IMPERILED BY A LADY'S LOVE
The couple laughed as they carried their son happily back up the trail and toward Somersworth Manor.
They arrived at their home with just enough time to dress for their dinner engagement at Netherdale Manor. Colin was thrilled to get to see Harry again, and it was clear that Sophia was just as excited about seeing Phoebe again.
Harry and Phoebe had married one year after Colin and Sophia had, and they spent a great deal of time traveling, so the couple did not get to see their friends often. Any opportunity to see the pair was a happy occasion for both Sophia and Colin. They hurriedly got ready and departed shortly after for Lady Linsdale’s home.
When they arrived, the Dowager Countess was waiting with the butler in the open doorway. She rushed out to greet the coach as it rolled to a stop.
“Welcome,” Lady Linsdale said, hugging her niece and giving her a kiss on the cheek, before turning to Colin and pulling him into a quick embrace.
Then, she turned to the true object of her affection. She scooped up little Adam into her arms and gave him a little twirl, producing a giggle and a squeal as she did so.
“Hello, little one. How I have missed you.”
Colin and Sophia both laughed as Adam gave his Great Aunt Jane a wet, open-mouthed kiss on the cheek. Jane squealed with delight, hugging the toddler tightly. The embrace was short-lived, however, as Adam quickly grew impatient and began squirming out of Lady Linsdale’s arms. With a laugh, she placed the young boy on the ground, upon which he immediately started to try to escape the company of the three adults. At the last moment, before he began running through the house, Colin reached down and gently grabbed his son’s hand.
“This way, my boy,” he said, guiding the toddler toward the dining hall.
Inside, Harry and Phoebe were already seated. When the trio entered, the couple rose enthusiastically and rushed to greet them. Phoebe practically flew into Sophia’s arms, and Harry met Colin with a handshake so vigorous that he thought it might remove his arm.
“Oh, darling,” Phoebe gushed as she embraced her friend. “It has been an age.”
Sophia laughed, and Colin turned from his friend, as mesmerized as ever by the sound.
“Well,” she began, her eyes twinkling at her friend. “The two of you took a rather long wedding trip.”
Phoebe blushed and looked at Sophia knowingly. “And every moment of it was positively magical.”
Colin released his friend’s hand and stepped toward his wife.
“Be careful, you two,” he warned, looking at his cousin. “A man could get jealous at such a wonderous display of excitement and affection toward his wife.”
Phoebe playfully shoved his shoulder. “A lady could say the same about you with her husband,” she said, gazing fondly at Harry.
Just then, Adam ran up and wrapped his little arms around Phoebe’s leg.
“Gaa,” he said, looking up, no doubt feeling a mutual affection and good cheer between the foursome.
Harry stooped down and picked up the toddler, laughing.
“No,” he said, looking pointedly at Colin. “There is positively no resemblance between this young one and his father.”
Colin raised a teasing eyebrow at his friend. “I am sure that I have no idea what you mean.”
Everyone laughed as they took their seats. As the first course was served, Phoebe clapped her hands. She glanced at Harry, who gave her a doting nod of his head.
“Everyone, I have an announcement. And I simply cannot bear another minute of not telling you all.”
Lady Linsdale smiled warmly at Phoebe. “By all means, my dear,” she began, gesturing to Phoebe with her hand. “Give us your announcement.”
Phoebe rose from her seat and cleared her throat. She looked at Sophia, her eyes sparkling brightly.
“Harry and I are expecting our first child,” she said, finishing her announcement with a small squeal of excitement.
Sophia leaped from her chair and rushed over to her friend, embracing her tightly once more.
“Are you truly?” she asked, looking at Phoebe in amazement.
Phoebe nodded, her excitement palpable. “Truly,” she assured, clapping her hands again.
“That is incredible,” Sophia beamed, turning back to Colin, Harry and Lady Linsdale. “Because I, too, am with child.”
Phoebe’s eyes widened and she gasped loudly. She gave another excited squeal and hugged Sophia tighter than before.
“Oh, this is truly a joyous day,” Lady Linsdale oozed, rising to hug both of the young women.
“Indeed, it is,” Harry and Colin said in unison.
As everyone reclaimed their seats, they each took their glasses and raised them. No words were needed as they touched their respective drinks and took sips. Young Adam raised his own small cup and leaned toward the adults as they finished their toast.
“Gaa!” he said, waving his cup and splashing some of the water on him as he did so.
“Well, said, my boy.”
This is the end of my novel “Imperiled by a Lady’s Love”. 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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