“What is this nonsense?”
Both Lorcan and the blonde boy immediately stilled at the furious roar that came from the sand. Lorcan awkwardly released the boy’s neck and they stood up, brushing themselves off. On the shore stood Gunnar and the other vikings, looking as fierce as he supposed they would when charging into battle. Lorcan even spotted Valdemar off to the side, twiddling his thumbs and frowning in disappointment.
In half a dozen short strides, Gunnar had crossed to the boat and swung himself up onto it. He grabbed Lorcan and the other boy by the scruffs of their neck and hauled them into the water, dragging them mercilessly through the current while muttering about “reckless boys besmirching the highest quality marine stainless steel fabrication Melbourne has ever seen.” With a heavy sigh, Gunnar threw Lorcan to the floor. He hit the ground hard, bits of shell prickling his skin and sand flying down his throat. When Lorcan rolled upright, Gunnar was standing over him, silhouetted by the sun. His face was cast in deep shadow, but even Lorcan noticed the unmistakably tense set of his posture. He certainly cut an imposing figure.
“After all that discussion we just had about how difficult it was to find a quality boat catch installation specialist,” Gunnar began. “We thought that you boys were responsible enough to be left on the sand for half an hour without resorting to mayhem. Clearly,” he said, looking directly at Valdemar, “we were wrong.”
Lorcan hated seeing Valdemar so disappointed. The man had given him a chance, plucked him from the ranks of lowly foot soldiers after seeing his potential. Surely if Lorcan explained himself, the others would understand.
“Sir,” he started.
Gunnar cut him off. “I don’t want to hear any excuses. You two, up now!”
Lorcan launched to his feet, sending sand flying across the beach.