A viking romance IS ALWAY S IN SEASON First published in 1991, Season of the Sun is the glorious story of a Viking man whose love for one woman is nearly destroyed by her stubborn stepfather.
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September 10, 2002
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Excerpt from Season of the Sun by Catherine Coulter
Her name was Zarabeth. She was the stepdaughter of the Dane Olav the Vain, a rich fur merchant of Jorvik, or York, as the local Anglo-Saxons called it. She wasn't the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. His slave, Cyra, was more enticing, more magnificently endowed, than this woman. Unlike most men and women from his homeland, indeed, unlike many people here in the Danelaw, she didn't have hair so blond it was almost white in the noonday sun. No, her hair was blazing red, a stark vivid red, a red dark as blood when there was no sun to lighten it. She wore it tumbling down her back in loose waves and curls or, when the day grew hot, in two thick braids wound together atop her head. That hair, he thought, had to be the result of a mother from that western island called Ireland. He'd visited the garrison in Dublin several years earlier to buy slaves and trade sea ivory, furs, antlers, and soapstone bowls and ornaments. He'd been told that the Irish bred like dogs, and this bold, rich coloring was many times the result. Her eyes were also an odd color, a strange green, a hue he hadn't noticed in Ireland, a green that reminded him of wet moss. He had but to look at himself in a polished silver plate to know that his eyes, like those of most of his countrymen, were a sky blue when his mood was even, a blue as deep as the Oslo Fjord when he was angry. His mother, Helgi, had told him, much to his embarrassment, that the blue of his eyes was soft and warm as a robin's egg.
Zarabeth was tall, perhaps too tall for a woman, but he was a big man and he still had half a foot above the top of her head, so he didn't care a bit. His first wife, Dalla, had been small, the top of her head reaching only his shoulder, and he'd felt many times holding her that she was a child, not a woman, not a wife.
He had managed to come close to Zarabeth for a few moments, and had seen that her flesh was white and unblemished as a patch of fresh mountain snow, save for those two dimples that deepened in her cheeks when she smiled, a smile that drew him the moment he saw it. Aye, he thought, not at all dissuaded, she wasn't from his Viking stock, and he didn't care a bit.
No, she wasn't the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, but he wanted her more than he'd ever before wanted a woman. He thought of bedding her, of coming deep into her woman's body and coming to his release, but he also thought of talking to her and sharing his dreams and plans with her. He thought of sailing with her to Hedeby, that southern trading port that lay on an inlet of the river Schlei and gave directly onto the Baltic. And beyond Hedeby, through the small islands, lay the rough bottom toe of Sweden, but two days' sailing away. He thought of sailing through the Great Sound that opened south into the Baltic Sea, and turning inland into the penetrating River Dvina that led to the Upper Dnieper and Kiev. Perhaps he could even take her beyond Kiev to that golden city on the Black Sea known to the Vikings as Miklagard, and to the others as Constantinople. And then, just as suddenly, with just as much clarity, he thought of children with her, of girls with bright red hair and boys with his own thick blond hair. Odd, but he envisioned a boy with eyes as green as wet moss.