Her Barbarian Master:Forbidden Love (Alpha Male Master Series Book 2)(10)

By: Maggie Carpenter


It was the following afternoon. Serenity's father had just knocked on her door. It was time to walk with him to Layla's home at the end of the curving lane near the bottom of the hill. It was a short trek, but one she was dreading. Her father and Layla's parents would scold them, then exact some sort of punishment. Their crimes were different, but they shared equal amounts of guilt.

In spite of her noble intentions to help her family, Layla should not have taken it upon herself to try to steal the oranges, and after being caught, she most certainly should not have thrown the apples over the wall and brought them home. Serenity should have discouraged her friend from going to the barbarians' compound in the first place, and she had only made matters worse by aiding Layla's escape.

Slipping from her cot, she picked up her shawl from the small table in the corner, wrapped it around her shoulders, and opening her door and walking into the living area, she found her father standing by the window looking as solemn as she felt. He didn't speak, but gestured for her to walk ahead of him to the front door. As she did she could hear her mother humming in the kitchen. Serenity suspected she was probably preparing the storage of food for the winter months. It was a familiar and comforting sound, but it wasn't enough to lift her mood.

"Don't look so glum," her father said as they moved outside. "This won't be pleasant but it's not the end of the world."

A breeze whisked around her legs, blowing her skirt and making it billow.

"I can't help it," she muttered, fighting the flimsy fabric. "It's all such a mess."

"What is?"

"Everything," she said with an exasperated sigh.

"You and Layla did something wrong, you'll be punished, and that will be the end of it. I don't know why you're making more of this than it is."

"You look just as unhappy as I am."

"I'm not unhappy, I'm just disappointed. You've always had a mind of your own, but I thought you'd grown out of such nonsense."

She'd barely heard his reprimand. Killian was still haunting her, and she wished she had someone to whom she could share her salacious secret. She couldn't burden Layla with the explicit details of what had transpired in the handsome barbarian's room. Her friend would be horrified and feel responsible, and Serenity didn't trust anyone else. It was a burden she would just have to carry alone, and as they turned around the corner and strode towards Layla's cottage, she accepted her fate.

It didn't matter how Killian had affected her, it didn't matter that the brawny barbarian had made her feel things she'd never felt before, or that she'd not been able to get him out of her mind for a single moment since she'd returned home. None of it mattered. Her father was right. She'd be punished, it would be over, and she would probably never see Killian again. She would end up with Jakari, or another young man from the village. They'd have a family, and she would live a life like her mother. Would that be so terrible?

Glancing up at her father, she could see why her mother was still so enamored of him. His green eyes twinkled, and he had mass of sandy hair that fell in waves around his oddly appealing face, but as she thought of how her mother would stare at him with a sparkle in her eyes, Serenity knew she didn't feel that way about Jakari. She was fond of him, but what happened with Killian had made things strikingly clear. Jakari was nice, and when they laid naked together he was considerate and sweet, but she had none of the feelings Killian had sent racing through her veins. She suddenly felt her tummy tumble. The momentary memory was making her feel those things again, but it was foolish. She had to fight them and face reality.

"This is ridiculous," she muttered as they approached the front door. "I must accept what is."

"What's that?" her father asked. "Did you say something?"

"You're right, father. This will soon be over and of no importance. I made a mistake, that's all there is to it."

"Exactly. Now let's see what Sampson has to say."

Sampson was Layla's father, and Serenity already knew he would tell them their behavior had been that of foolish children, not young women on the brink of leaving home to start families of their own, and she'd stand there feeling totally embarrassed and two feet tall. They had reached the house, and taking a deep breath she prepared herself. Her father knocked, and as the door opened she stared at the ground, hoping her demure demeanor would help her cause.