A puffin trilled a mournful tune, and James‟s knuckles bleached white. She couldn‟t bear seeing that.
He had loved his grandfather so. Why had Harry had to die?
Squinting against threatening tears and blowing rain, she glanced over at Father MacDuff, the oldpriest who had become her spiritual advisor and confidant over forty years ago. He too was steeped intradition, droning on in the old Gaelic language, committing Har
ry‟s soul to God as if this were the
twelfth century rather than the twentieth. Aye, there was good in tradition. Familiarity. Safety.Stability . . .Her old friend met her gaze. She saw his unease,, saw it, and worried that it might be just. Maybeshe
lost her grip on reality. Did the insane know the moment insanity struck them? Did they? Or
were they filled with doubts, or even blissfully ignorant that they‟d slipped over the edge into madness?
The cold fear in her grew stronger, weakening her knees. Shivering, she crossed her chest with herarms and again looked away.
One by one the Cameron stepped forward to drop rose petals on Harry‟s coffin. Harry had hatedroses. Too many thorns, he‟d said. But he had loved their scent
. . . her rose water scent. She closed hereyes and again felt Harry nuzzling her neck, growling his pleasure, nipping at her skin as he had fifty years ago. As he had a week ago. She drew in a deep breath, shuttered thoughts that he would never holdher again, then opened her eyes.
Since only petals fell, she didn‟t stop the Cameron mourners. Her Harry
would carry her scent with him through eternity; her scent, and her heart.Celwyn, the Cameron maid, stepped forward and dropped her yellow petals, her sob lifting her
d wrung her hands in her coat until it had crumpled the fabric. Her sister, Bronwyn, stoodstone-
faced at Celwyn‟s side, giving her the evil eye for being emotional. Letty paused to again thank God James hadn‟t married
woman, then looked back at Celwyn. She had loved Harry, too.
A tender hitch knotted in Letty‟s chest. Celwyn‟s spreading gossip of Cameron affairs in the villagehad annoyed Letty and, even now, she would be miffed, but to her way of thinking, James‟s people
needed to know their laird could be gentle. That truth had surprised them, to be sure
probably asmuch, if not more than, her own breaking down.
Celwyn glanced up, and Letty saw the worry in her eyes. Heat surged to Letty‟s face, and she shifted
her feet. Her toes had gone numb and were stinging. A blessed state, being numb, but so elusive in timesof tragedy.
She supposed she shouldn‟t have tried to explain Catherine Morgan to Celwyn. The lass was just
too young. Only with age can a body accept that things go on in this world which defy rational
explanation. Only with age comes the presence of mind, and the serenity to accept all one doesn‟t
Harry would‟ve understood. Even with his mother‟s inferior English blood, he would have
understood. Her Harry had been an exceptional, superior man.
The Camerons continued their trek past Harry‟s coffin, their footsteps crackling loudly, turning the
crusted ice into muddy slush that would freeze again long before nightfall. Staring at the wet pine boxlittered with red, white, and yellow rose petals, Letty again suffered the lonely ache, the emptiness of losing Harry.Especially now. Now, when she most needed him to guide her through this terrifying dilemma.Dear, dear Harry. What would he have her do?She looked up at James. His expression had grown masked. Harry would have her tell James. Theirgrandson was strong but not, thank God, as ruthless as the first Cameron laird was said to have beenover nine hundred years ago: a laird whose name her James shared.She sighed. Aye, Harry would have her tell James, have her do the one thing she could not do. Therisks were too high, and she had too little left to lose.Celwyn was back in place with the Camerons and again wringing her hands. Letty fought back a sobof regret.
Oh, Harry. Talking
to her was such a mistake. Yet, I’d had to talk to someone. Finding that diary, learning the woman who’d written it had traveled from this time to that of the first Cameron laird, learning she’d become a Cameron
ancestor and that I had brought her to Cameron . .
. well, who wouldn’t have been stunned? Who wouldn’t need to talk