Romancing a Forbidden Lady – Extended Epilogue

Six Months Later

“Do stop fidgeting, Henry,” Liza pleaded, turning her gaze to her husband on the doorstep. “You’ll make people think you have something crawling in your clothes.”

“I cannot help it,” Henry said, glancing at Liza with a humoured smile at her words. She struggled to stifle her own laugh, before growing serious once more.

“He will not hate you forever more.”

“You have more confidence than I.” 

Liza watched, feeling her concern begin to grow as Henry took off his top hat and ran a hand through his hair in that old sign of stress she was so used to by now. In her want to comfort him, she lifted a hand and passed it through the crook of his arm, connecting the two of them. Henry sighed with contentment at once, tipping his head back.

“That better?” she asked, feeling her smile begin to grow once more.

“Oh yes,” he said, shooting her a rather mischievous grin. “But save such touches for later tonight, love. Tempt me too soon and we will not be staying at your brother’s long for dinner.”

She giggled as she lifted a hand and knocked on the door. The moment she tapped she saw Henry’s nerves grow once again.

It seemed in the last six months Nicholas had struggled to accept their match after all. He may have given his blessing, but as he had once said to Liza, adjusting a hatred of another man overnight was not something that was so easy to do. On the contrary, it took time. As such, whenever Henry saw Nicholas these days, he was intent on trying to be his friend. So far, it was not an endeavour that had gotten him particularly far.

“Henry?” Liza murmured as they heard the butler approach on the other side.

“I know, I know,” he whispered back. “I must stop fidgeting. How noticeable do you reckon it will be at dinner if I cannot sit still?”

“My brother will certainly poke fun at you for it.” At Liza’s statement, Henry at once stood still. 

The butler opened the door and Liza shifted her focus forward.

“Lord and Lady Lightholder.” The butler kindly bowed to the two of them and beckoned inside. “This way—Lord Crauford is waiting for you in the drawing room with his guests.”

“Guests?” Liza murmured in surprise, feeling Henry look to her with equal shock.

“I thought he asked us here for a private dinner?” he whispered in her ear. “That was as much of a shock in itself.”

“Let us see what comes of it.” As they tarried outside of the drawing room, Liza reached up and kissed Henry on the cheek. It was one stolen moment before they had to go and perform in front of her brother, trying to keep a little distance from each other in order to make Nicholas happy. She felt Henry tremble under that kiss, then pass a hand down her back, with the mere promise of what could happen between them later. She tried to control her own shiver of excitement before she passed into the room, to see just who Nicholas’ guests were.

Unsurprisingly, Meredith was there, already with a glass of champagne in her hands and giggling away, deep in conversation with Lady Hazelwood. Near to them, Nicholas was sat on the rococo settee, and beside him was Dorothea. Yet, they were not as they had been before. As a courting couple, they had always maintained a little distance between them, but there was no such distance tonight. Dorothea’s hand was clutched in Nicholas’ own.

“Nicholas?” Liza called as she stepped through the door.

Nicholas grinned at once, standing to his feet and pulling Dorothea forward with him.

“Liza? I was beginning to think marital bliss was too much for you to part from for one night,” he teased her as she reached up and embraced him.

“We are hardly that bad!” she said with a giggle, joining in the laughter, though she saw there was a subtle dig at Henry too, for when she stepped back, Nicholas levelled his gaze at her husband.

“Henry,” Nicholas said, nodding his head to him. Liza subtly elbowed Henry in the ribs, urging him to make more of an effort. It didn’t escape her notice that Dorothea did something quite similar, stepping on Nicholas’ toe. “Ow,” he muttered, before extending a hand to Henry.

“Nicholas,” Henry said, affecting a warm smile. “Thank you for inviting us.”

“My pleasure.” Nicholas’ smile did appear genuine for a change. “My sister writes to me weekly, sometimes daily of how happy you two are, and Dorothea pointed out how rude it was of me not to have invited you back for dinner, when I have been to your own house so many times.”

“Well done, Dorothea,” Liza whispered with wit, pulling a smile from her friend.

“Fortunately, you listened.” Dorothea lifted her glass to Nicholas, sharing a smile Liza had not seen between them before.

Something has happened between them…I am sure of it.

“As such, I have an offer to make you.” Nicholas cleared his throat and turned his gaze on Henry. “I understand from my sister that you used to make a trip every yuletide, Henry, to your country seat for hunting.”

“Yes, that is right.” Henry shifted between his feet, urging Liza to loop her hand through his arm again. She knew well enough that Henry tried to avoid going back to his country seat at present for such enjoyments. They were the pursuits and hobbies he enjoyed with his brother before he died, and they were simply too great a reminder of the friend he had lost.

“Perhaps this Christmas, you and Liza can come to stay with me in our country seat, and we’ll do our hunting there instead. What do you say?”

Liza felt herself blinking in surprise, without words able to escape. It was a kind offer indeed, and one that Nicholas seemed to be extending readily enough. She glanced to Dorothea, seeing that she was staring straight back at her with her own proud smile. 

I see…

Liza had confessed to Dorothea all the troubles Henry had gone through with the loss of his brother, and how much he missed him. It seemed Dorothea had worked a little magic with Nicholas, to make him see that it may be a slow journey, but there was the potential for the two of them to be more like brothers to each other. 

“Yes,” Henry said quickly. “I mean, I would love that. Liza?” He appealed to her for her opinion, prompting her to admire the depth of his smile. The prospect of such a thing had clearly excited him greatly, for his smile had grown so broad, his cheeks had to ache. 

“Of course, I’d love it too.” 

As the butler came round and pressed more glasses into their hands, Liza noted that only Champagne was being served, before her eyes flicked back to the connection between Nicholas and Dorothea, being something much more intimate than it was before.

We are celebrating something, it seems.

“Brother, why are we drinking Champagne?” she asked, turning her gaze on him. He matched her look with furrowed brows.

“We can never get anything past you, can we?” he said with a laugh before moving his eyes down to Dorothea. “Would you like to tell her?”

“We are no longer courting, Liza,” Dorothea murmured. Any fright Liza might have felt at such a statement was abated by the excitement in her friend’s tone. “We are to be married.”

“That is wonderful news!” Henry was the first to speak and congratulate them, raising his glass to the two of them.

“You are?” Liza asked, glancing between the two of them in amazement. She had seen well enough that Nicholas was not going to be hurried by a fast courtship. After his time with Miss Garvey, he was clearly taking care with his heart. At one point, she had challenged him that his courtship with Dorothea matched a snail’s pace, rather than a human’s. He seemed to have taken such words to heart.

“We are,” Nicholas declared happily, lifting Dorothea’s hand between the two of them and kissing the back. It could have been a formal action, yet the way Dorothea blushed at the touch and Nicholas held her gaze for that second longer made it something rather intimate.

“At last!” Liza said in utter delight, nearly throwing her glass on the floor in her excitement. Henry laughed heartily, taking the glass from her.

“Let me take that, before you spray us all with Champagne.” 

She happily placed the glass into his hand and threw her arms round her brother and friend in turn. 

“Nicholas, you took long enough to ask my friend to marry you,” Liza said, tapping him round the arm in reprimand for his slowness.

“Perhaps I did,” he confessed. “Though she will not just be your friend anymore.”

“No indeed,” Dorothea confirmed as Liza embraced her. “We are to be sisters.”

As they hugged, Liza looked back at Henry, seeing how wide his smile had become as he gazed at the two of them. For Liza, it was becoming the perfect life. With the remedying relationship between Henry and her brother, and Dorothea at last about to marry Nicholas, she almost had her perfect family.

Almost.

***

Henry was finding his knee jerking up and down in impatience as the carriage rode through the night-covered streets, heading back to their home. Beside him, Liza would not settle either, though her excitement seemed to be of another reason. She had not stopped talking of the upcoming wedding since it had been announced and was truly delighted for her friend.

“Liza,” Henry murmured with laughter. “Take a breath, otherwise you will have the entire wedding planned out in one evening. I imagine your friend will have some input in her own wedding.”

“She helped me with my own, did she not?” Liza asked, twisting in her seat so that she faced him fully.

“Indeed she did.” Henry nodded, remembering back to their wedding day. Never had he smiled so much as on that day. Yes, there was an empty space beside him where another should have been standing as his best man, but he almost had felt as if his brother was there, watching on and encouraging him in his new life.

My new life…

So far, it had been something greater than Henry had expected. Living with Liza had made him happy indeed. Whether they were merely talking of trivial things, to grand conversations, or making love in his bedchamber, each day was a wondrous thing, and he had no desire to let this day end yet.

As Liza talked on about the wedding once more, he sought to distract her. He took her hand from where it rested on his arm and brought it up to his lips, kissing the back softly. His lips against her skin made her words halt at once. A breathy sound escaped her lips as she leaned toward him on the carriage bench.

“That got your attention,” he whispered playfully, moving his kisses further up her arm.

She giggled and looked around the darkened carriage with the curtains drawn. “Henry, not here.”

“Well, you certainly didn’t seem to mind the carriage on our journey down to Devon.” His mischief pulled another laugh from her as he moved his kisses to her neck. 

After their wedding, they had spent a few days down in Devon, but neither of them had been blessed with much patience on that journey. Their honeymoon events had very much begun in the carriage, with the curtains drawn and the two of them trying their best to be quiet.

“How close are we to home?” Liza asked breathily as he moved those kisses up to the top of her neck and found a sweet spot that he knew by now she loved. Gently, he lifted his hand to the other side of her neck, encouraging her to arch into him, the better to playfully nip her.

“God, I hope it is soon,” he murmured, before moving his lips to hers.

The kiss was an all-encompassing thing, so much so that Henry abandoned his endeavour to peek beyond the closed curtains and check how far they were from home. He thought of only that kiss and deepening it further, with Liza moulding her body to his. When his hands came up to shift her pelisse to the side, the better to cling onto her gown-clad waist, that moan of hers filled his ears, making him stop.

“Why did you stop?” she whispered.

“Because if I do not behave myself, when I step out of this carriage and attempt to walk into our house, our butler and footman will see very much my problem by the way in which I am walking.” 

She laughed heartily, just as the carriage came to a halt.

Henry wasted no time in getting out of the carriage, though he had to encourage Liza to walk in front of him to rather hide his problem, something that simply made her giggle all the more. Once they were in the house, Henry encouraged their butler to retire for the night, leaving them carrying candles as they headed up to their chambers. When the butler asked if they would be needing their lady’s maid and valet, Henry quickly rebuffed the idea.

“We can look after ourselves tonight. Thank you.” Henry wished the butler a good night once again and waited until he disappeared through the door that led to the servants’ quarters. The moment he was gone, Henry moved his free hand to Liza’s and hurried her up the staircase, clutching onto a brass candle holder with his other hand in order to light their way.

“Something tells me you are rather impatient tonight, love.” Liza’s words had his body moving all the faster.

“What was your first clue?” His playful whisper made her laugh again as they got close to her chamber. Being the nearest, he headed for it, kicking the door shut behind him.

He helped Liza with her clothes first, before they quickly realized it would be faster to each do their own. Henry had to stop to help Liza off with her corset, but other than that, they made themselves bare, with nothing but the one orange candle to light their figures. The more Liza’s body was revealed to him, the more Henry’s impatience grew. As he kicked off his breeches, he reached for Liza and helped her with her stockings, so that his fingers teased her as they ran down her thighs. The mere sight of her tipping her head back and moaning at that touch was enough to make him lose any last semblance of control he had. 

He backed her up to the nearest thing he could find, that turned out not to be the bed at all, but a chaise longue pressed into the corner of the room. They tumbled down together, their bodies pressing eagerly to one another’s as he kissed her.

Henry was acutely aware of every part of their bodies that were touching, with the softness of her breasts flattened to his chest, and the slim curve of her waist against his abdomen. When her long legs came up either side of his hips, urging him on by rocking their bodies together, he growled into their kiss, parting themselves enough ready to make love to her.

As he lined himself up at her entrance, he paused momentarily, chuckling when she whimpered that he would not be faster. He took the moment to utter words he had longed to say all night yet didn’t feel he could in her brother’s presence.

“I love you,” he whispered, moving his lips to hers for another kiss. She delicately placed her lips to his, before parting, with her hazel eyes staring up at him, in that adoring way she had about her.

“I love you too.”

With those words, he couldn’t hold himself back anymore and thrust himself forward. As their bodies came together, it was heated at once. He changed their angle on the chaise longue so that he was kneeling on the cushion, with both of her legs around his hips, enabling him to lean down over her as much as possible. He made love to her with everything he had, holding nothing back. Each thrust of his hips was met by hers, with her moans filling the air of the chamber around them.

When sweat beaded down his back at the thrill of it all, he felt her begin to reach her end. Her body contracted and she moaned his name, gripping the chaise longue beneath her in such a way that his body coiled and tightened at the sight of her in that pleasure. It was something he loved, being the one to give her that pleasure. When that end hit her and she rocked into him, moaning his name, it brought his fast. He wasn’t prepared for it, making his body still over hers as he rested his full weight on his hands, shuddering in the aftermath of that shock.

They stayed together as they were, neither parting, both just breathing heavily. When Liza’s hand passed down the centre of his chest, he smiled deliriously and pressed his lips to hers once again.

“This house… it is perfect once more,” he whispered between kisses.

“Almost perfect,” she murmured.

“How do you mean?” He lifted himself up to peer at her eyes through the candlelight, wanting to know how else he could make their lives something better.

“I mean that soon, it will be even better.” She smiled broadly and lowered her hand from his chest, moving it to her abdomen. Henry’s eyes flicked downward, quickly realising what she meant.

“Are you…?”

“I am.”

“Ha! Then this house truly will be perfect.” He closed his lips to hers, more excited than his words could merit. Not only did he have Liza in his life, bringing love and laughter to his house, but soon they would have a child of their own running through the corridors, and he could not wait for that moment to be theirs.

THE END


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11 thoughts on “Romancing a Forbidden Lady – Extended Epilogue”

  1. What a entertaining love story. Loved the characters and their reactions to one another. Great work Daphne!

  2. What a entertaining love story. Loved the characters and their reactions to one another. Great work Daphne!

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