Confess his unfaithfulness.

His heart hardened, as did his features. Never!

He would never say the words! He would never hurt her like that again...No!...No!

But, what she was asking, God help him! He wanted it as well!

A fresh start...to erase all the suffering he had caused her... Had it been the woman who had taken another to her bed...he would want her dead! And, he would kill the son-of-a-bitch who...

Who... Had done the exact thing he, himself, had done to her.

She would leave him. She would go away again and...this time... Ian searched out his bairn.

This time...she would take his entire world with her when she left.

Last time, he had been confident he would get her back...by any means afforded him. And, he had.

But...to do so...now, this...untruth lay between them. One she apparently could no longer live with

. "I want to trust y', Ian." Katelyn took his face in her hands, her gray eyes beseeching him now, but...was it too late?

Katelyn's God was supposedly one of Love...did the Being understand Ian's love for this woman?

Could He grant forgiveness where none was warranted?

Ian prayed silently for the first time in many, many years.

Give me the words. Give me the strength to tell the truth. Do not take her away from me. I will do anything!...Anything!

But, why? Why should a God Ian never believed in, assist him now? He did not deserve 'assistance'.

And then...he found himself speaking, still holding the woman in a death grip. "You hear these words, Katelyn Fahey...and you heed them!" he whispered his need, his tone laced with the agony he felt in his soul.

"You believe them for truth...for it is exactly what they are..." He tightened his hold and felt her gasp for breath. He refused loosen his grip.

"A man is not like a woman." He began slowly, feeling his way. "A woman feels from her heart...a man...from his soul." He prepared himself, moving just enough to look into her captivating eyes.

"Read my soul..." he allowed all he was feeling in his own gaze.

"I love you with all that I am, have, will and do...I will love you until my dying breath."

Tears welled in her eyes and she placed her fingers over his mouth. "Dinna say anymo..."

"Shhh." He kissed her fingers lovingly. "Look at me." He lifted her face. She needed to 'see'.

"A man can take a hundred women to his bed...and truly want...truly...love...in his soul...only one. Do you understand such a concept? Is it foreign to you, then?"

The smoke eyes allowed the tears to silently fall over the flushed cheeks

. My God...Good Lord, above...he had botched it! He had made the wrong decision.

He never should have admitted he took that wretched woman to his...

What was he going to do? What was he to say? To...make it 'right'?!

There was no way...not...now....

Katelyn's hand lifted, gently brushing a lock of hair from his forehead. Ian was...stupefied, remaining perfectly still under her administrations. "Y'had best never make me weep again." She advised softly, swiping the tears from her cheeks absently. "Do y' hear?"

He...nodded, still stunned, uncertain as to what she was saying...

. "...the wee one sleeps." Katelyn still held his face in her hands.

Ian glanced to the 'wee one', his thoughts, his emotions churning...chaotic. "Aye." He managed, swallowing a lump in his throat.

"Make love to me."

The man's eyes flew to Katelyn's. "...W...W-What!?"

"Dinna y' want to?" her eyes, blinked, her hands falling away, her features, paling.

"...Want to?!" he repeated his...disbelief, then arose from his kneeling position by the bed. "Want to?...do I not...want to?" he snapped angrily.

Katelyn's eyes searched his religiously.

"The bloody physician told me, and to my face...not to touch you a fortnight before the bairn was borne...I might hurt you, so I did not!" he raised his voice with his rising fury. "And now, Michael says you need to 'heal'. Another fortnight, mayhap...longer!" he yelled his frustration and rage.


"Shhhh, you will wake the..."

"Longer, woman and me standing here wanting you so badly I cannot think straight and you ask...dinna I want to?!" he mimicked her accent to perfection. "You are the most stupid...the most...insidiously..." Katelyn's eyes fell to the front of his breeches and to the man's embarrassment, his cock responded accordingly...of its own will, expanding painfully. Bloody damned useless thing!


"I am no 'hurting', Ian." Katelyn lifted a smoldering gaze. "I feel...fine, truly." She leaned, her hands sliding over his hips.

He stared at her. "I am still bleeding, of course. Do y' find that..." she crinkled the pert, little nose. "Distasteful?"


"Mary says some men do...Michael...he dinna." She shrugged. Mary had said so. "I can start m' tea tomorrow."


"...I could..." Katelyn arose, loosening the ties of her gown with slow, tantalizing movements. "I mean...we...could. Well, I could sit on y' lap. Mary says...I can control the...well, you know...the situation that way. I mean...if y' would...like to...try."

"NO!" he grated harshly, moving from the woman's lethal influence hastily. "The physician said...NO! Absolutely not!"

"Oh, posh...I know more about m' own body than he does." She moved closer again, her hands running down the front of his heaving chest area.

"Do not touch me!" he tried to move away, her touch burning through the fabric of his shirt. "You brazen tart! I said, NO and NO is what I meant! I will not be accused of..."

"I have missed you, Ian." Katelyn licked the full, sensual mouth slowly, her eyes lit with a definite invitation. One that made the man all the harder. "It willna take very long." Kaitlyn caught the man's vest, tugging him closer. "I truly have missed you, y' see." She pulled his mouth to hers, her tongue slipping past his lips to flirt shamelessly with the very tip of his own.

Ian groaned piteously. "Do not do this, woman." He broke the kiss more than regretfully. "I...I can not..." he lost his train of thought. "...My...control is...not what it should be." He was loathe to admit.

"Just sit here, Ian." She pulled him closer, her arms going about his neck. "I will do the work." She guided one mammoth hand to her right breast.

Ian moaned his...arousal, his fingers ever so gently molding to the firm orb, touching...stroking, searching out the already peaked nipple, his thumb...

The man jerked away, the feel of the warm flesh through her gown electrifying his entire system. "S-Stop!" he pleaded. "Michael will kill me...if he finds out I...

" "I willna tell him." She sought his mouth again, hungrily...searchingly...wantonly.

Ian felt his defenses crumbling, his passion rising, his control dissolving with each second spent under Katelyn's administrations.

But...but, this was...wrong! He could hurt her. It was far too soon and he had been without her far too long. If he took what she offered, no matter how innocently she did so and he realized the woman did not know what she did.

Not in truth. She needed reassurance of his love and Katelyn equated 'love' with sexual desire.

In time, Ian would teach her the subtle difference and, it would take time...and patience and...and...God, it felt good to hold her in his arms again...to...

The man gently disengaged his lips from the sweetness of her mouth. "Alright." He whispered huskily. "Alright, but..." he eased her arms from about his neckline, kissing the crook of her arm, his tongue flicking the fragrant area lovingly. "We do it...my way."

"Whatever you say, Ian." She was softly compliant for once. "I will do...whatever y' wish." She sat back, her eyes promising him the world. "Anything you...want."

Oh...hell! Whatever he...wished. Anything he...wanted.

Hell! Hell!...HELL!

Ian forced a smile. "I cannot come to you like this." He looked about his person. "I wish to bathe and change."

"And, shave." She pouted prettily. "Y' skin chafes me." She touched his cheek, kissing it tenderly.

"Of course." He ran his hand over his two day growth of beard. "We cannot have that. But, it may take a while. I want you to do something for me, then...will you?"

"I said...anything, Ian." The gray eyes, the soft sultry voice told him she meant it.

He had suddenly never felt more a man. Fuck her!

He forced another smile. "...Lie down. Rest. As I said, I may be a while. I want this...'right'."

"But, I am no tired." She had glanced at the bed.

"Believe me." He swept her body possessively. "You will need the rest." He lifted a smoldering gaze. "Do not think 'once' will satisfy me this night!"

She flushed prettily but soon enough, returned her eyes to his.

"So..." he lifted his brows. "Are you certain you will not rest, just a wee bit?"

"Well." She thought it over. "Mayhap, just until y' return, then."

"Good girl." He leaned, kissing her bruisingly.

Surely, he could be allowed one kiss. But, even that had to be cut short. He reluctantly pulled away.

"You do plan to be 'good', do you not?" he teased, if only to lighten his own bloody mood.

"I can be good, Ian" she blinked innocently. "Or...not...whichever you prefer."

He...grinned. "That is most reassuring." He stepped away, their fingertips lingering interlaced, their eyes searching each other's soul for a very long moment. "Rest." He advised softly.

"I will." She promised. He continued looking at her, his gaze boldly appraising. She downed her head, blushing. "When I have finished with you tonight, nothing will ever make you blush again, woman."

She smiled gently, but did not meet his eyes. "Your Grandmamma says, men are mostly all 'talk' about such things."

"You can give her a report tomorrow, on how very wrong she was, then...can you not."

Katelyn sighed heavily. "If you do not go...y' canna come back...can you." She lifted a provocative gaze.

He inclined his head slightly, moving across the room. He could feel the woman's eyes on him the entire way. He found, he liked the 'feel'. "Rest." He had turned at the door.

She nodded. He exited. The walk down the corridor was one of the longest he had ever made.

Ian entered his room and locked the door, leaning back for support onto the heavy wooden frame, exhaling his pent-up energy.

He closed his eyes, trying to key his body's reaction to his wife's blatant seduction attempts aside. After a few moments, he realized the uselessness of such an endeavor.

He reached to the front of his breeches, unfastening the buttons, reaching inside to his still throbbing cock. He unashamedly, relieved his pain manually. He had done so on a regular basis of late, one more time was not going to matter all that much, to his way of thinking.

This forced abstinence was slowly but surely, killing the man. Manual relief was not that much fun, especially after Katelyn, but it was all that was afforded him of late.

Ian did what had to be done, then took a few moments to calm his system, before putting his instrument away.

He took his time in bathing. He washed his hair, cleaned his teeth and shaved. Ian slept raw but he did don a robe and slippers for the trek back to Katelyn. He noted...his hands shook.

He sighed for the fact. He could not recall being nervous on his wedding night...he had not expected to have a 'wedding night', after all.

This must be what everyone had warned him about. Stupid, really. He and Katelyn had shared the same bed countless times.

But, the fact was evident. He was nervous.

What if his plan had not worked? What if she waited for him?

No...nay, the woman was exhausted. Surely, she would be asleep. Surely!

A part of him wanted that...it was bloody too soon to be rutting at her like a stallion to a mare and that is what he knew it would be like...his control was...his control. What a joke, that.

A greater part wanted her...awake and...ready! As 'ready' as he was for her.

Grandmamma had always accused him of selfishness...among a myriad of other faults.

She, apparently, was correct. But, then...when had the woman not been?

He drank a large glass of whiskey. Courage in a bottle

. He popped a few peppermint leaves into his mouth, to freshen his breath, squared his shoulders and for the first time ever...checked his image in the mirror. He critically examined himself. Gave the subject up for lost and...made his way back to his wife through the quiet, deserted halls.

He was especially quiet passing Michael's room. His brother had moved Mary and the wee one into his domain and Ian did not want to awaken the bairn.

He halted his steps, the sounds coming from behind the closed door quite unmistakable in nature.

Michael, apparently, was not concerned for waking his son.

Ian smiled, moving on...at least one McGowan man was receiving his just dues this night.

Ian entered the room quietly, realizing immediately...Michael would be the only one to have any 'fun' tonight.

The man stood over the sleeping figures of his wife and his new borne daughter.

Katelyn had fed the wee one and changed her. The evidence was on the table by the bed.

Katelyn slept, her arm protectively about the baby.

Ian did not know how long he stood, just watching them sleep. As he did, he reflected silently upon the changes that had taken place in his life.

A year ago, less...one would never have found the man home before the crack of dawn. His time revolved around parties and gambling establishments, questionable friends and female companions...several.

His work had been the only steadying influence in his life...that, and Michael. He had not been unhappy. Or, so he had believed at the time.

Michael had insisted they attend that stupid Highlander Game Day. Ian had not truly wished go, but he could not find it in his heart to refuse his brothers when it came right down to it. And then... He had seen her.

Across the field.

Those gray eyes looking at him as though they saw right through him.

He could never resist a challenge. Katelyn had issued one that day even though she was not aware of the fact. True, the man had not thought her much of a challenge...at first.

He had felt the need to put her in her place...until he realized who she was.

Charles sister.

She had certainly changed from the skinny, obnoxious little brat he had remembered from the summer before. She had become more obnoxious but, she had also filled out quite nicely, over the short span of a year.

They had only 'met' once...and she was so absorbed in a book, she obviously did not remember the incident. He was not certain it was the same girl either, until his grandmother had mentioned Katelyn's name. That day, at the stall, when the little bitch had closed the shop flap directly in his face.

Ian smiled at the remembrance.

His grandmother had warned him even back then...stay away from that one ! She will bring you to your knees, boy!

The old woman's word echoed in his mind.

Ian scowled. A thought striking him. Had his grandmother sit him up? She knew he loved to pursue something he thought he could not have.

Bring him to his knees, indeed...Well, Katelyn had done that a time or two, but...he had never truly minded as it was because she had allowed him between her legs when he had done so.

He grinned at the thought. What he would not give to be in the exact same position now.

He frowned and shifted, his cock reacting to the pleasant thought.

He moved about the bed, easing into the coverlets, careful not to wake Katelyn.

The bairn slept soundly as well. He leaned, kissing the soft little forehead lovingly. He tucked the blanket about the tiny form. He could hold the wee thing in one hand.

Ian did not want to go to a party...or a gambling establishment.

He realized the fact, as he watched his child sleep. He was content here. This is where he wanted to be.

When the hell had it all changed? And...did it really matter?

Now...now!...he was happy.

He felt the difference. He was living the 'difference'.

He watched Katelyn sleep. She looked so angelic. He moved the curls from about her face. She slapped at his hand, but did not awaken.

He chuckled...quietly. God! He wanted the little bitch!

He would make her pay for this hell she was putting him through. The thought made him smile.

He turned on his back, locking his hands behind his head. His mind sorted through several scenarios on that very matter. The last was...most promising. Most promising indeed.

He glanced at an innocently slumbering woman...and...smiled happily.

Life was good.

And, the days to follow and...especially the nights, would be even better.

The man would have eagerly wagered on the fact and... Ian Gregor McGowan never wagered...unless...it was on a sure thing.

When the hell would the woman awaken?

No...nay. That was not a good thing. He must keep reminding himself. Still...how long could it possibly be? She would be better soon. He had waited this long. Michael said, all good things came to those who wait. He could wait. He was sure of it.

He looked once again to his sleeping wife. Bitch! It was just like her...making him wait.

He took to brooding and was happy to do so. It made the time pass more pleasantly. He planned to brood quite a bit more as the days passed. My God...he was beginning to think and act like a Fahey.

This could not be good. Nay, he would simply wait. He would not even brood. There...that was better.

He sighed. Aye...better. He lay down and fell into a rather deep slumber. All would be better tomorrow. It would be fine...on the morrow. Finis