Siren of the Highlands – Extended Epilogue
Three Years Later…
Sometimes, when he thought about it, things still seemed so strange to him. Fin could not believe that four years had passed since the battle with Castor. One fight that had changed his entire life. And so much had changed. And yet, so much had also stayed the same.
The one constant over the years was his love for Ivy. And her love for him. Oh, they’d had their share of ups and downs over the years, but his love for her never wavered. Not one bit. Nor had her love for him. For the most part, though, their life in Elix had been nothing short of a dream, a dream that before Ivy came into his life, Fin never could have conceived of.
The high pitched laughter of his children drew him out of his thoughts and brought him back to the present. A smile touched his lips as he watched Ivy playing in the river with their two children: Liam and Elizabeth. Liam was three years old and Elizabeth two. And Ivy was pregnant with their third child. Their family was growing, filling Cherrythorn Manor with the purest love imaginable.
His children were his pride and joy. Even at three, Liam was already looking like him. Or at least, like he had when he was a child. And despite having red hair and startlingly green eyes, Elizabeth looked very much like Ivy. They were both precocious and intelligent. Everything they did simply amazed him. If it could be said that he had fallen in love with his children, Fin most definitely had. Merely looking at them made his heart swell to the point he felt like it might burst.
He reclined on the blanket beneath the cherry tree, relishing the unusual, but welcome, the warmth of the day. They had taken advantage of it by having some family time out in the orchards. It was nice to get away from all of the duties that came with being the ruling couple of Elix. Even though the rule officially fell to Ivy as the Lady of Elix, there was no shortage of people pulling at Fin, demanding things of him.
It was not that he did not like it. He had come to truly love the people of Elix, and he wanted to do right by them. He wanted them to be prosperous and happy. But it was sometimes stressful, and of course, it demanded quite a bit of his time – time he wanted to spend with his wife and family.
Ivy brought the kids up from the river and set them down in the grass near the blanket. She gave them a few toys to amuse themselves with as she sat down on the blanket next to him. Ivy gave him a smile as she fished one of the honey sweetcakes out of the basket that she loved. She broke it in half and handed him a piece. Fin caught her hand and placed a gentle kiss on the back of her knuckles.
“What was that for?” she asked.
“Dae I need a reason tae kiss me wife?”
She smiled wide. “Of course not.”
“Tis a good thing,” he grinned. “I’d hate tae have tae make up a reason every time thae mood struck me.”
“I would hate that too.”
As Fin looked at her, he felt something inside of him stirring. Even after all these years, Fin was amazed that his desire for her had not abated a single bit. He wanted Ivy every bit as much today as he did back when the first met. Maybe even more.
“I know that look in your eye,” Ivy grinned.
“Oh aye? Dae ye now?”
She nodded and smiled. “I do believe you are trying to seduce me with that smoldering gaze, Baron Begbie.”
A small smile touched his lips as he thought about his title. Baron. Even four years later, he was still not used to being called Baron. To him, he was simply Fin. A title of nobility was like an ill-fitting coat. No matter how you shrugged, squeezed, pushed, and pulled, it just never fit quite right.
“You are insatiable,” she said with a laugh. “Positively incorrigible.”
“Aye. Tis true,” he said. “But that is yer fault.”
“How is your libidinous nature my fault?”
Ivy squealed and then giggled as Fin pulled her down to him and half-laid on top of her. He kissed her deeply, reveling in the feel of her tongue swirling with his and the heat of her body. Elizabeth’s giggling made Fin pull back and look over at his kids. They were currently enjoying spreading mud on each other’s faces and in their hair. He turned his gaze back to Ivy, and they shared a laugh.
It seemed that their moment of intimacy passed, and Fin rolled over, propping himself up on his elbow as he watched his kids. Ivy leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on his cheek.
“Do not worry, my love,” Ivy said. “They will be so worn out, they’ll be asleep by the time we get back. And then I will be all yours.”
Fin’s smile was wide and flirtatious. “I’m goin’ tae hold ye tae that.”
“I am counting on it.”
Fin reached over and caressed her cheek with his hand, reveling in her smooth, flawless skin. Her eyes were so clear and so bright and held nothing but a love for him so powerful, Fin was overwhelmed by it.
“Did you think that four years after we were married, you would still desire me as you do?” she asked.
Fin smiled. “I kent I would,” he replied. “Ye’re thae only woman I’ve ever loved thae way I love ye.”
She bit her bottom lip and smiled sweetly. “That is a wonderful answer,” she said. “And the correct one, by the way.”
A small laugh passed Fin’s lips. “Thae correct answer, eh? I didnae ken ye were testin’ me.”
“I am always testing you.”
“Ahhh. Good tae ken.”
They laughed together, but the sound of horses approaching cut into their moment. Ivy frowned as she looked up and let out a long sigh.
“Not one day,” she said. “We cannot have one single day to ourselves.”
“I think that comes with thae title,” he chuckled. “I’ve heard Col say much thae same thing.”
Fin got to his feet and then offered Ivy his hand, helping her up. He glanced at his children, who remained riveted by the act of smearing mud all over each other and did not seem to notice the riders approaching. He looked over and saw two men coming. One was Luke, a good Scottish lad, a few years younger than him, whom he had appointed to be the head of his personal guard.
He would have asked Hollis, but the man seemed more interested in spending his days with Mira than anything else, and Fin had not wanted to interrupt his life. Hollis was a good man and deserved to be happy. Hollis had personally trained Luke, though, and had prepared him as well as he could, which made Fin feel better about having somebody younger than him watching his back.
Over the last couple of years, he had gotten to know Luke well and had come to like the man enormously. Clever. Funny. Intelligent. And wicked with a blade in his hand. Hollis could not have chosen a better stand-in for him.
The second rider was a stranger to Fin… though something about him tickled the back of his mind. There was something familiar about him. Judging by the way he dressed and his long, shaggy brown hair that flowed freely down to just below his shoulders, Fin had no doubt he was Scottish. He was young and had probably had not seen more than eighteen or nineteen summers.
Ivy took his hand and gave it an uncertain squeeze. She looked at him, and he saw the same uncertain curiosity reflected in her eyes. Luke and his guest slid off their horse and approached them, Luke, with his customary self-assured swagger, and the other young man far more uncertainly.
The young man with Luke was tall. Thin. And he was not much to look at. He was neither fighter nor brawny enough to work a farm. True, he was still young, but if he were a farmhand, he should have been filled out already. His breeches and tunic were ragged and like him, stained with dirt, grime, and what looked like blood. The young man looked like he had been on the road for a long while and was ready to drop. He looked hungry and exhausted.
“I am sorry to disturb ye, Baron and Baroness,” he said with a small bow. “I wouldnae have interrupted yer day had it nae been an emergency.”
Fin nodded, his curiosity growing. “What is it then?”
“Dae ye remember me, My Laird?” asked the young man.
“I’m nae yer Laird, lad,” he replied. “Just call me Fin.”
Luke nudged the young man in the side with his elbow. “Ye’ll address him as Baron Begbie, and her as Baroness Welton.”
Fin tried to suppress the smile that flickered across his lips. Luke could sometimes be a stickler for the formalities. It made him a bit stiff and formal, and it amused Fin.
“B – Baron Begbie. Dae ye remember me?”
Fin shook his head. “Sorry, lad, I daenae.”
He nodded. “Tis all right. I was barely a boy when last we met,” he said. “Ye were friends with me faither. Phillip MacGregor. I’m Donal.”
The name hit Fin like an oaken staff to the belly. He had not heard the name Phillip MacGregor in a very long time; they had been friends as children and had been close at one time. But Phillip’s parents moved to Edinburgh for better opportunities for their family. He had not heard from Phillip since, but as he looked at Donal, he saw the resemblance was unmistakable.
“Aye. I remember Phillip,” Fin said. “Good friends when we were young, we were. But that was long before ye were even thought of. How dae ye ken who I am?”
A faint flicker crossed his lips. “Word of ye and Col has gotten around,” he said. “Scotsmen with fancy Ainglish titles and lands.”
Though Fin knew some folks spoke those words with disdain, he did not hear it in Donal’s voice. It was more just an accepted statement of fact. But Fin was not naive enough to think he and Col had not engendered contempt among some of the Scots and had not accrued enemies along the way for their warm relations with the English.
“What can I dae for ye, Donal?” Fin asked.
Donal shuffled his feet, kicking at a few blades of grass. Fin looked over his shoulder at the children who continued to obliviously play in the mud. Ivy shot him a small grin and shook her head. Donal looked nervous, but more than that, he looked upset. Fin looked closely and could see grief in the young man’s eyes.
“What is it lad,” he said. “Ye can tell me what ye need tae say.”
He sniffed loudly and rubbed at his eyes. “They came by sea. A big ship anchored out in thae harbor. Longboats came ashore full of ‘em,” he said. “They sacked our town. Slaughtered… most of thae people livin’ there. There was just so much blood. Bodies, cut, and savaged.”
Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he angrily wiped them away. He shook his head miserable, and Fin looked at him, not sure what to make of it all just yet.
“I tried tae stop ‘em. I really did,” Donal said. “But there were tae many. They were tae good with their blades. They laughed at me and beat me, but left me alive. Said they wanted me tae remember who done this.”
“Who did this, Donal?”
“A French raiding party,” he said. “They came ashore in Sowkirk and pillaged thae town.”
Sowkirk was a port town not far from Cherrythorn Manor. It was a bustling town, and while perhaps not as cosmopolitan as London or Edinburgh, it had a certain charm to it. Fin had taken Ivy into Sowkirk more than once for a good meal and for whatever entertain they could find. Ivy had developed a taste for the street theater. It was hard to think that Sowkirk had been razed.
“The French?” Fin asked.
He cast at Ivy, who looked as stunned as he felt. Relations between the French and English were always tense and balanced on a razor’s edge, but there were no open hostilities between the French and the Scottish. Fin could not fathom the idea that a French raiding party had come ashore in Scotland and pillaged a town.
“That makes no sense,” Fin said. “Why would they provoke thae Scots like that?”
Ivy shook her head. “I do not know. But you are right, it makes no sense whatsoever.”
“Are ye sure they were French, lad?” Fin asked.
“Aye. I heard ‘em speakin’,” he said. “I daenae speak French, but I ken what it sounds like. I heard it in Edinburgh sometimes. Thae strangest thing, though, is that the raiders seemed like they was takin’ orders from a lass.”
Fin noticed that Luke reacted to Donal’s words. “What is it, Luke?”
“I ken this lass,” he said. “At least I think I dae.”
“You ken her?”
He shrugged. “I mean, I ken of her. I daenae ken her personal like.”
“And who is she?” Ivy asked.
“They call her “La renarde de la mer,” he said. “The Sea Fox.”
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That was a great story. Look forward to your next,
Thank you so much, my lovely Marcy ?
Interesting and fascinating story. Looking forward to the next chapter
I am so excited you liked the story! ?
Loved this story can’t wait for the next instalment…….
I am so glad, my lovely Jacqui! ?
This was a little different. Can’t wait for next story.
It is coming soon, my dear Donna ?
This story was different with English and Scots working together. Sounds like next one will be about a lady pirate.
Stay tuned to find out, my lovely MJ ?
Loved the novel. I truly enjoyed the storyline, detailed steamy romance, and happy ending. I liked involving Col as a pivotal influence. I also liked the happy extended epilogue but wish the end of the extended epilogue did not leave me hanging unless there was a next book ready to read.
I am sorry for that, my lovely Martin, but a sequel is come in the near future! ?
Great story I loved it x
I am so glad, my lovely Christine ?
Enjoyed the extended epilogue. The thought of a two and three year old really enjoying smearing mud all over each other made me laugh. Can’t wait to find out more about the Sea ?
I am so glad you liked it, my lovely Maria! ?
Fin and Ivy’s blooming relationship was fun to witness. They are truly matched mates. The blend of former friends and new acquaintances added depth to the story. Thank you for sharing your wonderful words.
I am so happy that you enjoyed it, my lovely! ?
The Sea Fox? Story coming? I hope so. Left me hanging!
It is indeed, my dear Kalena ?
Can’t wait to read it also.
I have a daughter named Kalena!
That’s amazing to hear my dear Karen. Greetings to your daughter <3.
Another great story!! Enjoyed the roll of it and play between characters! Extended story really capped it off and a new story! I’m sure will be out soon!
Stay tuned, my dear Sue, because is it coming! ?
Love the cliffhanger. Waiting for the next story.
It is coming sooner than you might think, my dear Gail ?
I loved this book about Fin and Ivy! I can’t wait to see the book about Sea Fox a great cliff hanger!
Thank you, my lovely Donna! ?
Great book, loved the chemistry between Fin and Ivy. Can’t wait to read upcoming book about the Sea Fox and possibly Luke.
It’s soon coming, my lovely Mary! Stay tuned! ?
Great book. Couldn’t put it down.
I’m so glad to hear this, my dear Susan! ?
I really loved this book! Couldn’t put it down and u left a cliffhanger in the end! I can’t wait until we meet the Sea Fox and who will take her down?
You have to stay tuned, because this story is coming out very soon! ?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thank you so much.
I am so glad, my lovely Donelda! ?
It was enjoyable seeing Fin fall and fall hard to Ivy. He deserved to find love and family like Col had. Sounds like more adventure is coming w/ the Sea Fox. Look forward to the next read.
While it might sound like an adventure, I assure you that it’s not. More like a very steamy romance… ?
Great book, wanted it to be longer!
Don’t miss the next one in the series “Every Highland Sin” 😉
Great read couldn’t put it down. Had everything mystery, romance, and great outcome!
Thank you very much my dear Kathleen! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it <3.
An action packed, thrilling love story! Hero and heroine overcoming formidable obstacles to their HEA. I sense and look forward to more regarding The Sea Fox.
I’m very happy that you enjoyed it so much <3
I loved this book. Greed gets you nothing but disillusion and enemies and Love gives you the courage to do what you need to do to retain it and live accordingly to preserve it. Job well done on this book cannot say anything but wonderful looking forward to your next book. AWESOME
Thank you my dear Maria. I am delighted that you liked the story 🙂
Another great book. The setade for entertaining reading.
Thank you my dear Carol. I am really glad that you liked it 🙂
A very good book. Loved the story, characters, etc. Ivy & Fin faced a lot of challenges but, came out fine after their start. A lovely story. Thanks for your good work. You kept me entertained!! Good job!!
Thank you so much my dear Dianna. I am very happy that you liked it. 🙂
Loved the book great read
Thank you so much, my dear Sue. 🙂
A wonderful read
Thank you so much, my lovely Gwen! ❤️
What a great story. Fin and Ivy certainly provided lots of entertainment. A true Scottish romance
Thank you so much for your warm words, dear! I’m happy you enjoyed the story! ❤️