A Winter Baby on Her Doorway – Extended Epilogue

3 Years Later

“Austin! Get back here! I don’t want you getting it all over yourself,” Lizzy called out to the two-year-old boy, waddling toward the bucket of white paint. 

“I’ve got him,” James said, scooping up their trouble-making son with one arm, a dripping brush in his other. 

“We should hurry. They could arrive at any moment.” Lizzy started to move faster, getting the last coat done on the front room of what was soon to be the Dr. and Mrs. Watts’ house. 

She wanted everything to be perfect when they got there. There had been a great deal of debate as to whether the Watts were going to come to Grove County in the first place. As a growing family, they needed somewhere bigger than the cottage in Grand Bend. Though the town was beloved to them, Sylvia wanted to be closer to her brother. 

In the end, Lizzy had made a wild offer that had turned the tide on the decision. Yearning to have Elyssa and Sylvia close by, she’d suggested that she and James could build them a house on their property. Considering the massive acreage of the ranch, there was plenty of room to spare, even if they were getting to be too many for the main house. 

“They won’t mind if there’s a bit of wet paint. They understand how much work we’ve put into this,” James reminded her. 

When she’d first broken the news to him about her bid that had been made behind his back, he’d been dismayed to think about how much time and energy was involved in such an undertaking. All Lizzy had to do to get him on board was mention that this was perhaps her revenge for the way he’d invited her father to the wedding behind her back. 

It was mostly a joke, of course, but James took it in stride and quickly agreed. The thought of having his sister so close by brought great comfort to him. 

A child’s voice calling from the front door caught Lizzy’s attention.

“Aunty Lippy!” Elyssa’s sweet, joyous voice shouted. It was incredible to hear the child talking at all, let alone saying her name, or at least a version of her name that she could pronounce. 

“We’re in here!” Lizzy called back, a smile breaking out on her face. Suddenly, the exhaustion of painting and moving furniture disappeared entirely, replaced by pure bliss. 

Little Elyssa (who was now much bigger than the last time they’d seen each other) ran into the room, arms outstretched. Lizzy swooped her up, bringing her over to greet the toddler cousin she’d only met once before. 

“It looks beautiful in here!” Sylvia exclaimed, following close behind Elyssa, holding her heavily pregnant belly as she admired the place. 

“I’m so sorry we’re not better prepared. I wanted it to be closer to done when you arrived here, but I’m afraid you’ll have to stay in the main house tonight. Tomorrow, we can move everything in properly!” Lizzy promised, putting Elyssa back down so she could give Sylvia a hug. 

“Don’t you dare apologize about a thing! We owe you the world for doing all this for us. Truly. I don’t know how we’re ever going to pay you back.”

“There’s nothing to pay back,” James assured his sister. “We’re just thrilled to have you here.”

“Honestly. This ranch has too much space to hoard all to ourselves! Let’s just say I’m making up now for the family I left behind,” Lizzy said. 

Since the wedding, she and her father had managed to keep in touch, sending monthly letters back and forth. He had yet to come to meet his grandson but promised to come in the spring. Lizzy was already nervous and excited for the visit nonetheless. Their letters mostly comprised of comparisons between the ranching business in Texas and Colorado, but every once and a while, they snuck in some personal news. 

From the sounds of it, there was a woman her father was interested in courting. He was too old to start another family, but companionship was what he sought, and Lizzy was very supportive of that endeavor. After James had managed to crack the heart open that she’d assumed was encased in stone forever after Wesley’s death, she had a newfound respect for the satisfaction that love and family could bring.

She was no longer an island of her own. Lizzy had even started to ingratiate herself into the community as well, holding events and gatherings on the ranch that she never would have agreed to in the past. Along with being a respected rancher, she was now also a beloved citizen of Grove County.

Everyone chipped in with finishing the paint job, despite the long journey that the Watts had just completed. Once the final touches had been made, all six of them paraded outside to look at the picturesque house with three front windows and a giant oak tree out front. 

“I never thought I’d love a place as much as I love Grand Bend, but… this is incredible. I think we might just be about the luckiest people in the whole world,” William said, picking up Elyssa. Behind them was the overflowing wagon stuffed with furniture they’d hauled all the way from his cottage. 

“Luck’s got nothing to do with it. You deserve all this. After everything we’ve been through, we’ve earned a bit of peace and quiet,” James reminded them. 

For her part, Lizzy wasn’t sure what she wanted to stare at more. The house they’d just worked so hard on, or the newfound family that was standing all around her. Either way, there was nowhere she could turn where the view wouldn’t put a smile on her face. 

“Alright, folks,” James called out, “I say we celebrate with a hearty meal. Lizzy, Sylvia, how about you take a break while we men fire up the grill?”

The women readily agreed, and soon enough, the delicious aroma of sizzling steaks filled the air. They all gathered around a makeshift picnic area, enjoying the food, laughter, and the warmth of family bonds.

As the day turned into evening, they lit a campfire and sat around it, sharing stories and relishing the simple pleasure of each other’s company. Elyssa played with Austin, their laughter filling the night.

Under the starry sky of the Wild West, James took Lizzy’s hand and looked into her eyes, his love for her still as strong as the day they met. “Life has brought us so far,” he said softly. “From a chance encounter to this beautiful family and a loving home. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Lizzy smiled, her heart full. “Neither would I, James. I love you more with each passing day.”

Sylvia and William, cuddled together on a log, exchanged their own affectionate glances. Life had been tough for them, but they had found happiness and love in each other’s arms, and it was a love that only grew stronger over time.

The night passed with stories, laughter, and the comfort of knowing they were together, a true family forged by destiny, love, and the vast expanse of the American West.

***

The seasons had come and gone, marking the passage of time on the vast expanse of the Remington ranch. It had been a few more years since the Watts family had settled in Grove County, and life had continued to evolve for all of them.

Sylvia and William now had three beautiful children, a son named Samuel and a daughter named Grace. Elyssa had grown into a spirited and caring older sister, and their family was filled with laughter and love. Samuel, with his striking blue eyes inherited from his mother, already showed a fondness for horses, often riding alongside his uncle James.

James and Lizzy had expanded their own family as well. Austin, their rambunctious two-year-old when the Watts had first arrived, was now a lively five-year-old, always eager to help out on the ranch. Lizzy was pregnant once again, a fact that filled their hearts with joy. They eagerly anticipated the arrival of their next child, feeling blessed by the love and family that surrounded them.

The ranch had flourished under James and Lizzy’s capable hands, becoming one of the most prosperous in Grove County. The cattle herd had grown, and Lizzy had even started a small horse breeding operation with the descendants of Jack Fire. The ranch had become a source of pride for the entire community, a testament to hard work and resilience.

Sylvia had embraced her role as a mother and had also taken on the responsibility of teaching at the local schoolhouse. Her kindness and patience endeared her to her students, and she found great fulfillment in nurturing young minds.

Dr. Watts continued to serve the community as the town’s trusted physician, and his skills were in high demand. One evening, as they gathered around the dining table for supper, Sylvia looked at her husband with a smile. “William, you’ve become a true pillar of this community. Your patients adore you.”

William chuckled, carving a slice of roast beef. “Well, I couldn’t have done it without your unwavering support, my love. And Elyssa here, she’s grown up to be quite the helper, just like her mother.”

Elyssa beamed with pride, her eyes shining. “I like helping people, Papa.”

Meanwhile, at the Remington ranch, Lizzy and James shared a quiet moment on the porch while the sun dipped below the horizon. James wrapped his arm around Lizzy’s waist and pulled her close. “Life has become quite the adventure, hasn’t it?”

Lizzy leaned her head against his shoulder, her fingers entwined with his. “It truly has, James. I never imagined I’d find such happiness and purpose here on this ranch.”

James smiled and pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I thank the heavens every day for bringing you into my life, Lizzy.”

Their conversation was interrupted by Austin, who came running up with a handful of wildflowers. “Momma, look what I found!” he exclaimed, presenting the bouquet to Lizzy.

Lizzy’s heart swelled with love as she accepted the flowers. “Thank you, Austin. These are beautiful.”

As they sat together, watching the stars emerge in the night sky, James spoke softly, his voice filled with gratitude. “We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? From that fateful day in Grand Bend to building a life here together.”

Lizzy nodded, her eyes glistening with emotion. “Yes, James. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Our journey, with all its ups and downs, has led us to this moment.”

Under the endless canopy of stars, the two of them held each other close, knowing that their story was still unfolding, filled with the promise of new adventures, shared laughter, and a love that would continue to grow stronger with each passing day.

And so, in the heart of the American Wild West, where the horizon stretched as far as the eye could see, two souls found their place in the world, living a life of purpose, love, and endless possibility.

THE END


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35 thoughts on “A Winter Baby on Her Doorway – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello, my dears! I truly hope you enjoyed our couple’s happily ever after! Lizzy, James and their loving family absolutely deserved this heartwarming happily ever after, don’t you think? I would love to know which was your favorite part! Please share your thoughts with me here! Thank you – always! ♥️📚

    1. A lovely story & a nice EE.
      But –
      pg 155 – and set them on the -ground-. . . {they are inside the house – should be – floor -}
      pg 331 -332 – They are outside, he proposed – then conversation about Elysse lying on the -bed {which is inside the house} & 2 more paragraphs about Elyssa — NONE of that fits!

    2. A very interesting story with some tough characters. Lots of adventures as love grows where once there was only lingering grief. I enjoyed reading this book.

    3. Loved this story! What was particularly enjoyable for me was the fact that James, a rigid military man, bonded so quickly and sweetly with his infant niece. I also appreciated that Lizzie was strong, but humble enough to take the advice of others. I don’t care for hardcore confident women characters who give off the impression that no one knows anything but them. Lizzie was confident, yet vulnerable too, which is also a strength of character. Another good read from Ms. Colyer!

  2. AMAZING STORY!! This was one of the most exciting stories I have read. Danger lurked around every corner and each encounter was scarier than the next. To see family reunited was very inspiring. Looking forward to more books from you Carol.

      1. I agree: I think this is a great story with dangers ever present and twists in the story. I couldn’t figure out how Frank figured out where they were, but it didn’t matter, it was still a crazy good twist at the end. Thank you for another great story.

  3. Wow great story, everything packed in one book. Murder, travels, deceit, running away and hiding from killers, with lots of love and family included. Exciting book that is hard to put down. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I did.

  4. Carol, you are a gifted writer/talespinner! Your details of the characters’ personalities bring the most life to your story, although not overwhelming the nearly unbelievable story. I appreciate the conversations regarding God’s presence and guidance, especially coming from the strong, masculine James. A man capable of being the spiritual leader in a family is sorely lacking in many Christian novels.
    I was only disappointed by the need for more careful editing as mentioned by another reader. I think you should continue to write fascinating stories, but find a team of proofreaders before publishing!

  5. what a wild ride!! never a dull moment. i loved Lizzy & her evolution starting with the baby. I loved James & his story. Loved how their feelings grew over their adventures..Lots of nice characters through out..except for Bob & Frank.. I really enjoyed this story!! The EE was really great also.
    Thanks 4 another great read.
    Blessings,

  6. Story flows well except for the part where they are outside and suddenly, Elysse is lying on a bed and then they’re sitting on the grass…confusing. Also wondering how its possible for everyone to know where to find everyone else when there are days of miles between places and few people.
    Overall, a good story, with a few different plotlines than most.
    A few typos noted in the comments section offered in the book, but mostly a clean read.

  7. Carol, you never disappoint. As an avid reader and an English major, I read your books for the relaxing enjoyment they give and not to find fault with any errors therein. I’m sure they are proofed before hitting the paying public sector.

    Again, an exciting story and very heartwarming.

  8. Wow great story. Murder getting the bad guy and a good ending. I thought maybe the Indians might play a little more roll. I would recommend it to anyone.

  9. I was captured by this story, it had so many elements, strong women, adventure danger, the kindness of strangers and family reunion. Both Lizzy and James so reliant on God particularly in th most difficult times an seeing their prayers answered. The typos didn’t spoil for me but I would advise more rigorous proof reading and editing. Loved the extended episode but wandered if David had gotten his Saray.

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