A winter storm…
and a white-hot reunion!
Princess Freya is dreading the dutiful task that will mean facing Kjell Bergqvist again. The hardened soldier he’s become is nothing like the man who broke her heart eight years ago. But memories of what they once shared enflame new desires when a snowstorm leaves them stranded!
Kjell can’t forgive Freya for exiling him from his country—until they discover the truth of what really tore them apart. Without a royal title, he cannot offer Freya the future she deserves, but they have each other as long as the storm rages…
Book One in the Royals of Svardia Trilogy
‘Your Highness? We’re coming in to land,’ she was warned through the earpiece in the headphones, jolting her back from a memory that left a fresh bruise on her heart.
The pilot brought them down much closer to the edge of the forest than Freya had thought possible. Yet it was still a good distance from the two dwellings she could barely make out, buried beneath what looked, worryingly, like several feet of snow.
She waited while men in green jumpsuits flipped buttons and muttered into their headsets, controlling her breathing by timing her pulse to the slowing blades above her.
‘Okay, Your Highness. We’re ready.’
She nodded to Gunnar and reached up to the handle just above the open door.
She turned back to look at Gunnar.
‘We don’t have much time. Conditions have worsened unexpectedly. There’s a storm coming in from the East and it’s set to be a bad one.’
Freya didn’t waste any more time. There was absolutely no way that she would risk getting stuck out here. None. She had one goal. Get in, have Kjell accept the medal and leave. He owed her that much at least.
She landed a little ungracefully, despite the support from the guard, the blanket of snow about three inches deeper than she had imagined. The action jarred, sending a hard jolt up through her body. She shook her head a little, righting herself and her sense of self at the same time.
This was what she wanted, she told herself firmly. This was what was needed.
Freya looked up at the large cabin closest to them, the red painted wooden boards barely visible through flakes of snow that were now falling thick and fast. But something drew her gaze to the cabin set further back, nearer the woods, and a sense of déjà vu struck her, even though she’d never set foot in this part of southern Sweden before.
She shivered as a snowflake slid past the upturned collar of her coat and trailed down her spine. The icy tendril clashed with the fast burn of ire, flaring to life at the mere thought of what could have been and what would never be, the past with Kjell and the future with children she’d never have all swirling out of her reach and making her heart ache.
Her head snapped up as she felt his eyes on her, burning her skin. She searched back and forth across the front of the properties and only on her second pass did she see him leaning lazily against the corner of the furthest building, watching them approach as if he had all the time in the world.
Pinpricks broke out across the back of her neck and a shocking longing hit her hard and fast. It stuck in her throat and filled her lungs. Until the memory of his betrayal cut through the haze of need like a shard of ice.
Clearing her mind, Freya knew without a doubt that the only reason she had spotted him was because he’d allowed it. And now that she had seen him she refused to look away, half afraid that if she blinked he would disappear and all of this would have been for nothing. Her only chance at freedom gone, just like that.
The snow made it much harder to close the distance and consequently gave her more time to take him in. How was he standing there in the middle of a blizzard with a wind chill factor of minus degrees in nothing but a dark long-sleeved top that clung to his torso like a second skin? The matching trousers looked military grade and even had she not overheard his army rank she still would have thought dangerous. He was twisting something in gloveless hands—a rag or piece of cloth? Her fingers stung at just the thought of how cold his hands must be.
Finer details began to emerge as she drew closer. His hair, still the colour of spun gold, had grown a little long at the top, was swept back by the wind but the close crop at the sides highlighted the fierce slash of his cheekbones. The dark material of his T-shirt pulled tightly over a chest that was bigger and broader and so much more defined than she remembered it made her palms itch. The narrow circumference of his hips was marked by a thick black canvas belt that looked utilitarian rather than affectation. And his height… She could have hurt herself looking up at the forbidding expression on his features.
Maybe it was the snow, maybe it was the isolated cabins, but she’d expected a beard. Full, thick, something a Norse god could be proud of. But his jaw was clean-shaven, all hard angles and smooth skin, and still she wanted to—
Freya jerked her eyes up to his and bit her lip. The storm in his gaze was far worse than anything the elements could throw at her. He narrowed his eyes as if sensing her wayward thoughts, before he refocused on something behind her.
‘Take her home, Gunnar,’ he growled, his voice somehow carrying through the raging snowstorm, and without even a second glance at her he disappeared through the door with a slam that dislodged a substantial amount of snow from the sloped roof.
Panic shot through her. It had taken two months for Sander to even consider agreeing to her request to step down from her royal position. If Kjell didn’t accept the medal, would her brother force her to endure the world’s press poring over her failure as a royal? As a woman?
The thought of it gave her the fuel she needed. She clenched her jaw, turning back to the head of her security, holding her arm out to stop him. ‘Don’t even think about it,’ she warned, barely seeing him raise his hands in surrender before she marched towards the cabin and the closed door.
‘Fifteen minutes, Your Highness. Twenty at most,’ she heard Gunnar call to her as she reached the cabin.
S M, 5*, Amazon.co.uk