A Wager for the Lady’s Love – Extended Epilogue

The past two years had been the best of Emma’s life. Waking up next to Kenneth every day was like a dream come true. Emma counted herself as the luckiest woman in London to be married to a man as considerate, caring, and handsome as Kenneth. The fact that Teresa had become nearly like a sister herself was an added boon. The two were inseparable; Emma now couldn’t imagine not having the young woman in her life.

Emma smiled as she and Teresa strolled through the beautiful gardens of Herbert Manor. She let her fingertips brush the new rosebuds, thinking of how small the blossoms seemed now. They were just beginning their first stages of life and would grow into something even more beautiful and miraculous, given time.

“Are you excited to see your brother?” Teresa asked. “I know it’s been such a long time since he’s been able to visit.”

“Two years,” Emma said. “Thomas has been ever so busy with his business travels. I believe this is the longest time we’ve ever spent apart. It’s so silly; I know that Kenneth will only be gone for the afternoon, but somehow, I’m just as thrilled to see him when he arrives home as well.”

Somehow“, Teresa said teasingly. “You and I both know exactly why you wait with such anticipation. Is it today that you’ve decided to tell him?”

Emma’s heart soared at even the mention of her secret. Her hand reached up to settle upon her stomach idly, and she sighed, completely satisfied with her life. As soon as her husband and her brother arrived home, everything would be completely right within her world.

“Yes,” she said, nodding. “I’m completely certain now. I didn’t want to tell him if there was even a shadow of a doubt that I could be wrong.”

“That’s wise,” Teresa said, as they made their way back to the manor. She shut the latch on the garden gate behind them. “I know he’s going to be absolutely stunned. But when do you think Thomas might arrive back? Have you heard anything? Is it still supposed to be today?”

Emma glanced up at her younger friend as a servant held open the manor door for the two of them. She studied Teresa’s face; her companion was asking quite a lot of questions about her brother, but Teresa’s face was still neutral and impassive. There was a brief moment that Emma thought she saw an eager light in her eyes, but it fluttered away just as quickly as it came.

“I apologize,” Teresa said. “I just can’t believe the day has finally come where we’ll all be reunited again. After what happened with Alex, I feel family to be more important than ever. And your news has me feeling even more exhilarated! It’s just all so exciting!”

An elated smile broke out on Teresa’s face that Emma couldn’t help but return. Her friend was right; it was going to be an exciting and eventful day. They made their way to the drawing room, speaking in quiet but enthusiastic tones about their plans for when Kenneth and Thomas arrived. Emma couldn’t help but keep tossing glances at the window, hoping to spy either one of them.

After a while though, the conversation with Teresa became too enthralling. They sipped their hot, fragrant tea, wearing joyous smiles as they laughed, discussing what they thought Thomas and Kenneth’s reactions would be.

“Oh, my brother will certainly cry,” Emma laughed, setting her teacup down upon the plate. “He’s always been a bit of a tender-heart. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll burst like a raincloud the moment I give him the news.”

“I think it’s sweet that he’s so soft of heart,” Teresa said, taking a sip of her tea. Emma was not sure, but she thought she saw a hint of a blush on her cheek. “I can’t say what my brother’s reaction might be though. You’ve certainly made him more sensitive than he once was, Emma. Kenneth has always been a good man, but I believe he’s only improved since meeting you.”

Emma smiled at her friend; there was only honesty shining in Teresa’s eyes. She was just about to say that they should perhaps go shopping to prepare for the new arrival when a knock sounded on the drawing room door. It swung open to reveal Kenneth; he looked as though he were in particularly high spirits.

“Why such an expression?” Emma asked as he kissed both of her cheeks. “You look like you’ve been named king of England.”

“A man can’t be happy to see his wife and his younger sister?” he asked, the hint of a joke in his eyes. “I suppose I know where I’m not wanted.”

“Oh, go on,” Emma said. “But truthfully, you look like you have something to say.”

Kenneth grinned back at her; pride evident in his expression. “I suppose it’s just been a particularly good day. Several of my partners have introduced me to other parties. It’s nothing you two ladies would like to concern yourselves with; just know that we’re doing remarkably well financially. Has Thomas arrived yet?”

“Not yet,” Emma said. “But I have some news of my own. I wonder if I should tell you before or after Teresa and I finish our shopping.”

Kenneth’s brows quirked up, curious and pleased. “Shopping?” he asked. “That’s a pastime that I wouldn’t expect you to readily volunteer for, even now. But I suppose it has been some time since you’ve bought some new gowns.”

“Not for gowns,” Teresa replied. Emma could hear her barely contained excitement, which only fed into her own. “For furniture.”

Now Kenneth looked truly confused. Emma tried to keep the words from bursting from her throat, and so she folded her hands neatly in front of her, focusing on the cool metal of her wedding band.

“Furniture?” Kenneth asked. “Well… Redecorating isn’t something I ever saw you taking an interest in, Emma, but by all means, please go right ahead and change around whatever room you see fit. I want you to be comfortable in your own home.”

“Wonderful,” Emma replied. “I was hoping that you’d agree. We can’t go having a baby without a cradle!”

Kenneth’s head shot up and he looked at Emma with wide, questioning eyes. The hint of a smile played on his lips; Emma could tell that Kenneth barely believed what he was hearing. The joy in his expression was endearing and filled her heart with satisfaction. When she nodded, ensuring him that yes, it really was true, he laughed and swept her up into his arms.

“How long have you known?” he asked. “I’m surprised you could keep such a thing secret! Normally you wear every expression your heart experiences on your face.”

“It wasn’t easy,” she said. “Many times I wanted to break down and tell you, but I wasn’t quite sure yet. Only Teresa kept me from spilling my secret before I was certain it was true. But there’s no denying it! Kenneth, I’m with child!”

Saying the words outright solidified them into existence. Emma lay her head against her husband’s shoulder as Teresa congratulated them both. When he looked down at her, she could see that he did in fact have tears shimmering in the corners of his mossy green eyes.


          “Whether our child is a boy or a girl, I hope they share your eyes,” Emma said.

She smiled up at Kenneth, reaching up to wipe the shimmering droplets from his lashes. She felt his lips curve up in a smile when he bent down to kiss her.

“Oh, don’t,”  Kenneth said. “I was hoping our baby would share yours. But what a wonderful day this is! Now, all we need is Thomas. He should be here before the day’s end. Did you write and tell him the news? Or are you planning on surprising him as well?”

“I thought I might surprise him,” Emma said. “I would hate to miss my brother’s expression when he hears. I couldn’t bear to tell him in a letter and deprive myself of such a sight!”

Emma couldn’t help but notice how Teresa glanced up at the mention of Thomas’ name. The young woman’s head turned towards the window, scanning the view of the street. When Thomas’ carriage still did not arrive, she sighed. Her expression was just cheerful as always, but Emma wondered if Teresa had a secret of her own that she just wasn’t willing to share just yet.

However, once Emma heard the two of them begin to discuss whether or not the child was a girl or a boy, she couldn’t help but laugh.

“Emma is having a beautiful baby girl,” Teresa said. “And that’s that. You’ll get your son, I’m sure, but not this time! Oh, I’m going to be an aunt!”

Emma smiled to herself, gazing out at her little family that was steadily growing. She silently thanked her father for knowing what she truly wanted, what she truly needed. Emma knew that without his steady guidance, even as an ill, bedridden man, she never would have found such happiness. When she looked back at the dear man who was her husband, she knew deep in her heart that he was going to make a wonderful father as well.

If you haven’t already, please leave your review on Amazon

If you want to be always up to date with my new releases, click and…

Follow me on BookBub

Readers who enjoyed this book also bought

  • >