A Doctor’s Cure for Heartache – Extended Epilogue

Two Years Later

The sun bore down upon Bright Ridge like a ball of fire intent on catching any dry kindling it could, bright and unrelenting. The town still bustled with the same busy energy, people calling out friendly hellos back and forth and more than one lady walking with a fan going at full speed dangling off of her wrist. 

It had been a hot spring and was already setting up to be an even hotter summer. One house, though, bustled with more activity than the ones around it, two older women bustling about on the front porch going in and out of the screen door with a man on their heels already looking worn down and ragged. 

“Did you already unpack that suitcase, Melody, dear?” Aunt Hannah called out, poking about in the boxes that were stacked by the front door. 

Lucas, standing behind her and his mother, looked bedraggled, as if he wanted to ask them to sit down, but wisely kept his mouth closed. 

Charlie had to hide a smile as he came out of the pantry, dusting his hands on the thighs of his jeans and shaking his head. “Yes, she’s already put away the suitcase,” he answered for his missing wife, taking a box his aunt handed him and peering inside of it. “She never takes long to unpack when we get home.” 

“Because she ain’t normal,” Lucas muttered from the doorway. 

Charlie snorted even as Aunt Hannah turned to slap at his shoulder. 

She was looking more spry than ever, though he knew the lengths she had to go to to stay that way. Her back injury, even after years, had still not fully healed, and he was beginning to try and caution her that it probably never would. She could walk and do light lifting, but anything beyond that had been lost to her. 

“There’s nothing normal about wanting things to be in their proper place, Lucas,” Aunt Milly cautioned her son, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. 

“There is when they travel as much as they do,” Lucas complained, taking a sharp step back before either woman could get after him. “If I left the town more than three times a year, I certainly wouldn’t go unpacking everything every time. I’d have a packed bag at all times and just… leave it packed.” 

“I reckon that’s the reason your room looks like it does,” Aunt Milly sighed. 

Charlie laughed. It was true that he and Melody traveled often. As often as his practice would allow it actually. They’d taken a honeymoon to the Tennessee mountains and he’d quickly discovered that her love for travel was contagious. Though they couldn’t always afford to take such extended trips; they settled the rest of the year on visiting nearby towns neither of them had been to and taking weekend getaways when they could. 

Melody had a map of the country that they were slowly crossing off regions to. 

Almost as if their talking about her had summoned her, Melody came flying down the stairs, practically skipping with her skirts gathered in one hand and her other on the railing. Her brown curls flowed loosely down her back, her hazel eyes alight with excitement as she joined the four of them at the base of the stairs, peering past them to the doorway. 

“I thought I heard voices,” she explained, looking somewhat disappointed. 

“You did,” Aunt Hannah chuckled. “You heard Lucas complaining.” 

“I meant other voices,” Melody teased, tucking her curls behind her ear and looking in the box that Charlie held. “Oh, that’s for Tucker!” 

“I know, that’s why I didn’t put it up,” Charlie assured her, putting the box down on the entry table and shaking his head in amusement. 

They’d come back several days earlier than they had originally intended to after Melody had received a letter while they were traveling. Her sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and father were all finally making the trip out West together. It was the first time she would have been able to see any of them since having left Chicago and Charlie knew she was as nervous as she was excited. 

Her father had taken months after their wedding to write to her, his letter stilted and awkward, but Melody had cried over it all the same, telling Charlie how heartfelt it was coming from him. Apparently, Serena had set him straight, making him see the error of his totalitarian ways with his daughters. Since then he’d written to Melody at least once monthly. 

Letters from Serena, however, were never ending. The two sisters wrote to one another at least once a week, sending back and forth as much correspondence as they could—especially after Serena had finally had her first child. Charlie knew that Melody had wanted to go and see the baby, but the one time they had managed to arrange it to suit everyone a terrible flu had ripped through Bright Ridge, keeping them behind. 

“Do you think they might lose their way?” Melody worried, craning her neck as if she could see around the porch pillars. 

“My brother?” Aunt Hannah snorted. “He’d never actually get lost. Can you imagine? That man would stop the first person on the street demanding to know why it was so poorly planned and have them bring him here.” 

Charlie winced, not liking the reminder of how strict Melody’s father apparently was. 

Melody, on the other hand, grinned. “Oh, no, he’d likely just demand to be taken to the mayor to discuss restructuring the streets,” she giggled. 

Charlie watched her hand lift, and then still mid-air before she forced it back down again and he had to fight his own grin. 

“Actually—” Lucas interrupted, but the rest of his sentence was lost as he opened the door. 

All Charlie saw was a flurry of fabric, a chorus of delighted squeals echoing suddenly through the parlor as a blonde woman pushed past Lucas and into his house. She ran at Melody even as Melody raced over to her, the two of them colliding in a tangle of arms and hurried words that were lost to everyone else in the room. 

“That’ll be Serena,” Aunt Hannah laughed gaily, shaking her head as a befuddled Lucas opened the door the rest of the way to the two men and child waiting on the porch. 

Paul was a large man with kind eyes, instantly identifiable from how much younger than the other man he was, and the child on his hip. He held out his hand first to Lucas and then to the aunts, though they quickly immersed him in hugs. 

There was such a flurry of activity that Charlie was having difficulty keeping up with it all, but before he could do much more than turn on the spot, Aunt Hannah had him by the hand, leading him over to the men. 

“This is Charlie Noble,” she introduced, beaming with a pride of her own. “Charlie, this is Paul and Tucker, Serena’s husband and boy.” 

Paul held out his hand solemnly, smiling slightly as he gave Charlie’s hand a firm shake. Charlie was surprised when the toddler did the same, his face more serious and careful, though his eyes shone with the same light of his mother and aunt’s. 

“And this one here is my stuffy brother, your father-in-law.” 

Mr. Benson was a much more reserved version of his sister, his graying hair and severe expression cut only by the curiosity in his hazel-gray eyes. 

“Mr. Benson,” Charlie greeted, holding his hand out respectfully. “Melody has been looking forward to your visit, and I to meeting you.” 

Mr. Benson shifted, taking Charlie’s hand in a tight grip as he looked him over. “Nice to meet you Dr. Noble.” 

“You can call me Charlie,” Charlie insisted, letting go of his hand only when Mr. Benson relaxed his grip. “I hope your journey wasn’t too rough.” 

“It was long,” the older man snorted, “but not rough.” 

“Oh, you’ve always got to find something to complain about,” Aunt Hannah chided, reaching over to pinch her brother despite the annoyed look he shot her. 

Charlie thought it was amusing, watching their dynamic. 

“So, you’re the only doctor in town?” Mr. Benson asked as he side-stepped his sister. “It seems that you do well enough for yourself,” he pointed out, looking around at the house and the furnishings inside of it appraisingly. 

“He’s the best doctor in any town,” Aunt Milly broke in reproachfully, narrowing her gaze slightly. 

Charlie bit back a chuckle, understanding that the man hadn’t meant any offense by it. He was a man who valued status and things—Melody had warned him of as much. He was only giving what he thought was a proper compliment.

“I do well enough,” Charlie diffused easily. “I don’t do the job for the money though.” 

“As you shouldn’t,” Serena cut in, finally being led over by a beaming Melody. 

Melody who, reluctantly almost, broke from her sister’s side to approach her father. 

The two stood awkwardly in front of one another for a moment, the older man clearing his throat and Melody hesitating in a way that Charlie wasn’t used to seeing her do. After a moment though she seemed to throw caution to the wind, stepping up to him and throwing her arms about his neck to hug him tightly the same way that she had her sister. 

Mr. Benson seemed taken aback, though in a good way, his arms folding slowly back around her and a bemused smile touching his lips making him look suddenly less severe. 

“I’m so glad y’all could come,” Melody enthused as she pulled back. “And you!” she flung herself back around, spinning about to grab the box off of the entryway table before lowering herself to her knees on the floor. 

Paul bent, dropping his son down so that Tucker could wander over to Melody awkwardly, glancing in question back at his mother until he saw the box his aunt held. 

“I picked up something for you, Tucker,” Melody promised, holding the box out proudly. 

The little boy opened it, his eyes widening as his blonde curls bounced. Slowly, he pulled out the small net that Melody had found in the town they had just come from, wonder filling his features. 

“Your mama tells me that you like catching bugs,” Melody stage-whispered. “And I don’t know if you saw all of those wildflowers planted out front, but they ensure that I get a ton of dragonflies and butterflies. I’m sure there are some out there even right now!” 

“Can I catch them?” the little boy asked, excitement filling his tone. 

Before anyone could say anything else, Melody was on her feet, holding out her hand. “Of course! I’ll go with you!” 

Everyone chuckled as the two all but ran out of the house, their excited voices carrying back. 

“Oh no,” Serena moaned. “She’s encouraging him!” 

“There’s nothing wrong with bugs,” Paul laughed, already opening the door to follow the pair out onto the porch. 

“We made some iced lemonade and tea for y’all’s arrival,” Aunt Milly announced, clapping her hands. “Why don’t we all go sit out on the porch while they bug hunt and partake in it?” 

A murmur of agreement went up, though Aunt Milly caught Lucas by the shirt before he could wander out onto the porch himself, roping him into helping her carry it all out while the rest of them followed the excited bug-catching duo that was already outside. 

“She looks so happy,” Serena muttered as she and Charlie stood by the steps, her fond smile watching her sister and son rush around the bushes. Tucker moved quietly and slowly, trying to angle the net, while Melody coached him from the sidelines. 

“I hope she is,” Charlie answered honestly, his heart swelling as he watched his wife interacting with the toddler. 

“I wanted to tell her that Adrian finally left on his adventure,” she laughed, her lips twitching at Charlie’s sudden frown.

He’d almost forgotten about the other man, it had been so long since his name had even been mentioned. It was odd how, even all these years later, he could dislike someone that he had never even met. “Oh?” 

“Mhm,” Serena hummed. “He finally settled down on one girl; apparently he took Melody’s advice and took Penny with him to go and explore the rest of the world. Of course, it was a big scandal. They left without telling anyone, and after he broke his engagement to Brooke Honeyweather off.” She tsked, shaking her head. 

Charlie thought it sounded rather dramatic, but then everything he’d heard of Adrian had. “Doesn’t sound like he’s a very reliable fellow,” he muttered. 

From beside them there was a snort, making Charlie almost jump to realize Mr. Benson had wandered over. “Don’t think you can say much, running off with people’s daughters,” he pointed out, glancing over at Melody pointedly. 

“Oh, Daddy, he didn’t run off with her,” Serena sighed exasperatedly. “She was already here!” 

“Yeah, well, I reckon I remember there being all kinds of drama involved in the beginning, if I remember my sister’s letters correctly,” Mr. Benson acknowledged, though not in an ugly way. “You ever get things figured out between the law and that one rich rancher?” 

It had been such a long time since that topic was brought up too, Charlie could only nod. “Yessir,” he admitted. “Mr. Farren took some time. I didn’t hear from him as fast as anyone else in town. Actually, I think it was only last year he came by to apologize to me. But honestly, the man had nothing to apologize for. He was led astray by another’s lies. He was only worried about his little girl and I can’t fault him for that.” 

Mr. Benson stared at Charlie with something bordering appreciation, grunting in answer and nodding. 

Whatever he had been about to say was cut off by Serena’s sudden exclamation.

A rare breeze had fluttered through the yard, pulling Melody’s dress tight around her in its blow, illuminating her rounded belly beneath all of her skirts. Everyone seemed to stop at once as Serena cried her sister’s name out in shock, the entire party coming to a stop. 

Melody smiled ruefully from where she stood by the flowers, her hand finally resting on the bump she had been so carefully hiding. 

“I wanted to tell everyone after dinner,” she complained, laughing at herself and the situation. 

Charlie grinned, feeling Lucas clap him on his back. He had wanted to tell everyone right away, but of course he had agreed to wait a few months like Melody had asked. 

“You’re having a baby?” Serena called out, her voice full of emotion. “How far along are you?” 

“I reckon somewhere around four or five months?” Melody guessed, looking up at Charlie for confirmation. When he nodded, she shrugged. 

As if the announcement had been all that was needed, everyone seemed to flow down off of the porch to congratulate Melody, Charlie lagging behind to get the secondary congratulations as he watched his wife beam and get transferred from one set of arms to another. 

He didn’t terribly mind being in the background, not when he got to see such love flowing so freely on his front lawn. 

He certainly didn’t mind when Melody made her way to his side, wrapping an arm around his waist and leaning into him as he pulled her into his side. 

This was the life he had never even known he had dreamed of, full of promise and joy. It was more than he had expected in the very best of ways. And he owed it all to the spitfire of a pale northern woman with freckles who had wandered into his clinic one day looking for answers for her aunt. 

Even with everything that had happened, there wasn’t anything he would change, not if it meant risking the happiness they had now. 

THE END


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72 thoughts on “A Doctor’s Cure for Heartache – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello my dears! Let me know if you enjoyed how the story concluded for Melody and Charlie with your comments here. ❤️ I would love to know which was your favorite part of the story!

    1. One of the best books I have read in quite awhile. Carol Colyer always delivers a beautiful story of love!

      Thank you, Carol!!!
      Patricia

    2. Another good story with a lot of unexpected happenings. Love the fact that Christ and bible verses are included in the story.

    3. Loved the story and especially the characters Charlie and Melody. They went through so much especially Charlie, I was so angry because he didn’t speak up for himself. But in the end love won out for them both, and the evil Dr Gerald and his assistant was found out and everyone knew the truth. And they were arrested. 😍

    4. I loved this story. I didn’t love how you used God, Jesus and Christ as swearing. I hope the next book I read doesn’t repeat that or it will be the last book of yours that I read. Also, you used the wrong name for people a couple times. I’ve noticed that other authors have done it too. I guess when you write so many books it gets confusing at times. I do love your stories.

  2. This was a great story that made my birthday feel special. Being a reader & wanting adventure as a young girl I can relate to Melody. Her enthusiasm is infectious. I enjoyed this book so much.

  3. I do like the characters in this story. Charlie and Melody are a great couple. I liked the part where Melody travels to find the girl who knew the truth about the child’s death,and then writes to Adrian to say she is staying in Texas.

  4. Great story! Always liked the huffy puffy first meetings.
    Then they soften up towards each other when they realize
    that they may be wrong about them after all.

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback my dear! For me as well the journey to love (rather than the romance itself) holds a special place in my heart and I love writing about it!

  5. I loved this book, my first from you. I have already downloaded Deciphering His Enigmatic Heart and look forward to reading it too.
    I loved both Charlie and Melody. The aunts are hilarious. I would love to see what happens with Lucas. Can’t help but fall in love with him.

    1. Thank you so much my dear Wendy! It brightens my heart to read such delightful comments! I am glad you liked it as much and I will be waiting feedback on the other novel too!

  6. Trying to overcome gossip is a true test of life and one’s soul. Tragic that such ill gotten words are given a speck of honesty. The characters are blessed with family and strong support. The unsavory nemesis are dealt with the correct punishment. Enjoy the story!

  7. A beautifully written story that has everything one would expect from Carol Coyler. A very enjoyable as well as exciting adventure and love story, encompassing everything from dislike, crimes, forgiveness, and everlasting love! Enjoy!

  8. I really loved this book. Each time I had to put it down, I looked forward to when I could pick it up again.

  9. Fun to read with lots of adventures happening. Melody found out that we don’t all find our adventures by leaving home and traveling. Sometimes we find adventures within the towns we live in. Loved the characters and their stories.

  10. A wonderful story and the characters are very real. As for the gossip, unfortunately, that happened often back then {even more so than today}, but this is the first book, I can remember ever reading, that is basically centered on just how bad and how harmful gossip can be. This book is well written except for using God’s name in vain so often.

  11. As usual, everything a good Story needs was included in this book! A beautiful love story you won’t want to miss! Get this book! Enjoy!

  12. Carol, every time I read one of your books, I think it just can’t get any better than this, and then it does. I have just now got to read this one. It is wonderful, I cannot tell you what my favorite part was, because I loved it all. Thank you dear lady for all the joy you put into my life. I am 84, and I love to read. You keep writing, and I will keep reading.

    1. Thank you so much my dear! This has been the most inspiring comment I have read in months! I will gladly keep on writing for your entertainment! ❤️

  13. I loved this story of Charlie & Melody.
    I hate 2 sound like a Pollyanna but there was nothing I didn’t enjoy about this book! The relationships with family members was well written..the gossips!! But Melody was just a doll!!!
    Your books never let me down!!!
    Thank you!!!!

  14. On this cold, snowy week, this book has been great company. The characters are believable, the effect of gossip real, the love of family refreshing.
    I saw a couple of comments about using God’s name in vain. I feel that this makes the characters even more realistic because this happens in life and judgment should not be passed on you.
    I love the way Melody escaped and how the family was reunited in the epilogue along with how you revealed Melody’s pregnancy.

    1. Dear Vivian,

      I’m delighted that the book has been good company during this snowy week. Your appreciation for the believable characters, realistic portrayal of gossip, and refreshing depiction of family love means a lot.

      I also value your understanding of the realistic language used in the story. I’m glad you enjoyed Melody’s escape, the family reunion in the epilogue, and the revelation of Melody’s pregnancy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope the book continues to bring you joy.

      Stay cozy, stay safe!

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