Bound by Ties of Sacred Love – Extended Epilogue

Three Years Later

Clemmie sank into the sofa, exhausted from her day. The two apple pies sat cooling on the counter, and she had a good half hour before Joey would return from the farrier.

“Mama!” Lucas called from the other side of the room.

“Yes?” Clemmie asked, even though he had taken to repeating her name just to say it, not because he wanted her attention.

“Mama,” he said again.

Clemmie shook her head and laid further back in the chair, leaning her head against the back of it and half-closing her eyes. She hadn’t rested that afternoon while Lucas was sleeping, and she now regretted skipping the opportunity to nap. 

“Mama!” Lucas called again, more insistently.

Clemmie’s eyes flew open. There was something urgent about his cry.

“What’s the matter?” she asked her two-year-old son. 

He tugged at his sleeve, and Clemmie saw that it was caught on his toy truck. She shook her head, heaved herself from the chair, and bent down to address the problem. Lucas waited patiently as she untangled his sleeve.

“You need to be careful as you are playing,” she told him. He smiled up at her, a sprinkle of dark freckles across his nose and a wide grin on his lips. He threw his arms around her neck and clasped her tightly, entangling his fingers in her curly hair.

“Ouch!” Clemmie grunted. “I like your hugs, Lucas, but remember that we have to be gentle.”

“Gentle,” Lucas repeated, rubbing his hand down her hair softly.

“Look at you,” Clemmie told him, evaluating his dirtied pants. “When did you have time to get your pants so dirty? We’re going to visit Grandpa and Grandma tonight, and I was hoping you would be presentable.”

“En-ul,” Lucas said, trying to copy her last word. Clemmie laughed.

“Yes, presentable. Well, you’re almost two years old. What can they expect?”

Clemmie heard a sound in front of the house and knew from its familiarity that Joey was returning home. 

“Your pa is home. Do you want to go see him?” Clemmie asked.

Lucas knew exactly who his ‘pa’ was. He released Clemmie and ran pell-mell toward the front door, where he struggled with the latch.

“You are very impatient today,” Clemmie told him. “Let’s wait for pa right here. You don’t need to run outside and get trampled by the horses.” 

She said it in a light voice, but she had had quite a few nightmares since Lucas had been born. All of them involved accidents that she couldn’t prevent maiming him.

Lucas stomped his foot on the floor, but Clemmie shook her head, ignoring his play for attention. If she had said that they wouldn’t go out, then she had to stick with it. She waited by the window, watching Joey as he pulled the carriage up to the house and hooked Blaze up to it. Since they would be going to her parents’ house for dinner, then he wouldn’t let Blaze free in the pasture like he normally would.

Joey looked up and caught her watching from the window, a smile spreading across his handsome face. Clemmie waved back, blushing like she had when they’d first started courting.

He bounded up the steps. Three years hadn’t changed the way he greeted Clemmie, and she smiled as he swung the door open. Lucas squealed in delight, but Joey approached her first, giving her a sound smack on the mouth before turning to his son. 

Lucas cried in delight. “Pa! Pa! Pa!”

“I’m right here, my little Lucas. Did you have a wonderful day today with your ma?”

“Mama!” Lucas cried, pointing back at Clemmie.

“That’s right. You know exactly who your ma is. You’re such a smart boy.” 

Lucas snuggled into Joey’s shoulder, and Clemmie smiled. She leaned forward and spoke in a low voice, even though no one would overhear them. They were alone in the house, except for Lucas.

“Should we tell them tonight?” she asked.

Joey put an arm around Clemmie’s waist and gave her another kiss on the cheek. “I think that’s an excellent idea. Harvey will be there with Emma, right?”

Clemmie nodded. “That’s what I last heard from my ma.”

“Then I think it’s the perfect time.” 

Joey set Lucas on the ground, and Lucas wrapped himself around his father’s leg. Joey thumped over to the table with Lucas hanging around one of his legs. “I thought I smelled some apple pies, but it was surely my imagination, being that we’re going to dinner with Wilbur and Marguerite.”

“I thought a little extra dessert wouldn’t hurt, though I’m not sure how I’ll hold Lucas in the carriage as well as the pies.”

“I’ve got a box they can set in,” Joey said. “Give me just a moment, and I’ll have a place for ‘em. Wouldn’t want them getting ruined before we’ve even had a chance to taste them.” He leaned down close to the pies and sniffed.

“That’s enough!” Clemmie warned him. “Get your nose away from the pies!”

“I’m just enjoying your baking,” he responded innocently. “What’s so wrong with that?”

“You’re not permitted to enjoy it just yet,” Clemmie teased him. “What was that you said about a box?”

Joey left the house to retrieve the box, and Lucas tried to toddle after his father.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Clemmie went after him, scooping him up before he could reach the stairs that led into the yard. “You’re not big enough to be climbing stairs just yet.” Lucas wailed in complaint as she closed the door. “Your pa will be right back. Don’t go crying.”

That didn’t stop Lucas from throwing a fit. He was crying so hard that he didn’t even notice when Joey returned and reached for the pies on the table. 

Joey looked at Lucas strangely. “What’s upset him now?”

“I wouldn’t let him tumble down the stairs,” Clemmie responded wryly.

“Ah, what a cruel mother you are.” Joey swept in for another quick kiss before taking the pies back out to the carriage.

“Come now, Lucas. It’s time to go. Are you going to stop crying so we can go visit your grandparents?”

Lucas perked up at that word and wiped his face on Clemmie’s dress. 

“Thank you,” Clemmie responded ruefully as she looked at the mess Lucas had left behind. “Let’s go then.” 

She exited the house, and Joey held Lucas as Clemmie climbed into the wagon. She took Lucas and settled him on her lap.

Lucas pointed at Blaze. “Horsie! Horsie!” he repeated.

“Yes, we see the horse. Do you remember his name?” Joey responded.

“Baze!” Lucas answered, and Clemmie and Joey cheered him on.

When they arrived at her old home, Clemmie felt the nostalgia set in. Though she and Joey had gotten married only two months after they decided to court and she had been living in his house for almost three years, there was still something about coming home that made her feel excited.

“Gamma! Ganpa!” Lucas screamed at the house. Clemmie’s mother heard the commotion and came to the front door.

“Hello, my dear Lucas!” she called back. 

Lucas giggled and wiggled his whole body in excitement. As soon as Joey set him on the ground, he ran as fast as his chubby legs could go. Joey hurried after him to keep him from falling on the stairs.

Clemmie came behind the two of them, a bit more slowly.

She mounted the stairs and hugged her mother quickly. “And Pa?” she asked.

“He’s in the kitchen. You came only to see him, then?” Clemmie’s mother asked, teasing her. 

Clemmie shook her head and squeezed her mother’s hand. “You know I love you very much. I’m hungry. Oh! The pies!” She had completely forgotten them in the back of the carriage. Joey volunteered to bring them in, and when he re-entered, he had Harvey and Emma at his side.

“Hello, Emma!” Clemmie greeted her warmly. She and Harvey had been courting for three months, and there had been talk of a wedding but nothing settled yet.

“Lucas!” Emma called to the child. Lucas smiled and hopped over to see Emma, quickly falling into her arms. Lucas wasn’t the only one who had embraced Emma. She seemed like a perfect fit in their family. Clemmie couldn’t help but compare the way Emma fit into their family versus the way that Elise had tried three years prior.

Harvey embraced Clemmie, and she smiled, making eyes at him then nodding at Emma. He rolled his eyes at her and patted her hard on the shoulder. 

Clemmie sat down at the table, feeling too tired to help her mother serve the food. Besides, it looked as though everything was ready.

“It smells delicious,” she told her mother.

“That’s the idea,” her mother said, offering Clemmie’s father a plate of food. Once everyone was served, Clemmie automatically reached for the hands on either side of her and bowed her head, listening to her father’s familiar voice rumbling.

“Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for all that you have given us…” 

Clemmie felt Joey’s familiar, rough hand grasp her own, and she felt that sense of unity that she always did when her family was gathered. As soon as her father said ‘amen,’ everyone looked up. Clemmie smiled at Joey but felt it wasn’t yet the moment to tell their news. They should wait until everyone was done eating.

“Emma,” Clemmie’s father began. “Tell us about how your week at the schoolhouse has gone.”

“It’s been excellent,” Emma exclaimed. “I have the sweetest students, and it’s great to see the older students helping the younger ones.”

“Lucas will be one of your students before too long,” Clemmie’s mother added, spooning some food into the boy’s mouth even as he insisted that he could do it himself.

“He’s not so old yet,” Clemmie protested. “He’ll be staying with me every day for a few years to come.”

Joey patter Clemmie’s shoulder. “They’re trying to make him seem older than he is. He can barely make a sentence on his own yet. Isn’t that right, Lucas?”

“Pa!” Lucas responded, spattering some potatoes on the ground. 

“Now look what you’ve made him do,” Clemmie’s mother scolded. “He’ll make a mess to clean up for sure.”

“Well, it won’t be his first today,” Clemmie chimed in. Lucas decided that he simply could not eat his meal from his grandma’s lap and reached for Clemmie.

“Lucas, can’t you sit with your grandma? I’ve fed you three times already today.”

Lucas didn’t listen to reason, and he was eventually handed over to Clemmie. Clemmie kissed her son’s forehead. “You are more work than I thought you would be.”

Lucas grinned up at her through a mouthful of potatoes, and everyone laughed at his antics.

The room filled with the sounds of spoons scooping food from plates and Lucas humming through his mouth of food. 

“I can’t believe it’s already been three years since everything happened,” Clemmie’s mother said, taking her empty plate from the table.

Clemmie knew exactly to what her mother was referring, and thinking of those few weeks from the time before no longer pained her like it once had. Emma looked up curiously, scanning the faces, and Clemmie was sure she was quite confused.

“Have you been married three years?” she asked Clemmie.

“Well, almost,” Clemmie responded, “but my ma is referring to something else.”

“What?” Emma asked, her eyes widening. “I mean, if it’s not interfering to ask.”

“Oh, I don’t mind,” Clemmie responded, shooting a look at Joey. “If Joey doesn’t.”

Joey grinned at her and shrugged his shoulders. “Why would I care? I’m glad it happened.”

Clemmie and Joey had never discussed the events of Elise’s visit in detail, but she had always assumed that he would prefer, as she would, to forget about it.

“What was it that happened?” Emma asked cautiously. Clemmie looked around the table, but everyone seemed to be waiting for her to tell the story.

“Well,” Clemmie began. “Joey put an ad in the paper for a mail-order bride.” 

Emma’s mouth dropped open quickly in surprise, but she tried to cover it up by using her spoon to scoop up more potatoes.

Clemmie smiled as she thought about the strangeness of the situation. “Yes, he decided that he was ready to get married and built a house on the land Pa gave him. He put an ad in the paper and told us after it was done.”

“But…” Emma’s eyes swiveled from person to person, trying to figure out how the two of them could possibly have ended up married based on the beginning of the story.

“To make a long story short, Elise came. She was… well…”

Clemmie’s mother cut in. “There’s no need to start gossiping. We can just say that she was not a good match for Joey and leave it at that.”

Clemmie nodded her head in agreement. She had never told anyone about how Elise had threatened her. In order to do that, she would have needed to expose her feelings. And by the time Elise was leaving, there was no point in telling anyone. 

“I had always wanted to marry Joey,” Clemmie admitted in a soft voice.

“And I had always cared deeply for Clemmie,” Joey told her. “I simply thought that marrying her was not an option due to her parents taking me in. I didn’t want to do anything to hurt them or ruin the relationship we all had.”

Clemmie’s father joined in to tell the story as he leaned back in his chair. “Instead of talking to me about it like most young men would do, he decided to marry another woman altogether.”

Joey shrugged. “I can’t say all of my decisions were the best, but I’m glad I put that ad in the paper.”

There was the same statement again. Clemmie didn’t understand how Joey could be glad about everything that had happened. She frowned at him, wanting him to explain, but not sure if she wanted the conversation to take place in front of everyone else.

“If Elise hadn’t come here, then I don’t know if Clemmie would have ever had the courage to tell me how she felt,” Joey said, smiling up at Clemmie like a shy schoolboy. “I certainly didn’t have the gall.”

Clemmie brushed back Lucas’s hair. He had finally finished eating and was rubbing the remaining potatoes between his hands. “Do you have something to clean him up?” Clemmie asked her mother as she held Lucas’s hands apart. “Hey may need a bath.”

“Just like you when you were little,” her mother responded, handing her a wet cloth. 

Clemmie went at Lucas, trying to wipe away all the remnants of his meal. As she wiped at his wiggling face, she was filled with sudden love for this little boy, one she wouldn’t have at all if Joey hadn’t married her. 

She smiled at Joey. “If you look at the situation like that, then you wouldn’t have Lucas either if Elise hadn’t come.”

Joey laughed. “I’ve never looked at it that way before, but I suppose so. Though you are more to thank for that.” 

Clemmie’s face reddened, and she busied herself with Lucas. 

“My favorite grandbaby.” Clemmie’s mother leaned over and plucked some food from Lucas’s hair.

“Your only grandbaby,” Clemmie’s father reminded her. Clemmie traded looks with Joey, and he nodded. She should tell them now.

“Not for long,” Clemmie responded. Her mother continued walking around the table until she reached the other side, where the words seemed to hit her all of a sudden. 

“What did you say?” 

“We’re going to have another baby in a few months,” Clemmie told her mother. 

Even Emma joined in the excitement as Clemmie’s mother rounded the table to give her a hug.

“Oh, Clemmie! What exciting news! I’m so happy for you!” Harvey shook Joey’s hand, and Emma smiled widely at Clemmie.

“That’s so exciting. Can you imagine Lucas as a big brother?”

Clemmie looked down at Lucas. “Do you want a baby brother or sister?” she asked Lucas.

“Ister,” he repeated.

“He wants a sister.” Harvey shook his head and got Lucas’s attention. “Sisters are not all you think them. Honestly, I would go for a brother instead.”

“He just repeats what I say,” Clemmie told Harvey, rolling her eyes. “Watch. Lucas do you want a little sister or a little brother?”

“Buther!” Lucas responded.

“See?” Clemmie responded. “He’s just repeating my last word.”

“That, or he took my advice.” Harvey shrugged his shoulders and held his hands up. “He’s changed his mind now that his Uncle Harvey has spoken.”

Clemmie laughed at her brother. Even after more than twenty years spent at his side, his jokes didn’t get old. 

She set Lucas free, now that he was clean, and turned back to her plate of half-eaten food. She really just wanted two large slices of apple pie. She touched her stomach lightly, where her second child was growing. Now that everyone knew her secret, they wouldn’t be able to say a thing about her large plate of dessert.

Joey reached over and squeezed her hand under the table, and Clemmie smiled at him as she always did when he did something that made her feel surrounded by love. She had Joey, Lucas, and now a new baby, the family of which she had always dreamed. 

It was perfect, and Clemmie didn’t want to ever forget to thank God for all that she had been given, even if it had come quite a different way than she had been expecting.

THE END


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51 thoughts on “Bound by Ties of Sacred Love – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello my dears! Let me know if you enjoyed the conclusion of this loving story with your comments here. I would also love to hear your version of what happens with the couple after another five years of a happy marriage! Thank you 🥰

    1. You did invent an awkward situation for Joey, Clemmie and her family to sort out, especially with the addition of a mail order bride in the mix.
      I liked the emphasis on prayer and that Joey was able to reunite with his father.

      1. This book was so refreshing from others I’ve read recently. And it goes to show you that people are not always what they seem. I surely enjoyed it!

    2. I liked how he forgave his father and I found that Mail order bride was very evil in the fact it hurt other people in the coach to with not feeling sorry for what she’d done. Look forward to many new books to read thank you Carol Colyer.

    3. I enjoyed this story so glad that Clemmie and Joey told each other how they felt about each other and sent that evil Elise back home. Enjoyed the extended epilogue telling of their little happy family.

    4. Such a wonderful book. The problems back then is that people did not speak up when they should have – of course that sometimes happens today. As for the mail order bride I kept thinking Clemmie’s brother might get with that female. But after finding out just what she wasreally like, I am so glad she was sent away. — I did wonder what was wrong with Clemmie’s saddle after falling from her horse – even then I wondered about that mail order bride.
      I was thrilled that Clemmie’s family prayed at meals and read the bible together. Overall a very good book.

      1. Such a wonderful story. I was glad that Joey was able to forgive his father for his cruelty to him as a child. Joey was taken in and loved by this sweet family who loved the Lord. So glad when evil Elise was sent packing. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lucas and the growing family. Such a good read.

  2. Despite their close friendship, adverse situations brought Clemmie and Joey together in revealing their true feelings! A wonderful and enjoyable book that I couldn’t put down!

  3. A beautiful story of love unspoken. It almost leads to lost love until the two lovers finally admit their affection. Unfortunately this leads to some acts of treachery by a mail-order bride brought from the east. Truly entertaining.

  4. I loved this book and the extended epilogue. Joey and Clemmie’s unspoken love story was very well written. I have to admit I didn’t expect Elise to do that at the end. Thank you Carol for a very enjoyable book!

    1. So glad the story ended like it did. This is a great story. Loved how prayer was always Included. Keep up the great work

  5. I enjoyed your book, I call them feel good books. In this crazy time we are in it is nice to read a happy story and happy ending.

  6. I really enjoyed this story and liked all the characters, except Elise.
    Joel and Clemmie were perfect for each other and I am glad they finally found their way to each other.
    Clemmie’s mom was marvelous. I really liked the way she tried to help her daughter get her man.
    Felt so sorry for Joel when his dad died.
    I couldn’t understand why Joey didn’t want to hug his dad.
    You are a very readable author so, “keep on writing, we love your books !

    1. Thank you so much my dear Dixie!
      I especially appreciate it when my readers get so emotionally engaged with the heroes! I am glad you enjoyed it!
      I will try and “keep up the good work” ❤️

  7. I really enjoyed this book. It’s inspiring to know there are families who would be willing to take a lost child in and raise him life in one of their own. Joey and Clemmie’s feelings for each other almost lost their chance at happiness and the evil plot of the mail order bride didn’t help. Faith was the center of this family’s strength.

  8. This was a beautiful love story and was glad Harvey found a girl but not Elise. It was also good that he forgave his father and the father apologized. Lee

  9. Who would have guessed the mail order bride would have been the stumbling block in the search for love? The family bond was a great character to promote strong characters. Joey and Emmie they were tested on whether their love for each other would cross the line of it being proper and acceptable. An enjoyable book from start through the epilogue.

  10. Your stories are always exciting and wholesome with many unexpected twists and turns. I always guess wrong about what will happen next. Your stories are never boring and is hard to stop reading with all the excitement and decisions being made throughout. It’s a safe read for me since I already know that it will have a happy ending. I just don’t know how. Love the extended epilogue because I start missing the characters and wonder how well they are doing years later. So that is always an extra treat. Thank You.😊

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an amazingly heartwarming comment my dear! All this loving support is what inspires me to write such optimistic stories! I am truly glad you enjoy them as much! ❤️

  11. Loved this book! I wondered what you’d do with Elise; for a while there, it looked like Harvey would make a crucial mistake! So nice to read a grammatically correct book; so many these days are so full of errors that the reader loses sight of the plot.
    Thanks,Ms. Colyer, for a great goodread. I loved it!!!

  12. I really enjoyed this story. It was enjoyable and glad the other girl had to leave at the end. She wasn’t very nice. I am glad they could marry.

  13. I enjoyed this story very much. It would have been so much simpler if Clemmie and Joey had not been afraid to tell one another how they felt, but then we wouldn’t have had all the interesting twists. Thank goodness Else’s true colors came out sooner than later. I love that there was so much emphasis on prayer and the importance of praying about every situation. Thank you for such an interesting, good book.

  14. I loved this book as the plot was great and the family was loving and kind. To take in a little boy and make him a part of their family shows the love of Jesus. When Clemmie’s saddle was bad I started thinking about Elise as being bad. She could see the love Joey had for Clemmie and didn’t want that. I’m glad that Harvey didn’t get with her. I love the extender version. Off to order more of your books as this is thwe first one I have read. God bless and happy writing.

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