Though her popularity developed and rose in America, she was born in Germany. The success of this aging writer cannot be under-estimated since most of her written works have been listed in the New York Times as best sellers with some even making the top of the list. Her works are mostly based on historical romance novels set in medieval America and Europe. Her writing styles and her ability to engage the reader in all her works has been the reason for her great success. It was during his service in Germany that Lindsey was born.
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Roseleen White could have sworn she had more willpower than that, but apparently not when it came to her one and only passion. She still tried to ignore it, and the fact that she was glancing over at it every few minutes. Time was getting away from her. A long-delayed dentist appointment had seen to that, so she had to leave the papers in her desk for the substitute to hand out on Monday. The next three days had been perfectly scheduled, which was the way she liked her life to be.
She was still simmering over that meeting. Dean Johnson had said he wanted to break the news to her gently, before she heard it elsewhere, that Barry Horton was being offered tenure. Barry was the biggest disaster of her life, proof positive that a woman could be naive and gullible at any age. He was going to be her equal now. As if she would bring all that humiliation back to suffer through it again.
It had come down to a test of strength. Antique weapons were her passion, the only thing that interested her besides medieval history, which was her field of expertise. Each time she visited England, she spent about as much time in antique shops as she did researching the book she was writing on the Norman conquest.
Then the frustration in trying to deal with Sir Isaac Dearborn, the eccentric owner. But David, her dearest David, the brother of her heart if not her blood, who had been orphaned as a child and taken in by her family, had taken up the gauntlet for her. I had to sign a sworn affidavit that I would never sell the sword, or even bequeath it, to a woman. Nothing was said, however, about simply giving it away, so consider this your birthday present—for the next fifty years.
The cost of the sword was nothing to him, for he had married an heiress who adored him and lavished her wealth on him. His wife, Lydia, collected houses—mansions, actually—the way Roseleen collected weapons. But it was the principle, and the extravagance—Roseleen felt indebted, even if David had been happy to buy the sword for her. She was definitely going to have to do something really nice for him to make it up to him. Having finally given in to the temptation, Roseleen felt her fingers trembling as she dug the scissors out of her purse.
She glanced at the door to her classroom, considered locking it first, but then smiled to herself. She was getting a little paranoid.
The campus was almost empty; only a few other professors and the drama class were here this late, rehearsing whatever play Mr. Hayley had chosen for this semester. It was hers. It would be the prize of her collection, the oldest weapon in it, the oldest she could ever hope to find. But David had assured her it was in prime condit ion for its age, with very little corrosion—a miraculous circumstance, considering the hilt dated from the eighth century, the steel blade from the tenth.
Apparently, every owner from that time on had taken superb care of it, as well as jealously guarding it from the public eye, just as she would. Now, scissors in hand, she cut through the thick plastic shipping straps, then set them aside to open the box and dig through the straw packing. Beneath it was another box, this one of fine polished mahogany. She chuckled to herself, seeing the wide bow David had tied around it. Attached to the ribbon was a small key to unlock the box.
Carefully, she lifted the wooden box out and shoved the cardboard one onto the floor. The heavy weight that had forced her to use both arms to carry the shipping box into the classroom was still apparent in the narrow wooden one. A tug on the bow, and she had the key in hand. She was unknowingly holding her breath as she inserted it into the lock and heard the slight click as she turned it.
And then she was staring in awe at a stunning piece of history that was more than a thousand years old. The long, double-edged blade was chipped in only two places from corrosion, and blackened from age, but the silver-embossed hilt was so well-preserved it even shone in the light of her desk lamp. Embedded in its center was a round, murky amber gem the size of a quarter. Three smaller ambers graced the end of the curved pommel, and some kind of misshapen animal was etched around the grip, possibly a dragon or a snake.
It was impossible to tell from its strange shape. The craftsmanship was beautiful, the quality superb, to have survived so many centuries above ground, when usually only excavated artifacts were this well-preserved. It was Scandinavian in origin. A sword made for a man of means. Roseleen was a professor of history.
The Viking Age might not be her favorite time period, but she was quite familiar with it and its artifacts. Vikings were renowned for giving their weapons names as unusual as the ones they gave themselves.
Nor could she imagine why the original owner would have named it so. It was something she could only wonder about, the reason behind the name lost with the passing of centuries. And she would wonder, because she was utterly fascinated by this newest prize for her collection. How many lives had it taken? A few? The Norsemen were an aggressive, bloodthirsty lot, the marauders of the north seas, ancient hit-and-run artists.
Had that first owner lost it? Had he died not in battle, but peacefully perhaps, gifting his sword to another beforehand? She had endless questions that she knew would never be satisfied.
It was heavier than she would have imagined. She had to quickly bring her other hand up to support her wrist, or she would have dropped it. And as she held the weapon up in front of her, she barely heard the distant crack of thunder. But the lightning that flashed into the room from her bank of windows brought a startled gasp from her, and as if a dozen flashbulbs had gone off in her face, she was temporarily blinded.
The weapon started to tilt. She had to catch the long blade with her hand to keep it from crashing against the credenza. One of those jagged edges caught her finger and she winced, but that was nothing compared to the slamming of her heart because of the near-mishap. Though she could hardly see it, she carefully laid the sword back in its velvet bed, cursing the weatherman as she did so, for his morning prediction of clear skies for today and tomorrow.
Forbes, the night custodian, poked his head around her door to ask. She recognized Mr. Seeing him just then was impossible. Only the pool of light around her desk was visible, as the large black dots before her eyes obscured the rest of the room.
Hearing his departure, she took a moment to rub her eyes beneath her wire-rimmed glasses. When she looked down at her desk again, there were a few less dots moving randomly across its surface.
And then she was startled by another male voice, this one deep and unfamiliar, and with a distinct tone of underlying…Was it anger?
Simple annoyance? Whatever it was, it caused a shiver to slip down her spine. All she could make out was a large shape, with the well-lit campus grounds apparent through the windows behind it. And as she stared, she noticed the silence. He was just standing there, and another shiver came with the beginning of unease. She shook it off, annoyed with herself.
She was the professor here, the voice of authority. He had to be a student. And Mr. Forbes was undoubtedly still within calling distance.
And then she recalled what she had been doing just before Mr. Forbes had interrupted her. Her annoyance was focused completely on him now. She stood up to march to the door and switch on the overhead light so she could get a look at her visitor. He was frowning, or was he just squinting?
And he was most definitely a surprise. A jock, undoubtedly a football player, or soon to be one. But still a jock, with muscles galore. She had a few in her classes, and for the most part they were more interested in cracking jokes and disrupting the class than in what she had to teach them.
But she was being unfair in stereotyping this man just because he was what her female students would call a muscle-bound hunk. What she found so surprising was the way he was dressed, or not dressed. And then she realized he had to be in costume, an d she almost smiled. The pants he wore were a rough textured leather or suede, made to resemble crudely tanned hide. The coarse leather strips that criss-crossed from his ankles up to just above his knees to hold the material tight to his legs were in the medieval style known as cross-gartering.
A flap of the pants material crossed over his loins to his hip, with an extension that circled his back and came around to join with another strip that tied off just below his navel, holding the pants to his hips. If there were buttons or a zipper under that flap of cloth, they were well-concealed.
Roseleen White could have sworn she had more willpower than that, but apparently not when it came to her one and only passion. She still tried to ignore it, and the fact that she was glancing over at it every few minutes. Time was getting away from her. A long-delayed dentist appointment had seen to that, so she had to leave the papers in her desk for the substitute to hand out on Monday. The next three days had been perfectly scheduled, which was the way she liked her life to be. She was still simmering over that meeting. Dean Johnson had said he wanted to break the news to her gently, before she heard it elsewhere, that Barry Horton was being offered tenure.
Or if he was, maybe he thought better about lying, or somehow William found out he was lying, or…There I go speculating again, when there has to be a history book around here. I kept the first and second semester volumes from the course I taught in the bottom drawer of my desk. They were different in size and the authors were different, though the subject was still medieval history. Roseleen Horton! I married that lying, cheating, conniving bastard? I despise the man.
Jul 01, Agent 99 rated it it was ok Recommends it for: No one Shelves: historical Just re-read this after having read it many many years ago. Rosaleen purchases a year old viking sword that has a small surprise. Thorn, the original owner of the sword was cursed and comes attached to the sword, so to speak. He can be "called" anytime a female owns the sword.
Until Forever by Johanna Lindsey - PDF free download eBook