A Deal for the Earl’s Love – Extended Epilogue


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It had been a year since Dawson had claimed the title of Earl of Wimbourne, and life at Wimbourne Hall had flourished under his and Aurelia’s tender stewardship. The morning was bright and the sunlight streamed through the tall windows of the study where Dawson was ensconced in a comfortable leather armchair, a letter from Reuben in his hands.

“My dearest Dawson,” the letter began, its script lively and flowing with the unmistakable flourish of Reuben’s hand, “I write to you from a quaint café in Seville, the aroma of orange blossoms as pervasive as the sound of distant guitars. Roxanna and I have just returned from Italy, where the ruins of Rome and the gondolas of Venice were as enchanting as one might dream.”

Dawson chuckled softly, picturing his cousin Roxanna, with her free-spirited Kentucky ways, navigating the cobblestone streets of ancient European cities. Reuben’s words painted a vivid picture: “Roxanna was quite taken with the art, you know. She’s filled an entire sketchbook with the scenes of Florence and insists on sending a few pieces back for you and Aurelia to see.”

He continued to read, his eyes scanning the lines eagerly. “Spain has treated us well, too. We attended a flamenco performance last night that was so full of passion and life, it made us both wish you two could witness it with us. We’ve learned much, seen much, and thought of you often.”

Setting the letter down, Dawson’s gaze drifted to a framed sketch on the wall—a gift from Roxanna of the Wimbourne estate, drawn from a perspective only someone who had truly seen it as a home could capture. His heart swelled with pride and affection, not only for the lands he oversaw but for the family that continued to grow and thrive around him.

His reverie was broken by the sound of laughter, and he turned to see Aurelia enter the room, her condition evident in the gentle swell of her belly beneath her morning gown. Her beauty was radiant, enhanced by the joy of impending motherhood.

“Aurelia, love,” Dawson began, rising to greet her with a kiss on her forehead, “Reuben and Roxanna send their love from Spain. It seems they are quite taken with the world’s splendor.”

Aurelia’s eyes sparkled with delight as she approached to read over his shoulder. “Oh, how wonderful! Roxanna’s sketches must be lovely. I can’t wait to see them. Do they speak of when they might return?”

“They’ve extended their travels,” Dawson replied, handing her the letter. “It seems the lure of adventure has gripped them both strongly. But they promise to be back before the year is out.”

“That gives us just enough time to prepare for their homecoming—and for the arrival of our own little adventurer,” Aurelia said, her hand resting gently on her stomach.

Dawson smiled, his thoughts drifting to the future of their family and the new life they would soon welcome. As Dawson’s thoughts lingered on the bright future awaiting them, his gaze returned to the letter, but the sound of quiet conversation drew his attention across the room. Letitia was there, perched near the window with Aurelia, both bathed in the gentle morning light. The younger girl had grown noticeably in the past year, not just in stature but in the poise and confidence with which she carried herself—a budding bloom nearing full flower.

“You really think he noticed me, Aurelia?” Letitia asked, her voice a mix of hope and the typical uncertainty that haunted the brink of womanhood.

Aurelia’s laughter was soft and encouraging. “Letitia, when you walked into the assembly room, everyone noticed you. Mr. Harwood was no exception. But tell me, what did you think of him?” she prodded gently, keen to hear her sister’s true feelings.

Letitia bit her lip, contemplating. “He’s very handsome, and he dances quite well. But it’s more than that. He’s read all the books I adore, and he even knows about botany. We spoke at length about wildflowers, and he’s promised to show me some rare specimens he discovered in the north field.”

Aurelia listened intently, her smile broadening. “It sounds as though you’ve found someone who shares your interests. That’s important, Letitia.”

“Yes, I suppose,” Letitia sighed, a trace of doubt clouding her bright expression. “But I’m unsure. He’s so accomplished, and I… well, sometimes I feel I’m still just a child in his eyes.”

Aurelia reached out, taking her sister’s hands in her own. “Letitia, you are intelligent, beautiful, and full of life. Any gentleman would be lucky to receive your affections. Just be sure of your own heart first.”

Their conversation drifted from potential courtships to dreams of the future—Letitia’s desire to see more of the world and Aurelia’s plans for the estate and family. As they spoke, Dawson observed them, his heart swelling with pride. His family was his greatest treasure, and seeing the bond between Aurelia and Letitia strengthen was a joy beyond measure.

Suddenly, Aurelia paused, a hand to her belly, her expression shifting swiftly from amusement to concentration. Dawson was by her side in an instant, concern etching his features.

“Aurelia, what is it?” he asked, his voice tight with worry.

“It’s nothing, I—Oh!” Aurelia gasped as another wave of discomfort washed over her, more intense this time.

Letitia stood quickly, her chair scraping back. “Shall I fetch the doctor, Dawson?”

He nodded, trying to mask his rising anxiety as he supported Aurelia to a chair. “Yes, quickly, Letitia. And perhaps inform the staff to prepare.”

As Letitia hurried from the room, Dawson turned his full attention to Aurelia, kneeling before her. “Breathe, my love. Just breathe.”

Aurelia managed a weak smile, gripping his hand tightly. “It seems our little adventurer is eager to make an early entrance.”

Dawson could only nod, his other hand resting gently over hers, feeling the tremulous movements beneath. The morning’s serene beauty was pierced by the urgent stirrings of life, signaling a change they had anticipated but could never be truly prepared for. His world, once measured and predictable, was about to expand once again under the force of a new, vibrant heart.

*

The urgent clip-clop of horse hooves and the rattle of carriage wheels soon announced the arrival of the doctor, who was ushered into the room with a brisk efficiency that only those accustomed to life’s emergent rhythms could muster. Dawson, meanwhile, found himself pacing the length of the hallway, each step echoing the rapid beat of his heart. Within the bedchamber, Aurelia’s labor cries escalated into the evening, a symphony of life’s pain and promise intermingled.

Letitia, her own face a mask of concern tinged with the awe of the moment, had returned with their parents. Baron Banks and his wife, attired hastily in evening robes, arrived breathless and anxious. The baron clapped a reassuring hand on Dawson’s shoulder, a silent solidarity between men bound by family and affection.

“Dawson, she’ll be well. Aurelia is strong, and the doctors here are the best,” the baron murmured, though his voice betrayed his own flickers of fear.

“Yes, I know. But it’s the waiting, the not knowing,” Dawson replied, running a hand through his hair, his gaze fixed on the closed door behind which his wife endured her ordeal.

Inside, Aurelia clung fiercely to her mother’s hand, her breaths coming in sharp gasps as she navigated through the throes of childbirth. Her mother, a stalwart presence softened by the years and her own experiences, whispered words of encouragement and love.

“Remember, darling, each breath brings our grandchild closer to us. You are the very essence of strength,” she soothed, her voice a calming balm amidst the storm of pain.

Back in the hallway, the clock’s ticking seemed unusually loud, marking the passage of time with relentless precision. Letitia, torn between her desire to support her sister and her youthful dread of the unknown, stayed close to Dawson, her eyes wide and anxious.

“Mr. Dawson, may I—should I do something more?” she asked, her voice small in the vastness of the corridor’s tension.

“You’ve done all you can, Letitia. We must simply wait now,” Dawson reassured her, though he felt every bit as helpless.

Finally, after hours that stretched like an eternity, the bedroom door opened. The doctor emerged, his expression inscrutable for a moment before breaking into a weary, yet joyful smile. “Congratulations, Lord Wimbourne. You have a son.”

Dawson’s relief was palpable, and he barely heard the rest of the doctor’s assurances as he rushed into the room. The sight that greeted him was one of utter poignancy—Aurelia, exhausted yet radiant, cradled a small, wriggling bundle in her arms. Crossing the room in a few quick strides, Dawson knelt beside the bed, his eyes brimming with tears as he looked upon his wife and child.

“Aurelia, my love, you’ve done wonderfully,” he whispered, kissing her forehead gently.

Aurelia’s tired eyes met his, a smile playing on her lips. “Meet Isaac,” she said softly, her voice filled with a love so profound it seemed to echo through the chamber.

Dawson extended a trembling hand to brush a fingertip against the soft, downy cheek of his newborn son. The baby’s small hand reflexively grasped his finger, a grip so strong it seemed to anchor Dawson to this defining moment of his life.

Outside the room, the baron and his wife exchanged relieved glances, their fears abating with the news of the safe delivery. Letitia, peeking in through the slightly ajar door, felt a surge of emotions too complex to unravel—one part joy for the family she cherished, another part wonder at the life unfolding before her.

Dawson sat beside Aurelia, his hand never leaving hers, as he gazed down at little Isaac with awe. The room, lit by the soft glow of oil lamps, felt like a sacred space, holding within its walls the quiet joy and profound beginnings of a new life.

Aurelia’s voice was soft, yet filled with strength as she spoke to Dawson. “Do you think we could have ever imagined this, back when you first arrived in England? All the turmoil, the challenges… and now, look at us.”

Dawson chuckled softly, the sound mingling with the quiet cooing of their son. “I thought I was coming to manage an estate, not to find the entire course of my life changed for the better. But every challenge, every moment led me here, to you and him.” His gaze lingered on Isaac, whose tiny chest rose and fell in peaceful slumber. “I cannot imagine any greater joy.”

The door creaked gently as Letitia entered, followed by her parents. They approached the bed quietly, their faces alight with happiness. Letitia leaned over to peek at her new nephew, her eyes sparkling with excitement.

“He’s just perfect, Aurelia,” Letitia whispered, her previous reservations forgotten in the face of the family’s newest addition.

Baron Banks approached, his expression one of pride. “Dawson, my boy, you’ve given us all a remarkable gift. Young Isaac here is a blessing.” He laid a hand gently on Dawson’s shoulder, an unspoken passing of familial duty and joy.

Aurelia’s mother, always the matriarch, adjusted the blankets around the baby with experienced hands. “He shall have the best of everything. We’ll see to that, won’t we?” Her voice was resolute, a testament to her commitment to her family’s legacy.

As the family shared this intimate moment, Dawson felt a profound sense of fulfillment. “We should like to have him baptized here, at the parish church. It seems fitting, don’t you think? After all, this estate, this community, they’re a part of who he is—and who he will become.”

Aurelia nodded, her eyes meeting Dawson’s with a shared understanding and love. “Yes, and perhaps we should host a small gathering afterward. To celebrate not just Isaac, but all of us, coming together in this new chapter.”

The room filled with soft laughter and murmured agreements, the warmth of the family embracing each new suggestion. Reuben, mentioned in their talks and clearly missed, would return soon to meet his new nephew, adding yet another layer of joy to the gathering.

As the night deepened and the household settled, Dawson remained by Aurelia’s side, his heart full. He whispered to her, their words a soft murmur not meant for others. “Thank you, my love, for this incredible journey. For our son, for your strength, for every day we share.”

Aurelia, moved by his words, squeezed his hand, her voice a whisper matching his own. “It is I who should thank you, Dawson, for standing by me, for loving me as you do. Our future, our family—it’s more than I ever dreamed.”

The couple looked down at Isaac, his small presence a perfect symbol of their love and the adventures yet to come. This was not an ending, but a luminous beginning, a narrative continuing beyond the pages of their current story, into laughter, love, and the legacy of the Wimbourne name.

THE END


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OFFER: A BRAND NEW SERIES AND 2 FREEBIES FOR YOU!

Grab my new series, "Regency Hearts Entwined", and get 2 FREE novels as a gift! Have a look here!




3 thoughts on “A Deal for the Earl’s Love – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello my dears! I really hope you loved the book and the Extended Epilogue. I can’t wait to read your wonderful comments. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! 💕

    1. Great Regency story! I really enjoyed reading it. It had a little suspense, some trouble makers, and a beautiful love that resonates through the story. Job well done Amanda.

  2. A delicious story of the blending of two cultures and two hearts. Written with tenderness, it’s impossible to not cheer for the happiness of Aurelia and Dawson.

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