“Alaric?” she whispered.

“Aye, love?”

“Are you setting me aside? Because I’ll tell you ’tis a rotten thing to do after I live. I’ll not go so quietly this time. You’re my husband, and I won’t just give up my husband so he can marry another.”

The petulance in her voice made him chuckle. She sounded supremely irritated and aggrieved that such a thing was possible.

He kissed her nose and laid his cheek against hers. “Nay, love. You’re stuck with me, I’m afraid. I’ve defied the king and my brother and about twelve other clans in the process, not to mention the bastard Laird McDonald who you did not tell me had attacked you just days ago.”

“Mmm, you did all that for me?” she asked sleepily.

“Aye, I did.”

She smiled against his neck. “I love you. Did I tell you that I strongly considered dying but that I couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing you, even if you were married to another woman?”

He scowled down at her and touched her chin so that she’d look straight into his eyes. “You’ll not ever even think of such a thing again, do you hear? I forbid you from dying.”

“Very well then, since you forbid it, I should tell you that I plan to make a full recovery. The wound is very painful and ’tis the truth I feel like retching every time I move wrong, but I plan to be up and around in a week’s time, mark my words.”

He chuckled at the arrogant words and then hushed her with a gentle kiss to her mouth.

“I love you, Keeley McCabe. You are truly a McCabe now. We are married in the eyes of God and our clansmen. All that is required now is the consummation.”

She groaned. “That part’s going to have to wait awhile.”

He hugged her to him as carefully as he was able and he just held on, absorbing the sheer joy of having her alive, belonging to him, of being able to tell the world he loved her.

“I’ll wait as long as it takes, my love. We have the rest of our lives to consummate our marriage. In fact, I think we should make it a point to consummate it on a daily basis. After you are well, of course.”

She sighed and pressed her cheek to his chest. “I love you, Alaric McCabe. And I’m willing to do a trial run of our consummation next week if you should so desire.”

He laughed and maneuvered so he could capture her lips in a long, delicious kiss. “ ‘So desire’? Lass, there isn’t anything I desire more in this world than a life with you filled with love, laughter, and children.”

She yawned and closed her eyes, and he watched her drift off to sleep against his chest. Surely there was not a more precious sight than her sprawled over his body, and no sweeter knowledge than the fact that she was truly his. For as long as they drew breath.

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