To Bewitch the Icy Lady (Extended Epilogue)


Three Years Later

“Be careful!” David listened to Arabella call out to their young son, Edward, as he tried to toddle closer to the duck pond. He smiled, watching as she bent over towards him, her arms outstretched. David wrapped an arm about her waist and lifted her to standing. Both of their eyes were on Edward as he laughed, clapping his hands when a duck quacked.

“Have I told you today how lovely you look, my dear?” he asked, breathing his words into her ear before kissing her temple. She did look lovely. The years had only brought out a confidence and a beauty that had just been lying in wait. Her gown was of bright blue, and it matched her eyes, only adding to their brilliance. He reached out and curled one of her strands of blonde hair around his finger.

“No, you haven’t, but I’m very glad to hear it,” she said, a smile on her lips. Edward toddled back towards them, and she lifted him up and laid him on the picnic blanket where he began to play with his wooden toys. Now that his son was safe, David drew Arabella into his arms and then kissed her soundly.

“I think that I have the loveliest wife in all of Christendom. In fact, I shall tell the world.” He stepped back, cupped his hands around his mouth, and called out, “I have the most beautiful wife in all the world!”

“David!” Arabella shrieked with laughter, pulling at his arms. “The park is small, but it is not empty. You will make fools of us. Just imagine the paper tomorrow. The Duke of Wiltshire making the scandal sheets again.”

David chuckled, putting his hands on her waist to pull her close again. While he had done his best to keep out of the scandal sheets ever since Arabella had come into his life, he had been in a few times in the last three years. But it was only because he was known for being ridiculously infatuated with his wife. The scandal sheets loved to recount how the Duke of Wiltshire kissed his Duchess soundly at Almack’s a few balls ago, or how the Duke and Duchess can often be seen holding hands on the street.

“I would do any scandal, my love if it meant that I was being naughty with you.” He kissed her, sliding his hands down her back to grasp her backside and push her against him.

“David!” she said, pushing lightly against his chest, but he could tell by the breathless note in her voice that she was not unaffected.

“Do you not love my love for you?” he asked, releasing her, and placing a kiss on her brow.

She shot him a disapproving look, but a smile was still on her face. “You know that I do. But we will have to think of our son soon enough.” She grinned down at Edward and leaned into David’s back. He wrapped her arms around her. “Surely, he will be too embarrassed about us once he’s a little older.”

“Hardly. I should think he’d be very happy to know his parents loved each other. He will just have to find a love of his own one day.”

“Oh, don’t rush it, David,” she said, sitting down on the blanket and touching her son’s head. “It will be a short time. His childhood. Then he will be up and gone, off to Eton or Oxford, and then perhaps, if he is anything like his father, he will be raising hell on the streets.”

David snorted. “I should think him a fool if he did not.” But deep down, he knew it would be strange to see his child grow up into a man. He was determined to be there for his son, for all his children, as he didn’t get the chance to have his father for very long. He patted Edward on the head and smiled down at him.

“I thought Aaron and Lydia were coming to meet us this afternoon. They were to bring their two little ones.”

“Yes, well, I wonder where they got to,” Arabella replied, looking left and right at the small park with winding forest paths which all met in the center in a wide space of green.

“You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if they told the nanny to go on ahead, and they stayed behind to enjoy just a little bit of alone time. Twins make for a loud and busy household.” David shrugged. “Aaron and Lydia are almost as bad as us.”

Arabella laughed at David’s supposition. “I suppose that’s possible,” she said, and he watched as she lazily moved Edward’s toys about. He saw a flush creep over her chest and neck. It was slight, but he had come to recognize it.

“Why, my dear wife, I do believe you’re jealous.” He pointed at the flush on her chest, and she put a hand there, making the red rise to her cheeks.


“Jealous? What do you mean?” she asked, putting her hand down. “Jealous of Aaron and Lydia?”

“No, of course not. I just meant that you, perhaps, are jealous that they are having alone time in the woods and that they were bold enough to do it.”

“We don’t know that that’s true, David,” she scolded, but she couldn’t deny that he was right. But not fully.

He leaned over and touched her hand. “I know that it’s been difficult for us. With Edward.” She sighed, remembering how before their child was born, they had all the time in the world for each other, and for each other’s bodies. Each time she had David inside of her, it had never been enough. But now that Edward was old enough, he had learned how to run down the stairs, escape the nanny, and open the door to his parent’s bedroom, interrupting them. And since they were currently between nannies, it had grown even worse.

“If it wasn’t so terrible, I’d lock Edward’s door until later in the morning,” David grumbled, making her laugh. She leaned close to him, pulled on the lapels of his coat, and kissed him.

In a low voice, she said, “I just think it would be rather exciting to make love in the woods. No one around for miles.”

“You against a tree,” he said, joining her story. “Me lifting your skirts.” He bit his lip. “We’d better stop this imagining, Arabella.” He sighed and looked at Edward, playing innocently. “And here I thought you wanted to be more circumspect in public. Now you’re telling me you wish me to make love to you in the middle of the woods?” He lifted a brow, and Arabella kissed her, loving her husband more and more with each day.

“Yes, am I not full of contradictions? I thought it was all part of my charm.”

“Charm,” he said back to her. “Yes, I’m sure you would like to call it that,” he replied dryly. In the last three years, their passion had been intense, but then it also meant that their arguments were intense as well.

But it was just what she wanted. Heat, energy, passion. With Tidesdale or Avon, she would have been bored to tears. David always kept her interest. He was always doing something fresh and exciting, and he was always making her laugh. She grinned, but then it faltered, and her hand moved to her belly.

“You were right that I was jealous, but that’s not all I was thinking about.”

“What is it?” he asked, his brows furrowed in concern. He took her hand and kissed it. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, yes, oh, I’m fine,” she said waving a hand in the air. “It’s not that. It’s just that I worry with more children, we will have less and less time. For each other.”

“I suppose that could be possible, but we will have to work hard to make it not so. We will have a new nanny by then, too. We can have a whole army of nannies if you’d like.” He kissed her hand again. “I wouldn’t want you to feel unloved by me.”

“Never!” she said, touching his cheek. “I feel love, so much love.” She smiled. “But I think lately it has been difficult as you said. A new nanny will make a difference.” Her hand lingered on her belly as she looked away, and she could tell that David noticed it.

“Arabella, is there something you need to tell me?”

“Well,” she said, feeling nervous. “I was waiting, but I’m sure now. It’s been several weeks beyond when my courses were due. There will be another baby.”

David paused, and then he gave her a wide smile and lifted her to her feet.

“Well, that’s wonderful news!” he said, laughing, spinning her around so that she, too, laughed and felt dizzy by the time her feet touched ground again.

“Are you certain?” she asked, and he answered by kissing her, his mouth tender and soft.

He leaned his forehead against hers. “Yes, I’m certain. Edward will have a sibling, and we will have another beautiful child who looks just like you.”

She felt tears come to her eyes. “Well, we must begin the search for a better nanny right away. I don’t think I can take anymore ‘morning interruptions’,” she said with a grin, pulling him closer.

“Nor I,” he said in a husky voice. “Don’t worry. It will be my first priority when we return home today. I want a new nanny way before the next baby comes.” He paused. “I love you, Arabella. And I will love this new baby too.”

“I love you, too,” she said, her heart light, and she kissed him back, waving her arms about his neck.

“Well, greetings!” a faraway voice called, and Arabella pulled away to see Aaron waving at them, Lydia on his arm. Their nanny was farther behind, holding the two hands of the children.

She grinned as they got closer, and she could see that Lydia’s gown was slightly mussed. “You see?” David said, leaning close to her. “I told you.”

She elbowed him in the side and waved at her friends. “Well, it is good to know they love each other.”

He slid a hand to her lower back and leaned down to whisper in her ear, “I was thinking that the first thing I want to do after we employ a new nanny is to take you to the woods to muss your gown just as properly. I must congratulate my friend on his choice of location.”

Arabella bit back a laugh as she pulled David back from walking up to Aaron to say anything to him. She grabbed David’s coat lapels and leaned up on her toes to kiss him. “You always know what to say to make me smile.”

“I make it my utmost goal to make you smile, my dear,” he replied, his hands on her face. “Every day, if I can. You deserve it. You saved me, my life.”

“Will I forever be rewarded for that day with your uncle?” She grinned.

“Yes, but that’s not what I meant. You save me every day from a lifetime of loneliness and despair, and I am grateful each morning that I wake up next to you, my love.” He kissed her softly and slowly, but at the sound of Aaron and Lydia’s approach, she pulled away, disappointed they could not continue.

“And I am grateful, too,” she whispered, her arm still about his waist. “I am forever happy with you, David.”

“I will remember you said that the next time you are cross with me,” he teased, and she laughed as they greeted their dear friends in the lovely afternoon sunlight.

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