A Maid for the Mute Duke – Extended Epilogue


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“Who knew that porridge could ever taste so divine?” Adrian mused aloud, his eyes twinkling as he watched the littlest of his brood smear more of the meal on her cheeks than in her mouth.

Serena laughed softly, her gaze sweeping affectionately over their four children gathered around the breakfast table in the sun-drenched dining room. “Only when your grandmother is the one preparing it, my dear,” she replied, watching as her mother, with sprightly energy, dished out another spoonful to their eager son.

“It’s true,” her mother chimed in, offering a wink to the youngest, who giggled in response. “A secret ingredient, which I shall never reveal—not even under duress.”

The room was filled with light laughter, the walls echoing the joyful chaos of a large family. Beside the table, a younger maid—newly hired but already beloved by the children—busied herself with refilling the milk jugs and arranging an array of fresh fruits.

Adrian leaned back in his chair, his gaze lingering on Serena with a softness that only years of love could etch. “It seems just yesterday we were two,” he said, reaching across to squeeze her hand. “And now look at us, surrounded by this lively assembly.”

Serena squeezed his hand in return, her heart swelling with the life they had built together. “Every day is an adventure with them,” she admitted. “And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Their eldest, a spirited girl of eight, looked up from her plate, curiosity sparkling in her eyes. “Mama, will Uncle Benjamin and Aunt Olivia come with their children to play now?” she asked, always eager for the company of her cousins.

“Yes, darling,” Serena replied. “They will be here in a bit. You can show your cousins the new kittens in the barn.”

The mention of kittens brought a round of excited chatter from the children, each voicing what they would name them if given a chance.

Adrian laughed, his heart light with the banter. “It’s a wonder how this house has grown—so full of love and laughter,” he commented, his voice tinged with contentment.

“And noise,” Serena added, winking at him.

“Yes, precisely the noise that makes this place alive,” he agreed warmly.

Their conversation was interrupted as the youngest child decided that her porridge would look better atop her head rather than in her bowl. As Serena’s mother deftly intervened, wiping porridge from the little one’s hair, Serena couldn’t help but reflect on how complete her life felt. Her mother had become an indispensable part of their household, her presence a comforting constant for both the children and herself.

Amid the cleanup, the older maid entered, a note in hand. “A message from the dowager duchess,” she announced, handing it to Adrian.

He opened the note, scanning the contents quickly. “Ah, the dowager duchess continues her good works. She’s organizing another collection for the village school,” he shared, a note of respect in his voice.

Serena nodded, pleased. “Her transformation has been a blessing to many,” she mused. “I’m glad she has found peace in her piety.”

“Indeed,” Adrian agreed, looking back at his children. “And to think how our lives have entwined and grown. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for.”

Their breakfast continued amidst plans and laughter, the room a capsule of warmth and familial love, setting the tone for another day filled with the simple joys of togetherness. 

Serena looked across the table to where Adrian’s half-sister, Annabelle, was helping the younger maid set out a fresh batch of scones. “Annabelle, my dear, your mother tells me you were quite the sensation at your first Season. We are all agog to hear about it.”

Annabelle blushed prettily, a smile lighting her face. “It was more enjoyable than I anticipated, Aunt Serena. And all the more delightful for having our family close.” Her gaze flitted to Adrian, gratitude shimmering in her eyes. “Adrian’s guidance was indispensable.”

Adrian chuckled, his expression one of mock severity. “All I did was ensure the young suitors knew they’d answer to me should their intentions stray from the honorable.”

Charles, leaning against the doorway with casual elegance, joined in. “And believe me, no one wishes to have that particular conversation with our Adrian.” His tone was light, but everyone at the table appreciated the depth of his respect for his older brother. “Speaking of responsibilities,” Charles continued, his eyes now on the estate beyond the window, “learning the ropes of the estate management under Adrian’s tutelage has been an enlightening experience. It’s given him more time to terrorize—”

“—to spend with his family,” Adrian interjected with a grin.

“Yes, that too,” Charles agreed, laughter bubbling in his voice.

Serena’s heart swelled seeing the bond the family shared, a stark contrast to the strained relations of years past. She noticed the children listening, wide-eyed, to their uncles and aunt, absorbing every word that spoke of unity and love.

At that moment, the conversation turned as Olivia entered the room, her three little ones tumbling in before her. “Goodness, what perfect timing,” Olivia exclaimed, “we arrived just as the scones are served!”

Serena stood to greet her friend, embracing her warmly. “We were just discussing Annabelle’s successful Season and Charles’ new responsibilities. And speaking of news, how do Gerard and Florence fare?”

Olivia’s smile widened. “Oh, they are doing surprisingly well. The twins have brought so much joy to them. Florence has truly settled into family life, which none of us could have predicted, and Gerard… well, he seems entirely transformed by fatherhood.”

“Indeed,” Adrian added, his tone reflective. “It’s a testament to the unexpected paths our lives can take. Florence and Gerard’s marriage was a surprise to us all, but seeing them now, so content and dedicated to their children, it’s a pleasant revelation.”

Serena nodded, her eyes twinkling with mirth. “It seems life enjoys making poets of us all, with twists and turns we scarcely could predict.”

The room filled with warm laughter, the sound mingling with the late summer breeze that fluttered through the open windows.

As the children began clamoring for scones, Annabelle leaned over to Serena. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it? How everyone finds their place eventually?”

“Yes, it truly is,” Serena replied, her gaze sweeping over the family she loved. “It shows that with time and patience, even the most tangled webs can be unwoven.”

Adrian, catching her eye, nodded in agreement. Their shared glance spoke volumes of the trials they had overcome together, binding them closer than ever. In the laughter and chatter that filled their home, there was a deep, enduring sense of peace.

*

Later in the day, as the golden hues of the setting sun stretched across the lush gardens of their estate, Serena and Adrian prepared for the intimate dinner party they had planned. Tables draped in white linen were scattered across the lawn, each adorned with clusters of fresh flowers that spilled vibrant colors into the warm evening air. The scent of blooming jasmine mingled with the tantalizing aroma of roasted meats and baked breads, drawing their guests out into the beguiling embrace of the end-of-summer breeze.

Adrian, ever the attentive host, circulated among their friends and family, sharing laughs and heartfelt conversations. Serena watched him for a moment, her heart full at the ease with which he brought joy to their guests.

“Everything looks wonderful, darling,” Adrian murmured as he returned to Serena’s side, wrapping an arm around her waist.

“It’s a perfect evening,” she agreed, leaning into his embrace. “And it’s about to become even more memorable.”

Adrian raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “Oh? And why is that?”

Serena’s eyes sparkled with mischief and excitement. “Because Lady Francisca has agreed to perform tonight. Just for one night, for our closest friends and family.”

Adrian’s surprise gave way to a broad smile. “Truly? That is a splendid surprise, my love!”

The news of Lady Francisca’s one-night return was met with enthusiastic applause when Serena announced it after the main course. Laughter and cheers filled the air, and the atmosphere buzzed with anticipation. Guests reminisced about her past performances, their voices filled with fondness and nostalgia.

As twilight deepened into a velvety night, a small stage that had been set up at one end of the garden was lit by soft, ambient lights. Serena slipped away to prepare, leaving Adrian to mingle among their guests, his pride in her palpable to all who spoke with him.

When Serena reappeared, the transformation into Lady Francisca was complete. Clad in a shimmering gown that caught the light of the moon and the lanterns, with her hair elegantly styled and her presence as commanding as it had ever been on stage, she was met with an outpouring of applause. Adrian stood at the forefront, his admiration clear as he watched her take the stage.

“Good evening, everyone,” Serena—now Lady Francisca—began, her voice carrying the familiar, captivating Spanish accent that had once enchanted scores of audiences. “It is both a joy and an honor to perform for such dear friends and beloved family on this beautiful night.”

Her performance was a mixture of beloved classics and a few lesser-known pieces, each delivered with the grace and passion that had defined her career. Between the songs, laughter and the clinking of glasses filled the air, the informal and warm nature of the event allowing everyone to feel as if they were part of something truly special.

As the final note of her last song lingered in the cool night air, the applause that followed was heartfelt and lingering. Adrian was the first to reach her as she stepped down from the stage, his eyes shining with emotion.

“That was magnificent, my love,” he whispered, taking her hand and kissing it gently. “You’ve made this evening unforgettable.”

Serena smiled, her eyes meeting his in a moment of shared joy and contentment. “With you by my side, how could it be otherwise?”

The rest of the evening passed in a blissful blur of dancing, laughter, and shared stories. As the guests eventually bid their goodbyes, each carried with them a piece of the magic that Serena and Adrian had created that night—a celebration of love, art, and family that would be remembered for years to come.

After the last of their guests had departed and the quiet of the night reclaimed the estate, Adrian and Serena finally retired to their private chambers. The air was still filled with the remnants of the evening’s merriment, and both felt a contented weariness settle over them as they closed the door to their bedroom.

Serena leaned against Adrian, her head resting on his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her. They stood together in silence for a moment, the calm enveloping them like a soft blanket.

“What a night, Adrian,” Serena murmured, her voice soft with fatigue and happiness. “I hadn’t realized how much I missed performing… but tonight was perfect.”

Adrian turned to look at her, his eyes gentle. “It was perfect because it was you, Serena. Seeing you on that stage again reminded me of when I first fell in love with you. But,” he paused, brushing a strand of hair from her face, “I love you even more now, for all that we’ve shared and built together.”

Serena smiled, reaching up to touch his cheek. “And to think of all we’ve been through,” she said. “The challenges we faced, the doubts we overcame. Each moment led us to this night, to this life together.”

Adrian nodded, leading her to the balcony where they could look out over the estate—their home. The moon cast a silver glow over the gardens, now silent after the evening’s festivities.

“Do you remember,” Adrian began, his voice reflective, “when we wondered if we could ever find peace? If our pasts, our differences, would allow us such happiness?”

Serena laughed softly, the sound a melodic chime in the quiet night. “I do. I was so afraid that the world would never accept us, that my role as Lady Francisca or your family’s expectations would keep us apart.”

“And yet, here we are,” Adrian said, pulling her closer. “Not just surviving but thriving. Our children, our family, our friends… It’s more than I dared hope for.”

Serena rested her head against his chest, listening to the steady beat of his heart. “I wouldn’t change a single thing, Adrian. Each struggle made us stronger, each doubt made our love deeper. We chose this life together, and I would choose it again, a hundred times over.”

They stood in silence, each lost in their own reflections of the years that had woven their lives so intricately together. It was Serena who broke the quiet, her voice a whisper against the backdrop of the night.

“Adrian, do you ever think about what the future holds for us? For our children?”

“Every day,” he admitted, his gaze turning towards the stars. “I hope they inherit our strength, our joy, our capacity to love. But whatever comes, I know we will face it as we always have—together.”

Serena nodded, feeling a surge of hope and determination. “Together,” she echoed. “And with a little luck, we’ll guide them as well as we’ve managed so far.”

THE END


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14 thoughts on “A Maid for the Mute Duke – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Yes I really enjoyed reading A maid for the mute duke , the surprise ending and the extended epilogue was a bonus and tied everything together!
      I love all your books
      Rose

  1. An enchanted tale of a Cinderella type whom eventually after interference by a number of detestable characters achieved a satisfactory conclusion. The struggle by each character well written.

  2. Enchanted tale, had me glued to it from start to end! Adrian and Selena both had emotional pain but found relief in their love for each other. Lovely! I truly liked that Selena cared enough to create a means of communication with Adrian – that was exceptional.

  3. The story between Adrian and Serena, separated as children at the death of the Duchess, sends Serena to an Aunt who uses her as a slave while teaching she had been abandoned by her mother and Adrian becomes mute . Serena as Lady Francesca earns enough money as a performer to buy a house to retire into in the future. When Serena accidentally intercepts a piece of mail meant for her she learns het mother is currently ill and needs her help. She reunites with Adrian and feels a need to help him communicate. She learns her aunt had received money monthly to raise her but had used it for her own family and none on her. The love stories in this novel are a wonder to follow. I as an ARC highly recommend this novel.

  4. A good and wonderful story very well written and the characters very entertaining and intriguing and a good extended epilogue

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