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Having a fascination and passion for Norse mythology plus a desire to

write, Nicola finally achieved her ambition to combine the two,


resulting in her debut novel, Entwined in Midgard.
Nicola lives and works in the county of East Yorkshire, enjoying hulahooping and dancing. She also likes reading and watching anything
with a fantasy element that gives her some escapism from the real
world, especially if it involves any Marvel Super Heroes!
To discover more about Norse legends or to probe the essence of the
characters and author, enter her realm at: www.nicoladyson.com

Nicola Dyson

ENTWINED IN
MIDGARD

Lova att Frena


Book One

Copyright Nicola Dyson


The right of Nicola Dyson to be identified as author of this work has
been asserted by her in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior permission of the publishers.
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for
damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British
Library.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance
to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The writer would like to credit the primary source of the Norse myths
and legends on which some of this work is based as The Prose Edda
by Snorri Sturluson.

ISBN 978 1 84963 827 2

www.austinmacauley.com
First Published (2014)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5LB

Printed and bound in Great Britain

Acknowledgments
Entwined in Midgard has taken me on an incredible journey and along
the way, I discovered some amazing new people that I am now so
privileged to call my friends. I owe each and every one of you.
Thank you to the initial plot readers: Tracy Kyriacou, Karen NoelStorr and Mandy Alcock.
The core four who tirelessly gave me (and still do) their time,
encouragement, advice and opinions thank you to:
Sue Clough (a valued friend of many years) for having the arduous
task of proof reading the raw manuscript and for guidance with the
grammar and English. All errors are my own.
Anna Learmonth my Swedish language advisor Down Under and
proof reader. Your knowledge and information regarding Swedish
customs, words and phrases has been invaluable. Tack s mycket!
Barbara Eagle always the dependable, no-nonsense voice of reason.
Your support and friendship has kept me sane in the real world. I
couldnt survive the daily grind without you.
Andrea Exley The most positive person I have ever known! The
very first reader, whose resolute enthusiasm and belief from the outset
has been my driving force. Thank you Desk Ref for always being
there and not letting me give up.
And finally, to my own Midgardian family your tolerances are
boundless.
To Xand thank you for the loan of your room whilst at Uni.
To Holly thank you for every tenacious comma.
To Phil thank you for all your patience, help and advice but
especially with the website, designs and technical stuff.
Other credits and huge thanks go to:

Peter at bespokebookcovers.com for the initial set up of the cover


design.
The Heart of Flames front cover design Lewys Jones.
The team at Austin Macauley.

Prologue

The Gods were in despair. Centuries of hopelessly


watching and waiting had passed.
Their beloved Asgard was no longer the powerful,
commanding world within the nine realms and their
guardianship of Midgard was in jeopardy.
Desperate and prepared to make sacrifices, they now
implored The Fates to intervene.

29th February, 1980


Uppsala, Sweden
Outside the snow was softly falling as a mother cradled
her new-born child. Although hallowed by the highest
deities, the baby was scarcely clinging to life and the
room was charged with potency and magic as everyone
present made enchantments: life, strength, concealment,
care and happiness amongst them. Each made a vow of
love and protection.
With one final kiss, the mother relinquished the weak
infant into the arms of her father. All hopes of salvation
were now vested in the destiny of their daughter.

Chapter 1
Friday 29 July 2011 9 weeks & 1 day to the Dreadding Day
Kara spun around so fast she nearly knocked the drink out of Debbies hand.
They had wandered from the busy bar area into the function room when Kara
had seen him. This was a classic case of be careful what you wish for.
Whoa! Debbie said, putting her glass down on the table, licking the spilt
wine from her hand.
Kara was now trying frantically to remove her backpack and was getting
more flustered by the second. Her cheeks were now crimson and her arm was
stuck in a bent position, trussed up in one of the straps. Debbie was trying not to
laugh as she helped free her arm. Both girls thought the other had hold of the
bag and it fell to the floor. Kara bobbed down to pick it up and was now shaking
so much she couldnt co-ordinate her fingers to unzip it.
From around the green skirt of Debbies Princess Fiona costume, she could
see a red cape getting closer. She picked up the backpack and made a dash for
the Ladies toilet.
You okay? Debbie said, following her in, right on her heels. You cant
want to leave already; weve only just got here.
I just need to redo my hair, is that okay with you? Kara replied, in a nettled
tone, fiddling with her plait. She was very close to her cousin, who was just a
few weeks older than her and they usually told each other everything but Kara
hadnt told Debbie about him.
Hmmm, replied Debbie, studying her. Five minutes, then Im sending
Alice in.
Kara had only seen him once, three months ago. April 29th to be exact. The
guy who had messed up her head and haunted her dreams. Haunted her dreams?
She laughed out loud, where the hell had that come from? Next she would be
reading Mills & Boon. Keep it real. Yeah, he was out of her league, she knew
that but she still hoped (wished) he would be at the party as, if nothing else, it
would slay that dragon. And here he was. She could laugh all she liked but she
couldnt deny that in her dreams she relived the feelings she had experienced
when she had looked into his eyes, yet she couldnt find the words to describe
them.
She closed her eyes and remembered back to the day that had rocked her
world and try as she might, she hadnt been able to get him out of her dreams
since that day.
It was the Royal Wedding and Ariadne, Karas mother, was having a big
celebration at the family residence named Arcadia, located in a small village
outside Melton Mowbray. It had also been arranged to have the bridesmaid dress
fittings during the same afternoon, as most of the bridal party would be there. It

was the first time Kara had been to Arcadia for a couple of years; it wasnt her
most favourite place in the world, mainly because of her strained relationship
with her mum and youngest sister Kassie.
Kara had repeatedly regretted her promise to be a bridesmaid for her sister,
Melita, in October. Melita had pleaded that she really wanted all three sisters to
be bridesmaids and in a moment of weakness and stupidity, Kara had given in
and promised. If it wasnt for Alice, her six year old Goddaughter, also being a
bridesmaid, she would have bailed out a long time ago but she had promised
Alice that she would hold her hand all the way down the aisle and she kept being
reminded of that promise. She knew she was definitely going to be the oldest
bridesmaid and probably the least attractive. The fugly sister, as Kassie always
called her.
Despite Debbies pleas to travel together, Kara travelled down alone in
Bee her yellow and black Smart Car Roadster (named after Bumblebee in
Transformers); that way she got to leave when it suited her.
When Kara arrived just before ten, lots of people were already there and she
was not in her comfort zone, not at all. She met Lauren, Melitas best friend and
Chief Bridesmaid. Kara took an instant liking to Lauren. She was very curvy, on
the plump side, with long bleached blonde hair. She certainly didnt suffer fools
gladly. Debbie whispered that she bet Laurens carpet didnt match her curtains
and Kara agreed. Laurens boyfriend, Mark, was Adams Best Man and the four
of them were virtually inseparable.
As eleven approached, the marquee filled up and Alice sat on Karas knee to
watch the ceremony on the big screen. It was a lovely service and everyone
agreed Pippas bum was the talk of the event. Alice got a bit bored by noon and
Kara took her outside for a walk. She was more than happy not being in the
marquee. As they headed out down the drive for a short walk into the village,
two guys were walking up the drive, both tall, well built, one with short spikey
brown hair and the other with long, dark blond hair. Alice was chatting about the
wedding and Kara didnt make eye contact until they were very close. They both
smiled and Kara smiled back and unusually it was the blond guy that caught her
attention. As they passed by, Kara felt an overwhelming urge to look back and
to her embarrassment, he had turned and was looking back at her. He grinned
and Kara blushed.
When they returned from their walk, Kara asked if she may have her dress
fitting before lunch as she had decided not to stay. Melita really wanted Kara to
meet the ushers as she would be paired up with one of them but wasnt going to
push the issue. She knew Kara was on the brink of pulling out of being a
bridesmaid as it was, as she hated any sort of attention, always shying away
from all social functions as she didnt like crowds.
Kara tried her dress on in private. It was absolutely beautiful. The adult
dress style Melita had chosen was classic, a Grecian style in a pale gold, one
shouldered with a ruched gathering on the hip, flowing with a bow on the
bottom and Kara was pleased it would be flattering of her curvy figure. There
was still some beading to be added but the basic dress was made and even she
had to admit she looked okay. She was curvy in the right places and as Gran
always said, she had good childbearing hips.

Heading back into the marquee, everyone was seated and had started eating
so Kara said her goodbyes. As she passed through the tables, Lauren caught her
arm to ask why she was leaving so soon. Kassie was sitting opposite and called
across, I wonder which one of you will win the competition for the fattest
bridesmaid award?
Laurens nostrils flared and Melita put a hand on her arm, silently warning
her not to respond.
Out of the corner of her eye, Kara saw the blond guy she had seen earlier
stand up; he was seated next to Kassie. Their eyes locked and Kara lost her train
of thought as she gazed at him, captivated by his beautiful blue eyes. She started
to feel what? She didnt know but her emotions went into complete meltdown.
She started to blush and heard Kassie snigger, which snapped her out of her
trance as she fixed a glare firmly on her youngest sister.
Somewhere out there is a tree, Kassie, tirelessly producing oxygen so you
can breathe. I think you owe it an apology.
Kara left without another word or backward glance, relieved to be in Bee,
driving out of the hell hole she called Arcadia.
Debbie had coerced Kara into going to Masons 60th birthday party tonight,
saying she needed to socialise a little before the wedding, especially as she had
promised Melita she would go to meet the ushers beforehand. The only reason
Kara had even initially considered going at all was because it was a Movies
themed party and Kara loved the movies. Actually, the real reason she couldnt
get out of it anymore was because Mason, her step-dad, had phoned her and
personally requested that she attend. He had never asked anything of her before
and she found it hard to refuse him. Mason had always been kind to her over the
years and she respected him, so she had promised to be there.
Mason Miller was a Texan and although Kara didnt visit often, they kept in
regular touch, more so than with her estranged mother. He had married Karas
Greek mother, Ariadne, when Kara was four. Kara and Mason got on very well,
as it was hard not to like him and Mason genuinely had a soft spot for Kara. He
was the CEO of the UK branch of his familys computer software firm,
Milltech, the head office being in his homeland of Texas. The company
designed software tailored to individual requirements, corporate and personal,
and had recently expanded to include a small games design department. Milltech
was the sponsor of the local rugby club and Mason owned the function room,
which had just recently been built, adjoining the club house.
Melita currently managed the bookings for the new function room and also
ran the bar with assistance from Kassie. The inaugural event was Masons party
and Melita had worked hard to ensure tonight would be a success.
Kara stared back at herself in the mirror, pondering her current predicament.
Foolish is how you looked, ridiculous is how youre acting and disappointed is
what you will be, she mumbled to her reflection. But if youre going to hide in
the toilets all night, what do you expect? Start acting your age, not like a bloody
schoolgirl with a crush.

Kara Eriksson, 31, single, very single. Tall, curvy size 12, blue eyes with
long, light brown, wavy hair. No long term relationship, no short term either; a
few boyfriends along the way, but for one reason or another they had never
worked out.
She practised smiling in the mirror and then furrowed, annoyed that she
hadnt chosen a more glamorous costume to wear tonight. She was dressed as
the character Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Not wanting teeny shorts, Kara was
wearing a long pair of khaki leggings and a tight fitted turquoise T shirt with
short sleeves. She had made sure she had a good fitting T shirt bra on
underneath and was pleased with the results. She now realised that her calf lace
up boots with knife holders meant dancing like a lady was out of the question
but overall, she was happy with her look. She even had some replica Desert
Eagles complete with gun belts and leg holsters, sunglasses, fingerless leather
climbing gloves and a small backpack. Her hair was long enough to have Laras
long plait albeit lighter and she only needed minimal make-up. She got her
sunglasses out of her backpack and hung them over her T shirt, so they were
easily accessible.
The door opened and Alice, dressed as Tinkerbell, skipped in.
Hi, Auntie Kara.
Hi, Pumpkin.
Mummy says can you put my wings on for me? Im a wish fairy. Alice
pirouetted. She says you have to come out to look at a wonky tube.
Kara smiled as she affixed the wings to the Velcro on her back.
Auntie Kara, how far is a mile?
Well, it would be like running down our farm track twice, thats about a
mile. Why, what are you doing that involves a mile? Kara guessed it was some
charity activity at school.
On Sunday, I heard Mummy tell Daddy youd run a mile at the party. Are
you?
Karas smile broadened. Did she say why?
Something Mummy said to Daddy about not being your type and not to
interfere or youd run a mile. Daddy told Mummy not to interfere and Mummy
got cross. Alice giggled, with her mischievous look. Auntie Kara, are you ever
going to find a boyfriend?
Not in here, Im not, no, Kara mumbled. Come on wish fairy, I need some
magic tonight.
She took a deep breath, clutched Alices hand and headed out. Debbie knew
more than she was letting on.
Alice led Kara directly to the table where Debbie was sitting with Shrek, aka
Tim, her husband. Kara anxiously scanned the room; homing in on him straight
away a big, tall guy dressed as Thor. Even though he now had a beard and
wore a helmet, she had no problem at all recognising him. He was in a group
including Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk, who were all having a good
laugh. He saw her and looked directly back, his blue twinkling eyes almost
mesmerising her, again. He grinned at her, showing a beautiful set of white

teeth. Smile back! She did and quickly slipped her sunglasses on and looked
back over knowing he now couldnt tell where she was looking. She couldnt
stop staring.
Kara, KARA, said Debbie. Hello, hello, waving her hand in front of her
sunglasses.
What?
Wonki hoob at the bar. Possibly a taridable, said Debbie. Go and get a
drink.
When Kara and Debbie were teenagers, they had made up what their ideal
boyfriend would look like. Kara was very specific; tall, ripped, dark, and with
blue eyes (tall, ripped, dark, blue eyes) taridable. Debbies perfect date was
slim, cute and blond (slim, cute, blond) slicblo. So they had their little secret
codes. Kara had a taridable and Debbie had a slicblo. Then Debbie had met Tim
at university and fallen in love. He was slim, cute with curly brown hair, he was
her sliccub (slim, cute, curly brown). She had always called him Cub as a pet
name and he still didnt know why. Kara and Debbie still used their codes even
now but as they had got older and Kara had remained single, she was now
waiting for her pilot and there was only Debbie who knew that secret.
Okay, okay. Ill go and get a drink, said Kara looking over at the bar,
smiling at the character.
Whats a wonki hoob? asked Alice.
Never you mind, said Debbie with a cheeky grin. (Would not kick him out
of bed).
Actually, Alice, why dont you come with me to meet some characters?
said Kara, her nerves getting the better of her. Would you like a drink?
Oh, yes please. Can I go with Auntie Kara, Mummy? asked Alice.
Of course, said Debbie.
Alice skipped over to Peter Pan and tugged his tunic, Kara following her to
the bar area.
This is my annoying sister, Tinkerbell, said Will, wandering off with a
Coke, talking to Pugsley Addams about Mario Kart. At nearly eight, he had been
very reluctant to dress up.
Hi, said Alice to the Prince of Persia, as Kara was ordering an orange for
Alice and a gin for herself. Who are you?
Hi, Tink. Do you mean who am I really or who am I dressed as? replied
the Prince of Persia, smiling. Definitely a taridable. He ticked every box.
This is the Prince of Persia, Dastan, Kara said to Alice. He was a game
character first, like me, and then they made him into a film.
Nat, he said, holding out his hand.
Im Kara and this is Alice. She shook his hand, he had a very mischievous
twinkle in his blue eyes.
Wow, you two look good, he looked her up and down. There are some
great costumes here.
There are, Kara agreed. Nat started explaining some of the characters to
Alice and Kara was delighted that they had a mutual interest in movies but she
was more surprised how at ease she was chatting with him.

Hej, who are you? Kara heard a deep, sexy, accented voice ask from
behind. She turned to see Thor bent down on one knee, talking to Alice.
Im Tinkerbell, said Alice. Who are you?
Why, I am Thor, God of Thunder, he said, wielding his hammer. What is
your real name?
I cant tell you, said Alice. Youre a stranger. Kara smiled at Alices
candidness.
And you are sensible and very pretty, said Thor. Can you tell me who you
are with? He looked up at Kara, those brilliant blue eyes were even more
sparkling close up. He was well built with a very realistic beard and very
muscular arms, the rest of his body hidden under his costume. Muscular arms
were a big turn on for Kara and although her sunglasses hid her eyes, they didnt
hide her blushing cheeks. Taribloble, Debbie will find this hilarious. Kara
nodded to Alice as she was struggling to construct a sentence, she willed her
brain to engage.
This is Lara Croft, said Alice, beaming at being called pretty. Shes
Kassie appeared at Thors side, dressed as catwoman, swishing her tail
round, cutting in before Alice could finish her sentence. Shes a distant relative.
And tonight she will be keeping her distance from you. Kassie looked pointedly
at Kara. Dont worry, Thor, youre sat next to me. Ive made sure of it, she
said, ordering a drink.
Grandad! squealed Alice, seeing a figure dressed as Charlie Chaplin. She
ran off to greet him.
Hej, Thor repeated standing up, holding out his hand, looking slightly
confused.
Hey, she replied, the pronunciation the same for hey and hej, shaking his
hand. Tinkerbell is Alice, my Goddaughter, her mum, Debbie, is my cousin, her
Grandad is my Uncle Kris, Kassie is my sister and Im Kara knew she was
burbling as Kassie cut in.
My oldest half-sister, sneered Kassie, picking up her drink and slinking
off, still swinging her tail which Kara had an overwhelming urge to pull.
You are related to Kassie? Nat asked, in a surprised tone. Are you
American? Here come the awkward questions. She looked nothing like her
three half-sisters who were all mini clones of their Greek mother; slim, dark and
beautiful and Kara had always been grateful she had inherited her dads Swedish
looks. Selina was the eldest, having just turned 26, the dominant one, a classic
Greek beauty with long, sleek hair. She was a real tough cookie and ran the
marketing side of Masons business, which involved a lot of travel.
Melita was a couple of years younger and lived in Selinas shadow, but she
was much more down to earth, fun with a kind, caring nature. She was the
plainest of the sisters and the only one with whom Kara kept in regular contact.
Melita worked for her dad too and ran the finance department of the business.
The youngest, prettiest and meanest was Kassandra, 20, and being the baby
of the family, was doted upon by Ariadne and totally spoilt. She also worked at
Milltech, when the mood took her. Kara and Kassie had never got along.
Yes, unbelievable as it seems, we have the same mother, said Kara,
smiling as she took her sunglasses off, she felt rude holding a conversation with

them on. She looked directly at Thor, definitely something about him that was
entrancing. He smiled, holding her gaze. Now being able to make direct eye
contact made her even worse and her tummy fluttered. She gave herself a silent
talking to. Get a grip and stop acting like a teenager.
So, said Nat, breaking her reverie. Kara, where have they been hiding
you? I dont remember seeing you before. Nat emphasised her name to make
Thor aware he already knew it.
I do, replied Thor, giving Nat a hard look and Kara felt awkward.
Now, where were we, Tomb Raider, before we were rudely interrupted,
Nat said, giving Thor an equally black look. A very uncomfortable silence
followed and Kara was actually grateful to see some more guests arriving.
Wow! said Kara. Is that Lauren? They all looked over. It was indeed
Lauren dressed as Jessica Rabbit. How she hadnt spilt out of the dress was a
miracle. She slowly walked over, her sparkly red dress very tight. It looked like
she had dyed her blonde hair auburn/red. She was followed in by Selina, Melita,
Mason and Ariadne.
Mason headed over to the bar and it became swamped with guests. Thor
wandered back to the group of boys and Melita and Kara moved away from the
throng, slowly heading towards the group of boys.
Melita, who is Nat? I met him at the bar. He seemed nice. Kara watched
Selina greet Nat with a kiss and sighed.
Melita smiled. And just your type. Hes head of IT for Dad. Sorry, hes not
an usher and hes not a player either. Dont think he has a permanent girlfriend
but he has an on/off thing with Selina. Neither of them talk about it but Selina
definitely dates others.
Kara looked over to the group of boys: Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain
America and Spiderman.
And, ummm, the guy whos Thor, whos he? Kara held her breath.
Ah, now Thors Swedish, goes to Uni and works at the club. Kassie has a
thing for him but he doesnt seem interested in her. Loads of girls fancy him but
he hasnt got a girlfriend either. Drop dead gorgeous and a lovely guy too.
Melita looked over to the group of boys and Spiderman beckoned to them.
Kara just recognised him as Adam.
Come over and Ill introduce you to all the ushers. Theyd like to meet
you.
Luckily for Kara, Kris came over to greet both of his nieces and asked to be
introduced to the group as Kara made her escape.
Well, said Debbie, as Kara joined her. Have you found a taridable yet?
Definitely, said Kara, there are a couple of wonki hoobs and she
looked at the floor.
And what ?
A taribloble, she mumbled.
Debbie had to think it through a minute, No! After all youve said. Who?
Show me! she demanded.
I know, I know, maybe Ive had too much to drink. Ill tell you later.
Who, who, who? said Debbie.

Later, said Kara, aware Tim was smirking at Debbie.


Was he a hey? (Hell, yes!)
Hey, hey, hey! laughed Kara.
An announcement was made for the guests to take their seats and her
laughter was short lived when she realised she wasnt sitting at the same table as
Debbie. It had never occurred to her they wouldnt be sat together. Alice found
Karas placecard on the adjacent table. She was sandwiched between Steve
and Danny. Maybe one of them was Thor?
Melita came over seeing something was going on and was annoyed that
Kassie had moved placecards around. Kara walked around the table quickly
drawing a seating plan on a napkin. Thor was seated next to Kassie. Adam and
the group of boys came over and Melita quickly introduced Kara before
identifying the group. Mark is Iron Man, Laurens boyfriend. Captain America
is Danny, Steve is the Hulk and last but not least, said Melita, with a smile,
Thor is Thor. They play rugby together and are all ushers.
I sense a Marvel comic theme going on here, said Kara, looking around. I
should have come as the Black Widow.
Our rugby team is known as The Avengers, Adam said, so we all agreed
to try and come as suitable characters. Melita had already told her that a lot of
Masons guests were colleagues from Milltech, rugby players and of course the
girls had been able to invite friends.
Thor smiled and Kara felt her tummy flutter. Not again. What is it with you?
There was an exchange of his and hellos as they all stood around a little
awkwardly as Melita and Kassie exchanged angry words. Kassie was loudly
protesting that she had seated Kara between two single guys and she was only
trying to help her out.
Its fine, Melita, leave it as it is, Kara said through clenched teeth, taking
her place and adding character names to the napkin.

Zach
???

Kassie
Catwoman

Thor
Single Taribloble
Usher / Player

Mark (Lauren)
Iron Man
B Man / Player

Adam Groom
Spiderman

Lauren (Mark)
Jessica Rabbit
Chief Bmaid

Melita Bride
Bat Girl

Steve
Hulk
Usher / Player

Me

Danny
Capt America
Usher / Player

Steve, swap with Thor, instructed Melita, looking at the Hulk. He is


single, too. She gave Kassie a glare.
As am I, said a voice from behind. Nat almost climbed over the chair to sit
next to Kara. He put a gin down on the table in front of her.
Thank you, she said, smiling at him.
My pleasure. Ill take payment as a dance later. Kara was aware the table
had gone quiet and Steve had nowhere to sit.
Steve, said Nat. Take my place next to Selina, she said she wanted to
discuss something with you over starters.
Youve made his night, said Kara, as Steve made his way over to Selina,
looking delighted.
And youve made mine, grinned Nat and Kara smiled. Selina will be so
pissed with me. Ill make it up to her later, but we couldnt have Kassie getting
one over on you, now could we?
Kara removed her gun belt with leg holsters and stowed them in her
backpack under the table. Thor had removed his helmet and put it under the
table. He had very thick dark blond hair, collar length but swept back very
neatly. He caught her eye and smiled and Kara smiled back.
So, Tomb Raider, whats the last film you went to see? Nat said, cutting
off Danny who had tried to introduce himself.
Transformers.
Dark of the Moon. Nat emphasised the word dark and smirked at Thor
before beginning an in depth analysis of the three Transformers movies.
When Steve arrived back at the table, Kara realised she had been totally
engrossed in conversation with Nat for the last fifteen minutes, oblivious to the
rest of the table. Neither of them had even touched their starter. Kara felt almost
disloyal as she looked over at Thor. Kassie caught her looking. Still no ring on
your finger, Kara? I can hear your biological clock from here, tick, tick, tick.
Ill buy you a going away present, Kassie, but first you have to do your
part, smiled Kara sweetly.
Make it a broomstick, said Nat, under his breath as he stood up to leave the
table.
Lauren laughed out loud and Kassie gesticulated, Whatever.
Melita and Lauren had both observed, with amusement, the furtive glances
on both sides of the table between Kara and Thor over dinner. Steve and Danny
were very pleasant, quite chatty and Kara was trying to split her attentions
equally. Steve had blond highlights in his spikey brown hair, giving him a surfer
dude look. He was wearing a very torn, ragged shirt showing an impressive six
pack underneath. He was painted green and wore the trademark ripped trousers.
It was very hard to tell what Danny looked like, as he wore a full Captain
America costume. Karas only clue was pale blue eyes, with very fair eyelashes
and eyebrows. He was either very blond or ginger.
Steve worked freelance with Selina in marketing and website design and
from the way he spoke, he liked her very much. He was best mates with Thor.
He asked Kara about the family as she obviously didnt live with her mother and
didnt look like her other sisters. Kara simply said she had the same mother and

changed the subject to rugby before he asked about her father. That was a bad
mistake.
Note to self: Learn about Rugby Union.
Im a forward, thats why they call me Tank, said Danny.
Im a back, as Im sure you can tell, lighter and faster than Danny, said
Steve. She had a basic idea of the game but not positions, so she hoped she
nodded in the right places. Then they started discussing rugby injuries and scars
with Steve showing her his most impressive scar, which was actually from
having his appendix removed. She missed Nats company.
Kara caught sight of Kassie looking past her with daggers. She turned and
saw Edward Scissorhands making his way through the tables, pausing to speak
to Mason before he took his place next to Kassie. Whos that? asked Kara
nodding in his direction, noting Thor did not look pleased.
Thats Zach, Laurens brother, said Steve, dropping his voice. Lauren is
lovely but Zach is totally different.
He sure looks the part with the big hair and make-up, said Kara.
Its not much different to his usual punky look to be honest, said Steve.
He probably didnt even have to buy any clothes, just stuck some scissors on
some gloves. He hangs round the club with a group of lads but hes not a player.
Their dad, Paul, is a close friend of Mason. Thats how Melita and Lauren are so
close, they grew up together and have been best friends ever since. As a favour
to Paul theyve set Zach up designing some computer games in the hopes of
keeping him out of trouble. To be fair, hes not half bad.
Does he have a girlfriend? asked Kara, hoping it was Kassie.
He has a string, usually more than one. He has a bad boy reputation; you
know, the mean and moody type. A few tattoos. Some girls like that sort of
thing. He hangs round with Kassie on and off. Dont tell me youre interested?
he said, rolling his eyes.
Dumbom! Im sure Im not his type and he certainly isnt mine, she
replied.
Actually, youre way too old, he said, grinning.
Oi! I think you owe me a drink for that, Kara said, tapping her empty
glass. Coke, please.
Zach and Kassie had disappeared to the bar and Steve also dutifully went to
get some drinks. The plates from dinner were cleared and the MC announced
that dessert would be a buffet a little later on. Danny chatted to Kara. He was
sweet and reminded her of Chloe, the receptionist from work, in the way he
could chat about nothing, for ages. She got the feeling he was a little bit keen on
her and she started to get a tiny bit out of her comfort zone. He worked for his
parents, who were estate agents, so they talked about property.
Melita plonked herself next to Kara in Steves empty chair between Kara
and Lauren so they could chat. Hows your night going? she asked.
Well, so far, Steve and Danny have been very pleasant company but Im
ready to get away from the table and dance!

Yes, I know how you like to dance, laughed Melita. At least we both have
sensible costumes, she said, looking at Lauren.
Im not sure Im gonna stay in this dress, moaned Lauren, pulling it up
around her ample bust.
I wish I had gone for a slightly more glamorous character now. These boots
are going to break someones toe if I stand on them, said Kara.
Melita laughed. There is a band first and then there will be a disco later.
The band is very good, so Im told. If they do well, well book them again.
Talking of pleasant company, have you spoken to Thor? They all looked over
and Kara felt her cheeks reddening as Thor was looking directly back at them,
giving them a big grin.
Only a few words, earlier at the bar, Kara said.
You were supposed to be seated next to him. Sorry about Kassie.
Steve returned with the drinks and went to sit in Melitas place between
Danny and Adam. Danny had removed his Captain America head mask. Kara
had been right; he was very fair, with light ginger hair but looked only about 24.
Mark moved round to Kassies place and the five boys were soon roaring with
laughter.
Hes a real gentleman, very quiet, shy. He remembered you from the Royal
Wedding Day, said Melita, with a sly look. Oh, and I remembered him.
It went quiet as they all looked over at the boys, Melita at Adam, Lauren at
Mark and Kara at Thor.
I need you to waltz with Steve, Thor and Danny, so I can see how you look
with each of them, Melita said. Kara shook her head in refusal.
Aww, please do, said Lauren, itll piss Kassie off if you dance with Thor.
The band started to play and Mason and Ariadne took to the floor for the
first dance, which was a waltz (to a round of applause). Other couples joined in
and the floor soon began to fill. Kassie returned to the table but Zach remained
at the bar. Shed lost her place next to Thor and was not happy.
Miss Croft, would you like to dance? Steve called across.
Actually, its Lady Croft if you dont mind, Bruce Banner. Can you waltz?
No, who can these days?
Youll need to learn for the wedding, scolded Melita.
Well, actually, I can, said Kara.
And actually, so can I, said Thor.
Perfect, said Steve. Why dont you show us how its done?
Would you care to dance, Lady Croft? asked Thor.
I would, but Im not sure I can in these boots, not the ideal footwear choice
for waltzing.
Crashed and burned, big guy, said Danny. Crashed and burned.
Well, thats the best excuse shes come up with so far, said Kassie icily.
Dont like anyone getting too close, do you, Kara? Invading your personal
space.
Not in your case, no, retorted Kara, before excusing herself from the table
and returning a few minutes later with a note folded over which she handed to
Thor before walking off to Debbies table.

God of Thunder
IOU a dance
Lady Croft
He read it and smiled.
The band was doing a great mix of music, keeping the dance floor busy.
Kara did her best not to laugh at Danny in his tight lycra suit as he kept her
amused for three dances before she needed a drink. He left her at the bar to go to
the Gents, with a warning that it may take some time. Not the best choice of
costume for peeing he concluded. Debbie signalled to her and Kara made an OK
sign back. As reluctant as she was to admit it, she was having a fun night. Kara
drained her glass and turned her back to the bar to watch the dance floor. Danny
returned and joined the rugby team for their routine to LMFAOs Party Rock
Anthem, which Kara found hilarious. As it ended she saw Thor making his way
towards the bar. He caught her eye and smiled that infectious big grin but her
view was obscured as Nat appeared in front of her.
Hows it going, Tomb Raider? he said, ordering a beer. Gin?
Not so bad, Prince Dastan. Could I just have a Coke, please?
Not drinking?
Its still early yet and Ive just downed one, said Kara, as Thor appeared at
her other side.
Dance with me, said Nat, taking her arm, looking at Thor.
What about my drink? she asked.
Would you like me to take it to your table? asked Thor in his deep voice.
She turned to look at him knowing she was going red, again, just as Danny
appeared behind Thor and jumped on his back. Hope you make the first team
this season, Thor. Thor held him piggy back style and hitched him up like he
was a feather, his arms rippling with muscles. Kara couldnt help but stare.
Look at those muscles, said Danny, as though he could read her thoughts. I
am, I am.
Lets leave the alpha males to their games, said Nat, still holding her arm,
gently pulling her to the dance floor.
Oi, youre nicking my dance partner, called Danny.
Nat was lush, that was a Chloe word. Dark tousled hair, blue eyes and
stubble. He was wearing black trousers with matching waistcoat and a white,
sleeveless, silken shirt open about half-way revealing a nice body; he was tall
and medium built, not overly muscular. He wore a small crystal pendant like a
small icicle around his neck to complete the costume. Definitely a taridable.
The music was a good dance mix and Nat was a great partner; they danced
well together. Kara was enjoying herself, she liked dancing, no awkward
conversations. She saw Nat nod to Zach, who was sitting at the bar watching.
Tim and Debbie joined them and Steve persuaded Selina to dance alongside
Melita, Adam, Mark and Lauren. Even Kassie joined in with Danny so Melita

could see the different partnerings and also so the group of bridesmaids could be
photographed.
Swap partners, Kara, called Melita, so I can see you with Steve. Kara
shook her head but Selina whispered she really wanted to dance with Nat, so
Kara reluctantly partnered Steve. They had one dance. Steve was nice, Kara
pegged him as late 20s/early 30s but a bit of a pretty boy for her liking. Selina
seemed to be quite cosy partnering Nat, so after her dance with Steve, Kara went
to sit down with Debbie as her boots were just starting to rub a little. Thor
appeared as if by magic, holding a Coke.
Hej, he said.
Hey, hey, said Debbie.
Hey, hey, hey, thank you, said Kara as they both burst out laughing.
Definitely a hey, hey, hey, said Debbie. And a wonki hoob.
Please excuse my wife and her cousin, said Tim to Thor. They speak a
secret language.
Youre just jealous that you have never cracked our code, Cub, laughed
Debbie.
Am I a wonki hoob? said Tim.
What about me? said Thor.
Definitely and fufi, mumbled Kara, blushing.
Thor joined the table and Kara watched him chatting, so at ease, socialising
with everyone, totally relaxed. Maybe that was why opposites attract. He
absolutely fascinated her and she couldnt explain it. He was certainly charming
Uncle Kris and Auntie Joanna.
Hows it going with your taridable? You looked to be having fun dancing
with him. Debbie could see Kara was not paying her full attention.
Were going to go soon, are you staying? said Debbie, giving her a poke,
nodding over at Thor. He is your taribloble, isnt he?
Kara nodded. Yes to both.
Even I have to admit, he is fit. But an unusual choice for you, said Debbie.
I know, definitely fufi, sighed Kara. Cant explain it.
Oh my God! exclaimed Debbie in mock horror. Youre smitten.
Dont be ridiculous, retorted Kara, standing up, loud enough for Thor, Tim
and Kris to look over.
Emotional retard, snapped Debbie equally loudly as Kara headed over to
the dessert table.
Back at the table everyone had eaten their fill of dessert as there was an
announcement that Mason was going to cut the cake and say a few words.
Glasses of champagne were brought round and Kara whispered a few words to
Debbie, getting up to leave, taking her glass with her. Kassie was heading back
from the toilets. Not staying to wish Dad a happy birthday, Kara. Oh, I forgot
you dont celebrate birthdays, do you? How many have you had now, seven,
isnt it?
Kassie, cats only have nine lives and yours are running out, said Kara as
Debbie was making her way round the table but she was embarrassed that Thor
would have heard.

Oh, look, here comes your bodyguard, said Kassie, her arms folded,
tapping her finger on her arm.
One day, Kassie, you are going to overstep the mark and Kara will snap.
You will see another side to her and please God, let me be there to witness it,
said Debbie as Kassie swished off.
You okay? Debbie said to Kara.
Ill just get some air, Im fine.
Would you like some company? asked Thor, who had now stood up and
before Kara could answer, Debbie replied for her. Just give her a few minutes
on her own.
It was probably the only time Debbie had ever got it wrong.
When she came back about ten minutes later, Thor had gone and Danny was
sitting there waiting for a dance. Debbie was getting ready to go home and Alice
and Will came to give Kara a hug; they were very tired.
See you in the morning, Debbie said, giving her a hug. Behave!
Love you, said Alice to Kara.
Back at cha, said Kara, giving her a kiss on the cheek, picking her up.
Have a God time, sorry, good time, said Tim, winking.
After Kara had carried Alice to the minibus, she went back inside to the
Ladies, avoided Danny, and headed to the bar. She stood sipping a gin, studying
Edward Scissorhands. Zach didnt look up at all. Hi, Edward, she said finally.
Johnny Depp should be on commission; theres you, Jack Sparrow and Willy
Wonka.
And you are? he asked, without bothering to look up.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, she replied, twirling round.
Obviously, he said sarcastically, hunched over his drink, still not looking
at her. I meant who are you and why are you speaking to me?
Kara was taken aback by his hostile tone.
Well, you were just sitting here on your own, so I thought I would come
over and say hi.
He still didnt look up and she could see his left eyebrow was pierced.
Well, youve said hi, so piss off! he snapped. Nat was already on his way over,
closely followed by Selina.
All okay? Nat asked, only Kara wasnt sure which one of them he was
asking.
Zach, I hope youre not being rude to my sister, Kara, said Selina. Kara,
this is Zach; hes Laurens brother and Kassies guest this evening.
I humbly apologise, said Zach, standing up with a mock flourish and bow.
Zach looked directly at Kara for the first time. He had deep brown eyes
which suddenly blazed emerald green. As Kara blinked and flinched, he smirked
and his eyes returned to brown. Maybe shed had one too many, or maybe not
enough as Kara looked at Nat to see if he had seen it too. His blue eyes twinkled
mischievously and she looked at the drink in her hand. She tipped the contents
over Zachs head. Luckily there was only about an inch left in the bottom of her
glass as he shook his head, droplets flying off his hair and there was no

mistaking the green flash in his eyes that time as he gave her a look of pure
loathing.
Ooops, I humbly apologise, she said as Zach was manoeuvred quickly
away by Nat who was having a very quiet word in his ear. Selina was highly
amused at Karas abnormal behaviour.
Sorry, Selina, but he was so rude! said Kara. I dont know what possessed
me.
Nat winked at her. Or maybe she did.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur; the band played another set and was
excellent. Kara stuck to soft drinks; she was still a little shaky from her
encounter with Zach and had not moved from the dance floor with the girls.
Neither Nat nor Thor had been on the dance floor but she was aware both had
been watching. The DJ was back on, saying he was winding down as it was the
last hour and was taking requests but all songs had to be from a movie. There
was a stampede for requests led by Lauren.
Kara had done well to avoid too much contact but now wasnt comfortable
with the slow, up close and personal (UCAP) dances. Time to go home.
Nat came over. You owe me a dance, Tomb Raider.
Kara shook her head. Im not Dirty Dancing. The song was Time of My
Life. Itll be Whitney next.
Bodyguard. Followed by Bryan Adams.
Robin Hood. Worse still, Celine Dion.
Titanic, laughed Nat.
The next song was Melitas choice: Cant Fight the Moonlight.
Nat ordered a double whisky and a double gin, placing the gin in front of
Kara as they watched the dance floor. Steve was trying to entice Selina to the
dance floor but was having trouble standing.
Deep in the dark, youll surrender your heart. Nat half whispered the
lyrics, Dance with me.
Kara shook her head. Nope. And getting me drunk isnt going to make me
either.
Nat grinned and downed his whisky. Okay. Ill give you the lyrics of a song
from a movie I know you have seen, big clue, my favourite band, I even have
their tatt. If you dont get it, you owe me a dance. Deal?
Go on, smiled Kara, downing her gin.
You build up hope, but failures all youve known. Nat looked over at
Thor.
Easy peasy, said Kara quietly. Iridescent. Linkin Park. Transformers.
Kara looked at Nats bare arms for a tattoo and Nat patted his arse.
You have a tatt of Linkin Park on your arse? Kara laughed as Nat just
winked in reply.
The next song started. Dont Want to Close My Eyes.
Armageddon. They both said in unison.
Dance with me, Nat repeated.
Nope, you lost.

Kassie was demanding a dance with Thor, saying Melita had requested it.
She dragged him to the dance floor and Kara watched him hold Kassie at arms
length, struggling to waltz.
I never lose. Nat said. Dance with me. Kara had to admit there was
something she found hard to resist; his lovely blue eyes were so alluring. Not
you as well? She huffed in defeat as he led her to the dance floor and she placed
her hands on his shoulders and he rested his hands on her hips. Cause even
when I dream of you, the sweetest dream would never do.
What do you dream about? Nat asked, as Kara couldnt break his intense
gaze. Nat smirked. Ill make you forget all about him. Nat looked over at Thor
as Kara gave Nat a bewildered look. You cant know what I dream. Her head
was a total mess and she wished she hadnt had the last drink. Come home with
me and Ill show you my tattoos. Nats hands were slowly moving around her.
Kara looked over at Thor and sighed because as much as she did like Nat, it
wasnt his arms she wanted to be in. She saw Selina making her way to the
dance floor and she took a step backwards from Nat, seeing the look on her
sisters face.
I would like to redeem my IOU.
Kara spun round to see Thor standing there as Selina almost shoved Kara
out of the way to wrap her arms around Nat. Melita was holding onto Kassie
who was absolutely fuming that she had been abandoned part way through her
dance.
Kara took a deep breath and put her hands on Thors shoulders exactly as
she had done with Nat.
Okay? he asked, lightly resting his hands on her waist, and she nodded in
reply. They stayed like that for the short remainder of the song, not speaking
until the next one came on. You look into my eyes, I go out of my mind. I cant
see anything, Cos this loves got me blind. Kara wondered who had chosen the
song Too Lost in You from Love Actually.
Do you want to sit this one out or are you okay for another dance? Thor
asked, genuinely concerned.
Im okay, she said, looking up into his beautiful blue eyes. She wasnt sure
if it was the gin or if she was just seizing the moment but she couldnt resist
sliding her hands down his shoulders to feel his biceps. He gently nipped her
waist so his muscles flexed and Kara gave a little shiver. Thor held her gaze as
his arms now moved around her, slowly pulling her closer.
Still okay? he whispered, looking down at her. She rested her head against
his chest and put both hands around his neck in reply; she didnt think she had
ever been more okay.
Adam winked at her and she smiled back. Lost in everything about you. The
words were so apt.
Kara closed her eyes, enjoying the moment, so relaxed and she couldnt help
but give a little contented whimper. His arms around her made her feel calm,
safe and happy, like he was protecting her and she liked the feeling, likey lots.
She was sad when the song ended, wishing it hadnt. It was the first time she
could remember letting anyone into her personal space when she hardly knew
them but he was different, so different.

Kara Thor whispered.


Yes, she replied, looking up at him. Her head was in turmoil and she knew
she had never felt like this about anybody ever. Please kiss me. She stifled a
giggle. How many drinks have I had?
Kara, I Thor started to say but suddenly Kassie appeared on one side
demanding another dance with him and Danny materialised at the other, pulling
her arm.
Kassie demanded a dance exactly like hed done with Kara but Thor said no,
shed had her wedding dance and Kassie pouted and Kara smiled. It wasnt often
she got one over her little sister. Danny, who was quite drunk, became quite
persistent on a slow dance but Kara insisted her feet were aching and she was
ready to go home. Nat was telling him to back off and Kara thought Thor was
going to intervene before she told Danny quite firmly that she was ready to leave
right now.
Kara detoured to the Ladies, and was some time dealing with a very drunken
Lauren and a jammed zip. Nat was waiting in the passageway when she finally
emerged.
Just checking youre okay, Nat said. I hope you enjoyed your evening as
much as I did.
I had fun, thank you, Nat. Kara smiled back.
I hear youre staying at Arcadia, Im seeing Mason in the morning. Ill see
you then, unless his eyes twinkled mischievously.
Kara! Kara turned to see Uncle Kris. Its time to go home.
I thought youd already left. Kara asked, confused.
I worry about you. Kris gave her a kiss on the forehead.
Uncle Kris, Im 31.
The minibus is waiting and Danny is coming back with us too. Kris gave
Nat a look Kara couldnt fathom. It was late and she was tired.
Goodnight, my dark Prince.
Until tomorrow, Princess, he said softly, reaching forward to give her a
kiss on the cheek. Sweet dreams, he whispered in her ear.
Ill catch you up, said Kris to Kara. I just need a quick word with Nat.
Kara couldnt see Thor as she gathered her belongings to go home and
Danny was waiting to escort her to the minibus as Selina came over to ask a
favour. Steve is well slaughtered and needs to go home. I really dont want him
back at my flat as it will give him the wrong idea and I cant find Thor so can
you take him back with you? He can crash at Mums as there will be plenty of
room.
Sure, no problem, slurred Danny, as they all headed to where Steve was
slumped.
Actually, Im going home with Nat. Irresistible, isnt he? Were sort of
dating. Selina said and Kara got the message loud and clear hes mine! He
has a secret
He told me he has a tattoo of Linkin Park on his arse, smiled Kara. Is that
true?

Yes, its their logo and he also has a tattoo of a star but
I have a birthmark of a star. Wanna see it? muttered Steve, fumbling
unsuccessfully to undo his trousers.
He has another secret, Selina continued, her voice dropping to a whisper,
he is the most amazing fuck I have ever had. I cant help myself, he has it
pierced with a ring, and the sensation is unbelievable, honestly, un-fuckingbelievable.
It was just after midnight when the four headed back to Arcadia in the
minibus and Kara saw Selina leaving with Nat in a taxi. And she felt a tiny bit
jealous.

Chapter 2
Saturday 30 July 9 weeks to the Dreadding Day
Kara awoke just before 6am, the daylight streaming through the slit in the
curtains. Shed awoken from a weird dream with Zach and his green eyes. Shed
not slept well during the night as every time shed dropped off reliving her
dance with Thor, shed woken up thinking of Nat completely entangled in the
sheets. She furrowed trying to remember the dreams, but couldnt.
Picking up her overnight bag, she headed quietly to the bathroom. She
opened the door and froze. Standing in front of the sink, gelling his hair in the
mirror, was Zach. He was completely naked, exhibiting a lean and sinewy body.
On his right butt cheek was a small tattoo, sort of like a crude letter t in black n.
In the reflection of the mirror tiles, which extended the full length behind the
sink unit, she could see a couple of tattoos on his chest and Karas eyes
wandered down to another one further down. She could make out the top of
some lettering in the reflection. The rest of the lettering, and thankfully his
peewee, were hidden by the sink.
Morning, he said watching her in the mirror, as though there was nothing
improper with him standing there completely naked. Im nearly done.
Determined not to be fazed by his brazenness, Kara met his gaze in the
mirror. Morning, she replied, her eyes now staring at his brown eyes. They
didnt change.
He leisurely reached for the hand towel and wrapped it around his waist
before turning to face her. It was low enough for Kara to see the whole name
tattooed just above his dark pubic hair line Rebecka. He picked up his tube of
Shockwave and left without speaking. Kara locked the door behind him.
She had a quick shower, got dressed in jeans and a light jumper, packed her
bag and put on a little makeup to hide her tired eyes. She scraped her hair back
into a ponytail which was still very wavy from the plait, went back to her room
and picked up her phone.
She crept downstairs, trainers in hand and met Marie and Lucas in the dining
room setting up for a breakfast buffet. Marie worked for the Millers as their
housekeeper and cook. Lucas was her son who also worked at Arcadia.
Morning, Kara, youre first up, she said. Did you have a good night?
Yes, thanks Marie. But my head is a little fuzzy.
Marie laughed. Can I get you anything, coffee, paracetamol?
Yes, the blond God or the dark Prince, please.
Umm, can I have orange juice, please?
She followed Marie into the kitchen for a glass of orange juice. Lucas was
about to go home and was telling his mum it had been a fairly quiet night. Kara
wandered through to look into the conservatory. Lucas had opened some of the

doors that led outdoors onto the sun terrace to get some air in, as it was a very
warm July morning. The pool was out of bounds. The sun hadnt come round to
that side enough to bother them yet but the conservatory and pool would get the
sun late morning and for the whole afternoon. She could see Mark, Danny and
Steve still asleep on big comfy sun loungers. On the next empty sun lounger was
Thors helmet and hammer and Kara wondered where he was.
She drained her glass and returned it to the kitchen. Her head was still
thumping a little. I think Ill go out for a walk for some air, she said to Marie
and Lucas. Clear my head. Ill be back in a while if anyone asks and I have my
phone with me. She patted her jeans pocket.
The early morning air was working wonders for Kara as she strolled out of
the house grounds and down the lane towards the village centre, which was a
crossroads with a handful of shops. The house was behind her, church to the left
and she was pleased to be out of the house; it had certainly never felt like home
to her.
She wandered down to the church, which was a little way out of the village.
She wasnt at all religious but she loved the architecture of old churches and
castles and liked to marvel at the craftsmanship. She sat on the church bench,
enjoying the peace and tranquillity.
A figure came running from the same direction Kara had just come from. As
he came closer, Kara couldnt believe her eyes (or luck) as she recognised the
figure from last night out for an early morning run.
Hej, he said, coming to a stop, grinning.
Hey, hey, hey, said Kara, beaming. He was even hunkier in daylight
standing at least 64. His dark blond hair was neatly swept back and he had the
most captivating blue eyes. He was wearing a running vest and shorts, definitely
showing off his most muscular physique which was glistening with sweat. Kara
was slightly embarrassed.
Youre up and about early, Thor.
The guys at the club nicknamed me Thor, I suppose because of my looks,
size and also as I am Scandinavian and the team are known as The Avengers,
but my actual name is Frey, F R E Y, he spelt it out. Please, would you call me
by my given name?
Frey, repeated Kara, the name suits you.
And Kara is a beautiful, special name, just like you, Frey said, smiling.
She smiled back, trying to ignore the trembling in her tummy. Perfect
choice of costume for you last night then, so the beard is real, I did wonder.
Absolutely, I grew a beard especially for last night. Do you not like it? he
asked.
Kara pondered is that a yes or no answer? brain overload.
I like a nice 5 oclock shadow, she replied.
It was a good party, thank you for the dances, he said, looking a little
puzzled.
Thank you, I enjoyed them, she replied, blushing slightly. Although I
think Kassie may have something to say today. She smiled at the thought of
Kassies face the night before.

He put his foot up on the bench to re-tie his trainer and Kara almost groaned
out loud at the sight of his rippling muscles. She sat on her hands.
I know wed all been drinking so I hope I didnt make you feel
uncomfortable last night, if you dont like people getting too close.
Kara blushed deeper. You didnt, not at all, she said very quietly.
You are up early too, could you not sleep? he asked, changing the subject.
No, I didnt sleep well and my head was just a little fuzzy, I needed some
air. What about you, are you usually up this early on a weekend?
I like to go for a run most mornings. I live just further down the lane in one
of the cottages. Would you like to come back whilst I get changed and I will
walk you back home? I need to collect part of my costume that I left there,
anyway. Kara hesitated, dont seem too keen and then nodded.
When did you leave the party? asked Frey, as they walked on.
Mmmm, sometime gone midnight. I came back with Uncle Kris, Danny
and Steve. Selina asked us to bring Steve back because she couldnt find you.
He was well slaughtered. Frey looked puzzled again.
Drunk, clarified Kara. When did you leave?
Straight after our dances. I thought you had already left and went back to
Arcadia. I had a couple of drinks with Tim. I was going to stay over but Zach
turned up so I came home. I must have just missed you.
Do you not like Zach much?
No, Frey frowned.
Dumbom, she agreed.
Frey looked surprised. Do you speak Swedish?
A few words; Gran used to call Gramps din dumbom when she was cross
with him. I only know a little.
So, you came back with Danny. I think he likes you and Nat, too, said
Frey, getting back to the subject of last night.
Danny is sweet, but even if he was my type, which hes not, hes way too
young. Remember, I am the oldest sister, she smiled but avoided mentioning
Nat. He smiled his beautiful smile and Kara felt a flutter in the pit of her
stomach.
They had walked further down the lane, round a corner to a row of four
small detached cottages. Freys was the last one. He unlocked the door and
invited her in.
Its okay, Ill wait here, Kara said uncertainly.
At least let me offer you a drink, he said. Coffee?
Do you have any juice or tea or if not, water? Now Im burbling.
All of them, orange or apple juice? He smiled, slightly amused.
Orange, please, she said, following him through the front door which led
directly into the living room. It was very neat and tidy. She was impressed a
single guy had such a tidy house. Maybe he wasnt single. Kara followed him
through to the kitchen where he poured her a juice. Looking out of the kitchen
window, she saw a small two seater wooden bench partly carved.
That is beautiful, said Kara. Frey unlocked the back door and they
wandered out.

I bought the bench, he said. I carve wood as a hobby. This isnt finished
yet.
It had a pattern of hearts and flowers across the back and arms. He opened
the little shed at the bottom of the garden to show Kara his workshop. There
were some small carved trinket boxes and engraved pen pots, book ends, all
sorts. I wanted to get on with the bench in the summer months, he explained.
The little items I can do indoors.
You are very talented, she said, picking up items to admire.
He smiled and she definitely felt her heart skip.
Can I sit out here, whilst you change?
Of course, would you mind if I took a few extra minutes and had a shower?
Help yourself to more juice.
She drank her juice and took her glass back into the kitchen. It was very neat
and tidy, putting her kitchen to shame. On the noticeboard she saw her dance
IOU from last night pinned up. If hed kept it, what did that mean? She knew
what she hoped it meant. She looked from the kitchen doorway into the living
room; the open plan stairs were directly in front and to the left was a small
dining room. Kara didnt go in but she could see he used it more like an office.
There was a laptop on the table and two large bookcases filled with books and a
desk under the window which looked out into the garden. Again, everything in
its place. Kara wandered back outside to sit on the bench. The large garden went
around the side of the house in an L shape. There wasnt much in the way of
flowers, mostly shrubs and a hedge high enough to keep it private from next
door. The view across the fields to a nearby wood was picturesque and Kara sat
quietly on the bench admiring the tranquil landscape. It would make a beautiful
Christmas card scene in the winter with snow.
Frey wasnt long and returned with damp hair and a big mug of coffee,
wearing a baby blue lambswool V neck jumper and jeans. The jumper matched
his eyes. He had refilled her glass with orange and brought it out to her.
Tim told me your grandmother is Swedish, what is her surname?
Yes, both Grandparents and my dad are, were. We are all Erikssons. Here
come the questions about the family.
Do you not spend much time with your mum?
Not if I can help it, she mumbled.
Will you tell me a little about your family?
Kara considered her next move. She didnt discuss her family with anyone.
Frey sat on the bench next to her and put one arm across the back of the
bench casually behind her. If she leant back, would he think she expected him to
put his arm around her? She sort of half turned towards him so her back was
more to the arm of the bench. Her glass of orange was just shaking slightly in
her hand. Frey reached to steady her hand. I apologise. I was only interested in
your Swedish background. I didnt mean to make you feel ill at ease, quite the
opposite. He looked concerned and Kara could hear Debbie in her head telling
her what an ER she was.

Dont apologise, sokay. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts and
she felt he was genuinely a nice guy and she really liked him.
Can I ask one thing first? She put her glass down.
Of course, he smiled. Stop doing that, youre messing up my head.
How well do you know my sisters? Kassie, in particular.
I know Melita the best; she hired me to work at the club and I go out with
Adam and the rugby boys regularly. I often go back to Arcadia with Adam and
Steve to use the fitness room and pool. I understand Selina is a respected
businesswoman. Steve really likes her but Im not sure how she feels about him
or her relationship with Nat as they are together sometimes. We pass
pleasantries but I dont know her that well. Again, I have polite conversations
with Ariadne but I have a good relationship with Mason; we often chat. Frey
paused, Kara looked at him waiting for him to continue. But what about Kassie?
The one I dont get on with? Kassie? she prompted.
Ah, Kassie, I sensed you dont get along too well from the encounters I
have witnessed, he smiled. Well, I think Kassie likes me. I would like to think
I am congenial towards her. As you would say, even if she was my type, which
shes not, shes way too young. Does that answer your question? he was
grinning.
Sorry, Kara said. She is the sister I least get on with and shes made her
feelings about you quite clear. I didnt want any misunderstandings; for all I
know you may be intending to ask her out. So what is your type?
Frey laughed his deep gutsy laugh and Kara smiled. She really didnt want
to screw this up.
Can we start again? she asked.
Will you tell me a little about your family? he repeated.
Only if you tell me about yours in return, Kara said. Frey smiled, he was
so handsome. Stop doing that, I cant concentrate.
Agreed. Ladies first. Frey sat back and Kara took a deep breath.
Her dad, Anders, was the best mate of Kris, Debbies dad. He was Best Man
at Kriss wedding to Joanna where he had met Ariadne, Kriss younger sister.
Theyd had a relationship for only a few months, when Anders had died.
Ariadne was already quite a few weeks pregnant. She was 24 and had no desire
to be a single mum. Ariadne made an agreement with her Grandparents, Ingrid
and Mikael, for them to have the sole upbringing of the baby.
Kara was born in the following February, raised and treasured by her
grandparents. She had spent a lot of time, especially during the holidays, with
Debbie, her cousin, but they got on like sisters. Uncle Kris had always treated
her as his daughter and their time together was split between Grans farm and
Debbies house.
Ariadne had married Mason when Kara was four and Selina was born the
following year. She had no contact with the Millers until she turned eighteen and
then Ariadne had kept in sporadic contact with her but their relationship at best
was strained. However, she liked and got on well with both Mason and Melita.
She stopped. Im sorry, I feel like Im baring my soul to a complete
stranger.

I didnt mean to make you feel uncomfortable again, he said, looking


concerned.
Youre not but theres only Debbie who knows all this, the early years
stuff.
Is it a bad thing that youre so comfortable with me? His blue eyes were
hypnotising her.
Kara didnt answer. You have no idea how youre messing up my head. She
continued but did not mention her family much more.
When she got into her late teens, Kara moved in to a small cottage in the
grounds of her Grans farm so she had some independence, which was great
when Debs came to stay. Gramps had died when Kara was fifteen. She worked
as an accountant in York, loved her job as it had little contact with people and
she liked number crunching. She enjoyed movies, junk food and hated surprises.
She disliked crowds but enjoyed dancing and keeping fit.
Frey asked how Debbie would describe her: impossible and complicated.
Those were Debbies favourite words for her. She could be stubborn, was
terrible at relationships but had a good sense of humour, was very loyal and the
best friend ever. She was Godmother to Alice and Will, on whom she doted.
Your turn.
Frey lived outside Stockholm, had a younger sister and had just completed
his BA at Nottingham University in Viking Studies. He had lived in the village
for the last year of his BA, worked at the rugby club Friday and Saturday nights
and had been playing for the team since Christmas. He was hoping to be moved
up to the first team with Steve, Adam, Mark and Danny for the next season. He
was returning to university in September to continue with an MA in Viking and
Norse Mythology, a subject he found fascinating. His passion was runes and he
sometimes gave lectures on the subject.
He was named after one of the Vanir Gods who lived in Vanaheim. The
legends said Freyr was the God of Farming and Fertility along with his twin
sister the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Freyja. He had traced his family tree far
back and believed he was a descendant of one of the very oldest Norse families.
His surname was Silfverskjld and it meant silver shield.
His father had died some years ago, being considerably older than his
mother. He had been close to his father. His mother always favoured his sister
and he did not have such a close bond with her. The family owned land and
property, a business which had been run by his father and now his uncle, with
whom he had a good relationship. His uncle was much younger than his father,
had no family and his life was the business. He kept in regular contact with his
sister whom he loved dearly but, and he hesitated, he didnt approve of her
lifestyle. Kara didnt ask.
He would be 33 in December, worked out regularly, ate healthily but maybe
a bit too much meat, liked most sports but especially skiing and horse riding.
Steve was his best friend here, so Kara asked how Steve would describe
Frey. Private and reserved but very dependable, fun to have as a mate, with
never a dull moment.
Great, were going to make a right pair.

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