and sprinted for the vehicle. Finn shoved Eira unceremoniously into the passenger seat, pulled the seatbelt around her, and dragged off his own coat to lay over her chilled body. She really needed to stop doing this sort of thing. Finn was still cursing under his breath as he ran around the front of the vehicle and clambered back into the driver’s seat. He turned the heating up full blast and headed for home.
Back at the police house he lifted the semi-conscious Eira from the Land Rover and half carried her back indoors. Should he run her another bath?
He opted for the instant hit of a shower, which meant using the en-suite in his room. He bundled her up the stairs and dumped her on his bed while he turned on the water jets. Next he set about removing what he could of her wet clothing. This was getting to be a habit, and whilst he believed he could get used to undressing her, Eira really needed to cultivate at least a modicum of survival instinct. This time he would make sure she learnt her lesson. As soon as she was warmed up…
Finn did his best to remain dispassionate as he dragged the woollen sweater over her head, then peeled the loose jogging pants down her long legs. The thick hiking socks were filthy and ruined. He slung those straight in the bin in the corner, then regarded the shivering woman on his bed. She still wore one of his T-shirts, and Finn contemplated divesting her of that too, but settled for leaving it where it was. With no more ado he scooped her up and carried her into his small shower room. Once there he placed her feet on the floor and shoved her into the shower cubicle.
She yelped when the hot water hit her but he was past being gentle. He slid the cubicle door closed, but relented when he caught sight of her terrified features. Still furious, he quickly peeled off his own shirt and jeans and followed her into the shower wearing just his shorts. Finn ignored her frantic wriggling and held her against his chest under the cascading stream until her pallid skin took on a pinkish glow again. She stopped struggling and clung to him, seemingly stunned at first, then relaxing as the warmth penetrated. When he sensed her legs were again steady under her, Finn reached for the shampoo and squirted a generous helping into his palm. He created a lather that he worked into her long, loose hair, then he tipped her head back with his fingers and angled the shower to rinse the soap away. Eira stood still, head back and her eyes closed, allowing him to wash her hair. Finn worked soap into her thick mane for a second time, glad that the shampoo also contained a conditioner. He finger-combed her hair before rinsing again.
After a few minutes, and satisfied that she was thoroughly thawed out, Finn stepped from the shower and reached to turn off the water. Eira stood in the cubicle, the T-shirt hanging from her. She looked like a drowned rabbit, and just as nervous.
He turned his back before shoving his shorts to his feet and stepping out of them. Finn grabbed a towel and wrapped it around himself, then reached for another. He turned to face her, holding the towel out. She would have taken it and wrapped it around herself but he twirled a finger in the air to signal her to turn around. When she did so, he reached for the hem of her dripping garment and before she could protest he dragged it up and over her head. She barely had time to shriek and clasp her arms across her breasts before he dropped the thick towel over her shoulders and left her to manage the rest on her own.
Finn dredged around his memory for the correct phrase in his rudimentary Icelandic. “You did not stay. I told you to stay.” It was the best he could come up with. Wearing just his jeans, the waistband unbuttoned, Finn bestowed his finely honed dom scowl on the woman huddled on the bed.
“I am sorry.”
He glared at her. She might look adorable, wrapped in a towel, her golden hair combed and her features still pink from the shower, but the fact remained that had he been even a few minutes later in discovering her gone, her tracks might have been obliterated and he would not have found her until the snow thawed. By then it would have been too late.
“You must obey. You understand?”
“I want you to be safe.”
“I understand. I will obey.”
“You will learn to obey. We start now.” He reached for the open buckle of his belt and tugged it from the loops on his jeans.
Her emerald-green eyes widened in alarm as his intent became clear. Eira scrambled away and huddled at the top of the bed. “Neinn. I will obey…”
Finn hardened his resolve and sat on the edge of the bed. “Five strokes,” he told her, holding up one hand, the fingers extended. “Five strokes.” He patted his thighs and hoped he would not have to force her over his knee.
“This is the law? Your law, here?”
Finn managed to follow the gist of her question and shook his head. He answered in slow, halting Icelandic, watching Eira’s features carefully for signs that she understood him. “These are the rules between you and me. Not the law. I will protect you, keep you safe, and to do that I have to know you will obey me. If you disobey, you will be punished.”
“You will beat me?”
“Spank you. Yes.”
“My husband… He… he…”
“Your husband spanked you?”
“Ja.” Eira nodded. “One time.”
“And you survived. This time too. You will remember. Next time you will obey me. Yes?”
“My husband was the Jarl. He was ihǫfðingi in our village and all obeyed him. You are the Jarl here, in this place?”
It was as good a description as any, Finn supposed, for this purpose and given his limited command of her language. He resolved to brush up on his Icelandic, and to teach Eira some useful English phrases.
“Yes. Here, I am Jarl.”
He patted his lap and waited for Eira to resign herself to the inevitable. It did not take long. Eira edged forward from the head of the bed and eventually threw herself face down across his knee.
Finn lifted the towel to reveal the curved perfection of her bottom. He had, of course, had occasion to admire her body in the shower, though between the T-shirt and his own annoyance that opportunity had been limited. He took his time to savour her now.
Eira flinched when he laid his palm on the soft, tender skin of her buttock. He squeezed, then reached for the belt, which he had laid beside him on the bed. Finn took the precaution of hooking his leg over both of hers to ensure she remained in place, and with his spare hand he held her wrists in the small of her back. He usually derived considerable pleasure from taking his belt to a willing woman and he was only marginally less enthusiastic about administering a decent disciplinary spanking. Now that he had Eira laid across his lap, waiting, he was ready to admit that this was where he had wanted to see her right from the moment he had set eyes on the woman on the road. Even so, he thought it best to get this done with quickly. It was late, they both needed to get some sleep.
Eira yelped when the first stroke landed. She wriggled and squirmed on Finn’s lap but he held her fast. After a few moments she settled and he delivered the second stroke. This time she whimpered but did not struggle. The third and fourth strokes were met with first screams, then sobbing. By the fifth she lay limp, weeping, her bottom sporting five vivid crimson stripes.
Finn laid the belt aside and traced each red wheal with his fingertips. He was gentle, but she hissed with pain even so.
“I am sorry,” she gulped. “I will obey.”
“I know,” murmured Finn. “I know you will. And now, you know what will happen if you don’t.”
“I am sorry, also, for the knife.”
“That’s done with, I told you. It doesn’t matter.”
“I am sorry, even so.”
Finn eased her to her feet, then held her elbows until he was sure she was steady. “All is forgiven. You have been punished and we will not talk of it again, the knife or you disobeying me.” He pulled her to him in a hug then smiled up at her. “You must be tired. It is very late. I made a bed for you.”
“I know, in the prison.”
“No, not there. In another room. You can use it until you have somewhere else to stay.” He stood up and held out his hand. Eira took it, and he led her from the room.
“This is for me?” She gazed at the small but perfectly serviceable spare bedroom.
“Yes. You can sleep here. I’ll bring your clothes when they’re dry but until then you’ll have to borrow more of mine.”
“May I stay with you?”
“May I sleep in your bed? With you?”
“Why would you want to—?”
“I do not like to be alone. I want to stay where you are.”
“Are you sure? Even after…?”
“It is… too quiet in this place. May I stay close to you?”
Finn shook his head, bemused.
“Yes, if that’s what you want.” He took her hand again and together they walked back along the landing and into his room. Once there Eira said nothing. She simply unwrapped the towel from around her naked body and lay down on the bed. It was left to Finn to pull back the duvet and show her how to scramble beneath it, yet another simple everyday act that appeared to be beyond her.
He settled himself in the small armchair under his window, prepared to allow her the use of the bed. Eira sat up against the pillows, the duvet clutched to her chest as she watched him.
“Why do you sleep there?”
A good question, and one Finn did not choose to answer. Instead, he got up and walked around to the empty side of the bed, and got in beside her. He still wore his jeans, but felt that was probably for the best.
Eira opened her eyes and sensed at once that she was alone. She rolled over to peruse the still warm but decidedly empty space beside her. Sounds from the small room with the cascading water alerted her to Finn’s whereabouts and, still naked, she slipped from the warmth of the bed to seek him out.
He was in the tiny space where hot water poured from all directions. And he was naked too. Eira knew it was wrong to stare, especially when he did not know that she was there, but she could not help herself. She could see him clearly through the colourless walls and he was indeed a magnificent sight.
Brenna, the strange, formless woman who spoke to her yesterday had insisted that Finn was a mortal male, not a god. Eira still did not entirely believe that, and the sight of Finn’s naked body did nothing to convince her. He was indeed godlike in her opinion, absolutely perfect. She quashed her reservations as she undertook a leisurely appraisal of the muscled shoulders, the contoured back, the slim hips, and taut buttocks displayed before her, and her female parts moistened when he stretched his arms up to rub soap into his short, dark brown hair. She remembered that he had washed her hair for her yesterday, and his hands had been gentle. That was right before he laid her across his lap and took his belt to her naked bottom. She should fear him. Certainly, she should resent him, but she did not.
She desired him.
She wanted him even more than she had wanted Audun. Then, she had been younger, an innocent bride facing an uncertain future with a husband she barely knew. Now, she was aware of exactly what it was that she wanted from this powerful, enigmatic stranger and that yearning was stronger than it had ever been before. It lent her courage and determination.
Finn turned when she moved toward the colourless partition. She remembered a door that slid to one side to allow access to the cascading water. Her eyes met his and she pressed her fingers against the cool barrier that separated them. Finn smiled and opened the door. Eira stepped in beside him.
He picked up a colourful container of some sort and poured a pool of liquid into the palm of his hand, then he offered her the bottle. Eira took it but did not really know what to do next. She lifted it to her nose and savoured the delicate aroma before turning her puzzled gaze on his again. Finn took the container back from her and twirled his finger in the air. She knew that signal. He wanted her to turn around.
She obeyed, and now her back was to him. Finn reached around her to pull her closer to his body. The solid shaft of his cock nudged her bottom as she leaned back against him. Eira writhed as he spread the spicy-scented soap across her shoulders and down her arms, then returned to her neck and did it all over again. As she relaxed into the caress he lowered his hands to cup her breasts.
“Tell me no, if you don’t want this.”
Eira had to concentrate hard, and she was still uncertain that she properly understood his meaning. Was he seeking permission? Had she not made her wishes clear by coming into this room when she had no need to? By joining him in this wondrous indoor waterfall of his?
He stopped, his hands still on her breasts but motionless now. She could come up with no words to express her desire, but she could show him. Eira laid her hands on top of his, pressing his palms more firmly against her smooth curves. She turned her head toward him, her eyes closed and she let out a soft sigh.
She understood that. “Ja,” she murmured.
It was enough, it seemed. Finn kissed her exposed neck. His gentle fingers traced the delicate lower curves of her breasts before circling her nipples. The sensitive buds swelled and lengthened under his touch. Finn took each peak between his thumb and index finger and squeezed.
Eira moaned her delight, then she arched her back, thrusting her breasts further into his hands. Finn seemed to know what she wanted. He tightened his hold, increasing the pressure little by little until she tensed with the pleasure/pain of his touch and cried out but still she did not attempt to stop him.
He murmured soft words into her ear as he tugged on her nipples. Eira remembered the joy of a man’s touch. Audun had not been without such skills and she had known pleasure in his bed. Could she reach her release from what Finn was doing to her now? She thought she might, but it was not to be. Finn had another surprise ready for her.
He reached for the source of the cascading water and removed it from the wall above them. In his capable, powerful hands the jet narrowed down to one powerful stream of water, which he directed straight onto her right nipple.
The pleasure was unexpected, but exquisite. Eira gasped, then squealed when he subjected her other pebbled nub to the same treatment. Next, he pushed his foot between both of hers and eased her ankles apart. She knew what he would do next, and held her breath as he slid his free hand around the front and between her legs. Finn used his fingers to part her delicate folds and pull back the hood that partly concealed her clit, and his encircling arm to hold her still when he turned the jet on that most sensitive spot.
Eira stiffened. The sensation was so intense she groaned and her knees buckled. She would have slithered boneless to the floor had he not held her up. Then, moments later, her entire body convulsed as her orgasm overwhelmed her.
Eira shook. She was weightless, soaring, then diving toward the ground in an uncontrolled plummet. The myriad lights of a thousand stars flashed behind her eyes as she swooped, then in an instant were extinguished and she saw only blackness. Her heart thumped, her breathing was rapid. She moaned, reached out her hand to caress the cool, smooth surface before her.
It was real. All of this was real. The delightful sensations coursing through her body, the sensual heat of the water that beat down upon her, the muscled forearm across her stomach that held her fast. She stretched, ground her shoulders against the broad, male chest at her back and rubbed her buttocks over the thick cock that jutted insistently against her.
He was real, also. Finn, her god who was not, her more-than-a-mortal rescuer who punished and pleasured with equal skill. As her senses regathered, Eira turned in his arms.
He curled his lips in a smile, the expression both warm and sensual. She gazed up into the blue of his eyes then reached to lay her fingers against his cheek. She smiled back, and it was on the tip of her tongue to thank him for the pleasure he gave her but instead she stretched up on her toes and brushed her lips over his. Finn’s fingers were in her hair and he tilted her head in order to deepen the kiss. His tongue explored the seam of her lips and Eira parted them for him. He plunged his tongue into her mouth to tease and dance with hers. It was erotic, intimate, a kiss that promised much and held little back. Lust coiled again deep down in Eira’s belly and she lifted one leg to wrap it around his hip.
Finn broke the kiss to murmur a few guttural words. She had heard him make similar utterances already and Eira was convinced that he had said something obscene but she did not care. All she cared about in this moment was that he should not stop, that he should, that he must…
“Please…” she whispered. “Please, I need…”
Again, that word. Eira lifted her other leg and clamped her ankles together in the small of his back. “Ja, fuck,” she repeated. “Please.”
His cock was at her entrance, pressing, pushing, stretching her. He was large, she had seen that much when she observed him in the shower, when he turned to invite her to join him. Eira did not care. She should care, she knew that, but could not find that sliver of caution that should give her pause.
She expected his penetration to hurt, how could it not? But at that moment she knew she wanted it more than she desired life itself. She ground her body against his, rotating her hips to work the head of his cock into her tight passage. She tried to press down but could get no leverage. In frustration, she growled.
Finn chuckled and placed his hands under her buttocks. He leaned forward, pressing her back and shoulders against the cool, smooth wall at her rear then he rocked his hips forward and filled her in one smooth, long stroke.
There was a sharp, shrill cry, and Eira was surprised to realise it was her own voice that echoed around this tiny space. Then his lips were on hers again, swallowing her sounds, the words she might have uttered to urge him on. Her scream was short-lived, giving way almost instantly to frantic moaning deep in her throat as he withdrew, only to drive his cock deep again. The pleasure mounted, crested, ebbed, then surged forth with each long, powerful stroke. She could not contain it, could not control her body’s response that threatened to overwhelm her for the second time in as many minutes.
“Come for me. Come on my cock.” He whispered the command but his words were laced with steel and her body responded to the authority that reverberated through her soul. Although Eira only barely understood what he wanted of her, the timbre of his voice, the quiet certainty that she would obey was sufficient to cause her cunny to throb and contract helplessly around his thick shaft. She clung to him as her body convulsed. Wave after wave of pleasure washed over her until Eira was convinced she would drown in it.
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