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About the author:
I've always been an avid reader and love a wide variety of genre depending on my mood for the day. My favorites include romance, spanking romance, erotic romance, post-apocalyptic fiction and historical fiction.
One of my favorite things to do is spending time with my family as I think of new stories to write. Hope you enjoy the books.
Follow me on twitter at @Bethanyhauck11
or send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I'll gladly answer any questions you may have, an e-mail you about new releases in 'The McCabe' series.
For updates on new releases, you can look at my blog on my Goodreads page at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17003489.Bethany_Hauck
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Here is a short sample from the book:
Chapter 1. Eadan
“You have to go with your Da now, laddie,” Kirstie said as she tried to pry Eadan Hamish’s arm from around her neck so she could hand him to Eadan. The little boy had been especially clingy lately.
“Nay,” the one-year-old cried, trying to tighten his grip. “Kissy.”
“I’ll give you kissy,” Kirstie teased as she kissed the little boy all over his face, making him laugh, squirm and let go of her neck. She quickly handed him to Eadan, but he immediately began to cry, wanting to go back to Kirstie.
“Kissy, Kissy,” he cried, stretching his arms out towards her.
“Maybe I shouldn’t take him,” Eadan said. “But I’d hate to be away from him for so long.”
“There’s another solution,” Hamish McCabe told his son. “You could just take Kirstie with you.”
“That wouldn’t be proper, Da,” Eadan said, “you know I can’t have her out at the lodge without any other women around. I was only planning on my squire, Eadan Hamish and myself going.”
“There are two structures out there,” Hamish told his son, “my Da always took a cook, a maid, and a squire with him. The servant’s hut should still be standing.”
“So you want me to put Kirstie in a hut with the squire?” Eadan asked.
“Nay,” Hamish said, “take a maid, take a cook and take Kirstie. If there’s another woman with you, then her reputation ought to be fine. You and the squire can stay in the lodge. Which of the lads are you taking?”
“You remember Robert? He was one of the lads Ham, Ross and Fiona saved off the cliff,” Eadan told him. “He’s a good lad, I’ve grown fond of him.”
“Aye,” Hamish answered, “I remember him. He is a good lad, I’ve talked with him a few times.”
Eadan thought about what his Da had suggested. He really didn’t want to take Kirstie with him, and he could think of two reasons why. First, although he’d tried to learn more about her, she didn’t talk about her past very often. He always felt like she was trying to hide something. He wasn’t sure she was the best person to be around his son, but Eadan Hamish had taken one look at her when she’d arrived at Gleann a month ago, and latched onto her. With his wife Nessa’s death being so recent, he’d asked Kirstie to stay on and care for the lad.
The second reason was more personal, even though Eadan fought his feelings. In truth, there what just something about the lass that drew his eye. Every time Eadan saw Kirstie, he couldn’t help but watch her. She was a beautiful woman, and he couldn’t help but wonder why she wasn’t married yet. Although he tried to keep his distance, when they did talk, he found he liked the sound of her voice and wanted to know more about her. He’d promised Nessa before she died he’d find another wife and marry, but it was a promise he never intended to keep.
Finally, he made a decision. It would be best for Eadan Hamish to have someone who loved him there when Eadan had to be away from the lodge. Although he had questions about Kirstie’s past, he never questioned that she loved his son, he could see it on her face every time she looked at the lad. He knew his son returned her affections.
“What do you think, Kirstie?” Eadan asked reluctantly, “would you go if I took another woman with us?”
Kirstie thought about it. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Although she loved his son, Eadan McCabe always made her nervous when he was around. He was just too handsome, and he seemed to always be watching her whenever he was in the same room. She knew he was curious about her; he asked far too many questions about where she’d grown up in the Highlands. So far she’d avoided answering any of them and had been able to keep her secret. She’d never admit it, but she wondered what it’d be like to kiss Eadan, and had even dreamed about it more than once.
Glancing over at the lad she’d grown so close to in a short time, and seeing the look on Eadan Hamish’s face, she too made a decision. If a maid and cook were also going, then she wouldn’t be left alone with Eadan. At least that was how she justified her decision.
“Aye,” she said, reaching up and taking Eadan Hamish back, calming the lad quickly, “I’ll go.” Eadan Hamish again grabbed hold of her and smiled before laying his head down on her chest.
“Then it’s settled,” Hamish said, “I’ll ask for one of the older maids to go with you, that’ll protect the lasses reputation.”
“Thanks, Da,” Eadan said. “How long will it take you to pack, Kirstie?”
“Not long,” Kirstie told him, “I came here with nothing, so the only things I have are the few possessions I’ve acquired since then.”
Eadan felt a little guilty at her words. He’d forgotten that Kirstie left England with Emelia and Owen so quickly she wasn’t able to bring anything with her. He knew someone had been looking after the lasses needs, and assumed it was his sister by marriage, Flora. He’d have to remember to thank her for that the next time he saw her.
“We’ll leave as soon as you’re ready then,” Eadan said. “I’ll saddle another horse at the stable and meet you out front. We can pull the maid and cook in the cart of supplies I’m taking. Robert is already waiting with it near the gate, and there’s plenty of room.”
“Where will Eadan Hamish ride?” Kirstie asked.
“With me,” Eadan told her, “he loves when I take him riding. It’s only a few hours journey to my Grandda’s lodge.”
“Aye,” Kirstie said, taking Eadan Hamish with her since he was hanging onto her tightly. “I’ll go get my things together.”
Eadan went to the stables and began saddling another horse. He wondered if maybe he could get some straight answers from the lass while they were staying at the lodge. He just couldn’t understand how she’d ended up in England taking care of Emelia Scott, now Emelia McCabe. Her Scottish burr gave away the fact that she was most certainly raised in Scotland.
His mind wandered to his new sisters by marriage and brothers. Owen and Alastair had left for the Lowlands less than a sennight ago. They were taking their brides back to their childhood home. A place neither had set foot in since that night six summers earlier when Stephen Thompson attacked their clan, killed their parents, and stole Emelia. He hoped they made it to Branxholme safely and enjoyed their reunion. He’d miss them, but knew they’d be back next spring.
“Eadan,” he heard a familiar voice call and turned to see Father McMurphy standing behind him. “I see you’re getting ready to leave.”
“Aye, Father,” Eadan said. “I’m just waiting for Kirstie to pack a few things.”
“You’re taking Eadan Hamish’s nurse?” Father McMurphy asked, raising one eyebrow. He was silently pleased with the arrangement but didn’t show it; he’d seen Eadan watching the girl more than once.
“And a maid and cook,” Eadan said, hoping to put the Father at ease. “It wouldn’t be proper for the lass to be there with just me and my squire.”
“I agree,” Father McMurphy replied. “I’ll miss our talks while you’re gone.”
“I want to thank you for all you’ve done for me,” Eadan said.
“All I’ve done is listen,” Father McMurphy told him. “While you’re gone though, think about what I’ve said. I do believe you can find happiness with another. No man should spend the rest of his life alone.”
“My Da’s done well enough,” Eadan said.
“He has,” Father McMurphy agreed. “But that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone.”
“It’ll have to be the right choice for me,” Eadan said as he finished saddling the horse and gave it a pat on the neck. “I loved Nessa, but the marriage had problems, and I don’t want to go through that again.”
“You promised the lass that you’d look for a Mither for Eadan Hamish,” Father McMurphy reminded him.
“Aye,” Eadan agreed. “But that doesn’t mean I have to find one.”
“I’ve been summoned to Edinburgh; I’m supposed to be there in a sennight,” Father McMurphy told him, changing the subject since they’d been over this before. “Do you mind if I stop and visit with you at the lodge on my way?”
“You know where it is?” Eadan asked.
“Aye,” Father McMurphy told him, “I’ve stopped and slept there in my travels more than once. Your Da suggested it.”
“You’re traveling alone?” Eadan asked.
“I prefer to travel alone,” Father McMurphy told him. “Everyone knows that priests don’t have coin or worldly possessions to steal. I’ll be well.”
“Then I’d be glad to have you,” Eadan told him. “Our talks have helped me a lot, but I think getting away from Gleann for a month or two will help even more.”
“I understand,” Father McMurphy said and nodded. “I’ll be seeing you soon. I’ll pray for good weather and safe travels.” He waved as he walked away.
Eadan looked up into the sun, wondering what was taking Kirstie so long. It was still early, but he was ready to head out. He wanted to be at the lodge well before nightfall.
“I thought you left already,” he heard his brother Ham ask as he walked towards him.
“Nay, not yet,” Eadan answered.
“What are you waiting for?” Ham asked.
“Kirstie,” Eadan told him.
“You’re taking the lass?” Ham asked. Although he was surprised, he was pleased. Eadan complained about the lass way too much, and Ham knew his brother liked Kirstie more than he’d ever admit.
“Aye,” Eadan scowled and answered, “Eadan Hamish refused to leave her. I can either take her and have a happy son, or leave her and listen to him scream the first part of the journey.”
“I thought it was just you, Eadan Hamish and Robert going?” Ham asked. “The lass is going to stay in the lodge with just the three of you?”
“Nay,” Eadan answered, then laughed as he added, “you know that wouldn’t be proper. I’d end up having to marry her like you did Flora.”
“Getting trapped in that cave with Flora was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Ham said, grinning.
“How is she feeling?” Eadan asked.
“Uncomfortable,” Ham answered.
“It won’t be much longer,” Eadan said, “once the bairn is born she’ll feel better.”
“Aye,” Ham agreed then added, “Ina’s almost certain it’s bairns.”
“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Eadan said, “she’s getting pretty large.”
“Don’t say that to her,” Ham said, laughing out loud. “I don’t think I’d be able to protect you.”
“I wouldn’t dare,” Eadan teased, jokingly cringing in fear. He then became more serious and added, “if you need me for anything, you know where I’ll be. Send for me, and I can be back in less than a day.”
“We’ll be fine, Eadan,” Ham assured him. “You go do what you need to. Me and Da will take care of Gleann, but when you return, I’m turning it back over to you. It’s going to be strange around here with everyone gone.”
“Rory and Craig are still around,” Eadan answered.
“They are,” Ham agreed. “Da’s told them no visiting until you return.”
“Did he include himself in that order?” Eadan asked, grinning again.
“Nay,” Ham said, grinning back. “He’s already talking about going to visit Jacqueline and Connor first, then Ross and Angela. He can’t seem to stay away from his grandchildren.”
“Soon he’ll have two more here,” Eadan said. “That should make him happy.”
“I hope you find happiness again while you’re away. I think you’re right, and this trip will do you good. You seemed better already after being away to deal with Thompson,” Ham said seriously. “Plus, I don’t want to be Laird here for long. Gleann is yours to run as you see fit.”
“Aye, I’ll be ready to take over when I return,” Eadan assured him. “I just need to get away from the memories of Nessa.”
“Aye,” Ham agreed. “Losing the lass was hard.”
“It was,” Eadan agreed. “We had our problems, but I did love her.”
“I know,” Ham said, “we all did.”
“Aye,” Eadan said.
“So how are you going to get out of marrying the lass?” Ham asked, trying to lighten the mood.
“Da’s looking for a maid and cook now,” Eadan answered. “There won’t be any weddings in my future.”
“You never know what the future holds. Safe travels, brother,” Ham told him, giving Eadan a quick brotherly hug. “I better get back to my wife, if I can find her.”
“I don’t think you can lose her right now,” Eadan said and grinned once more.
“I’ll tell her you said so,” Ham said and turned towards the castle.
“Not until after I leave,” Eadan called after him and laughed again as Ham walked away with a wave.
“We’re ready,” Kirstie said, still holding Eadan Hamish on her hip with one hand as she carried a satchel in the other. “Did the Laird find a maid and cook?”
“He hasn’t come back out yet,” Eadan told her, taking Eadan Hamish from her. This time the boy came willingly, although he made sure Kirstie stayed close. “You do ride don’t you?”
“I do,” Kirstie answered. “I hadn’t for a long time, but I had to learn how to again on the long ride from England to Stirling, and then here. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.”
“Good,” Eadan said, “I picked out one of the gentler horses for you.”
“Thank you,” Kirstie said as she tied her bag to the side of the horse and began talking quietly to him as she patted his neck. Eadan stood and watched as the horse seemed to listen to every word she was saying.
“Betty has agreed to go with you,” Hamish said as he returned with the older maid. “I couldn’t find a cook on such short notice, but Betty can cook as well.”
“You don’t mind?” Eadan asked the older woman.
“Nay,” she said. “As long as I don’t have to ride there, I’ll go. Cooking and taking care of three people is much easier than cooking for the guards here.”
“Aye,” Eadan said, nodding at her. “I appreciate you going on such short notice. Let me help you into the cart, and we can be on our way.” Eadan led his horse and the older woman to the cart near the front gate and helped her climb into the back. Kirstie followed leading her horse.
“You be careful out there, son,” Hamish said as he helped Kirstie mount her horse. “If you need us, just send Robert, we’ll be there as soon as we can.”
“We’ll be fine, Da,” Eadan assured him. “I told Ham the same thing, if you need me, just send for me.”
“I hope you find the peace you’re looking for,” Hamish said, putting his hand on the side of his oldest sons face. “Stay safe.”
“I will, Da,” Eadan said as he mounted his horse. “I’ll be back in a month, two at the most.” He then kicked his horse gently, and the beast began moving forward with Kirstie beside him and the cart following closely behind.