Friday Feature: Gina Conkle
What does the wolf-eyed Viking want?
Stolen by marauding Danes, Helena’s desperate to escape their camp, but the wolf-eyed Viking who bought her has his own plans. Hakan wants a quiet farmer’s life, yet peace eludes the chieftain. His once tranquil homeland’s in turmoil, and his new Frankish thrall vexes him for her freedom at every turn. Even worse, the fair maid lures him with her laughter and smiles.
Betrayal has left the warrior cold until one hot summer with the fair Helena. Old loyalties call on the Viking to wield his sword again, but at what cost? Before summer ends, master and thrall must answer…
What price would you pay for love?
Norse Jewel, Norse series Book 1
I’m celebrating the upcoming release of To Find a Viking Treasure (Norse series, Book 2) with a giveaway of the first book in the Viking series.
In keeping with Friday Feature’s fun, below is a list of “Fast Facts” about me.
Seven Fast Facts:
1. One of the craziest things I ever did? I bungee jumped on a dare.
2. My oldest son is named Clay Matthew after football player Clay Matthews (but he has no interest in football). yes, Mr. Conkle is a HUGE football fan.
4. The other crazy thing I did? I eloped at midnight after my then boyfriend/now husband made an eight ball shot. He said, “If I make this shot, we’re going to Vegas.” He made the shot and off we went. We drove all night and got to Vegas as the sun rose. We were married in the Candlelight Wedding Chapel across the street from Circus Circus.
5. My younger son, Chad, would sometimes sit beside me and write pirate stories while I wrote my historical romance.
6. I wrote Georgian romance to take a break from the Norse hammers in my head, but they keep calling me back.
7. There are 5 books in the Norse series:
Norse Jewel, Book 1 (available now)
To Find a Viking Treasure, Book 2 (September, 2016)
To Heal a Viking Heart, Book 3 (January, 2017)
To Save a Viking Warrior, Book 4 (April, 2017)
To Catch a Viking hunter, Book 5 (August, 2017)
An excerpt: Where Hakan begins to realize how much he values Helena after she asks for her freedom.
“’Tis the Norse way for a master to use his thralls as he sees
it.” His bold gaze traced her body. “You’ve not been so abused.
Nay, you’ve been treated very well. Would you not agree?”
He was a fool, wanting to strike back at the unknowing hurt
The maid cringed at his rudeness. “Aye, you treat me well, my lord.”
He saw wetness on her lashes. She turned her face to the fields,
and another piece of the riddle that made Helena fell into place.
Hakan cupped her chin. His thumb stroked her scarred jaw.
“Your pouch, the stone is the reason for this. Magnuson said as
She nodded, sniffing and swiping at tears that rolled down
His thumb brushed a tender stroke over her cheek’s curving
pink scar. “The stone almost cost you your life. Why?”
Hakan, with great tenderness, stroked her face. The salve had
done its work: smooth, touchable skin remained. But the salve
only healed skin deep wounds. Some wounds lurked deeper than
the Dane’s cut. What ached beneath the surface? More fat tears
rolled down her cheeks.
“I am a peasant maid.” Her voice quivered. “When Guerin
wanted me, I felt…” Helena sniffed and chewed her lower lip. “I
was suddenly important. A woman of value. Without it…”
Her vulnerable admission was a tender spot for her. Couldn’t
she see her worth was higher than any stone?
His thumbs wiped away her tears. “Keep the pendant. It came
at a great price. Wear it for all to see.”
Hakan took her hand in his and set the necklace in her palm.
He curled her fingers over jewel and chain. “Aye, Helena, the stone could buy more thralls. But ‘tis metal
and stone. They do nothing for me.”
Her lashes, spiked with wetness, fluttered at him. Bewilderment
writ on her face, he soothed his voice as if calming a babe.
He shook his head. “I’ll not trade you for that.”
“I don’t understand.” Her eyebrows knit together.
How could he explain what he didn’t fully understand? He
was on shaky ground. From the corner of his eye, part of a red
sail caught a strong breeze and fluttered. Selig replaced the rocks
that tamped down the sail before the whole cloth blew free. The
vibrant red waved at him, a banner by which he could escape
explaining why he would not let her go.
Hakan waved his arm at the sails drying in the meadow.
“Look what you’ve accomplished in so short a time. You
promised me great talent weaving fine linens…to expand my
wealth.” Hakan’s arms folded across his chest. “Strong sails for
my ships. This I understand.” Tilting his hand toward the jewelry
in her own, the corners of his turned down. “Stones do nothing
A thousand glittering stones couldn’t equal her worth. He
stared into the depths of her blue eyes and called himself a coward
for not admitting this to her.
Helena sniffed again and clutched the pendant, returning it
to the leather pouch. “Is there no custom? No means to gain my
freedom?” she asked, her voice hoarse with emotion.
Hakan sighed. “There are ways.”
“Mardred told me a thrall can earn her freedom after some
years of service. Is this true?”
“Aye.” His arms stayed crossed, unmoving. He’d give no more.
“Then, may I strike such an agreement with you?”
“I want to earn my freedom.” Her eyes pleaded with him.
Hakan shifted his stance, cagey about giving an inch. His neck
and shoulders knotted. True, many a valuable thrall gained freedom after years of
service. Most stayed.
“Serve me well for seven years, Helena, and you’ll be a freewoman.”
“The time cannot be shortened?” She clasped her hands
together. “Seven years,” she groaned. “So long.”
“I will not be swayed on this.”
She canted her head at him, doubt clouding her features. “But, will you keep your word, my lord?”
Connect with me (Gina Conkle) and my books
Want to win* an ebook copy of Norse Jewel?
Respond to the following prompt in the comment section below and you’ll be entered to win.
I talked about something I can’t live without (diet coke). Now it’s your turn. Share in the comments below a must have item in your life, and you’re in the drawing for a free ebook of my first Viking romance, Norse Jewel.
*Random winner drawn from comments by noon EDT on 8/27.