A Bargain with the Rake (Extra Epilogue)

Gabriel looked tenderly at his wife, as he studied the gentle curve of her neck and the golden freckles spread upon her milky-white complexion.

She wasn’t a lady to shield herself from the sun, and this was one of the million reasons he loved her.

“All done,” the painter, a young artist Miss Emmeline, said as she put the brush aside.

Gabriel looked up with a frown.

“Oh, finally,” Evie breathed and craned her neck from side to side.

“But I am not done ogling my wife yet,” Gabriel said, feigning affront. “Can’t you paint us some more?”

Evie swatted at him. “You can ogle me all you want, just don’t make me sit in this one position anymore. And help me up.”

She raised both her hands and Gabriel tugged her up with a great show of effort.

“My God, you are heavy!” he exclaimed and wiped at his brow theatrically.

Evie’s eyes narrowed on him. “Be thankful you don’t have to carry me around all day, unlike me, who has to lug eight pounds’ worth of your heir.”

Gabriel grinned down at his grumbling wife. He bent at the waist and kissed her rounded belly.

“My heir, is he now?”

“Oh yes. I am quite certain it’s a boy. Aileen had never kicked like that. She was a proper lady even then. Just like her mother,” his duchess said with a haughty air.

Gabriel snorted a laugh. “A proper lady… Like her mother? I’d like to meet this person you’re referring to. Because the woman I am married to is a proper hellion.”

Evie arranged her lips in a sensual pout. “Can we go look at the painting now, or are you going to insult me all day?”

“Insult, my dear wife? Why, it was the highest compliment!” Gabriel wrapped his arms around her waist, tugged her closer to him, and planted a demanding kiss on her mouth.

Evie sagged under his onslaught before coming to her senses. She pushed at his chest and wriggled out of his hold.

“Gabriel!” She looked so affronted he could have thought he’d killed someone in front of her. “Not in front of the artist,” she said in a scandalized whisper.

Gabriel’s lips twitched in a smile. “All right, my dear, proper wife. Shall we go see the painting now?”

She gave him a nod and linked her arm with his.

They were in the Duke’s chambers on their Peacehaven estate. It had only come out of renovation a few months earlier and Gabriel bundled his increasing wife and journeyed there for her confinement. The moment Evie stepped into the Duke’s—now Duchess’s—chambers, her eyes watered and he knew that all that trouble he went through to renovate the mansion was worth it.

“But there’s no portrait,” she had said back then.

Gabriel knew she meant the old one of her grandparents. But he decided that having their own portrait made was the second-best option.

Their family portrait.

They reached the artist and peeked over her to see the painting. Miss Emmeline stepped aside with a grin.

It was beautiful.

Gabriel’s eyes immediately drifted to his two girls. Aileen, their two-year-old daughter, was sitting on her mother’s lap. The artist drew her first because the babe wouldn’t sit still for long periods of time.

“We’ll need to have another one made when the babe comes,” Gabriel noted.

Evie looked up at him and grinned. “Perhaps when he is older.” She turned to the artist. “Thank you so much. You will be invited to this house often, with every added member of the family.”

“Yearly,” Gabriel said proudly and received a frown from his wife.

She turned back to the artist. “And I wager all our friends are going to be commissioning their portraits from you, too.”

The girl smiled and bobbed a careless curtsy.

“Yearly?” Evie pouted as she turned toward Gabriel. “You expect me to deliver you a babe every year?”

Gabriel shrugged and led his wife out of the room.

“I expect we shall be very busy making babes, so yes. It is quite possible that you’ll have to deliver them yearly.”

Evie pursed her lips. “That’s a lot of babes.”

“We can afford them,” Gabriel said with a smile.

They walked slowly down the corridor, then down the stairs, with Evie running her hand along the walls. She always did that, marveling at the feel of the newly decorated halls.

Gabriel tried to recreate the house as best he could, to preserve as many memories for his wife of her beloved home. He succeeded in some places, fell short in others, but Evie kept looking at this entire place with wonder-filled eyes, making him feel as though he was a wizard, giving a piece of her childhood back to her.

They made their way through the house and finally reached the gardens. Laughter and shrieks of their little girl filled the place, so they had no trouble locating her and her chaperones.

“Here’s my little girl,” Evie said, as Aileen ran toward her at full speed and hugged her mother.

Mr. Cromwell and Widow Jane—now Mrs. Cromwell—followed slowly in her footsteps.

When Evie sent Mr. Cromwell into the little village of Forton, they had hoped the two old souls would find companionship together. However, when the first letters arrived from Mr. Cromwell, they were mostly complaints about ‘one bitter old widow.’

They bickered a lot, but soon everyone realized this was how they showed affection toward one another. Mr. Cromwell and Widow Jane quickly found a kindred soul in each other. Last year, they had finally tied the knot.

Gabriel took Aileen into his arms. “How about a kiss for your papa?”

Aileen kissed him on the cheek and hugged his neck before wriggled to get out of his hold, but he held fast.

“Miss Jane! Let’s climb tree!” Aileen addressed the old woman, too young to pronounce her R’s properly. She bounced in Gabriel’s arms, almost jumping out of them.

“How about a game of dominoes instead?” Widow Jane coaxed little Aileen.

“What’s to-mi-toes?” Aileen whispered with an adorable little frown.

Gabriel tapped her nose to smooth her features and she laughed. “It is a stimulating game that encourages the development of one’s mind as well as the propensity for gambling,” he said.

“Let us go, my darling. Mrs. Cromwell will teach us all,” Evie said with a wink toward Widow Jane.

“Let go, papa!” Aileen wriggled out of Gabriel’s hold and dashed toward the house.

“Careful, Lady Aileen!” Mrs. Cromwell hurried after the girl.

Gabriel cocked a brow at Evie and she sighed.

“Very well, you were right. Perhaps she’s not a perfect lady. But she will be.”

“She is perfect, just the way she is,” Gabriel whispered, and brushed a lock away from Evie’s face. “And so are you.”

Gabriel leaned in and captured her mouth with his. He kissed her tenderly at first, then opened his mouth over hers and possessed her in a passionate embrace. Evie’s hands traveled up his body until she raked her fingers through his hair and tugged him closer.

Evie broke the kiss abruptly. She put her hand on her abdomen and took a deep breath.

“Is something amiss?” Gabriel studied her features anxiously.

“Yes. I mean, no.” She grimaced. “I’ve been having these pains every few hours, but I think they are coming closer together.”

Gabriel’s eyes widened. “Are you—”

Evie smiled and nodded. “I think I am.”

“You’re in labor!” Gabriel exclaimed in wonder while his heartbeat accelerated and his palms started perspiring.

“Get ready to welcome your heir, my lord,” his wife said with a smile, but Gabriel could barely hear her through the noise of blood rushing through his head.

THE END

Thank you for reading the second epilogue of “A Bargain with the Rake.” I hope you enjoyed it!

Be sure to pre-order book 4, An Offer from a Marquess.

Thank you!

Published by sadiebosque

Sadie Bosque is a pen name, or an alter ego, if you like, of a sheltered young woman from outskirts of the World. The author uses her secret identity to write steamy historical romance novels by night, hoping to create the perfect escape for people like her. Extremely introverted, the author likes her privacy, but will divulge her writing process and ideas on her social media.

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