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Authors: Jennifer McNare

Dreaming of You (37 page)

BOOK: Dreaming of You
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“Oh Gavin,” she choked, tears now streaming unheeded down her cheeks.  
 

“Can you ever forgive me?” he beseeched, knowing he had no right to ask it of her, but unable to help himself nonetheless.
 

She didn’t speak, couldn’t speak.  Instead, she simply raised her hand and pressed it gently to his cheek.
 

Slowly he raised his own hand, and placed it over hers.  “I love you Melody,” he murmured as he gazed into the depth of her wondrous blue eyes.
 

“I love you too, my darling,” she whispered, “just as I have always loved you, and always will.”
 

 

 

Epilogue

 

Three-month-old Phillip Richard Montrose slept contentedly in his mother’s arms, blissfully unaware of his elder siblings’ near-nonstop chatter, as well as the continuous swaying and bouncing of the coach as it bumped along the weather-beaten roads en route to Settrington Manor.  
 

Gazing down upon her son’s angelic face, a tender smile curved Melody’s lips.  He was such a beautiful baby, healthy and hearty and just as sweet-tempered as could be.  And like William, he was the spitting image of Gavin, and assuredly destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, leaving all of the young ladies he encountered swooning in his wake.  Thankfully however, that was something she wouldn’t have to deal with for quite some time to come.  Brushing her thumb lightly across his baby-soft cheek, she marveled at how wonderfully blessed she was.  
 

She could hardly wait for her parents to meet him, their newest grandson, and for Adam to meet his new nephew, for due to her pregnancy and Phillip’s subsequent birth, it had been nearly seven months since they had last journeyed to her childhood home.  And of course they would be overjoyed to see William and Emma again.
 

“I don’t know how he does it,” Gavin said, drawing Melody’s attention.
 

Looking up, she met his gaze and smiled.  “I’m fairly certain that it is an inherited trait,” Melody murmured laughingly.  
 

Gavin quirked his brow questioningly.
 

“Last week, when William and Emma burst into our room shortly after dawn, causing such a commotion about the new foal Gemini had birthed, you never even flinched,” Melody reminded him, grinning broadly.  “In fact, as I recall, William had to practically pry your eyelids apart to rouse you.”
 

“Hmm, perhaps,” Gavin mused.  “Although, on that particular morning I did have a good excuse, for
as I recall
I was thoroughly exhausted from a long and blissful night spent attempting to satisfy every last one of my insatiable young wife’s desires.”
 

“Oh, you’re terrible,” Melody gasped softly, blushing profusely as she glanced at the children.  Fortunately neither William nor Emma seemed to be paying the least bit of attention to the rather scandalous turn their parent’s conversation had taken. “However,” she began in a hushed voice, “considering that you did indeed satisfy my every last desire, I suppose I shall have to forgive you for making me blush, you devil.”
 

Chuckling, Gavin flashed her a wicked smile before turning his attention back to the children.
 

 

 

Much to Gavin’s satisfaction, the morning following their prior afternoon’s arrival at Settrington Manor started off with a brilliant sunrise and the promise of an equally beautiful day.  They had just
finished the morning meal and he had a surprise for Melody, a project he’d begun several weeks earlier, and he was eager to show it to her.  
 

“Phillip will be fine,” he said reassuringly, as Melody laid the baby in his wooden cradle.  “We shall only be gone for a couple of hours, I promise.”
 

Having just been fed, Melody was confident that her young son would sleep peacefully for the next several hours, but she hesitated nonetheless.  “A couple of hours?” she asked, eyeing Gavin curiously as she turned toward him.  She couldn’t imagine what he could possibly want to show her that would keep them away for two hours, but even though she’d been pestering him for additional information for the past hour, he had stubbornly refused to enlighten her as to the purpose of their upcoming outing.  
 

“Yes, now come along.  And no more questions,” Gavin added with a mischievous smile, pulling her gently from the room.
 

Entering the front foyer, Melody was surprised to see her mother standing there with a length of black silk dangling from her outstretched hand.  
 

“Will this do?” Elizabeth asked, handing the fabric to Gavin.
 

“Indeed, I believe this will do perfectly,” Gavin replied, taking it from her hand.  “Thank you.”
 

Melody eyed the silk dubiously.  “A blindfold?”  
 

Gavin merely chuckled.  “Don’t worry; I won’t make you put it on right away.”
 

Turning to Elizabeth, Melody raised her eyebrows questioningly, but her mother merely smiled and shrugged her shoulders.  Clearly Elizabeth had no more idea as to what her husband was about than she did.  So, turning back to Gavin, she simply placed her hand trustingly upon his arm and followed him to the door.
 

 

 

Pulling the horses to a stop after having been on the road for a little less than a half hour, Gavin set the brake and then quickly climbed down from the Settrington’s open-topped, two-wheeled curricle, reminding Melody to keep her blindfold on until he gave her leave to remove it.  
 

“I shan’t touch it, I swear,” she promised with an amused giggle, as she waited for Gavin to come around and assist her from the vehicle.  A moment later she felt him grasp her hand, and when she stood, he moved his hands to her waist, lifting her into the air and then setting her upon the ground in front of him in one seemingly effortless motion.
 

Steadying her, Gavin then moved to stand behind her, wrapping his arm around her waist as he drew her up against him.  “Are you ready for your surprise?” he murmured into her ear.
 

Momentarily distracted by the feel of his warm breath blowing lightly against her neck, Melody could only nod and mumble a faint, “Mmm hmm.”
 

Chuckling softly, Gavin raised his hand and loosened the knot at the back of her head, allowing the silk fabric to flutter lightly to the ground a moment later.
 

Opening her eyes, Melody gasped in astonishment at the sight that greeted her.  
 

“Do you like it?”
 

“Oh Gavin,” she breathed, raising her hand and pressing her fingertips to her mouth in astonishment.  “It’s beautiful.”  Her gaze moved from one spot to another in utter delight and fascination.  The cottage, the place that held such wonderful memories of a time long ago, had been transformed and now looked as if it had been pulled directly from the pages of a children’s storybook and then placed within the small clearing.  Brilliantly-colored beds of lavender and white irises fronted the small structure on both sides, tall white shutters and intricately crafted flower boxes had been added to the exterior windows and were brimming with lush, cream-colored geraniums, and a narrow stone walkway inlaid with green mossy grass led up to the wide, freshly painted front door.
 

“There’s more,” he said, pushing her gently toward the door.
 

Stepping inside, Melody was stunned to see that the interior of the cottage had been completely redecorated.  The furniture scattered throughout the front room was obviously expensive, but the pieces all had a warm and inviting feel as well.  Several colorful paintings had been hung upon the walls, beautifully detailed rugs covered the floor, and a half dozen crystal vases filled with a wide variety of freshly-cut flowers had been placed here and there around the room.  Spinning around, she looked at Gavin in wonder.
 

“I thought perhaps we could consider this our own private retreat from now on,” Gavin said, smiling warmly as he gazed into Melody’s moisture-filled eyes.
 

Too choked up to speak, Melody simply moved into her husband’s arms, pressing her cheek against the solid comfort of his chest as she nodded her agreement.
 

Holding her tight, he was beyond pleased with her reaction.  He’d been right to do this for her, for them both.  “Come.  Let me show you the rest,” he said after a moment.
 

Stepping back, Melody eagerly took Gavin’s outstretched hand and then followed him toward the rear of the cottage.  Entering the hallway, they moved slowly to the door of the bedchamber where they’d had their very first encounter, shrouded in darkness, over six years earlier.
 

Pushing open the door, Gavin stepped back so that Melody could precede him into the room.
 

This room, now light and airy, had been redecorated as well, Melody noted, but among the exquisitely lovely new furnishings placed within the room, one thing remained unchanged, the bed.  Turning, she eyed Gavin intently, her eyes once again growing damp with tears of absolute joy.
 

“I couldn’t bear to replace it,” Gavin admitted, somewhat sheepishly.  “For to me, it holds such wonderful memories.”
 

“As it does for me, my love.”  Raising her hand, she placed it lovingly against Gavin’s cheek.  “I never told you before, but after Charles died I would come here sometimes, just to lie here in this bed and dream of you,” she said softly, “and of all of those glorious afternoons we shared.”
 

“Do you have any idea how much I love you?” Gavin asked, his voice growing husky as Melody trailed her fingertips lightly along his jawline, as she had so many times before in the darkness of this very room.
 

“Hmm,” Melody murmured as her hand moved to Gavin’s throat, her fingers sliding purposefully to the back of his neck, and then twining in his hair as she glanced toward the bed, and then back to him.  “Perhaps you should show me.”
 

Needing no further encouragement, Gavin eagerly scooped his wife up into his arms and carried her swiftly across the room.  “I think, my darling wife, that it is time we made some new memories,” he said with a wicked grin, as he dropped her lightly onto the bed and then followed her down onto the soft mattress.
 

And for the next hour, they did exactly that.

 

BOOK: Dreaming of You
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ads

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