Silent Vows (Page 61)

Silent Vows (MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy #2)(61)
Author: Catherine Bybee

His mouth returned to hers, and with every thrust, he took what was his. Her body quivered around his, and in one final gasp, he emptied into her.

It was the first time Myra saw Todd dressed for battle. His horse stood tall next to her brothers’ and her father’s. His sword, the one she had given him in the twenty-first century, was sheathed and resting on his hip. He had a crossbow strapped across his back where he could reach it with ease. Beneath his tunic, she knew he carried his modern weapons. His guns. They had made love twice the night before.

When he reached for her a third time, she feigned a tired state. In fact, she simply wanted him rested and ready to face the challenges of this day.

Although she knew there was a chance he might not return from the fight, Myra focused on the advantages Todd held on his side. He would battle the evil of Grainna alongside her father, Duncan and Fin. In nearly every step of her day thus far, she prayed, for her husband and family’s safe return.

All the women who were left behind would be with them still in spirit. They would watch and warn them of dangers they did not see and do everything within their power, individually and collectively, to bring them home alive.

Myra and Todd repeated their handfasting vows before all of the family and knights under her father’s rule at first light. The binding ceremony was brief.

Myra stood and watched her husband from afar.

She promised herself not to cry, not to show him the fear growing deep inside the pit of her chest, threatening to swallow her whole. Yet as she walked through the courtyard and passed her family, they said their goodbyes, and the tears came. Not simply for her, but for all of them.

Duncan stood next to Tara, his hands on her swollen belly. “We will be back, lass.”

Tara shook her head; her voice wavered with pain. “I know. I know. I’m not having this baby without you.”

“I didn’t survive Grainna once to die at her hand now.”

“You better not, dammit. Or I’ll make your world hell in our next life,” she grimaced.

Myra caught Lizzy’s eye. Fin was speaking to Simon, who would pop his head up and look his mother’s way every once in a while and nod.

Lizzy walked to her son. Fin’s hand rested on his shoulder. Myra noticed tears in Simon’s eyes. He wiped at his eyes, desperately trying to rid his face of the wetness.

Pain rolled off Simon in waves that even Myra felt. She swallowed the knot that threatened to block her lungs.

“Hey, sport?” Lizzy grinned as she spoke, but Myra wasn’t fooled.

“Hey, mom.” Simon stared at his feet as he shuffled them on the ground.

Fin watched Lizzy approach. Myra hoped they would make peace before their battle.

“Why the long face? You don’t have to worry about Fin. He’s too ornery to let a woman get the best of him.” Lizzy’s words brought a lift to Simon’s lips.

Fin chuckled. “Your mom’s right. Remember what I said, I’ll be back in less than a week.”

Simon gave him a fierce hug then ran to Tara.

Lizzy’s gaze followed her son. When she turned back to Fin, he was watching her intently. Myra noticed Lizzy shifting her feet under his stare.

“Well, you should get going. You don’t want them leaving without you,” Lizzy said.

She stumbled over what to say. He lifted his pack and moved toward his horse.

“Fin,” she called to him.

“Aye?” He turned.

At first Myra didn’t think Lizzy was going to say a thing. Then her smile faded. “Don’t die.”

His eyes widened at her words. Myra’s throat tightened when Lizzy turned to walk away.

Myra turned away and noticed her father holding Amber and kissing the top of her head.

“Take care of your mother.”

“I will, father.”

“Cian,” he said to his son. “Take care of everything.”

Cian stood tall, understanding his father’s meaning behind the words.

“What about me?” Lora asked.

Ian’s lips didn’t move, but her mother’s face softened in a way that told Myra he said something tender with his mind. She envied their link, their bond that gave them the ability to talk to each other that way.

“You.” He grabbed her waist, bent her back.

“Take care of you, so I have a reason to return.” It was his last words to her every time he went off in battle.

When he lifted his head from kissing his wife, he looked over and saw Myra staring.

“Come here,” he bid.

She ran all but two steps and fell into his embrace.

“I’ll bring him home to you,” he promised.

Although she knew there were no guarantees, the child in her wanted to cling to his words and cast away any worry she held.

“Be safe,” she said before stepping from his arms.

This time when she glanced up, the only one watching was Todd. His battle wear newly placed, his skills ready to meet an enemy, but could he best Grainna? Myra shook the thought from her head and walked to stand before him, tears streamed down her face. She cursed them, wishing for the strength her mother held, or that of Lizzy.

“Don’t cry. I’m coming back.” Todd wiped the tears off her cheeks and held her face within his hands.

She didn’t trust herself to speak, instead she moved into his arms and lifted her mouth to his. He pressed firm against her frame, one hand cradled her head while the other rested intimately at the small of her back. One kiss reminded her of every moment they’d shared, every kiss they gave.

Myra tore her lips from his only to move them to his ear. “Come back to me.”

“I will.”

She smiled into his eyes, ignoring the stares of several of her father’s men who watched. “I almost forgot.” She pulled back and reached into the pocket of her dress. She removed a pendent attached to a chain. Its Celtic lines and circles were etched in gold and sparkled in the glint of the sun. “Lizzy called it my lucky rabbit’s foot. I don’t know what she meant, but she said you would understand.”

Todd bent his head while she put it on him. He held the charm in his hand. “Thank you.”

He kissed her again.

“I love you,” she whispered.

He sighed at her confession. “I love you, too.”

Myra knew his words solidified their bond. As new tears swelled, she heard her father mount his horse.

“’Tis time we go,” Ian called.

They saddled up and prepared to leave.

“Close the gates behind us, Gregor,” Ian bellowed. “To all who stand here now, ye are to follow the guidance set out by my son, Cian. Ye are to protect our women and children at all costs.”