When He Was Wicked: The 2nd Epilogue (Bridgertons 6.5) - Page 12

She smiled. Like a Madonna, she smiled, he would have sworn it. And she said, “I won’t break.”

He remembered when she’d miscarried years ago. It had not been his child, but he had felt her pain, hot and searing, like a fist around his heart. His cousin—her first husband—had been dead a scant few weeks, and they were both reeling from that loss. When she’d lost John’s baby…

He didn’t think either one of them could survive another loss like that.

“Francesca,” he said urgently, “you must take care. Please.”

“It won’t happen again,” she said, shaking her head.

“How do you know?”

She gave him a bewildered shrug. “I don’t know. I just do.”

Dear God, he prayed she was not deluding herself. “Do you want to tell your family?” he asked quietly.

She shook her head. “Not yet. Not because I have any fears,” she hastened to add. “I just want—” Her lips pressed together in the most adorably giddy little smile. “I just want it to be mine for a little while. Ours.”

He brought her hand to his lips. “How long is a little while?”

“I’m not sure.” But her eyes were growing crafty. “I’m not quite sure…”

One year later…

Violet Bridgerton loved all her children equally, but she loved them differently as well. And when it came to missing them, she did so in what she considered a most logical manner. Her heart pined the most for the one she’d seen the least. And that was why, as she waited in the drawing room at Aubrey Hall, watching for a carriage bearing the Kilmartin crest to roll down the drive, she found herself fidgety and eager, jumping up every five minutes to watch through the window.

“She wrote that they would arrive today,” Kate reassured her.

“I know,” Violet replied with a sheepish smile. “It’s just that I haven’t seen her for an entire year. I know Scotland is far, but I’ve never gone an entire year without seeing one of my children before.”

“Really?” Kate asked. “That’s remarkable.”

“We all have our priorities,” Violet said, deciding there was no point in trying to pretend she wasn’t champing at the bit. She set down her embroidery and moved to the window, craning her neck when she thought she saw something glinting in the sunlight.

“Even when Colin was traveling so much?” Kate asked.

“The longest he was gone was 342 days,” Violet replied. “When he was traveling in the Mediterranean.”

“You counted?”

Violet shrugged. “I can’t help myself. I like to count.” She thought of all the counting she’d done when her children were growing up, making sure she had as many offspring at the end of an outing as she’d had at the beginning. “It helps to keep track of things.”

Kate smiled as she reached down and rocked the cradle at her feet. “I shall never complain about the logistics of managing four.”

Violet crossed the room to peek down at her newest grandchild. Little Mary had been a bit of a surprise, coming so many years after Charlotte. Kate had thought herself done with childbearing, but then, ten months earlier, she’d got out of bed, walked calmly to the chamber pot, emptied the contents of her stomach, and announced to Anthony, “I believe we’re expecting again.”

Or so they’d told Violet. She made it a point to stay out of her grown children’s bedrooms except in the case of illness or childbirth.

“I never complained,” Violet said softly. Kate didn’t hear, but Violet hadn’t meant her to. She smiled down at Mary, sleeping sweetly under a purple blanket. “I think your mother would have been delighted,” she said, looking up at Kate.

Kate nodded, her eyes misting over. Her mother—actually her stepmother, but Mary Sheffield had raised her from a little girl—had passed away a month before Kate realized that she was pregnant. “I know it makes no sense,” Kate said, leaning down to examine her child’s face more closely, “but I would swear she looks a bit like her.”

Violet blinked and tilted her head to the side. “I think you’re right.”

“Something about the eyes.”

“No, it’s the nose.”

“Do you think? I rather thought—Oh

Tags: Julia Quinn Bridgertons Romance
Source: readsnovelonline.com
readsnovelonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2023