Her Barbarian Master:Forbidden Love (Alpha Male Master Series Book 2)By: Maggie Carpenter
The thundering sounds of the horse's hooves sent the humble home shaking. Only five-years-old and desperately in need of her mother's comforting arms, Serenity jumped from her bed and ran to her parents room. As she burst through the door she saw her father with only a loose cloth tied around his waist, and his large hunting club clutched in his white-knuckled fist. Her mother, her eyes wide with fear, was standing behind him.
"Mamma, what is it?"
"Barbarians. Quickly, hide under the bed, quickly."
"Mamma, I'm scared.
"Do as you mother tells you," her father commanded. "NOW."
Filled with terror, Serenity darted forward and rolled under the low wooden frame. Tears of fright were running down her face, her heart was thumping wildly in her chest, and she curled herself into a ball as she prayed to the angels to protect them. She'd heard about the fearsome barbarians, how they roamed the lands, took what they wanted, and killed anyone who dared to cross them. Would they kill her mamma and papa and her too?
A rush of cold air swept around her. Gasping, she held her breath as the sound of stomping feet filled her ears. The dreaded barbarians were in the house! The menacing footsteps were drawing closer, and a moment later she saw a pair of huge feet.
Suddenly it hit her. She knew what to do!
Every inch of her tiny body trembling, she crawled out, stood up, and tilting her head all the way back, she stared up at the enormous, ugly, ferocious man towering over her.
"My papa won't fight you, and neither will mamma, and I won't either, so you don't have to kill us."
She was shaking, her voice had sounded teeny in her ear, but she'd managed to get the words out, then her mother sobbed, though Serenity didn't understand why?
"Don't cry, mamma. The nasty man won't hurt you now. He knows we won't fight so he'll spare us, won't you?"
"You are brave and foolish," the barbarian exclaimed, his voice sounding like the gravel crunching under the wheels of the village carts, "but the two often go together."
"Of course I will fight you," Serenity's father declared. "I will fight you and die to save my family."
"Ah, so this is where you inherited your courage and stupidity."
"Papa isn't stupid," Serenity said angrily, her face crinkling as she stared up at the barbarian's scary black eyes, "and he won't fight you if I ask him nicely."
The barbarian's voluminous voice echoed through the room. She wanted to run back to her hiding place underneath the bed, but she couldn't find her legs. All she could do was continue to gaze up at him, her blue eyes wide and filled with horror.
"We are the Bachus tribe. I am their leader," the barbarian announced. "We are not here to plunder. We will be living in the ruins at the top of the hill. You are forbidden to venture there. If marauders arrive and attempt to raid your village, we will fight them. We know you are a craftsman, you make knives and tools. We will trade with you for what you offer. Our cousin tribe across the mountain, the Alamans, they too will come here to trade. Do you understand?"
"What do you have?" Serenity piped up. "Mamma said we need fruit. Do you have—?"
"We understand," her mother said quickly, cutting her off.
"Good, and as for you," he continued, looking down at Serenity, "tell me your name."
"Serenity, what's yours?"
"HAH. I am Bastian."
"Why are you so loud? Why can you order us? It's not fair."
"Your father will tell you about the strong and the weak."
She watched him abruptly turn, bend down to fit through the bedroom door, then march from the house.
"He's mean," she said, staring up at her parent, "but I don't think he's as mean as he pretends to be."
Fifteen Years Later
Sitting astride the branch of the climbing tree, Serenity watched in dismay as her friend, Layla, tried desperately to pull herself from Bastian's grip. His huge hand was wrapped around Layla's arm, and he was dragging her towards a fallen tree trunk. Serenity had warned Layla not to sneak into the barbarian's compound. Everyone knew the rules. No entering the fortress grounds without permission, and especially not the gardens.