Home > Within Golden Bands (A Home for My Heart #2)

Within Golden Bands (A Home for My Heart #2)
Author: Norma Gail

Chapter One


Fort William, Inverness-shire, Scotland

The incessant beep of a heart monitor drew Bonny MacDonell out of the blackness, forcing her to look around. In the dim light of the yellow-curtained cubicle, her eyes traveled up the dark red length of tubing to where blood dripped from a plastic bag. The unpleasant odor of sickness and antiseptics only added to her panic.

Albuquerque?

Scotland?

Hazy images floated through her mind. Stabbing pain. Red spots on the carpet. Eleanor kneeling. What was their housekeeper doing?

“My baby!” Bonny’s left hand slid to her abdomen, cupping the imperceptible swell of her tiny, unborn baby. The fear of losing this baby was a horrific monster ready to snatch their miracle. Why was she here?

Surgery failed. Pregnancy impossible. The voice sounded familiar, and Bonny lifted her eyelids, squinting in the half-lit room. “Dr. Carson?”

The old dream had come again, leaving brokenness in its wake. Stars flickered against a background of darkness. When a wave of nausea hit, she squeezed her eyes tight.

Morning sickness. Blue eyes filled with joy. Our baby. Hope-filled dreams made her want to laugh, dance, and sing. “Kieran?”

Icy rivers of disappointment flowed through her veins. Why was she alone?

A warm hand touched her arm, and she startled.

“Mrs. MacDonell, you’re awake.” A tall, slender woman with dark brown hair knotted on top of her head and soft brown eyes stood beside her.

“Y … yes.” Her new name still sounded strange.

“I’m Sister Isla, your nurse.”

Bonny’s insides shriveled, curling into themselves. “Where am I? Where’s Kieran?”

“You’re in Belford Hospital in Fort William. You arrived by helicopter. I’ll find out about your husband.” Isla switched on the light and slid a paper from the pocket of her blue scrubs. “American. From Loch Garry. On holiday?”

The bright light hurt Bonny’s eyes for the moment they took to adjust. “American, yes. But my husband … we have a sheep farm on Loch Garry.” Helicopter? Fear fluttered, millions of moths trapped in her stomach, attempting to escape. The monitor beeped faster. “My baby?”

“Dr. Moncrieffe will want to know you’re awake. I’ll tell him.” Isla slipped through the curtain and pulled it closed.

Tears brimmed, memories of the morning forming a knot that rose from her stomach to her chest. It lodged in her throat and pricked, pinecone-sharp. Kieran went to the Laddie Wood after stray sheep. Cell phone service there was patchy at best.

Their honeymoon began in the emergency room in her hometown of Albuquerque, delayed three weeks after the wedding, while they waited for Kieran to recover from a gunshot wound. Bonny grasped the edge of the sheet in her left hand and swiped her eyes, remembering his joy when they discovered she had become pregnant in those joyous first days of their marriage. She tried to warn him the risk was high. Her failed surgeries for endometriosis, the scar tissue, all made pregnancy risky for her and the baby. Were they to lose their miracle child at two and a half months?

“I heard you were awake.” Dr. Moncrieffe’s calm, deep voice pulled her from the memory of Kieran’s sky-blue eyes dancing with sheer delight. The tall, white-haired man in green surgical scrubs who slid open the curtain was the epitome of kindness. They first met two weeks ago when her severe nausea, hyperemesis gravidarum, required a new prescription after their return to Scotland. The ultrasound was scheduled for the next day, twelve weeks after discovering her pregnancy.

She straightened the sheet, twisted into a knot in her hand. “Kieran went to the woods south of the loch searching for missing sheep. I’m certain he’ll be here soon.”

Eleanor would have sent Angus to find him. He’d challenge anyone who threatened to slow him, speeding to her side in his green Land Rover. “Is our housekeeper here, Eleanor Hume? She must have called the helicopter.”

“Isla said there’s a Janet MacIntosh. Do you want her with you?”

The thought of her best and first friend from when she arrived to teach in Scotland slowed her heart rate. “Yes, please. I’m a little confused.”

“It’s the pain medication.” Dr. Moncrieffe nodded and stepped just outside the cubicle. “Isla, send in Mrs. MacDonell’s friend, please.” He turned back and moved closer to the gurney. “Tell me what you remember.”

“I was dressing when I felt a sharp pain, down low, and saw blood. I don’t remember anything more. I’ve fainted a few times.” If the baby were all right, wouldn’t he have said so right away?

Janet, blonde hair swept into a French twist, lavender-blue eyes wide, walked in, and Dr. Moncrieffe slid the curtain closed behind her. “Are you okay, love?” She moved to the other side of the gurney and reached under the sheet to grasp Bonny’s hand.

The doctor’s hand rested on her shoulder. “We did an ultrasound while you were groggy with pain medication. Do you know what an ectopic pregnancy is? When the embryo implants outside the womb?”

A lump grew in Bonny’s throat, pricked, and exploded. Unable to speak, she nodded. You’ll do nothing but rest and care for yourself and our wee bairn. Kieran’s absolute joy at the news of a child tromped through her muddled brain like an elephant. There would be no miracle.

“You have the most dangerous kind due to the internal bleeding. You’ve lost the baby, Bonny. It can’t wait.” His voice gentled, but his words came slow and deliberate, as one would deliver a death sentence. “I suspect scar tissue from your previous surgery made it impossible for the embryo to reach the womb. Remember, I said in the office, the report from your doctor in New Mexico indicates it’s a miracle you conceived at all.”

Hope strangled, and fear bloomed, weeds on the grave of her dreams. Warm tears trickled down the sides of her face and into her ears. Their wee bairn. Why would God grant them this unexpected gift only to snatch it away in a cruel hoax?

You may have conceived on our wedding night, mo gràdh. My darling. How Bonny longed to hear one of Kieran’s Gaelic endearments. Instead, she must tell him they would never hold the answer to his prayers, the embodiment of their love. No MacDonell heir to inherit Stonehaven Farm. No red-haired child with eyes blue as the Scottish flag would fill their days with joy and laughter. Pain, sharper than any surgeon’s scalpel could inflict, knifed through Bonny’s heart.

“We have to operate. You’re losing far too much blood.” Dr. Moncrieffe’s voice returned her to stark reality. “I’m sorry your husband can’t be here, but you must sign the permission form.” The bedside table squeaked when he rolled it over, paper and pen on top, and raised the head of the bed.

“Is this related to how sick I’ve been?”

“No. It can happen to anyone, but with your history …”

With a shaky hand and blurred eyes, she scrawled an unrecognizable signature before the pen slipped through her fingers and clattered to the floor. Dear God, how can I bear to disappoint him? If only I’d told him about Dr. Carson’s warning that having a child could take my life.

A wave of nauseating pain swept over her when the doctor walked out. Bonny heaved a slow, deep breath and tried to listen for God’s voice, but he remained silent. When Adam Lawson broke their engagement. When her parents died. When Brennan Grant shot Kieran only six weeks before their wedding. In the past, her heart felt God’s comfort only after the crisis ended. Why in the midst of tragedy, must she trust through the Lord’s silence? “Why?”

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