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The Scot I’ve Always Loved – Extended Epilogue

 

Two years later…

“He’s asleep already,” Sophia whispered to her husband.

Kendrick was holding their son in his arms, rocking him back and forth on the dark walnut chair in their nursery. Each time she watched them, she smiled to herself. They had named their baby Fergus after Kendrick’s father.

“Is he?” Kendrick replied. “I’m nae even done with my story.”

Sophia could not resist laughing at her husband. The child was barely over a year old, yet he repeated their love story to him every night.

“Husband of mine…” She struggled to stop smiling. “The bairn does nae even understand yer story yet. Save it for when he is older.”

“Do ye nae ken, wife?” Kendrick asked seriously. “As my son and future laird himself, he must learn certain skills early. Listening skills are o’ dire importance.”

“I suppose ye’ll take him to hunt with ye and the men come tomorrow, too.”

“If I must,” Kendrick muttered as if realizing how funny he sounded. “Little laird…”

Sophia raised herself from the fur chair that had once been in Kendrick’s room that now was their son’s. The moment she tried to take Fergus from her husband, the babe opened his blue eyes that looked just like his father’s. Then his mouth twisted in a funny way, and Sophia knew what would come next—he would start crying.

She gave up, leaving Kendrick with his son. “There, there, my boy.” He patted his back then resumed rocking on the chair. “Dinnae mind yer mama.”

Sophia could not help but grin at the sight of the bond between father and son. “Ye ken, husband,” she mused, “I’m starting to doubt I birthed that wee lad in yer arms.”

“Ach, and why so?” Kendrick teased with a boyish grin.

Sophia feigned a frown. “He favors ye more.” She walked back to her chair and rested down on it. “Look at the dark curls on his bonny head, he has yer eyes and bruteness too.”

“Bruteness?”

“Aye, husband—ye’re a brute and so is yer wee son,” she taunted him further.

“Maybe his sister will look just like ye.”

Sophia rubbed her hand over her belly. “We dinnae ken if ‘tis a lass.”

Kendrick shook his head. “’Tis definitely a bonny wee lass.”

Sophia let out a laugh. Her husband definitely had a way of being stubborn. Most often… he was wrong.

Sophia sat up straight. “Kendrick?”

“Aye,” Kendrick answered trying to fix the brooch on Fergus’s plaid blanket. It was the same brooch he had given her on their wedding night.

“Lorena and Reed are getting married only a month from now,” she reminded him. “We haven’t thought of a gift for them.”

“Oh, dinnae worry, my wife. I’ve thought of one already.”

“Is that so?” Sophia felt relaxed again. “What gift did ye think of?”

“A wee cozy cottage of their own.” He lifted his head to look at Sophia. “Certainly, that’s the most important gift for a newly wedded couple.”

Sophia’s worry vanished. “Ye are so thoughtful.”

Mrs. Brown walked in just then and bowed before them.

Sophia took a quick breath. “Ye came just in time. The bairn would nae let me separate him from his father, but I suppose he’s deeply asleep now.”

“Then, may I take him, milady?”

“Indeed, ye can.” Sophia motioned to her husband who appeared reluctant to give his son away. “Thank ye for coming to take him.”

Mrs. Brown reached to take the child, and he placed a kiss on his son’s forehead before handing him to her.

As Mrs. Brown left the room, taking Fergus to be fed, Kendrick straightened himself up from the chair. He made his way to Sophia, caressed her neck a little, and started rubbing her shoulders.

Sophia let out small, contented moans. Her bad ached so much, and God knew a massage was all she had craved for through the day.

Kendrick suddenly stopped. “Ye ken, wife,” he said, “Reed and Lorena never told us how they fell in love.”

Sophia turned to her him. “That is true,” she agreed. “They never did. Perhaps… was it at the feast?”

“Nae,” Kendrick replied. “Reed still had a wee bit of boyish infatuation for ye then.”

The words choked laughter out of Sophia. “Infatuation? For me?”

“I probably should nae have said that,” Kendrick said shamefully.

Sophia laughed again. “Aye, ye should nae have. I could’ve lived a lifetime without having to ken about it.” She yawned. “My mother must be so stressed with the preparations. Poor Mama…”

Kendrick started massaging her again. “Yer mama has Emilea to help her—dinnae worry about her.”

“But…” She tried to twist her neck back to face Kendrick, but he softly turned her face back.

“Dinnae but me, wife. Yer mama will do just fine. All ye have to bother about is yerself and that wee one yer carrying.”

“Ye ken,” she reached for Kendrick’s hand behind her neck, “Yer such a good husband and father.”

“Am I?” She heard Kendrick swallow. “Sometimes, I feel I dinnae deserve to have so much. I was an awful son to my father.”

“What happened with yer father was nae yer fault, Kendrick.” She caressed the back of his hand. “I am certain yer father is happy simply for the fact that ye are happy.”

Kendrick walked in front of her and kneeled. “Even me?”

“Especially ye. Yer wonderful, Kendrick.” She rubbed his face softly. “Aye, absolutely wonderful.”

“Did ye hear that, daughter?” he asked, rubbing Sophia’s belly. “Yer mama thinks I am a wonderful father,” he pressed his ear to her stomach. “I think she can hear me,” he whispered.

“She kicked!” Sophia exclaimed. “I think she heard ye too! See? Even she will favor ye because yer the best father.”

“Tis because I have a wife like ye, Sophia.” He took the back of her hand and kissed it. “Yer God’s blessing to me.”

“Aye… as ye are to me.”

They both smiled, filling the room with their long-deserved laughter.

The End.


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Craving a Highland Sinner – Extended Epilogue

 

“Can ye help me with the broth?” Alana asked with a huff. It was getting difficult to move around. “When did I get this big? I cannae dae anything I want anymore,” she grumbled and sat back on the chair. She sighed at the relief she got from staying off her legs. She had also been getting lots of backaches lately.

Isla chuckled and poured some soup into a bowl. “Ye should be happy it will soon be over. Ye were nae like this with the twins,” she teased.

Alana rolled her eyes. “They were nae this big nor gave me issues with me body.”

Time passed so quickly, and the pregnancy of that time had resulted in two beautiful girls. She could still remember how happy she had felt in finally being able to see her children. It hadn’t compared to Kai’s happiness. That man had been the proudest father around, always talking about his two lassies. Ever since their birth, he showered lots of love and attention on them.

She had once teased him that they would grow on him and might never leave him. He hadn’t minded and replied, saying he preferred them to know they had someone who loved them most in the world. It would make him sad if his daughters looked to someone else for validation of love. She had understood what he meant. What had happened all those years ago popped up once in a while, and in their various ways, they were trying to avoid a repetition of such.

Here again, four years later, they were expecting another addition to the family. Alana didn’t even know if she was truly eager to see the baby or just wanted relief from how she was feeling. Her first pregnancy didn’t give her many issues, contrary to various pregnancy stories she had heard. She had been the envy of every other expecting mother.

But life got even with her at the second trial. She wished she had taken more time to enjoy it. It only made her wonder if it would be a boy. Their duty was already being cut out for them before birth.

Isla laughed at her words. “It is all part o’ the process. It is the end result that matters, after all.”

“It does have some advantages tae it. My skin feels brighter and food tastes much better.” Alana moaned as she scooped another spoon of broth into her mouth.

She shrugged and took more bread. Maybe she shouldn’t worry about it this time too. She looked up to see Isla watching her with amusement.

“Isnae me fault. The baby wants more,” she defended herself.

Isla chuckled, “Of course. You can have all ye want.”

She rolled her eyes and took a sip of water. “By the way, I have nae seen the twins an’ their faither since I woke up for lunch. Where are they?”

Isla titled her head to the side, “I dinnae know ‘bout—”

Speaking of which, their arrival was announced with a loud squeal, interrupting Isla’s response. Alana turned around to see her beautiful husband with their lassies, one on his shoulder and the other clutching his hand. She smiled at the thought of them being her safe haven, her home. When the one on his shoulder tugged at his hair, Kai made a silly face. They all burst out laughing. They were both adorable and mischievous.

Their names were Catriona and Fiona, named after Alana’s sister and Kai’s mother respectively. The bairns had been a gift to them, and Alana never stopped showing gratitude you to the fates. She got all she had ever wanted. Everything was a blessing. And with another blessing on the way, there was nothing more she could ask for.

Kai dropped the lasses and gave them a final tickle which kept them distracted enough for him to kiss Alana. When they recovered from their laughing fits, they also ran towards the table and planted a kiss on each of her cheeks.

She smiled and patted their heads in adoration.

“What have ye both been up tae?” she asked.

“Faither said he was going tae take us fishing. We have been looking at the tools,” Catriona explained. “I will get me own fishin’ rod, Mama. An’ I will catch many fish,” she squealed in excitement. Unlike her sister, Catriona was always impressed by little things and very eccentric.

“That’s nice tae ken. Maybe I will come along.” She smiled and looked up at Kai.

“Will it hurt the baby?” Fiona asked in worry, always thinking ahead of possible situations.

“Dinnae worry yer little head ‘bout that. Mama an’ the baby are fine,” Kai answered on her behalf. “How ‘bout ye both play in the courtyard?”

The girls didn’t hesitate, and she knew they’d go around forcing everyone to play with them. They were the castle’s princesses. They kissed Alana and dashed out of the great hall.

“An’ how are ye doing this fine afternoon, milady?” Kai asked, drawing her attention back to him. He placed another kiss on her lips. “Ye were sleeping when I came by earlier.”

“Tired but happy now that ye are here,” she whispered with a smile.

“I hope the baby is nae tirin’ ye more than usual,” his voice was laced with worry. He circled his hand over her belly and caressed it.

“There is naething I can do ‘bout it,” she replied. “It will all soon be over.”

Kai crouched and kissed her stomach. “I cannae wait tae meet him.”

She caressed his scalp and chuckled. “One would have thought ye would be kept busy with the twins. Is it nae too early tae start going on fishing trips?”

Kai settled on the chair beside her. “The earlier the better. I want tae have lots o’ memories with them as well as pass down many practices my faither thought me.”

Alana looked at Kai in adoration. He was the most sensitive and loving father she had met in her life. Perhaps it was because he came from a similar background, but he now knew more and was eager to learn. Despite everything, she knew he was acting this way because of one fear.

“Ye are different, Kai,” she said softly to get his attention. “I ken ye are doing all this tae try tae make up for all that went wrong in the past but ye will nae make such mistakes. I love ye this way, an’ I ken the girls dae as well. Dinnae worry tae much ‘bout probabilities.”

“I am glad that I will always have ye by me side,” he breathed, kissing her temple.

“Always,” Alana promised.

“I cannae wait tae see how the bairn will be,” Isla chipped in. She was smiling at them. “Looking at how everything is, I wouldnae be surprised if the bairn will have a temper calmer than the twins.”

Alana and Kai shared a glance and chorused, “We shall see.”

Alana smiled as she rubbed her stomach. She had a suspicion that this bairn would not be calmer. But it would all be revealed soon.

And two months later, the heir to the MacAdam lairdship was born: Ian Maverick MacAdam. It was the start of another adventure.

The End.


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Married to a Highland Brute – Extended Epilogue

 

There had been no sign of rebuttal from Lords Bennett and Turner for more than six weeks.

The only news that had reached the keep was Bennett’s return to England. The tale went that he had suffered heartbreak at the hands of Turner’s daughters and sought a new start in his father’s old manor in York.

Life was peaceful in the Highlands, and Nora relished every moment of it. She spent most of her days with her family and most of her nights in Jonan’s bed.

That morning, however, Jonan had gotten out of bed early to head to a council meeting.

I should not be tired, Nora worried, before summoning all her strength and getting out of bed. Her neck and back hurt, but she forced herself to get out of bed.

I must have slept the wrong way.

After changing into fresh clothes, she headed downstairs.

“I did not want to wake you. You looked like you needed the sleep,” Amelia said with care.

Nora gave her sister a friendly smile. Amelia had decided to stay in the keep and become a permanent member of the clan. The villagers had accepted her because of their love for Nora, whom they had been quick to forgive.

Amelia let go of Leah and dashed into the arms of Nora.

“Are you alright?” Amelia asked her sister when she saw Nora almost lose her footing. “Are you late to bleed this month, sister?” she added quietly.

“No, I feel tired,” Nora said, holding back a yawn. Her mind struggled to make sense of her sister’s words.

“Hmm, are you certain it is tiredness?” Amelia asked with a suspicious look.

Why is she worrying over me so? “Yes,” Nora answered defensively.

“Then I must be mistaken,” Amelia apologized.

Nora went into her garden, as had become her habit, and picked up some new cucumbers and onions for breakfast with Leah’s help.

“Good morniin’, milady,” Callan said as Nora entered the keep.

“Good day, Callan” Nora said as she placed a basket of fresh produce in the center of the kitchen counter.

“Lady Amelia,” Callan said next, smiling proudly as he stole glances at her.

“Would ye like to accompany me on a ride, Lady Amelia?” Callan inquired, as he had done every morning for the previous two weeks.

“Certainly,” Amelia replied gleefully.

Amelia had a knowing look on her face that caught Nora’s eye that morning. She could tell her sister wanted to send her a message without saying anything in front of Callan.

When Leah arrived, Nora immediately asked, “Is there something wrong with my face?”

“Nae,” the youngster replied with an exaggerated shrug.

Nora was still bothered by her sister’s worry.  “Are you late to bleed?”

When was the last time I bled?

Nora suddenly felt alarmed for she couldn’t recall.

Where is Jonan? Since Callan was here…Jonan could not have gone for a council meeting.

She began to worry.

“Would you lie to me, Mae, if I asked you a question you might feel odd answering?” Nora asked.

Mae’s brow furrowed immediately. She looked at her knowingly. “Would you accompany me, milady?”

“Where to?” she asked.

“To see a physician in the village…” Mae responded. She clearly did not want to say anything that she was unsure of. “I wonder if… maybe…” Mae let her words trail off and returned her attention to Nora’s stomach.

Nora’s hand moved over her stomach as she pondered the meaning. Am I with child?

She and Jonan had discussed having a child together. Nonetheless, the thought caught her off guard.

“How long has it been since I bled?” Nora inquired, hoping Mae would remember. “Do you remember?”

“Not exactly, milady. But I have nae heard ye speak of it in near two moons.”

Two months!

“Nora!” she suddenly heard her name called from outside.

Jonan! She dashed out to meet him, who was galloping his horse towards her.

Nora was in his arms faster than she expected, he was panting for air and seemed restless; something made him happy, she could tell.

She drew back and nervously placed a hand on her stomach.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, placing his hand on hers. “Are you still feeling unwell?”

“Well… Mae suggested I go see the physician,” she told him, not knowing what to say.

“I have just ridden from the physician’s. I asked whether he would ride up later, to check on ye,” he told her, sheepishly. He then lowered his gaze. “But he wonders…”

“Yes…?”

Jonan smiled. “He asked me the last time that ye bled.”

Nora sucked in a breath. “Could it mean…?”

Nora’s eyes widened as she raised her gaze to meet his.

Jonan wrapped his arms around her again, lifting her off the ground. Looking down at his face, she could tell he was overjoyed that she was carrying his child.

“You will make such a wonderful father again, much better than mine ever was,” she told him, and he responded with a deep kiss.

“Ye will make the best mother to our child,” he said to her before easing her back onto her feet.

“Should we tell Leah and Amelia now?” she inquired as Jonan led her back into the keep.

“Nae, let us check with the physician first, to be sure. But from now on, just in case, I shall do all ye need,” Jonan said, and Nora laughed.

He would go to any length for her.

He’d proven it time and time again.

Later that evening, Nora noticed a familiar path rush past the moving carriage.

“Jonan,” Nora inquired suspiciously from the carriage. She wondered if he still had the same devilish smile he had earlier when he had asked her to accompany him somewhere.

Jonan jumped down from the carriage to hold the door open for his wife. The chilly night breeze caressed Nora’s cheeks. She immediately melted into Jonan for warmth, and he had plenty to offer her.

They walked together along the loch’s shore. Nora smiled as she remembered their first kiss and felt her skin tingle.

“This is where it all started,” Jonan said, staring into the darkness beyond the loch. “This is where I first loved ye,” he breathed and Nora’s heart warmed.

“I will always love ye and our child as long as the loch exists,” he assured her. “And my love shall be as vast and endless as the loch’s water,” he promised.

He loves me.

“I love you ‘till the end,” Nora breathed.

The End.

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The Secret of a Highland Rebel – Extended Epilogue

 

One year later

Bevin sat in the sunroom with Louisa, sipping a cup of tea. She’d been married to Keenan for a year now, and life had been beautiful and blissful since then. He had kept his promise to her, constantly demonstrating his love for her in small and large gestures. She also made certain to reciprocate his efforts so that he would never feel unloved.

The Athol clan was doing outstandingly well. Keenan had made it his mission to restore the clan to its former glory and then gone above and beyond, introducing new ideas he was certain would benefit the people’s growth.

Keenan was unlike any other Laird. He made sure that he listened to people who had complaints — that he was physically available. He was always working with them, going out to join them during the planting season and assisting them in building silos and digging wells to prevent fires around farm areas and provide more water sources.

He was still the same person he was before becoming Laird. He made certain that Athol had many allies by attending meetings with other Lairds himself rather than sending others in his place. He was excellent with people. He proved to be physically and mentally strong, and people preferred to work with him rather than oppose him.

He trained new guards and soldiers, incorporating techniques he had learned on the street and from the many masters he had served under, and their military strength more than doubled. His soldiers were regarded as the best in the villages and clans that surrounded them.

He had Mr. Balfour by his side, which aided him in his mission. The merchant, who had connections with other merchants, assisted in bringing good trade to Athol, causing other villages to turn to them for goods they required.

Mr. Balfour maintained his habit of rescuing strays and training them to be experts in various fields. He no longer warned them against using their hearts, but instead reminded them that the brain was a very important tool that they should use.

The old man’s habit appeared to have grown with age and since his reunion with Keenan. He did everything he could to replace Keenan while still holding him in high regard. When he returned from his trips, he always brought some boys with him and trained them to be better, effectively removing them from the streets and ensuring their basic needs were met.

Mr. Balfour chose to settle in Athol after becoming tired of constant travel. He had built a large network with his boys and those he had met over the years, and he no longer needed to leave his house on long trips.

His friendship with the former Laird remained strong. The two of them trained the boys in their different areas of expertise and picking a new spot to travel to every few months. The two would go away for a few weeks at a time, sending letters back and forth about their adventures. They always returned with stories of their explorations and gifts for everyone.

John was no longer tempted to drink, though he did occasionally share a glass with a friend on nights when they decided to stay in and enjoy a quiet evening.

Once Bevin asked him about her mother and he’d made it clear that any mention of her only caused him grief and drove him deeper into the bottle. Bevin had been afraid to ask again because she didn’t want to jeopardize his progress. She was surprised when he smiled and told her about her mother’s shenanigans and all the times she had made him worry.

The night had been filled with so much laughter that Bevin had been moved to tears. She had tried so hard to keep them from falling down her cheeks because her father still felt guilty about how he had treated his daughter, and she wanted the night to end in the same joy it had begun.

She attributed part of his happiness to the merchant and loved him for it. She was grateful to him for the man Keenan had become, but now she loved him with all her heart, just as much as she loved her father. The old men’s mischievous behavior only reinforced that love.

She was grateful for Keenan’s special bond with Mr. Balfour, whom she had come to know as James. It appears that James and her father brought these boys and trained them to be mercenaries in order to ease Keenan’s position. The two frequently dispatched young mercenaries to him, who always joked that his land would soon be overrun with young men.

The merchant had told Keenan that he was their older brother in a way because they all looked up to him as their father. Keenan was glad to train them, glad that he could at least provide them with a stable future as guards.

He would come home from the training ground, clean himself up, and join her in the sunroom or wherever she was at the time to spend quality time with her. She was particularly fond of their amusing exchanges. He was a very busy man, but he showed that he wasn’t too busy to spend time with her.

Keenan appeared just as she was thinking about him, as if she had summoned him with her thoughts, and kissed her cheek, causing her to smile. He smelled like the soap he’d used in his bath, and his hair was still slightly damp.

“How is me lovely wife doing today?” he asked, striking up a conversation. Bevin responded that she was feeling great and that she was glad he could join her. He left their bed before she woke up this morning, telling Louisa to notify her when she awoke that he had been called for an emergency and didn’t want to wake her up to tell her.

“I have been thinking of ye all day,” he said to her. Bevin couldn’t believe that after a year of marriage, he still made her heart skip a beat. Her new friends had told her that once she settled into marriage, her feelings would level out, but she was relieved to know that she still felt the same way she did when she first fell in love with him. It made her so happy that Keenan was feeling the same.

“Louisa, I hope this one has nae talked yer ears off,” he joked, pointing to Bevin, who smacked him lightly on the arm, unable to keep her laughter at bay.

Louisa, who was used to both their antics by now, laughed with them as she said, “Nae me Laird, she has been perfect.”

The two continue to have light conversation, frequently including Louisa, who tried but failed to stay out of their antics. She eventually gave up trying as they laughed and joked.

Keenan told her about his day, including the emergency that had compelled him to leave their bed. A Laird from another clan had had his land flooded and required assistance in dealing with it. Keenan had taken some men provided by James and gone to the Laird’s land before the flood caused any further damage than it had already.

He had advised him to construct an irrigation system that would direct the water to the farmlands instead, and he had stayed with his men to assist the Laird in this endeavor. Bevin was pleased with her husband. He was selfless, always willing to lend a helping hand to others. There was no other man she’d rather be with, and she ensured he knew that.

“I saw yer faither in the study on me way here,” said Keenan suddenly. Bevin looked at him, wondering what he had done or said this time.

“He said he was proud of how we handled the clan and our marriage so far. He is glad that both have been going so smoothly.” Bevin was moved by her father’s efforts to be present in her life and grateful that, even though he was no longer Laird, he was still working hard to ensure the clan’s success.

“He said that now all he wanted to make his joy complete was for us tae give him a grandchild,” Keenan laughed. “James asked me the same thing a few nights ago. Maybe we should get tae it now so that we can give them the grandchild that they want so badly,” Keenan joked.

Bevin set the cup she was holding down and exchanged an excited look with Louisa. It had been their topic of discussion today.

I cannae wait tae tell him I am with child.

The End.


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Wrapped in his Highland Sins – Extended Epilogue

 

Two years later

“Edna! I think Tory is calling for you.” Ronin’s voice forced her to turn around and look at her husband and their two kids. Ronin was seated on the grass of the castle grounds with Tory and Tywin, their twin children, while Edna was taking a leisurely walk in the evening breeze. She turned around and walked to where they were sitting and noticed that Tory and Tywin were happily playing with one another and certainly did not need her.

“They look just fine tae me,” Edna replied, and Ronin quickly jerked her down to the ground. She landed on his lap, laughing, and looked at him with love in her eyes.

“Tory didn’t need you, but Tory’s father was missing you very, very much,” Ronin told her as he bent down to kiss her lips. Edna turned to face him completely and held his face lovingly in her hands while deepening the kiss with a fervent passion. Even after two years of marriage, they could never get enough of one another.

“Well, I do believe ye two have yer own bedchamber where ye can kiss one another as much as ye want.” Lachlan’s voice forced them to part and look at him. Edna laughed and moved from Ronin’s lap to sit beside him.
“Why do you always show up at such a bad time?” Ronin asked his friend, and Lachlan laughed good naturedly. Edna loved what these two men shared. Their friendship was a beautiful bond, and Edna enjoyed watching them playfully bicker and argue.

“Out of habit, my laird,” Lachlan said with a smirk and came to sit beside them.

Edna watched how he lovingly kissed both Tywin and Tory and started playing with them. She couldn’t help but feel grateful about the fact that her kids had all the love in the world and would have it forevermore. They had loving parents, Lachlan, and Edna’s mother. Edna did not know when she had gotten so lucky, but most of the time she felt like she had the world at her feet.

“My laird,” she looked up just as a guard showed up to them.

“Yes?” Ronin asked.

“There is a young miss who has shown up at the castle door and is asking for help. She says she is in trouble and needs tae speak with someone from the castle,” the guard explained, and Ronin turned to look at Edna with a confused expression.

“Ye two stay here. I will go and see what this is about,” Lachlan said and stood up at once to go. Neither Ronin nor Edna objected since they knew Lachlan would handle the matter with ease.

Once he was gone, Edna moved closer to Ronin and placed her head on his shoulder as they watched Tory and Tywin play with one another. Edna knew their life would never be a bed of roses. As laird and lady of the clan, they were going to face troubles all their life, but with Ronin beside her, life was always beautiful too. This was all she had ever wanted. This was what she finally had.

The End.


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