Her Heaven Sent Soulmate – Extended Epilogue

It was a bright day in early spring.

The sun was shining, and Alyssa couldn’t be happier. She grinned as she looked around the lane. Their town was growing slowly but surely, she thought. This might not be Chicago, but it was a lovely little community.

And it was home.

“Wait up for me,” Bryce chuckled behind her.

Whirling around, Alyssa grinned to see him attempting to carry all the bags from the cart at once. Shaking her head, she went over to his side. She had a feeling he would have managed if they weren’t so heavy.

“Bryce, please,” she told him. “We’re going to have to take a couple of trips. Probably five at this point.”

He grunted before finally giving up as he hefted up three. “I can carry them. But they’re too big. Can we put your dresses in small boxes? Maybe even bags? There has to be a better way to travel with them, Alyssa.”

Once they were set down between them, she shrugged and gave him a sheepish smile. “If we put them in bags, then they might get damaged. And I can’t have that happen now, can I?”

“I guess,” he mumbled. Then he shook his head. “Maybe next year we’ll think of a better way to get these sent up to Chicago. I bet you could ship them, Alyssa.”

Her cheeks warmed up. That was a thought.

To make the cost worth it, she’d have to have three times the number of dresses that she had at the moment. It sounded like quite the venture.

Everything had changed for the two of them in the last five years. Alyssa could hardly believe it. Her heart beat loudly in her chest as she glanced down at the boxes.

These dresses were hers, projects she had put her time and effort into. With all the training she had received, she had fashioned her outfits and had begun to sell the dresses in the city. In the boxes were several gowns that she had designed and sewn together. Every spring, she went with Bryce to Chicago to sell her dresses. It was an annual trip that the two of them enjoyed and looked forward to.

It was a new dream of hers, one that she hadn’t expected. But shortly after their marriage—right after her return to town with Bryce—Mae had mentioned that her dresses were lovely and meant for the city. It had propelled a new project for her, and Bryce had supported her through every moment.

She remembered her wedding day and how nervous she had been.

Not wanting to wait any longer than they had to, Bryce and Alyssa had decided to return home after their first trip to Chicago and get married right then. They’d returned to town to promptly tell their family.

“About time,” was all that Mae had had to say about the matter.

As for the others, they had cried out with joy. Marjorie had begun to think about all they would need to prepare for the wedding. A dress, flowers, and more. She wanted to invite all the town to their house.

“And the gazebo,” Bella had teased them. “Now that it’s built, you can put it to good use and get married there! I told you it would come in handy.”

Alyssa had looked at her fiancé, who had looked back at her and shrugged. He didn’t care, he seemed to say, so long as he married her. It had sent a surge of hope through her chest when she agreed.

Two days later, she had stepped out of the house where the Richardson women lived to meet Bryce in the gazebo. She was dressed in the beautiful dress that Mae had made for her, and he was in his best suit. Neither of them could stop smiling.

A short and sweet ceremony had finished quickly. Everyone had celebrated happily.

She made her way back to the ranch with her husband. The two of them had ridden around for a while before settling down on the porch to enjoy the sunset. Alyssa could still remember how happy they had both been. There hadn’t been words enough to describe their contentment. Bryce had hardly been able to stop kissing her hand, and her cheeks had hurt terribly.

But it was a life they were starting together, and she couldn’t help herself. Their time in Chicago had helped them to heal from their hurts. And then they’d worked on everything during their marriage.

There was no shouting and no throwing of items. Though they both grew frustrated and wanted to stomp off, the two of them had learned to take a deep breath and walk away before finally coming back to sort through their issues. It was new for both of them, but they were dedicated to taking care of one another.

And now, they were thriving. They had a happy life together. She was married to a wonderful husband, she had a perfect family, and now she was creating lovely gowns for other women to wear.

The thought of people wearing her dresses in the city sent a delightful shiver up her spine. Alyssa smiled so hard that her cheeks hurt. They would be on their way soon.

But they weren’t quite ready yet. “Where are the others? I thought they would be here by now.”

“They’re on their way,” Bryce assured her. “Trust me. They wouldn’t dare miss saying goodbye. Besides, who else is going to watch Mina while we’re away?”

Hearing her name, the toddler let out a screeching giggle. She teetered at the other corner of the wagon, where she was sitting on a pile of blankets. Their baby girl held a little wooden cow toy in her hands that she waved around to them.

Beaming, Alyssa put out her arms to her child, who quickly and clumsily ran into them.

“There you are, baby,” she crooned. “How’s my little Mina?”

At two years old, Mina was more precious to them than anything else. Their child had dark blonde curls and dark blue eyes that twinkled with mischief. She tugged on Alyssa’s hair as she shoved it in her mouth.

“Yummy,” Bryce chuckled as he ruffled his child’s hair.

A familiar whistle sounded in the street. They all looked up as another wagon followed up close behind them. Henry drove as Mae waved wildly to them. As they came to a stop and began to climb down, the rest of the Richardson family appeared in the back.

“Oh, thank goodness!” Mae cried out as she hurried over to them. “I was so worried we might be late. Henry wouldn’t drive fast.”

Her husband shook his head as he helped the other women down from the wagon. “I’m not driving fast with my unborn child around, Mae. It’s not going to happen.”

Alyssa and Mae exchanged smiles before glancing down at Mae’s swollen belly. She was finally pregnant after years of waiting, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. As for Henry, he had only grown more nervous. The moment Marjorie was on the ground, he hurried over to his wife’s side.

“You shouldn’t move so fast,” he told her sternly.

Mae just kissed his cheek and then waved to Mina. “Hello, sweetie! There you are. Did you miss Auntie Mae? I missed you! Henry, take her, already. Otherwise Alyssa will never let her go.”

The woman had a point.

Henry stepped forward obediently and put out his arms to the child. Though Mina liked him well enough, Alyssa was the one who hesitated.

She glanced up at her husband, uncertain if she was really ready to do this after all. They had talked so often about this. Mina had come with them to Chicago the year before since Alyssa couldn’t bear it. But the child was growing up and she had so much energy. They loved her dearly and worried about keeping her properly entertained while on their business trip. So, they had asked the family to watch Mina while they spent two weeks in Chicago.

“We’ve never been away from her so long,” Alyssa whispered. “Are you sure we’re ready?’

“We are,” Bryce assured her as he leaned over to kiss her cheek. Then he kissed Mina, who giggled and pulled harder on Alyssa’s hair. He untangled the baby’s chubby hands as he said, “Trust me, she’ll be fine. And you deserve this. Mina will have fun and so will we. We’ll be home in no time, I promise.”

Though she trusted her husband, Alyssa couldn’t help but wonder. She looked at her sweet little baby, who had begun to pretend she was a cow, mooing as she waved her toy around.

Alyssa knew he was right. But it still hurt her heart.

Sighing, she grudgingly handed her child over to her brother-in-law. Mina didn’t mind. The little girl shrieked with joy, making everyone else laugh. Alyssa grudgingly smiled as she glanced at her husband.

He gave her another comforting kiss on the forehead. “We’ll be back before you know it,” he murmured.

“Now I want her,” Mae proclaimed, turning to her husband. “Help Bryce with the trunks, won’t you? It’s going to take a few trips.”

That made her smile. Bryce stepped back, rolling his eyes. But he turned to Henry and the two of them picked up what they could and take it up the station and onto the train. The two men grunted under the weight of the cargo, trudging off for a moment.

Marjorie took the chance to walk around the boxes so she could give Alyssa a hug farewell. Alyssa hugged her mother-in-law, grateful once again to be part of the Richardson family. She was truly blessed.

“We always miss you so when you’re gone,” she murmured. “But don’t worry, we’ll have you back soon enough. And your baby girl will be just fine. I promise.”

There were days where Alyssa felt alone and wondered if this was all a dream. But all she had to do was open her eyes to the people around her. This life was different from the way she had been raised. And she loved every bit of it.

Yet there was change there, as well, she recalled. Her parents had refused to write to her for the first two years, but her brother had kept her updated on how everything was going back home. It had taken time, but eventually her parents had begun to open up and wrote her a letter in return.

And now, later that summer, they had promised to come visit.

We want to see you again. There is much for us to mend, they had written in their last letter. If you’ll have us, we would like to come visit you. Morton shall come as well, of course. We want to talk to you again and we want to meet your husband. And if you’ll let us, we would like to meet your precious child.

“Thank you,” Alyssa murmured to Marjorie before they pulled away.

Then she grinned at her two other sisters. They beamed and wrapped her in a hug, asking her to bring goods and gifts when she returned. The two of them had been planning to join her and Bryce this year, but they were both planning their weddings—which would occur right after the return from Chicago.

It was a busy year, and Alyssa couldn’t be happier.

“Well?” A hand wrapped around her waist. She looked up to find Bryce looking down at her with that fond smile of his. “Are you ready?”

Alyssa turned back to her family. It had grown so much over the last five years. She glanced at Mina, who was whispering in Mae’s ear, caught up without needing her mother.

Though she could feel the tears beginning to well up in her eyes, Alyssa nodded. “Yes. Yes, I think so. Let’s go before I change my mind, please.”

He chuckled and kissed her forehead. They said their goodbyes and then she went with her husband up onto the train. Bryce found them window seats so that they could look out to their family standing at the station.

A whistle sounded. The train started moving beneath them. She waved out to everyone before she took a deep breath and relaxed in her seat. Then she turned to her husband and gave him a thoughtful look.

He was pulling books out of their bags for them to read. They were getting used to the train rides and had found the best way to enjoy their time there. He handed one and raised his eyebrow.

“What is it? Are you feeling all right?”

She accepted her book and glanced out the window. Her stomach fluttered, but she was used to the feeling. Alyssa sighed. “I just feel strange not telling them, I suppose. I’m not used to keeping secrets.”

Bryce’s lips twitched. “You could have told them. Or we can send them a telegram when we arrive. But this was your idea, remember?”

A flush spread across her face at the reminder. “I know,” she admitted sheepishly. “I just thought it would be easier to keep secret. I love having a secret with you, I do. But it’s so long!”

He chuckled when he leaned over and patted her knee. “I know. Just think about when we do finally tell them. Your parents will be here. Your brother will be here. My sisters will be married, and Mae will have had her baby. It’s just a few months away. Your only concern is making sure your dresses are loose enough.”

She made a face. “I hadn’t thought of that. They would certainly notice.” Alyssa glanced down at her stomach, which was currently flat. Touching it tenderly, she sighed and leaned back into her bench. “All right. Well, it’s a secret that will be worth it. Besides, I don’t want to get in the way of everyone’s celebrations. We can celebrate when this little troublemaker is born.”

“I’m just glad you can keep your breakfast down now,” Bryce said as he winked at her.

That made Alyssa roll her eyes. “Trust me, we all are.” Then she sighed one more time. “I can do it. We can do it. It’s a good secret, and I can hide it until we decide to tell everyone.”

“Perfect,” he said. “Just tell me if you change your mind. Either way, we’ll make it work.”

She gave her husband a nod and then turned to her book. That would keep her mind occupied. Alyssa had already had a small celebration with her husband about the second child she was now carrying in her belly. They were thrilled and could hardly wait.

The two of them slowly settled down in their seats with their own books. Alyssa read two chapters before she glanced up at Bryce. She had heard a small scratching sound and thought nothing of it.

Until she realized he was writing. Instead of reading the book he held, he had a piece of paper on top of it and was writing. Immediately, she was intrigued. He liked his numbers and sheets, but he didn’t usually write.

“What are you doing?” Alyssa eyed the pen in his hand.

He bent his paper over and then looked over at her. “What? Nothing.”

“Are you writing a letter?” she asked. She scooted over to his bench and eyed the paper. “Who are you writing to? Since when do you write letters? What is it for? Is it for your family? For me? For Mina?”

Bryce just laughed at her flood of questions. He wrapped an arm around her. “Fine. I was going to wait, but yes, it’s for you.”

A small gasp escaped her lips as she snatched it up. It was his handwriting; a little scratchy, but he had tried. And her name was written up at the top: Dearest Alyssa.

“Wait for what?” she asked him.

He shrugged and attempted to pretend it was nothing. “Until we got to our park in the city. It’s nothing special, I just… I wanted to give you a letter. You usually write. So, I thought I would try.”

“Aww,” she crooned. Then she ducked her head down to the pages and began to read. She could hear Bryce chuckling beside her as he gave her a small squeeze. It made her smile. Over the years, they had become closer than she thought possible. She thought by now that she knew everything about him and could always understand what he was thinking. But this was a delightful surprise.

The letter was only a page long, she discovered, but it was the sweetest thing she had ever read. Nothing in all her books could compare to how Bryce had poured out his feelings for her. He talked about their precious little family and how much he adored her.

A hand settled over her heart as she looked up at him. He looked mildly embarrassed and gave her a crooked smile. “Well? Am I a decent letter-writer?”

Alyssa returned the smile as she leaned up and kissed his cheek. “You are a perfect letter writer, Bryce. This says everything in my heart and more. Thank you. I love it. And I love you.”

“Good.” He winked at her. “Or this would be a strange marriage.”

“You’re ruining a perfectly good moment,” Alyssa pointed out.

That just made him chuckle. “All right, I’m sorry. I love you, too. I love you more than anything, Alyssa, and I always will.” Bryce finished off his statement to her with a kiss.


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86 thoughts on “Her Heaven Sent Soulmate – Extended Epilogue”

    1. A lovely story Carol. I am sure there are good few folk who could identify with Bryce or Alyssa, in either having difficulty expressing themselves or in thinking they want something to the exclusion of everything else.

    2. Truly a charming story. I read it from start to finish, anticipating the ending, but that’s not a bad thing! Many surprises in the story, made it very interesting. Ill be looking for more of Carols Cloyer’s stories.

    3. It was a good feel read. The characters came to life naturally without there being a hero or violence. It was a natural normal everyday happenings.
      The written language is an easy relaxed read.
      There are unresolved lingering questions however;
      What illness did Marjorie have as they children kept that line of the story going without resolving it..
      What did her brother accomplish in life? We suddenly hear very little info of her family, eventhough her brother played a sweet position in the story.etc

      Thank you for a relaxing couple of hours.

    4. I really enjoyed this book as it goes to show how men really have a hard time to express their feelings or emotions. I found it interesting that there was no violence in this story but it does sound like everyday conversations. We do need to say I love you more just to hold hand to feel close to one another. Thank you .

      1. A young lady leaving her home in Arizona for Chicago experienced a tragic circumstance that cut her trai trip short and in desperate need of work and lodging. Friendly persons accommodated her and she helped them in their business until offered something more substantial by a bachelor who ran a ranch and needed a cook for his workers. They both had communication problems that got finally resolved, but she did make it to her Chicago destination with a surprise twist of events! One intriguing read!

    5. A lovely and entertaining book.
      pg 263 “But it would get her closer to – i -. Then, she could . . . . . .
      I think the i at end of sentence should be it or Chicago????

    6. Miss Carol

      I enjoy reading your books and your extended epilogue about Alyssa and Bryce was absolutely wonderful. They are such a wonderful couple and I enjoyed reading their story. Thank you for your exciting books.

    7. I am so happy that your book was one of my favorite. It kept me up reading, and woke me too. From the time Alyssa left home to travel to Chicago. The train train and being taken her savings away, this is so exciting. And Bryce and the ranch and all it contained in your writing I was taken with reading. Your book is so fu!l of struggles, hurts and love, your writing is fantastic. I have finished this and the closing, I hope, will bring us more of the delightful happenings with babies, dresses and love between Alaska and Bryce.

    8. Really enjoyed the unfolding of this heartwarming story.
      But, to be honest, I do not like to have to pause and enter email address to get the “extended epilogue”.
      Always appreciate epilogue with books, to add that little summing up of exciting details …. but just add it to the main body of book. Please.

      1. Thank you for your feedback my dear Elaine! I am glad you enjoyed the story as much! As for the extended epilogue, it is something that I prefer this way for the following reason: the book has an epilogue that concludes the story. The future is something the reader can imagine for himself and if I had added it to the main book body I would have determined it in a way that it would be finalised. Having it separate, leaves this to the option of the reader – to read my version or imagine how the next few years would be for himself! Using your imagination is an essential element to enjoy a story to the fullest! That is what I believe. I hope the inconvenience does not ruin the experience for you! Happy New Year!

  1. What a wonderful story. So much discovering and also healing. Family is meant to be supportive and it hurts when they aren’t. So glad it all worked out for Alyssa and Bryce. Can’t wait to read more stories from this author.

  2. A beautiful well written story. A bit of a tear jerker but also hard to put down. I could also relate to some parts of this. It brought back some great memories. Thank you for the entertainment. Looking forward to your next story.

  3. This was heart reneging, and heart warming at the same time. I really enjoyed this book, thank you.

  4. Great story. Amazing story line of two people starting off on such different levels of what they were expecting from life. As the summer passes and they both work continually stretching themselves to the limit to accomplish their goals. At the end of summer, it looked like each of them was going in different directions. But love had started to bloom, and caused them to think about each other. Family and friends were there to cheer them on to make a commitment.

  5. Truly a great story. It really showcases how so many men are afraid to express themselves orally and how we women need to not only see but to hear the words. I really enjoyed this story. Thank you!!!

    Vera Walker

  6. Carol, what a wonderful story. I thought I was not going to like Alyssa, because she was so caught up in going to Chicago, no matter what. But as I got into it I loved every part of it. That is the kind of love this world needs a lot more of. So many of your stories make me think of my wonderful husband of 61 years, and how much we still love each other. Keep writing them, and I will keep reading. God bless you.

  7. This was a great book and I enjoyed it a great deal. I wish more books were as enjoyable. I like the fact that she got to go to Chicago. I hope that you write more books similar to this one..

  8. You are an amazing author. Your books are such a delight to read and extremely hard to put down. This story was incredibly emjoyable! I get lost in your books and appreciate your extraordinary ability to grab my attention and fill me with such wonderful entertainment. Thank you. May God continue to bless you as you so bless me.

  9. I enjoyed the book and extended epilogue so much. Alyssa was courageous to go off to Chicago by herself. So glad that Bryce was able offer her a job after the train robbery. Loved all the conflicting emotions that Bryce had expressing his. Feelings. Great Read. Keep up the good writing, Carol.

  10. What a read! So glad Alyssa did not settle. I knew the surprise visitor would probably show up and admired the way Bryce handled the situation. For once he held his temper. So glad Alyssa got a taste of small town Redburg and big town Chicago and love the way you brought it all together, Carol.

  11. Loved the book! Such a new approach to a good love story. I can relate to a person that keeps much to themselves and struggles to share their true feelimgs. A very enjoyable read! Enjoy!

  12. Loved the book,!! men can be so clueless sometimes!
    Alyssa is a very brave girl to leave Arizona for
    Chicago , she meets Bryce after being robbed on the train
    And needs to stay in his small town and get a job to continue
    On her way

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