We rode the rest of the way in silence. A million questions danced through my mind, but I kept them to myself as we made our way down a steep, windy trail, raced along the edge of a fjord, and began the long trek up a waterfall-lined mountain. When the trees thickened and a light snow dusted the ground, Erik slid off the horse and led it into the woods on foot.
“Do I get down too, or—”
We walked for another five minutes, until the trees thinned and the whoosh of rushing water broke the silence. Erik turned left at a massive boulder, pulling his horse forward until he reached a small log cabin. It stood near the edge of the waterfall, set back just enough that the spray didn’t reach its grass-lined roof. It had a tidy front porch, a small stable, and a neat pile of wood stacked outside the ornately carved door. It would have been absolutely charming . . . if it weren’t the latest in a series of places I’d be trying to escape.
Erik reached up to help me off the horse. “Didn’t want to see you take another tumble.”
I bit back my retort.
“We’ll spend the night here,” Erik said. “And be in Valkyris by early evening.”
Erik raised one blond brow. “I meant what I said about running. Our dragons patrol the area by air, so it’s to your benefit to stay in the huset.”
Holy skit. Was he serious?
I waited on the porch as Erik led his horse to the stable. He returned, dusting hay off his arms before pushing open the sturdy, front door. Nerves danced in my abdomen as he held out a hand and waited for me to step across the threshold.
I assessed my situation. On the one hand, I was alone in the woods with a massive Viking—the most heartless member of the most fear-inducing tribe in the entire region. But on the other hand, Erik hadn’t laid a finger on me . . . yet. Even though I’d stabbed him, insulted him, and made no attempt to hide my disgust at his very existence, he didn’t seem inclined to retaliate.
Unless he was waiting for just the right moment.
Like the moment I fell asleep.
Oh, God. Don’t sleep. Run.
No. Don’t run. Dragons.
I’m so screwed.
I glanced up at Erik, willing the fear to ebb from my eyes. He raised a brow and gestured toward the entry. “Well?”
Right. I summoned a strength I didn’t feel as I drew a deep breath, pulled my shoulders back, and stepped into the cabin.