Authors: Cassidy Cayman
“Don’t worry about that,” Mellie said.
She and Shane exchanged a knowing look, and Piper once again got the feeling they weren’t getting the whole story. But as Lachlan had said, they were safe and sound, so she let it go.
“That’s the final detail,” Evie said, putting her phone down at last. “Hey, Mel, as long as you’re giving opinions, tell me what you think of these baby names.”
Piper groaned. Evie’s names were the worst, but she didn’t have the heart to say it, since she’d been the one to inadvertently saddle Magnus with his name and Evie was now trying to find something that matched it.
“So, for a boy, I like Mansfield or Merlyn, but we’d spell it with a y so no one thinks he’s named after the wizard.”
“But it would totally be after the wizard, right?” Mellie asked.
“Well, yeah,” Evie said. “Do you think we should forget about the creative spelling? Ugh, we’ll probably just name it after Sam’s brother if it’s a boy, anyway. For a girl it’s either Morag or Marigold. I personally like Marigold, because then if Piper has a girl, she can use a flower name too.”
“Marigold is awful, and I would never name my daughter after a flower,” Piper said.
Shane barked a laugh and Mellie dragged him toward her room with a scowl. “I actually like Marigold a lot. You could call her Goldie for short. See you all tomorrow, sorry for worrying you.”
“She’s a genius,” Evie said. “Goldie is perfect. I bet Sam will love it, too.”
Piper had to admit it was a definite improvement, and that Mellie was indeed a genius for thinking of it. At least if Evie had a girl and she got stuck with the name Marigold, she’d have a cute nickname.
“Now that we have everything taken care of, I’m going to take this fat little man home and get dinner for my husband.” Evie whispered the last two words, even though Mellie was out of the room.
Piper grinned, still enamored with saying it as well. “Would you like to eat in the village with my husband and me? I’m sure we’ll run into loads of people you can tell about Mellie.”
“Let the poor lass be,” Lachlan said. “But, aye, let’s eat in the village. I got the impression that Mellie wouldna be making dinner tonight.”
Piper and Evie erupted into school girl giggles. “I’m sure she has a lot of shows to catch up on, being out in the woods so long.”
Lachlan took the heavy diaper bag while Evie loaded Magnus into his carseat. They’d collect Sam at the bookstore and gather near the fire at the pub— she could already feel its inviting warmth, see the smiling faces of her most beloved people surrounding her. She followed them out, her contentment overflowing into perfect happiness.
As she closed the door behind her, she patted the ancient stone wall of her ramshackle castle. It had been a long and sometimes frightening journey since she’d first got the call telling her she’d inherited it, along with all its history and strange powers and madness. She’d gained a family she never knew she had, and found her true love. If there had ever been any curses, they had all turned into blessings.
“Thank you,” she whispered, hurrying to catch up.
Mellie curled up next to Shane and pulled the blanket over their legs while he propped pillows behind their backs. They had a tray loaded with snacks next to them and Shane held the remote out in front of him, brandishing it at the tv like a sword.
“What shall we watch first?” he asked, voice full of anticipation.
She rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arm across his chest, sighing happily. “Let’s just flip channels for a while, take it all in.”
“It’s like we’re the same person,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “God, I’m glad to be back.”
Mellie listened to his heart beating and the soothing sounds of her electric radiator, which she’d cranked to the highest setting, determined never to be cold again. It would have been easy to think the trip back in time had been a massive waste, as neither one of them had achieved what they’d set out to do.
But she’d finally had her eyes opened to what she really wanted, she’d got a priceless glimpse into the future— not just for herself, but to see her friends happy— and she appreciated things she barely noticed before. Everything from the firm mattress she lay on, to the toasty heat from her radiator, and the mindless chatter coming from the telly. And Shane, her old friend, now so much more.
“This is like heaven,” she said, glancing up at him.
He pulled her closer and grinned. “Aye, it surely is.”
Thank you for reading All for the Heiress!
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Cover art by Clarissa at Yocla Designs