Good morning. I missed last week because I got distracted by the Mad Men post. 🙂

Before the snippet, I wanted to announce that the publication date of Freya’s Gift has been moved to March 23 because of some reworking of Samhain’s website. Just a week delay.

It will now be released the same day as my essay in the Chicken Soup for the Soul–Thanks, Mom book.

Well, hey, they both do concern mothers. 🙂

This part is from the beginning of the fertility ritual. But just the beginning, so it’s work safe.

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Freya, help me.

Gerhard dropped her hand, only to put his arm around her waist, steadying her but also bringing her closer to him. His arm enclosed her back, sending that strange second skin enclosing her humming. She licked her lips, her whole body awakening to the touch. Ragnor followed Gerhard’s example and she was enclosed by both of them. She bit back a moan, almost turning to watery clay in their hands.

Her breathing grew faster, her face hotter, the lights in the sky more intense. No longer could she tell which hand was Ragnor’s and which hand was Gerhard’s. They seemed as one, all the same person, her body ready to reach out and absorb both of them.

The arms around her tightened.

“Sif,” Ragnor whispered. “Are you well?”

“More than well.”

He kissed her cheek, the soft brush of his lips setting her face as aflame as the bonfire in front of them. Vaguely, she realized that both men had moved behind her, their shoulders touching, to better support her. Ah, now, if they would just touch her… If she could strip off her clothes, fall to the ground with their bodies entwined with hers…

“To the spring.”

Gunnhilda’s voice again. Sif shook her head, wondering what exactly had been in that cup. And had she given the men the same? If so, why did they seem able to stand on their own?

The walk seemed less of a walk than floating above the ground. Colors kept flashing in front of Sif’s eyes. The noises of birds flapping overheard and animals rustling in the brush felt amplified and strange. Her feet seemed to not feel the soil and grass under them. The hands that connected her to both men seemed to burn, almost scald.

They took the new path created to the spring and reached it in what seemed like no time at all. They stood, bathed in moonlight so bright that Sif squinted against the glare. It even reflected off the water, which seemed to double the glow. Imagination? Or some blessing from Freya?

Gunnhilda bowed to them, said one last blessing and retreated with the torch, leaving them alone before the goddess.

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