The Risky Wager of a Masked Lady Extended Epilogue

A Historical Regency Romance Novel

Extended Epilogue

A Few Years Later

“Robert! Mind the fence rail and prepare for the jump!” Marjorie called out as her son veered his pony around the ring and made a straight trot towards a low beam of wood that lie on the ground. He cleared it nimbly, never faltering in the saddle. “Excellent! Wonderful jump, my son!”

Evan appeared at Marjorie’s elbow and smiled with pride. “He’s a natural. It seems that horses are not the only thing that can pass their traits through their auspicious bloodlines. Who knew that two excellent riders could also produce such a talented young lad?”

“He had no choice but to be so skilled!” she answered, still watching Robert closely. “But then again, his brother has no interest in riding horses other than the occasional jaunt about the square.”

“And that is fine with me,” Evan said firmly. “Let the boy choose his own course. I dare say, your sister paid him some mind when she called last, and she seems to think he has the makings of a musical prodigy!”

“Well, she would be one to know about that. But prodigy or no, I only care that my children find something they truly love and pursue it, whether it be horse riding, music, or… or… painting spots on butterflies!”

Evan laughed as he wrapped Marjorie in his arms and kissed her soundly, demanding her attention as the groom stepped forward and took Robert’s horse by the reins to lead it into the barn. Marjorie smiled and nestled deeper into Evan’s embrace.

“Did my sister mention how she’s been feeling of late? I know these last few months can be difficult on a woman who’s expecting?” she asked.

“I think we’re not supposed to speak of such topics, are we? Other than when we so casually discuss the mares dropping their foals?” Evan replied with a knowing smile.

“That’s what confounds me so, I’ll admit,” Marjorie argued. “I can speak with any man in the county about breeding and bloodlines, but I must whisper behind my fan while inquiring about a living person who faces an arduous endeavor such as bearing a child! I shall never understand it!”

“Tis strange to me too, but to answer your query, no. Harriet did not speak to me of her state. You’ll just have to go pay her a visit yourself and find out all the details! Be sure to let everyone in the ton know what you manage to pry out of her!”

“As if there’s anyone in the ton who doesn’t already talk about my sister and the Duke,” Marjorie said, scowling.

“Ah, but that I can promise you is the sincerest form of adoring jealousy. Not the kind of petty jealousy that sparks devastating gossip, but rather all the talk is of how happy everyone is for both of them. Imagine, becoming a father at his age! I should think my heart would give out on me!” Evan said, instinctively looking to his oldest son and smiling.

“For her part, my sister has never been more at peace than when she became his wife,” Marjorie admitted. “I’ve always feared for her so, knowing how every trivial thing could cause her to tremble. When the Duke first intended to propose, I thought it was nothing more than a sense of obligation for Harriet’s part in resolving your cause, but I am so pleased to know that I was wrong. He adores her, and I can think of no better man than he to be her husband. Now, with the love of so tender a person to provide her calm in every storm, she has truly become the happiest person I know.”

“I rather need to argue,” Lord Mortham said, coming up behind them. He shook Evan’s hand warmly and kissed his daughter’s hand. “I cannot think that anyone on God’s earth could be happier than me.”

“Hmm, I wonder what could be the cause of that, sir?” Evan asked, causing Marjorie to laugh.

“I have two grandsons, another babe coming any day, and everything that I’ve ever wanted to build in the world is standing before me,” he answered in a tender way that Marjorie could not ever remember hearing before.

“A horse paddock filled with jumping rails and horse droppings?” Marjorie asked innocently. Her father laughed.

“No, you ninny girl! A family that has truly prospered, but more than that, a family that welcomes the sight of one another. Oh yes, and the horse thing, droppings and all!”

The three of them laughed and turned when Robert bounded towards them.

“Did you see me, Mother?” he asked excitedly. “I jumped over it, just like you do!”

“Robert, shhhh! Remember, it is our little secret that Mother still rides in such a fashion!” she said, pretending to whisper as she scooped up her son. “We mustn’t let your father or grandpapa know that you and I ride like New World savages!”

Charles looked down at Marjorie’s turn of phrase, remembering how he’d once admonished his daughter for her love of riding.

“Only if I’m not invited to come along, she means!” Charles finally said, taking Robert from his daughter’s arms and swinging him up onto his shoulders before striding towards the house.

Evan twined his hand within Marjorie’s and smiled. “What are we to do about those two?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, watching them as her father skipped gayly, bouncing her son until the boy nearly doubled forward in laughter.

“I mean, there’s no happiness in the world that can compare to theirs, and it grieves me. I think that no matter how much we try, we shall never come close to their joy.”

“You must be telling a lie, My Lord,” Marjorie explained. “Our own happiness far outshines theirs. Just ask anyone in the ton, they’ll tell you of the scandal involving a wanton woman from the countryside who is far too enamored with her husband for their liking!”

“Oh no, I only hear the rumors that on full moon nights you still dress as a man and go riding up the highway, terrifying any robbers who might be about!”

Marjorie swatted at Evan’s elbow. “Be nice, or we shall not bring you along when we visit your mother this evening.”

“Tis no matter,” he answered, sighing sadly. “She rather likes all of you better than she does me!”

“You know that is not true. I never thought I would understand how she can be so patient with your jests and antics, at least not until Robert and Little Charles were born. Now, I fear that her affection for you is not only commonplace, but that I’m infected with the same sentiments!”

Evan stopped, turning Marjorie to look at him before kissing her deeply, his arms winding around her tightly. She leaned closer to him, basking in this feeling that she’d once thought would never be hers.

“I know this much, my wife,” he said at last. “I, too, finally understand the affection that someone can have for another person. I never believed it nor cared for it until I met you.”

The End

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  • Loved the exciting book. I hate to say I read the summaries before reading the book. I found it too revealing of the story and decreased some of the excitement. The character were so real I just had to love the main characters, worry about them and hate the villains

  • I loved the book and always appreciate these epilogues which answer some lingering questions. Reading the opening chapters at the end of another adventure propoelled me to get to this novel quickly. The Duke, his sister and Harriet’s story was nicely wrapped in the book and that pleasant outcome was in the back of my mind as the end drew close. I was pleased with the reclamation of Charles, the father, as that discussion made it easier to understand his happy marriage before his wife’s death but I missed what happened to his loan shark. Was there something? (Didn’t display this if spoilers are a concern)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the book! Loan sharks are notoriously hard to catch, aren’t they? 😉

  • Thank you for clarifying the marriage of the duke and Harriet. I thought maybe she had been a previous love, and i had planned to go back and see if one of the ladies the duke’s sister had rejected was named Harriet also. Enjoyed the book very much, and yet the last four chapters seemed a little rushed and incomplete to me.

  • Loved, loved, loved this story! So happy that Marjorie and Evan came together in such an interesting way. Each character seemed so happy in the end except for Charles sister who was just nasty. Good read!

  • I enjoyed reading this book and the extended epilogue which cleared up some unanswered some questions on my mind. I’m glad Evan and Marjorie had their happy ending and that both Marjorie and Harriet were reconciled with their Father. I was surprised to read of Harriets marriage to the Duke and would liked to have known if the Duke had his desired heir. While the Dukes sister was a nasty vile woman what was her final place in the Dukes life after her husband’s rejection. On the whole an exciting adventurous book.

  • I greatly enjoyed this book! Even though we know that all will end well at the end, it was exciting to get there!!

  • I am so glad to have found this book and you as an author, i thank epub for having given me the opportunity to read this novel.
    Honestly i find that titles and summaries are important,if they don’t captivate me enough i tend to skip maybe many good a story.
    What caught my attention in your summary was the mention of that accident, i do not know why but i love those kinds of books.

    I was expecting for the story to end with i love u’s and bla blah without having explained everything and leaving some major holes in the story,forever left unknown,but i love that you added an extended epilogue that had the happy-ever-after mood but also explained some things that were missing! Thank you and hope to read more from you 🙂

    • My dear, I am so glad you liked it! Your comment made me smile! Thank you so much for your kind words! Stay tuned! More is coming! 🙂

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