The Duke and I (Bridgertons 1) - Page 30

“And your mouth.”

“I think you’re right.”

“And your—oh, my, I think he has your nose as well.”

“I’m told,” Michael said in an amused voice, “that I was involved in his creation, too, but I have yet to see any evidence.”

Francesca looked at him with so much love that it nearly took Violet’s breath away. “He has your charm,” she said.

Violet laughed, and then she laughed again. There was too much happiness inside of her—she couldn’t possibly hold it in. “I think it’s time we introduced this little fellow to his family,” she said. “Don’t you?”

Francesca held out her arms to take the baby, but Violet turned away. “Not just yet,” she said. She wanted to hold him a while longer. Maybe until Tuesday.

“Mother, I think he might be hungry.”

Violet assumed an arch expression. “He’ll let us know.”


“I know a thing or two about babies, Francesca Bridgerton Stirling.” Violet grinned down at John. “They adore their grandmamas, for example.”

He gurgled and cooed, and then—she was positive—he smiled.

“Come with me, little one,” she whispered, “I have so much to tell you.”

And behind her, Francesca turned to Michael and said, “Do you think we’ll get him back for the duration of the visit?”

He shook his head, then added, “It’ll give us more time to see about getting the little fellow a sister.”


“Listen to the man,” Violet called, not bothering to turn around.

“Good heavens,” Francesca muttered.

But she did listen.

And she did enjoy.

And nine months later, she said good morning to Janet Helen Stirling.

Who looked exactly like her father.

It’s In His Kiss

If ever there was an ending in one of my books that readers howled about, it was the one in It’s In His Kiss, when Hyacinth’s daughter finds the diamonds for which Hyacinth has been searching for more than a decade . . . and then puts them back. I thought this was exactly what a daughter of Hyacinth and Gareth would do, and really, wasn’t it poetic justice that Hyacinth (a character whom I can only call “a piece of work”) should have a daughter who is just like her?

But in the end, I agreed with readers: Hyacinth deserved to find those diamonds . . . eventually.

It’s In His Kiss:

The 2nd Epilogue

1847, and all has come full circle. Truly.


It was official, then.

She had become her mother.

Hyacinth St. Clair fought the urge to bury her face in her hands as she sat on the cushioned bench at Mme. Langlois, Dressmaker, by far the most fashionable modiste in all London.

She counted to ten, in three languages, and then, just for good measure, swallowed and let out an exhale. Because, really, it would not do to lose her temper in such a public setting.

No matter how desperately she wanted to throttle her daughter.

“Mummy.” Isabella poked her head out from behind the curtain. Hyacinth noted that the word had been a statement, not a question.

“Yes?” she returned, affixing onto her face an expression of such placid serenity she might have qualified for one of those pietà paintings they had seen when last they’d traveled to Rome.

“Not the pink.”

Hyacinth waved a hand. Anything to refrain from speaking.

“Not the purple, either.”

“I don’t believe I suggested purple,” Hyacinth murmured.

“The blue’s not right, and nor is the red, and frankly, I just don’t understand this insistence society seems to have upon white, and well, if I might express my opinion—”

Hyacinth felt herself slump. Who knew motherhood could be so tiring? And really, shouldn’t she be used to this by now?

“—a girl really ought to wear the color that most complements her complexion, and not what some overimportant ninny at Almack’s deems fashionable.”

“I agree wholeheartedly,” Hyacinth said.

“You do?” Isabella’s face lit up, and Hyacinth’s breath positively caught, because she looked so like her own mother in that moment it was almost eerie.

“Yes,” Hyacinth said, “but you’re still getting at least one in white.”


“No buts!”



Isabella muttered something in Italian.

“I heard that,” Hyacinth said sharply.

Isabella smiled, a curve of lips so sweet that only her own mother (certainly not her father, who freely admitted himself wound around her finger) would recognize the deviousness underneath. “But did you understand it?” she asked, blinking three times in rapid succession.

And because Hyacinth knew that she would be trapped by her lie, she gritted her teeth and told the truth. “No.”

“I didn’t think so,” Isabella said. “But if you’re interested, what I said was—”

“Not—” Hyacinth stopped, forcing her voice to a lower volume; panic at what Isabella might say had caused her outburst to come out overly loud. She cleared her throat. “Not now. Not here,” she added meaningfully. Good heavens, her daughter had no sense of propriety. She had such opinions, and while Hyacinth was always in favor of a female with opinions, she was even more in favor of a female who knew when to share such opinions.

Isabella stepped out of her dressing room, clad in a lovely gown of white with sage green trimming that Hyacinth knew she’d turn her nose up at, and sat beside her on the bench. “What are you whispering about?” she asked.

“I wasn’t whispering,” Hyacinth said.

“Your lips were moving.”

“Were they?”

“They were,” Isabella confirmed.

“If you must know, I was sending off an apology to your grandmother.”

“Grandmama Violet?” Isabella asked, looking around. “Is she here?”

“No, but I thought she was deserving of my remorse, nonetheless.”

Isabella blinked and cocked her head to the side in question. “Why?”

“All those times,” Hyacinth said, hating how tired her voice sounded. “All those times she said to me, ‘I hope you have a child just like you . . .’ ”

“And you do,” Isabella said, surprising her with a light kiss to the cheek. “Isn’t it just delightful?”

Hyacinth looked at her daughter. Isabella was nineteen. She’d made her debut the year before, to grand success. She was, Hyacinth thought rather objectively, far prettier than she herself had ever been. Her hair was a breathtaking strawberry blond, a throwback to some long-forgotten ancestor on heaven knew which side of the family. And the curls—oh, my, they were the bane of Isabella’s existence, but Hyacinth adored them. When Isabella had been a toddler, they’d bounced in perfect little ringlets, completely untamable and always delightful.

And now . . . Sometimes Hyacinth looked at her and saw the woman she’d become, and she couldn’t even breathe, so powerful was the emotion squeezing across her chest. It was a love she couldn’t have imagined, so fierce and so tender, and yet at the same time the girl drove her positively batty.

Right now, for example.

Isabella was smiling innocently at her. Too innocently, truth be told, and then she looked down at the slightly poufy skirt on the dress Hyacinth loved (and Isabella would hate) and picked absently at the green ribbon trimmings.

“Mummy?” she said.

It was a question this time, not a statement, which meant that Isabella wanted something, and (for a change) wasn’t quite certain how to go about getting it.

“Do you think this year—”

“No,” Hyacinth said. And this time she really did send up a silent apology to her mother. Good heavens, was this what Violet had gone through? Eight times?


nbsp; “You don’t even know what I was going to ask.”

“Of course I know what you were going to ask. When will you learn that I always know?”

“Now that is not true.”

“It’s more true than it is untrue.”

“You can be quite supercilious, did you know that?”

Hyacinth shrugged. “I’m your mother.”

Isabella’s lips clamped into a line, and Hyacinth enjoyed a full four seconds of peace before she asked, “But this year, do you think we can—”

“We are not traveling.”

Isabella’s lips parted with surprise. Hyacinth fought the urge to let out a triumphal shout.

“How did you kn—”

Hyacinth patted her daughter’s hand. “I told you, I always know. And much as I’m sure we would all enjoy a bit of travel, we will remain in London for the season, and you, my girl, will smile and dance and look for a husband.”

Tags: Julia Quinn Bridgertons Romance
Source: Copyright 2016 - 2022