Finding her Everlasting Love – Extended Epilogue

Three years later

Dear Missus Janetta’,” Colleen was writing to both Mary Janetta, who had taken in the girls when her mother died and sewn the clothes so that she and the girls looked neat and tidy, and to Missus Lawley, the cook at the mansion. She had kept in touch and had written from time to time to let them know that she was fine and so were the girls. She sat back and nibbled at the pen. There was so much to tell.

Colleen stood up and walked over to the window. The place had expanded so much and was so busy that it was hard to keep up with everything. She decided to walk over and see Daisybelle and her new calf. Daisybelle had had a calf the year before but it was a boy and had gone off with the other steers. This baby was a female and named Black Eyed Susie because she had rims of dark around her eyes. She was a sweetie and Colleen was determined to keep her. Daisybelle was kept for her milk for the house now and maybe they could do the same with Susie. Colleen turned to look back at the buildings.

Madeleine was playing with her two year old grandson on the veranda. She waved and pointed out to little Markie where his mom was. The toddler waved as well. There was a large log cabin added towards the corrals and a barn beside it. It had become apparent to Marcus and Thomas that they could work the supply business profitably for both of them, and when Janey and Thomas married, they built the new house.

Colleen loved having Janey, Toddy and Marlon there permanently and she went over to talk to the woman who had become her very best friend.

“Trying to write to Mary Janetta but there is so much to say, I don’t know where to start.” Colleen said.

“Have a lemonade and a seat.” Janey said and handed over the one year old baby to Colleen. Little Daniel was a chubby little chap with a smile like his brother Toddy. Toddy was pleased with his brother and took his caring duties very seriously.

“Madeleine has almost finished a blanket for him. She is a wizard with that crochet hook.”

“She is better at the patchwork than you are as well.” Janey joked.

“She is so much better in health and everything since she has been here.” Colleen added. “Ranch life suits her.”

We have needed all the extra help since the stock as grown and the supply business.” Janey said. “Dan is missed around the place but he is doing well with his carpentry business.”

“He did help build the cookhouse to feed the extra men.” Colleen added. “And having a cook for the hands sure is easier on the house.”

Janey sat the baby on her hip and the two women moved to the door to look out. They saw some riders heading towards them at speed.

“My Lord, that Cait can ride like a cowboy.” Janey laughed. Toddy, Cait, Helen and Marlon all arrived on ponies with flushed cheeks and Stetsons blown off their heads. “I suppose you lot would all like lemonade as well.”

The enthusiastic yes pleases sent her back into the house, but not before Toddy had taken the baby and found a seat. The lad was a fine twelve year old with Cait two years younger. Marcus also rode in and dropped into a seat on the veranda. Janey handed him a coffee without asking what he would like.

Uncle Marcus.” Toddy said. Marcus raised an eyebrow. “Will I be able to be a cowboy?”

I think you were born to be a cowboy, Toddy.” Marcus told him. “But you are too young yet to deal with those big steers.”

“But when I am bigger?”

“If you go and work for somebody else, I will be very annoyed.” Marcus said. “If you help near the house in the meantime, I think we might put you on the payroll.”

“Oh gee, thanks, Uncle Marcus.” He handed Colleen the baby and raced off outside to tell his dad.

“You spoil all of these youngsters far too much.” Janey told him and he laughed.

“The kids make the place alive.” He said. “They will all inherit what we leave behind.”

I wasn’t planning on leaving for a while yet.” Colleen protested.

“We’ve got the get together on Sunday. Can we still be around for that?” Janey joked.

“Just far too smart by far, you women.” He grinned as he said it and handed her the coffee cup. “Thanks. Back to work.”

Colleen followed him out and went back to her letter writing. The little house that had been for Dan and Janey was now lived in by Davey Rourke. He was the foreman on the ranch now. The little dog that kept Davey company was sitting at the door, and she called for him to come with her. He was a sweet little chap that had turned up one day and stayed. The terrier ran after her into the house and little Markie toddled in after him.

Colleen’s mother-in-law came inside and picked up the crochet that was nearly finished. She settled in a chair and watched Markie play with his building blocks on the floor. The dog was disappointed that Colleen was not making food but settled beside Madeleine as well. In this peaceful setting, Colleen managed to finish the letters and seal them ready to post when the children went into school on Monday.

She sat back and watched the familiar scene. Markie came over and she picked him up.

“Love you, little man,” she said and kissed the top of his head.

Love you, Momma.” The toddler pulled at her hair. She found something for him to eat and thought about the next day. It was their monthly Sunday get-together at the hotel. She went to the piano and ran through a few pieces of music that she wanted to try out, and looked at the piece of music that she and Dora could play together.

Then she went and started some steak on the griddle for the meal. Marcus came and put his arms around her waist. He kissed the back of her neck and she turned around in his arms with sticky hands held up in the air. She kissed him and turned back again.

“Are you coming into town tomorrow?” She asked.

“If Mom will look after Markie.” He answered.

Mom and Markie can come as well if they would like to. What do you think, Mom?” Colleen called into the next room. Madeleine said that it would be a pleasant change and she would like to.

They ate a family meal and Davey came in to eat with them. It was a routine they had fallen into because it helped if the foreman did not have to eat with the men, and gave Davey and Marcus a chance to talk things over.

“Who would have thought that this place would be so busy just four years ago?” Davey remarked. “You and I eating in the diner and Hilton owning the town.”

“The town is a much happier place.” Marcus added. The two men took coffees and spread out a paper that showed the land and Colleen took away the dishes so that they could use the table. She and Madeleine sat on the veranda with a coffee and little Markie. Cait and Helen wandered off to find Toddy and Marlon.

“Thank you, Colleen.” Madeleine said.

“What on earth for?” Colleen asked in surprise. Her mother-in-law smiled.

“For making my life complete.” She answered simply.

It made Marcus’ and my life complete as well. Who would have thought that living in the wild of cattle country could be so wonderful? I don’t know what I expected when we made the journey out here but it wasn’t a family home, friends and contentment.” She smiled. “And I learned to love riding. Who would have thought it?”

“You and Marcus are a force to be reckoned with.” Madeleine told her. “Together you could do anything.”

Davey waved a hand and said thanks for the steak and Marcus asked if she wanted a short ride out.

“Not far. I am full of dinner.” She answered and left the toddler with his gran. They rode out to their favorite spot and stopped to look at the view.

“I never tire of seeing this.” Colleen said.

And I never tire of this.” Marcus grinned and swept her into his arms to take her lips with his own. The familiar thrill that she still felt when this man held her close made her head spin. He laughed and lifted her back into the saddle.

“You want to speed up the ride?” He asked. She shook her head.

“No thanks. My dinner can stay where it is.” He laughed and they walked the horses side by side back home and holding hands for most of the way.

Sunday was full of bustle as they finished the chores and piled into the wagon to go to town. Madeleine was looking forward to these days nowadays. Colleen loved that the timid woman who arrived with Doreen had turned into a cheerful, outgoing person that everyone in town was happy to meet.

Rosie, her sister and two friends were going inside and all of the youngsters were allowed to go outside together. Cait and Helen were a part of the community. Colleen smiled at the cheerful non-fighting girl who was her sister. She was still a tomboy but riding and racing around let her use up all that energy.

The group were settling on chairs beside the piano and Ruth was leaning on the instrument to say hello.

“How are you?” Colleen asked her and kissed her cheek. Ruth ran a hand over her swelling tummy and smiled.

“Never more happy.” She said and winced. “Apart from the kicking.”

Fabio came and joined them with fiddle at the ready. He put an arm around his wife and told her to sit down for a while. She nodded and did as he said. Then she pulled out some sewing to join in with everyone else.

The women all exchanged ideas and fell into a routine that they had fashioned for themselves. Madeleine had joined them seamlessly because her crochet work was unbelievably delicate. Marcus, Fabio and Thomas all headed for the bar and the children were outside.

“Here comes the mayor.” Janey smiled and they all saw Drew stroll into the hotel. He had been an obvious replacement and Rosie was so glad that he wasn’t sheriff and being shot at anymore. Carson had been promoted to sheriff. Drew saw the men were at the bar and went to join them.

“Background music, I think.” Colleen said and sat to play some gentle tunes as the folk in the lounge chattered or ate a meal or had a drink and sat back on a Sunday afternoon.

Fabio left the bar and came to join her with the fiddle and the music livened up. A few couples did a little dancing and the children were drawn inside by the music. They danced at the side of the room and then sat down when Colleen waved Dora over.

The girl joined Colleen on the piano stool and they counted in and started together. The piece was quite a clever piece of music and Dora had turned into a good performer. The room was entranced and burst into applause as the duo finished the performance. Cait glanced at the door, did another quick look and ran across to Marcus. He looked where she pointed and pushed her behind him as he stepped forward.

Well isn’t this just cosy?” Ex-mayor Hilton stood inside the lounge and took in the room. There was instant silence. He walked a few steps. “All of the folk who robbed me of my property. I have come to claim it back.”

Drew stepped forward and told him that his money was in the bank.

“The lawyer talked to you in jail. There is no point in denying it because it is all on record. He sold the property and put the money into a trust fund until you could claim it. It was all done legally.”

“What if I don’t want the money? What if I want the property back?”

“You can’t have it.” Colleen stood up and came beside Drew. Marcus came alongside.

“Still pretending to have a marriage, you two?” Hilton sneered and Marcus put a hand on Colleen’s arm as she made to go forward.

What I really want to find is that Daniel Ladysmock. That saloon was never sold and he has his woodwork shop on that site.”

“I am right behind you, Hilton.” Dan’s voice said from the doorway and he had a gun in his hand.

“I am not armed.” Hilton said and held up his hands.

Doesn’t matter to us if you are armed or not”, another voice said and Fabio stepped forward, holding a rifle from behind the bar.

“The Mexican. He is in my hotel.”

He is married to me.” Ruth said and pulled the pistol that she still always carried. “Your saloon burned to the ground and there was nothing left to sell.”

“My business is legal.” Dan said.

It was my store before it was the saloon.” Thomas added and brought another gun into sight. “We have all been much better off since you have been in jail.”

“And we want to keep it that way.” The voice of the sheriff, Carson, told him from the door. “Time to leave Tall Hill and never come back. I can slap you in handcuffs but it will be better if you just walk away with a bit of dignity.”

“He wouldn’t know what dignity was if it hit him in the face.” Janey added scornfully.

Another female voice suddenly whined from the doorway.

Are you coming, Hiltie baby? Can we get the money and go somewhere with a bit of life?” The woman who appeared in the doorway was a bright blonde with very a red lipstick. She came over, oblivious to the mood in the room or the guns. She pouted, kissed his cheek and clutched at his arm.

“Hiltie baby.” Colleen echoed. “Hiltie baby.” She went over to the couple. “Let me help you dear.” She took the other arm and Hilton was propelled to the doorway by the two women to the sound of gales of laughter from all around the room.

Fabio found the fiddle and struck up a jolly tune. The folk in the room started to clap in time and people grabbed partners and did a jig.

Drew, Marcus, Thomas, Dan and Fabio all went along to make sure Carson was able to send the pair packing. They came back with guns holstered and smiles on their face.

Fabio kept on playing and Marcus took Colleen by the hand.

“Dance?” He asked. She shook her head.

“I’d rather sit it out.” He sat with her and took her hand.

“He’s gone. Won’t be back and you were magnificent as usual.” She kissed his cheek.

“Can we collect the kids and go home please?” He looked alarmed but gathered the others together and did as she asked.

“Back at the ranch, he finally got five minutes to have her to himself and took her hands.

“Tell me. What have I done? Or what is wrong?”

“It was all just a little bit much.” She told him. “The piano playing and then that ghastly Hilton arriving.”

“But we sent him packing and everyone had a good laugh. So, are you not well?” He really was concerned. She took his face between her hands.

“You maybe have done something.” She said. “I think that maybe we might have another Stanton on the way. I just feel a bit sickly.”

Marcus looked at her and took a second to take it in.

“Another child in the house? Oh, Colleen, you are just so soso,” He couldn’t think of the words, picked her up in his arms and carried her to the sofa. “Sit there. Put up your feet and let me shout out loud.”

“I do hope it’s a girl.” Colleen said. Her mother-in-law came in the door with Markie.

“What on earth are you two excited about?” Marcus picked up his mom and twirled her around in the air. Markie grabbed at his dad’s trousers and he did the same to him.

“We think maybe Markie might have a sister on the way.” Colleen told her. “Maybe a baby Madeleine.”

“Madeleine came an gave her a hug.

“How marvellous. I am off to tell Janey.” She ran across the yard with skirts hitched up andcalling for Janey.

Marcus pulled Colleen up to her feet and kissed her on the lips.

“I love you, Colleen Stanton.”

“Happy ever after, Marcus. Happy ever after.” She said and kissed him back.

THE END


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128 thoughts on “Finding her Everlasting Love – Extended Epilogue”

    1. A beautiful ending to a story that had me enthralled to the last word. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

    2. An awesome book ,couldn’t stop reading it, was by far the best book I’ve read in a while and I read all the time.

    3. I 💘 this book and was sorry to see it end. I don’t know but maybe it could be part of a series with some of the other characters stories told That would be wonderful

    4. As usual I enjoyed the story. I loved how the ranch grew by helping others in need With others I also noticed the proof readers a lot of of errors. In complete words, wrong words & words that were completely out of place. It didn’t change how I like the book but it was kind of strange.

    5. Carol, I enjoy all of your books so much! It was another lovely ending! You are a gifted author for sure! ❤️

    6. I loved this book. Loved the way Colleen was willing to fight to gain the love of the man she knew she loved even when he rebuffed her. Altogether a delightful read. I couldn’t put it down!

    7. I enjoy your books.
      However, a Male calf is a bull calf. A steer is a bull calf that has been castrated. Steers are not born, but “fixed”.

    8. Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Great storyline, believable characters and well written. Thank you.

    9. Yes I did enjoy the book. But I have riding horses and handles them for a long time. So I have a correction for you. When leading a horse you lead them with a lead rope and halter, not a line. When riding a horse you use a briddle and reins. I thought you might like to know the right terms.

    10. I couldn’t stop reading the book. I loved the characters and how they worked hard to live godly lives.

    11. Another amazing book! I was so impressed by Collene. Even after everything she went through she didn’t let anyone keep her down. I laughed, cried, and truly enjoyed tjis. Thank you!

    12. The epilogue was a nice happy ever,ever ,after. The entire book was a great adventure from the very first chapter. I enjoyed the mixture of people,races, talents ,concerns, gratitude ,and common sense.

    13. Absolutely one of my favorite reads. The story line and the characters keep you enjoying each change!

    14. What a great story. The struggles of the characters were so real and relatable. You brought all the characters in so seamlessly and they fit story well. Well done and a truly great read!!

    15. Absolutely loved this book! It was so entertaining and kept my interest from the very start. Loved all the characters. Loved the warmth and giving .such a wonderful read! Thank you so much!

    16. Very beautiful written book ,I had a very hard time putting it down.I enjoyed every bit of it ,So very exciting reading from beginning to the very end.

    17. Here is the proof that men and women never fully understand each other. Time and patience and sometimes endurance make a happily ever after. I am glad Colleen figured out that patience can produce fine results.

  1. What a wonderful story. I think I cried a river. Like Coleen I too thought Marcus would find it too difficult to forgive but together they found a way to true happiness. Brilliant just brilliant. Will leave a review on Amazon uk under tornado1

  2. What a great story Carol. The deception at the beginning of the story certainly caused a lot of trouble for Colleen and Marcus, although there were other problems for them to overcome also. The greatest of these was a very ‘bad’ man, who kept popping back up to harass them again. The happy outcome was nicely done.

  3. Colleen and Marcus story was very different they got married and then thing went wrong for both of them are the miss understanding and all the other characters in the book the Mayor Hilton was not very nice the Extended Epilogue I love could not put it down loved it will leave a review on Amazon Australia about the book thanks again Carol.

  4. This is a wonderful story and the extended epilogue shows how everything works well for the family ,friends,and the town and that Marcus was able to reunite with his mother. Forgiveness is good for the Heart and soul .These are great characters

      1. Great story. Love the community they built. Great that the town drove out the bully. Just need to fix that little Hilton/Wilton problem in the early part of the book.

  5. I loved this story and the extended epilogue. Your words are so descriptive I can picture everything while reading. I am glad that Tall Hill finally became a good place for families to live. I will leave my review on Amazon US.

  6. You are amazing, your stories are so different, moving and exciting! This book was such a hard book to put down so full of adventure and excitement. Having a front row seat into Marcus and Colleen’s journey of learning to trust and love. So well written and such a joy to read. The epilogue was so good I love a happy ending. Well done Carol, you did it again.
    Thank you.

  7. Loved this book the whole story keeped me interested. I highly would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good exciting story

  8. Carol, you did it again! Another fantastic story with fantastic characters. I loved the epilogue! It was a great finish to see what happened over the next three years. This is one of my favorites of the books I’ve read by you, if not my favorite. They were all fantastic reads! I’m going to write my review for the book on Amazon. I’ll forward it to you when Amazon posts it.

    1. I’m humbled, my dear Judy! I’m really grateful for your support and kind words! I’m glad to hear that you enjoy my stories! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

  9. Thank you for a beautiful love story. Love can be complicated and even heartbreaking. Not everyone is consumed by physical desire, falls into bed, and lives happily ever after. You have written a book that will stay with me. I look forward to reading more.

  10. This was the first book I have read written by you Carol and I must say I truly was fascinated with it from the very beginning. You really do have a gift for writing and I will definitely be reading more of your books

  11. I really enjoyed this book. I thought the hero, Marcus was quite stubborn and not acknowledging his love for the heroine Colleen. But all is well that ends well. I enjoyed all the characters. The kids were a delight. And I enjoyed the friendships that everybody made.

  12. A very good story and the extended epilogue was a nice “bow” to tie up the story. I enjoy your clean western romances. Look forward to many more. Will leave my review on Amazon.

  13. A well written western romance is probably my favorite genre. This story really depicted the amount of hard work that goes into running a ranch and how everyone needs to work together to make it successful.
    Loved the rapport of the characters. Hilton was crazy and the people figured out, with the help of Marcus and Colleen, how to destroy his reign. “When the wicked are in authority, the people mourn” fit this story perfectly. Then the righteous had authority in the end, and the people rejoiced.
    With a story this long, there were quite a few editing errors, but the story was an excellent read!
    Do you need a proofreader? I am a writing instructor.

  14. What a story! Magnificent and truly captivating. What a woman Colleen was. Very independent and determined to do the best for her sisters. Glad there was a happily ever after for her.

  15. Another wonderful story loaded with adventure and sweet clean romance. Your characters are so entertaining and fun to read about. Thank you for yet another delightful book, you have so much talent.

  16. Thank you for transporting me to a happier place and time amidst the current world turmoil. It is good to take time out to enjoy your story. Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading more.

  17. There was never a dull moment in this story! Rapid movement, characters conversed with each other. I feel as if I had been there and made every step with them ! Now I have to rest and recoup for the next wonderful book! Thank you C.C.

  18. Wow !
    What a wonderful read.
    Carol you are one of my favorite writers and I love your books.
    I am overwhelmed by how much I loved the book and ALL the characters in it, except Hilton. What an awful man !
    The love story was exceptional and lots of action.
    “KEEP ON WRITING !”

  19. I was glued to the book. The characters were almost real. The way she told the story I was engrossed in every page.
    I have read several books Carol has written and she has not let me down.

  20. A lovely ending to a great story. I would like for the story to continue with other books.. All the characters are well written. It would be nice for their stories to continue. I highly recommend this book.

  21. This was one of the best books you have written, Carol. I felt like a member of the community and lived at the ranch. A 5 star story.

  22. Very good story. I enjoyed the interesting characters you put together to make the story all fit together. Keep on writing!

  23. Loved this book! Couldn’t stop reading it and loved the ending. But I was sorry the story was over — I wanted more! Thank you!

  24. This well written book has been such a joy to read. I cannot remember how long its been since I have enjoyed a book that I could not put down! I cannot think of anything that was left out! Enjoy!

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