Dreaming of a Highland Lass – (Extended Epilogue)


The sun began to sink behind the treeline as the night sky settled across the landscape. The stars overhead were bright and beautiful; the only thing piercing the peacefulness that MacThomas Castle had become accustomed to was the high, jubilant laughter of a child.

“Sarah, wait!” Isla called behind the girl. “Wee lass, where d’ye think ye are goin’?”

The child shrieked happily as she bumbled across the stone walk. Isla rushed after the little girl, laughing as she swooped down to scoop her up in her arms.

She turned to see Iain standing behind her, watching them from the courtyard door to the main hall. Their son, the youngest child, was clutching his father’s leg and standing unsteadily, Iain’s hand at his back.

“I dinnae how ye are so fast with such tiny feet!” Isla cried, tickling the child. “Ye mus’ have inherited yer father’s strength an’ speed. Goodness, child, an’ how heavy ye’ve gotten for only yer fourth year!”

Iain swung the boy up, placing him on his broad shoulders as the boy giggled, delighted.

“I think it may be time fer the two of ye tae go tae sleep,” Iain said fondly. “Ye and William are much too energetic fer how late ’tis starting tae get.”

Isla smiled as she watched her husband with their two children; he was a better father than even she could have imagined and was just as good of an uncle. When Annabella married Ewan, one of Iain’s cousins, Isla had not thought she could be happier, but when Annabella’s baby, Logan, was born, Isla felt her life was nearly complete.

But her second sister had not been quite so lucky.

“Have ye seen Elayne?” Isla asked. “I feel as though I havenae seen her fer days. I’m beginnin’ tae feel worried abou’ her, Iain… It’s been almost six months since that terrible day.”

“She is still mournin’ Kenneth,” Iain said. “As am I, I suppose. I was certain tha’ they would marry, poor lass. I saw her makin’ her way back tae her chambers; her eyes were rimmed with red from too much weepin’.”

“I thought she would die o’ heartbreak when he didnae come home from tha’ hunt,” Isla said, setting the little child down. The little girl threw her arms around her father’s leg, grinning up at him. “Can ye watch Sarah for a moment? ‘Twould make me feel much better tae check on Elayne.”

Iain nodded as he moved the boy from his shoulders to his arms. He ushered Sarah inside, holding the wooden door open for them as Isla moved towards the staircase on the left that led to her sister’s room. It was not far down the hall; in fact, if she turned to her right, she could still see her husband and children making their way to her bedchambers.

Isla leaned closer to the door, hearing a faint sobbing from inside; her sister was crying. She knocked upon it lightly and the weeping stopped, Elayne’s voice coming through the crack in the door.

“Jus’ a moment!”

Elaye’s eyes were red-rimmed from crying, just as Iain had said, and her hair was disheveled, as though she were laying in bed.

“Oh,” she said. “Good evenin’, Isla. I’m sorry I missed supper, but I wasnae feelin’ hungry tonight.”

“Aye, I understand,” Isla said. “But truly, ye should eat somethin’, Elayne. I’m sure it would be no trouble fer me tae bring ye somethin’ tae yer chambers if ye—”

“No,” Elayne said, interrupting her. “Please, it’s fine.”

Isla looked at her sister and reached out to brush one lock of red hair that had fallen in front of her face. Elayne smiled at her weakly but there was no joy in it.

“Elayne, dinnae ye think think tha’ ye have put yerself through enough?” Isla asked gently. “I… I loved Kenneth as well, but—”

“Not as I did,” Elayne said, her voice quiet and tragically heartbreaking. “I’m sorry, sister. I was just… I was thinkin’ o’ him lately, tha’ is all. I know tha’ everyone else misses him as well, especially Iain. They were close as children, as I understan’.”

“As many cousins are,” Isla replied. “Come, Annabella wondered if ye wanted tae sew together after dinner. Ewan has a few shirts tha’ need mendin’ an’ I said I would ask ye; she has so much on her plate wi’ Logan now. A new baby really is quite a lot o’ work!”

Elayne sighed heavily, the breath exiting her lungs in a morose puff of air.

“I think I would rather be alone fer the rest o’ the evenin’, sister,” Elayne said. “I’m sorry, but… I am jus’ no’ feelin’ up tae company right now. Per’aps tomorrow I will be able tae be more help.”

Isla wanted to ask Elayne if she was sure, but she did not want to press her sister. After Kenneth’s disappearance six months ago, Elayne had fallen into a deep depression and had seemed now as though she were a ghost of her former self. Isla had not heard her sister laugh since the day that Kenneth went missing.

“Alrigh’,” Isla said. “If ye need anythin’, please dinnae hesitate tae find me. Promise?”

“O’ course,” Elayne said. “Dinnae worry about me, Isla, truly. Ye have enough on yer plate with the children.”

Isla left Elayne with a heavy heart, making her way back to her own bedchamber where Iain would surely be waiting for her. The two children were already asleep, curled up next to their father, who was breathing soft and slow in the night.

I dinnae want tae wake him. He helps so much with the children.

It was true; Iain was an excellent father. She could have asked for no better husband to share her life with.

Carefully, she undressed and pulled on her cotton nightdress and smoothed her hair down. It was perhaps a bit too early to sleep, but the children were in the innocent stages of roaming everywhere as quickly as they could and she had been completely worn out today. It seemed that Iain, too, felt the same way.

She laid in bed, taking great care to wake her husband or children, and sighed as she pulled the quilts around her. It did not take her long to fall sound asleep; she almost always fell right asleep with her husband beside her, so comforted was she by his presence.

Isla was not sure how long she remained asleep for though, however. She thought it had been only mere moments, but the moon had travelled across the sky, leaving the room in a heavy darkness; she must have been asleep longer than she thought. A thudding sound had stirred her awake and she sat up in bed. Immediately, she looked over at Iain, but it seemed that he heard nothing at all.

Had tha’ been a dream? Or did I really hear it?

Confused, she stepped down, her feet touching the cold stone floor.

Isla crept through bed chamber door, certain that she heard another noise, like a door shutting heavily and then someone gasping as the sound echoed through the halls. She paused, debating on whether to wake Iain, but this was surely something that she could take care of herself without waking him. He had so much responsibility already with the Lairdship resting on his shoulders; surely she could satisfy her own curiosity herself.

She heard footsteps down the hall, but clouds blocked the moon’s glow, enshrouding the mysterious person in darkness.

She rounded the corner, hurrying so as not to miss whoever it was creeping around the castle in the middle of the night. Isla held her breath as she rushed after them, her mind whirling as questions blossomed in her mind. Footsteps padded across the stone floor, but they proved to be too fast for her; her eyes had not yet adjusted to the darkness.

Isla heard the main door open on the floor below her and paused at the window. If she could not catch them, then peering through the window would be the next best thing. She had a good view of the walk in the courtyard there and as long as the person did not hug the wall of the castle, she would be able to see who it was easily. The moonlight may not be bright tonight, but they still had torches lit in the courtyard all through the night.

A figure crossed the courtyard quietly. When they turned to look back at the castle to peer into the darkness, Isla felt her heart drop to the stone floor.

It was Elayne, with a rucksack thrown over her shoulder. She clutched her cloak close to her and made her way across the courtyard towards the stables before Isla could stop her.

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  • This is one of the most exciting books I have read. Truly a masterpiece of love and transition for the characters. All was as it should be. My only sadness was her sister losing her love Kenneth when he disappeared during a hunting trip. Not a necessary ending.

  • Fantastic storyline with a twist in it that was unbelievable.Awesome.And the next story coming ,look forward to it.

  • What an emotional roller coaster! Heartache and the discovery of love to illeviate the pain. Iian and Isla pulled each other from the depths of despair. What a well written tale!

  • Loved the different characters and plot of this story. Hope to discover a story line with Kenneth and Elayne next please!!!!

  • Loved the story and the ending of the extended epilogue sounds like another promising story.

  • Excellent book and extended epilogue, but again a story is introduced with no clue as to what the name of the book will be!
    Disappointed, why can’t we be told?

    • Thank you so much, my dear Guadalupe! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I can’t reveal much about Elayne for the time being but, you will get the answer you want sooner than later. 😉😇 Until then, take care!

  • Very good read. Do hope for a next story about Elayne. Keep writing with romance and adventure. Thanks.

  • Loved this story! I always enjoy the Extended epilogue because you tease your readers with a new adventure! Can’t wait to read what happens with Elayne!

    • Thank you my dear Margaret, I am glad you liked it! While the next book of the series is not out yet, you can check my newest book “Sleeping with her Highland Enemy”. I am sure you will enjoy it just as much!

    • Thank you so much my dear Sandy! If you liked this one you should check my recent books: Sleeping with her Highland Enemy and Stealing the Highlander’s Bride. I am sure you will love it just as much!

  • Loved thus story from start to finish! They both came from bad places to find absolute love together. Sigh……..

    • Thank you so much my dear Susan! If you liked this one you should check my recent books: Sleeping with her Highland Enemy and Stealing the Highlander’s Bride. I am sure you will love it just as much!

  • I really enjoyed the book and the characters. I hope that more editing will be done to correct the many errors in the pronouns used and incorrect and improperly used words that distract from the reading experience. You can’t rely on a computer to find errors. Also, I prefer a book without explicit sex and skip over those pages.

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