[Meredith's letter to readers]
He wishes my clansmen to believe I am dead. He will not be satisfied until he has his revenge . . . and I am the sole instrument of his revenge. Wicked, is it not? Ah, yes, wicked . . . His ways are wicked, as he is wicked. I blush to even think of the ways in which he has touched me . . .
He stole me away, you know. He stole me away from the priory, from the one place in the world where I had found peace and sanctuary.
Now there is no peace.
Now I fear he may yet steal my very heart.
At times I am sorely vexed. How is it that a MacKay could ever be so handsome? 'Tis something I never expected! Nor did I suspect he would be ever on my mind . . . but he is.
He torments me, this man.
Ah, but I should hate him for what he has done. Yet I do not. I cannot. He is pride and strength, staunchness and valor. He has only to gaze upon me and I shiver inside, waiting for the moment when we can be alone.
Why is it so, I ask. What is this longing that plagues me ever and always? 'Tis a question I ponder long and hard. Yet still the answer eludes me. Mayhap you can help, help me to understand . . .
For I think he means to keep me.
[Cameron's letter to readers]
I implore you. Aye, I entreat you, dear ladies, that you may lend your assistance. But let me tell you of her, that you may understand.
Her clansmen believe she is dead. 'Tis vengeance that darkens my soul, and she is the means to assure that revenge; revenge for the way her clansmen caused the grievous loss of my family. Justice, is it not? Ah, yes, justice . . . though she dares to call it wicked . . . to call me wicked!
I stole her away, you know. I stole her away from the priory, from the place where she sought to hide away from the world.
She was not meant to hide away.
She was meant for me.
At times I am sorely puzzled. Never did I dream she would be so fair of face and form! Nor did I ever suspect she would be always on my mind . . . but she is.
She enchants me, this woman.
Ah, but I should hate her for what her clan has done. Yet I do not. I cannot. She is goodness and purity, spirit and dignity. She has only to look at me and I burn afire with desire.
Why is it so, I wonder. What is this yearning that burns within me night and day? 'Tis a question I ponder long and often. Perchance you can lend your advice, that I may understand . . .
For she is mine . . . and I mean to keep her.