Read The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings Online

Authors: Morganna Mayfair,Kirsten Osbourne

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Regency, #Historical Romance

The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings (9 page)

BOOK: The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings
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“It’s for you.  You helped me make it.  It’s meant for you.” 

Diana’s face lit up.  “I want it out by the lake.  My father said he’d have my bench moved out there, and I’d like the fountain right beside it.  Everyone who comes to visit us should make a wish on it.”  She could picture just how it would look there at the lake with the water tumbling out of the top.  Her bench would be beside it, and she would go there to read on nice days.

“Did you make a wish on the fountain?” he asked.

She shook her head.  “It won’t work for me.”  She wasn’t sure how she knew that, but she knew it like she knew her own name.  She didn’t need a fountain to find love.  She’d already found the man she loved and would spend the rest of her days with.

“It worked for me,” he told her.

She looked at him with confusion.  “It did?”

“It brought you to me.  I’ve never in my life even dreamed I could love a woman the way I love you.”

She blinked a few times, trying to keep the tears from her eyes.  “You don’t have to say that.  I know the truth.”

His eyes narrowed.  “What truth?”

She sighed.  “I heard Anthony on our wedding day.  I know you’re not really going to put my dowry into trust, and I understand.  The money will go a long way toward paying off your father’s debts.”  She did understand his need of it, and would never question him for it.

“It would if I wanted to use it for that, but I don’t.  I married you because I can’t imagine my life without you and because I love you more than words could ever express.  I need you in my life every day.”

She shook her head.  “But I heard what Anthony said!”  Why couldn’t he understand that she knew better?

Percy sighed.  “Did you stick around long enough to hear my response to him?  I told him then the money was going into trust.  He tried to talk me into using it for the debt, but I told him I couldn’t do that.  I need you to know I married you because I love you, not because of the money.”

She stared at him in surprise, though why she was so surprised she wasn’t sure.  He was exactly the man she’d agreed to marry.  The man she’d thought he was at the end of their first weekend together.  Their aura had told her from the very beginning that they belonged together, so why was she shocked?

She took a step closer to him and placed her palm against his chest.  He was wearing his work clothes, as he usually did when no one else was around.  She liked how he looked in a suit, but she liked how he looked even more when he was dressed in his work clothes.  The clothes to her symbolized the hardworking good man she’d married.  “Percy, I didn’t expect you to love me so soon.”  She shook her head.  “I’m surprised to say the very least.”

He frowned down at her.  “Why didn’t you expect it?  You saw our auras.  You knew I had feelings for you from the first moment we met.”  He was sad that she’d ever doubted his feelings for her.  Did she really not realize what an incredible woman she was?

She shrugged.  “When I heard Anthony talking about how you could use the dowry, I guess all my hopes fell away.  I was certain I meant nothing to you from that moment on.”  She
looked down, embarrassed.  “I’m sorry I had so little faith in you.”

He reached out and gathered her close to him.  “I understand that the evidence must have seemed very incriminating.”  He did wish she’d had more faith in him, though.

Diana bit her lip.  “I should have trusted you from the very beginning, the way you trusted me.  I told you an outlandish story about special powers I had and you barely questioned it.”  She stood on her tiptoes to kiss his chin.  “I hope you can forgive me.”

Percy stroked her back through her traveling dress that she was still wearing.  “Of course, I can forgive you.  I love you.”
  To him love was all-forgiving, especially with her.

She looked up at him with her heart in her eyes.  “Oh, I love you, too.  I never dreamed that I would find love.  I thought my destiny was to match others, not to feel any kind of real love myself.”

“You really love me?” he asked, his eyes glowing with wonder.

“How could I not love you?  You’re everything
I’ve ever wanted.”  She smiled her face against his chest.  “I thank God every day that my father talked to your mother and they decided we should marry.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you.” 

He sighed.  “I’m just happy I decided to go ahead and marry you instead of waiting until I was out of debt like I’d originally planned.”

She smiled.  “I am too, although I would have waited until you were ready.”

“But would your parents have been willing to wait?”

“They wouldn’t have had a choice.  I’d have waited for love.  I’d have waited forever for love if that’s what it took.”  She smiled, taking his hand in hers and leading him toward the house.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

She nodded toward the west.  “The sun set.  I believe this means we’re supposed to be upstairs?”  It had been their joke since their wedding day that if the sun was down, they were meant to be making love.

He smiled.  “I like the way you think.” 

 

Epilogue

 

 

Charlotte wandered the grounds of her childhood home, Stenwick Manor.  She really hadn’t wanted to spend any time rusticating in the country this close to the Season beginning, but her mother had insisted she needed to see how Diana was faring.  Now that Diana was pregnant with the next generation of Stenwicks, Horatia was doting on the girl.  This was their third visit in as many months, and they stayed for three days at a time.

She shook her head.  Lucy spent all her time getting to know Diana while they were in the country.  Charlotte had always been close to her younger sister, and it seemed that their new sister-in-law was coming between them.  Why had everything gone to pot ever since Diana had married Percy?

Charlotte still wasn’t fond of her sister-in-law.  She’d been kind to her, because she didn’t want to anger her brother, but there was just something that struck her as odd in the older woman.  She couldn’t put her finger on it, and if she mentioned it, she was immediately hushed.  The whole family liked her, and Charlotte felt pushed to the side.

She wandered to the small lake that was on the property and sank onto the bench that was in front of it.  She liked the bench, an addition since Diana arrived.  It seemed everything was always changing these days. 
Even her home wasn’t the same because of Diana.  Why she resented her, she wasn’t even certain, but she knew she did.

She looked to her left and saw a huge fountain sitting beside the lake.  She pulled her cloak closer around her to fight off the winds coming across the lake
as she studied it.  It was a chilly winter day, and she wanted to be anywhere but where she was, but she didn’t have a choice.

She wandered closer to the fountain to take a look at it.  There was something compelling about it, and she wasn’t certain what it was, but it seemed to call to her.  She stepped toward it and ran her hand over the stone work.  It was beautifully done.  Someone had painstakingly pieced the rocks together and created a work of art. 

Charlotte put her hands on the fountain and closed her eyes.  “Make a wish.” 

She jumped back and looked around her.  There was no one anywhere near her, so who had said the words?  Who wanted her to make a wish?

She put her hands back onto the fountain, and again heard the words, “Make a wish.”

She laughed at herself as she gazed at the fountain.  No matter how beautiful it was, it couldn’t really be telling her to make a wish, could it?  She put her hands on it once more, and again heard the words.  This time, she closed her eyes and
wished with all her might.  “I wish that I would find the man that was created for me alone.  Please help me to find and marry my true mate before the end of the Season.” 

She didn’t say the words aloud, but they were there pulsing around her just the same.  She heard the words, “Your wish will be granted,” filling her mind.  She chuckled as she walked back toward the house in better spirits than she’d been in for days.  Her wish would be granted.

Everyone needed to have a wish granted every now and then.  Right?

 

 

 

BOOK: The Earl's Design of Love: The Stenwick Siblings
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