Bjⱷrn piddled around the galley. The cookies should be done baking soon. What would he do to delay the inevitable then?
Why did he want to? This had, after all, been his idea. He had been the one to bring it up, first with mother. Then after her help was assured, together, they began to work on Svein and Mikael. That had not been easy. It had taken the better part of a year to convince Svein, and even now Bjⱷrn feared his eldest brother was only half convinced. And Mikael was even more reluctant, though he of all of them understood exactly why. In the end, even with their mother’s support, it had been nothing but grudgingly agree that Bjⱷrn could at least look, see what might be out there.
But she was here now. Kirsty was onboard Njörður’s Captive. He should be ecstatic, and he was. No, this was his plan. The youngest. But he could always see what his brothers could not. The bigger picture, while they struggled through the forest one tree at a time. Not that he was unhappy with his place. He was not. He loved being the baby. It had afforded him more time with their mother, a better education, and freedom from the heavy weight of responsibility that his older brothers battled for. While he was content to simply – live.
But he knew that it was not that simple. Their way of life was under attack from all sides. Fishing was becoming more difficult as fewer fish inhabited their artic waters due to pollution and overfishing. Today they competed not just with other family fishing vessels but with large corporate ones and with farms. Fisheries, where fish were grown like their mother grew her ‘wild’ flowers.
It was not just that, though. The harbormaster’s visit had reminded him of all they stood to lose if this plan went wrong. Their very freedom. He and his brothers could spend several years in prison for what had been a way of life for as long as anyone could remember. But modern society would not see it that way – kidnapping. They would be gone so long that the business would inevitably fail. Monica would be grown, and their mother and Uncle Olav gone.
He swallowed hard at the thought. Just as he always did. But it was a reality that he had to face. One that he had forced himself to meet over a year ago. And one for which the solution was crystal clear, at least to him. They must find their ‘One.’
It was strange that the modernity that threatened to bring an end to their way of life had provided the key to finding her. The Internet that Bjⱷrn had been the first to learn had offered them the means to search the world over for that One unique ‘wildflower’ as Mama called her. A flower that could grow and bloom its sweetest petals in the cold, rocky soil of their homeland – and the battered hearts of three rough brothers.
He had been reluctant at first to allow their mother to assist him. While he did post a couple of profiles at traditional dating sites, it was the ones that catered to his and his brothers’ ‘darker side’ to which he gave the most effort.
He chuckled at the memory of one of his mother’s favorite Christmas presents. He had been a little boy, and they had gotten a VCR for Christmas that year. Each of the boys had received videos that might be of interest to them. So, too had their mother.
He would never forget the light in her eyes or the sound of her abundant laughter as she opened her gift. He knew that their mother still watched that video sometimes, especially when she began to miss the men whom she had loved for so long. Except now, the Kerry green eyes that he had inherited from her were filled with tears by the end of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
No, when he had protested, their mother had reminded him any woman that could accept and love four men could manage a touch of kink as she pushed him aside and viewed the profile he had created in Svein’s name at the BDSM site. She had merely chuckled and murmured something about nuts never falling far from trees and began to point out things that he had missed that would appeal to the type of woman they sought.
So, their mother had begun to help him search through the thousands of profiles on the site in the half dozen cities and ports where they called regularly. It had been a long and, at times, very depressing process. This one was too submissive. That one too bratty. That one too uptight to manage polyandry. They had explicitly decided not to announce that part of their lifestyle in the adverts.
It had taken them three months to identify a handful of women who might – might – be possible candidates. He had with his brothers and their mother began communicating with them all. Then one by one, they had fallen away as the women either found Doms closer to them or showed flaws that would make them incompatible with what the brothers needed.
In the end, only two women remained — a Russian woman who was slightly older than Bjⱷrn with a young child of her own and Kirsty. Svein and even Mikael had favored the Russian because, as a mother herself, she would perhaps take more quickly to Monica. But that had ended disastrously when Svein returned from meeting the woman enraged over the abusive way she treated her son.
They had redoubled their efforts with Kirsty. She had been their last chance, at least for this trip. And perhaps forever. Bjⱷrn was not confident he and Mama could keep Svein and Mikael interested in this ‘project.’ He feared that his brothers would continue to drift further apart – until Svein had returned with her today.
He glanced at that closed door once more; she offered Bjⱷrn and Petrine hope. A chance at least that they could salvage their way of life – at least for one more generation. Bjⱷrn had enjoyed the messages that they exchanged with the woman.
With Kirsty. She was intelligent. She cared passionately about her job. And it did not hurt that she was stunning. But what had drawn him to her went deeper. Like him, she knew something was missing – something that she craved to find in life.
His gaze drifted longingly to the laptop on the table. He knew what he wanted — a chance to do more with computer programming, which was merely a hobby between fishing trips. The thing was that he loved fishing too. Mikael and Mama might think that he longed to break free…to do his own thing as Mikael had. But he did not. All he wanted was a chance to combine his loves more fully. If he could turn the tides of modernity in their favor instead of trying to sail against her all too strong winds, then perhaps it was another step closer to their dreams.
Sure, Njörður’s Captive had over the past few years adopted several modern technologies such as sonar to help them locate the schools of fish they sought. Still, there was so much more they could do with technology to make the business more profitable. The Internet could connect them with buyers who would pay much more than they were getting in the various markets. Top-end restaurants could get the fish directly from them, ensuring that it was fresher and higher quality. And they could cut out the middle man, make more money.
It made perfect sense to Bjⱷrn, but convincing Svein was another matter. To his eldest brother, he was Loki, comedic god — a jester. What Svein never realized was that the jokes were his tool for being noticed. As the youngest, it would have been easy for him to get lost in a houseful of men. His father, his uncles, two older brothers. He had only his quick mind, his smile, and the ability to make Mama laugh.
While he might have made a place for himself in Mama’s heart and their family, Svein was especially challenging. By the time that Bjⱷrn had been born, his eldest had taken to the sea with their fathers. He was practically a man full grown. Even Mikael was gone within a couple of years. He alone remained with Mama as she taught him all that he needed to know of the world.
But his path diverged from his brothers the day that Stig brought a computer home from one of their trips. Not that he could access the Internet, not back then anyway. But they had loaded the thing with all kinds of programs that would help his mother teach him. Bjⱷrn had gone from a mediocre student to a boy genius overnight thanks to the magical machine.
When he had joined them at sea, or more importantly on their trips where he could spend hours exploring the World Wide Web in Internet cafes along their route, he was forever hooked. Knowledge beyond his wildest imagination was at his fingertips. He could learn anything he wanted, any time he wanted. And he did.
Unfortunately, as he drifted deeper and deeper into the world of knowledge, he drifted further and further from the brothers he loved and wanted nothing more than to emulate. His learning set him apart, somehow, made him different. When he began to talk about anything beyond the sea and fish that they knew, they merely laughed and tuned him out.
His mother had been his only sounding board. Her mind was as active as it had been all those years ago when the wanderlust as she called it drew her to distant shores. That had been the only way to see new places, learn new things then…was to go. Now she had taken to the computer as fervently as he had. Together they explored ideas and spoke long into the night of ancient philosophers, modern psychology, and especially of ways that they could save the life they loved. A life that both felt slipping through their fingers every day.
But their mother was getting older. She would not be around forever. Even now Bjⱷrn felt her withdraw further from them as she said her final farewells to each of the men she had loved through a lifetime. When his father had died seven years ago, it was only Uncle Olav that kept his mother from drifting away in a depth of despair from which none of them could draw her back.
This woman who loved her men, her sons, and their way of life was growing older. And if, when, Uncle Olav was gone? It was the question that forced Bjⱷrn to face reality when Svein thought only of bottom line profits and how to keep Ägir’s Captive afloat when so many small family fishing vessels like theirs were going out of business. And Mikael was too busy feeling sorry for himself since that woman came into their lives.
Bjⱷrn shook his head in disgust. He hated Greta. For how easily she had abandoned her daughter certainly. But the reasons went much deeper than that. It was a secret that he hid from his brothers, even his mother. The woman had tried to seduce him. When he rejected her advances, she had merely laughed and asked why he was acting so high and mighty; brides were to be shared between them anyway. He had shoved her way, pointing out that cheating behind Mikael’s back was not sharing. Still, she had only laughed – and left.
Of course, that woman could never understand. He was not sure that even his brothers understood just how vital finding ‘the One’ was. But he did. He knew, just knew, deep inside his gut. If they did not find her, the one that could bind them all together with the tightest of bonds that would weather whatever storms this modernity was sure to throw at them, then all of Svein’s hard work to salvage the business would be lost. And what would become of little Monica when Mama joined their fathers on the other side?
But perhaps what scared Bjⱷrn most was what would become of them. Three brothers born of different fathers, tied together by the sea, and a mother. They could easily drift apart. Go their separate ways. The rivalry between Svein and Mikael grew with each passing day. Mikael’s failure to etch out some space, something all his own, only made the chasm wider.
And Svein was so damned busy trying to manage schedules and markets that sometimes it seemed he forgot; they were his brothers, not merely crewmen. Oh, he knew that his eldest brother did his best. He felt the weight of their combined destinies on his broad shoulders. But he forgot – they were in this together. All of them. Or they should be anyway.
Which is where she came in, or where Bjⱷrn hoped like hell she did. He looked down the hallway to the closed door to his brother’s room. As he heard the ding of the timer on the oven, he knew that he could not delay this much longer. He needed to meet her – face to face. This woman on whom he and his mother had pinned their hopes for saving the dream that they both held so dear.
He shook his blond head. Could she do it? This woman. He was not sure. Like Greta, she was a city girl. To make matters worse, a career woman. And an only child. All three seemed strikes against her.
They needed someone capable of spending long months alone. Someone who saw her job as keeping the Holding, as they called the farm that had been in their family for as long as time itself; their children; and them together. Someone whose heart was big enough to love them all for the men they were, faults and all. And that was a damned big order to fill; their mother’s shoes were huge.
Was it even possible in this modern world to find such a creature? Strong yet loving. Intelligent yet submissive. Loyal and kind. Someone who could see into their souls and give to each what he needed and take from each what he could spare without complaint.
When he thought about it that way, Bjⱷrn’s respect for his mother deepened even more. Not that her youngest son had not always been the one closest to her. From his Kerry green eyes, as she called them, to his quick mind, to his keen insight into the hearts and minds of others, Bjⱷrn carried the most of Rachel inside of him. And the determination of Petrine to save the life that he genuinely loved.
But they needed an ally in that battle, that endless war against time itself. And he hoped like hell they had chosen well because, after Greta’s games, they got only one more shot to salvage all they held dear – family.
It was time he found out. Time he saw this creature upon whom they had pinned so many hopes and dreams for himself. Time he met his bride for real.
He picked up the plate and arranged the cookies on it. He would be lucky if they did not end up thrown at him. Then again, his mother had warned him to expect nothing less. After all, like the sea herself, where was the joy in fishing still waters?
Time to pay the piper as his Mama would say, Bjⱷrn smiled as he carried the plate down the hall. He opened the door to his brother’s cabin.
His breath caught in his chest when he first saw her. She was so much more beautiful than in those photographs. Of course, she did not know that they had seen her face. The ones on that kink site did not reveal it. But he was a hacker. A damned good one, too. It had taken him only moments to follow the trail to her ‘real’ social media accounts. Even there, there were only a handful of ‘selfies.’ None of which did her justice.
Her face contorted as dreams, or perhaps nightmares, assailed her sleeping mind. He could easily picture her laughing at one of his jokes. At that moment, he made it his mission in this marriage to see that she laughed regularly. She would need lots of laughter to balance the tears that came with loving them all and the heavy burden of holding them all together.
But the knot in his gut loosened just a bit. Something told him that she could do it. That they truly had chosen well. That they had found ‘their One.’ The only woman capable of such a monumental task in a world gone mad with greed and hubris. This woman would, as their mother had, find a path to love and nurture them all through the storms of life.
Bjⱷrn knelt beside the berth and watched her sleep. Though her eyes were closed, he remembered from one picture that they were a deep, dark blue unlike Svein’s paler ones or Mikael’s almost cold grey ones, and nothing like his green ones.
His fingers picked up a strand of her thick, burnished red curls that fanned out around her against the stark white pillows. It was as soft as it looked, and he imagined his fingers threaded through it as he tugged and guided her head while her sweet lips curled around his hard cock.
He frowned. Would it be Svein or Mikael that fucked her while she sucked his cock? It was a strange thought to imagine sharing her with them. It was something they had never done, although they had had plenty of offers. Three brothers with the blond glory of their Viking forefathers and that same air of confidence. Oh, they had that offer regularly.
But that was a level of intimacy that was meant to be shared with just one woman – their woman. Their wife. While none of them were innocent virgins, this would be as new to them in some ways as it was to her.
Would he be jealous? Probably. His mother had explained that such things were only natural. But that overcoming them was the very core of forming the bonds that would bind them together. She had told him how his father and Uncle Anders had come to blows more than once over her. When he had asked why, she had merely smiled and replied that different men showed their love in different ways and that coming to accept that was part of the process.
She rolled onto her side, facing him, and the thick duvet fell away. He saw the dark red and purple bruise that was forming on the swell of her breast, and he had the first real taste of his mother’s wisdom. The idea that Svein had first tasted the pleasures of her body tormented him. Though he knew that tradition dictated that the eldest had the final say and was the first to claim their bride. It did not sit well with him.
He chuckled; was that what had bothered Uncle Anders? That it was his father, who had first loved the woman that Anders had chosen for them. Was this Loki’s humor that now he was the one feeling that bite of the green demon? Perhaps. But did it matter? He must overcome it just as his father and uncles had.
His brother might fancy those lush tits, but it was the soft sway of her hips that had captivated him as she followed Svein onto the deck of their boat, and into their lives. If she now bore the marks of his brother’s teeth upon her sweet tits, she would soon wear the red print of his hand on her ass. His cock hardened at the thought. Hmmm, maybe it should be one of his brother’s whose cock she sucked as he pounded her from behind and spanked that sweet ass?
But his fantasy was put on hold when those blue eyes sprang open and stared right at him. “Who are you?” she almost whispered. Then she seemed to remember where she was and perhaps even who he was.
She realized something else, too – that she was naked beneath the blankets and tried to reach for the coverage. Her hands were still tied, and she could not do so. Bjⱷrn drew it almost to her chin.
“Where am I?” Her voice was a bit stronger, but he could hear that she was still groggy and confused.
Bjⱷrn smiled; he hoped reassuringly. “You are on board Njörður’s Captive.”
He decided that the truth was the best way forward. Of course, as his brother said, a little at a time. From the way that she suddenly began to thrash and pull at the ropes which bound her to the bed and the way that her face, neck, and chest reddened to almost match her hair, he knew that a northern gale was forming in this sea. When she turned those eyes that had deepened until they were nearly as dark as the night sky upon him, he knew that they were in for a ride.
He smiled; nothing he loved more than rough seas. It was when he faced their dark dangers, stared down Rán and death herself that he felt most alive. And from the look on her face now, he and his brothers were in for a nice long storm.
What he loved almost as much as the power of the wind and waves of those storms was the calm, fresh dawning of the new day afterward. Nothing ever felt as clean, pure, or right as the morning after the storm.
That was what he wanted with this woman. With Kirsty. He wanted that tomorrow. For himself. But also for Svein and Mikael. For little Monica. And for their mother, their rock to know that she could safely put her ship to port for a final time, knowing that she had a fine captain to replace her.
If that stare was any indication, this one was most definitely a match for their mother’s strength and beauty. Now they had only to guide this vessel through the seas of life until they found more tranquil waters.
He chuckled and reached behind him to the plate of cookies. He found one and held it out to her, “Welcome aboard, Kirsty. Care for a cookie? Mama and I made them.”