He touched her cheek. “Annoure, when you disappeared this afternoon I was crazy with worry that something had happened to you. I love you. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you standing in the chapel. Yet, among my people love is not a consideration when choosing a vif. But how can I settle for marrying someone I don’t love after experiencing this amazing feeling I have for you?”
“You love me?” she gasped, wondering if it was possible.
“I love you more than my own life.” He drew her to him and their lips met in a heated kiss that quickly deepened. Warmth flooded through Annoure and she found herself surrendering to him. She wrapped her arms around him, wanting and needing him, too.
They drew apart and gazed into each other’s eyes. “Before the Mother Goddess, I claim you, Norseman, for my own,” Annoure said, her voice sounding throaty and breathless. As she said the words, standing under the moon and tall trees, she felt like one of the pagan maidens given to a Druid on the night of the Beltane fires. The night seemed wild, full of mystery and Thorstein’s nearness made her feel reckless and wanton. She felt her power and was aware of her innate sensuality and its effect on him.
“And I claim you for my own, Lady Annoure of Northumbria,” Thorstein replied, sliding his fingers through her hair.
She pulled his head down to hers, welcoming his kisses and caresses. Her body throbbed as he held her so close that she could feel his heart beating against hers. She sensed a deep bond with him. He was her friend, lover, husband returned from another life to join with her. She thanked the Mother Goddess for letting her see who he truly was.
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