The Viking in My Bed by Jan Irving
This review first appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.
College student Bailey wakes up with a heavy weight on his shoulders, quite literally. There’s a viking in his bed, who seems to know every little secret spot on Bailey’s body that will make him shiver with lust. He assumes the naked Norseman is some kind of prank by his roommates. The blond bronzed god is out of his league. But the viking, Frey, insists he is there for Bailey. Frey is the Guardian and Bailey is the Guide.
It all sounds like part of the joke to Bailey, and fearing the powerful emotions Frey brings out in him, he flees to his classes. As the day wears on, strange things start to happen, which make Bailey believe that, however impossible it may seem, Frey really is a warrior from the past, or another dimension, sent to protect and help him. The two must work together to banish the demons that have been let into Bailey’s world.
Okay, it sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? And it is, to some extent, but “The Viking in My Bed” knows it’s fantasy and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Somewhat in spite of myself, I found I was enjoying this book more than I expected. The story is quite readable – once you’ve suspended disbelief – and rather well constructed. The characters know they’re in a highly improbable if not impossible situation, and there are even occasional allusions to horror movie clichés.
The sexual tension between Bailey and Frey is what sets this apart from an ordinary bit of fluff. Although it seems he has confined his love life to brief encounters, Bailey is a romantic at heart, who really wants a knight in shining armor to come sweet him off his feet. He avoids getting too attached to anyone for fear of getting his heart broken. Frey is an old-fashioned viking warrior, accustomed to taking what he wants, and he wants Bailey.
The kink in The Viking in My Bed is rather mild. Bailey and Frey get into a sort of D/s relationship. There’s only the tiniest bit of BDSM depicted, although Bailey’s mind occasionally wanders into imagining himself as Frey’s sex slave. Frey woos Bailey with pleasure rather than taking him by force. He wants to own Bailey, and for the most part that’s what Bailey wants too, but he resists falling for the viking because he thinks Frey will have to go away once their quest is fulfilled and he doesn’t want to face the heartbreak of that.
On the whole, this is a rather enjoyable read. The characters are engaging, if not well developed. You won’t get emotionally involved with them, but you’ll have a good time reading their story. I was tempted to give the story four stars, but the characters are just not multi-dimensional enough.