Highland Echoes:Fated Hearts 02(123)

By: Ceci Giltenan

When Grace entered the great hall with Laird Sinclair, Bram’s heart had fallen. How had Sinclair found her? Bram had wanted to protect Grace from this ugliness and she had appeared in the middle of it.

But when Laird Sinclair goaded Da with his threat to kill Grace, Bram was certain his heart stopped altogether. Up until that moment, his father seemed to have nothing but contempt for Grace. However, when she was in danger he had practically begged Sinclair for her life. Da publically accepted her and promised to repair the damage he had done. Even his mother had looked like an angry mother badger when Laird Sinclair threatened Grace. Of course, some of her anger was very rightly directed at Da.

The next thing Bram knew, Sinclair kissed Grace’s cheek, called her “my love”, and let her go.

After all of that, Bram thought nothing could shock him, then he saw the lid of the box. Grace was a Sinclair. The strife of the last few weeks, the heart wrenching fear of the last few moments, all of it could have been avoided if he had only seen the box earlier. But in spite of all that, this meant one thing. Grace was his. Forever. This was the alliance his father wanted from the start and Bram was overjoyed.

Finally the story began to come together, but one thing Sinclair said to Grace continued to echo in Bram’s head even now. I thought perhaps Eanraig needed to realize yer value solely as the woman Bram loved first. Otherwise, ye’d never see it yerself.

Laird Sinclair was right. Bram remembered Grace’s words from weeks ago, I am nothing to ye. I am the cook’s granddaughter. If his father had only accepted her after learning she was a Sinclair, Grace would have always felt like the cook’s granddaughter in his presence.

Now, his beautiful wife, the heart of his heart, sat surrounded by her mother’s family, answering their questions and looking…befuddled. She had been through so much, Bram knew she needed to rest. He wanted the joy of holding her in his arms, knowing all of her fears were gone. However, he was equally as sure it would be nigh on impossible to pry her away from the Sinclairs for a while. But there was something that would both settle her and give the Sinclairs something else on which to focus. “Grace, my love, I’ll go get Kristen and Innes.”

She looked up at him and nodded. “Aye, Kristen should be here.”

As he started to leave the hall, his mother stopped him with Ian at her side. “Bram, let me get them.”

“Mother, I—”

“Nay son, I need to start repairing some of the damage we’ve done. Ian will go with me. Stay here with Grace. This has been overwhelming and she needs ye.”

Bram kissed her cheek. “Thank ye, Mother.”

Ian said, “Besides, when the conversation turns to the events of the last few days, ye may have to stop Laird Sinclair from killing Da.”

It wasn’t long before they returned. Kristen came skipping into the hall holding Ian’s hand, followed by his mother who had her arm around Innes. Kristen let go of Ian’s hand and ran to where Grace sat. “Mama, Wady Suverwand says I can caww her Gwan now, and Sir Ian says I can call him Uncoe Ian.”

As Bram predicted, her daughter was the balm Grace needed. She put her arms around Kristen, lifting the child onto her lap. “Aye, he is yer uncle now.” Grace smiled at his mother. “And Lady Sutherland is yer gran.”

“Can I caww Sir Bwam, Uncoe Bwam?”

“Kristen, do ye remember this morning I told ye Sir Bram and I were married?”

Kristen nodded.

“Well, since yer da is in heaven I figure he would like for ye to have a da here to take care of ye, would ye like for Sir Bram to be yer da?

Kristen’s eyes grew big, her face split into a huge smile, and she nodded vigorously. She looked up him. “Wiww ye be my da?”

Bram thought his heart would burst. He lifted her into his arms. “Aye, if ye’ll be my sweet, wee lassie.”

She giggled. “I’m aweady yer sweet, wee wassie.”

Bram grinned. “Of course ye are, how could I have forgotten?”

“Grandmother, Kristen, there are some other people I want ye to meet. This is Laird Sinclair, he my mama’s brother.”

Innes curtsied, “Good afternoon, laird.”