Read A Viking's Peace: Futuristic Science Fiction Romance (Vikings in Space Book 1) Online

Authors: Zoe York

Tags: #Vikings, #Space Travel, #erotic romance, #sci-fi, #Romance, #Futuristic

A Viking's Peace: Futuristic Science Fiction Romance (Vikings in Space Book 1)

BOOK: A Viking's Peace: Futuristic Science Fiction Romance (Vikings in Space Book 1)
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Contents

A Viking's Peace by Zoe York

About this Book

A Viking's Peace-1

A Viking's Peace-2

A Viking's Peace-3

A Viking's Peace-4

A Viking's Peace-5

A Viking's Peace-6

A Viking's Peace-7

A Viking's Peace-8

A Viking's Peace-9

A Viking's Peace-Epilogue

More from Zoe York

Copyright

A VIKING’S PEACE

Vikings in Space

by

Zoe York

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A VIKING’S PEACE

Thrown together in an intergalactic diplomatic mission, Reinn and Ashleigh know they must fight the burning attraction between them. But this Viking has finally found his mate, and nothing else matters.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

My fictional planet of Midgard is a long way from the small towns I usually set my romances in, but Reinn and Ashleigh’s story was a joy to write, and I can’t wait to return to this world again in the future. Who doesn’t like a sexy Viking space romp?

This novella was first written for the Vikings Unleashed boxed set: nine sexy, modern Viking romances just like this one. If you enjoy this book, please check out that collection.
 

www.vikingsunleashed.com

All of my stories share a common theme of second chances, and if you like this one, I encourage you to check out my other series, all outlined on
my website, zoeyork.com
. If you join
my mailing list
, you’ll hear about all my new releases, including opportunities to read my latest story before it’s released for sale.

~Zoe

1

The year: 2254

“How long before one of those goons beds a Viking maiden?”

Lieutenant Ashleigh Tavistock rolled her eyes at her second-in-command’s rhetorical question. Sergeant Navena Johnson knew exactly how to push her buttons. “Officially? Never. Unofficially, I don’t want to know.”

“Maybe
you
need to indulge in a little unofficial fun while we’re stationed on Midgard.”

Ashleigh snorted. “And get hauled back to Earth? Not going to happen. It’s a miracle that I was selected for this mission. I’m not going to fuck that up.”
 

Less than two years out of the FedNat Officer Academy, she’d been prepared to not see a deep space mission for another five. When her predecessor came down with viral Guaravian fever and had to be quarantined, Ashleigh had been in the right place at the right time. Even if she still wasn’t sure the FedNat United Forces was the career for her, she wanted this more than anything. Adventure. New frontiers. Making a difference.

They were in their flight suits in the ship’s cargo hold, strapping themselves into the pop out seats along the perimeter with the rest of their team. They’d been orbiting Midgard for almost a day and it was time for their ship to land.

And the real fun to start.
 

The pants on, intellectual, diplomacy type of fun.

As if her 2IC could read her thoughts, Navena started laughing. “You’re thinking about what you’re going to say when we land, aren’t you?”

Ashleigh blushed. “How did you know?”

“Your face got all dreamy. It only does that about work. You’re beyond weird.”

“We can make a real difference on this mission. And it starts with the first impression. I know Captain Reynolds will make the formal statement, but there’s going to be someone from the Midgard delegation that I’m going to work with every day and I want to begin on the right foot.”

Navena’s skepticism couldn’t be more obvious. Ashleigh didn’t care. That was Navena’s job, to be on guard so the officers could focus on diplomacy.

There were four teams on board, so-called MIFEC cells, tasked with establishing better relations with the Midgardians.

And Ashleigh commanded a cell. Navena and the goons.

Corporal Trenton Chin and Private First Class Benjamin Worst. Goon 1 and Goon 2. Both good guys, although they had a lot more respect for Navena than they did Ashleigh. Well, fair enough. The other woman had ten years in the Forces. Served in the second wave of peacekeeping forces on the Moon. May or may not have a collection of ancient guns and bayonets. In short—Navena was badass.

Their descent was uneventful and over before she knew it. As the pilot conferred with ground control and the decontamination walkways attached to the side of the ship, Ashleigh took her first real look at Midgard.

The spaceport looked like almost any on Earth, but instead of sprawling suburbia and shopping centres, only high-speed rail lines ran across the dark brown flatlands she could see out the starboard side. In the distance rose the Thorgard Range. She’d memorized the geography of the area. Elsewhere on the planet were sub-settlements of Simple Lifers and religious retreats, but the government was tightly controlled here by the descendants of the original travellers. The Vikings who left Earth in search of the planet discovered by Finn Rasmussen in 2091.

She knew her history. The failed diplomatic efforts of the past wouldn’t be repeated if she had a say. And all accounts pointed to the Midgardians being committed to a better relationship between the two planets of humans as well.
 

Ashleigh wasn’t stupid. She knew at a high level there were negotiations happening about resource mining and health care provisions. Midgard had precious minerals Earth needed; after the Moon War, Earth had a plethora of mobile hospitals and trained medical staff. There were other trade talks as well, too numerous for the digital news alerts to list even if they blasted updates all day long. But they were anyway, because the people on both planets were demanding transparency in the process.

And there would be hell to pay if the MIFEC cells didn’t pave the way for a renewed friendship between two peoples that shared a common ancestry.

Unless the Vikings didn’t want to be friends. Ashleigh stared out the window again. The other significant difference between this port and the one they’d left in Cape Canaveral was traffic. There wasn’t any. The Midgardians had very limited trade relations with their neighbours. The first travellers had headed far into deep space for a reason.

Maybe this was futile.

A faint hissing cracked the air around them as the airlocks to the decontam walkways rolled open. In teams, they proceeded forward through the familiar mist and into the UV therapy chamber.

After the countdown clock on the wall started flashing, they moved into the arrivals hall on the far side. Teams One and Two were already waiting. Team Four would be half an hour behind. Someone needed to invent a magical wand for that nonsense.

Two Midgardian representatives stood with Ashleigh’s commanding officer, Captain Reynolds, some distance from where they all waited. From the briefings, they all knew what to expect. Once they’d assembled, they would meet their counterparts, be taken to the barrack space set aside for their delegation, and this evening there would be a feast in their honour.

The briefing had been clear on what to expect at the feast as well. Lewd displays of sexuality. Excessive consumption of food and drink. They would be expected to partake in the latter and passively observe the former without judgement.

Ashleigh rocked back on her heels and took in the arrivals hall. Glass and rough wood. Modern amenities and historical reference everywhere. A lot like the Midgardians themselves. They wore their hair long and were clothed in anachronistic garb, but the weapons on their hips were strictly twenty-third century technology. The two men talking to the CO were older, in their late thirties or early forties, tall as oak trees and broad as oxen.

“Hot, aren’t they?” Navena murmured in her ear.
 

They were, if you liked big, bad older men to toss you around in bed. Navena certainly did.

“Try not to sleep with anyone for the first week, okay?”

“It’s not strictly forbidden.”

“Just strongly discouraged.”

Her 2IC made a snorting noise. “Like I care about my career.”

“Well, I care about mine, so keep it zipped.”

“The sacrifices I make for you, my fearless leader.” Navena snickered as Ashleigh shot her a look that said,
if we weren’t in public, I’d whoop your ass…

The heavy thud of footfalls announced the rest of the Midgardian welcome delegation. Eight men, each one taller than the last. Ashleigh felt her 2IC stiffen beside her. Their briefings had told them women served beside men, equals in many ways on Midgard, but that wasn’t evidenced by the official liaison crew now spread out in front of them.

The men formed a line across from them, standing in pairs, and Ashleigh could feel Navena’s visceral reaction. Each set of two men seemed to take up the same amount of space as a 4-person FedNat cell. They were huge. Some blond, some darker haired, but all were fair-skinned, which set them apart from most of the FedNat delegation. There were Asian and African settlements on Midgard, but they came later. The planet was huge and the population relatively small, and anyone who didn’t want to observe the ancient customs ended up heading into the galaxy. The irony wasn’t lost on Ashleigh, but she didn’t know if her hosts thought of it the same way.

Her CO and the head of their delegation were still having a quiet conversation in the centre of the hall so she took a moment to let her gaze drift down the line of Viking men. Careful not to pause or stare, she took in their leather- and metal-accented uniforms. Not quite the right word, since uniformity wasn’t a factor. None of them carried the same weapon or wore precisely the same garments. Some had bare arms, displaying tattooed biceps the diameter of small trees. Others had deep V-neck tunics. Only one wasn’t obviously presenting his muscles, although he looked the largest of the bunch.
 

Ashleigh’s breath caught in her throat each time she slid her gaze past the dark-haired giant. She could feel his eyes on her, hot and unwavering, and from the way they were assembled, she knew he was her liaison.
Damn it all to hell
. She was the freaking Ice Queen, immune to testosterone. So why did she feel stripped bare in front of this stranger, obviously feminine under his scrutiny? She bristled inside. If he thought he could intimidate her…on the next pass, deliberately lazy this time, she looked them each in the eye.

Most offered blunt sexual appraisal, which was easy enough to stare down. She just wasn’t that kind of woman—not interested, and not intimidated.
Wrong tack, buddies
.

But when she reached
him,
shock roiled in her chest. Obvious dislike and contempt radiated off him. She expected general mistrust of the mission, but this angry gaze felt personal.
   

Huh
. So much for thinking he had the hots for her. Well, that was…she wanted to tell herself it was a relief, but the pang in her gut felt a lot like disappointment.

The formal introductions began and as the teams were matched with their counterparts, it became clear that hers was indeed going to be none other than the brooding hulk. She had her work cut out for her.
 

“At attention,” she quietly snapped at her cell. Chin and Worst followed Navena’s lead and made her proud as their two assigned hosts approached. She stepped forward as her CO said her name.

“Reinn Ragnarson and Aldric Gunter.” The head of the Viking delegation didn’t bother with rank, which she understood was their custom.

Reinn, the giant, stepped forward. “Lieutenant,” he murmured, the quiet of his voice at odds with the hard look in his eyes.

What was she going to do about that distrust? She held his gaze with a solid look of her own. “Reinn. Thank you for hosting us here in your beautiful homeland. We look forward to learning more about Midgard as you know it.”

He tipped his chin up and held her attention for a moment before sliding his gaze to his second. “Aldric…”

And with a slow released sigh, Ashleigh let herself relax a hair. At least she hadn’t made it worse.

— —
 

The spaceport was purposefully sited inland, away from the valuable coastline that all in the Kongerige, the Kingdom, valued so highly. His people weren’t savage, no matter their anachronistic lifestyle preferences, and they valued access to interplanetary travel as much as the next twenty-third century citizen. They just wanted that travel to primarily be away from Midgard, not towards.

Reinn wasn’t stupid. This diplomatic mission wasn’t just about mineral resources. There were ugly, uninhabited planets that Earth could plunder for what they needed. The FedNat delegation was here to play nice and convince his father to ease travel restrictions.

The high-speed rail line sliced through the mountains that separated the desert from the fertile coast. Narrow passes between steep peaks sometimes meant the afternoon sunlight was obliterated and each time that heavy shadow fell over them, the Earthlings gaped at the dark rock walls blurring past the pod windows. He felt a ruthless satisfaction at the obvious awe and wonder their guests had at the natural magnificence of his homeland.

BOOK: A Viking's Peace: Futuristic Science Fiction Romance (Vikings in Space Book 1)
3.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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