Dear Readers,

The Teatime Tattler’s most dedicated reporter in the Scottish highlands has unearthed the following letter, found in an attic chest. (To protect our reporter, we cannot in good conscience reveal the precise location.) The letter reveals astonishing news about those perpetually feuding clans MacKai and MacTavish. Could it be that after all it was a MacKai lady, who began the troubles between the clans, and not a bear-like MacTavish as has always been believed. Read on and judge for yourselves. We can only imagine how the current Earl of T and a certain Lady M will take this news of their respective ancestors.

Dearest Brother and Sisters,

I pray you have not been too worried by my disappearance these past months. I write to ensure you that I am as safe as God can make me and to confess that, with the best of intentions, I have deceived you all. I hope you will forgive me when I tell you that I, not our sister Keeva, wed Laird Iver MacTavish, Earl of Trossachs.

In my heart, I know that a match between Keeva and the earl would have led to her early death from sheer unhappiness. The earl is a crude, arrogant, aggressive and demanding man. Our gentle Keeva would not have lasted a year in marriage with him. Pride and honor, I am certain, would not permit her to desert such an unhappy union. The only alternative to avoiding the misery of a bad marriage, caused me to fear for Keeva’s immortal soul. As I love her and all my family, I knew I must prevent the marriage.

Brother, having given MacTavish his choice of your sisters as bride, you could not honorably forbid Keeva to wed him. ‘Twas a mistake, for which I forgive you, as I believe God will forgive you. The aid of Clan MacTavish in defeating the English invasion of our home was essential, so of course you agreed to their laird’s demands in order to gain his cooperation. I am equally certain, that to preserve your honor and that of Clan MacKai, Keeva would enter the marriage no matter her feelings about the bear of Trossachs.

I can only ask that you will forgive me for sending Keeva to England and taking her place in the proxy ceremony. I was glad you had been called away on the day of the ceremony. Still I was heavily veiled to maintain my deception with our sisters.

As for Keeva, the night before the ceremony I gave her a sleeping potion and had her taken aboard a ship bound for Moriancabris. From there she was delivered to the care of your father-in-law, Earl Du Grace at Castle Blancmer. I sent with her a letter to the earl, asking that he guard Keeva well until spring when calmer seas would permit her return to Dungarob and our family.

So, you see, both Keeva and I are safe. Laird MacTavish was not happy about the substitution. Nonetheless, I believe with time and prayer, he will come to see the benefit of having a wife whose faith in God will save him and all his clan. He has already unbent so far as to permit a priest to take up residence at Trossachs to care for the chapel and the clan’s souls. I pray daily for the time when my husband will learn to share my faith in God and set a true example for his people by attending chapel daily and confessing his sins so his soul may be washed clean.

I have made my own confession, and our priest with God’s wisdom urged me to write this letter in addition to the other penance I have suffered to atone for my deception. Please write to let me know that I am forgiven. If my husband agrees and you will permit it, I hope to visit Dungarob this summer. Give my love to all.

Your sister

Brigdhe MacKai MacTavish

About The Taming of Iver MacTavish: Determined to save her younger sister from a marriage worse than death, Brigdhe MacKai, commits a number of sins in order to become wife to Lord MacTavish, The Bear of Trossachs. She trusts that God and her family will understand, even if MacTavish does not. Is her faith strong enough to create an enduring love match from the ashes of deception and lies?

The Taming of Iver MacTavish is the first in my MacKai Brides series of novellas. The story is a work in progress, which I hope to have available to my newsletter subscribers and Rue’s Crew members before September. For updates, watch here or at Rue’s Crew.