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Highlander’s Cursed Heiress – Extended Epilogue

Emma ran her hands ran over the thick leather binding with reverence. The brittle pages beneath her fingertips brought her back in time. Seeing her great-grandmother’s handwriting connected her with a world of romance and adventure in a way that was personal—that made her feel as if it were her story within the pages. She read by the candlelight for at least the hundredth times, the words that inspired her with more dreams than a whole library of books and scrolls and letters.

Errol made me this diary to keep a record for our bairns, so they might know us and our story for all that we are. It’s beautiful. I cannot imagine how much time he spent working on it. That’s how he is, though. That’s how he’s always been. He’d do anything to make me smile, and I him.

We’ve carved quite the life out here on Skye. One I would have never imagined before him. It’s a simple life, but one I am grateful for every day. I’m watching him now from the porch. He’s teaching Lyla how to milk the goats. She’s crying, and it melts my heart to see how gentle he is with her. She’ll be five years in spring. How she’s grown this last year. I can hear her now fussing up a storm, and I hope she reads this one day and remembers how scared she was of hurting her goat friends by milking them.
It’s been three years since I’ve visited my childhood home. With my uncle passed now, there’s no reason to make the trip, not with four bairns in tow.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s Fiona’s home now. There’s nothing left for me there ‘cept bad memories. Maybe one of my bairns will change that—make it their own and bless its halls with the laughter and joy it deserves.

It brings me comfort knowing it’s still there—though I doubt we’ll visit again. I worry about the cold and Errol. Already his hands seem to tense up. I can tell the weather by his bones these days. It makes me grateful for each morning as I watch our youth fade.

“Emma?”

The young woman slammed the book closed and blew out the candle. She could hear the screeching cry of the hinges as her door pushed open, and a draft from the rest of the house washed over the room. She could smell the wick of her freshly snuffed candle smoking.

“I ken yer still awake.”

Emma sighed and rolled over, “What do ye want?”

“Can I sleep with you? I’m scared.”

Emma looked at her little sister. Her hair was a mess from tossing and turning. Emma gave out a vanquished sigh and opened the sheets to invite her in. The small girl clambered eagerly into the warmth and embrace of her older sister, snuggling close. The wind howled, shaking the roof with its mighty gusts. Emma rolled over and re-lit her candle.

“Pa’s not home.” The little girl looked up with saucer eyes, “Ye can read as much as ye’d like.”
Emma smiled and wrapped her arm around her young sister, “Ye ken, someday, I’m goin’ tae go here,” she patted the leather journal with love and affection.

“What happened to them?”

“They grew old together.” Emma opened the book at random, not even reading the pages, just admiring the neat scrawl of penmanship and replaying its many stories in her mind, “They loved each other more than anyone else in the whole world, Charlotte. When she got sick, she couldn’t leave her bed for three weeks, an’ he brought her wildflowers every day to make her smile.”
Charlotte let out a heavy sigh, “How romantic.”

“Aye,” Emma felt her heart rate rise as she thought about some of the steamier bits unfit for her child sister. The kisses and sweet nothings whispered between true loves, “Someday, I want what they have. Can ye imagine? Wondering and adventuring over the countryside with yer perfect match.

Listen to this,” Emma flipped through the pages quickly until she found the spot, and then read out loud, “Never were there two people who love each other more than Errol and I. Each day I fear to wake and find it all a dream. When I muster the courage to open my eyes, I turn to him and seeing him lying there, I no longer fear death. My body aches from time and weather and circumstance, but my heart—oh, how he keeps my heart young. This, these moments, is heaven. I know God because I see him every day. My heart knows peace and serenity, renewed with each laugh, with each breath,” and then Emma silenced and read the last bit to herself with each loving touch. A prickling sensation ran over her arms and neck as such insinuations awakened her imagination to the love that only a husband and wife could know.

“Lovely,” Charlotte yawned. “Someday, I want tae be a lady.”

“It doesn’t work like that. Don’t be silly.” Emma closed the book.

“Grandmama was—why can’t I?” Charlotte scowled in defense.

“Ye better get to sleep now. Pa’ll ream us both if he finds out I let ye stay up all night.”

“Why can’t I be a lady?” The little girl demanded.

“’Cause Gale’s uncle couldn’t take away the estate—that was hers—but he were so mad at them out smartin’ him like that, he stripped the inheritance from her title.”

“What a mean man,” Charlotte fumed, “We should both be ladies.” Emma heard the little girl’s stomach growl and felt a deep pang in her heart.

“Emma, I’m hungry.”

“I ken.” She pushed the brown curls from the child’s face and planted a kiss on the pale forehead, “Me too.”

“What if Pa doesn’t come back this time?” She asked.

Emma could hear the sincere worry in her sister’s voice. She bit her tongue for a moment. Her knee-jerk response was to tell her how great that would be as she recalled the last time they saw their father. Emma held these thoughts in, knowing Charlotte was still filled with the desire and naivety to crave their father’s presence and hope for better times—like the ones they used to have before their mother died.

“He’ll be back soon,” she said, hoping to ease the young girl’s mind. “He always comes back.”

“I ken,” Charlotte sat up and looked her sister hard in the eyes, “But what if he doesn’t? What then, Emma?”
Emma looked at the book in her hand. “I suppose we’ll go on an adventure then,” she said.

“To the fairy pools?”

“Aye.”

“Ye think we’ll find husbands there?”

Emma let out a sigh and leaned back against the headboard, “Wouldn’t that be nice.”
It was easy for Emma to escape into the fantasies the journal provided. She and Charlotte seemed to only know pain and hardship over their last years. She imagined what it might be like to flee with Charlotte—away from it all and into a land imagined full of magic and romance in the North.

Emma opened the book and read randomly from its pages.

“Lyla is sixteen this year.”

“Grandma?” Charlotte asked.

“Mhm, now shush if ye want me to keep reading.”

“Lyla is sixteen this year. She looks just like I did except with her father’s dimples and eyes. She’s sweet on a boy from the village. Errol can’t stand him.

It makes me laugh to think about it. The only reason Errol doesn’t like him is that he dotes on Lyla so. He follows her around almost everywhere. Right now, Errol’s out there testing the poor boy. I’ve been watching him work that bairn into the ground, trying to drive the young lad away. I already know Errol’s going to cave. That young man is meeting Errol’s every demand, burdening it, and struggling his hardest to gain Errol’s approval. I give it two months before he changes his mind and realizes Lyla is lucky to find someone so devoted. She’s giddy and bright. I see her watching them, eager and nervous Errol will say no. It’s taken all my power to keep her in my sight. I’m not a fool. I know what will happen if those two are alone together. It makes me blush to think of when Errol and I were young. It seems like it was just yesterday. My, how the time flies. I feel old watching Lyla. Errol decided he’s done fishing and fine by me. Last year I could hardly breathe when he was out. He’s not as young as he thinks he is. Our boys are old enough to do the work themselves. Although he hasn’t said anything, I know he’s taking the transition hard. I see the way he stares out at the ocean….”

Emma could hear Charlotte snoring on her chest fast asleep. She held the book open, but her eyes turned up to the ceiling beams. She thought about what Charlotte said. A part of her wished their Pa wouldn’t return this time. It was frightening to think of what could happen if it were just the two of them, but at least Emma would have one less mouth to feed. Unlike Charlotte, she’d given up hope on their father ever returning to the man he used to be. It angered her to know Charlotte went to sleep hungry each night while he managed to scavenge up enough money to get drunk at the taverns.

If ever she had the chance, Emma decided then they would set off for the Highlands. They did not belong where they were, Scots stranded amongst the English. Emma let out a heavy sigh and traipsed her fingers over her forehead as she thought. She was grateful her mother taught her how to read despite her father’s wishes. Reading about Errol always sparked Emma’s thirst for someone that supportive in her life. He encouraged Gale’s intelligence and thirst for adventure instead of seeing it as something intimidating and to be snuffed out.

Someday she would meet someone who admired her mind instead of punished it. Someday she would be able to run amongst the glens and mountains, free from the burdens of modern civilization. It was difficult to believe she even made it to the turn of the century. Part of her believed she would have died before seeing the year 1600. Now, all she hoped for was not seeing 1601 from under the same roof.

Emma played with the chestnut curls tangling over Charlotte’s head. It frightened her to think of traveling with Charlotte—if anything happened to her, she would die. But she knew this place was nowhere for Charlotte to grow up. The air was polluted with peat smoke. Charlotte drew in a breath, and Emma could hear it rattle in her chest. She knew the little girl’s breathing would only get worse within the city. She needed fresh air.
Scotland. Emma closed her eyes. What a dream. And that night, Emma and Charlotte both dreamed of Romance and gypsies and wild mountains filled with tall Highland warriors. They dreamed of love and the smell of the ocean—of keeping all that they worked for. They dreamed of feeling safe and loved and laughing in the land of their maternal ancestors. Not the cold drafts, nor aching bellies, or screaming wind could rock them from the pleasant hopes of a future in the Highlands.

 


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  • This is a fabulous full length book. The author takes her time to work through every adventure leaving no gaps in the story giving the reader the complete thrill of a total tale with nothing left out. From running away from home, traveling into Scotland alone and scared, meeting and traveling all the way to Skye with him you ride right along g with her through it all. A fantastically complete and wonderful book.

  • I really loved this full length book! A wonderful love story of Errol and Gale! Nothing was left out! You told every adventure she and he went through I would read it again! A really good book 5 stars!

  • Thoroughly captivating. Full of aingst and new love. Everyone should have an Errol, in their lives.

  • Love de book! A good read! Enjoy the story and characters interactions! Look forward to Emma’s story! Congratulations! ??

  • Hung on to every word .
    Couldn’t put it down. Looking forward the hearing about the sisters in your next story

  • Loved this one. Kept me engaged the whole time I read it which was always except for the one time I slept.

  • What a beautiful story. So wonderful to see Gale and Errol’s love grow into soulmates! You could really feel like you were there and knew them. Truly enjoyed! Hopefully there’ll be a follow-up with the next generation. Hope so…

  • I loved this book, it had alot of adventures in the storyline and the characters were so well described you could imagine them. Gale was not frightened of anything but she didn’t realise it till later good read definitely recommend

  • This book was a fabulous story full of lots of love and respect for each other. Lots of excitement an thrills. Beautiful landscaping. Enjoyed this very much Thanks. Diane.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed Gale and Errols journey, one question though – there was a brief mention of an older sister – was this as in her relationship with her Mother or was there an older sibling with another story to be told?

    • The backstory of the other sibling is thoroughly explained in the prequel “Highlander’s Gypsy Lass,” my lovely Liz, but unfortunately no. This older sibling had an unfortunate accident and never made it to adulthood… ?

  • Absolutely loved the story! Your extended epilogue was the best I have read to date. I found it very touching and am certainly looking forward to your next book and hope it is about Emma and Charlotte!

  • a really good love story with mystery and scary parts. The characters are so real!! Uncle is such a questionable character. can’t wait to learn their descendants.

  • As usual, your epilogue appears to be the prologue to your next novel involving Emma & Charlotte, the grand-children of Gale & Errol. Her uncle was a real, unlikeable character. It’s a shame Gale
    lost her inheritance, but her true love was well worth it. Look forward to the next adventure.

  • I definitely found this book even more enjoyable as the one before and that one was fantastic. But this one was poignant from the father’s grieving for his dead daughter and the mad wife to life his second daughter had to put with. Gale’s life wasn’t much better with the uncle’s disinheritance because of her marriage to a Scot. The extended epilogue with the great-granddaughter reading about her ancestors and dreams of a better life without a drunk father. It brought me to tears. I hope you write a story about those girls. I felt I was there in the room with them while Emma read from the journal. Today we have scrap books and the internet which doesn’t do justice to the past.

    • An author couldn’t have asked for anything more, my dear Marie, than to listen to what you just wrote. I cannot express how grateful I feel that you enjoyed the book and that it made you feel all these emotions so intensely! ?

  • I loved this book as I do all your books . I have read them all along with some other beloved authors. I like the fact this one was a full long story I wish the epilogue hadn’t left out what happened to Gale and that it skipped a generation or 2. I’m sure there is more to come. Keep up your wonderful stories!!

  • I loved the story of Gale and Errol. Can’t wait to ‘read the next exciting novel of Emma and Charlotte . Y o u have inspired me to start writing a Yorkshire Knave novel myself , kenna… thank you your friend
    [email protected]

  • I love the story we all need a man like that. Where do I find the story of Emma and Charlotte?

  • I loved this book! I also really enjoyed the extended epilogue! I found the build up for Emma’s story, with her reading her great grandmother’s journal, to be very creative. I can’t wait for the twists and turns Emma and Charlotte will be facing!

  • What is the name of this book? When will it publish? So worried for the girls, reminds me of my childhood, but my mother was the problem. What happened to them?

    • That’s amazing to hear my dear Marion! I’m so very happy that you enjoyed it so much!❤

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, my dear Robert! Well, his story is still brewing…?

  • Such a beautiful love Errol & Gale had I truly hope Emma & Charlotte find their way to also have a love as precious as their a grand parents

  • Great book. It was entertaining and eye opening to discover what you really are and how to make changes necessary to make your Life full and full of happiness and see yourself for what you really are and what is more important to you and fight for it no matter what.

  • Wonderful story. I hated to put it down. The extended epilogue makes me want to continue hearing about this family.

  • Wonderful story. I could just see the images told in my mind. I loved the story of Errol and Gale and was sorry for it to end.

  • What a personal transformation. Everything Gale knew to be true about life was all wrong. She met Errol and learned about a whole new life of love and happiness. Absolutely loved this story!! A love story so heartfelt. One of my favorites.

  • Had me right from the start to the very end. Do look forward for a sequel about Emma and Charlotte’s adventure. Keep up the great writing.

  • An unusual story, not what I was expecting. I wish the ext. Epilogue had been more detailed and happier. Overall I would rate the story a #6.

  • Beautifully written story. I couldn’t put it down. Cannot wait to read how Emma and Charlotte’s adventure goes. I have no doubt it will be another exciting and joyous adventure through the beautiful lands of Scotland!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, my dear Deidre! I’m so happy you liked the story! ❤️

  • Loved reading this book, it held my attention from begining to the end of the extended epilouge. Im glad Gale followed her heart and married her love Errol. I liked the way the extended epilouge compleed the story of Gale and Errol, Im hoping it leads to a sequel of Emmas and Charlottes story…..a great story

  • What a wonderful story, being an avid reader, this was hard to put down, the love and support Errol found so easy to provide made me feel almost weepy!!
    Beautifully written, and I would be so excited to read the story of Emma, her memories and her life, and how Gale and Errol’s history influenced her,
    Thankyou for this touching story????

    • Thank you for your kind words my dear Rosemary! Your support means the world! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and happy holidays!!!!!

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