Once More, My Duke – Extended Epilogue


Even a character, a scene, or anything. You could say no if nothing bothered you.
It can be a character, a scene, or anything that made the book better for you.

Two years later

The lights of London were as beautiful as she remembered. Lucretia breathed in a deep inhalation of the night air, watching the city’s flickering lights from the balcony of the estate of Lady Cromwell.
Arms snaked around her, and she laughed and relaxed into them. “Warren…”
His deep laugh sounded in her ear. “You do know the ball is actually inside. The view might be lovely, I’ll grant you…” He pressed a quick kiss to her head. “But the party is still inside.”
“I know it, truly, I do.” Lucretia laughed softly and leaned into the quiet strength of his touch. “It is only that returning to London society has been far more tiring than I expected.”
She had been made welcome enough, she supposed. Certainly, there had been no shortage of invitations to various balls and parties.
“It will get easier. Besides, is this not what you wanted, to rejoin society and make the rounds, now that no one will dare snub you for your situation or your past? You have certainly been talking about the London season often enough.” Warren’s voice was soft.
There was a time when she would have agreed with him or put on a brave face and pretended to agree with him because it was the sort of thing one might expect of the wife of the Duke of Argyll. But she and Warren had promised each other honesty in their marriage. And in any case, she had sworn that she would not raise her daughter to put more stock in appearances and social position than honest relationships, not by word or by example.
She sighed and leaned into Warren’s arms. “I thought it would be, but it is not.”
“Not. I miss Bath. I miss the quiet sounds of the city where we have made our home. I miss our little estate by the river, where the city turns into the country, and there is nothing there for miles to disturb us. I miss our friends and family there. I have lost my taste for the glamour of London life, if ever I truly had it.”
Warren laughed. “Well, in that case, the solution is simple.” He gently turned her to face him. “If you miss our home in Bath, then to Bath we shall go. We can go make our excuses to our host and hostess, and then we shall go home, pack up our household, and be on the road before the sun rises. And we can be back in our little country estate by supper time tomorrow or earlier.”
“I…but there is Patience to think of. What if she is upset?”
“She will recover. She has not had time to become enamored of London. And in any case, it is many years yet before we have to worry about her coming out ball or her first season. And perhaps she will not want to leave Bath either. But even if she wishes a season in London…well, perhaps we shall both be better prepared for London by then.” Warren shrugged easily.
“I just want her to be happy. I should not want her to be restless or bored.” Lucretia swallowed, once again faced with the nebulous fears that seemed to catch her off guard when she thought about her daughter. “I do not wish her to feel deprived or unhappy.”
“And I doubt she will. If she does, I have no doubt that she will find something to occupy her. She is, after all, as beautiful, intelligent, and lively as her mother.” Warren grinned. “And besides, she shall have her Aunt Eleanora to coddle her and make much of her.”
Lucretia smiled. “I cannot be sure of that. Have you not heard? Eleanora has recently become enamored of a young man from the ton, and he seems determined to court and win her.” She smirked and reached up to stroke his cheek. “Rumor has it, it is quite serious.”
“All the more reason for us to return to Bath, in that case.” Warren heaved a dramatic, put-upon sigh. “No doubt, I shall have to do something to make sure my cousin does not get into too much trouble with whatever fellow has caught her attention and her fancy this season.”
“Well, if you are sure…”
Warren laughed softly and bent to press his forehead against hers. “Lucretia, my darling, my love, I want only your happiness. If returning to Bath is what makes you happy, then that is what I want.”
Lucretia stared up into his shining emerald eyes.
People would talk if they returned to Bath now, only days after having arrived. No doubt, gossip would be thick, with rumors of all kinds swirling around the ton who would imagine every kind of scandal, secret, or fault between them. That was the way London society worked.
She no longer cared. She had learned what truly mattered, and it was not the shallow opinions of noble ladies or their husbands.
She smiled and stretched up to kiss her husband softly on the lips. “Let us go home, my love.”
Let the ton say what they would. She had spent enough time on their whims. She was happy. And that was all that mattered to her and to Warren.
They were happy.

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  • I enjoyed Once More, My Duke. There were plenty of twists and turns to keep my attention. A happy ending always makes me feel good about the book.

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