Sentimental, Tara draped an arm around her shoulders. “I’d like that.”
Wasting no time, Amber jumped off her lap and ran for a knife.
It took only a few seconds to complete their chant and mixing of blood. Tara had to hold back a laugh at the seriousness in which Amber did the deed. Once done, they both smiled and nursed their sore fingertips.
“Now, I will know you are safe too.” Amber snuggled back into Tara’s lap, resting her arm over her waist. “You and the baby.”
Tara settled into the chair before Amber’s words registered. “What baby?”
“Yours silly.” Ambers giggle had her entire body shaking.
“But, I don’t have a baby.”
“This one,” she put her small hand on Tara’s flat stomach.
Tara laughed at her, a nervous little laugh that had her pushing her brows together in a thoughtful frown. She shook her head and closed her eyes.
“No,” she told Amber. “That’s not possible…”
Amber continued to chuckle.
Tara stood up, tossing Amber out of her lap in the process. “That’s not…” Using her fingers, Tara started to count. “It’s not…” Then it hit her. It had been well over seven weeks since her last cycle.
“I’m pregnant.” Tara stared off, completely ignoring the young girl who watched her every move.
How could I have been so blind? Morning sickness and sleeping all day. I would have made a terrible nurse. She sucked in her lower lip. “A baby,” she whispered. I’m going to be a Mom.
Fin didn’t protest Tara’s request that all the metal dishes be done away with to make way for ceramic and glass. But he would have preferred Duncan drag someone else on his errand.
The bathroom she insisted on building was mind-boggling. Mainly because he was having a hard time making it happen. He hoped Myra would return sooner than later with the book on plumbing Tara told her to get.
He voiced his complaints to Duncan as they worked their way back to the Keep. The cart was loaded down with dishes and pans making the ride slow, thus allowing them time to talk. Or in Fin’s case, complain.
“The Keep has not had a central place to bathe since it was built. Why does it need one now?”
Duncan clicked his tongue. “’Tis a simple request, Fin. One you would like, if you could make it happen.”
“I haven’t seen you scratching your head on this.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Busy?” Fin and Duncan rode their horses alongside the cart that was driven by one of the Keep’s servants. “Ah yes, busy—busy counting the spiders in the cabins outside the Keep’s walls with your bride.” He rolled his eyes. “Such busy work.”
Duncan rode in silence.
“What? Nothing to say? No retort?”
Duncan reined his horse behind the cart to stay out of earshot of the driver.
“I worry, Fin. Tara’s not been well. She tells me she’s fine, but she’s not.”
Duncan’s sobering words wiped the smile off Fin’s face. “Worried is all she is. We all are.”
“I hope ’tis all it is.”
Fin changed the subject to distract his brother from fretting over much. “Do you know the advice she gave to our sister before she left?”
“Which advice do you speak of?”
“Tara suggested Myra lose her virginity if she gets desperate.”
“I’m not surprised at Tara’s words. I should have thought to say the same thing.”
“Your wife is very open with our sister.”
“You don’t approve?”
“It’s not that, it’s… Dammit, Duncan, doesn’t it bother you that Myra could right now be—”
“Nay, it doesn’t,” Duncan said, cutting him off.
“Myra is very wise and will take care of herself. I’m grateful for Tara’s coaching.”
“I hope her knowledge is helpful to Myra now.”
“I think it is. One of us would know if she were in trouble.”
“What about the risk here?” Fin asked. “Do you think ’tis great?”
“If it drove Myra from us, than it should be thought of as such.”
“I want her back,” Fin exclaimed.
“We all do.” Duncan looked toward the Keep and smiled.
“What is it?”
“Tara is singing again.”
Fin went to the kitchens through one of the back doors. Duncan led the horses to the stables. He made sure they were compensated well for their journey before making his way inside. He scarcely got in the door before Tara leapt into his arms, squealing and nearly knocking him off his feet.
“I thought you’d never get home.” Tara pecked kisses all over his face, while he held her off the floor. She latched her legs around his waist and took advantage of the fact it took both of his hands to hold her up. “I missed you.”
The maids who rushed to the hall when they heard her squeal, wore shocked expressions.
His dismissive glance had them scurrying out of the room.
“Feeling better, I see,” Duncan said, holding her butt with both hands trying to ignore his physical reaction to their intimate embrace.
“I feel great.” She caught his lips in a deeper kiss. She slid down his frame almost as quickly as she had jumped on it. “And hungry. I could eat a horse.”
“No more sickness then?”
“I could only hope. But my guess is I’ll have to deal with that for a little longer.” She smiled, leading him to the dining hall.
“Deal with what? You’d tell me if you were ill, wouldn’t you, Tara?”
“I’m not ill.” She turned to him now. “In fact, I’ve never felt better.” She made a show of holding both his hands and gazed up at him with misty eyes. “I have a surprise for you.”
“What surprise, my playful wife?”
Her body wiggled closer, her mind and thoughts slipped in as well. We’re going to have a baby!
Duncan’s eyes flew open wide. He skimmed over her thin waist. His jaw dropped.
He stared, and said nothing, bending his head to study her. “Are you certain?”
She nodded, and did a little happy dance.
Duncan’s heart burst with happiness. He crushed her into his arms. A primal howl escaped as he twirled her in circles.
Every maid, servant, knight, and family member within earshot ran to the room. “What happened?” several voices asked.