Read Fall Hard Online

Authors: J. L. Merrow

Tags: #Nightmare

Fall Hard (7 page)

BOOK: Fall Hard
4.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

But somehow, I felt safe, here in the boat with Viggo at the helm, his thigh pressed against mine. I could almost fool myself into thinking his body heat warmed me through the two layers of waterproofs and padding, and I could watch his strong hands at the controls. Here was no unguarded cliff edge, and in any case, the water was only inches below us. The wind caught at my breath, and the lungfuls of spray-laden air I managed to gasp in were forced out of me again as we bounced upon the rocklike surface of the water. It was exhilarating. I felt free for once—free from uncertainty about myself, and free from the disappointment of others. I realised I was smiling broadly, even as I braced myself with both hands against the constant bumping.

“When I twirl my finger like this, it means I’m going to spin the boat—so you hold on extra tight, okay?” Viggo grinned at me, his handsome, tanned face a mass of what Mags would probably call “happy wrinkles”—although Viggo was way too young for anything but laughter lines, set by the sun and the wind into the corners of his eyes and mouth.

“If I hold on any tighter, there’s a serious risk my fingers will fuse to the handrail,” I yelled back over the thundering of the engine and the rushing of the water.

Viggo laughed—and then his finger twirled, and I was thrown into the side of the boat with a jolt that took my breath away as the boat did a fair imitation of a spinning top. “You like that?” Viggo shouted. “Is your leg okay?” I risked life and limb to raise a hand and give him a thumbs-up. “Great! Now, we’re going up the river. We’re going to go twice—once slowly, just to make sure there aren’t any—” He clicked his fingers, as if trying to pluck a word from the air as it rushed past us at around a hundred miles an hour. I tried to work out what he might mean—crocodiles? Swimmers? Abnormally large lily pads? “Kayaks,” he finished. “They come here often, for the rapids.”

Ah. Of course. I relaxed a little as we cruised up river, our pace almost sedate. The boat scudded over the white water with a gentle bumping motion. The banks of the river gradually rose on either side of us until we were in a deep river gorge, bordered by fantastical rock formations making up sheer walls forty feet high. There were crags and arches and tall stacks like the Old Man of Hoy’s Nordic grandchildren. Here, a perfectly round hole through the rocks, and there, an eerie troll’s face. No wonder Iceland was so rich in myth and legend. I could easily imagine these rocks coming to life after dark and snacking on unwary passersby.

“How long are you back in Iceland for?” Viggo yelled.

“A year, at least,” I shouted back.

“So you’ll carry on with your research?”

“Of course.” I wondered how much he knew about it.

“Ah! Excellent! Egil Skallagrimsson, he was a complicated man. Very jealous of his brother, I think.”

I felt a moment’s disconnect to hear him speak of Thorolfr Skallagrimsson—the man I’d compared him to only today. But I was pleased to find him familiar with my academic area. It was like chatting with a fisherman in Cornwall and discovering he was a Shakespearian scholar. “You’ve studied Egil’s saga?”

“Hah! Here in Iceland, we’re proud of our history and our literature. Every child in Iceland studies the sagas at school. And when we’re older, we read them for pleasure. They speak to us all, these stories of love, lust, honour and revenge. And now,” he said, wrenching the boat around in a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn that left me breathless, “we do the trip again—but faster.”

Viggo opened up the throttle, and we were suddenly speeding through the gorge. “It might get a little bit bumpy,” he warned.

Apparently, Icelanders were also proud of their capacity for understatement. We hit the rapids at Mach ten, the repeated impacts feeling like they were shortening my spine by a good six inches. I had to brace my good leg against the foot rail to stop myself flying out of my seat.

“Exciting, yes?” Viggo yelled in my ear.

“Yes!” I shouted back. Lifting a hand for another thumbs-up seemed way too reckless.

As the gorge narrowed, the boat accelerated sharply. I stared at the Thor’s hammer tattoo on Viggo’s right hand, as if memorising Mjölnir’s intricate decoration would somehow protect me from a messy death on the canyon wall. Viggo had strong, sun-browned hands, his wrists lightly dusted with golden hairs.

Rocks three storeys high leapt towards us—then miraculously receded only a hair’s breadth from disaster. I barely recognised the troll’s face as we hurtled past, inches from its jaws. At the head of the gorge, Viggo twirled his finger and spun the boat with teeth-jangling force; then we roared off back the way we’d come. It started to rain—not a gentle English drizzle; this was harsh Arctic rain that hit with the force of hailstones, stinging my lips and cheeks like needles. I wondered if Anne McCaffrey had visited Iceland before coming up with her Dragonrider stories, with their world’s lethal rain of Thread.

“Ah, Icelandic summer—don’t you just love it?” Viggo yelled—and I laughed aloud, because suddenly, bizarrely I was having the time of my life. It was crazy—I could barely see through the rain, my face hurt, my bad leg ached and my body was bruised. Plus, a growing cold sensation in my lap was giving me grave suspicions my romper suit wasn’t as waterproof as I’d been led to believe. And I was loving it, all of it.

“This is great!” I shouted, meeting Viggo’s ear-to-ear grin with one of my own.

The ride seemed even rougher on the way back. I whooped aloud as we hit a huge bump, and Viggo laughed with me. I felt like a kid on a log flume—wet, exhilarated and just a tiny bit queasy, but still wanting to stay on all day.

We passed the trailing edge of the rain and broke into bright sunshine just as the river flattened and widened, and I realised with a jolt of disappointment we were almost back at the jetty. So soon? I wanted to beg like a little kid to go again. “You’ve got the best job in the world,” I told Viggo as we pulled up, the roar of the boat dimming to a purr and then cutting out altogether. My voice sounded way too loud in the sudden stillness.

“It’s not a bad way to make a living. You were a good passenger.” He gave me a broad smile that somehow seemed to hold more than simple friendliness.

My heart beating a little faster, I peeled my numb fingers from the hand rail, and let him help me out of the boat. My limbs were stiff and my tread slightly unsteady on solid ground—I guess it hadn’t taken long to get my river legs. Viggo held on to my frozen hand just a little longer than most men would, and warmth spread through my body at his touch. It only heightened the euphoria left by the boat ride.

“Were we just friends when I was here before?” I demanded, suddenly reckless. “Or were we something more?”

“We were good friends,” he said, as if it was an answer. “Come! Let’s get you changed.”

We crunched over the black gravel and stepped into the chilly, damp-smelling container. Viggo shooed out Loki when he tried to bounce in too, and shut the door behind us, the only light now coming from a thin fluorescent strip. Still teasingly businesslike, he helped me unstrap myself from the helmet and lifejacket and hung them on pegs around the container along with half a dozen others. As I peeled off the romper suit, I realised I’d been right about the waterproofing failure. “This really isn’t what it looks like,” I said wryly as Viggo stared at the huge damp patch around my crotch, a smile dancing on his lips. “It was the suit that sprang a leak, not me.”

Viggo raised a blond eyebrow. “It looks to me like you need to get out of those wet things.” Moving slowly, clearly giving me time to protest, he stepped closer and started to undo my jeans.

Chapter Seven

Suddenly I wasn’t cold at all, and my cock no longer cared about the damp. Although it did, very much, want to get out of these wet clothes. “Don’t you have any other trips booked?” I asked breathlessly, not keen on us being interrupted by a party of irate tourists.

“Not today. Tomorrow.” Still working on my sodden jeans, Viggo leaned down to brush his lips against my neck. “But I think we’ll be finished by then, yes?”

“Yes,” I breathed into his throat. My jeans finally stopped being stubborn and let themselves be unzipped, and I gave a low moan as Viggo’s warm, tattooed hand caressed me through my underwear.

I started drawing down the zip of Viggo’s coverall, which was a smarter, sleeker version of the romper suit I’d been wearing. I pushed the coverall off his shoulders, and he wriggled out of it sensuously to let it hang at his waist.

The tattoos, I could now see, extended right up his arm in swirls of colour. Above the hammer, a snake curled sinuously around Viggo’s arm, its head disappearing into the sleeve of his T-shirt. I drew in a sharp breath. “The Midgard serpent?”

“You like it? I think you’ll like this one even better.” Viggo didn’t wait for an answer, just stripped off his shirt and turned his back to display a detailed depiction of Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, its branches spreading over his firm shoulders.

My mouth dry, I traced the intricate design with one finger, and he shivered under my touch. I could almost hear the tattooed leaves rustling, as if stirred by the wind. Did I remember this? Was this what I’d been searching for?

Viggo turned. “I think we need to warm you up.”

Oh yes. I pulled my shirt off over my head and wrapped my arms around his waist to pull him towards me. As our chests met, the heat of his skin seared me. “God, you’re so hot,” I gasped. I buried my face in the junction of his neck and shoulder, and breathed in the light, woodsy scent of his cologne. Viggo’s calloused hands moved over my shoulders and back, finally coming to rest on the waistband of my jeans, which he pushed down roughly. My cock strained against the cotton of my briefs, until he took pity on me and pushed those down too.

While the sensation of my naked cock rubbing against his coveralls was an interesting one, it wasn’t the one I craved. I pulled the zip down the rest of the way, and the suit fell to his ankles, leaving him clad only in a pair of shorts that were sharply tented at the front. I rubbed the bulge there, loving the feel of the hardness beneath the fabric. Viggo muttered something that sounded like an Icelandic swearword. “Good?” I asked.

He pushed down his shorts with a speed that left me breathless, and pressed our naked cocks together with one large hand. “Better.”

“Oh God, yes,” I breathed. My heart was pounding as if I were back on the jet boat, hurtling at breakneck speed towards an unknown destination. Viggo pumped us up and down a few times, licking and nibbling at my neck as he did so. Feeling a sudden need to taste him in return, I pulled my head away to lick a stripe up his throat. His skin was rich and salty, my tongue rasping on his beard as I reached his chin.

“You like a man with a beard.”

“Yes,” I said, although he hadn’t phrased it as a question. A longer reply was way beyond my capabilities at this point.

“I like my men clean-shaven.” His thumb smoothed its way down my face. “Do you want to fuck me?”

I shivered, although it wasn’t from the cold. My cock leapt. “God, yes.”

We were both still hobbled by our coveralls and boots, so I wondered how exactly this was going to work. I looked around. There was a row of ripped-out car seats along one wall of the container. “Lie down,” I said.

“Too damp,” Viggo said. “I’ll lean against the wall.”

He turned and bent over, bracing his arms against the metal side of the container. The fact that both of us had our ankles effectively tied was having a wholly unexpected effect on my libido—as was the way Yggdrasil’s roots curved over Viggo’s arse and down into his crack. I was unable to stop running my hands over the design. Viggo’s buttocks clenched beneath my fingers, sending electric shocks through my hands, up my arms and right down to my balls. “Christ, I love that tattoo. And that arse.”

“Even better when you’re inside it,” Viggo said with a leer over his shoulder. Then he nodded towards a shelf above and to the left of him. “Up there—condoms.”

“Done this before, have you?” The thought of him seducing other men drove me mad with jealous lust.

Or had it been me he’d been with?

If so, what about Sven? Had I been unfaithful?


I couldn’t think about it now. I fumbled for a condom. My feverishly questing fingers located the foil packet, plus a tube of lube. I sheathed myself and lubed up as quickly as I could, getting the slippery stuff all over my fingers more by accident than design. Then I took a deep breath and grabbed Viggo’s arse in both hands.

I kneaded the firm muscle, my thumbs brushing Viggo’s crack. He swore again and pressed his arse farther into my grasp. Pulling his cheeks apart—not easy with hands this slippery—I admired the way Yggdrasil’s taproot disappeared into that tempting hole. “God, you’re hot,” I told him, pressing with my thumb until he opened and let me in.

He was tight, incredibly tight, so I took my time stretching him out, my breathing getting more and more ragged with every moan, every sigh. “Do it,” he begged at last, pressing back as if trying to impale himself on my eager cock. “
Ríddu mér.

My spoken Icelandic wasn’t great, but I was pretty sure I grasped his meaning. I lined up, then grabbed his hips and pushed in. “God!” he yelled in English. I stilled immediately, afraid I’d hurt him. “No, don’t stop,” he panted.


“Yes, yes. Just fuck me, already!”

BOOK: Fall Hard
4.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

A Grue Of Ice by Geoffrey Jenkins
Pan's Realm by Christopher Pike
The Home for Wayward Supermodels by Pamela Redmond Satran
Stranger in the Room: A Novel by Amanda Kyle Williams
Karma by Sex, Nikki