In the Shadow of a Highland Lass – Extended Epilogue
“I do,” Shana said, her hands gripping Logan’s. She was lost in a dream as she stood before the minister who had taken residence in the village many years ago. “With all of me heart,” she added.
The minister stated the same words for Logan, and in his deep voice, he said, “I do. With everythin’ in me.” Shana smiled, wishing they could go home immediately and make love feverishly until they were too spent to continue. However, they would have to celebrate, and for that, she was grateful if not impatient.
“And so I now pronounce ye man and wife,” the minister droned on in his dull voice, and yet the words made Shana float on air. Her forever partner had been chosen. It began and ended with Logan. She couldn’t imagine loving someone as much as she loved him.
Logan leaned towards her, and she laid her lips on his, not wanting to end. But the cheery cries of their audience stopped them from continuing. Shana pulled back, smiling at her friends and family. The light was such that everything seemed touched by fire. The leaves on the trees seemed aflame, and she looked around, knowing that for so long, she had seen the village as a prison.
Yet, now, it felt like a warm and comfortable home, and when she left the next day for the keep, there would be sorrow in her heart. However, it would be a feeling of sweet sorrow, one that she could hold in the nights when she couldn’t sleep, thinking softly of the life she had thus far led. Home was always there, even when she had a new adventure ahead of her.
Gripping Logan’s arm, they left the ceremony, leading to where the celebrations would begin. It would be a feast with food and dancing. “What do ye think now, Shana? Are ye happy?”
“Each day brings me more happiness, Logan. I never kenned that it could be such. Are ye happy?”
“Ye dinnae even need tae ask. I have been happy from the first when ye were by me side.” The bagpipes began to play, and the crowd started to pair up, moving in rhythm to the music.
“Come and dance with me, Shana. We have never done so.”
“True enough, Logan,” she said with a smile and fell into his arms, laughing as he spun her around. Life is bliss, is it nae? She asked herself, knowing her innocence affected her thoughts and, at the same time, not caring.
Logan’s eyes missed nothing. He watched Shana’s smile, the way she laughed, the glint of her lovely blue eyes in the fading sunlight, as well as the gold flecks in her hair.
He loved everything about this woman, and he couldn’t imagine life without her. She was happiness personified, bringing her glorious cheerfulness into his life and pushing all the darkness aside. When Shana was present, there was no darkness, no grief, only light and joy. How could he have known that a woman he’d found in the woods while running from a false accusation would bring him here? He was a husband now, with a future.
And he wanted Shana to be as happy as could be. “Shall I tell ye now, Shana, where we are tae go tomorrow for our weddin’ trip?”
Shana beamed. “Please do. If ye would rather nae wait until we are in the actual location.”
“Nae, nae,” he said. “I dinnae think I could bear the questions on the ride there. We will take a carriage, of course. We will ride tae the Laird’s castle with Logan, and then ye and me will go tae Edinburgh.”
The sight of Shana’s surprised face was enough to reward him. “Truly?” she asked before wrapping her arm around his neck. “Logan MacNair, ye make me very happy. I cannae wait tae see it!”
He hugged her back. “I would do anythin’ tae make ye so, wife. We will enjoy ourselves before our return tae the keep. But,” he pulled back, “Ye must tell me whenever ye wish tae travel again. We will nae stay in that keep forever, rottin’ away. We will move, travel, learn new things. I want ye tae see the world.”
“Ye are me ticket tae the world, Logan MacNair,” she said, grinning. “And yet, I have found the world of love far more excitin’ than the actual physical world.”
“Have ye? Well, then I must show ye more of it, although I fear ye will be disappointed in me, then.”
“Never, dear Logan,” Shana said with a chuckle. “I could never be disappointed. Ye are perfect.”
Logan tapped the side of his head. “I will keep that in mind when ye are cross with me.”
“Do so,” Shana said with a wink. They continued dancing, moving through the other couples, following the beat of the bagpipe. At the end of the song, he pulled her close and hugged her.
“It is ye who have saved me, Shana. Never forget it.”
In his ear, Shana whispered, “Then let us save one another for the rest of our days, Logan MacNair.”
He grinned, tightening his grip on her. “Agreed.”
Orla could not believe the handsome man that had been thrown in her path. It was as if fate was listening to her and had simply given him to her. Killian MacNair was the most beautiful man she had ever seen or even imagined. And she’d imagined a lot.
How could one man be so well-put-together? It wasn’t fair, but he reduced his attraction by the way he was so sour, unwilling to smile, reluctant to be pleasant. Why, he had practically thrown her out of her aunt and uncle’s cottage with his rude words. It had been true that she should not have interfered, but after she’d first seen him, she didn’t want to leave his side. His beauty drew her to him, and she knew that she would have him from that first moment.
She didn’t know how she would do it or what it might look like, but she had to be close to him. He would fight her, but she would get him to see her as more than a nuisance. She would get him to see her as a woman. After the wedding, Killian stood on the outskirts of the crowd, partially hidden in shadow, and Orla strode towards him, having taken a large sip of ale to boost her confidence.
“Do ye nae enjoy the festivities?” she asked, her hands outstretched. “Why do ye nae dance or speak tae anyone? People are goin’ tae think that yer unpleasant, and that would be a shame.”
Killian bristled, and his light green eyes made her feel a little weak. She swallowed, trying to keep her strength. She would not let him see her unnerved. Her mother had taught her to be strong and not let men take advantage. Women had the true power anyway, and she put one hand on her hip, looking at him expectantly.
“I think ye make it yer goal tae irritate me, lass. Why nae just leave me be and dance with any of the other lads here who would gladly take a lass like ye in hand?”
“I dinnae want anyone else,” Orla said. “I have kenned these boys for all of me life. I dinnae want tae dance with them. I want tae dance with ye.” She moved forward, keeping her breath steady, hoping it would give her confidence, and put a hand on his chest.
Good God, this man is walking muscle.
Killian lifted a brow, but he did not smile nor react in any way. His eyes watched her intensely, but she had a feeling he looked at everything that way. She wasn’t special to him, but she would be. She would make it her goal.
“I want tae dance with a man, nae a boy. Will ye oblige me?”
“Nae,” he said, stiffening a little.
“Fine,” Orla said, enjoying the closeness with him. Her hand was still on her chest, for she hadn’t removed it. The darkness hid them partially, and for that, she was grateful, although she’d stopped caring about what her village thought. If Shana could bash boundaries, so could she. “Then, I will wait.”
“Wait for what, lass? I leave tomorrow with Logan and Shana.”
“And I am comin’ with ye.”
He froze, his eyes piercing her with something like anger, but she wasn’t sure. “What do ye mean? Why should ye come?”
Orla smiled her prettiest smile, still trying to convey the confidence that was slowly fading. “I was invited. I will follow them tae the keep when they are returned from their trip. I will stay in the keep until they return, preparin’ things tae be easy for them.” She had only just decided that and wasn’t even sure if Shana would approve, but at least she was leaving the village accompanied. Accompanied by a gorgeous Highlander who made her insides clench with longing.
Killian stepped back away from her grasp. “Well, then. I will return tae the castle and will nae see ye again, most likely. Keep yer distance, lass. Ye ken nae what ye do.”
He walked away and disappeared into the shadows. Slowly, Orla let her hand down to return to her side. She wasn’t sure why, but there was still a smile on her face. She was no stranger to angry heated men. Her father was always mad about somethin’, but her mother knew how to handle it. Her mother could turn her father into a lamb. She would do the same to this angry, prideful Laird who appeared as if he would rather be anywhere than in her presence.
She wanted him, and deep down, she felt like it was right. She would fight for it and do whatever was necessary. Orla Wilson was not one to give up on a fight. She didn’t understand Killian’s last words, but she felt the thrill of the chase.
Ye can try, Killian MacNair, but ye will love me in the end.
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