A Lord’s Elixir of Love – Extended Epilogue


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Almost half a year had passed since Lady Anne Townshend had married her beloved Henry, and in all of that time, neither had tired from their walks in the forest. It was something of a ritual for them now, to wake each morning early and spend it amidst the forest. When duty did not allow them to take the mornings, they satisfied themselves with evening meanders. Of course, not every day was spent out there, where their love story had begun, but it was just the same; in a way, it was poetic for their schedule to be on the more unpredictable side. It kept things exciting.

Nowadays, however, Anne had a mount of her own. She was still adjusting to horseback riding, but Henry was proud of how far she had come in just the few short months that he had spent teaching her. At first, he had had a difficult time convincing into a saddle, but having picked her very own mare not long after their wedding, she had developed a softness for the gentle steed that undoubtedly made Charlie a little jealous.

As they reach an especially dense cluster of bracken, Henry signalled to halt. Anne pulled up alongside him.

“Is there trouble, my love?”

He shook his head. “Not in my woods. But I think it best we walk a while on foot from here.”

Anne, with a curious look, followed his lead and dismounted her bay mare. She did so carefully, recounting each step of the process the way her husband had taught her. Once her feet rested solidly on the ground once again, she stroked the mare’s soft neck.

“Let us go on foot from here,” she murmured to the horse as if it could understand her. Perhaps it could – if anyone were to possess the ability to communicate with animals, it would have been Anne.

Why else would there always be a fox lingered nearby her?

Henry extended his hand, which Anne took at once. Weaving their fingers through one another’s, they wandered in silence for a while with the horses trailing along behind them. They followed the narrow trail of the dirt path that ran adjacent to the river, where the air was crisp and cool. The stream did not rush today, for the season had been kind. The days were short and growing darker each day, but the rain had been kept at bay for the most part. Even so, the pair remained well-rugged in their fine coats to keep the whispering chill at bay.

“How are you recovering from your lunch with Frederica?” Henry asked after a while.

Anne giggled. “Well enough, all things considered. It has been more than two months since she and George returned from their honeymoon, and still, she will speak of nothing else.”

Henry laughed along with her. “George is quite the same.”

“It is a beautiful thing,” Anne mused, “To be in love.”

“That it is.” Henry pressed a kiss to the hand that was entwined with his own.

Oh, how easy it was to get lost in those kind eyes. Anne cleared her thoughts with a breath of fresh air.

“I expect it will not be long before we find ourselves introduced to some little Lieutenants,” Henry said.

“Little Ladies, you mean,” Anne corrected. “Frederica herself has mentioned on more than one occasion that she is to be a mother of daughters.”

Henry snorted. “I think she may have to take that one up with George, for I fear he may have some opinions about that.”

“And what of you?”

Henry glanced at her. “What are you asking me?”

“Well,” Anne began. “Do you fancy yourself a father of sons or daughters?”

He considered for a moment. “As long as my child has your eyes, I do not mind if I am the father of goats.”

“If they look anything like their father, they will be lovely goats,” Anne said. Then, her face grew serious once more. “Honestly though, Henry – what do you think the future hold for us?”

He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, holding those emerald eyes in his for a precious moment.

“I do not know, my love. But whatever fate has in store for us, I know that together, we will make it great.”

They found themselves outside Anne’s old cottage home just a moment later. It looked far different from when she occupied it with her mother, thanks to Henry’s extensive restorations. Despite the abundance of room within Hillsmeade Manor, Molly had insisted on remaining at the cottage.

“I have no use for the cushy comforts of your palace,” she had jested at Henry’s insistence. “Just patch up my roof and leave me be.”

Henry had implored that she reconsider, but eventually, Anne had to be the one to promise Henry that her mother was going to be alright on her own. She was right, and Molly Wiese was thriving. Not just in terms of her handsome, freshly painted home but also in terms of her business. Since the wedding, Anne’s mother had seen an influx of new customers who had heard all about the woodland witch whose daughter was a future Duchess. In addition to being an excellent herbalist, Molly was also in the business of secrets. She had become an agony aunt of sorts, using words to soothe just as well as her botanical balms had.

Henry and Anne left the horses by the well to graze on the lush grass. Unable to contain her excitement, Anne rushed up the steps and made quick work of scuffing the mud from her boots. Her giddiness was almost childlike, and Henry could not help but smile at the way she rang her mother’s new bell to alert her to their presence.

“I am coming!” came the cry from beyond the walls, and moments later, Molly Wiese appeared as a promise.

“My darlings,” she exclaimed, arms outstretched. “Oh, happy day! Thank you, my Lord and Lady, for gracing me with your visit.”

Anne swatted her mother’s sarcasm away and reached out to bring her into her arms. Just before the two women were about to connect, Molly paused, her expression suddenly grim.

Henry froze where he had been waiting by the bottom steps.

“Mother? Is everything alright?”

“What is the matter, Molly?”

Slowly, the older woman reached out and placed a hand on her daughter’s midsection. Her hair fell over her face as she did so, hiding her expression from Henry. Concern was building in his chest, and he mounted the steps in one swift movement. He took his wife’s arm, instantly protective.

Wordlessly, Anne followed her mother’s movements, bringing her hand to her belly as well. Something strange lanced through Henry. It was icy cold, and yet it struck him like fire. All at once, his eyes were wide.


As if waking from a trance, Anne’s mother finally seemed to return to the present moment.

“You are late,” she said to her. It was a simple phrase, but the innuendo was not lost on any of them.

Anne turned to Henry, her eyes wide. “I am with child.”

Unable to find the words to express the complete and utter joy that filtered through him, Henry took her hands. Despite the cold of the day, he was filled with nothing but summer sunlight and all of its warmth.

Molly held up a single finger. “Please, wait here.”

Before either Anne or Henry could respond, she had darted back inside the house.

Henry took the opportunity to address his wife. “Were you aware?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “But now that it has been said, I must say, a lot of things are making sense to me.”

Henry just raised his eyes to the sky in disbelief. “We are going to be parents, you and I, dearest Anne.”

“And whatever it is – son, daughter, goat –“ she paused as he laughed – “I will love it most fiercely.”

He held her close, pressing a feather-light kiss to her forehead. “We both will.”

“We all will,” Molly corrected as she reappeared. “And I can tell you right now whether my daughter is having a goat or not.”

She had in her hand a little golden ring. It looked slightly too large to be the kind worn as jewellery, and it had curious engravings along its band. There were loops and all sorts of swirls, none uniform or resembling any pattern Henry had seen before. It looked like a magic ring.

Molly held it over her daughter’s belly. Anne held very still, her hand still locked in Henry’s supportive grip. Molly had grown so still that she resembled a statue; no sound nor even breath seemed to emit from her. Her eyes had fallen shut.

After a moment, they opened once more. She stared right into Anne’s as if reading the thoughts that flitted behind them. Then, finally, she broke out into a great smile.

“You are having a Duke.”

Anne turned to Henry at once. “A boy!”

Molly nodded. “A human boy.”

Looking between the two Wiese women, Henry could not help but feel relieved. It must have been written all over his face, for at the same moment, both Molly and Anne asked him, “What is it?”

“That!” he cried, pointing to both of them. “Thank goodness it is a Duke, for I was beginning to feel a little outnumbered.”

Molly tutted at him. “Well, in that case, you can stay out here in the cold whilst I fetch the mother of my grandchild a fresh bowl of soup.”


Molly rolled her eyes. “Oh, alright.” She stepped aside to let the two of them inside.

As Henry passed her, he felt a tug on his sleeve. As Anne made her way into the adjacent kitchen, Molly winked at him.

“Well done, Lord Townshend. I will make a midwife out of you yet.”

*     *     *

Four months later, as winter was beginning to roll into spring once more, the first market of the season was warming up. It had been a long time since Anne had experienced the sights and smells, and now that she was finally back, she had realised how much she had missed it.

When it had been her time to tend the table, she had often caught herself in moments of boredom or even annoyance. Now that she was on the other side of it all, her love for the atmosphere of it all, the noises and the smells and the sounds and everything that came into it, was renewed. One day, she would take her son to see it, too, and watch the magic of his first market unfold before her very own eyes.

It was a bittersweet thing to come across her mothers’ stall. She had never seen it from the perspective of the buyer. For the first time, she would not be assisting her mother at all – that responsibility had been passed down to a precocious and keen young woman named Riley.

Anne had picked Riley herself from the slew of girls that had shown up at Hillsmeade Manor to apply for the role of market assistance. Of all of the contenders, the girl had shown the most promise, especially when it came to preparing soaps and candles. The girl had more than just a keen nose for splendid smells: she was something of an alchemist when it came to the craft, able to concoct scents that Anne could only ever dream up.

But today, on the day of her market debut, Riley looked nervous. Anne approached her cautiously, the way one might approach a frightened animal. Her typically pretty face was pinched and tight, and her hands fidgeted on the table.

“Good morning, Riley,” Anne said by way of greeting. Even though she had spoken softly and approached gently, the young woman still jumped at the sound of her name.

“Oh!” she cried out. “G-good morning, your Grace.”

“Please, just Anne.” Anne closed the gap between them to talk in some semblance of privacy. “Tell me, Riley, for you look concerned – is there something on your mind.”

The girl did not seem to want to tell her, for her mouth contorted so that it gave away her discomfort at once. She seemed torn between not wanting to burden the Marchioness with her troubles and needing to express something pressing on her immediately.

“You can tell me,” Anne urged. “If there is something on your mind, please, speak freely.”

It seemed to be the push Riley needed.

“I did not want to disappoint you, your Gr– I mean, Anne. After all, this is what you have been teaching me, and your mother has not yet arrived to take on the stall.”

Anne took the girl’s shoulders in her hands, grounding her thoughts the way her mother had always done when she was in the midst of one of her personal crises.

“Tell me what troubles you.”

“It is my cow.”

Anne could not stop the frown that instantly sprung to her face. “Your cow.”

“It is my mother’s cow. She is ill, you see, and because of it she is rejecting her calf.” Riley chewed her lip. “It is her first baby, and we are beginning to worry that neither of them is going to be able to make it.”

Anne took her hands back, but not because she was in any way upset with the girl. All at once, she was frantically trying to think of a way to manage the market stall while also being able to tend to Riley’s mother’s cow. It was the sort of thing that a Duchess would never trouble herself with – for of what consequence is one person’s cow to someone of the aristocracy? But Anne knew the truth: that one family’s livelihood could rely solely on a single cow.

“Do not fret, Riley,” Anne told her with a smile. “I promise you that everything is going to be alright.”

Riley’s expression did not change. “I appreciate your kind words, Anne. But I am afraid that it is not that simple.”

“It is,” Anne replied with a shrug. “Because I will be going to see about this cow. Right now.”

At last, Riley’s face did change, breaking out first into wide-eyed disbelief, then giving way to relief. It was fleeting. For a moment later, she seemed to be back to fretting.

“Oh, Anne. I could not possibly ask you to do such a thing,” the girl said.

“Fortunately, you did not ask me, Riley. I am offering.”

Ever the woman to save the day, Molly chose that moment to arrive on site. She was toting a bag full of additional wares to sell for the day, and though she knew that her daughter would not be helping her out on this occasion, she did not seem the least bit surprised to see her.

“Excellent timing, mother,” Anne said, helping her set the bag down on the ground. “Riley and I are off to see about a cow.”

Molly raised a brow. “Should you be tending to beasts in your condition?”

“Really, mother,” Anne said, blowing a raspberry. “I am pregnant, not crippled.”

Molly slipped being the stall and gave Riley a sturdy pat on the back. As she ushered the girl out, promising to take care of it all until she returned, she looked back at Anne.

“Well, before you go, at least check with Lord Henry first.”

Anne blinked at her. “But he is not – “

“Not here,” Molly finished. “That is strange, considering he is standing right behind you.”

Anne whirled, and sure enough, there stood her dashing husband. Today, he was dressed ornately, making no secret of his presence at the market. All around him, eyes gazed.

“Good morning, dear wife,” Henry said, cheerful as ever. “And to Molly and young Riley as well. How are we all fairing this fine day?”

Anne wasted no time. “Riley’s cow is ill. She and I are off to tend to it right now.”

Henry’s face fell into confusion. “I seem to have missed a significant portion of the story.”

Riley filled him in as best as she could.

He rubbed at his face a while, ruminating on her words. “Well, I am sorry to hear about your family’s misfortune, Riley. But, Anne, tending to a cow is not the sort of thing a Duchess concerns herself with.” He turned to Molly. “Is there any way that your darling mother would be able to sort out this matter?”

Molly crossed her arms. “If we are volunteering others, then it seems only fair to nominate you, my Lord.”

Both Riley and Anne had to mask their laughter. Anne turned to her husband once again.

“Well, I suppose it is a good thing that I am not yet a Duchess then.”

Henry opened his mouth, raised a finger to protest, then promptly shut it. “Well, I suppose I cannot argue with your logic.” He sighed. “If you can provide Riley’s cow some assistance, I suppose it is in all of our best interests to see to it that the beast is tended to.”

Molly clapped her hands together. “Excellent. My Lord, why do you not go ahead and join them?”

“Oh, Molly, I would hate to get in the way of such things.”

“Nonsense,” the older woman went on. “Consider it a lesson in character development.”

Henry narrowed his eyes. “You want me away from your stall, do you not?”

“You are warding off all of my customers.”

Henry threw up his hands. “Fine! Let us go and see the beast.”

Still shaking from laughter in response to the entire exchange, Anne and Riley led the way through the market in the direction of town. Henry grumbled behind them about wanting to explore the famed markets. As they walked, Anne reassured him that, with any luck, by the time they returned, there would still be plenty left to see.

*     *     *

She was right, for Riley’s family cow was back on her feet before the sun had reached its midpoint. The pain of her labour had been a shock to her system, and the rejecting of her baby had been a simple matter of the discomfort at the calf’s attempt to nurse. Anne had coaxed some pain relief into the cow and provided Riley’s mother with a balm to massage into her belly before it came time to nurse.

“It will take some getting used to,” she said to the ever-so-grateful woman. “For both of them. It is just an adjustment period, and I am sure that the pair of them will be fine.”

“Thank you, Lady Anne,” Riley’s mother said once more. “You have been a blessing.”

Anne just gently shook her head. “If you need anything at all, send word to Hillsmeade Manor. I will personally come down to attend to whatever you require.”

Then, she turned to Riley. “I think it would be best for you to stay and help your mother keep an eye on things here. Do not worry about the market stall – there will be plenty more as the season goes on.” She handed the young woman a lovely coin purse.

Riley held up her hands at once. “Oh, no. Anne, I could not possibly take that after I abandoned the stall.”

“You did not abandon the stall.”

It was Henry that piped up, approaching from where he had been watching on as a bystander to Anne’s work earlier.

Riley looked at him with glassy eyes. “Are you sure, my Lord?”

Henry smiled at her. “Family is important, Riley. It is the most precious thing, and we have to look after it. Besides, as my wife said, there will be plenty more opportunities for you.”

Riley and her mother way them off, calling thanks up the street after them. As they walked, Anne and Henry’s hands found one another. Togetherness was their natural state, and they knew that it always would be.

“Thank you,” Henry said to her then.

“For what?”

“For keeping me a humble man.”

Anne smiled. “Remember, it was my mother’s suggestion for you to attend that little episode.”

“But it was the goodness in your heart who decided the matter needed your attendance in the first place.” He paused, halting her stride as their hands lingered on one another’s. “That is what I love about you, Anne. Your kindness knows no bounds, and your compassion knows no face. You do what is right, always, no matter whether or not it offers anything in return.”

“Funny,” Anne replied softly. “For those are the exact qualities that I love about you, Henry.”

He placed his hand on her cheek. “You will be the most wonderful Duchess that the world has ever seen.” Then, he put his other hand on her belly. “But more than that, you are going to be an amazing mother.”

Anne lost herself in his eyes. “We will all be brilliant.”

With that as their eternal promise, and with the street around them a bright and bustling witness to it, they sealed it with a kiss.


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

32 thoughts on “A Lord’s Elixir of Love – Extended Epilogue”

    1. This was an unusual story spoiled a little by numerous miss spelling and typos. Proof readers need to take a little more care as it tends to take away some of the pleasure of the book!

        1. I felt the same way. I wanted to make corrections as I read, especially with tenses. But loved the humlity that Anne possessed and the timid, but steadfast love of Henry.
          And even glad that George won his love, too. Thank you, Amanda, for another excellent story.

      1. Hi, what a lovely book.
        Thank you for the extended epilogue.

        I had some questions. Will we find out about Anne’s father in a future book? Does Molly get a happily ever after?

        Your very interesting book pulled me in, Amanda. Has it been proofread, though?
        Some typos jumped out at me.
        I’m listing some that made sense to me, I hope you don’t mind? I couldn’t figure out the rest of them and some I can’t remember.

        Pgs. 94 , 204 ‘ fair’ should be ‘fare’
        Pg. 185 ‘simply’ should be ‘imply’
        Pg. 433 ‘fairing’ should be ‘faring’

        The words ‘smart’ and ‘funny’ were not used in the modern sense in the period this book is set in.’Wise’ and ‘witty’ are better suited to describe a heroine of this period.
        There were some bits where Henry and Anne agonised too long over their dilemma – I had to skip those bits.

        Keep up the good work! Looking forward to more great books about Anne and Molly, and your other feisty heroines, Amanda !

        All the best,

    2. I really looked the lend the story True good character and concern for others were the drivers of the dialogue. Wrongs were righted by love and truth. Thank you for an entertaining read that kept me invoved.

    3. Enjoyed the story and the fact that the common man was the focus on the story. The importance of the every day relationship and actions or interactions speaks volumes.
      There were too many typos! They were distracting.
      Over all a great read!

  1. You have brought us another amazing story that kept me enthralled from start to finish. Anne and Henry had a wonderful journey that was quite emotional at times. All of the characters are brilliantly crafted with great determination and humility. The extended epilogue is a great device that gives us a delightful insight into their futures and expectations. Beautiful work, I can’t wait to see what you bring us next.

  2. A wonderful story that is historically accurate. Gives one an almost being there feeling. We’ll done on all levels except spell checking. Proofing would be advantageous.

  3. I enjoyed this book er much. The story and characters were great. The only negatives I saw were the need for the correct tense of some words and spell check. I still loved it. Thanks

  4. A wonderful tale that entertained and excited! Though there were typos and missed words here and there, the story was enjoyable. Thank you for the chance to read it early!

  5. I loved the story. Strong characters. Shows how a deep friendship can lead to great love. Stubborn minds can be changed. I, personally dislike extended epilogues . I just wish it was all in the epilogue.
    The other comments were accurate about editing. The poor editing was distracting and annoying. Totally unexpected. I will recommend you and will definitely read more of your books. Your storytelling is wonderful. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and support, dear Cynthia. 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!

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