Smitten with a Scarred Duke
Overcome with pride and emotion, Amelia answered him by throwing her arms around his neck.
“Your father would be in awe, darling,” she whispered.
“Aww,” Benson said, patting his mother on her back.
Amelia and Roger laughed.
They spent the night in their new home, and after Benson went to bed, Roger took her on a tour of the entire house. Each room was more impressive than the last, and Amelia found she could not wait to spend as much time as they possibly could there. The view of the countryside from their home was one of the most beautiful she had ever seen. And she had fallen equally in love with the gardens here as at Norfield Manor. She wanted to take a walk through the gardens that very evening, but Roger had made her promise to wait until the following day. He promised they would have a picnic before returning to Norfield Manor, and that it would be well worth the wait. She fell asleep that night wondering what on earth her husband could be up to this time.
The next morning, Amelia awoke to find Roger had arranged to have their breakfast packed into a picnic basket. The sun had just risen fully in the sky, and it made for a beautiful view of the entire garden. She instructed the nursemaid to get Benson ready for the picnic at once, and then the three of them went for a tour of the gardens. She was pleasantly surprised to find Roger had ordered many exotic flowers from overseas to be planted. The bright colors complimented each other perfectly, and Amelia loved each new variety more than the last. The hedges were a vibrant green and perfectly trimmed, and the patterns in which they were planted created a sort of maze, from which you could reach just about any part of the gardens. As Roger led them deeper, Amelia marveled at her husband’s thoughtfulness.
“All right,” he said, bringing them to a sudden halt. “You must close your eyes now.”
“Why?” she asked.
Roger gave her a boyish smile.
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
Amelia raised an eyebrow, but she nodded.
“Yes,” she said.
Roger nodded triumphantly.
“Then take my hand, and close your eyes,” he said.
Amelia did as she was instructed, letting her husband guide her further into the gardens. After a moment, he gently nudged her to a stop. She could hear Benson squeal, but she kept her eyes closed until Roger instructed her otherwise.
“Open your eyes, my love,” he said at last.
Amelia did so and immediately burst into delighted laughter. Mere paces from where she and her family stood was a pool of mud. On the far side, she could see a stone fountain that sprayed a very fine trickle of water down into the mud to prevent it from ever drying up.
“I have never forgotten the story you told me of how you enjoyed playing in mud when you were a child,” Roger said, looking at her with deep affection. “So, I thought, perhaps, I should provide you with a way to do so once again, should you ever feel the desire.”
Amelia stared at her husband, her heart swelling with love and joy.
“Oh darling,” she said, smiling so widely her cheeks hurt. “I think I am just a little too old for all of that now.”
Roger shrugged, grinning impishly.
“Well, firstly, I disagree with you, my dear,” he said. “But in any case, our children are far from too old to enjoy a little mud.”
As if on cue, Benson at last squirmed free of his father and crawled straight over and into to the large puddle of mud. Amelia squealed with laughter, as the child stared wide-eyed at one muddy hand, attempting to sit himself up to study it more carefully and collapsing on his side back into the sticky dirt.
“See?” Roger said, raising his eyebrows slyly at his wife. “Perhaps, you should go and teach him how it is done.”
Once again, as if he understood what his father was saying, Benson at last tugged himself free of the mud, barreling up to his mother and flinging his tiny, chubby arms around her pale pink dress, plastering it with the sticky dirt. Amelia laughed with pure delight, leaning down to kiss her son’s bemudded cheek, smearing the mud on her own face. When she stood up, she was greeted by another set of lips against her cheek. She turned and laughed again, as she saw Roger now had mud on his lips. With a gentle hand, she wiped it away and pressed her mouth to his. As she did, he put a soft hand on her stomach.
“I hope this little one is a daughter,” he said sweetly, glancing over her shoulder at Benson, who had gotten bored with his parents’ display of affection and returned to the joy of the mud puddle. “I think he would do exceptionally well with a little sister.”
Amelia turned to watch her son, resting her head on her husband’s shoulder, and placing her hand over his on her belly.
“Me, too, my love,” she murmured, smiling as the little one inside of her began to squirm and kick. “Me, too.”
This is the end of my novel “Smitten with a Scarred Duke”. 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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