The Marquess's Forbidden


The day was a gem, quintessential high summer, when Gloria was preparing to host a splendid picnic party at Dewsbury House, their family seat in Pimlico, London. It was Christian’s thirty-first birthday, and she was intent on celebrating it with a joy that would resonate in the heart of her husband and their intimate circle of family and friends.

Her slender hands busied themselves with arranging the final touches on the garden tables, her soft, dove-grey eyes reflecting the vibrant hues of the lush summer blooms. A contented sigh escaped her lips as she surveyed the scene. It was indeed a rare privilege to see the world from a perspective of love and contentment, and she cherished every moment of it.

Behind her, she heard the strong, soothing voice of her husband. 

“My love, you’ve outdone yourself,” he said, coming to stand beside her. Gloria turned, a rosy smile blooming on her face as she met Christian’s gaze. His light gray eyes sparkled in the afternoon light, crinkling at the corners with warmth and love that stole her breath every time.

Gloria beamed at her husband.

“Only the best for your birthday, my lord,” she said, playfully emphasizing the formal address. Christian chuckled, leaning in to steal a quick kiss before pulling her into an embrace.

Christian kissed her ear, making her shiver with delight.

“Shall we go back inside and fetch the children?” he asked.

Gloria smiled, nodding.

“I imagine they will be dressed and ready by now,” she said.

Together, Gloria and Christian walked back to the manor house, stepping in through the back door and immediately greeted by the sounds of shrieks and laughter. The doting parents watched with fond smiles as their twin daughters, Lily, named after her mother, and Rose, scampered about Dewsbury House, their laughter echoing through the hallways. 

At three years old, they were a bundle of energy, an absolute handful, yet they were the very heart of her world. Their cherubic faces, their sparkling gray eyes so like their father’s, were two of three of her most treasured sights. They adored their elder brother, Theo, who at nine years old, was already demonstrating a protective streak towards his younger siblings. The trio’s camaraderie filled Gloria’s heart with contentment. They were, after all, her and Christian’s greatest blessing, their personal treasure.

“Lily, no running,” Gloria called out as her daughter darted past her with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, her twin hot on her heels. But the giggles only grew louder as they vanished around the corner.

“Oh, Gloria,” Christian said, sauntering into the room, a hint of amusement in his sea-green eyes. “You do realize they’re probably running even faster now.”

Gloria turned to him, lips curving into a smile as she shook her head. 

“Our children, my lord, are as mischievous as their father,” she teased, walking over to him, and resting her hand on his arm.

He chuckled, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her close. 

“And as beautiful and vivacious as their mother,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to her temple.

Gloria’s heart fluttered at his words, a reminder of the deep love they shared. She leaned into his embrace, their shared laughter ringing in the room, filling it with warmth and love.

Their lives had expanded in ways they could never have imagined, their family growing closer with each passing year. Gloria felt her heart swell with affection as she looked at her twins, their rosy cheeks flushed from their play. And at that moment, she knew, with a profound certainty, that their life, with all its ups and downs, was absolutely perfect.

Christian’s hand found hers, their fingers intertwining in a familiar gesture of comfort and love. His touch was reassuring, a silent promise of his enduring love. As she watched their children, their laughter filling the halls of Dewsbury House, she couldn’t help but think of how their love had multiplied, how it had blossomed into this beautiful family. This was their world, one they had built with love and patience, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

As the guests started to arrive, their grand lawn came alive with the laughter and chatter of their loved ones. There was a certain magic in the familiarity of it all. Over the five years since their marriage, they had formed a harmonious circle of companionship and understanding, meeting up regularly and attending events during the Season.

Yet it was the private gatherings, like this picnic, that truly warmed Gloria’s heart. She enjoyed watching Christian interacting with their friends, his laughter ringing true and heartfelt, his conversations deep and meaningful. He was not just her husband but also her best friend, her partner in all aspects of life.

She watched him now, his hair catching the sun’s rays as he bent to say something to a smiling Theo. The sight of him, so immersed in their family’s shared happiness, filled her heart with an indescribable warmth. It was a sensation that was new every time, as fresh and vibrant as the first bloom of spring.

Their joy was mirrored in the lives of Vicky and Ben, who now also had two children of their own. The lively brood of youngsters was a constant source of delight and chaos during their gatherings. They watched as their children played together, their innocent laughter and playful banter adding a new layer of happiness to their friendship.

“My darling girls,” bellowed a low voice that carried before the person embodying it appeared. Gloria knew the voice, though, and she smiled with anticipation. A moment later, Ermine Hughes, accompanied by his wife, came into view, rushing toward the twins. “There are my sweet girls.”

The duchess was on his heels, and each of them picked up one of the girls. They smothered the children with kisses, holding onto them tightly. Until, that was, the twins managed to squirm out of their grandparents’ arms, stumbling onto the ground and hurrying away, giggling.

Theo was next, bounding up to his grandparents and throwing his arms around the duchess.

“Granma,” he cried, excited. Then, he repeated the gesture to the duke. “Grandpa. I’ve missed you so much.”

The duke and duchess knelt down to smother Theo, who was too big to pick up now, in the same affection they gave to his sisters. Gloria watched the display with emotional fondness. It was a beautiful sight; one she never tired of seeing.

Amidst the cheerful chaos, Gloria stood back, absorbing the scene before her. Their children playing together, the sound of laughter, the warmth of family—it was overwhelming and wonderful all at once. She cast a glance at Christian, his eyes meeting hers. There was a silent communication in that look, a shared acknowledgment of their shared love and happiness.

As the party carried on in full swing, Gloria found herself detached momentarily, lost in the labyrinth of the past. She stood amidst the laughter and music, yet her mind was transported back to the time when she first met Christian, the Marquess of Hillingdon.

It had been a strange and unexpected encounter, a chance meeting that had altered the course of their lives. Gloria had never imagined that after all the heartache she had experienced, such incredible happiness would be hers. She smiled, her soft grey eyes misting at the memories. The past seemed both a world away and as close as a heartbeat.

Gloria observed Christian from the corner of her eyes, his broad shoulders towering above the crowd, his laughter reverberating through the room. Their journey together had been as unexpected as it had been wonderful. Love had found them in the most unusual way, and in each other, they had discovered a partner, a confidante, a soulmate.

“Gloria, my love, you’re miles away,” Christian’s voice broke through her reverie. He came to stand by her, his hand reaching out to hold hers, his touch as familiar as her own heartbeat. He studied her, concern flickering in his sea-green eyes.

Gloria sighed happily, feeling as though her heart might burst with pure bliss.

“Just remembering,” she confessed, her voice barely above a whisper. She turned to face him, her heart fluttering at his warm smile.

He squeezed her hand gently. 

“Remembering our first encounter?” he guessed.

Gloria giggled, blushing as the memory, as clear as if it were five minutes ago, rather than five years, played in her mind.

“Yes,” Gloria admitted, returning his smile. “It feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?”

Christian nodded, stroking her cheek and smiling warmly at her.

“It does,” Christian agreed, his gaze softening as he lost himself in the same memories. They stood there for a moment, the noise of the party dimming to a murmur as they reminisced.

“It’s strange,” Gloria started, her gaze shifting back to their friends and family. “I never could have dreamed after all the heartache that such happiness would be mine. Would be ours.”

Christian turned her towards him, his fingers gently lifting her chin. 

“Gloria,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion. “I feel exactly the same. Our journey, as unexpected as it was, led us to this. To our family, our happiness.”

The sincerity in his voice sent a warm rush through Gloria. She stared at her husband, her heart swelling with a love that still took her breath away. As Christian leaned in to press a gentle kiss against her forehead, Gloria closed her eyes, savoring the moment.

Yes, their past was a blend of heartaches and joy, but their present was a picture of bliss they wouldn’t trade for the world. And in this moment, surrounded by loved ones and enveloped in Christian’s arms, Gloria knew that the strange, winding path of their past had led them to exactly where they were meant to be.

As the day drifted into the warm hues of evening, a sense of satisfaction washed over Gloria. This was her world, her beloved people, and at the center of it all was Christian. The love she held for him was a tender flame that warmed her from within, reflecting in her eyes every time she looked at him.

“Thank you,” Christian whispered into her ear later, as they stood watching their friends and family, basking in the glow of lanterns strung across the garden.

Gloria gave him a bemused look.

“For what, my lord?” She teased, a light laugh dancing in her words.

“For this,” he replied, his voice barely above a whisper as he gestured towards their gathered loved ones. “For our life, our love, our family. You’ve made me the happiest man alive, Gloria.”

The earnestness in his words made her eyes misty, and she leaned into him, letting the love they shared seep into her very being. They had grown together, bloomed together, and she couldn’t imagine a life without him. As they stood wrapped in each other’s arms under the starlit summer sky, she realized that every day was a celebration of their love, their bond and the beautiful life they had created together.

Christian’s birthday was just another reason to rejoice.

The End


This is the end of my novel “The Marquess’s Forbidden Cinderella”. I hope that you enjoy it! Your effort to read it means a lot to me and I have to thank you for your love and support these difficult days!

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