Disarmed by her Wild Heart – Extended Epilogue

Molly waited anxiously in the shade of the general store’s porch. It was a warm day for this early in spring, but she was ready for the warmth. She couldn’t stand bundling up under multiple layers just to go gather eggs.

Michael had a busy day at the ranch, so he hadn’t come with her today. Besides, he had wanted to give her the chance to see her parents by herself first.

Molly smoothed her dress over her slightly bulging stomach. She hadn’t told her parents about the baby because the timing in her letters had never seemed right. Besides, she wanted to see their faces when they found out. 

Molly studied the sky. It must be noontime. The wagon train should be arriving soon, but with the warm sun on her legs, she started to feel sleepy. 

“No, you don’t!” A shout startled Molly, and she hopped to her feet, looking around for its source. Her hands went to her waistband, but of course, she had left her gun at home. That had been part of her agreement with Michael. She wouldn’t carry her gun into Sheldon anymore. 

Molly approached the noise cautiously. It was coming from within the general store. Big Tim was standing in front of the counter shouting at the man behind it. Molly’s heart sped up, but she had learned from her past mistakes. The sheriff, with his two official deputies, preferred to handle things himself.

Sneaking back out of the doorway, Molly hurried down the street and to the sheriff’s office. The two deputies were strolling along, having a nice conversation about something, but Molly waved frantically toward them. They rushed toward her, concern on their faces.

“Big Tim is causing trouble in the general store,” she said. “I think he’ll shape up if you get down there quickly, but maybe . . . it’s better if you give him a chance to pull his gun?”

One of the deputies smiled. Molly knew everyone had heard the story now of how she had pulled her own gun on Big Tim after he pulled his, and she had been the one arrested. The sheriff had ended up paying Big Tim a visit and handing him his official warning. This would be a second offense, and it would mean that Big Tim wouldn’t be allowed in the town anymore.

One of the deputies hurried to the general store while the other doubled back to the sheriff’s station. Molly followed the first deputy, but waited outside the door of the general store. It wasn’t that she was afraid, per se, but she felt a certain sense of motherly protection for the little baby growing within her.

The deputy crept through the doorway, and as it swung open, Molly could still hear Big Tim shouting from inside. “I told you I needed it by today. How am I supposed to plant without it?”

He sounded pretty upset, and Molly could understand being upset. Still, the way he was handling it could be a threat to the man behind the counter. It wasn’t like he could just make whatever Big Tim needed come faster.

Molly turned her head at the footsteps behind her. The sheriff and the other deputy were coming at a faster walk, the deputy filling the sheriff in.

“What are you doing here?” the sheriff asked when he saw her standing by the door.

“I’m not getting involved. That’s what I’m doing,” Molly responded cheekily.

“Better not be. We’ve got a handle on this,” the sheriff said, hefting up his pants before laying a hand on his revolver.

Boom! Something went off inside the store, and their conversation was cut off as the sheriff rushed inside. Molly waited outside even though she was itching to know what had happened. A couple of shouts in the store floated to her ears, and Molly peered in the side of the window, trying not to make her nosiness too obvious. She saw a couple of sacks of flour leaking their contents and felt relieved. If the shot had been aimed at the flour bags, then she had hope that no one was hurt.

A few more minutes later, and Big Tim came out of the store surrounded by the sheriff and his two deputies. “That’s your second offense,” the sheriff was saying. “That’s the end of it. You’re not allowed in Sheldon anymore. I’ll fetch the deed to your land, and you’ll have to sign it away today.”

“I’ll never do that!” Big Tim shouted as he walked between the deputies. “You can’t make me give up my land. Everything I’ve worked for is there.”

“You should have thought about that before you decided to break the law again.”

“You can’t make me. You can’t make me!” Big Tim complained.

“Well, then you’ll stay in jail until you decide you’re ready to sign it over. I’m sure there’s plenty of other towns further West that don’t care a whit about if you carry a gun or not, but we do.”

Their voices became fainter as they walked further down the street, and Molly pushed her way into the general store to check on the man behind the counter. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Do you need anything?”

“I’m glad that belligerent fellow isn’t going to be allowed here anymore. I’m tired of him coming in and acting like he owns the place.” 

The owner picked up the ruined bags of flour and placed them on the counter. “At least they were just flour sacks and nothing more serious.”

Molly heard some clip-clopping out the front of the general store and sighed with relief when she saw the first part of the wagon train pull into the town. She took a deep breath and got ready to see her parents for the first time in months.

The little bell on the general store’s door rang above her head as she exited and waited for the outpouring of people there always was when a wagon train came through. 

Molly’s eyes searched each wagon, looking for something familiar—a trunk that her family used or one of her parents. She didn’t see anything. Molly took a few steps closer to the first cart as a woman with two small children climbed down, looking exhausted. 

“Excuse me, are there a Samuel and Laura O’Donoghue traveling with this wagon train?” she asked.

The woman caught the toddler’s hand just as he made a break for the horses. “I don’t know anyone’s name. I’m barely keeping my kids alive.” The woman’s voice sounded bland and exhausted. Molly smiled at the baby, but the baby’s eyes blinked sleepily closed.

Touching her stomach at the reminder that she would be holding her own child in a few months, Molly approached the back of the wagon train.

There they were! Her father was stretching behind the second to last cart. Then, he reached inside the cart, and her mother made her appearance. Molly wanted to break into a run, but she didn’t. She continued to approach them at the same steady pace. 

At that moment, her mother spotted her and hurried toward her. Molly smiled and hugged her mother tightly, feeling her stomach squished between them. “Are you . . .?” her mother started to ask as she stood back and took a clearer look at Molly. 

Molly touched her stomach and smiled. She didn’t have to tell them after all. Her mother had known. Of course she had.

“I am,” she confirmed.

Her father appeared confused. “You’re what?” he asked, hugging her around the shoulders before reaching back into the cart for a trunk.

“She’s . . . with child!” Molly’s mother exclaimed. A couple of nearby passengers turned and looked at Molly, and her face reddened, though that might have been due to the sun. It was pretty bright.

Her father almost dropped their trunk as he studied Molly again. “How do you know that?” he asked. “She looks just the same.”

Leave it to a man not to notice her slightly swelling abdomen. Still, Molly didn’t mind. “Let me help you with that trunk,” she offered, bending down to catch the handle on one side. Her father took the other, and they hobbled together to where she had left her carriage. Her father kept eyeing her as they walked.

“Your mother isn’t pulling my leg, is she?” her father asked.

“No, she’s not, though I didn’t expect her to guess it so quickly. Yes, we think the baby will come in about five or six months.”

“Well, I didn’t expect to meet a grandchild coming out here,” her father said as he settled the trunk into the back of the carriage. He studied her for a few minutes. “You have changed.”

“In what way?”

“You look older, more mature. I’ve missed you so much, but it looks like you’re doing just fine for yourself out here.” Her father gave her a real hug then, squeezing her to him tightly. Molly felt tears prick the corners of her eyes, but she was determined not to cry. 

Finally, she caught her breath and pulled back. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” 

“Why don’t you help your mother into the carriage. There’s another trunk, but I can carry it myself.” As her father stepped back, Molly noticed her father’s gun dangling from his waistband. She might have seen it before, but she realized at that moment what it meant. 

“There is something you should know,” Molly said, grabbing her father’s arm and guiding him closer to the carriage. “They’re pretty strict about the ‘no guns’ law in Sheldon, so if they see you carrying yours, they might write you up.”

Her father’s eyebrows rose, but he complied and placed the gun on top of the trunk before getting their other luggage.

Molly’s mother watched her in wonderment as they climbed into the carriage together. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell us,” she said.

“Well, I didn’t find out myself until a month ago,” Molly replied. “It still feels unreal. I haven’t felt the baby move yet, but the doctor said that will happen in the next month. Until that happens, I’m not sure if I will believe it.”

“Have you started making anything for the baby?” her mother asked.

Molly and her mother both knew she had never been very talented in the sewing area. Molly shook her head. “No, but Michael’s mother has been sewing up a storm since she found out. Michael’s brother isn’t yet married, so she has put all her focus on providing a full wardrobe for our child.”

“I can’t wait to meet her.”

Molly grimaced. Her mother must not have understood what Molly said in her letters when she talked about her shaky relationship with her mother-in-law. She got along much better with the woman now, but she wasn’t sure if she would ever feel completely comfortable around her. “They’re both coming for dinner tonight. Actually, Jamie, that’s Michael’s younger brother, might come too. You’ll have the chance to meet everyone.”

A heavy thump in the back indicated that her father had brought the second piece of luggage. He climbed up with them, and they squished together on the bench so there would be enough room. Molly carefully flicked the reins so that Annabelle would start moving. Her horse seemed surprised by the weight and moved slowly at first before picking up her pace to her typical trot.

“This town is much smaller than it sounded from the letters you wrote,” her father commented as they passed out of it. 

“Yes, well, I’ve gotten used to it now. It’s actually not a bad thing knowing who everyone in town is. Back in North Carolina, there were so many people that I had trouble keeping faces straight let alone names.”

“I’m sure this town will grow too,” her father told her. 

Molly let the reins rest on her lap as Annabelle led them down the familiar route to home—her home. It had taken her a couple of months to change her thinking from calling it “Michael’s home” to her home. 

However, now she couldn’t think of it any other way. 

Her mother looked exhausted and started nodding off as they drove, but Molly just smiled. She couldn’t wait for them to meet Michael. She wondered if they would be surprised by him or if she had described him accurately in her letters.

“This is the ranch,” Molly said as Annabelle took the turn off the main road slowly. Her mother jerked awake, and both her parents started asking questions about what crops were being planted and the animals that lived there. Molly answered them as best she could. 

Even though Michael was usually in the fields all day during planting season, he was waiting on the front porch when they arrived.

He hurried down the steps toward them. “How was your journey?” he asked, before he had quite reached them. Molly watched her mother survey her daughter’s husband.

“It was long, and I must say that I’m exhausted. However, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Laura.”

“Michael,” Michael said, offering a very formal bow. 

Molly smiled as Michael shook hands with her parents. 

“I’ll take care of carrying everything inside if you would like to rest,” Michael offered.

Molly’s father protested, so the two men worked together to carry in the trunks. Molly and her mother climbed the steps into the house, leaving the front door open so the light spring breeze could follow them inside.

“This house is much bigger than what I thought you would have,” her mother said, walking the perimeter of the sitting room and touching the knick-knacks sitting on the shelves. She glanced toward the doorway, then motioned for Molly to come closer. “Are you happy with Michael?”

Molly nodded enthusiastically. There was no need to keep this conversation a secret. “I love Michael,” she said, and she felt like her face was glowing. “Even though we’ve been married for four months now, it feels like I’m still getting to know him some days. I don’t think I’ll ever know everything about him, not fully.”

“That’s okay, as long as you think he’s being upfront and honest with you and he’s taking care of you. That’s really all you should ask for.”

The men came in just then, and Michael led Molly’s father to the back bedroom with the trunks. “I’m so excited for you two to stay with us,” Molly responded. “I’ve made a few friends in Sheldon, but I don’t think anyone could ever replace the two of you.”

“Your father and I were talking . . .” Molly’s mother cast a furtive glance toward the bedroom where the men were speaking loudly. “We’re thinking about looking for land that might be up for sale in the area. We don’t need a big space, but just something. North Carolina is beautiful, but we would much rather be closer to you.”

Molly’s eyebrows rose. She remembered the occurrence that morning with Big Tim. “There might just be a little ranch up for sale soon.”

“What are you ladies talking about?” Michael asked, coming toward Molly and wrapping her in his arms. He leaned closer to her. “Did you tell them yet?”

Molly knew he was referring to the baby. “Yes, my mother figured it out as soon as she saw me.”

“Your mother must have a keen eye.”

Molly set to work preparing a light meal for everyone, wanting to have it all prepared before her parents-in-law arrived. They might not be as judgmental as they had been before, but she still felt their critical eyes on her.

Her mother sat at the table and chatted with her about different neighbors they had had back when they lived in North Carolina. For the first time in a long time, Molly felt like her life was . . . complete.

“Good afternoon!” Annabeth Bell greeted from the open doorway. Everyone leaped up and started greeting Michael’s parents at once. Names were exchanged, and when everyone sat down again, Molly’s mother was speaking with Michael’s mother. 

Molly left the food on its own for a minute as she wandered over to get involved in the women’s conversation.

“I’m so glad you and Molly are getting along,” Molly’s mother crooned. “As I’m sure you can imagine, we were so nervous about sending our daughter all the way out here. It seems like she’s really found her place, though.”

Molly felt both women looking at her, and she nodded. “I have, and I appreciate Michael. He’s much sweeter than I could have imagined.”

“What’s that you’re saying about me?” Michael asked from across the room.

Molly waved a hand at him to indicate that he shouldn’t worry. However, Michael and her father were standing up and heading to the back door. “Where are you going?” she asked as Michael’s father came to join the women.

“I was going to show your father where we’ve been shooting,” Michael explained.

Molly glanced at the food she should probably tend, then at the men who would be doing what she actually wanted to do. Who cared about what she should do? 

Molly hopped up and followed them out the back door. “I’m coming too,” she chimed in, grabbing her rifle from the doorway. “You know there’s no way you’re going to sneak in a little extra target practice without me.”

“It’s not as though shooting with your dad for a little bit will make me that much better.”

“You’re underestimating my dad’s teaching skills then. After all, he’s the one who taught me how to shoot, and I can’t have you being a better shot than me.”

“Are you saying that I shouldn’t teach Michael the most important tricks?” her father asked.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying. Keep those between the two of us.”

Michael put an arm around Molly’s shoulders, and she smiled up at him teasingly. “I mean, I want you to get better, just as long as I’m always the best.”

Then, with her father watching, Michael leaned down and kissed her lips. Molly’s face reddened, but he was her husband. Molly hurried forward with her rifle, ready to show her two favorite men just how good a shot she was.

THE END


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41 thoughts on “Disarmed by her Wild Heart – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello my dears! Let me know if you enjoyed the happily ever after of Molly and Michael with your comments here. ❤️ I would love to know which was your favorite part of their delightful story!

    1. I liked that this story was about family. It took a while, a lot of work and some anguish before Molly and Michael were able to feel confident in their new marriage and make a strong couple.

      1. The parents put their opinions were they didn’t need to put it. I was glad to see her husband took her side. I was glad to see her parents were moving there and that she was pregnant. I recommend the book to everyone and am looking forward to more book of yours thank you.

    2. What a wonderful western novel this was. I enjoyed it tremendously.
      I almost thought Molly was going to return to North Carolina , and that would be the end of things for her and Michael. Nevertheless that didn’t happen.
      Congratulations Carol on yet another wonderful novel.

    3. I enjoyed the story and I really liked that you put so much into all of the personalities. I cannot imagine traveling so far to marry a virtual stranger and then be treated so harshly by his family. The dynamics were hard to read at times (sorta close to home), but love prevailed for the couple and the parents.. you handled it well. Thank you.

    4. A very enjoyable story loved the characters Michael and Molly. I was glad Michaels mom and dad finally excepted Molly for who she really was. I was happy they married and the two families got together.

    5. His parents stuck in what they think is best for their son, while her parents raised her to be what she really is. What I thought was a typical mail order bride story soon became so much more.
      And the extended epilogue was really nice and ended with me laughing.

    6. Great storyline and characters to match. It would be difficult to travel that far and not be accepted by you future inlaws.

  2. A sweet story of how opposites attract. I loved the independent firecracker but her willingness to compromise for a future. The extended epilogue was great.

  3. I loved the book, loved all the characters and how you let us get into their personalities so deeply we soon became totally involved in how they were perceived by me and also each other and extended family. Thank you for writing another great book – didn’t want to put it down and saddened when it ended!!!!

    1. All good things come to an end eventually but we should learn and enjoy them to the fullest nevertheless! Thank you for your delightful comment and I am truly glad you enjoyed my story as much! ❤️

  4. I have really enjoyed reading your stories. The characters are wonderful. For a little while I was feeling bad about the parents, but it was nice to see things work out. I know it is just a story ,but I was drawn to it. Thanks for sharing your talent with me.

  5. I loved the characters in this book. Molly being a marksman was so different for back then and I loved it. Wished you would write more about all of the characters in a new book and notified all that loved 1st book if possible.

      1. Thank you again for a well written story. The characters were very engaging, and I was glad that the family stayed together.

  6. This was a lovely story. A perfect illustration of the fact that different isn’t wrong, it’s just different. Molly and Michael proved it, though they had a difficult time doing so. Thanks again for this entertaining story.

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