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Strong arms lifted her up, so warm she could feel the heat of him even through her snow gear as he cradled her against his chest. She heard the rumble of his voice as he said something to her that she didn’t quite catch. She could only make out one word – protector. It was enough to make her smile. She was definitely dreaming now. She shouldn’t have been reading romance novels before bed, because when they inspired dreams like this one, she didn’t want to wake up, even when she knew it was a dream.
Sibyl clenched her eyes shut against the bright light Jorunn was shining right on her face. “Unless your name is Thor and you have more muscles than a Hemsworth, all the better to carry me away to your castle in the sky, go away.”
Jorunn, being her usual insouciant self, just laughed. “You can go back to dreaming about hot Vikings as soon as you tell me where and how you got that.”
“Got what?” Sibyl grumbled, sitting up. That had been a mistake. Her hangover should have been gone, but now her head throbbed worse than this morning.
“And that!” Jorunn said, pointing at Sibyl’s hurting head.
“Jorunn…” Sibyl began. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Well, first, that epic wool blanket that I’ve never seen before, which you couldn’t possibly have carried in your backpack here. And then there’s the bloodstained bandage wrapped around your head. Even if you have been fighting Vikings in your dreams, it still doesn’t explain that.”
One hand went to her head, while the other stretched out to stroke the blanket. Which wasn’t a blanket at all, but a cloak, for it tapered at the top, where it was attached to some sort of hood. It looked like something a hard-core reenactor would wear at one of the medieval fairs back home.
Or a Viking warrior, a thousand years ago, her traitorous mind whispered.
Jorunn tugged at the bandage and dropped it in Sibyl’s lap. “I suppose you’re going to tell me that’s not your blood, but someone else’s.”
Sibyl winced as she touched the part of her head that hurt most. Dark, clotted blood clung to her fingers. “No, I think it’s mine. I slipped and hit my head earlier when I…when I went to the bathroom,” she lied. She did remember hitting her head. She just didn’t remember getting back to her tent.
Unless she hadn’t dreamed being carried…
“And I suppose Thor himself materialised, carried you back here, and gave you his cloak as a souvenir so you’d know he was real?” Jorunn asked, almost as if she could read Sibyl’s mind.
“I don’t remember,” Sibyl said honestly. Because a dream was just that – a dream. There couldn’t possibly have been a real Viking protector who’d carried her all the way back from the cairn to her tent. How had he even known it was her tent?
This had to be a prank. Whoever had planted the Addams Family hand had brought her back here, and covered her in the cloak, which had come here in one of the packhorses’ panniers. There was no other possible explanation.