To Conquer the Earl’s Bed – Extended Epilogue


Edmund helped his wife into the carriage, and then the little one. “Careful now,” he said gently as Michael tumbled into the carriage with all the lively effervescence of a four year-old boy. Margaret caught his gaze, and together they shook their heads at their son.

Michael beamed up at him as he planted himself firmly beside his mother. They made arrangements as the carriage took off. It was a full minute before Michael gently poked his mother’s protruding belly, and said to Edmund, “Papa, Mama won’t tell me the truth.”

Edmund arched an eyebrow, wondering what it was exactly that his son was up to this time. Regardless, he indulged him. “What truth?”

“She’s refused to tell me what’s growing in her belly.”

Margaret shook her head and laughed, while Edmund tipped his chin thinkingly. “What do you suppose it is, Michael?”

“Aunt Anne says it’s a baby, but I don’t believe her.”

“No?” said Edmund, bemused, eager to hear what it was his son believed.

Michael shook his head contemplatively. “No, I don’t. I believe Uncle Victor. He says it’s a ball inside Mama’s belly, and I think he’s right.”

Margaret shook her head again, trying hard not to laugh.

“Well,” began Edmund. “Uncle Victor is quite wrong.”

“Really?” exclaimed Michael.

“Indeed. Would you like to take another guess as to what might be growing inside your mother’s belly?”

“Yes,” said Michael. Edmund laughed quietly to himself as his son closed his eyes to think deeply. His eyes found Margaret, and he whispered, I love you to her.

Margaret fondled her necklace as she said the words back to him.

Most of the time, Edmund could not believe his sheer luck that he had not only found the kindest, most beautiful woman in the universe but had had the brightest, funniest, most inquisitive son with her, with another on the way. When he reflected on the past and considered all that he would have missed out on had he held on tightly to the pain of his grief, blindly to his vow of vengeance, he wanted to scold himself, he wanted to cuss himself out.

But he was learning to be kinder to his past self.

He was shedding off the weight of history and learning to embrace the present, while he planned and looked forward to the future, And he knew deep in his heart that his future would always be coloured brightly with love and happiness, so long as he had his wife and his children in his life.

Edmund smilingly turned to his son at the same time that Michael’s eyes snapped open.

“I know what’s growing inside Mama’s belly,” said Michael sagely after taking in a long, dramatic breath.

“What is it?” echoed Edmund and Margaret at the same time, exchanging amused glances.

“It’s a rabbit,” said Michael with a tone of finality. “A pet rabbit just for me.”

“I did not see that one coming,” said Margaret with a straight face, and Edmund started to laugh.

Michael’s eyebrows lowered in frustrated confusion. He turned to his mother, eyeing her belly suspiciously before turning back to his father. “What, am I wrong? Is it not a rabbit?”

“No, Michael, I don’t have a rabbit growing inside of me,” said Margaret with as much of a serious face as she could, although Edmund could tell it was taking every fiber of her being to keep from laughing at her son’s amusing and ridiculous guesses.

“Are you certain about that?” Edmund said over Michael’s head, in a tone of mock seriousness.

“Truly, Edmund, surely you don’t want our son to carry such insane beliefs to everyone around him,” Margaret chided gently.

Edmund felt a lick of pleasure. Our son. “I wouldn’t mind,” he said simply. It was true. He had started off this journey adamant about not having children in order to teach his uncle a great lesson. It was strange how far he had come.

“You know what?” Edmund asked Margaret in low tones, so Michael wouldn’t hear.

“What?” Margaret said, raising her brows.

“It has been a hell of a journey,” Edmund said. “But I would never have had it with anyone but you.”

Margaret chuckled. “You are a true romantic, Edmund.”

He rolled his eyes. He did not quite believe that about himself. But since Margaret said it, it had to be true. She knew him better than he did himself.

“I wouldn’t raise this rascal with anyone but you, though,” Edmund said, intent on getting his point across.

Margaret looked up at him, her eyes aglow. “I know,” she said. “Me either.”

Edmund leaned back, contentment suffused into his very being. This had to be what life was, he thought. When you let go of the hate and anger and bitterness, you would start to enjoy the very meaning and purpose of life.

“I hope it’s a girl,” Margaret said in low tones. “I want to see you with our daughter.”

“Are you suggesting I’ll treat her any differently than I do our son?”

“Why, yes,” Margaret said sardonically. “She would be your precious little angel, and I will surely be pushed to the background.”

Edmund smiled. He did not think that anyone, even his own child, would ever erase the position of power Margaret held in his heart.

But he did not tell her so right away. Instead, he said, “You’re probably right. Two rascals are quite a lot for us to handle.”

Margaret laughed again. “You’re a great man, Edmund. The greatest man I ever met in my life.”

Edmund felt himself burning with pleasure. “You’d do well to remind me of that often.”

She ignored him, reaching across to put her hand on his. “I mean it. We both started our journeys with very different intentions. But I couldn’t be happier that we are here now. This feels like where we were always supposed to be.”

Edmund nodded. He felt exactly the same way. “It still puzzles me how I swore to myself to never love or have children.”

“People tend to hold on to pain quite easily,” Margaret said wisely. I think it speaks to your character.”

“Really? How?”

“You made a vow for years and kept it, Edmund,” Margaret said. “It’s more than anyone could do. It’s more than I could do. I remember how steadfastly you pushed me away in our earlier years because you thought you were betraying your father.”

Edmund said, feeling a sorry helping of guilt. “I’m sorry about that.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Margaret said. “Besides, you’ve all but made up for it. I remember you back in my father’s garden, telling me you would spend every day making me not regret choosing you. You’ve done all that and more, Edmund Caldwell.”

Edmund beamed. It was unbelievable how far he had come.

“If I had known that a day would come where I would have no problems sharing my feelings this easily with my wife, I would have thought differently,” he mused.

“So would I,” Margaret said. “In a way, we are alike. We both grew up in homes where we watched our surviving parents struggle with the loss of our dead one. And so we closed ourselves to love forever.”

“Now that I know what I do, I would wager that loving someone for a few years makes up for the many years in solitude,” Edmund said.

“I agree,” Margaret said. “My father has found love again, but I do wonder if he misses my mother.”

“He does,” Edmund said, very certain of this fact. “The love he shared with your mother will always be the greatest love of his life. But he is happy now, and that’s what counts.”

Margaret nodded. She looked out of the window. “I’m grateful you came back for me, Edmund. Otherwise, I’d be an old spinster, knitting by the fire as I watched my father rewed.”

Edmund chuckled. “A man would have scooped you up almost immediately. It was my greatest fear. I still fear that would happen, even now.”

Margaret raised a brow. “I suppose it wouldn’t occur to you that I wouldn’t want anyone else but you.”

Edmund felt pleasure bubbling in his heart. “I wouldn’t know,” he said. “You did mention how horribly I treated you.”

“Again, that was no fault of yours,” Margaret said. “All we have to do is make sure we raise our child – children – right, so they don’t grow up lacking love, the way we did.”

Edmund smiled at her. “That would be quite possible,” he said. “With you, Margaret Caldwell, I do not know how to contain my love.”

Margaret had a strange smile on her face as she faced the window again. Edmund stared at her, wondering what she was thinking.

“Margaret?” he whispered after a while of silence.

“I’m sorry,” Margaret said suddenly. “Sometimes, I wonder about Cecelia.”

Edmund felt whatever pleasure he had fizzle into nothing. “You shouldn’t,” Edmund said. “She nearly destroyed us, what we had. I wouldn’t miss her much if I were you.”

“I know,” Margaret said quickly. “I don’t miss her, especially now that I know what person she is. I just wonder sometimes. Here we are with our lives planned out and great, and the last I heard, she is still unwed.”

Edmund shrugged. He could not bring himself to care. “I feel as though she still hasn’t changed,” he said. “Perhaps when she does, she’ll get herself a husband.”

Margaret sighed. “I really hope so.”

Edmund stared at her. He had been quite lucky with his wife. How many women would choose to forgive Cecelia and hope for the best for her after what she had done? “You’re a great woman, Margaret,” Edmund said.

“I know,” Margaret said cheekily. “You had better keep proving me right.”

“I will,” Edmund said earnestly, grabbing her hand. He was never going to let go of her, he was certain. Never.

“I can’t hear either of you,” Michael suddenly whined.

“You shouldn’t,” Margaret said easily. “Perhaps when you’re old enough one day, you’ll say something similar to your wife, though.”

“I don’t want to marry,” Michael said seriously. “I’ll never marry.”

Edmund chuckled to himself. His son had no idea how remarkably close he sounded to his father a long, long time ago.

“You shouldn’t,” Edmund said, drawing himself a glare from Margaret. “Not unless you meet the second most fantastic woman in the world and she loves you as well.”

“Who is the most fantastic woman in the world then?” Michael perked up.

“Your mother,” Edmund said with a brow raised.

“I thought so,” Margaret said, in tones of mock-annoyance.

“Is that why Mama has a rabbit growing in her?” Michael asked. “Because you love each other?”

“It is not a rabbit, Michael,” Margaret said wearily.

“Are you certain about that?” Edmund said over Michael’s head, in a tone of mock seriousness, to which Margaret glared at her husband.

“It’s not a rabbit,” repeated Margaret decisively, as if that would convince her little son.

“What is it, then?” cried Michael impatiently.

Edmund made a face at his son, to which he threw his head back and laughed, his cheeks turning red just like his mother’s.

“Dear son,” said Edmund, patting his son reassuringly on the back. He held Margaret’s gaze as he held his son’s hand, and he knew that he had nothing more to worry about in his life. Edmund knew that he had found his pace. “In time,” he said to his son, “In time, you’ll see.”

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  • Overcoming the past to embrace the present and look forward to the future of HEA. An enlightening story of love overcoming pain and sorrow.

  • Enjoyed the book very much but was put off by the many spelling and grammar errors. You need a better proof reader or type setter.

  • Storyline was the best.But did not enjoy the third person always quoting in it.And the spelling and or maybe typo mistakes were all through.Maybe u need to get your proof reader replaced.Had to skip over a lot of the bits that u had to explain what was going on.The Extended Epilogue was like the rest of this read ,drawn out.Not your best writing.

    • Hello dear Pauline, thank you so much for your feedback, it’s what helps me improve as a writer. I will take your comments into consideration. I can only hope a badly proofread copy won’t get in the way of you being able to enjoy my future stories, as well!

    • Thank you for your feedback, dear Jacqui. I am already looking into that along with my editing team. I always want to give my readers the best stories I can deliver! I won’t allow typos get in the way of your reading experience again.

  • Very interesting. The theme of the book closely mirrors the experiences of real life people. I also liked the happy ending!

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