Warrior's Moon
comment or argument, telling Shona that it was for the best. They had not known she carried his child then. She had not known it, either.
    She’d had a feeling and taken Caelis aside to express her worries, but he’d adamantly denied any possibility that she could have his child in her womb. He’d gone so far as to say that if she were with child, it must be another man’s by-blow.
    Sick at heart from the memories and unable to stomach the sight of him one more moment, she turned away.
    He made a sound like denial and plea all rolled into one, but she ignored it. Just as he had ignored her begging and desperate words of love six years ago.
    “Mummy?” Eadan’s little boy hand tugged at hers.
    She looked down at her son, always so beautiful to her regardless of the memories his visage kept alive. “Yes, sweeting?”
    “You are sad.”
    “No.” She was not lying.
    It was so much more than sadness. Despair fought for control, but she would not give in. She was stronger than that.
    “I can smell it,” Eadan chided.
    He was always saying things like that.
    She squeezed his hand. “I am well.”
    “You are tired,” Audrey corrected. “Too exhausted by worry and travel for this discussion.”
    Thankfully, the goblet of watered wine arrived then, delivered by a smiling young woman who looked like the princess Caelis had called Marjory.
    “Drink, it will help,” she said in tones that soothed. “I am Ciara, oldest daughter of Talorc and Abigail.”
    She was too close in age to Abigail not to be adopted, but Shona had enough manners not to remark on it. “Thank you.”
    She hadn’t the wherewithal for further pleasantries.
    “You are most welcome. Mother is quite excited to have an Englishwoman visiting who can share news of her former homeland.”
    “No news of England is always good in my eyes,” the laird opined.
    Ciara laughed. “Watch yourself, Father, or one extra guest room will be in use tonight, I am sure. And I do not think it will be one with a comfortable bed.”
    Surprisingly, everyone laughed at that, rather than taking offense, even the laird himself.
    The banter went on around Shona, but she paid it no heed. Drinking the watered wine in small sips, she was proud that she did not require Audrey’s assistance to bring the wooden goblet to her lips.
    At some point, everyone had stopped talking. And now they all looked at her, an air of expectation indicating someone had asked her something they expected her to answer.
    “I’m sorry?” Shona looked to Audrey to tell her what had been missed.
    But the Englishwoman simply shook her head.
    “Further talking will wait. It is clear that Lady Heronshire needs her rest. If you will allow your children to keep mine company until the latemeal is served, you can find rest in your guest chamber, my lady,” Abigail said with perfect manners and in clearly native English.
    Shona wanted to accept without caveat, but she did not know these people, no matter what she thought she knew
of
them. There was also Caelis to consider and his undeniable desire to now claim Eadan as his son.
    Could Shona trust the Sinclairs to stop him from leaving the keep with the boy?
    “Do not worry, I will stay with them,” Thomas offered. “Brian and Drost are bound to like the game of sticks I taught Eadan this past winter.”
    “We like games very much,” Drost agreed, so obviously trying to comfort the adult woman falling to pieces in his father’s great hall, Shona wanted to cry.
    She managed a very forced smile instead. “Thank you.”
    “I will go with you,” Audrey said, proving her friend’s staunch support and ability to see correctly that Shona had reached the very end of her tether.
    After she slept, she would again be strong, but right now, Shona had naught left to give to the circumstances so overwhelming her.
    “I would have your word,” she said to Niall, falling back on instincts when reason was too difficult to employ. “You will not allow Caelis to

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