The Scot I’ve Always Loved (Preview)

Chapter One

The high pitch scream of death echoed through the corridor, rousing him from his slumber. He rubbed his eyes half awake, his ears ready to confirm the source of the sound. His mother’s voice. Then came a second, louder and longer wail, followed by an unsettling silence.

He sprang from his bed and descended the stairs as fast as his six-year-old legs could carry him. The outline of a man seeped like a shadow from his father’s study and out the door that led to the open fields of the keep. Curious, he edged towards the door.

As he pushed the handle, the sickening smell of fresh blood filled his nostrils. His eyes were drawn downward to the twisted figure of a woman lying still on the cold floor, her shift stained with the same blood that pooled around her, a luckenbooth brooch lying next to her.

His heart beat rapidly, and his muscles tensed as he moved closer to the body. “It is my da’s treasure,” he muttered near-voicelessly as he picked up the blood-stained brooch. “Where is…”

His eyes widened as he jerked away, quick as he could. The body of the dead woman shot up through the air, colliding with the ceiling. Blood dripped down her twisted neck, and she stared back at him with eyes that were just like his mother’s. Then, before he could run, she flew towards him.

Kendrick jolted up from his bed. His body was dappled with sweat as though he had been hunting a boar. But the pounding in his chest subsided as he realized it was merely a nightmare. He looked beside his bed to find the luckenbooth brooch.

Fourteen years had passed, yet the recollections of his mother’s twisted neck and her frozen, dead brown eyes remained vivid. The memories of his father’s sin had since been a bedside companion. Every night had been merciless.

He picked up the brooch—the one that had once belonged to his father, the one that had fallen next to his mother’s body the night he found her. He didn’t know why he kept it close. Perhaps he needed something to remind himself of his bitterness for his father, of his vow to not walk the same beastly path himself.

“Watch me, Father,” he mumbled. “I shall never become a wife slaughterer like ye. I shall live and die without a family.”

“Are ye all right, milaird?”

Kendrick gasped. It was only Catherine. She rubbed his shoulder in the early morning light, pressing her bare body against his. Shaken by the damned nightmare, he had all but forgotten she had spent the night in his chamber.

“I’d like to be left on my own, Catherine,” he rasped. “Ye may leave now.”

“But milaird—” the maid started, her voice filled with tears. Her outburst unsettled him, as Catherine knew well. He didn’t allow any of his lovers to sleep in his bed, and she pushed her luck every time.

“Now, lass,” he growled, trying to keep his anger at bay.

With a sad little grimace, she rapidly dressed and turned to leave his chamber. “Ye may not care for me, milaird, but I care for ye. Whenever ye need me, ye ken where ye may find me.”

He watched as she opened the door to leave. To his dismay, Logan, his uncle and advisor, was waiting on the other side. He entered and looked at the girl with a smirk. Blushing from head to toe, Catherine gave Kendrick one last glance before leaving the men alone. For some reason, he felt guilty.

Laird! As if it were my fault she always pretends to be asleep!

“Why, what a little bairn ye are, still sleeping next to a maid!” Logan teased through bouts of laughter.
Kendrick pretended to not hear him. “Is there a problem?”

“The farmers seek yer attendance,” Logan explained, wiping his eyes. “They are concerned by the season’s harvest—aye, it does not look promising.”

“I will join ye shortly. I plea ye, keep the peace till I return,” said Kendrick.

“Alright, lad. Go wash and straighten yerself up. Ye look awful,” Logan added before walking out of the chamber.


Kendrick walked into a room filled with farmers almost twice his age. He was a young laird of twenty-two, leading a clan of hundreds. The laborers’ faces held not a whisper of happiness. Kendrick could only mirror their despair as he made his way to his chair, ready to listen to their grievances.

“Milaird,” said one of the farmers. “The fields refuse to bear fruit and our families rest on empty stomachs.”

“Pardon me, milaird, even our sheep and goats starve, and we cannot milk them,” another complained.

“The soils do not yield any safe grain, milaird! We shall die of starvation if a solution is not provided,” cried another voice from the crowd.

The shouts of about a hundred frustrated farmers begging for the Laird’s assistance soon filled the hall. Hard though he may have pondered, Kendrick could not fathom what to say that might aid them. He frowned as he massaged his chin.

When he tried to speak, all that came out was silence.

He finally forced the words from his mouth. “Quiet,” he intonated, shifting the focus of the disgruntled men back to himself. “Nae one shall die of starvation. I shall find a way. I ken how ye must feel, and I will make sure naeone will go to bed hungry anymore.”

“I do nae wish to question yer word, milaird, but how shall ye cater our demands?” one of the men inquired.

“He is right, milaird,” another chimed up. “Ye dinnae have neither wife nor children. Ye dinnae ken what it is to provide for a bairn! How can ye ken what it is we feel?”

“Ye cannae put in order yer responsibilities, and make a family of yer own, milaird. How ken ye attend tae our needs?”

Kendrick was at a loss for words. There was no doubt: many were the men who looked up to him as a strong, safeguarding laird. The others, the outliers, made their disdain for his freedom clear, saying he lacked bravery… but they did not know his truth.

Logan cleared his throat and turned to his nephew. “If ye permit me, milaird, I must address them.”
Kendrick nodded.

“I am aware of yer needs and concerns, but ye all need not worry,” Logan assured them. “The Laird shall meet a maiden of decent ancestry. Aye, of that I have no doubt—and when he does, they will marry, and ye shall all reap the fruits of their union.”

The farmers grew silent for a moment, as did Kendrick, who gaped as he struggled to accept his uncle’s statement. He had hardly expected to hear such nonsense from Logan’s mouth, and now he felt even more helpless at finding the right words.

“In order for the young Laird to select his wife,” Logan went on, “We shall host a feast with all ye brave clan members, with all landholders having daughters, while we gather and search for a solution of yer worries.”

Everyone exhaled in relief, and hopeful chatter filled the air. Everyone, except for Kendrick. He refused to become his own father, to take a wife—to destroy her. Even so, he knew his fate could not be avoided. He would need to sire an heir, and he would need a wife to do so.

“Why did ye say that, Uncle?” Kendrick questioned in a low voice while the villagers were leaving the hall. “We have never discussed finding a maiden for me to marry, and a promise like that has to be of my own making.”

“Well, I do ken it is long overdue, son. Ye have witnessed the farmers’ doubt in yer duty as laird, and I could nae stand hearing it anymore,” Logan replied. “If ye don’t want to lose their faith, ye need to find a wife sooner than ye think, and I ken that even if we had discussed it earlier, the ending would nae change for it. Ye have to marry, Kendrick. And ye have to marry fast.”

Although he would have preferred to take a different stand, he had to concede that his uncle was right. He took a long breath before speaking, “Where do ye recommend I start?”

“Only two landholders have daughters of marriageable age, that I ken,” he paused to face Kendrick. “I suppose one of Angus Gibson’s daughters will be a wonderful choice for ye. He has considerable authority and influence over the other landholders of the clan to boot.”

Kendrick grimaced. Angus Gibson had been an ally of his late father. His eldest daughter, Sophia, had been a dear friend of his when they were children… until talk had started of their marrying when they were older; until he had started caring for her, too. Kendrick knew that caring only led to slaughter. It had to.

“He has three daughters, the youngest of whom is just fifteen. The eldest, Sophia, is nineteen, I suppose ye ken her well as ye both formerly ran round the castle together as bairns. The second, Lorena, is a lass of eighteen,” Logan explained.

“I shall nae marry any of Angus Gibson’s daughters.” Kendrick scowled.

“But ye must, milaird. If not them, then others! It shall bring great benefit—to ye, to yer clan. Now, ye think of this and more, while I call for the elder council to convene as planned,” Logan concluded before abandoning him to his solitude.

It was true. Kendrick had been quite fond of Sophia. He grinned as he remembered the sound of her soothing voice. She would relentlessly tease him about even her smallest accomplishments when they were children. He recalled how she was the first between them to ride a horse, how she hadn’t given up despite failing numerous times.

The first time his heart misbehaved, she had just returned from horse riding. Her raven hair was flowing in the breeze, her riding gown hugging her delicate figure. That day, after she smiled at him, his heart had skipped a beat… and Kendrick knew he was lost.

“Milaird,” Reed called as he sat next to him. “Yer uncle tells me we are to plan a wedding. To Sophia, of all lasses!”

Kendrick swallowed a sigh. Despite being his senior by two years, Reed had been Kendrick’s closest friend his entire life. “I will nae have any teasing from ye, Reed.”

“Is that right?” He grinned in challenge. “Surely, ye should now inform Sophia of yer affections for her? Unless ye are not so smitten with the lass as ye were.”

“Nae, she will nae ken of my feelings for her.”

Reed looked at Kendrick sceptically. “Would ye then keep ignoring her, like ye have been since ye learned of yer feelings for her?”

Kendrick disregarded Reed’s question, and the two simply stood in wait without uttering any other word; they both knew the answer.


Sophia had always loved the view from her hiding place beneath the trees. It was her sacred spot—where the willows protected her from the sun’s blinding rays; where its leaves laced together and danced in the breeze. She would settle beneath the great willow after she was done watering the plants, especially in dry periods like this, and picking strange herbs to study.

Her father, Angus, had agreed to let her go on expeditions as long as she never ventured far into the woods… but she was now standing in the middle of them, her hands gripping the weaved handle of her basket of lavender and chamomile.

Sophia was different from other maidens, and she knew it well. Instead of gossiping and knitting, she enjoyed reading and writing. She liked learning about the medicinal properties of various plants and riding horses. Since she was a little girl, she had always been told it was not something a lady should do, yet it never stopped her.

The loud cries of her sisters looking for her broke her attention from the view. Suddenly, they were upon her. “There ye are, sister,” Lorena whispered with her hands gripping her skirt.

“Sister, ye are hidden between the trees,” Emilea gasped as if Sophia didn’t know already.

“Wait till Father finds out,” Lorena threatened. “He may imprison ye in a tower for the remainder of the year. Ye ken ye shouldn’t go this far. We were all so worried!”

Sophia hushed them. “I was simply collecting these herbs—ye shall nae mention anything to father.”

Lorena caught sight of the basket her sister was holding. “Perhaps ye want to give make those little sachets for yer clothes like Ma showed us?”

“Or perhaps ye wish to gift them to a lad ye fancy, sister?” Emilea suggested, earning her a scoff from Sophia. Her little sister reached out to push back the strands of ginger hair that blew into her blue eyes.

Sophia had always envied her mother and sisters’ long, red hair. They had clear blue eyes that could be compared to the purest seas, and thin, lithe figures that only made them more beautiful.

Nature had only seen fit to bless Sophia with long hair, but hers was raven black. And her eyes were almost as dark. She was short too, a little frumpy.

It wasn’t that she hated the way she looked, for she had great confidence in her other qualities. “But a lass, they say, cannae have it all,” she would often mumble when she caught sight of herself in the river or in a looking glass.

Some days, she had great difficulty blending in with her family and would only spend such days alone, buried in her books or searching through the fields to discover new herbs. Neither of her sisters shared such interests.

“These beautiful cuttings I hold are healing herbs,” she said. “They ease many types of illnesses and inflammation when taken as tea.”

Her sisters looked at her hands in bewilderment.

“Ye can sniff them, if ye like.” She shoved the basket toward them.

Lorena scooped at the air. “Aye, they have a nice smell, sister, but ye will not stall us for all time. Lest I forget, Father seeks yer presence.”

“Whatever for?” Sophia asked.

“I dinnae ken, to be honest. He is just returned from Laird MacNeil’s keep, and he asked that everyone be gathered,” Lorena answered. “We came to find ye before Father came himself, because then ye’ll be in trouble.”

Sophia motioned for her sisters to take the lead. “Let’s go home, then. He must be expecting our arrival already.”

Her sisters gathered beside her, placing her in the middle and linking arms. They beamed as the chilly air rushed over them, their petticoats dragging along the tall grass.

“Good morn, I heard ye requested my presence, Father,” Sophia greeted as she walked towards him.

“Aye, my sweet bairn. Gather everyone in the hall for there is news I must share,” Angus ordered.

“I shall get to it.” Sophia nodded and left, wondering about the nature of said news.

The family gathered in the hall before long, little whispers filled the air as they all made predictions about what their father had to announce.

“It pleases me to tell ye that we will be attending a feast at Laird MacNeil’s keep in a few days,” Angus said, turning to them excitedly. “The Laird has graciously extended his invitation to us as he held council today on the matter of the harvest.”

“And why, dear, are we required to be present?” One needed not be told that the tall, ginger-haired woman was Sophia’s mother. Her two red-headed daughters were the picture of her.

“The young Laird seeks a lass to wed,” their father said.

“So not a feast, but a market. And all the lasses of the clan are to attend, are they?” the lady asked further. “Which of our daughters will be best suited for the Laird?”

“I have two daughters who are of age to find suitors, and mayhap the Laird shall choose one of them, my love. It shall gladden my heart to give one of them as wife to the Laird.”

The sisters turned to face each other, and the dining room swelled with chatter as Angus finished his announcement. Emilea smiled mischievously as she prodded Sophia in the ribs. “I’m sure the Laird will pick ye, sister.”

“Stop it, Emilea. Ye cannae be sure.” Sophia turned away to hide her flushed cheeks.

“Have ye forgotten, my dove?” Her mother stood in front of them, beaming “Ye two were closest friends since ye were young, and he wouldn’t want another lass over ye—I ken it. There is a great chance our eldest will finally be wed!”

“Do ye nae ken, Mother?” Lorena broke her silence. “He has been chilly with the clan members for years. It’s better to pick naeone!”

“Not another word from ye, Lorena,” their mother instructed.

“But Mother—” Lorena tried to argue back.

“No buts,” their mother rebuked. “Ye shall nae speak poorly of the Laird. Now,” she continued, “Ye must prepare for the feast, and God willing, our Sophia will find favor in his eyes.”

Sophia’s eyes sparkled, and her cheeks burned red. The very idea of seeing the Laird after such a long time made her excited and scared in equal parts, for she would more likely than not become his wife…

And the butterflies in her stomach told her just how thrilled she was with the idea.


Chapter Two

Kendrick fought to keep his disdain to himself. “Ye may attend our next council meeting, Laird Munro,” he muttered.

“Yer contributions to the matter will be much appreciated, and perhaps, we may come up with a solution to the harvest troubles that both of our clans face.”

“Thank ye, milaird. We can only hope for such success,” said Munro, a man of middle age, Laird himself to a nearby clan.

His presence did not grace Kendrick in any way. He despised the man for his arrogance, but his uncle, Logan, had suggested he show leniency. Despite being Laird, Kendrick would not go against his uncle’s sincere request.

The hall gradually filled with elder clansmen ready to discuss the harvest—some with opinions of their own; and others to judge said opinions. The hall was filled with both honored council members and some concerned landholders.

Kendrick could only hope they would come to some sense between them.

“Greetings, milaird. If it delights ye, then I seek to propose a solution,” one of the men requested. It was Angus Gibson.

Kendrick made a gesture for him to go ahead. “Ye may go on.”

“There are lands to the east, where are clan borders Laird Munro’s clan,” Angus said. “I have come to find that these lands are most fertile and would be useful for planting.”

“I disagree with his proposition, milaird,” Munro objected. “We have a long-standing agreement forbidding the toil of lands on our borders.”

“Milaird…” Angus shot a brief look at Munro. “A consensus must be reached for the benefit of all. We will all starve to death otherwise. Munro or MacNeil.”

“We do not violate customs for the supposed benefit of the people,” Munro maintained. “Rather, I would suggest the farmers put in twice as much effort to revive the land they already have.”

“The farmers work hard enough already,” Angus retorted. “They labor from night till dawn, yet the earth provides no bounty. It’s nae in our hands.”

“Then,” Munro growled. “We shall find another approach—it is plain insolence on your side that you advise we violate such an old custom.”

Uproar soon sparked in the hall, some in support of Angus, and others in agreement with Munro. Caught up in their discussion, only Kendrick noticed the entrance of Catherine from the back door of the court. She fixed her gaze on him, trailing down her neck with her fingers and smiling to herself… which made him feel a shiver.

“So, Laird Munro, ye suggest we let our people starve while we uphold traditions made by long-dead men who never faced a starving clan?” Kendrick levelled a glare at Munro. Despite his failings, he could never imagine such callousness from a laird.

“Those long-dead men, as ye say, brought our lands to existence. It is only common sense that we uphold the laws of their making,” Munro responded, but Kendrick could sense his anger was at a boiling point.

“Nae, Laird Munro. Here in my keep, my people are of great importance to me,” Kendrick pressed, rising from his chair. “I shall not uphold traditions while my clan dies of starvation. This is nonsense.”

“I see ye are all grown now. Dinnae bite off more than ye can chew,” Munro gnarled. “I refuse to be engaged in violating old customs. If this is what ye propose, then I shall excuse myself from this gathering.”

The stomping of his boots against the stone was the only sound as he walked out of the hall. Laird Munro had a reputation for his ill temper. He was a man who could harbor grudges for all eternity, and Kendrick had just challenged him in front of farmers he considered lowly.

Now composed and quiet, Angus lowered his head before Kendrick. “What shall we do about Laird Munro, milaird? We need the land sooner rather than later…”

Kendrick thought for a moment. “Leave him be. I shall have a meeting with him when he has calmed. Perhaps, a few days from now.”

“How about the other matter, milaird?” one of the farmers interjected. “Surely, we should sort out what we can for today.”

“As my uncle has announced,” Kendrick replied hesitantly, “I shall find a lass and marry soon.”

“Pardon my insolence,” the farmer insisted, “How soon will it be?”

“The council will decide,” Kendrick declared to everyone in the great hall. “I shall marry according to their decision.”

There were soft murmurs in the hall for a short time. Complete silence followed soon after. One of the main members of the council walked to the front of the rest. He first bowed to Kendrick, then faced the crowd of farmers. “It has been decided.” He turned back to Kendrick. “The Laird must find a lass to marry and bear him an heir. He must do so within the next two months. If he fails, his uncle, Logan MacNeil, shall become new Laird of the MacNeil clan.”

Kendrick looked away as voices debated the council’s ruling. As Laird, he had done his very best, and he would not allow the council to remove him from his position. He would not be defined by incompetence like his father had been.

The court was dismissed, but Kendrick could not find the strength to leave his seat. It was as though his legs were numb, or too weak to carry the weight of his body. Even his spirit was unwilling. He held onto the wooden arms of the chair, struggling for support as he forced himself up.

He did not know whether fear or anger fueled him now. One thing was certain: he would not sit around forlorn, waiting to be dragged out of his clan.

When he finally stepped outside, rain poured down, and the sky rumbled ruthlessly. He turned from the hall’s entrance to nestle himself into an alcove. Crestfallen, he watched the wet, muddy field outside the keep’s gates.

It was the same field he played in countless times as a child. He almost wished to return to simpler times, when he didn’t have to worry about feelings, farmers, family, and the duty that went along with them. Back then, all he did was laugh and roll around with Reid and Sophia in the muck, as their laughter echoed throughout the keep.

Hearing a noise, he swiftly turned his neck to catch his uncle behind him.

“I told ye, lad. Have ye come to a decision?” Kendrick could only offer an expressionless stare. “Ye heard the council.” Logan sounded frustrated. “Ye have to make a choice at the feast in a few days.”

“Why dinnae ye decide for me, Uncle? Ye seem to desire my marriage more than I do.”

“It is for yer own good, lad. Ye need an heir to remain Laird, and ye need a fair lass to give ye an heir.” Logan put his hands on Kendrick’s shoulder, patting him gently. “I’m worried for ye, dinnae make light of that. Sophia, Lorena, or any other maiden yer age would be a fine choice.”

“I cannae make Sophia my wife,” Kendrick blurted out without much thought. It made Logan shift backward and arch his brow.

“It was only a suggestion, lad,” Logan mumbled. “I presumed it would be natural if ye felt drawn to her since ye had known her the longest.”

Kendrick did not move his sight away from the downpour. “I dinnae feel drawn to her,” he lied.

Because he had loved her once, he was unable to contemplate ever harming her the way a man harms a wife—the way his father harmed his mother. Out of love. Years ago, he had thought his heart belonged to Sophia… and he had pushed her away because of it. He knew there was no way he could accept her.

“I would say ye go for the middle one then. She is a bonnie lass, I must say,” Logan advised. “Ye make yer move, get close to her at the feast. Nae lass can resist MacNeil charm, ye ken. Nae that a laird will need to be charming at all.”

He could never fall in love with Lorena, but Logan was unaware of how much Kendrick had cherished Sophia. He didn’t know it was not Sophia’s beauty that incited Kendrick’s affection, but the rainy afternoon strolls they took together, the rides on the back of horses… the memories of her that shielded him from destruction on the days his mother’s ghost would haunt him.

Perhaps it was fated that only she could catch his attention, and he had no intention of betraying their friendship.

Even the memories of Sophia could evoke the deepest of emotions in him—still. He would rather live a thousand lonely nights, than admit his past affections for her.

He didn’t notice the tear on his face before it fell.

The only way he could shield Sophia was to push her as far away as he could. He would do everything in his power to keep her safe so that he wouldn’t place himself in a position where his heart could further betray him.


Lorena had spent an hour pacing around the room. She’d been pacing for three days since their father told them about the Laird’s feast. Sophia’s dark eyes followed her around the room, nudging her favorite planter every time she returned to it.

“Ye should sit down, Lorena. Yer movement is maddening.”

“Ye ken sister, if he chooses one of us, we would be living in hell! Imagine waking up to a man who ignores ye, it’s so terrible!” Lorena collapsed onto the bed. Her dramatic side usually amused Sophia, but now it was making her even more nervous.

Her mind drifted to thoughts of Kendrick, and she imagined how pleasant it would be to see him again. Clearly, it was an image much different than the one plaguing Lorena’s mind. “I have told ye—Laird MacNeil is a fine man, and any lass would be happy to be his lady.”

“By chance, are ye defending him, sister?” Lorena raised a brow.

“I am nae! All I am saying is he is kind and gentle. At least I have such memories of him, and he is nae a brute.”

“Yet he grew distant from ye without reason. Do ye nae consider the possibility that he may nae longer be the young lad ye played with as a bairn? Do ye nae hear the rumors of his coldness?”

Sophia had never been one to give much credit to rumors and gossip. Besides, she knew him better than anyone who had a thing to say of his character… but she could not deny it. She often wondered about the reason he grew indifferent to her, and it was, at times, a torment. She worried that he noticed her feelings for him and that they scared him away.

“People dinnae change that quickly, Lorena.” She knew for a fact that they did, but still, she had to defend him from her sister’s harsh remarks. “Ye should feel sorry for him instead. He is more likely a lonely laird stuck in a castle without someone with whom to share happiness or sorrow.”

“Now, I would be kind enough to offer pity, but I wouldn’t want to wed such a brute.” Lorena turned to face Sophia, but she was too wrapped up in her ruminating to notice. “Are ye there, sister?” she mouthed, almost making her jump out of her own skin. “Were ye even listening to me?”

“I was, indeed.” She couldn’t speak more on these rumors for she did not know what could cause anyone to hate him, especially Lorena. “How would this look?” Sophia huffed, beaming as she got to her feet. She dragged the Arasaid she had sewn for special occasions from the far corner of the room and held it over her body.

Lorena rolled her eyes in disappointment. “Ye would look like a rabbit chasing carrots in it.”

“Really?” Sophia fought a frown.

Her sister drew her down onto the bed, holding her hands as if in desperation.

“Think about it—ye are like the sun and moon. He is different from ye. Ye cannae possibly wish to marry him just because of yer admiration for him. He would smother yer light.”

“Ye poor thing… it’s a good thing ye may nae have to marry him, then,” Sophia teased as she lovingly touched her sister’s cheek.

“Ye should cease taunting yer sister,” their mother announced as she entered Sophia’s room. “It would be an honor if the Laird asked to wed our dear Sophia,” she leaned over to retrieve the garment on Sophia’s lap. “This would fit ye, my dear,” she simpered.

Sophia leaped up, catching her mother in a half-embrace. “Ye think so, ma?”

Their mother nodded in affirmation, “I believe so, my love.”

Having failed to dissuade her sister, Lorena put her hands over her mouth, yawning in resignation.

“Ye must get ready. We depart shortly for the feast.” Their mother lowered herself enough to reach Lorena’s arms, and without giving room for her to free herself, she dragged her out of the chamber.

Sophia smiled to herself. She couldn’t seem to get Kendrick off her mind. She was concerned about how much older he would appear. She imagined his blue eyes locked on hers and him addressing her as his lady. Her stomach knotted just thinking about it made her chuckle. She wished she could run her fingers through his thick, dark, curly hair. She had so much she wanted to tell him…

She had hoped for a day like this for all eternity.

This sounds too good to be true… but what could go wrong? I doubt he would choose Lorena, she thought, anxiety creeping up her throat. Lorena had no affection for him. In fact, she despised him, and she would not settle with a man for whom she had no feelings.

“Sophia!” Lorena called in a whisper as she sneaked into her room again. She was dressed in an astonishing blue dress that was falling down heavily and made her look like a serene night sky.

Turning her gaze to her sister, Sophia opened her mouth wide in playful shock. “Ye look like ye would leave all the lads fighting for breath tonight!”

Lorena posed, showing off playfully. “Do I, sister?”

“Shall I show ye yer reflection in my eyes?”

“Thank ye, sister. Ye will look even more beautiful.”

Sophia took Lorena’s hand in her own and drew in an anxious breath. There was a lot she wanted to say; a lot she had to lose tonight, too. “I dinnae ken what will happen tonight, but promise me, we will always be here for each other.”

Lorena looked suddenly downcast. She pried her hand away to seize Sophia’s. “I promise, sister. Things may change, but we will always be here for each other.”

Sophia pulled her close, holding Lorena for what could have been hours before pulling herself back.

They knew not what the feast would bring, but one thing was certain: things would not be the same when they returned. The sisters had great confidence in their unbreakable bond and, together, even the strongest storm would only seem like a drizzle.

“Shall we go then?” Sophia forced a smile once she was dressed and offered her hand.

“We shall,” Lorena grinned lightly before taking Sophia’s hand. Together, they walked out of their father’s home and into the unknown.


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  • It’ll be interesting to see Kendrick (LOVE the name!) and Sophie realize their lonely futures, as in-laws. I feel a double heartbreak coming on! Counting the days to read their journey back into each other’s souls 😉

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful words, my lovely Young at Heart! Can’t wait to hear your feedback! ❤️

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