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Kept by the Viking
Forgotten Sons Book 1
by Gina Conkle
Genre: Historical Viking Romance


Loyalty to the Brotherhood comes before all. Including women.

Formidable Viking leader Rurik knows the law. His loyalty to the Forgotten Sons is his bond, and no woman will threaten what he’s built from the ground up. But the Sons are a roving band of Vikings, and Rurik is growing restless—so when Normandy’s chieftain offers land, the proposal intrigues him. And the sultry Parisian thrall he finds in his tent intrigues him even more…

Safira is cunning and clever and full of secrets. Rurik’s men have no interest in securing her safe passage home, but, piqued with lust, Rurik views Safira’s wiles as a captivating challenge—one he’s determined to conquer, even if lying with her is as defiant as it is inevitable.

Traveling with Safira has been a fantasy come true—what started as lust is quickly turning to the kind of partnership Rurik could never have dreamed. But their arrival in foreign lands marks a new chapter, one that demands a Viking wife. With impossible decisions to be made, Rurik’s alliances are fraying, and past promises may not be enough to save him from having to betray those he’s sworn loyalty to—including Safira.

This book is approximately 83,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!


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They camped in a graveyard of deserted Viking ships. Moss and ferns crowded splintered dragon prows. A breeze riffled a torn sail. Northmen wrote their stories in blood on this riverbank, counting gold and silver, repairing ships, planning their next attack.

A place of brotherhood and battle.

Rurik breathed the magic of past warriors. Skalds sang of the Arelaune Forest, a mystical woods worthy of Yggdrasil’s seeds. His third time here and the gods still whispered to him. Winds of change were coming. Less pillaging, more trading. Vikings and Christians living together. Raids ending in defeat or the Danegeld puny.

He was young enough to crave conquering kingdoms; old enough to yearn for land and want to nurture it.

Rurik dismounted his warhorse. His booted feet landed in tall grass—good soil to carve out his story.

But the pain in his chest…

The heel of his hand rubbed his breast bone. Pain twisted, the coil getting tighter. Three days they had journeyed. One more day and they would arrive in time for Rouen’s Midsumarblot bonfires. Safira would know his deception. So too would the Sons.

His men set up camp, working with pride and understanding that came from years of friendship and fighting together. Gunnar and Thorfinn hefted a fallen mast across two boats in the tree line, creating a fence for the horses. Erik and Bjorn set their hudfats by a fire ring already in the ground. None wanted to stop their wandering ways. Taking the land would be hard on the Sons, but his silence about the jarl’s offer would be harder. His men wouldn’t forgive him.

“What is this place?” Safira dismounted, landing agile as a cat.

“An old Viking camp.” Rurik took the reins from her and nodded at a once grand ship split in half in cattails. “Behold the glory of the Northmen.”

She smiled. “Not very frightening.”

Pride was a mantle on his shoulders nonetheless. If he was quiet, he’d hear men of old sharpening axes, speaking of farms and fishing, of raids and far-flung journeys. Wind in the towering trees carried their wisdom. They’d tell him to honor cleverness, courage, luck, and fame—the Viking seeds planted here.

“The Arelaune Forest.” Safira’s head tipped back. “What manner of things have these trees witnessed?”

Without a word, he led their horses to the Seine. Vikings had owned this snake-like river for years, stealing from it and living on it. Peaceful water flowed, lifeblood for kings and highborn men and the humblest farmer and fighter.

Safira trotted to catch up with him. She tromped through tall grass, studying his profile. “Something bothers you.”

The maid saw too much. Her face was open and curious in his side vision. Silence was his best ally.

Her gentle laugh was intimate. “I can see it in your mouth, but it is not a thing you want to tell me.”

“My mouth?” He dropped the reins and let the horses drink.

Dragonflies danced at the water’s edge. Grass was thicker and longer, the mud rich and black. A deer and her fawn darted from dense cattails, bounding for the woods. Safira watched them go, her face full of delight at the simple beauty.

“Yes. Your mouth—” she turned to him, her finger drawing a line across her lips “—the corners, the way it is set. One side is crooked when you are troubled.” She tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. “You say much with your mouth when you are quiet, Viking. Sometimes with your eyes.”

Arms folding across his chest, he hummed a neutral sound and gave his attention to the river. His mother and sister had said as much when he was a boy. Safira was a keen observer of him and his men. She soaked up details, little habits like Thorfinn’s skill with horses and their ailments and Erik’s need for precision in everything he did. But when her amber gaze honed in on him…it went deep and left him naked.

She stood shoulder to shoulder with him, staring at the river. “We do not have to talk about you.”

“I wasn’t going to.”

Her soft laugh was a balm. “I expected you to say that.”

These three days were a dance of sharing and revelation, his past for tidbits of hers. They’d come to an easy alliance since the afternoon sitting by Bermon village.

“Why not tell me about these broken ships?” she suggested. “Your famed Ragnar Lothbrok camped here, no?”

“It was a base camp for his raids, but that was long before I was born.” He paused to follow two dragonflies at the river’s edge. “He led thousands of men, and he fathered great warrior sons.”

“You revere him.” Safira angled her face to his, searching for eye contact he wouldn’t give. “I think you wish to be like him.”

“He was a great warrior.”

“He was a plague.”

He understood the disdain in her voice. What enriched his people was a blight on hers. Vikings deserved their reputation. Northmen from one generation to the next had pillaged Paris to the bone. Now they lived as uneasy neighbors. The maid had sound reasons for thinking ill of his kind.

“Ragnar Lothbrok was the past. As you can see, no one has used the camp for years.”

“No one uses it because Vikings rule this land now.” She slanted a smile at him. “No need for Vikings to steal from each other.”

Her gentle humor was infectious. He could tell her the season of raids was changing, and that Vikings did turn on each other, but the river was calming. So was this moment with Safira. He would savor it.

“I’m surprised you’ve not seen this place before.”

“I’ve never been west of the Epte River.” She spun a slow circle, taking in trees taller than Greek pillars, her dirt-smeared arms stretching wide. “I imagined something different.”

“What did you imagine?”

She stared into the forest, twilight limning her profile in gold. “Death, but what I see is…beauty.”

“An end for one is a beginning to another.”

Wisps of hair blew across her mouth. “You sound like a court philosopher.”

Each time she spoke, he gathered little facts about the Paris maid. Trust was growing between them. Not once did he touch her. Male wisdom told him Safira wanted him. Her hot glances. Eyes dark with longing. Wetting her lips when he was near. There was no denying her reaction to his kiss at the Cailly River. It had rattled him too.

Men, young and old, often made the mistake of forcing themselves on the fair sex, when casting a net of desire drew a woman to him. A quick tumble sated simple hunger. Deep, sensual connection with a woman was a long, perfected art. It should never be rushed. The feast would be worth the wait.

Her Viking Warrior
Forgotten Sons Book 2


When an outcast goes home and meets a woman seeking justice, hearts will clash…

Eighteen years ago, Bjorn was exiled from Vellefold. Honor-bound to return, he’ll fight for the settlement…then walk away. First, he must work with his childhood friend, now a beautiful, high-ranking Viking lady.

Fierce of spirit, Ilsa will do anything to save her people, including convincing the banished son to take the jarl’s seat. But she has her doubts about the stone-hearted Viking, despite the lust between them. It’s only a matter of time before Bjorn discovers that Ilsa is hiding dangerous secrets, secrets that may jeopardize all they’ve worked for.

When the darkest hour comes, the once-rejected warrior must choose: rescue his men, the Forgotten Sons—or Ilsa, the woman he craves, body and soul.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!


Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo

Ilsa poured amber mead to the brim, gold sparkling against her neck where taut skin covered symmetrical bones like silk pulled tightly over a frame. Her chore done, she set down the pitcher with a firm clunk.

“You know, you weren’t my first choice, but I’m here because I gave an oath to find you.”

Her smoky voice was…different. Testy. Perhaps tired.

He shifted on the bench. “Your choice for what?”

“To save Vellefold.”

“You need saving?”

“I don’t. Vellefold does. We were raided last spring. Twice.”

He whistled softly. Definitely testy. “Things have changed.”

His father’s iron rule must be weakening. No one had dared raid Jarl Egil’s settlement. Ever.

“Now you understand why we need you.”

Forearm planted on the table, he smiled coolly. “We, is it? Then you do need me.”

She bristled at the distinction and sipped her drink. It was a small point to make. A bigger one was coming because Justice looked kindly on him today. Yes, he and Ilsa had been friends once, but they were closer to enemies now. He could live with that. By the impatient twist of her fair mouth, she could too.

Does she really think I’ll run back to Vellefold? After all these years?



Gina’s fate was sealed when her mom read ‘The Highwayman’ for a bedtime story. She was five years old at the time, but from then on, Gina was doomed to love history and romance.

Some days she pens sparkling Georgian romance. Other days, she writes evocative Viking romance full of heat and adventure. Gina spent most of her life in southern California but now lives in Michigan with her husband where snow days are perfect for reading and writing. Her books have won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Poke around her website and you’ll run across those accolades.


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