In this excerpt from Sons of Alba, Book 2: Son of Redemption, Seumas has just gone off to war, leaving behind his young (secret) bride Fionnaghal. She muses on the future.
How was she supposed to go back now? How could she just pick up her fearsaid and spin wool and pretend that nothing was different?
Mathair seemed to have no difficulty taking up with life, not even an hour after she’d watched Athair ride away with the others. She moved about the house and the yard with the same calm efficiency, her swelling middle no more an obstacle than wee Luthais perched on her hip. But despite her cool serenity, Fionnaghal knew her mother loved her father deeply. Perhaps as much as Fionnaghal loved Seumas.
Just the thought of his name evoked a storm of feeling in her. The name summoned the face, his keen eyes soft with love. Then came the scent of his skin and the rain, and the feel of his arms around her … she must stop the flood of memories, or Mathair would surely see the flood of heat in her cheeks.
She kept her head down to hide her wild joy. She was a wife now. Seumas’ wife. The thought was too wonderful to hold within. And yet she could tell no one. When she’d woken that morning she’d half-wondered if it had all been some kind of fevered dream. But then there was Seumas, across the way with the men, and when their eyes met it was as if they were side by side, touching again, alone in the world.
It was all she could do not to declare their secret to the whole clann. Her hidden joy felt a great deal like shame. But they were handfast – husband and wife before God. There was no shame in what they’d done. When Seumas came back from war they would reveal their marriage and live together at last. He’d only just left. A day seemed an impossible vastness, and yet he’d be gone for months at least.
How would she ever wait until he returned? How would she live if he didn’t?
Mathair seemed to know. If only Fionnaghal could ask her.
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