For the Love of Dreamy Ladies – Extended Epilogue


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Linnet looked out over the lawns. She was feeling sleepy, and she looked across the garden, watching how the sunshine shone down between the trees, painting the grass with golden light. She sat up as she heard the sound of running feet.

“Slow down!” Adeline shouted, shrieking with delight as her brother ran ahead of her. “The hill slopes there.”

Little Elijah, just six, slowed down on stocky legs and grinned at his sister. Adeline wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him in a hug. Elijah giggled, and the two of them played on the lawn, chasing each other in circles.

Linnet felt her cheeks lift in a smile. Her children were so beautiful, and they brought such joy into her life. She looked up as she heard the more substantial footfall of a man wearing boots. Henry smiled.

“Are they still running about?”

Linnet nodded. “You know what children are like – so full of energy. They’ll be running about until dinnertime.”

Henry nodded and came and sat down beside her. He wrapped his arm around her, and together they sat and watched the children as they raced and played on the lawns.

Linnet leaned against him, his warmth communicating to her through the thick shirt and jacket he wore. She was dressed in a muslin summer gown, and it was just starting to become chilly in the evening air. They sat together and watched the children, enjoying the silence together.

“It’s good to be in the countryside,” Henry said.

Linnet nodded. “It is so good to have you here, Henry. I am glad that your duties will take you to London less.”

Henry nodded. He had been to London to organize an assistant to work in his place. He was often needed at Court, but his duties to his family kept him in the countryside, which was where he preferred to be. Linnet was happy that he would only have to go to London once or twice a year now and then just for a week or two at the most. She loved the countryside, preferring the slow, rolling hills and long walks to London’s bustle and crowds.

Linnet thought, watching Elijah playing with Adeline. The children preferred it, too. They loved the sunshine and fresh air, and they also had the chance to play with their cousin.

Linnet rested her head on ‘Henry’s shoulder, letting herself close her eyes and drift into a light rest. She sat up as Adeline cried out loudly, her alarm fading to happiness as she saw the reason for her daughter shouting.

“Ettie!” Adeline shouted, running towards her cousin. Linnet watched as the taller, golden-haired girl ran across towards Adeline, and the two of them embraced. Linnet smiled to herself, looking at her daughter beside Arabella’s daughter – they had both inherited long oval faces. However, Adeline had reddish hair and a pointy chin. Her dark eyes were slightly tilted in the corners, where Ettie had blonde hair, and her eyes were wide and round, almost like Arabella’s.

Linnet stood, knowing that if Ettie was here, Jeremy and Arabella must be here too. She watched the stairs but ‘didn’t see anyone until Arabella and Jeremy walked down towards them, coming down the long path from the gate, beneath the pine trees.

“Linnet,” Arabella said. “It’s so good to see you.”

“Arabella! Jeremy!” Linnet said, embracing her sister. She breathed in the scent of lavender and blossom that had always been the smell of her sister and felt her heart settle. She had missed her, even though they had last seen each other a few days ago. She shook Jeremy’s hand.

“Grand to see you,” she said.

“Grand to be here,” Jeremy said with a soft smile. “It’s so good to see Ettie playing so happily.”

“Yes,” Linnet agreed. “It is.”

They all stood and watched the three children as they raced around the garden, Henry with his arm around Linnet, while Arabella and Jeremy held hands and leaned back against the shelter of the tree. Ettie was a little taller than Adeline, though both girls were eight years old. Jeremy was very tall, though, Linnet thought with a smile. It was natural to expect that Ettie would be a tall young woman.

“Shall we go in?” Arabella asked, drawing her shawl around her. “It’s a bit cold out here.”

“Yes,” Linnet agreed. “Though we’ll have to let them play a little longer – they need to run off a good dinner, I think,” she added with a smile.

Arabella chuckled. “Yes! Ettie was irrepressible in the coach – she kept on asking when she would get here and when she could play with Adeline and Elijah.” She chuckled fondly.

Linnet grinned. She could imagine that. The three were extremely close, and Adeline and Elijah had been just as excited about seeing Ettie. The two girls were great friends and no wonder. In many ways, they were pretty alike, though Linnet thought that Ettie had a softer nature while Adeline was – while generous and kind – a bolder character. Little Elijah was just full of sunshine, no matter who he spoke to or where he was – an absolutely irrepressible spirit who amused her and Henry quite regularly.

“Let’s go in,” Henry agreed. “You must be cold,” he added, touching Linnet’s shoulder, which was covered by a thin muslin shawl. Linnet grinned at him, gathering the cloth closer around her.

“I’m certain this is no warmer nor colder than your coat, Henry Blackburne.”

Henry grinned. It was rare that she used his full name. He smiled and rested a hand on her shoulder, touching the skin through the thin cloth. Linnet felt her breathing tense. His touch had such a remarkable effect on her. She looked away, her heart thumping fast, and she hoped that soon she would be alone in their bedroom with him on the bed beside her.

“Can we stay out?” Little Elijah called, seeing his parents walking up the stairs into the house. Linnet smiled fondly at him.

“Yes, son,” she said. “You can all stay outside until dinnertime. But do come in when Nanny calls you.”

“Yes, mama,” he said. He looked sullenly down at the thought of having to come in, but he brightened. “But that means a whole hour!”

Linnet chuckled. He had recently started understanding the concept of time, and Henry’s watch became a source of fascination. Henry wanted to buy him one for himself the next time they were in London, but Linnet thought a pocket-watch was something that might not outlast the exuberance of a six-year-old. They would have to see.

“Yes, it’s an hour,” Henry said, taking out his watch to show the curious child, who studied it excitedly. Adeline and Ettie, both fully able to tell the time now, looked at each other with smiles of sisterly fondness.

“We’re going to go upstairs,” Arabella told Ettie and Adeline. “If anybody needs to find us for anything.”

“Yes, mama,” Ettie said softly.

“Yes, auntie!”

Linnet and Arabella looked at each other, and Linnet felt her heart melt. It was so wonderful seeing their daughters so close! In a sense, it helped heal the wounds that they had lost so much of their childhood together. She took off her shawl as they went into the warmth of the familiar entrance hall, glad to get into the house.

“So,” Arabella said as they went up the stairs together. “You have plans for the summer?” Arabella was wearing a long muslin dress, white with blue patterns. Linnet thought she looked charming. Her long hair was arranged in soft ringlets – Addie had gone with her to her new household – and she looked serene and beautiful, as always.

“No, not really,” Linnet said. She ran a hand down her own muslin gown, which was patterned with ocher-colored flowers. They had both started wearing darker colors now, as was the tendency for married women, leaving the pastel shades for girls. “We won’t be needing to go to London quite happily.”

“Yes, that’s good,” Arabella agreed. “I am not fond of London.”

Linnet smiled. She looked up at Jeremy, who talked to Henry at the other end of the drawing room. He was wearing a brown suit of good velvety cloth and a fine cream shirt. He was prospering a great deal and had been invited to redesign a duke’s residence near London.

“Well, it is so beautiful here in the country. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend summertime in the City.”

“No,” Henry said, resting his hands on her arm as he came to join them. “I can’t either! So glad I won’t have to. Would you like tea, Arabella?”

“I’m not sure,” Arabella said, looking up at Jeremy. “We had a very big luncheon today, did we not?”

“Oh, yes!” Jeremy grinned. “We had guests – a fellow with an estate he wants developing. It was a nice lunch, but I’m quite sure I wouldn’t like to say no to your delicious food.” He grinned at Henry, who chuckled.

“I was lucky to inherit a good cook,” he said. “I’ll ring for the butler.” He went to the corner to ring the bell. Linnet watched him fondly, thinking that the dark blue velvet he wore looked so becoming on him.

They all sat down – Linnet on the big chaise lounge, with Arabella beside her. Henry perched on the big upholstered chair opposite, and Jeremy sat on the smaller seat across from Arabella. Linnet looked around the room, wondering if it was time to close the long, cream curtains across the windows. The butler would probably do it when he came up to bring the tea.

“How is Mama?” Linnet asked as Arabella poured a cup of tea. Arabella smiled.

“She’s very well. The cottage on the estate suits her well, though I am sure she’s looking forward to her turn up here. She likes being somewhere more familiar.”

“Yes,” Linnet nodded. She reached for a sugar lump. Their parents – Mr. and Mrs. Wallace – had taken to spending part of the summer at Arabella’s home and part at Linnet’s, though they still ran the bakery for most of the year. It was nice, Linnet thought, that they should see their grandchildren. Over the years, she had moved more fully past the wounding and mistrust of her parents, and she felt nothing except for a fondness for them and their presence in her life now. It had taken many years, but she was glad now that they could watch over her children for an hour or two while she and Henry enjoyed a ride.

“I am still so pleased it’s not too far from your estate,” Jeremy said, leaning back in the chair. The land that they had developed and where they now lived was the land Claydon had inherited. He was delighted with the arrangement – he and Jeremy shared the rent from the string of shops built there, and Jeremy had also designed and built a school, reinvesting some of the earnings back into the community. The arrangement worked well for everybody, and the farming community was prospering as much as Jeremy and Claydon were. In a year or so, the school’s first intake would be leaving, ready with new skills to improve their community.

“Oh, yes,” Henry nodded. “It’s excellent. I wouldn’t want these cousins to be apart long.” He gestured at the lawn, where they could hear giggles and laughs drifting up on the cool stillness.

Linnet turned to Arabella, and they shared a smile.

“So,” Henry said, pouring some tea for himself and adding some milk. “I suppose you haven’t been breeding horses at your estate?”

“We have enough trouble with the two we have!” he replied.

Arabella chuckled. Linnet smiled fondly at her. She could imagine Jeremy was settling down to run the estate very comfortably. After all, he had a good head for accounting, and managing the estate budget couldn’t be that challenging, given that. All the same, she couldn’t see him becoming comfortable with the idea of races and hunts and all the elite pursuits. He had learned to ride and enjoyed it even more than she did – if possible – but other than that, he was content to be a quieter country sort.

“We will have to teach Ettie to ride when Adeline learns,” Arabella said. Linnet nodded.

“Adeline wants to learn now,” Henry chuckled. “She has already been riding with me on the horse, and now she won’t be content until she’s riding by herself.”

“Which means Elijah will have to learn,” Linnet remarked. Arabella nodded kindly.

“He wants to do whatever Adeline can do,” she said. “Though I think that there is only tenderness between them.”

“Oh, yes,” Linnet agreed. “They are so fond of each other. It’s so important, I think.”

“Yes,” Arabella agreed.

Henry cleared his throat. “Should we go to dinner?” he asked. “It’s six o’clock, and I suspect those little scalawags will be in the dining room already.”

Linnet chuckled and stood. She was sure Henry was right. She took his hand, and they went down to the dining room together. The long, thin table was set with seven places – four for the adults, one for each of the children. Linnet was very proud of Elijah for learning to eat so well with knife and fork – though if he occasionally lapsed when nobody was looking, she would be the last to scold him. It was strange for her, raising her children in a new world for her as well. She was pleased for Henry and Arabella, who could help her, and them, discovering it.

“Soup of peas,” Henry murmured, taking a sip as the butler put it down before him. Ettie and Adeline were sitting very elegantly, dressed in their best dresses, their long hair curled and styled. Nanny Emma had done the utmost to get them ready. Elijah sat with them, looking a little confused. He had a box to sit on to raise him to the table, but he still looked a trifle uneasy.

“It’s good soup,” Linnet agreed. She was glad it was just her and Arabella and their families – when Alfred and Emily visited, it was a little harder to have the children at the table since they were rather shy. None of them were nervous in the present company, which was good. Linnet sipped her cordial, watching them.

“You know,” Jeremy said, drawing Linnet’s attention to him, where he sat beside Arabella, the candlelight soft on his sandy hair. “I am considering some work on our estate. I was wondering if you would like to visit before then?”

“That would be grand!” Henry said. Linnet nodded, eyes bright. She would love to spend some time with Arabella and Jeremy, and of course, Ettie would be happy.

“That would be lovely,” she said.

“What’s that, mama?” Adeline asked, seeming to notice the smile on Linnet’s lips when it appeared. She felt her smile broaden as she looked at her daughter.

“We are going to go and stay with Auntie Arabella and Uncle Jeremy.”

“What?” Adeline almost yelled. “We are?” She was grinning, delight on her small, happy face. She looked at Ettie, and the two of them embraced.

“We’re going to Hilltop Place?”

“Yes,” Linnet answered her son. “We’re going to stay there for a while. Jeremy? How long will we stay there?”

He looked at Arabella. “How long would it be before we start work?” he asked. “I reckon the extension will take a month, probably two, if I consider how large that room will be.”

“Well, then.” Arabella considered. “How about they are all there for two weeks? That way, we’ll have plenty of time to finish the work in time for winter.”

“Grand,” Jeremy agreed. “Two weeks?”

“Sounds nice,” Henry agreed, nodding. “Linnet?”

Linnet was grinning broadly. “Jeremy!” she chuckled. “Of course, it sounds nice! I can hardly wait! I would be more than delighted to stay with Arabella and you for two weeks. Isn’t that so, Adeline?”

“Yes, mama!”

“Can I learn to ride?” Elijah interjected hopefully. His face was bright. “I would like to ride there because Auntie Arabella has a quiet horse I can ride. Can I learn, Papa?”

Linnet looked at Henry, who was trying not to grin. He nodded. “Of course, son.” He looked down the table. “We will make arrangements for it this very evening. I’ll call the butler and tell him to contact the same teacher who taught Adeline. Would that suit you?”

“Can you and Mama teach me?” Elijah asked.

Henry grinned. “Of course, we’ll show you, son. But it’s best if you have a teacher, too. Isn’t that so, Linnet?” he asked Linnet. She smiled.

“Your father is an excellent riding teacher,” she said with a smile. “But yes, I think it’s better if you have practice with a different teacher as well.”

Elijah grinned. The fact that Linnet had been taught by Henry was something that the children didn’t seem quite to understand – the actual differences between their childhood and the one of someone from their mother’s origins hadn’t made any impression on them. It was something that they would learn when they got older. All the same, the thought of their father as a riding teacher seemed to delight them.

“Papa? Can we go riding past the stream?” Adeline asked instantly. “It’s got the best paths, and I like riding across that big field there!”

Henry looked at Linnet, a tired smile on his face. He nodded. “Yes, of course,” he said. “We’ll go there tomorrow. He glanced at Arabella. “Will we all go?”

Arabella smiled, nodding. “Yes, we shall,” she said. “I am sure you have a quiet horse in your stables, and Ettie would be delighted to ride. She rides very well now.”

“Yes!” Adeline said, taking her friend’s hand. “She raced me.”

Linnet felt her heart fill with joy, seeing the two girls giggle and smile at each other. She leaned on Henry’s shoulder, feeling sleepy. Henry held her hand a moment, his eyes gentle as they rested on her.

After dinner, with the three children in the top room in the house, sleepy after good pudding, the adults went to the terrace together. Linnet leaned on the rail, looking over to where Arabella and Jeremy were standing, Arabella’s hands on his back as she embraced him. Jeremy bent down to give her a tender kiss, and Linnet looked away, giving them privacy.

“It’s good to have them,” Henry murmured, leaning next to her on the rail. His smile was gentle as he glanced towards Linnet, who smiled back and stepped closer to him.

“Yes,” she said. “It is.” She rested her hand beside his on the rail, and he looped his fingers through it, holding it tenderly in his own. She smiled up at him, and her body melted into his as he wrapped his arms around her. His eyes were soft on hers as he looked into them, then bent forward to place a kiss on her lips.

She reached up and rested a hand on his cheek, looking up into his eyes. He was her beautiful, wise man, and she was his wild, untamed woman – something he called her every day – and they were so joyful and contented. She rested her hands on his shoulders, feeling warmth flood her body and knowing that she was so very happy. They stood together and watched the warmth of the sunlight flood across the grounds, making the dew-damp grass sparkle. She was so very pleased to be here.

THE END



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!




29 thoughts on “For the Love of Dreamy Ladies – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Wonderful story and epilogue. The girls finding out they had been separated to become best of friends was delightful.

    2. It was a GREAT story!! How wonderful to discover that you had a twin and never knew it. Wonderful characters contributed to this story of love. I recommend this book to everyone!

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Linda. I truly appreciate it!

        So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

        Thank you again and have a lovely day!

  1. I really liked this book. It was well written with interesting characters. I guess a lot of people have heard of twins who were separated at birth but not quite with exciting results like theirs. I would recommend that this will be an enjoyable experience.

  2. I loved the idea of twins separated then finding each other. Beautifully written and great plot
    Thank you really enjoyed it

      1. Dear Amanda,
        Your book was a very enjoyable read, and I felt it gave a very clear picture of how two girls who always should have known each other getting acquainted must feel in discovering the different lives each had led to that point.
        The romances between them and their beaus was sweet to see develop, and the natural tensions was easily felt and understood. Conflicts over how to handle their differences and the drama in their differences in stations, added to the introduction of a villain who posed. an unseen threat who was finally recognized and dealt with added some thrill.
        The whole story is one I am happy to have in my library, as I do like to revisit a story I enjoyed again after some time has passed.

  3. Very interesting story, I enjoyed reading it and couldn’t put the book down!

    That said, I did have some things that were difficult to understand. The story took place in a village; how did the residents of a small village not know of the two girls who looked identical yet having different parents? Did no one know the parents had twin girls? When Linnet went to the shop to buy ribbon, how did the store keeper know to bill the Duke rather than the bakery, for the story tells us that Linnet must have purchased ribbon and lace before and trimmed her own clothes? Confusing, at least to this old lady.

    Also, I find that I miss understanding exactly why the parents agreed to separate the twins. This was never explained, or at least to my understanding. Inquiring minds want to know!!

    Few typos and I appreciate that.

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