Highlander’s Gypsy Lass – Extended Epilogue


Rosalie brushed sweat from her forehead with her dusty forearm. Blinding and hot, the sun-baked the earth from a clear, blue sky. She leaned up against the well, taking a break from her daily laundry. Her hands caressed the swell of her belly, extending out from her body. A smile crossed her face as her unborn child kicked beneath her hand.

In the distance, a great cloud of dust rose, swallowing the road and pastures on the horizon. Rosalie stood, holding her lower back to calm the pain surging through her. The hairs on her neck prickled as she watched the unknown rider storm towards her.

“Hamish! Thomasina!”

Rosalie cringed, wishing she was able to move faster than a hobble in her late-term. The twins barreled from around the corner of the cottage, followed by a massive sheepdog. Mud stained the hem of her little girl’s dress and streaked both the children’s faces. The stain was Rosalie’s least concern at the moment.

“Get in the cottage.”

“But Ma!” Hamish smacked the ground with the stick he held.

“NOW. Both of you.” She groaned, stabilizing herself on the well as light-headedness made her vision swim.

The two children jumped at their mother’s command. It was rare she raised her voice. They ran into the cottage. Hamish peeked out at her and the oncoming rider before slamming the door.

Rosalie looked around her. If the rider was a foe, there was little to defend herself. Declan wouldn’t return from bringing in the harvest until after dark. Even Evelyn was off gathering herbs in the mountainside before the weather turned for the year. She was alone.

As the rider approached, Rosalie’s fear faded into concern. Blonde hair flew out around the rider. The woman was weak, barely keeping hold of the reins of the horse. Her skirts were stained up to the knee with mud. The blond hair was tangled, small sticks, and bits of brush protruding from the tangled curls.

“Gale?” Rosalie cried. She tried to run, her feet staggering with each step and her arms cradling her precious cargo. “God’s teeth.”

As soon as Rosalie reached her, the young woman slumped in the saddle. Her horse whipped its mane and pawed at the dry earth. Rosalie took hold of the beast, trying to calm the startled, run-down creature. Sweat streaked its dusty hide.

Gale’s lips were dry, cracked, and pale with dehydration. She couldn’t hold herself up, leaning on the horse’s neck for support. Scratches from rogue branches scraped her skin and clothes.

“Rosalie…” Her blue eyes rolled open, dazed with fatigue.

Rosalie led the horse to a trough before attempting to help Gale down. Her hands reached up to help the girl. “Ye got to help me, Gale.”

Gale mustered up her strength to push herself from the saddle. Rosalie tried to catch her, but in her current state, moving alone was awkward and arduous. The woman slipped to the ground, and all Rosalie could do was slow her fall and make sure her head did not hit the earth.

“HAMISH!” The small boy opened the door, waiting for release from the cottage, “Get me water. Have Thomasina cut some bread.”

Hamish, only three minutes older than his sister, took pride in his position as an older brother. He barked an order at Thomasina, still waiting inside the home, and ran as fast as he could to fetch water for his mother and the strange woman.

Gale was still conscious. She tried to stand, teetering from exhaustion and thirst.

“Sit down,” Rosalie commanded, trying her best to brace the woman.

“I’m sorry,” Gale’s voice cracked.

“Shh, not now.”

The two women took their time walking over to the stone steps in front of the cottage. Rosalie took the dipper from Hamish and lifted it to Gale’s lips. The girl sipped at first before draining the water with greedy gulps, and Rosalie handed it back to Hamish for more.

“I didn’t know where else tae turn.”

Rosalie brushed her fingers over the woman’s hair, trying to calm her. The water seemed to reawaken a manic fright within her. Gale’s eyes were wide, her body trembled. She tried to stand, but Rosalie grabbed her wrist and pulled for her to sit back down.

“I want ye tae sit fer a moment.”

Thomasina poked her head out. She was shier than her brother, trying to hide most of her body behind the door. Rosalie reached her hand out and found a hunk of loaf placed in her open palm before Thomasina disappeared back into the cottage.

“Can ye eat?”

Gale nodded, “Aye, thank ye.”

They sat in silence while Gale nibbled at the bread and recovered her strength. Rosalie wouldn’t let her speak until after she rested. Thomasina and Hamish crowded her as she tried to get Gale changed into clean clothes and into bed.

“What’s wrong with her, Mama?” Thomasina whispered.

Rosalie shook her head, “I don’t know, but she traveled a long way to get ‘ere.”

Hamish hovered over the sleeping Gale, looking at her as if she were some strange creature. Rosalie tried to pull him back. “Who is she?”

“An old friend. You two, get yer chores done an’ let her sleep, ye hear? An’ Thomasina, what did ye do tae yer gown?”

Thomasina blushed and looked down at her stained skirts. “It weren’t my fault, Ma. It’s all Hamish’s doin’. I swear tae ye.”

“I don’t care whose fault it is; get changed an’ go scrub it out ‘fore it sets in. I worked hard on that dress for ye.”

The twins sped off to work. Hamish had the evening pleasure of finding twigs and kindling around the edges of the property. Thomasina would work on her dress until her hands were raw from the cold water.

Declan returned to his home in good spirits. “Rosie! We brought in the harvest early!” He placed his cap on a small peg protruding from the interior of the door. Upon seeing Gale passed out on the twins’ modest bed, Declan stopped in his tracks.

Rosalie wiped her hands on her apron. A small plume of flour-dusted the air. She smiled at Declan. “That’s great news.”

He looked at her, confused. “Is this?” He pointed at the sleeping woman. “Is tha’…” he leaned in closer, “Gale?

Rosalie nodded, a small grin still flickering at the corners of his mouth. The smile faded when she noticed how rigid Declan’s body became. His defenses flared up, and his hand instinctively fell to his sword as he looked around.

“It’s jus’ her.”

“Are ye sure?” His brow darkened, and Rosalie knew his mind filled with fears for his family. No matter the years passed, he never could forget or forgive himself for letting Rosalie stay with the dreadful family that beat and scarred her.

Rosalie pursed her lips into a grim line and nodded. She was reasonably sure. She looked down at Gale, considering—she was fleeing from someone or something when she rode upon the settlement. Rosalie poured a cup of hot bone broth and knelt beside Gale.

Rubbing her back, she roused the young woman. “Gale, Gale,” she whispered. The young woman startled awake, kicking out and shuddering, letting out a soft cry as she looked around the room and remembered where she was, “Shh, it’s alright. Yer safe now.” Rosalie ran her hands over the distressed blonde head.

As if struck, Gale’s eyes welled up with tears and panic. She sat up. Rosalie tried to restrain her, afraid she might cause herself to faint with the sudden movement. Hamish and Thomasina were back inside, watching curiously from the corner of the room.

“What’s wrong with her, Mama?” Thomasina played with her skirts.

“She’s had a long journey, is all.”

Declan seemed less accepting of the situation. Rosalie eyed him and could see his skin turning red with marks of anger. She knew her husband well. The last thing he wanted was to harbor a fugitive that might land his family in danger.

“Drink this.”

Gale took the glass and sipped at it nervously. The warm liquid seemed to help calm her.

“Declan’s here, Gale, an’ we need tae know what’s happenin’?”

Gale crumpled over the cup and started to cry. Her bright blue eyes shone out like icy gems, contrasting against the reds and pinks of her irritated face. She tried to calm herself with deep breaths, her hands shaking as she forced down more of the broth.

“Pa is dead,” she shook her head, “an’,” she sniffed, “an’ Ma, I think she means tae kill me.” Rosalie and Declan looked at one another. Gale’s hand snapped out, grabbing Rosalie’s. Her eyes filled with desperation. “Please, I don’t know where else tae go. You mus’ help me, Rosalie. There’s no one else I know who can.”

Declan grabbed the sleeve of Rosalie’s dress in a gentle attempt to pull her into a private conversation. Rosalie shrugged him off, intent on hearing Gale through before making a decision. “Calm down, Gale. Start from the beginnin’ an’ tell us what happened.”

Gale took a deep breath. “Ma kept gettin’ worse after ye left. She’d go through these states…” Gale’s face twisted, as if pained by the memory, “…where she didn’t even recognize us. Sometimes though’ we were different people—she were different. This man came one day, said he were a doctor—that he could help her. Ma seemed to get better, but these delusions…” she gestured to the air, rolling her eyes up, “It were as if somethin’ possessed her when she’d have ‘em.” Gale struggled not to start crying again. “Her an’ this doctor were close. They got tae a point where they were inseparable. Pa was gettin’ uncomfortable with it, said he weren’t helpin’ her anymore, an’ when he finally asked the doctor tae leave, that’s when, when—” sobs wracked her body.

Rosalie rubbed her back. Declan stared at her, still standing with his hand on the hilt of his sword. Gale calmed herself enough to continue, the pitch of her voice squeaking with emotion, “The doctor said it were his heart.” Gale shook her head. “Within a week, Ma started actin’ like it were her Keep an’ talkin’ about the doctor as if they were already married. One o’ the workers made a comment abou’ how she weren’t the heir, but I was. Ma and the doctor were in an outrage, fightin’ all evening. That night, he came into my room…” Gale’s body shook as she recalled the memory. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. Her words spurted as venom pulled from a wound. “He tried tae lay with me. He tried to convince me to marry him, that it was I he loved, not my mother, an’ when I refused him, he… he…” she started crying again. When she caught her breath, she finished, “I managed tae getaway, an’ this was the only place I knew I’d be safe from ‘em.”

Declan paced around the room, looking out of the small shutters for signs of danger. “Do ye ken if ye were followed?” Gale shook her head in negation. “Rosie, outside.”

Rosalie smiled at Gale. “Jus’ give us a moment.” She turned to her children, “Hamish, stoke the fire. Thomasina, keep our guest comfortable.”

“Yes, Mama.”

The evening was warm and sweet with blossoms in full bloom as Declan paced the front of the cottage. “I don’ like it, Rosie,” he said.

“She saved us—both o’ us, Declan.” Rosalie reached out to him.

He nodded. “I ken.” He took a deep breath, “If they seek her out, it willnae take long tae fin’ her with us.”

“We cannae jus’ turn her away!” Rosalie’s temper flared. She gestured angrily towards the house.

“That’s not what I’m sayin’.”

Rosalie tried to calm her defensive stance; her arms crossed over one another. Declan stepped towards her, cradling her face in his hand. Her posture softened. She knew he was just worried about her and the bairns. Rosalie didn’t need to worry about him doing the right thing.

“Wha’ about the Brodys? Angus would help us,” Rosalie’s saw Declan’s eyes light up as he thought, running scenarios through his head, crunching numbers and deciding which course of action might be best for him and his people.

“The chief might no’ take kindly to a refugee in his parts. Her mother has a right to her.”

“She’s an adult!” Rosalie gasped.

“Aye, but she’s no’ wed yet, an’ her mother will still have a say unless we can prove these accusations.” Declan rubbed Rosalie’s arms as he thought, “I think it best we keep all this a secret. We’ll say she’s a cousin o’ yers.”

Rosalie laughed. “No one around here’ll believe it.” Each year, the travelers stayed with them for a few weeks. The clan knew Magda and Anna. The past seemed long ago. Enoch was no longer a problem; following Alexander’s orders, he’d traveled to live with his father

“Aye, but…” Declan looked at her. His gaze was calming and reassuring. She trusted him and his input with all of her heart. “The Brody’s willnae ken that. We can trust Angus, but no one else.”

Rosalie nodded and bit her lip. She looked back towards the cottage. “My cousin,” she whispered. “It should work. An’ long term?”

Declan shook his head, “It’s no’ our problem, Rosie. I ken ye want tae help, an’ I love that about you,” he brushed her hair back and gave her a weak yet genuine smile, “but we can only help in this way this time. We’ll get her into hidin’, an’ then she’s on our own. Ye remember that family?” His fingers grazed Rosalie’s back, causing the hair on her neck to stand. “We cannot risk gettin’ our bairns involved.”

Rosalie thought for a moment before nodding. “I understand.”

Gale waited on pins and needles. She almost stood when Rosalie and Declan re-entered the cottage. Declan addressed her, “Tomorrow, I take ye west tae the clan Brody.”

“Thank ye, thank ye,” she smiled, and her eyes shone, threatening tears again.

Rosalie grinned, thinking of all the small cruel things Gale had done in the past, and wondering if this was God’s way of teaching the woman humility. “Thomasina, Hamish!” The children trained their full attention to their mother. “Meet your cousin.” A mischievous smile, brimming on laughter, crossed Rosalie’s mouth as she thought of names. “Mairi.”

Bitter?” Gale scoffed, her usual pretentious nature returning in a flash, “No, it willnae do. I,” she touched her fingers to her chest, “am not bitter.”

“Mairi is a pretty name,” Thomasina said, cocking her head to one side and eliciting a laugh from Rosalie.

That night, the family slept. Declan and Rosalie whispered to one another in the dark, dreading parting from each other even for a moment. When morning came, Declan wasted no time. They were well on their road by midday. Their journey would have passed in silence, Declan not wanting to engage with the woman more than necessary, if it were not for Gale’s constant chattering. Gale’s only words were complaints and whines about the ride, the heat, the dirt, and everything else under the sun.

By the time they reached the Brody keep, Declan was more than ready to part from her presence. He rode straight for Angus’s house and was surprised to see a man taller than himself chucking wood outside of the small cottage. Declan looked up at the warrior’s build with slight awe, feeling small in his presence.

“May I help ye?” The man let the ax fall with a thunk into the wooden block.

“I’m lookin’ fer Angus.”

“Declan?” Angus popped his head out of the cottage. His hair was thinning so that Declan could see the top of his head shining through the patches of wispy gray. “It is you! Aggie!”

Angus hobbled towards Declan, a slight limp in the leg bitten so many years before. “Look at ye,” the old warrior smiled, “Yer gettin’ old.”

“I’m gettin’ old?” Declan was amused. “Have ye seen yer head lately?”

Angus grinned, running his hand cautiously over his aging scalp. “An’ Rosalie?”

“She’s fine—with the bairns, an’ swollen with a third on the way too!”

“Congratulations.” Angus smacked Declan on the shoulder. “This is me nephew on Aggie’s side, Errol.” The old man bounced on his heels with evident pride at the size of the man. He nodded at Declan, “An’ yer friend, there?” Angus raised his brows.

“Rosalie’s cousin Mairi,” Declan did not even look at her, pushed to the limits of his patience. “Can we talk in private? I need yer help, Angus.”

Angus looked surprised. He looked between the girl and Declan before nodding and gesturing for Declan to walk with him. The two disappeared, leaving Errol and Gale alone.

Errol walked towards the young blonde woman and reached up to help her down. The moment he touched her waist, Gale shrieked at the top of her lungs. Errol started back.

“Keep yer filthy hands off me! How dare you touch me?” Her nostrils flared wide with indignation.

Errol smiled, watching Gale struggle off the horse as her foot caught, and the opposite leg swung back and forth as if trying to touch the ground so far below. “My apologies,” he laughed. “Yer right. Ye don’t need any help, d’ye?” Laughing, he picked up his ax and returned to work, leaving Gale to her own devices.


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A Highlander Born from Chaos – Extended Epilogue


Evie tutted and laughed as she washed Bryce’s face. Her son had arrived home covered in mud after a day spent with his uncle Rory mucking out the horses at Kirklinton. He hated being clean and was making much protest, as Hamish appeared at the door of the parlor from the farmyard and smiled.

“More mud, more horses, lad,” he said, and Bryce nodded.

“Yes, Father,” he said, “Uncle Rory is goin’ to teach me to ride.”

“Uncle Rory has a lot to answer for, and I shall be havin’ stern words with him when next I see him,” Evie said, unable to hide her amusement.

“Ah, let the lad be, Evie. A little mud never hurt anyone,” Hamish said, bringing in a fair amount of it caked to his boots.

He settled himself down by the fire, stretching his legs out as the dogs came running to his side.

“And where is little Hanna? She is never near the mud, is she,” Hamish said, just as the door to the parlor opened and his daughter appeared.

“Oh, there she is,” Evie said, smiling at her daughter, who was wearing a pretty white dress and had her hair tied back in ribbons.

“Father, Father,” she cried, running over to Hamish and throwing her arms around him.

“One muddy little child and one lovely clean little child,” he said, picking her up and twirling her around.

“Hamish, ye will make her sick, the poor lass,” Evie said, shaking her head.

“Nay, my wee lass, ye are a bonnie thing,” Hamish said, setting Hanna down and patting her on the head.

“Have ye had word as to my father?” Evie said, turning to Hamish, who shook his head.

“I have heard nothin’ from Kirklinton today. I wish Rory had stayed to give us news, but perhaps he hurried back. There will be news soon, daenae worry,” Hamish said, giving Evie a weak smile.

Her father had grown ill in the past months, growing frailer by the day. She had always imagined him as ageless, a man who would never grow old, but just recently, she had noticed such a change come over him, and the sadness in her mother’s eyes had been so sad to see.

She patted Bryce on the head and hugged him close. He was a boisterous little boy, though already growing up fast. At five years old, he was becoming more like his father every day, while Hanna was every bit her mother’s child. She was only six, a quiet and timid girl, though with a sharp mind, who took after her father.

“I am worried about my father, Hamish,” Evie said, as she finished washing Bryce’s face, and looking the boy up and down for further signs of mud.

“I know lass, come then, we shall all walk to Kirklinton ourselves. Children, get yerselves ready for a walk across the moorlands,” Hamish said, scooping Hanna up in his arms and twirling her about.

“Ye shall make her sick,” Evie cried.


Together, they set off across the moorlands. It was a bright summer’s day, and the heathers were glowing purple all around, a gentle breeze blowing from the south and bringing with it the warmth of far off climes. Evie walked alone., while Hamish ran ahead with the children, carrying them in turn on his back and pretending to be a horse, as he charged on ahead.

He is such a good father to them, she thought to herself, smiling, as Hamish charged ahead with Bryce upon his back.

As they approached Kirklinton, the children ran on ahead, and Hamish waited for Evie, taking her by the hand as they walked towards the castle.

“I know ye worry about yer father, but he is strong as an ox,” Hamish said.

“Even the strongest ox has its day,” she replied, leaning her head upon his shoulder.

“But I worry for Rory if yer dear father should …” he began, his words trailing off.

“Rory is ready for the responsibility of bein’ Laird. Ever since Owen entered the monastery at Lanercost, he has known that ‘Tis his place to inherit the title one day,” Evie said.

“And ye and I shall be at his side when that day comes,” Hamish replied.


The great gates of Kirklinton were swung open, and the party made their way inside. Evie was surprised by the sight which met her, as her brother Owen and Uncle Duncan came to greet them. Each was dressed in the habit of the monastery, and she greeted them with joy, a questioning look upon her face.

“Well, this is a happy reunion, Evie,” her uncle said, embracing her.

“ a happy one indeed. But why are ye both here? What brings ye to Kirklinton? There is nay trouble at Lanercost, is there?” Evie asked, and Owen shook his head.

“Nay, sister, nay trouble. But mother sent for us; she worries that …” Owen said, his words trailing off.

“He is nae dead yet, far from it. I have just said to Hamish that our father will outlive us all. Have ye prayed for him?” she asked, and the two men nodded.

“Night and day,” her uncle replied.

“Then we must surely have confidence that our prayers will be answered,” Evie said, and she called the children over, and stood them in a line, “now, children, we will see yer grandfather, and I want nay misbehavior, dae ye hear me. Put a smile upon yer faces and greet him with a kiss.”

The children nodded, and Evie turned to the others, giving them a look, which expressed a similar sentiment.

“Ah, here’s my young rider,” Rory said, emerging from the keep, just as the others prepared to enter, “how did ye enjoy the horse today, my wee lad?” Rory said, as his nephew and niece ran to greet him.

“He enjoyed it well enough, though try nae to get him so muddy next time, Rory,” Evie said, smiling at her brother and shaking her head.

“They are both bonnie bairns,” Rory said, smiling, as he stood at Evie’s side, and the two children ran off across the courtyard after Owen and Duncan.

“And ye are a good uncle to them, Rory, though I know ye would dearly like children of yer own,” she replied, as they walked together towards the keep.

“Aye, but the woman I love does nae want that,” he said.

Evie made no reply, she knew her brother loved Caitlin, he had always loved her, and with Owen now in the monastery, it was more important than ever that Rory was soon married, and an heir given to the clan.

“Well, perhaps one day,” she said, and he sighed.

“That has been my thought for too long. Always ‘one day.’ Anyway, come and see Father,” he said, “ye daenae need to hear of my problems.”

She took Hamish by the hand and followed Rory and the others inside, expecting to find her father lying in bed, her mother at his side.

But, as they came to the doorway of the Great Hall, she was surprised to hear laughter coming from inside and sound of her parent’s voices in animated discussion.

“Oh, Evie, and my grandchildren, all my children,” Fraser said, opening his arms as the children followed Evie’s earlier instructions.

Rory was there too, and he glanced at Evie, smiling and shaking his head.

“Father … ye …” she began, but he too shook his head, beaming around at the two youngsters who had crowded before him.

“Everyone thought I was at death’s door. But it was merely a fever, one which yer dear grandmother was soon able to cure me of,” Fraser said, patting each of the children on the head in turn.

Evie looked at Hamish, who laughed and turned to her in astonishment.

“Ye shall outlive us all, Laird,” he said, and Fraser nodded.

“Aye, the Musgraves have nae seen me off, and neither shall a mere fever. It takes more than that to see an Elliott to his grave. Now, tell me what news ye have for me,” Fraser said, looking around at them all.

“Brother, ye are a remarkable man,” Evie’s uncle said, and Owen agreed.

“We hurried here from Lanercost when we heard that ye were sick,” he said, and his father shook his head.

“The road from Lanercost is dangerous; they say the Musgraves are stoppin’ folk along the way. If ‘Tis discovered that ye are Elliotts then …” he said, shaking his head.

“We are monks, and even the Musgraves have nae the audacity to set themselves upon holy men,” Owen replied.

“Daenae be so certain, Owen. The Musgraves have burned crofts on the lower moorlands, and they still bother the folks crossin’ the border near Lochrutton,” Rory said, shaking his head.

“Enough of that talk, ye will scare the children,” Evie said, for she was careful to guard Bryce and Hanna against tales of the Musgraves.

It had been nearly ten years since her ordeal at the hands of Isabella, and in those years, they had heard little from south of the border. With Crispin dead, no one had challenged Hamish’s right to rule as Laird of the McBryde’s, and with the border clans united under Fraser Elliott’s banner, the threat of the Musgraves had lessened. But Evie had never been able to rid herself of the thought that Isabella Musgrave was still biding her time and seeking her revenge.

Never trust a Musgrave, for they shall nae rest until every one of us is revenged upon, she thought to herself.

“Aye, enough of this talk, let us celebrate,” her father said.

“And what are we to celebrate, Fraser?” Evie’s mother said, and her husband laughed.

“Well, it seems the news of my fever has brought us all together and ‘Tis a rare occasion when anythin’ brings us together. Come now, we shall call for some refreshment and perhaps Isla, ye shall play the flute for us so that I may have the honor of dancin’ with these two lovely ladies,” Fraser said, holding out his hand to his grandchildren,, who both giggled, as their grandfather began to caper around the room.

Evie laughed, taking Hamish by the hand and stepping to one side, as her mother began to play. Rory called for drinks and food to be brought, and the family settled down to an afternoon of merriment and fun. Fraser danced with all his grandchildren, and the Great Hall was filled with laughter.

“We are very blessed, Hamish,” Evie said as she watched the children playing together.

“Aye, lass, that we are,” he said, putting his arm around her.

“Why daenae ye and Hamish take a walk by yerselves. The children will be all right here with us. There is enough spirit in yer father to keep them goin’ for hours,” her mother said, pausing a moment from her flute playing and whispering to Evie.

Evie nodded, taking Hamish by the hand, and they slipped out of the Great Hall, the sounds of celebration continuing behind them. They walked across the courtyard and onto the moorlands, only pausing when they were some distance away from the castle, where Hamish put his arms around her and held her close.

“Will our children have as happy a future as we?” Evie said, slipping her hand into his and leading him on across the moorlands.

“A happy future comes at a cost, lass. Think what ye and I went through before we could say that we were truly happy. Hanna and Bryce will have their share of sorrows and woes, of that I am certain. But like every generation they will find their happiness too, I am sure of it,” Hamish replied.

“With a family such as ours, I daenae doubt it. They are loved, and that is all that matters,” Evie replied.

“If ye have love then anythin’ is possible,” Hamish said.

They paused, standing on the ridge looking out towards the Armstrong castle, and back towards Kirklinton. The sun was high in the sky, the heathers purple and golden, stretching as an endless carpet before them. Evie turned and looked at Hamish, leaning up to kiss him, her love for him growing stronger day by day. She loved him beyond words, beyond everything they had endured together, and she knew that he loved her in just the same way.

“Will it always be like this?” she asked, and he nodded.

“Maybe nae, perhaps it will be even better,” he replied, and she smiled at him, knowing that whatever the future held, one thing was assured.

“We will keep fightin’, Hamish, for love is stronger than anything that can face us,” she said, a perfect moment, the future awaiting.


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If you want to know what lies ahead in our story, you may want to get the sequel…

This time, we follow the story of Margaret, an adventurous English lady who runs away to escape the burdens of her heritage and finds herself in the keep of a handsome Highlander. She knows that he is the one, but she can never reveal her secret. If she does so, he’ll hate her forever. What is this secret that she’s hiding so adamantly? And how will it affect their relationship?

A Highlander Marked by Fate

Legend of a Highland Lass – Extended Epilogue


Sean was securing the last of the nails on the doorframe to the entrance of the tavern when Brandon came up behind him.

“Sean,” Donovan said. “A rider approaches.”

Sean’s heart began to race, his mind wandering and fearing the worst. Who could know we’re here? It’s not possible. This is a remote area. Only a few people I knew possess knowledge of these parts.

“Fetch yer sword,” Sean said to Donovan. “Tell the other villagers to go indoors and await instructions.”

“Aye,” Donovan said before quickly retreating and spreading the news.

Sean quickly retreated to his cottage, Rose tending to a garden as he went inside to fetch his weapon.

“What is it?” Rose asked.

“A rider approaches,” Sean said.

Rose wasted no time—she followed after Sean and retrieved her own sword, the two of them then moving together toward the trail leading up to the village and standing on their guard. They waited…and waited…and waited. Finally, a single man on horseback became visible in the distance, riding slowly and with caution toward the front of the village.

“Who is that?” Rose said. “He looks…like a Highlander.”

Sean shook his head, squinting and perplexed as to whom the rider could be. He watched as the man approached, and then his jaw opened as the rider’s face came into clearer view. No, it can’t be! I thought he was dead!

Sean lowered his sword, Rose grabbing him by the arm as he did so. “What?” she asked. “What is it?”

Sean jutted his chin toward the incoming rider, now just ten paces away from where they stood. “I know him,” Sean said. “I know the man that approaches.”

“Ye do?”

“Aye…he is…my brother…”

The rider, his face now in full view, dismounted his horse and smiled as he outstretched his arms. His face and build were similar to that of Sean—rugged, handsome, a few scars, and a weathered look in his eyes.

“Big brother,” the man said. “It has been a long time.”

Sean approached his kin slowly, shaking his head and still amazed that he was looking upon his face. “Eamon,” he said. “I never thought I would see ye again.”

The two brothers squared off, neither of them saying a word for several moments. As they looked on at one another, Donovan approached from the rear.

“Is everything alright?” he asked.

Sean nodded. “Aye. Everything is fine. There is no cause for concern.”

Eamon waved. “My name is Eamon.” He nodded to Sean. “I am kin of this fine man here.” He looked at Rose. “And who might ye be?”

Rose held her head high—proud. “I am his wife. My name is Rose.”

Eamon’s eyes went wide. “My God,” he said. “He married again. I would have never thought that I would live to see the day. I guess that explains the smile that he now sports. Ye do look quite different now, Sean, I must say.”

Sean took another step forward. “How did ye…Why are ye here?”

“Oh, I’ve been looking for ye for quite some time, brother. I’ve been searching the Highlands in every part. After I couldn’t find ye…” He gestured around the village. “I figured there was only one more place ye could be. Quite stunning, I must say. It looks like ye have built quite a nice home for yerselves.”

Sean crossed his arms, huffing as he did so. “What are ye doing here, Eamon? What do ye want?”

Eamon shook his head. “Ye still hold a grudge against me, I see.”

“Considering what ye did, can ye blame me?”

Eamon took a step forward. “I am not here to quarrel with ye about things from the past. There are much more pressing matters at hand. Can we speak indoors? Somewhere private?”

Sean debated for a moment, just as eager to hear Eamon out, as he was to tell him to leave. He betrayed me, he betrayed our family. He left before he could help me avenge my fallen wife…

“The cottage behind us,” Sean said, forking a thumb over his shoulder. “I will meet ye there.”

Eamon nodded, stepping around them both and moving toward the cottage. Once he was out of earshot, Rose said: “He is yer brother?”

“Aye,” Sean said, watching as Eamon entered their home. “But I have not seen him in years.”

“Why? What happened? Ye never mentioned him before.”

“There is good reason for that. He…betrayed me.”


Sean grabbed Rose by the hand and moved toward the cottage. “I’ll explain later,” he said. “Let’s hear what he has to say first.”

They followed after Eamon, entering their cottage and seeing that he had already taken up a seat at their dinner table. They both stood, waiting with curious expressions.

“Aren’t ye going to sit?” Eamon asked.

“Speak,” Sean said. “Say what ye are going to say.”

Eamon leaned forward, folding his hands in front of him. “As I said,” he began, “I am not here to speak of the past. I…need yer help, actually.”

“And why should I help ye?”

“Because there is a significant amount of riches to be had at the end of this journey that I am proposing, more than ye could ever imagine.”

“Riches?” Sean said. “Whose?”

Eamon smiled wickedly. “Try the King of England. After yer little tiff with him after the murder of his nephew, which spread like wildfire around the Highlands, by the way, he decided that he needed to employ a more…personal touch to the English plight to rule the Highlands.

“Personal touch?” Rose said.

“Aye,” Eamon said. “The King is sending a proxy to the Highlands. A nobleman by the name of Cutler. He wishes to track ye all down and dispense of ye after killing the King’s nephew and the men he sent to avenge his death. Ye had to know that this kind of retribution was a possibility.”

“I did,” Sean said. “But what is it that ye are proposing?”

“I am proposing,” Eamon said, “that we kill this man Cutler. We dispense of the English once and for all by cutting off the head of the serpent.”

“And these riches ye speak of?”

“This man Cutler is bringing his lot with him, all of his gold and coin. I am organizing a group of men to band together. We will kill the king, dispense of his minions, and steal his riches. And ye, my dear older brother, are one of the finest, if not the finest swordsmen in all of the land.”

Sean shook his head. “I will not rob anyone. I have a simple life now. And I wish to keep it that way.”

Eamon held up a finger. “But Cutler will no doubt track ye down if ye do not rid yerself of him first. It is a preemptive measure, brother. If ye sit here and do nothing, he will find ye, and he will kill ye. Ye don’t want his riches? Fine. But ye know that he must be dealt with before he deals with ye. I know where he is going to be. I just need ye to agree to the job. Join me. Join the other men that I have to organize and help me take down this tyrant.”

Sean turned away; his mind wracked with affliction. I cannot lose Rose. I cannot lose my people. I cannot allow the King to destroy all that I have built and take away my life after I just pieced it back together.

Sean looked at Rose, bringing his hand up to her cheek and stroking it delicately. “What do ye think, my love?”

Rose sighed. “Cutler will no doubt find us unless we deal with him first. I believe the words yer brother states to be true.” She took his hand and held it to her belly. “And there are more than the two of us to think about now…”

Sean’s eyes went wide, smiling with sheer joy as he understood fully what his wife was hinting at. “Are ye sure?” he asked.

Rose nodded and smiled. “Aye. I am quite sure. And we must do all we can to protect it before it arrives…”

Sean looked again at Eamon, his younger brother eagerly awaiting his reply. Sean felt the intensity of the situation increasing now that he knew his wife was with child, and the urgency to save them both and keep them out of harm’s way was even more pressing than it was before.

“So,” Eamon said, arms outstretched. “Will ye join me?”

Sean took a beat. Thinking…and thinking…and thinking…and then he nodded. “Aye,” he said with depletion in his tone, not eager in the slightest to take up the sword but knowing that he was going to have to protect everything he loved. “I am in.”


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Capturing the Reluctant Highlander – Extended Epilogue


Amelia watched as Prince Charles and her young son, Jamie, played near the hearth. Her heart was full. Her husband, Jamie, was regaling his guests with a story about their time in London, something to do with the stuffy foppish Englishmen he’d come into contact with, and she smiled.


Who had ever known that life would turn out as it had? She was once a young Lady in England, proud and frivolous, hoping for a marriage to a handsome, wealthy, young, aristocrat. And now, she was still a Lady, of sorts, but she was anything but frivolous and proud, and she was happier than she had ever thought possible.


Before her sat her entire family. Her parents, Lord Jonathon Parker and his wife, Henrietta, and Jamie’s mother, Fiona, laughed along to Jamie’s story. William and Marianne sat nearby, Marianne holding her new child, a daughter she’d named Seoighe, to express the joy she found in her new life. The newlyweds, Ruth and Troy, sat near each other, hand-in-hand, often glancing at each other.


Amelia was content. This was her adopted tribe, her Scottish clan, and it meant more to her than she’d ever thought anything could. More than the poems that poured from her soul onto the page. More than the thought of having status in London. More so than herself. She loved these people, and she wished them all the happiness in the world. She chuckled to think that her best friend and her best friend’s sister had all found lovers and husbands among the Highland men.


If someone had told her that years before, she would have scoffed at such an idea. Married to a Highlander? One of the brutish, barbaric, and primitive lot? And now, she had been proved wrong. For Jamie had grown into a man she loved more each and every day. He led his people and his family with compassion, love, and mercy. He was an attentive lover, a kind husband, and wonderful person. Tears came to her eyes as she thought of it. This was true happiness, indeed.


Marianne watched, smiling, as Jamie told tales of his time in London. He was so animated and had such scathing remarks to say about the English, that it was highly entertaining. In the past, she might have been offended, but she knew he was speaking the truth. He spoke only of the fops and wigged men that seemed to pervade London’s inner circle and had not a moral bone to share between them.


She held tighter to her young daughter. The labor had been hard, but it had been oh so worth it. To be given such joy at the meeting of her daughter, Marianne thought she should name her Joyce, or Seoighe in Gaelic. But even before this child, her joy had been complete. She had William, her sister, and Amelia, and the fullness of love that surrounded her in her new family.


Once Jamie had finished his tale which had the whole family in stitches, he turned to Ruth and Troy. “And so, ye two, when will ye be leaving us once again tae head tae the high seas?”


Ruth beamed, her happiness in full, having returned from a lovely trip around Scotland, Ireland, and England. She loved being a captain’s wife. She looked healthy and fresh, and both of their faces were tanned from their time at sea. Troy’s hand was on her shoulder, making small circles with his forefinger. She was safe, comfortable, and free.


“Well, we’d leave right away, of course, but we didn’t want to disappoint all of you,” Ruth said with a mischievous grin, and Amelia laughed.


“Ah well, we cannot compete with the ocean, I suppose. When will your next adventure be?”


Troy responded, “Well, I have agreed tae take a ship of goods tae the Americas and bring back American cotton for the English mills. I never thought I’d be doing business with Englishmen, I can assure ye, but I suppose I didnae think I would be married tae one either.”


Ruth smiled at him.


Fiona, Jamie’s mother, broke in, interested. “And do none of the sailors give you trouble about having a woman aboard? You always hear in adventure and pirate stories that women are seen to be bad luck on a ship.”


Troy eyed Ruth knowingly and grinned. They had not told everyone of Troy’s past, besides Amelia and Jamie, feeling it would be better this way. “Ye are right, Lady Kinnaird. Pirates do say that, but once the sailors see what a prime navigator my wife is, they come around soon enough. She has brought me nothing but good luck.” Troy squeezed Ruth’s shoulder, and she chuckled.


“It took some convincing, mind you, but I can be quite forceful when necessary.”


William laughed. “I can agree tae that, lass.”


Jamie broke in. “Well, shall we have dinner, then? I’m starved, and there’s no point in sitting around talking with empty bellies.”


The servants were already prepared, being called in to bring warm meat, bread, potatoes, and vegetables. Plenty of mutton filled the table as the Kinnaird flock had grown to such an extent that they were able to kill some of the sheep for meat.


Jamie moved to the head of the table, his brown hair in a tight bun at the nape of his neck, his waistcoat taught over his strong body. He called over the group as they took their seats around the oak table, talking excitedly with one another. It was not a holiday, but it felt like one. “Raise yer glasses, ye bloody loud lot, and let’s toast tae our reunion.” Everyone raised their glasses of wine and ale.” Jamie put a hand behind his back and cleared his throat. “I’m not quite one for emotional speeches. ‘Tis my wife that has the beautiful words.” He winked at Amelia, who colored under his praise. “But I cannae express fully how grateful I am tae have met ye all. Before ye, ‘twas just me and my mother, as well as William there, but he hardly counts.” William grumbled in faux indignation, and everyone laughed.


“We didnae know it, but we were missing a family. By meeting Amelia, we brought in Lord and Lady Parker, and Marianne, and of course, wild Ruth.” He smiled at her. “Then the minister came intae the story.” Everyone chuckled once more, and Troy grinned. “We couldnae let him get away. Or at least Ruth couldnae.” Everyone burst into laughter, and Ruth rolled her eyes.


Jamie paused, looking at each of them. “Ye make Brechin better than it ever could have been, and I wantae thank each and every one of ye. Ye are always welcome in the castle, for here is family. Slainte!”


The women of the group had moistened eyes, and the men pretended they did not. They drank their glasses heartily and began to speak again to each other with warmth, eating and drinking in earnest.


Amelia looked up at him admiringly as Jamie watched over his old and new family. He was the laird, and such a laird he was, still as devilishly handsome as the day she met him, bumping into him outside of the castle as he stumbled home drunkenly from the bar. She laid her hand on his hand and squeezed it.


In fact, Amelia reflected, all three of the gentlemen that she, her best friend, and her best friend’s sister had married were all devilishly handsome and rogues in their own way. All three women had fallen for them hard and through difficulty, but it had all come right in the end. That’s what Amelia loved the most, and what fueled her poetry. Healing, reconciliation, restoration of happiness. After her father’s debts were paid, and she was able to release him from debtor’s prison, he and her mother were restored to each other, and her happy parents were restored to her.


And, Marianne had William, such a dear friend. So roguish and charming, yet solid of character, and patient and kind. She had never seen a man love a woman so, perhaps besides Jamie, and of course, the new addition of Troy Ferguson.


Whenever Amelia let her glance fall upon those two as they spoke to each other in smiling whispers, her heart was light. Marianne had told her all that had happened since she had been away in London, and she was so grateful. She knew that there had been something between the pair of them that she wouldn’t want them to miss out on, and she was so happy they’d found it. The two of them looked just as happy as could be, laughing and smiling to each other as they shared intimacies.


Amelia supposed her matchmaking work was done. First with Marianne and William and now with Ruth and Troy. Perhaps one day with little Jamie, she thought with a smirk.


A maid entered the room and approached Marianne with a curtsy and a note. “Ma’am, there is a man here tae see ye. He requests the presence of ye and Mrs. Ferguson at the back entrance.”


“Thank you,” Marianne replied with confusion and looked at an equally confused Ruth. The whole of the company stopped eating and began to speculate as to who it could be. William said, “Want me tae come with ye, love?”


Marianne shook her head, her heart beginning to beat a bit faster with nerves. “No. Stay with Seoighe. I will go with Ruth.”


He nodded and took his daughter from her arms, smiling down at her young face. Marianne and Ruth left together, both of them feeling the same thing. “‘Tis Father isn’t it?” Ruth asked, an icy dread surrounding her heart. “But why? For what purpose? There is naught he can do tae us now,” she reassured herself.


They followed the maid to the back entrance, which was usually restricted to servants, but for some reason was requested by the uninvited guest. They glanced at each other again briefly as they saw the hooded figure awaiting them by the door.


The maid curtsied and left them alone with the man who removed his cloak. It was Lord Anthony Browne. He looked so changed they hardly recognized him.


“Father?” Ruth asked timidly, unsure of who she was looking at, but the familiar features remained the same.


He nodded, smiling. “Yes girls. ‘Tis I, your father.” He glanced at Ruth and moved to hold both of her hands in his own. Ruth tensed at such an intimacy and nearly pulled away, but she saw a kindness in his eyes she had not seen before.


“Ruth, I am so glad you are well. I heard that you were returned to Brechin, and I was grateful for it.” He looked down. “Please forgive your father for what he did. To attempt to push you into an unwanted marriage.” He moved to Marianne. “And forgive me as well, my dear. Forgive me for everything, if you can find it in your hearts.”


Marianne and Ruth were frozen. They were so shocked by the speech, but they were also surprised by his demeanor. He was not rude or brutish or imposing. He was subdued, reserved, polite, and kind. Who was this man who had so lately been their deplorable father?


Marianne, recovering more quickly, spoke first. “Father, are you in earnest?”


Lord Browne dropped her hands and sighed. “I know it must seem strange to you both, but I have had a change. A change I would like you to know about.” He paused. “I have been married.”


Marianne and Ruth gasped in surprise. “Married? To whom?”


“To a woman who I know you will love and admire. And,” he added with a chuckle, “she is a Scotswoman.”


Ruth burst into laughter. “Well that certainly is a change, Father.”


Lord Browne turned to the side and motioned with his hand. Marianne and Ruth were surprised to see another cloaked figure, lingering in the shadows. The figure stepped forward timidly and grasped the hand of Lord Browne.


“This,” Lord Browne began, “is Aila, my new wife. Aila, these are my daughters.”


The hood of the cloak fell back to reveal an older woman, a woman whose beauty remained in her kind face. She smiled at the women, bowing her head slightly. Still surprised, Marianne and Ruth nodded in return and gave their hands in introduction.”


“You are most welcome, Lady Browne.” Marianne smiled, and Aila blushed. “Didnae expect tae have a title, tae be sure. Ye must call me Aila, my dear.”


Lord Browne grinned. “Well, you are a lady after all, Aila, despite the fact that we must sell my estate in London.”


She waved a hand away. “I care not for things as that. I would feel most uncomfortable living in London, pretending tae be a fancy lady.”


Ruth liked her instantly and smiled at her new stepmother. “We are most glad to have you, Aila.”


Marianne was beaming, feeling her muscles relax. Perhaps it was really true. Her father had changed. “Father, Aila has brought about this change in you?”


He nodded, smiling. “I’m afraid so, my dears, but it was coming before that. Ever since I left the house after our discussion, Marianne, I was a broken man. Angry, full of hatred and bitterness, seeking only my own comfort. But I decided to stay in Scotland, so that I could hear news of you both if anything came up. I knew I could not return to London because of my shame. I stayed in a nearby village, and the townspeople brought me back to life. I was put to work. Good, honest work, and there I met my love.”


“But the home in London? Your position in the House of Lords?” Ruth asked.


“I have left the position, but the home remains. I will need to return to sell it in order to cover debts, I’m afraid, but ‘tis no matter. I wish to remain in Scotland.”


Ruth was bowled over again with surprise, but at this statement, she knew that something new and wonderful had taken hold of her father. “Come,” she said to him, surprising herself. “Come and meet my husband anew. Come, Aila, to meet everyone.” She grabbed onto Aila’s hand.


“Yes, Father and stepmother,” Marianne said, taking Lord Browne’s arm, “Come and meet your granddaughter.”


Lord Browne smiled, and his eyes were moist. Aila was beaming. “I thank the Lord each day for you girls, and I ask for his forgiveness for how I was to you. Your mother would have been ashamed. I would be most happy to meet your new family.”


The four of them walked together towards the main hall, smiling, their hearts finally feeling at rest after so many months of resentment and anger. They entered the main hall to the surprise of their family, clan Kinnaird. There were now no regrets or sadness between them anymore. It was only love and a budding, fresh hope.


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A Highlander Forged in Fire – Extended Epilogue


Fraser could not have been happier, though marriage was not the end of the happy tale between Isla and himself. After the excitement of their wedding day, there came many more feasts and celebrations, and Fraser found himself the center of attention. It was quite overwhelming, and the humble blacksmith was amazed at how he was now feted by those around him.

“Hail to thee, Laird apparent,” they said, filing past him and bowing, much to Fraser’s embarrassment.

“Ye have much to live up to in the footsteps of yer father,” others said, but Fraser was content to find happiness in the present, at Isla’s side.

In his own mind, he was still the lowly village blacksmith, to whom people brought their horses for shodding and soldiers their swords for mending. It mattered not to Fraser whether he held title or not, so long as Isla was at his side.

He had many plans for the future and set about rebuilding the croft and being a faithful husband to Isla, whom he loved more than anything in the world.

“I shall see to it that ye are always taken care of, lass,” he told her as they walked hand in hand a few days after the feast.

“Ye have already taken care of me, Fraser,” she replied. “We shall care for one another,” and he smiled at her and kissed her.


Isla was happy at the croft, which had once belonged to her grandparents. Fraser had repaired it and made it strong and sturdy, and it was a happy place in which to raise a family. It was not long after their marriage that she gave birth to their first son and they named him Rory. He was a bonnie bairn and doted over by his grandparents and those around him, including his Godfather Sweeney, who was a regular visitor to the croft.

“Ye cannae keep away, can ye, Sweeney?” Isla said one day when Sweeney appeared at the door, bearing a sprig of heather in his hand.

“Well, ye made me Godfather, and I have responsibilities,” he replied, but Isla was more than happy to see him.

Over the years, he had been a good friend to them all, and she welcomed him inside, just as Fraser was returning from his work.

He was busy working on the ruined castle below, which, along with helpers from the village, he was working hard to restore.

“How goes the work?” Sweeney asked as Fraser settled himself at the table, bouncing baby Rory on his knee.

“Aye, it goes well, though it will be a few more winters before we move from this place to there,” he replied, as the child began to cry.

“Why we have to move to a drafty old castle when we have this lovely croft is quite beyond me,” Isla replied, for she was quite happy in her grandparents’ croft.

“Ye will nae say that when the English have regrouped and regained their strength,” Fraser said. “What news dae ye have from Kirklinton, Sweeney?”

“Much the same. Yer father and Lena are happy enough together. They seem closer by the day,” he replied.

“It would be nice if they were to marry? Dae ye nae think?” Isla said, smiling, as she took the bairn from Fraser.

“They are certainly close,” Sweeney replied.

Isla wanted her father to be happy, and since Lena’s arrival, the two had seemed to grow ever closer. He was getting older though and would not see many more winters on the borders. Lena had also had a hard life, and Isla wondered just how long it would be before her husband became Laird of Kirklinton.

“If it makes them happy,” Fraser said.

Isla was about to reply when suddenly she felt a twinge in her stomach. It happened several times before, and she rushed from the room to be sick.

“Are ye alright, Lena?” Fraser said, rushing after her as the bairn began to cry.

“Aye,” she said, smiling at him, “but I think I might be with child.”


Isla was with child, and some months later, she gave birth to another boy, who they named Owen. The croft now seemed very crowded, and Isla was more in favor of the renovated castle than she had been before. With two children, and perhaps more on the way, she knew that her growing family would soon outgrow her grandparents’ croft.

“‘Tis nearly finished,” Fraser told her, two years after she had given birth to Owen.

“How long, Fraser?” she asked. For now that Duncan was three years old and Owen two, they were becoming boisterous, and the croft was far from adequate

“By the winter, lass,” he replied, smiling at her as she rolled her eyes.

They were expecting a visit from Duncan, and as she looked out of the window across the heathers, she could see him ambling across the moor.

“Yer brother is here,” she said, scooping up the bairns in her arms.

Together, the family walked out to meet him, and the children were delighted to see their uncle, who always came bearing little gifts, He was dressed in his monks’ habit, and he embraced them all in turn, blessing the children as he always did.

“How was yer journey, brother?” Fraser asked,

“Aye, it was uneventful, which is how I always pray it to be,” he replied, laughing, for Duncan always laughed a lot.

Isla had noticed that in him recently. He seemed entirely happy and contented in his vocation, and she was glad that he too had found the happiness which they enjoyed themselves.

“What news dae ye have?” Duncan asked. “Are yer father and mother well?”

“Aye, they get along very well,” Fraser replied, laughing.

“They should be married. That is the proper thing,” Duncan replied, raising his eyebrow.

“Well, I shall leave ye to suggest that,” Fraser replied, as they walked up towards the croft.

“And ye, Isla, what happy news dae ye have for me?” Duncan said.

Isla was surprised by his words, for she had told no one except Fraser that she was expecting a bairn. She had realized only a few weeks ago, and it was far from apparent yet, except to herself.

“I … how?” she said, as she and Fraser turned to him in surprise.

“Oh, intuition, I suppose,” he replied and tapped his nose.


Isla was pleased when Lena announced she had given birth to a baby girl. Not that she would have minded either way, but a girl would be good company for her in later years, and she held the baby close to her breast and kissed her.

“What will ye call her?” Lena asked, for she had been present each time Isla had given birth and asked the same question.

“Evie,” Isla replied, for it was a name she had always loved.

Lena called her son into the room, and Fraser hurried in, stooping by the bed and smiling at Isla, who lay back in exhaustion.

“Well done,” he said, and Lena handed him the baby.

“A beautiful little girl for our family,” she said, as Fraser took the child gently in his arms.

“Hello there, ye are beautiful just as yer mother,” Fraser said, holding the baby close to him and placing a delicate kiss upon her forehead.

Isla knew that now her family was complete, and she delighted in seeing them grow. They were each so different. Rory took after his grandfather and was always getting into scrapes; Owen was like his father, quiet and ponderous; and Evie took after her mother, a brave little lass with a determined will.

Isla could not have been happier, and it was not long before the family moved into the castle, which had once belonged to her parents. It brought back many memories for Isla, and she often found herself sitting quietly in the Great Hall, remembering the Armstrongs and the family she had lost.

“What were they like, mother?” little Owen asked her one day.

“Well, why dinnae the three of ye sit down, and I shall tell ye the whole story,” she replied, as they settled by the fire.


It was now ten years after their wedding, and Fraser and Isla were walking on the heathers between Kirklinton and the Armstrong castle. They held hands, and above them, a hawk was circling. Just as it so often did when they walked together in this way, as though it were always keeping watch over them. In the distance, the three children were running and playing together on the moorlands, happy and carefree

“We have much to be thankful for, ye and I,” Fraser said, as they came to the ridge and looked down upon the castle.

“Aye, a great deal,” she replied, turning to him and resting her head upon his shoulder.

“I have never ceased to love ye, Isla, and day by day, my love for ye grows,” he said, and he turned and kissed her.

“And I feel the same for ye, my darling husband. I love ye so very much, and I couldnae imagine my life to be any other way,” she replied, and together they looked over the heathers as the hawk circled above.

“What dae ye think the future will hold for our bairns?” she asked, looking over at the children, who were holding hands as they ran across the moorlands.

“I dinnae know, but all I hope is that they will be as happy as we have become,” Fraser replied, and he turned again and kissed her, the future stretching on ahead, as a new generation came to the fore.


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If you want to know what lies ahead in our story, you may want to get the sequel…

This is the tale of a Highlander entrapped by the sins of his father and a rebellious lass who must defy her family’s great legacy to find herself. Surrendering to a forbidden love that it was never meant to be, can these two escape their destinies without unleashing chaos to the Highlands?

A Highlander Born from Chaos