The Way to Capture a Marquess’s Heart – Extended Epilogue

Alice paused when she felt her baby kick, relief filling her.

“There you are, little one.”

Her second pregnancy was entirely different from her first, and although her mother had assured her that everything was perfectly all right, that had not stopped the anxiety that had consumed her every waking moment. David had been a relatively easy pregnancy, but falling pregnant a second time had been challenging.

“Luke!”

He had been just as anxious as she was, but he had tried not to show it. Her husband was her rock, the one who supported her no matter the situation. He came rushing into the parlour, his face white.

“Is something wrong? Is it the baby?”

“The baby kicked.”

“Truly?”

Tears welled in her eyes as she nodded. The first kick had been due weeks ago, and when it had not happened, fear had filled her. It had taken four years to fall pregnant, and to possibly lose her baby was beyond comprehension.

“Thank goodness!”

Luke gathered her up in his arms as she fell apart, her body shaking with tears of joy.

“My love, I knew that everything would eventually be all right. It has killed me to see you so distraught.”

“I was terrified, Luke,” she blubbered. “We have wanted another baby for so long, and to think that we might have lost-”

She broke off sobbing, not able to continue her sentence. Luke continued to hold her, stroking her hair.

“Our baby is healthy and strong, Alice, and in just a few months, we will see him.”

“Her.”

She could feel him smile against her hair. “Her.”

Alice wanted a daughter more than anything, and while she would be just as thankful to have a healthy baby boy, a little girl would complete her.

“David wishes to have a baby sister, and I desire a little girl.”

“But I would be out of my depth with a daughter, Alice.”

She moved her head back. “You are wonderful with your sisters, Luke, and you will be wonderful with our daughter.”

“Having sisters and having a daughter are two completely different things, Alice. Suzzanah and my father are responsible for my sisters, and I shall be responsible for my daughter.  I do not think that my heart could take having a daughter.”

“You are thinking about the day she leaves our home.”

“I would not allow it!”

Alice had to laugh. They did not have their daughter yet, but Luke had managed to get himself worked up about something that would take years to happen. She linked her arms around his neck, shaking her head at him.

“You, Husband, are a silly man. Where is David?”

“Digging up worms for his bird.”

“Bird? When did he acquire a bird?”

“Since this morning.”

“And how did he catch this bird?”

“I do not know, and neither will he tell me. Our son is quite the stubborn little boy, he is insisting on keeping this bird.”

She tilted her head. “Stubborn? I cannot think where he might have received such a trait.”

David was rather hard-headed for a six-year-old boy, but he was also the sweetest. When he was born, he had looked so much like her except for his deep coloured grey eyes, but he was changing into a mini version of his father. He was even walking like him, using the same gestures to speak, and often slept the same way. It was almost as if watching Luke grow up before her very eyes! As though he knew that they were talking about him, David came running into the room, his fingers caked with mud.

“Mama! I got a bird, a pretty bird.”

“Goodness, but you have been a busy boy. And where is this bird now?”

“In the garden eating worms. See.” He held up his hands. “I was looking for worms.”

“I see that, but perhaps it is now time to wash up- Aunt Violet and Uncle Gregory should be arriving any minute now.”

David did not need to be told twice. He went running out of the room at a speed, shouting Tessa’s name at the top of his lungs. Tessa, a young woman they had saved from a brothel house in London, had quickly become David’s favourite person. She was but sixteen, and the only daughter of her deceased parents. Bringing her to the Conolly estate was the best thing that they could have done because she was wonderful with David, doting on him as an older sister would.

“The house will be full for some days to come, David will enjoy being with his cousins.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “Although he is no longer keen to play with girls, with the exception of Tessa, of course.”

“Victoria and Margaret will not be happy to hear that their favourite cousin no longer wishes to play with them.”

Violet’s twin girls were only two months older than David and had been near inseparable growing up. However, now he felt that he was too old to play with girls.

“Perhaps he will change his mind when he sees them, he does love them. There is also Benjamin, although he is two years younger.”

“Letting him interact with his younger cousin will prepare him for when our little one is born.”

David certainly liked the idea of being a big brother, but it remained to be seen if he would accept no longer having all their attention when the baby arrived. Alice would try to make the transition as smooth as possible, but there was no telling how their son would react.

“I am confident that David will be the perfect brother, just as you are to your siblings. He is already so much like you.”

A commotion sounded in the hallway, alerting them to the presence of her sister and husband. With a gleeful shout, Alice went running to see Violet. It had been over ten months since they had last seen each other, and she missed her terribly.

“Violet!”

Her sister dropped the vanity case she was carrying and came running to her, hugging her tightly.

“Oh, look how round you have become! Where is my nephew?”

“Is that any way to greet your sister? Pregnancy makes one as round as a ball, you should know that having had three children.”

“Oh, I only said it in jest, Alice. You look wonderful, and the baby?”

Alice and Violet regularly exchanged letters, giving detailed news about their lives. Her sister was well aware of her fears with her current pregnancy.

“I felt a kick today.”

Violet screeched and hugged her again. “Oh, I am so happy for you! Gregory, did you hear that?”

Her sister turned to Gregory, who was still near the door directing the servants with the bags.

“Yes, dear, it certainly is. This is wonderful news, Alice.”

“Should you not congratulate the father as well?” asked Luke as he walked to them.

“Old chap, it is good to see you! I see that Alice is looking after you well.”

The men shook hands, slapping each other on the shoulders.

“My wife takes incredibly good care of me, Norton, as I see your wife does as well. Do my eyes deceive me, or are you looking heavier?”

“Hey, watch it! I will have you know that I am wearing a bulky shirt.”

Violet giggled, whispering into her ear. “Gregory has put on a little weight, and he is quite sensitive about it.”

“And Luke just has to call him on it,” she sighed. “Where are the children? I do not see them.”

“They spotted David and went running to him. They were gone before I could stop them.”

Ten months had passed, and yet they treated each other as though they had seen each other just yesterday. Alice loved the bond between the cousins, it was exactly what she and her sister had hoped for when they fell pregnant.

“David has likely taken them to see his new bird.”

“Oh, is that his new pet? I have a feeling that Benjamin will soon also ask for a bird.”

“How he found the bird is a mystery to us. Come, let us leave the men and rest in the parlour. You must be tired from your journey, and I find that I cannot bear to stand around for too long.”

“I thought that you would never ask!”

Later on, they all sat in the drawing-room, having just had their dinner. Benjamin lay in his mother’s lap, his eyes slowly drooping closed. Her son and the twins were busy with a puzzle, little harmless arguments breaking out here and there as they worked to put it together. Alice could not imagine a more blissful scene than this, it was just missing her parents.

“What are you thinking?” Luke asked.

“How happy I am.”

“I second that,” said Violet.

“Rutland, we are doing something right when our wives are this happy.”

“I could not agree more, old chap. I have heard that if one’s wife is happy, your life will be happy as well.”

“Vi, do our husbands take credit for our happiness?”

Her sister smiled. “That is what I hear.”

“Oh, dear, what proud husbands we have. I am sure that they imagine themselves to be perfect husbands. However, I hear that Mr. Banks thoroughly spoils his wife like no other- our husbands do not come close to that.”

Rose Charpentier, now Mrs. Banks, could always be seen with a smile on her face. From what Alice had heard, her husband always sought ways to spoil his wife, the latest gift being a life-size statue of her that sat in their garden.

“You would dare compare us to Banks?”

Alice glanced at her husband, before raising her eyebrows at her sister, darting her eyes at the men. They both burst out laughing, their children looking at them with frowns on their little faces before resuming their puzzle.

“They are having us on, Rutland, they know that there are no better husbands than we.”

Alice gave Luke a peck on the cheek. “Of course, my love.”

Their conversation quickly turned serious when Gregory asked after Tessa’s health. He had been the one to treat her when they had discovered her severely beaten and in bad shape. They had since collectively managed to close down the brothel, but there were so others, many run by courtesans with the ears of several powerful men. Alice had never imagined that such a terrible place existed, having been sheltered her entire life. If she could rescue every young woman, she would, but she had come to realise that it was not a simple thing to do. They had been fortunate enough to rescue Tessa, but there were still many other girls like her situation that needed their help. The four of them were in the midst of planning a home where they could shelter these women and the children they had as a result of the forced work they did. The house would also be a place of learning, giving them various skills to find more suitable employment. The only challenge now was finding the perfect place to build the home to fit all the facilities needed for these women.

“Violet and I were in London some weeks ago, and we think that we may have found a good-sized property. It is an abandoned factory on a good-sized property. Of course, there will be much work to do, but at least we have the structure and additional land to extend it should we find a reason to.”

Alice was both surprised and thrilled that a place was found, but she was certain that she and Luke had scoured London, and yet had not been able to find anything.

“Did it recently go up for sale, Norton? Alice and I were not able to find anything when we were there.”

“It seems that we have another person who is just as interested in joining in this project. He was the one to tell us of it,” replied Gregory.

Alice was not even aware that anyone knew of their project besides the few who had their ear to the ground. The brothel owners and clients were not impressed, to say the least, about their mission to save the young women forced into those situations. It would be enlightening to know just who would be so interested that they would help them find a property.

“Who?”

“None other than Mr. Banks,” her sister replied. “When he knew that we were in London, he approached us. I have come to realise that he is a man who knows far more than we may think and having him join this project would be an advantage to us. He has his ears in both the underground and the affluent circles.”

“Yes, my wife is quite right. It would be in our interest to bring him on board, I believe he will help us navigate the areas that we are unfamiliar with.”

Violet and Gregory had given her something unexpected to think about. Alice did not know Banks well enough to trust him, but her sister and brother-in-law seemed confident about him.

“Perhaps we can meet with him first, as my wife and I would like to collect my our information on him. I have only ever greeted the fellow, exchanging a few pleasantries before moving along. And, he has to be a saint to have married Miss Beaumont.”

“Luke!” she scolded. “That is not a kind thing to say. You know as well as I do that Rose has changed, and she has apologised for the trouble she caused seven years ago. You said it yourself that it was a good thing to have gone through that trial because it has made us a stronger couple.”

“Yes, I know, but I would be lying if I said that I am not wary of women like her. Banks must know how to manage her because I have not heard of any trouble involving her since they were married.”

“That is because she has changed,” she insisted. “I think that we should invite them to our home for a few days, I hear that she has a son and daughter near our David’s age.”

Luke grimaced. “What am I supposed to talk about with that man for a few days?”

“The project, of course. You have not given him a chance, Luke, therefore you cannot judge him yet. The man wishes to include himself in our project, that must say something.”

Luke looked at her, probably to see if she was pulling his leg, but she was serious about this. Having them here would give them an opportunity to discuss the project with him, and to perhaps befriend Rose. Finally, he let out a long sigh, nodding his head.

“Very well, we shall do as you request, but I do not promise a favourable outcome.”

“The fact that you are willing to try is wonderful, my love.”

“Then you will let us know what the final decision is,” said Gregory. “Violet and I will accept your opinion on the man.”

Alice looked to the children, seeing that they had fallen fast asleep.

“Their bedtime has come and gone, poor things. I have the nursery prepared for Benjamin which is next door to David’s room- I thought that he would like that. The girls have a room beside yours, and, of course, you know which is your room.”

In the past, Violet and Gregory had insisted on sharing a room with their children, setting up three cots for them in the bedroom. But as they were getting bigger, Alice thought that it would be far more comfortable if they had their own rooms. It remained to be seen if her sister and brother-in-law agreed. The couple looked at each other for a moment, turning to them when they had reached a silent decision.

“Yes, I do think that the girls and Benjamin will appreciate having their own rooms,” her sister said. “They have been complaining about the fact that we force them to sleep in our room whenever we are at Aunt Ally and Uncle Luke’s house.”

“Splendid! Now to transport these sleepy heads to their rooms. Luke, would you take David? The girls are lighter for me to carry, so I will help Gregory as Vi already has Benjamin.”

“Oh no,” argued Gregory. “A pregnant woman should not be lifting and carrying children. Do not concern yourself, Alice, I can carry both my daughters to their room.”

“That is settled. Come, Wife, it is time for you to put your feet up and rest them. Alice and Gregory, we shall see you in the morning.”

Luke took his son, holding out his hand to his wife. She took it, allowing him to use his strength to get her off the couch. Alice was glad that she had such a strong husband, there was something about having a tall, well-built man that made a woman feel secure and content. Add intelligence to that, and you have the perfect man. Luke kissed the top of her head as he led her out of the room and up the stairs. She left him to tuck their son in while she got ready for bed, arranging her hair into one single plait that fell well below her waist. Taking a closer look in the mirror, she noticed one long grey hair, her very first.

“Heavens! Am I going grey already? I have not yet entered my thirties!”

Alice heard her husband’s chuckle as he entered the room.

“I have grey hair as well as my love, but it only adds to my handsome looks.”

She poked her tongue out at him. “Do not be vain, Luke. Not everyone can look as distinguished as you do with your greying hair at your temples.”

Luke came to her, pulling her up from her seat. “You, my loving wife, will look stunning with your grey hair- you should embrace it.”

“But surely it is too soon to go grey? The trait may run in your family, but Mama only began to go grey just recently.”

“And what does that matter? Come, no more worrying over silly things. I want my pregnant wife to rest, tomorrow is another full day.”

He swept her off her feet, laying her gently on her side of the bed.

“One day, you will not be able to do this, my love.”

He settled down next to her, adjusting his pillow. “Then I had best make sure that I do it while I still can.”

“What a silly man you are, but you are mine.”

She gave a great yawn, snuggling further under the covers. He gave her a brief kiss on her lips, smoothing the halo of curls about her head.

“That is what matters, that I am yours as you are mine.”

Alice fell asleep with those words, feeling as content and well-loved as any woman could be.

THE END


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48 thoughts on “The Way to Capture a Marquess’s Heart – Extended Epilogue”

  1. I love the story but you renamed people in this extended epilogue. Gregory became Graham…Shore became Rutland.. Rose’s last name changed from Charpentier to Beaumont. When they were going to bed you put Alice and Graham together.
    I still loved it.
    Wanda

  2. This extension is full.of errors, the biggest being Violet is married to Gregory in the book and Graham in the extension. Also, the stepmother has a different name. At the end the sisters names are mixed up. Extra story is bonus, but not when it is not proofread!

  3. I really enjoy extended epilogues but this one was very confusing and difficult to read because of the unfamiliar names and mixed up characters. Proofreading is as important as the story.

  4. Loved the interesting story plot. Had to keep reading, couldn’t put the book down. Thank you for this love story with good strong characters.

  5. Liked your story! How sad that Alice and Luke had so much negativity though in finally getting together. Their fathers created so much issues with not being forthright in allowing their children to develop their own feelings in this relationship. Glad all worked out for the characters in this story. Each had a happy ending!

  6. The Jaberwock must have really put the scare into Alice to keep her out of Wonderland. She resisted her true love rather too much and must have had mental issues from the way she was jilted the first time. I almost expected Alice’s father to force the marriage and have the newlyweds sort out the relationship later. (I can see it now: “Alice, you look happy!” “No, I’m not. I just had a good nap!”) Anyway, I can glad Violet and Rose, et. al., managed to get Alice back to sanity and true love. It’s a good thing the Marquess really wanted her!

  7. I loved your book and characters so much, I read it straight through without pause except to fix meals and take the pups out for their walks.
    Thank you so much for the excellent entertainment and making a day off so pleasant.

  8. I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I also enjoyed reading what happens after they marry and about their children. It finishes a book for me.Thanks

  9. I noticed the aforementioned mistakes, However, I just overlooked it maybe it’s my age. I won’t however welcome the opportunity to proofread if you so desire.
    I enjoyed the story. To have found your soulmate as a blessing not all can claim.
    Thank you.

  10. Bridget
    It was a great story. I had a hard time putting the book down. The ending was great, even though the names were changed to protect the innocent. I thought Gregory and Luke were just calling Rose a slam name, like a name for a horse Beaumont. Like they we’re joking around. Loved it.

  11. Loved the story, couldn’t put the book down…Was good of her father to finally apologize for the mess he put her in…Great writing as usual…Thank you

  12. Great story. I felt sorry for all of Alice’s woes and glad she and Luke worked it out. Glad her father apologised too. It must have been so hard for women in that era having have to be a dutiful daughter. Violet and Gregory had their happy ending too as did Rose and her husband. I enjoyed this story and the extended epilogue finished it off nicely Thank you

  13. Enjoyed this book and the extended epilogue, errors and all. Please keep up the good work weaving relatable stories and characters.

  14. Another interesting story. It seemed a little slow at times. My epilogue had Gregory bring called Rutland a few times.
    The episode seemed a little hurried with not much but the bearing of children. It seemed like Alice was going to have an issue with her second child but then dropped.
    Enjoy your storues

  15. It is hard to imagine an era where arranged marriages were common. The story was great. So very glad Alice’s doubts lifted and she did not loose the love of her life by being stubborn!!

  16. Your stories are always so enjoyable. So glad Alice and Luke finally realized their love for each other. Cannot imagine living in an arranged marriage without loving your mate as they often did long ago, and especially used to pay off a father’s gambling debt! Always enjoy the extended epilogues, however, I would like them more if they were included with the original book and not something you have to look for later. Sometimes they will not download to your Kindle and you then have to find them using your laptop – it’s just inconvenient when you get to the end of the story and have to stop and “find” the extended epilogue. Also, I have noticed many errors such as those mentioned in above reviews – not just in this book, but in most of the authors of historical novels. I have suggested many times that proofreading should be done with every book – nothing is more distracting than errors. That being said, your books are always entertaining and make me dream of days gone by. Love your stories. Looking forward to your next book, Bridget.

    1. Thank you so much for your detailed feedback, dear Susan! You are raising some valid points and have a solid justification for them. I will keep them in mind and will work closely with my editor to get them handled in the future. As for the extended epilogue, I would just like to tell you that it is an extra part of the story, taking you sometime later, in order to see what is going on in the heroes’ lives. The book would be complete even without it so this why the extended epilogue is not part of it. Of course, you can always email me and ask for help when you’re facing issues while trying to download it. 🙂 Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me, they are very helpful!

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Alice and Luke’s story. I read way into the night in order to finish it. I could relate to the characters and was so angry at Rose. Violet is my favourite character.

    It was good to get to read the epilogue in order to catch up with their lives. Now I want to learn all about the kids, Tessa and the home to be built.

    Thank you for a good read.

  18. Luke must have been a saint to persist in his desire for Alice. I began to dislike her, but Rose came to her rescue at just the right time. Violet was delightful, and I thought it hilarious that she had bride’s nerves as confident as she was in “true love.” I loved the transformation in Rose, but strangely found Alice’s father’s apology hard to reconcile with his previous arrogance. The book was well edited and proofread. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gifts with us.

  19. I just finished the extended epilogue. It was good, yes a few name blunders but we all make a blunder hear and there right?!. I expressed most of my thoughts in ky emails to you earlier. Again, great read. The storyline was excellent as were the characters.

    1. Thank you so so much for your kind and honest feedback, my dear Patricia! You’re very sweet! I will check with my editor about the errors you have mentioned. 🙂

  20. This was great read and I loved the action be between Alice and luke,it would be nice to known how meeting when with rose and Alice. And Luke.

  21. I very much enjoyed the story, but I feared Alice would never give up her anger! The plot and characters were well-done, but there were a lot of mistakes in agreement of subject and verb: “was”, when it should be “were”, or “is” when it should be “are”. And, I must ask where the expression “under the hatches” comes from; anything I found said it meant “below decks on a ship”, or “hidden from the public eye”, but I guessed that wasn’t what you meant. I agree about names changing in the epilogue; Norton became Rutland, and Charpentier became Beaumont!

  22. A very good and wonderful story with a enjoyable extended epilogue with strong characters that were sometimes emotional

  23. I very thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful story of Luke and Alice and the extended bonus was divjne. Thank you for keeping me intrigued with your books.

  24. I usually enjoy your stories, but this one I cannot put in that category.
    As an author myself, this story dragged painfully in a few places; Alice became
    ridiculously boring in her stubborness, and Rose was a hideous character that could have been developed better as the room for development was there.
    Then came the separate epilogue…
    Oh, dear! You could have left it out completely.
    No place to introduce a new character (Tessa), and those name changes…!! Why? I find it impossible to believe that it was written by the same person!
    Furthermore… I have believed for quite some time that you, Bridget Barton, and two other writers with initials A.A., and F.F. are one and the same.
    Too many similarities in the writing style, the same type of names… even the same type of newsletters.
    I have never written such a negative review, but there you have it.
    Christina Brett, fellow author.

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