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The first time he saw her she was clad in naught but moonlight and mist and the midnight cloud of her lustrous hair. She moved as if she were made of shadow and vapor, floating on a gentle breeze. He wasnt here for plunder or rapine. Not this time. Hed been lured to the Isle of Man by the whisper of wind and sultry call of a Valkyrie.

Those are the opening lines of Viking!, my July release from Leisure. I hope youll find the rest of the book as intriguing as the opening paragraph.

Viking warrior Thorne the Relentless beaches his fleet of dragon ships on the Isle of Man, lured by forces more potent than his own instincts of survival. He blames his unscheduled visit on the sirens song of the flawless beauty he encounters on the island. From the moment he spied her, Thorne knew he had been bewitched by the maiden bathing nude in the forest pool.

Fiona the Learned had always known a Viking warrior was her destiny, but had railed against the frightening future Brann the Magician had foretold for her. She wants nothing to do with the fierce sea pirates and marauders whose very existence terrifies even the bravest of men. When Thorne tries to claim her in the dark forest, she runs away, losing herself among the shadows. Unable to find her, Thorne returns to his ships and sails away a changed man.

Convinced that he is bewitched, Thornes torrid dreams of the enchantress haunt his nights and make his days unbearable. For a full year, he believes himself possessed by a witch. There is no other explanation. Fierce longing has kept his hard-muscled warriors body in a constant state of arousal and makes him oblivious to all women except for the one whom he believes has worked a spell on him.

Desperate to escape the witchs spell, Thorne knows of only one way to break her powerful allure. Return to Man, take her in a Viking raid and kill her. But Thorne finds himself unable to slay his lovely prisoner when he returns to Man. Against his better judgment, he takes her back to his homeland as his slave, intending to keep her captive until she removes her spell. Unfortunately, he finds himself more enchanted by his bewitching slave with each passing day.

Fiona the Learned is a healer with the gift of sight. She proves herself invaluable to Thorne and his kinsmen on more than one occasion. That still doesnt endear her to Thornes father and brother, who urge Thorne to either slay or sell the witch.

No matter how often Thorne asks Fiona to remove her spell, nor how many times she denies using sorcery to enthrall him, Thorne still believes that only a spell could keep him bound. Though the wizard Brann proclaims Fiona and Thorne soul mates, Thornes Viking heart refuses to believe it. It takes tremendous patience and Fionas pure and innocent love to make Thorne a believer. But not before the star-crossed lovers endure many trials and tribulations along the rocky path to everlasting love.

I found my research on Vikings fascinating. There were so many facts I would have liked to include in my story, but feared inundating my readers with them. I did try to impart pertinent information about those long ago raiders.

I learned that Vikings were more than pirates, marauders, pillagers, raiders and fierce fighters. They were family men, traders, explorers, poets and extraordinary seamen. Their voyages in superior longboats took them west to North America, south to the Byzantine and east to Russia and China. They traded iron and furs for jewels, gold, silver, silks, satins, perfumes, soaps and other luxury items.

I hope you enjoy my accurate portrayal of the life and times of a Viking hero and matching him with a heroine of comparable courage and wit. I promise you wont be disappointed. Within the pages of Viking! youll find all the sensual love scenes youve come to expect from a Connie Mason historical romance.

I love to hear from readers. For a bookmark, newsletter and personal reply, send a long SASE to: Connie Mason, 1401 W. Hwy 50, Box 181, Clermont, FL 34711.

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