Unlocking her Delicate Heart – Extended Epilogue


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Charles and Faith had settled in their large mansion set in the middle of beautiful gardens and acres of surrounding woodland, and now, three years after their wedding, Faith could not be happier with her life. She had retained the cottage, for it held far too many memories for her and besides, her father had built it. While she could no longer use it, for it was hardly fitting for a duke and duchess, nor did she have it in her heart to let it go. 

Faith had voiced her concerns to Charles about moving into the Abbey a few months before their wedding. From her tiny cottage to the huge Abbey felt like such a leap—she had had enough to get used to with a new title, varied social engagements, and Charles’s family. Faith had felt a sudden overwhelm at the thought of living in the Abbey, and though she did not want to bother Charles, she knew well that the worry had been playing on her mind.

“I am sorry, Charles. I know I am causing a fuss—” 

“You are not causing a fuss, Faith. Don’t be so worried. If I’m honest, the idea of living somewhere entirely separate from my mother is rather a refreshing notion.” Charles had grinned, making Faith giggle.

“I think by now, I know what pleases you, my darling wife, for it was your wild and free spirit that I fell in love with. I want you to relax and let me deal with it.”

He had scoured the Bedfordshire countryside until he had found exactly what he thought would suit her—and, of course, he had been right. He did indeed know exactly what she liked, for though it was still a huge difference from her life in the cottage, Faith had been delighted with their new home.

“I don’t know what we are supposed to do with so many rooms, Charles, for we are only two people,” she had said as they had wandered around the huge place shortly after he had purchased the property.

“Well,” Charles had replied, stretching his hand across her and rubbing her swollen belly. “We will soon be three.”

“Two and a little bit, you mean.” Faith had smiled up at him.

“Perhaps. Yet, if she is as feisty as her mother, it will feel like three before too long.”

The mansion—with ten bedrooms, a ballroom, a library, two drawing rooms, and a further list of rooms that Faith could hardly remember—was grand enough for a duke and duchess, and in the country enough to suit Faith’s character and desires. Plank by plank, Charles had even ensured that her cabin was taken apart and rebuilt in the grounds, close by the edges of the woodland that stood on their property. His thoughtfulness had only delighted Faith even further.

Genevieve, their beautiful daughter, arrived a year after they were married and, with her thick red hair, it was a regular joke throughout the family that she would break men’s hearts while at the same time putting them in their place. Even the dowager duchess had softened at Genevieve’s arrival, for though she had wanted an heir to carry on the family name, Genevieve had melted her grandmother’s heart, and the dowager duchess spent many hours playing with her granddaughter when they were together.

Faith now found herself pregnant again, and for all concerned, her hope was for a little boy. Charles has told her many times that he did not care as long as their child was healthy, but Faith knew secretly that he wanted a son. It wasn’t just he alone, for once more, the dowager duchess had made mention of it only the last time they had visited her in the Abbey.

“What are we to do if it is another girl?” She sighed.

“We will just have to send it back,” Charles quipped.

His comment sent Robert into peals of laughter and both Faith and the dowager duchess could not help but join in. Even Genevieve giggled as she played on the floor at her mother’s feet, though at just under two years old, she could have no idea what they were all laughing at. 

“Mother, one cannot control such things,” Robert said, when they had all calmed a little. “Does it matter, only that the child will be loved?”

“It is not that I don’t know that Robert, yet Charles,” his mother turned to him, “you must feel something similar to me. Would you not desire a son, now that you have a daughter?”

“Of course I would, Mother, yet, if we have another girl, she will not be loved any less,” Charles replied, looking over at Faith tenderly as she sat on the chaise longue.

“Well, I don’t care what it is, as long it’s not late this time. You men have no idea how uncomfortable pregnancy is. I can hardly dress myself, I am so huge, and there are still several months to go. I feel like a baby elephant.”

“Yes, but a beautiful baby elephant.” Robert grinned as he teased her.

Faith and Robert had grown rather close since she and Charles had finally decided that they had a future. He had always been kind to her from the very beginning, but as they grew more comfortable with each other, they found they bounced off each other and their banter was always more than amusing.

“You’re not even going to be here for the birth, Robert,” the dowager duchess said.

“Actually, I have delayed my trip,” Robert replied. “I do not want to miss the birth of my next niece or nephew and a few months will hardly matter.”

Robert had decided to take his own advice, for Charles had told Faith how Robert had gone on for long enough about living for the day. Charles had challenged him a little after Genevieve was born, that while Robert talked much about everyone else living for the day, he didn’t seem to take any opportunities for himself. It had been a little over a month later when Robert had announced his decision to travel around Europe.

Evidently, Charles had been rather proud of Robert’s decision. In private, he had also confessed to Faith that he believed it would do Robert a world of good. Since coming back from the war, his obsession with death and being ready for it had marred Charles’s once high-spirited brother. A trip in the big wide world, meeting new people and experiencing the joys of life, may just give him a new perspective.

It appeared there were a lot of new perspectives going around, for around about that same time, Tom finally brought Mary, his newly betrothed, to come and visit. Mary was a shy woman, at least at the beginning, and very pretty. Her hair was blonde and her dainty round face seemed always to be filled with a smile.

Tom hadn’t warned Faith that he was bringing her, and so Faith had been quite surprised at her arrival at the mansion.

“Faith, I would like you to meet, Mary. Mary, this is Faith Russell, the Duchess of Bedford.”

Mary had flustered slightly and had not known whether to curtsey or bow and, in the end, had done both. It had quite amused Faith, though she had tried to hide it. Tom had noticed, though, and out of the sight of Mary as he stood a little behind her, gave Faith a knowing grin while shaking his head at the same time.

“It is delightful to meet you, your grace,” Mary had nearly whispered.

“Now, we will have none of that nonsense, Mary,” Faith had said as they had made their way into the garden. “Tom is my oldest friend—well, he is, in fact, more like a brother to me. If you two are to marry, then you can address me as he does. Faith is just fine.”

They had taken refreshments in the garden and Faith had been delighted to discover that Mary suited Tom exactly. She was happy for him, for it had worried her for some time that his heart may be broken once she had decided to marry Charles. Not that Tom would ever disclose such a thing, Faith just knew her best friend far too well. Six months later, they were married in a quiet ceremony in a chapel in Ely and since then, Tom and Mary had visited both the mansion and the Abbey often. 

Faith and Mary had become firm friends, which did not really come as much of a surprise. Just because Faith now held a title, she had not changed as a person, and both Mary and herself had been raised in a small village in a culture far different than the nobles. Often, they lost themselves in conversations for hours and Tom and Charles would have to come and nearly pull them apart.

“You do realise that your husbands need your attention, too, do you not?” Charles said one afternoon, as he and Tom landed themselves in the seats on the terrace beside them.

“Oh dear.” Faith had looked at Mary with her eyebrows raised mockingly. “It looks like our men feel a little left out, Mary. Don’t be fooled—though they are the size of adults, they are really children under all that height and strength.”

Charles and Mary had chuckled, while Tom had rolled his eyes. “Oh, you do talk such nonsense, Faith. You weren’t saying that when I carted your bread to the cottage on each occasion it needed delivered.”

“And I didn’t hear your complaint when I darned your socks either, Tom Baker,” Faith countered with a sly grin. “Each of us has a talent, only I do not cry into my milk when I am not paid attention.”

By this point, both Charles and Mary were quite doubled over, laughing at the two of them going at each other. Tom finally laughed, too, and Faith looked over at him with a soft tenderness. She would always love Tom Baker, but as her closest friend, for that was what he always had been.

Mary still found visiting the Abbey a surreal experience, and sometimes, Faith had caught her gaping expression and remembered a time when she had felt exactly the same. That time that seemed so long ago now, when she had discovered that Charlie Roberts had not been Charlie Roberts at all, and instead, he was this great important person that had quite terrified her. And yet, had he not lied to her on that first day they had met, she would not now be the happiest she had ever been.

Had he told her on that day that he was a duke, he would indeed have frightened her away, or at the very least put up a barrier between them, for she would not have been so relaxed in his company and allowed herself to fall in love with him. So many things might have happened that would not have brought them to their happiness. Faith could only be grateful that their path had led them to where they were now.

Tom and Mary arrived at the Abbey a day after Charles, Faith, and Genevieve. It was the dowager duchess’s birthday in four days, and while a ball had been prepared, the four friends had determined to arrive a little ahead of the crowd that would inundate the Abbey. 

“Oh, Faith, it is so good to see you again.” Mary hugged her friend as tightly as she could, with the huge bump of her belly separating them. “Look at you, my goodness. It will not be long now.”

They hadn’t seen each other for nearly four months and Faith had indeed grown in size since then.

“Indeed, I would say perhaps a week, maybe two. But who knows really.” Faith had beamed.

The following day, when everyone had fully rested from their journeys, the entire group—the dowager duchess, Robert, Charles, Faith, Genevieve, Mary, and Tom sat out on the terrace of Woburn Abbey, enjoying delicacies that were brought to them by the servants.

“I can hardly believe I am nearing my fiftieth year,” the dowager duchess had sighed. “I can hardly know where the time has gone. I remember when you two boys where only the size of Genevieve and now, you are grown men with your own lives to lead.”

“It was only by yours and father’s great example and effort, Mother, that we have turned out the way we have,” Robert said.

“I do not know whether that is a compliment or an insult to Mother,” Charles quipped with a grin.

The dowager duchess looked over at Charles and chuckled. “Do you know, my son. I was so wrong in pressing you to marry that dreadful Lady Beatrice—”

“It’s all in the past now, Mother,” Charles said as he shook his head.

“Yes, but that’s just it. I was so impatient for you to be wed that I don’t think I really knew you as well as I ought to. Truly, I have never seen you so happy as you have been with Faith, nor have you made me laugh as much with your wit.”

Faith felt a warmth glow inside of her as she watched the dowager duchess smile softly towards Charles. A long time ago, she had apologised to Faith for what her actions had caused, and though Faith had tried to reassure her that it hadn’t been her fault, she was as determined as her own son to face the consequences of her actions. It had gone a long way in building bridges between them.

Later in the afternoon, the dowager duchess had retired for a nap before dinner, and Mary and Faith sat on the terrace, watching Tom and Charles play with Genevieve on the lawn.

“I cannot wait until we are able to have a child of our own,” Mary said as she gazed at their play wistfully.

Faith absently rubbed her tummy, for it had been achy for the last hour or so. “It will happen for you, Mary.”

“I do hope so. As I look at Tom now playing with Genevieve, I know he will be a good father and just the same with our own daughter.”

Faith chuckled. “I do like your optimism that it will definitely be a girl. In contrast, everyone in this household is hoping this new addition,” she nodded to her large belly, “will be a boy.”

“I don’t know for certain that the first one will be a girl, but Tom has told me that we will have as many children as necessary until we have one.”

Faith laughed even louder. “Did he, now? Well, let me tell you, after you have carried a child for nine long months, you may have a differing view, Mary.”

“I love Tom with my entire being, Faith. I would do anything for him.”

“I know you do, Mary.”

Faith had known it for a long time, for she had seen how they were together. Mary hadn’t been some second choice that Tom had chosen because he couldn’t have Faith. He had managed to let Faith go and had fell in love with another. Whatever their future held, whether it be one child or five, they would grow up in a house filled with love, tenderness, and care.

Two days later, on the evening of the ball. Charles was readying himself and walked into the room looking rather dashing.

“My goodness, your grace.” Faith smiled admiringly. “I may need to keep a tight hold of you tonight, for I would not want any ladies trying to whisk you away.”

“I will only ever have eyes for you my darling wife.”

A piercing pain suddenly shot through Faith’s stomach in that second, and she couldn’t help but double over in pain.

“Oomph,” she groaned.

“Faith! Faith, what is the matter?”

She took some deep breaths in and out, and soon the pain subsided. ‘It is all right, my darling. I think our little bundle is just giving me a warning.’

Suddenly, the pain returned again with the same intensity and once more, Faith found herself holding her stomach. “Or maybe it might be more than a warning,” she croaked.

Charles strode quickly across the bedchamber and helped her to sit down on the edge of the bed. He sat beside her for a minute with his arm wrapped around her should. “I love you so much, Faith,” he said before kissing the top of her head.

“I love you—” Once more, the agonising pain rippled through her stomach and around her back, calling her to cry out this time.

“I will go and get help.” Charles stood and looked down at her with a furrowed brow. “Will you be all right?”

“Just go.” Faith waved an erratic arm toward the door.

A great flurry of activity began not long afterward and, as Faith readied herself for what was to come, she was grateful that she was surrounded with people she knew. While the ball continued downstairs, for Faith would not allow Charles to put a halt to the dowager duchess’s birthday celebrations, Mary had joined her in the bedchamber—as had Sarah Harris, the maid who not only had taken care of Faith when she had first visited the Abbey, but had been one of the maids assigned to look after Faith when she returned home from the Bakers’ all those years ago.

“Oh, Sarah, I am so glad it is you with me.” Faith smiled warmly.

“I am glad to be here, your grace.”

“Come now, Sarah, please tell me you’re not going to call me that for the whole time I am going through the birth. Please, call me Faith.”

Sarah had smiled knowingly and had nodded, before helping the other maids with the towels and hot water.

When it was all over, Charles was shown in and Faith proudly introduced him to his newborn son.

“I would like to call him Thomas,” Faith said.

“After Tom.” Charles nodded knowingly.

“After Tom,” Faith repeated.

Charles looked down at her with a deep love in his eyes and then kissed her tenderly. “I am so very proud of you, my darling wife. I’ve never told you how grateful I am to have found your key on that morning in the woods. It brought me to you, the only person who will ever have the key to my heart.”


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

10 thoughts on “Unlocking her Delicate Heart – Extended Epilogue”

  1. You have given us another amazingly entertaining story that had me engaged all the way through. The journey that Faith and Charles needed to negotiate was quite thrilling at times. The extended epilogue let us know how their relationship with Tom and the Dowager Duchess develops, and the joys of their growing family. Marvellous work.

    1. Faith and Charles found love and happiness even though their stations were different Their are twists and turns and they finally acknowledged their love The characters are determined and kind and some snobbish The extended epilogue completes the story with happiness A very good book and it is an wonderful story

  2. What a thrilling journey Faith and Charles had on there way to love.Another beautiful story , thank you Amanda for the joy of being in your Arc group.

  3. Very nice with unexpected events. First part the H is fedup with his oh so proper mother who has setup a marriage with a “proper match” who is horrid. The H takes a needed break & meets a wonderful lady who he wants to marry. There’s further conflict with his mother & the h runs & can’t be located. The author keeps the reader’s attention throughout. Again very nice. I will follow this author.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Eunice. 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!

  4. I have been honored to read your wonderful and exciting story!
    I loved this book and could barely wait until I knew the ending. The extended epilogue was also wonderful. Thank you for this wonderful story of love and suspense.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Carolyn. 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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