The Duke’s Last Governess (Extended Epilogue)

Two years later…

After the wedding that had shook the ton, Ethan had decided it best to move Sophia, the children and himself to a home farther into the countryside. He wanted to start fresh on a new estate, leaving the bad memories of old behind to make brand new ones. The staff was pleased with his decision in the wake of Adele’s horrendous attack against the duke and Sophia, and it seemed to calm the children’s fears, as they worried she would come back someday. In the new house, Ethan could perform his duties in a more comfortable setting for all.

There was much going back and forth between the new Tressingham estate and Sophia’s aunt and uncle’s farm. Ethan, out of the kindness of his heart, helped her uncle to regain new clientele, pulling him out of the slump he’d found himself in and bringing the two men closer together. Sophia’s uncle, aunt, and the children made the few hours’ trek as often as they could to visit.

One dreary evening, Ethan was in his study going through ledger after ledger until the numbers started to blur together. He decided to take a break, heading down to the nursery to check on Sophia and the children, only to find the children by their lonesome.

“Where is your mother?” Ethan asked them, their faces rather worried.

“Sophia ran out of here complaining of stomach pains,” Jacob whined with a frown.

“I think she went to her chambers,” Julia said. “She looked very pale.”

Ethan rushed out of the children’s room and down the corridor to find her laying on her bed pale and obviously sick.

“My goodness, are you well?”

“I think I ate a bad spot of food or something,” Sophia replied between wretches. “I feel dreadful.”

“Oh, dear. It is good you came to lie down,” Ethan said, and picked up her hand and pressed it firmly.

“I feel so…woozy…”

“I’ll fetch the physician; he’ll know what to do.”

Ethan ran across the house and found Mr. Pembrooke, and who had coachmen fetch the physician. As he waited for Mr. O’Malley to arrive, his own gut twisted with worry.

It’s probably nothing, Ethan reassured himself, just some illness going around and nothing more. But as he walked back to her bed chamber it was hard for him to feel at ease, taking a seat by her side and holding her hand, which was wet and clammy. His mind drifted back to the moment when he’d found his late wife dead. He couldn’t even imagine finding Sophia in her place. His feelings for Sophia were so much stronger; he wouldn’t be able to keep his mind. But then again, Adele was away. This couldn’t be her doing.

“Good evening, your Graces,” Mr. O’Malley said as he came in the room, Sophia having succumbed to the lull of sleep despite her condition. “Mr. Pembrooke tells me the duchess has fallen ill?”

“Yes,” Ethan said as Sophia’s eyes fluttered open, and she sat up. “Oh, do be careful, dear.”

“I am feeling a bit queasy, my love, but nothing like earlier,” she insisted.

“What exactly happened, your Grace?” Mister O’Malley asked Sophia.

“Well, we had a bit of dinner, and I went to play with the children while the duke caught up on some work. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by tremendous nausea, and I started to sweat profusely.”

“Mhmm,” Mr. O’Malley said as he listened. “Well, let me take a look. The fact you feel a bit better could mean it’s just some passing ailment.” Ethan moved from his seat and let Mr. O’Malley take his place next to Sophia. He checked Sophia’s wrist, seeming to count the beats of her pulse with his finger, before standing up and lightly checking her over.

“Have you gained any weight, your Grace?” Mr. O’Malley asked.

“I am not sure. I have been feeling a bit bloated the last days though,” Sophia said, blushing as she answered. “But we recently attended a ball for Lady Albring’s birthday, and there were many treats.”

Mr. O’Malley sat there for a moment and put his hand lightly on her stomach, his eyes opening a little wide as he looked back to her.

“I hate to sound crude, your Grace, but when was the last time you had your menses?”

Sophia seemed to ponder the question a moment and appeared to struggle to find an answer.

“I…I don’t remember. It’s been quite a while, honestly,” Sophia replied.

“Well, you have nothing to worry about, your Grace,” Mister O’Malley said. “I can, with quite a bit of certainty, tell you that I know what your problem is, though it really isn’t a problem at all.”

“What do you mean?” Ethan asked, looking at Mr. O’Malley and feeling quite puzzled.

“The duchess is with child,” he replied with a smile. “The vomiting, the little bit of weight gain, and the movement I felt in her belly seem to all point to it.”

“Really?” Sophia squealed with delight, tears clinging in her eyes. “We’ve been trying for so long we weren’t sure it was possible.”

“Well, then I owe you an extra bit of congratulations,” Mr. O’Malley said as he picked up his bag from the floor, turning to Ethan. “You are going to be a father, your Grace…again.” Mr. O’Malley smiled to him, and Ethan was left speechless, turning to Sophia, who burst into tears.

“At last! Another,” she said. Ethan walked back over to her and wrapped his arms around her tightly, kissing her all over her cheeks.

“You are a great mother already, and I have no doubt this new babe will thrive within our family.”

“You think so?” Sophia said, looking a bit nervous. “Having a babe and raising children are two separate things.”

“You are the most kind and beautiful person I know, inside and out,” Ethan said. “You will be perfect.” Ethan climbed onto the bed and cuddled Sophia in his arms, stroking her hair as the two sat there in complete bliss.


“Yes, my love?” Ethan replied, looking down upon his beautiful bride, her eyes aglow.

“Let’s name the baby Charles if it’s a boy,” Sophia replied. “I think my father would have loved that, being that was his name too, after all.”

“Charles, hmm?” Ethan thought upon it for a minute and nodded his head. “I like it. A handsome name for a handsome baby. But if it’s a girl, Rose.”

“I’d like that very much,” Sophia replied. Ethan leaned down and kissed Sophia, his heart full, happy that they had not only all become a family as they were, but that they could now look forward to it growing and blooming. Just like the beautiful rose garden where they’d shared their first kiss, and where their love had truly blossomed.


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  • Thank you for an endearing story that truly satisfied…all the elements were there, the angst, the heartache, the tragedy, the strong attraction, the deranged villain and the purity of love in its various forms! The kicker was the extended epilogue that provided a true HEA…Loved it x

  • A great read. Loved the characters and the extended epilogue. Will definitely read more of Maya Ross’ books. Thank you for a wonderful story!

  • This is the first book I’ve read by Maya Ross. It definitely will not be the last. Wonderful story beautifully written

    • Thank you for your sweet words, my dear Gerrie. Your support means the world! I’m glad you enjoyed my book and I hope you’ll love my future books as much.

  • Lovely romantic story! Even with the sadness of Adele trying to ruin things it was a nice love story for Ethan and Sophia.

  • A beautiful love story with just the right drama and suspense. I truly enjoy reading such a clean, well written book.

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