Fighting for a Highland Rose – Extended Epilogue

Glenoran, Inverness-shire, July 1768


“Aye,” said James Macpherson, leaning back in his seat with an air of satisfaction, “the laddie certainly does tak’ efter ye, son.”

“In looks, maybe,” replied Murdo, “but if he has inherited my body, he has his mother’s brains in his head, and I thank God for that!”

James laughed heartily, coughed before clapping his son on the shoulder.

“You’re no’ wrong there, Murdo!” he said.

The two men were sitting at their ease in the shade of a spreading apple tree. It was high summer and the sun was blazing down with a heat rare in the northern glens of the MacPhersons. Behind them, the looming stone bulk of Glenoran castle soaked up the warmth. The sky was blue and flecked with fluffy white clouds, little birds sang and darted back and forth from the branches of the tree under which they sat, hunting to feed their fast-growing young. All around them, the sheltered apple orchard, the pride of the gardeners of Glenoran buzzed with a life of insects and birds.

A little way away from where Murdo and James sat, a tall, strongly built youth was diligently working his way through a pile of logs with a long, two-handed axe. That winter a big apple tree had been hit by lightning, and Colum MacPherson, Murdo’s son and heir, had spent three weeks working with one of the gardeners to saw it into round disks and stack it to dry out a little for splitting in the summer. Now, as his father and grandfather watched, Colum took great pleasure in the satisfying task of heaving the heavy roundels into place and splitting them up into smaller logs. The sweet-smelling wood was a rare commodity, and it would not be used for just any fire in the castle. Instead, Colum had conceived the idea of setting up a smokery for the curing of meat and the smoking of cheeses, and was hoping to use the applewood for this project. The powerful muscles in his back rippled as he swung the axe, and beads of sweat made his tanned skin glisten. His shirt, discarded in the hot weather, hung from a branch of a nearby tree.

James spoke to Murdo again, more quietly, though Colum was already out of earshot.

“How go the arrangements for his betrothal?” Murdo sighed heavily.

“It’s no’ as easy as we thought it would be. Iain Grant is a canny man, and he willnae tak’ a decision like that lightly. He prevaricates and procrastinates; indeed, he seems tae hae become a fretful auld man since the days when we fought side-by-side tae regain my wife frae the English.”

“Aye, weel, twenty years will dae that tae a man,” said James, shifting in his seat. James was unsure exactly of his own age. At least sixty-five, he thought. He had been twenty when Murdo was born, and now Murdo was forty-two. But the records of James’ own birth had been lost, and he himself had lost count over the years. In the large scheme of things, he supposed it did not really matter. He groaned. Murdo was nodding agreement.

“Ye are right, faither,and it’s nae bad thing, no’ really. Iain Grant is chief o’ his clan, and he is right tae ca’ canny when it comes tae the marriage o’ his daughters. This land is changing, and the Laird Carlisle o’ Balmore is a complication baith for the Grants and the MacPhersons. Iain Grant is rightly cautious o’ making a marriage which might mak’ Laird Carlisle feel threatened.”

James made a disgusted noise in his throat.

Laird Carlisle,” he scoffed. “A fine name tae clap ontae an Edinburgh gentry, up here tae naethin’ but mak’ money frae sheep and roust the local bodies aff o’ the land they hae lived on for generations beyond count! ‘Laird’ indeed. Man, when I was yer age, Murdo, it took mair than a pouch o’ King’s gold an’ a daft title tae mak’ a laird! We had tae earn it, and it was a bloody and fearful business for a’ that! I’d like tae tak’ yon ‘laird’ out tae the moors and gie him a go – I’d run him through wi’ one hand tied behind my back, I tell ye!”

Murdo laughed.

“I dinnae doubt that ye would!” he said. “But for a’ that I am mighty glad o’ the peace. The long truce has brought peace and prosperity tae our people, and has allowed my son tae grow up wi’out the threat o’ war hangin’ constantly ower his heid. That’s worth a bit o’ annoyance frae the gentry.”

James shrugged in reluctant agreement, but he did not look convinced.

“It may be so,” he said. “I dinnae deny that I’m glad tae hae watched the twins grow up in peace. But though the truce we built protects our people here, the stories I’m hearing frae elsewhere in the land are horrifying. Poor folk burned out o’ their cottages and deported, or forced tae emigrate owerseas, and a’ in the name o’ whit; sheep? Just because it hasnae reached this far doesnae mean it cannae.”

“Look at you two, sitting grumbling in the shade like a couple of old men!” said a merry voice behind them. “Have you nothing better to do than to watch other men work?”

James looked round with a sardonic eye, “whit dae ye mean like and auld man? I am an auld man!” But Murdo stood up from his chair and turned with a smile to take his wife in his arms.

Emily MacPherson had aged well over the last twenty years. Despite her time in the highlands, her accent remained distinctly English. The blazing flame of her red hair had cooled as silver begun to make its way through it, but she still kept it long, and was pleased to wear it out as often as she could. Her figure had filled out, of course, and she had given birth to five children, though tragically only her first two, the twins, had made it to adulthood.

She was a worker, always setting to some task or other around the castle and the grounds, or riding out to assist the people in the hamlets and villages which paid tithe and acknowledged the MacPhersons of Glenoran as their lords. Her arms were strong and herback straight, for all of her forty years, she greeted her husband with the same delight and pleasure as she had always done. The freckles stood out against her tanned face, and her eyes sparkled as he took her in his arms and kissed her.

Glancing up from his task, Colum MacPherson saw his mother and father embracing and smiled. They were like a pair of young lovers courting. When he had been younger, he and his sister had found their parents’ physical affection for each other embarrassing, but these days he was proud of it. He knew enough of their story to know that they deserved every ounce of happiness they could, and he wondered, without much hope, if he would ever find a love to match theirs?

The thought immediately drew him onto thoughts of his betrothal, and his heart sank. What love could there be between two who did not know each other, and who married to cement the alliance between their clans? He felt a familiar sinking feeling in his belly, and grit his teeth against it.

There was a pitcher of water on a little table where his father and grandfather had been sitting. Colum dropped the axehead into the chopping block with a satisfying thunk and strode over toward his family, grabbing his shirt from the branch and hauling it on as he walked. The older folk smiled at him as he approached, and his grandfather called out, “Weel, laddie, that’s one way tae keep in shape!”

Colum rolled his eyes toward the woodpile and smiled at the old man, before hooking the water pitcher with two fingers and drinking deeply. When he was done, he spoke to Emily.

“Are ye weel, mither? And where is Alice today? I havnae seen her since last night at dinner?”

“Your sister rode out at first light down to Miekleburn village, on the the border with the Balmore estate. We had tidings from there in the night that many people have been taken with a mysterious sickness. There have been three deaths in the past week, and many more are sick. She has taken the sisters Beatrice and Clara Morton with her. I tried to make her take a few men too, but she wouldn’t hear of it. You know what she is like in such matters.”

They all smiled at this, but then Colum frowned again.

“I am sorry tae hear that there’s sickness in the village. God forbid that it should spread as others we hae seen!”

“Weel,” said James bitterly, “if it does, it will certainly free the Laird Carlisle o’ Balmore frae a difficult problem.”

“Eh?” said Murdo. “Whit are ye talking about?”

“Dinnae tell me ye havnae heard,” said James. “He wants the moorland around Miekleburn for his sheep, but the folk o’ the village farm the fertile land nearby their homes, and dig the land that’s further awa’ for peat tae heat their hames. The terms of the truce dinnae allow Carlisle tae clear folk aff the land on Balmore, as ye ken, and since mast o’ the land is already empty that’s no’ a problem for him. But now he’s got his eye on that bit o’ land, and ye mark my words, he will be rubbing his hands wi’ glee tae hear o’ a sickness in the village which might dae the clearing for him wi’out any difficulty, aye him and that gluttonous son o’ his.”

“I heard that the son is tae be married,” added Colum. He had sat down with his back to the apple tree, and Emily had sat down beside Murdo, her head pillowed on his arm as she listened to the conversation.

“Aye, that’s right,” said James, nodding vigorously. “Auld Laird Carlisle has set it up wi’ a wool and sheep merchant frae down near York, ower the border in the north o’ England. Bright, the merchant’s name is; an Irishman whae come ower wi’ his family ten years ago or so, and did that weel for himself that Laird Carlisle will marry his only son tae Bright’s daughter, tae cement the trading alliance.”

“Apparently they are expecting her arrival any day now,” said Emily.

James made a thoughtful sound and shook his head in disapproval.

“Imagine that,” he said consideringly, “marrying yer son aff tae secure a discount on sheep.”

“How is it any different to marrying your son off to secure an alliance between clans?” said Colum, and immediately wished he hadn’t spoken. His parents and his grandfather swelled up with indignation and began to speak at once.

“It’s no’ the same at a’…”

“Nothing like the same…”

“Now, son, ye ken it’s no’ like that…”

Colum couldn’t help but give a wry laugh. He held up both hands in placating apology.

“Sorry, sorry!” he said smilingly. “O’ course it’s no’ the same, I understand.”

The immediate way they accepted hiswords and settled back down again was almost more irritating than the self-righteousness that it was different.

“We are all to be invited to the wedding,” said Emily, as if nothing had happened.

“Oh, aye?” said Murdo without much relish. James cursed and made a disgusted sound in his throat.

“Oh, come on,” chided Emily. “I know that Lord Carlisle and his son are not exactly noble highlanders, but this is the price of peace! Honestly, you men! What happened to diplomacy and tact and keeping the peace? It will be a few days at most, and then you can come back home having done your duty and never have to look at them again.”

“Diplomacy?” James grumbled. “I’d like tae gie that so-called Laird Carlisle a firm boot in the backside for diplomacy. If he could put his fists up against me and dook it out like a man then maybe I could feel a bit better disposed toward him.”

Murdo, Emily, and Colum laughed at the old man’s cantankerousness. Colum rose, took another drink of water and stretched, feeling his cramped limbs pop satisfyingly as he did so.

“Weel,” he said, “I want tae mak’ a bit mair progress wi’ that woodpile this efternoon.”

“Dae ye fancy a hand wi’ it, son?” said Murdo. Colum knew that his father was hoping to talk further about the betrothal arrangements. He did not want to talk about that right now. He was resigned to the fact that it would happen, prepared to do his duty, but that was as far as he would go. His father’s efforts to make him glad about it would just make the whole thing harder for him.

“No, thank ye faither,” he replied politely. “But I would rather just get on wi’ it myself. It’s a good time for me tae think things ower myself, ye ken?”

“Aye,” said Murdo smiling. “I ken.”

Colum turned and wandered back over to the woodpile. There was a lot left to do, and it would take him more than just this afternoon. As he heaved the axe out of the woodblock and set about his task again, his thoughts were of the Yorkshire bride who was, even now, travelling north to Scotland to marry the son of their neighbour, Laird Carlisle of Balmore. He wondered how she was feeling about it. If he found the prospect of marrying Iain Grant’s daughter distressing – a girl at least from the same land as him and would come to live with him at his home – then how much worse must it be for this daughter of Bright the wool-merchant, coming to a new land and a new house, and all to secure commercial advantage? Colum felt sure that if she were not absolutely terrified by the prospect, then she must be a very plucky girl indeed.

If you haven’t already, please leave your review on Amazon

  • Great story.Well written.First time reading this author but will be reading more books by this author.Would recommend this author

  • The story was great but there were a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes as well as words that ran together

  • I found the extensive Scottish dialogue very tedious. I would have preferred a few Scottish phrases sprinkled in for “ flavor” and the rest in English. It really slowed my reading down trying to decipher the Scottish meaning. It is a grand story and I would recommend it to others but advise them about the dialogue.

  • I enjoyed the book very much. What could have been loose ends were dealt with nicely. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the extended epilogue as with the book as a whole but I will definitely look forward to reading more from Kenna Kendrick.

  • This was a great book, I loved the excitement and adventurous nature so much and the extended version also. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story!

  • A very interesting story that keeps you in the story until the next page. I like this story I give this story a four star rating. I like it that this woman found love with a highlander and all the hard ship she went through .

  • Good story. One you can lose yourself in although I am a stickler for grammar and get stuck on missing words and I’ll formed sentences.

  • I really enjoyed the story. It was very exciting, Emily sure had a lot of adventures, It was great that she found a highlander and fell in love with him.I was sorry to lose Alice, but it worked out when Ewan was the traitor. She would have been very hurt by that. So the few mistakes in the book didn’t hurt the story at all.
    Thank you.

  • I have left my review on amazon.
    I really enjoyed this book, & the epilogue.
    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • Well written and interesting plot but wished Alice could have survived and Ewan was not the traitor. The extended epilogue should have been developed further. It ended too abruptly.

  • I loved this book from start
    to finish and I’m hoping for as further book to read about Murdock and Emily’s twins their lives and.loves

  • I enjoyed the story very much. Good suspense and interesting characters. The extended epilogue was not nearly as interesting as the book. But I would definitely rate it with 4 stars.

  • This was a great read! Not a cookie cutter, original, with a feisty intelligent female lead… the reader can feel the damp and cold…the sway of the horse a d the heat of battle!

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although Alice’s death was tragic it was important and all main characters can’t survive every time unscathed or it’s too predictable. Having the leading lady English was also a good twist. I did find several mistakes in the book that were distracting. Overall it was a great book that I would recommend!

  • I liked the intrigue and the story. I didn’t like to see the heroine have a father who was not understanding of his child. Maybe that is the way things were back in their time. I am glad times have changed.

  • Very good read. Lots of action and plot twists. Alice’s death was a hard one and I kept hoping she found away out but at the end no such luck. Ewan’s betrayal was a surprise to me and I felt the Alice because she had fallen for him. Love the extended epilogue but can’t believe they would make Colum marry for to keep the alliance between the clans.

  • Love the story. Wonderful plot and very realistic to the time. Had difficulty with the Scottish dialogue at first, but was able to get it after a short while. I thought it made the story more realistic. Felt bad about Alice and Ewan, but it added to the twists and turns and surprises in the story. First time reading from this author, but not the last. Would love to hear more about the twins. Extended epilogue was good. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for a wonderful read.

  • Enjoyed the story. Could have done with less Scottish spelling. In the extended bit, if it develops, obviously Colum will fall in love with the incoming betrothed. Would like to read that.

  • I don’t want to stop reading this story. It has been great traveling with Emily, Murdo and the Clan. Thanks for a fun ride.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed Murdo and Emily’s story. Their strength of character is rare in the world. The story telling was great. With the dialogue written as it was, you could hear the Brogue loud and clear.

  • This book was a page Turner for me. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s a good thing I’m retired and can read to my hearts content. This book is a must read for anyone looking for action, love, tragedy and many more emotions. I don’t want to give away to much of the story although I do agree with Gail about Alice. Maybe Castle William could be another story starting from just before the explosion and the what happened from that point on with the new commander. He could have brought his family and Collum could by chance meet his daughters. Thank you for a great read.

  • Enjoyed the story. Makes me wonder about what actually happened to Alice’s brother since Murdo told Alice that her brother’s body not his sword were found.
    Proofreading and editing would have been a great improvement.

  • It was a good read and I enjoyed story line. You really need to get better system for proof reading. There were so many words without spaces that it slowed down the read time trying to read book.

  • I loved this book! I hated for it to end. Hopefully there will be more of this story! I want to read about the twins finding their true loves! Thank you for a wonderful book Kenna!

  • I really enjoyed the story and while it was sad that Alice died, it added to the story. What I couldn’t understand was after escaping the palace to warn Murdock about the trap, she took time to sleep and dry her clothes. Than after stopping for Eain, knowing he was a traitor, instead of riding past him, she had to fight him. Than Robert came and they wasted more time, until it was too late to warm Murdo. Fat lot of good she did to warn him after escaping the castle and Alice giving up her life so she could warn him. The only distressing part of the story.n

  • I loved this story about Murdo and Emily. I would love to know what happens to their children Colum and Alice.

  • Have enjoyed all your books
    along with this one. Sad that Alice did not survive and Ewan turned out to be a bad guy. However that’s what makes the stories different. A happy ending but sadness too.

  • Another of your books I just love.
    Your writing is incredible as I feel I am actually living this story.
    Keep it up as I’m always waiting for your next book.

  • Really great story !, Looking forward to more of your work, it was hard reading about the children in the extended story but I guess it goes with the times

  • I enjoyed the story and read it in a few hours. The twists and turns reminded me of ‘real life.’ Which is oftentimes sad and unfair. I love your imagination in this story. Keep on writing!!

  • Great story. Read nonstop just couldn’t put it down. I hope that the extended ending so abruptly means that there will be a sequel.

    • Thank you for the kind words my dear Mary! The next book, “Fighting for a Highland Heart” is already out 😉

  • Thankyou Kenna for another good book
    I look forward to more I had hope to find
    that they would find Alice .I give it 9

    • Thank you for your kind words my dear Elaine! The next book, “Fighting for a Highland Heart” is already out 😉

  • What a wonderful book! I really enjoyed it! The love story of Murdo and Emily! I wish Alice had survived!

  • Good read. I liked Emily very much. She developed into a wonderful character. Sorry about Alice. Hoping she was alive. I am looking forward to Colum’s story.

    • Thank you so much my dear Jimmie, the next book “Fighting for a Highalnd Heart” is already out 😉

  • I couldn’t put the book down. I have enjoyed every book I have read. Keeps me waiting more. Can’t wait to start Fighting for a Highlanders Heart. I just wish the extended epilogue was with the book itself.
    Happy Easter. Stay healthy.

    • Happy Easter my dear Anna! I’m so happy that my books are an enjoyable past time for you! <3

  • I enjoyed the story for the second time. Lots of action and surprising twists. Like others I noticed the typos, wrong names in conversation flows. They definitely detract from the action. Looking forward to book two in the series. Linda

  • Sweet, love story with the savagery of the times wrapped thru the life events. The beauty of the Highlands & rugged terrain are described fluently enough to feel you are there. Great story line filled with love, passion & strength. (Had hoped Alice would have made it out of the explosion.)

  • Excellent read! Loved the flow of the plot and was surprised at the twist with Ewan.

  • I agree with the other comments here. The book was so full of action I couldn’t put it down. I loved the strength of the characters and the plot twists. Great descriptions of countryside as well as battles. I look forward to reading Colum’s story.

    • Thank you so much my sweet Anita! The next book “Fighting for a Highland Heart” is out already 😉

  • As usual, you do not deny us an incredible story!! Here I am once again mid morning and not able to put it down! I feel another story of course will Colum go against his parents wish and find his own wife? Will Alice become sick with this disease or will she end up marrying someone for the clan. Do both children have their mum’s spunk and brains?!
    .I cannot leave my comments on amazon.com. I get letters saying I have forgot something but I always fill this in when I’m done. Maybe that’s for Ella Edon. Thanks

  • Thank you, I enjoyed your book. Great plot, well developed characters. Wish Alice did not die.

  • I really liked this book. The characters were lively and easy to love! I wish that Alice had survived, but then she would’ve been alone because her lover was the betrayer. Clairmont was a villain you love to hate! All and all this book was a fun read. I would recommend it. After reading the extended epilogue, I hope your next book is about their son. I already picture him helping the English bride flee her wedding and going on the run with him! I highly recommend this book.

    • Thank you for your kind words Trinnia! The next book “Fighting for a Highland Lass”, the story to Murdo and Emily’s son is already out. 😉

  • I liked this book, lots of action. Nice character building, good love story. I’m looking forward to book 2 in the series. Thanks Kenna
    Polly L.

  • Endearing characters. All so brave. A story of love and commitment. Thank you for your talent and sharing this delightful story of family and bravery.

  • Great story,I loved it had a hard time putting it down. The ending was good, felt bad about Alice and Dean.

  • I really enjoyed this one. I was captured from the beginning to the end. Lots of twists and turns made it a page turner. Finished it in one sitting.

  • I enjoyed Fighting for a Highland Rose! It was a fast paced action book! While there was romance it didn’t capture the whole book!

  • The editing help I believe I only saw two words ran together nothing. Good story am not a fan of abrupt endings either. But would be interested in Colum’s story !

  • The story was both sad and entertaining. Sad that Alice and Emily’s three children died. Entertaining in all the battle losses and wins.

  • A very enjoyable read. I was unable to put it down until the very end, shame Alice died, but shecfid die a heroine. Extended epilogue suggests there is a story for Colum…would like to know if there is and what’s it called.

    • I’m so happy that you enjoyed it my dear Brigid. Callan’s story “Fighting for a Highland Heart” is already out <3

  • One of your best. Sorry Alice didn’t live, I enjoyed the relationship between her and Emily. Extended epilogue felt incomplete.

  • Interesting story of the difficult time between Scotland and England a few years after the horrific battle in 1745 and beginning of the Clearances. The Highland- ers had to walk a thin line when dealing with the English military. Clans had to depend on their friendship and ties with other clans to help them in times of need.
    The characters in the book were believable and their story was well told. It is always sad to see people written out of the story when you have grown attached to them.

    My ancestor Dugal McQueen was an Officer in the 1715 uprising against the English. He was captured on Preston battlefield and sent to America as an indentured servant. He lived in Baltimore and after his period as an indentured servant was up he settled in the area and was a successful farmer. His descendents fought to defend America in every war, including the Civil War and the Texas Revolution in 1836.

    I enjoy reading books of the era of time in Scotland. Thanks so much for a delightful story.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this story, my dear! That was so interesting!!! I also thank you for your kind words. It makes me so happy when you enjoy my books. <3

  • I enjoyed Fighting for a Highland Rose from start to finish and the epilogue. I would rate this 5:5 anytime.

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, my dear Luria. Well, the second book, “Fighting for a Highland Heart”, is already out 😉.

  • Good story. Would have liked Alice and her brother to have finished in the end. Looking for the next book. Keep up the good writing.

    • I’m very happy that you enjoyed it, my dear Joan! The next book, “Fighting for a Highland Heart”, is already out. 😉

    • Definitely my dear Carol! The next one in the series “Fighting for a Highland Heart” is out already 😉

  • Loved the story. Couldn’t put it down and paid for it the next mornings at work. Worth being tired

  • Enjoyed the story and the characters. Was sorry about Alice, was hoping she would have made it.

  • I also had a hard time putting this book down. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. But like the others who have commented I do wish Alice and Ewan had their own happy endings. Although I do realize not every one can survive and have a happy ending and still have a realistic story. I read two of your novels recently and enjoyed them both. (Just enough sex with out being too much) thank you for writing these novels.

  • I loved the book. Very courageous women to stand with their man at all cost and what is that for love of your man and your Country. Lovely

    • Thank you so much my dear Maria. I am very glad that you liked the story and the characters 🙂

  • Loved this book from start to finish .So sorry to hear she lost three of her children so sad and looking brave Alive a hero can’t say the same for Ewan.

  • I am so into your writing, I feel as if I’ve travelled to Scotland and have the accent now. Thank Ye as I will read more of your books and make myself 😊

  • Some twists and turns but a generally enjoyable book. More fighting than I expected, more English brutality but that may be historically accurate. Certainly worth a read .

    • Thank you for your message and thorough feedback my Jen.
      Be sure I’ll take everything into consideration.

    • Thank you so much, my dear Dorothy! It means so much to me that you enjoy my stories. ❤️

  • Enjoyed the story and characters. Both the story as.well as.the EE ended abruptly. I’m not sure where middle stepmother was??

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, my dear Susan! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story, and I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the EE, and felt disappointed… ❤️

  • Great novel and with much excitement. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time. I would prefer to have read more about the other pregnancies that Emily had and what happened.

  • Why stop now?! This extended epilogue is to be a book…Yes?!! The book , the story is exciting, captivating…a good read.

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