Stealing the Highlander’s Bride – Extended Epilogue

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Three years later…

Reyna grunted in pain as another contraction passed through her, stronger than the last. Beside her, Tessa made a soft soothing noise. “Och, they’re coming closer taegether. I wager ye’ll be ready tae give birth soon.”

“Och, I wish ye werenae… gods above… right.”

She wanted Blake. She hadn’t expected to go into labor so soon, still several days out from her due date. Her daughter had been born on time, exactly when the midwife predicted.

As if her thoughts had been spoken aloud, Tessa growled out “Where’s Blake? He should be here! ‘Tis his bairn she’s birthing!”

Hannah, working beside the midwife to change out water and linens, answered her. “I’ve sent a messenger lad fer him. He’s out hunting with the other lads.”


“Aye. That tae.”

“Out hunting when he should be with his wife…”

“’Tisnae his fault.” Reyna gasped her way through another contraction. “I sent him away. He didnae want tae go. I told him he could…. Argh! …bring me some game, or I’d have his bollocks and give him something tae truly fret about.”

Tessa laughed. “Ye would at that. And good fer ye. ‘Tis a woman’s right tae say what she likes in the last month or so o’ her lying in.”

Another contraction, and she couldn’t help screaming a little at the pain. She heard her daughter outside, Freya, being watched over by Kenzie. Reyna was about to ask for someone to bring her daughter and Kenzie in, so she could comfort her child, when a commotion sounded at the door.


Being chased out of his home by a temperamental lass wasn’t the most embarrassing thing that had ever happened to him, but it was close. Preston and Finlay, louts that they were, weren’t helping by snickering at him.

The two men had accompanied their wives to Sinclair Castle, so that the women might keep Reyna comfortably occupied during the last days of her lying in and had been only too glad to follow him out on a hunt after Reyna had threatened to castrate him if he didn’t stop hovering over her with concern.

That didn’t stop Preston’s muttering “Lass has got ye near whipped, lad.”

Finlay grinned agreeably at the Murray laird, with whom he’d formed a steady friendship over the past two years. “Aye. But that’s Reyna fer ye. She always was able tae bend Faither and I tae her will. Dinnae think Blake had a chance.”

Blake growled at his brother-by-marriage. “Aye, and how well dae ye stand up tae yer lass, when she was carrying yer bairn in the final months?”

“Nae at all. Which is why I’ve nae shame about teasing ye on the matter.” Finlay was far too cheerful as they rode out into the woods, hunting bows, waterskins and a satchel of food each slung across their saddles.

Preston was still chuckling when they finally found a good spot to dismount and ready themselves to track game. Blake glared at him. “Ye laugh now, Preston, but we’ll see how funny ye find it when yer lass is having yer firstborn.”

Preston smirked. “Did I nae tell ye? Kenzie’s expecting. ‘Tis early days yet, but by winter’s end I’ll have a son or daughter o’ me own. One reason she was fair set on coming tae visit yer lass afore it gets uncomfortable fer her tae ride.”

Blake smirked back. “Then ye’ll have the joy o’ a temperamental lass on yer hands soon enough.”

Preston shrugged.

Finlay snickered. “Oh, man, ye wait and see.”

Blake nodded. “Aye. Reyna’s done everything from stoking the fire when it is boiling, to opening the windows in midwinter. One moment she’ll be demanding me attention, the next she’ll be after kicking me out o’ me own bed tae steal me pillows fer her comfort. And I’m fair convinced that castle cooks are women so they willnae be startled by whatever a lady wants tae eat when she’s carrying. Being sent tae hunt is naething new.”

Finlay nodded sagely. “Tessa wasnae so demanding until her eighth month, but she couldnae stomach much beyond certain foods. Thought she was fair sick, drove me out o’ me mind with worry fer her.”

Preston looked much less smug now, and Blake grinned. After a moment, they three of them turned their attention to hunt.

Blake was stalking a herd of deer through the woods, hoping some venison would soothe his beloved wife’s temper, when the messenger found him with the message that Reyna had gone into labor. The words he used as he wheeled the horse around had likely scared the game away for a fortnight or more, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t going to care, not unless his love really was upset that he’d not brought home fresh meat for her.

Well, if she was, he’d send the master of the hounds to get some. Right now, he had more important concerns.

Blake shoved his way into the birthing chamber, heedless of the hissing of the midwife and the shocked exclamations of the servants at the door. He didn’t care that tradition said men were supposed to wait outside the birthing room, or that he might upset someone.

His wife was having his child. He’d not leave her side unless she chased him away as she had this morning. He still felt guilty that he’d permitted himself to leave the castle with Finlay and Preston, rather than simply finding a quiet place out of his wife’s view.

Reyna screamed again, and he went to her side, reaching out to embrace her and take her hand in his. “I’m sorry I wasnae here sooner, ey love.”

“Ye shouldnae be here now.” The midwife was practically bristling with outrage, but Tessa and his mother both exchanged knowing looks as Reyna latched onto his hand with a bruising grip.

“Leave it alone, Marina. Ye’ll nae get rid o’ him.” Hannah directed a pointed look at the hand Reyna was currently trying to crush with her own. “She’s the only one who could, and she’s not after letting him go anywhere.”

The midwife huffed but nodded. “All right, me lady, let’s see how yer doing…”

Another contraction, another scream that wrenched his guts worse than any battlefield had ever done, and a satisfied sound from the midwife. “Ye’re ready. On the next wave, push as hard as ye can.”

He could see the next wave hit his wife, even before she screamed, loud enough to hurt his ears. Her hand clenched on his with a force that would leave bruises, if not break bones. He didn’t care. He simply held her close as wave after wave passed through her.

It seemed to last forever, each contraction worse than the last, and he could see what looked to him like far too much blood, too much sweat, and too much pain. He couldn’t believe this was normal, no matter how much his mother said otherwise. His mind kept racing, and he couldn’t stop the thoughts any more than he could end Reyna’s screams.

Gods, surely our firstborn didnae take so long… oh, gods…Reyna!

Then there was one final wave that seemed to bend his wife in two. Reyna screamed like she was being torn apart and pushed. The, the wave passed and the sound of crying split the air, a thin wail that sounded like the sweetest music ever produced to his ears. The midwife straightened with a squirming, crying, red bundle in her arms and a broad smile. “Well done, me laird, me lady. A fine son fer ye, and perfectly healthy from the lungs on him.”

“Thank goodness.” Reyna went limp against him.

Blake remained where he was as the midwife helped deliver the afterbirth, and Tessa helped clean his exhausted wife up. Meanwhile, his mother helped clean the babe and wrapped him in a soft blanket. Once both mother and child were clean, she approached. “A fine lad fer ye, indeed.”

Blake watched as Reyna took the babe into her arms. Without thought, his hand reached out to stroke the tiny face, now peaceful and drowsing. Reyna’s smile widened. “He looks like ye, Blake.”

“’Tis tae soon tae tell.” Blake laughed.

Tessa approached. “He’s a bonny bairn. Have ye thought o’ a name?”

Blake nodded. “Aye.” He shared a glance with Reyna. “His name is Leith. Fer me faither.”

His mother gasped and clasped her hands over her mouth, tears in her eyes. “Blake…”

He smiled. “Me faither deserves tae be remembered. Even if I didnae always agree with him, he was a good man.”

“Aye.” His mother squeezed his shoulder.

Reyna smiled, then offered him the child. “I ken if ye came back so did Finlay and Preston. Ye might as well go show him off. I ken ye’re dying tae dae so.”

“And how could I nae be proud o’ me bonny wife and me wonderful new son?” Blake laughed as he rose and accepted the precious bundle.

Slowly, carefully, he turned away, so mesmerized by the sight of his son’s sleeping features he could scarcely breathe.

Leith. Me son.

As he walked toward the door, Blake found himself laughing in sheer happiness.

After so long, he was finally, truly, home and at peace.


The End.

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  • This book had it all, young love, reunited lovers, romance, a worthy villain, startling plot, battle, and happy ending! Well done, Juliana!

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