A Proper Lady’s Scandal (Extended Epilogue)


“Peter, where is your cravat?” Ella asked. He was dressed in a pair of scandalously tight breeches, a crisp white shirt, and a burgundy-colored waistcoat. Once his tailcoat was on, he would look dashing—even more dashing than usual. Except he was not wearing a cravat, and that was not tolerable. Not at a wedding.

He rolled his eyes at her “Ella. It is August. It is hot. The chapel will be smoldering. You’d have me uncomfortable for the sake of propriety?”

She raised an eyebrow at him and grinned. “So? Do you suppose any of the other lords will forgo a cravat? Do you wish to return to the scandal sheets as the baron who refused to wear a cravat to his best friend’s wedding?”

He roared with laughter. “I am sure the Morning Gazette has other things to worry about than my cravat. Besides, you’ve forgone wearing stockings. Isn’t that most improper for a lady?”

Ella pressed her lips together, her arms crossed in front of her chest.

“Nobody can see if I wear stockings or not. Meanwhile, everyone can see you’re not wearing a cravat.”

Peter mirrored the pose and raised an eyebrow. “Is that so? For I believe there is at least one lord who does know. Or do I not count? Besides, are you not the one who told me that it does not matter? Proper is proper.”

She threw up her arms in mock exasperation.

“Even after two years of marriage, you still cannot stop teasing and challenging me at every corner.”

He rushed forth and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into an embrace.

“And you love every moment of it.”

Ella’s attempt at remaining serious failed her as she broke into a giggle. It was true; there was no denying it. She loved their playful banter. While others found the way they acted around one another peculiar, she thrived on their minor disagreements, as did he. It kept their marriage alive in many ways.

He leaned in and kissed her. Outside, the sound of tiny footsteps drifted through the closed door.

“I believe the ring bearer has arrived.”

The door flew open, and Mary entered with David clutching her hand. The little boy swayed as he walked. Ella squatted down, arms outstretched, and her son ran the last few steps toward her, a delightful grin on his lips.

“Look at you running! You’re growing up so fast.”

“And soon he will be a big brother,” Peter added with pride. Ella shook her head and pressed her index finger on her lips.

“We must not tell anyone. This day is Thomas and Anna’s. We shall make our announcement another day.”

Peter raised his arms in resignation. “I suppose so. Do you see how I am treated in my own home, Mary? I am forever told what to do and what not to do. A dreadful existence.”

“Yes, my lord. Dreadful.” She chuckled. Mary was one of the few maids who truly understood how Lord and Lady Walpole conducted themselves. Even Ella’s aunt often found herself puzzled by the playful way the two spoke to one another.

However, just like Peter’s mother, she was only too happy to support whatever made the two joyful, for happiness had not been easily come by for either Ella or Peter. Now they had it; those who loved them wanted to do all they could to make sure they remained in their blissful state.

Not that it took much work. Theirs was an easy marriage. After the trouble they had in coming together initially, they no longer encountered such difficulties.

Ella often thought of Peter’s words on their wedding night. His belief that his late wife Isabella had brought them together. Ella couldn’t deny it. It seemed likely. At times, she would sneak away into the older wing of the house, where Peter kept what remained of Isabella’s belongings. Among them was a large painting, one that showed Isabella as she’d looked when she and Peter had married.

Ella would look up at this woman she’d never met but whose legacy still shaped Ella’s life every single day. On those days, she imagined that Isabella and her parents knew one another somewhere in the great beyond. Perhaps they all looked down upon this little family with happy smiles on their faces.

Perhaps it was but wishful thinking on Ella’s part

“Ella?” Peter’s voice drew her out of her thoughts.


“We ought to go, lest we be late.”

“Of course,” she replied and pulled her pelisse forward so it hid the small, rounded stomach that would soon give away her secret. For now, her announcement would keep. Once Anna and Thomas returned from their honeymoon in Scotland, she’d let their family and friends know of the soon-to-be arrival.

For today, they would join in with the rest of their family and watch the joyful union of her best friend, Anna Montgomery, with Peter’s best friend, Thomas Stanhope.

To think the two people most dear to each of them would soon be joined in marriage. It delighted Ella. She’d always had a secret fear that Anna might marry a nobleman from far away, separating them.

By falling in love with Thomas, that possibility was all but eliminated. And thanks to Peter’s generosity, Thomas was no longer in the suds. His business thrived, ensuring Anna would be well taken care of.

“You are lost in thought today, my love,” Peter commented as they exited their chamber. Peter held David as he chattered away, stringing together the many words he’d learned already, although not in any particular order.

“I suppose I am a little nostalgic. It is another event my parents are missing. On days like these, I feel their loss more than on others.”

He gently took her hand as they walked down the hall and descended the grand staircase.

“I understand. But you know they are here in spirit. And they are proud of you; I know it.”

She squeezed his hand while, up ahead, Mary exited through the front door and stepped into the garden. The chapel was located at the end of the park and overlooked the lake beyond.

How much their life had changed these past two years. He’d gone from a horrible rake, despised by many of his fellow lords, to someone respectable and, yes, even liked. And she? She’d left behind the timid, rigid girl and become a better friend, a loving wife, and a happy mother.

Most of all, she’d grown to become the kind of woman she knew her parents would be proud of.

She looked up at Peter, who led her toward the chapel where they’d sit in the front row and watch as another couple exchanged vows, promising to love one another forever. Just as they had not long ago.


He paused in the doorway of the church.

“Yes, love?”

“I just wanted to tell you how happy you make me and how adored I feel every single day. I love you.”

His lips turned up into a smile that lit his entire face. “And I love you, my darling wife.” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close while nearby, an older lady gasped.

Ella grinned. “It seems no matter what we do, we always find a way to cause a scandal.”

Peter chuckled. “That we do. But I do not care. I have you, and that is all I need.”

And so, Ella closed her eyes and forgot all about the spectators or the scandal their public display might cause, for Peter was right. Nothing mattered but the two of them and their love.


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  • This is the most wonderful of stories. Such opposites coming together finding they are much alike. I loved the characters of Peter and Ella. They fit together so well. This is the first time I have read a Lorena Owen book. I will definitely be looking for more. Highly recommend.

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