Freeing an Outlaw’s Heart – Extended Epilogue


“I just don’t understand it!” Lana cried.

“Oh, it’s all right. Come on. We will read it together from the beginning.” Myra flipped back the pages of the book. Lana was struggling with reading more complicated things in school, and Myra had started tutoring her when she could.

Their sessions were quite fun, and she enjoyed most of it, but sometimes, it could get tiring for both of them. Myra understood how hard it was for Lana to learn these things. If it hadn’t been for the strict teachers at the orphanage who had made it mandatory for them to finish their lessons, she might not have learned so much herself as a child.

“Do I have to learn this stuff? Do I really need to learn how to read?” Lana looked up at Myra with pleading eyes.

“Of course, you do. If you didn’t learn how to read, how would you read to your own little boys and girls when you have them? You know, there are a lot of books out there that will take you to different lands, on adventures, and so much more.”

“You don’t have any kids.” Lana was very observant. Myra and Nick had been married for almost a year now. Everyone wanted to know why they hadn’t had a baby.

But Myra wasn’t up for having children just yet. She couldn’t quite place it, but there was something deep inside of her that made her uncomfortable with it. She was fairly certain that it had something to do with the fact that she still didn’t understand why her parents had abandoned her.

What if she had a baby and then something happened to her, or even worse if she abandoned it like her own mother had done? But those thoughts were too much for a little girl like Lana to handle, so she kept them to herself.

“One day I will have a little girl or boy to call my own, but for now, I have you.”

Lana smiled up at her. “Is Liza going to be my new mama?”

Myra bit her lower lip. She wasn’t sure that this conversation was proper for her to share with Lana. Liza was the young woman Joseph had started to see.

He had been introduced to her by one of the men who worked at his new wood mill. She was kind and sweet and funny, and to her surprise, Myra even liked her. Lana loved her already, Myra could tell, but no one had spoken of marriage just yet that Myra knew of.

“I don’t know. You will have to ask your father that.” Myra squeezed Lana’s hand gently. “If she is your new mother, would you be happy about it?”

“Of course. I love Liza. I hope she is going to be my new mother. Then I might even have a baby sister or brother.”

“You might.” Myra was glad that Lana was open to the idea. She knew it would make things easier for Joseph, and if anyone deserved to have a happy ending with a good marriage, it was him.

“Myra? Myra, are you in there?” Nick’s voice floated in from outside.

Myra hadn’t expected him home so early. Usually, he stayed at the sheriff’s office for at least more than half the day.

“I wonder what he’s doing back so early,” she said as she walked across the room and peered out the window.

Myra opened the door to the cabin and stepped out onto the porch. Being on this porch still reminded her of her time with Nick’s mother.

Now that she lived here with Nick, she saw it as her own home, but she would never forget those early days. Myra glanced over at Lana.

Lana used to have come with her to this house back then too. Now she stayed here while Joseph was at work and then went home with her father for the evening.

Myra turned her attention back to Nick, who looked a mixture of excited and worried.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Nothing, it’s just …” Nick fished around inside of his coat until he drew out a medium-sized envelope. “I passed by the post office, and they had a letter for you. I thought you would want it right away.”

“Really? Where is it from?”

“The orphanage.” Nick handed her the envelope, and she held it reverently. Maybe this envelope held the answers she had been looking for during the last year.

Maybe it would have the answers that she and Joseph had searched for since they were young children growing up without a family of their own. They had always asked at the orphanage about who had left them there, but no one seemed to know. Or maybe no one really wanted to take the time to think about it and remember.

Her hands shook a little. It was exciting and a bit scary to think of knowing the real history of how they came to be orphans.

It had been Nick’s idea, but she had started writing to the orphanage, trying to find some sort of lead regarding her parents. Even if they had abandoned her and Joseph, she wanted to find out exactly why they had done it.

It had been hard to extract information at first. The strange thing was that no one remembered them being dropped off like other children. One day, they had just started being at the orphanage.

Myra sighed. She wanted to rip the envelope open, but she was also nervous as she was every time that she received a letter from anyone connected to the orphanage. So many letters before this one had been a disappointment, with no new information to offer.

“Don’t you want to open it now?” Nick asked.

“Maybe I will save it until a bit later. Do you have to get back to the office right away?”

“No. I can stay for lunch, and for the rest of the evening. Tommy is going to watch the office for me so I can have some time with you.”

Myra nodded. She felt good whenever Nick was home. But right now, the letter was burning a hole in her pocket. She couldn’t wait to read what it contained, but she wanted to do it when just she and Nick were home.

She had a feeling that evening would come soon enough.

—*—

Nick watched Myra carefully. He could tell just how nervous and excited she was about the letter. She had been looking at it all day since he had brought it home.

Now that Joseph was here to pick up Lana, she was a ball of anxiety.

“How was she?” Joseph asked Myra.

“Wonderful. She always is. You know that me being married is never going to change me being there for her.”

“You have got that right,” Nick added. “I consider Lana my own niece, and she is always welcome here.”

“Thank you, Nick. By the way, how has Tommy been? Since I started the mill, I haven’t had time to visit as I did before.” Joseph looked regretful.

“He understands that you’re busy. He actually mentioned he planned to drop by your new place. I’ve heard about it in town. It seems you are quite the competition for the old wood mill now.”

Joseph shook his head. “Not hardly. They are the ones who taught me everything I know. I think we are on friendly terms, even though we are now working different shops. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting lots of experience now.”

“Well, that’s good. There are plenty of new people coming to town that need wood and wood tables and other articles.”

“You’re right. I should actually get going. Liza is coming over for dinner, and we don’t want to keep her waiting.”

“How is she?” Myra asked Joseph.

“Wonderful, I think that soon … well, we haven’t exactly discussed it yet, but there might be another wedding not too long from now.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Joseph. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.” Myra watched her brother with caring eyes.

Nick still admired their relationship. If he had had a sibling, he would have liked to have a similar relationship with them.

Nick waited until Joseph and Lana had ridden off before he turned to Myra.

“Are you ready to open your letter now?”

Myra nodded. She hurried over to the table and retrieved it.

“What do you think it says?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it says nothing, like the others, but maybe it is the news you have been looking for. Whatever you find in that letter, just know that I am here for you and will be here for you to get through it.”

“Thank you, Nick.” Myra looked up at him with her beautiful eyes.

She looked down at the letter and then handed it to him. “Can you read it for me?”

Nick took the letter from her and tore it open. He unfolded a single sheet of paper covered in neat, tiny handwriting.

He cleared his throat and began to read.

Hello Myra,

I was very surprised to run across all of your correspondence with the orphanage. I left the orphanage for many years after you and your brother were there. I always felt guilty for not sharing with you the bit of your history that I knew.

I knew your parents when I worked at the orphanage. I was friends with your mother. She was so excited when she found she was with child. She talked about it all the time with me. She was doubly excited to find out she would have twins.

She used to volunteer at the orphanage when she had time. She enjoyed spending time with the children. When you and Joseph were about three and a half years old, she and your father needed to go to a nearby town for some work that he had there. They didn’t want to take the two of you since you were so young. It was a long trip, and it was a cold time of year, and they wanted you to be safe.

Your mother trusted me and asked if I would watch the two of you for a couple of days. I agreed, of course. I enjoyed both of you as much as I would have if I had my own children.

They left you and Joseph with me that morning, I remember that the two of you were excited because you wanted to play with all the children. Your mother was worried sick about leaving you for a few days, and your father was starting to think about canceling the trip.

“Do you want me to keep reading?” Nick asked, pausing for a moment.

“Yes, please do.” Myra’s voice sounded full of sadness but also of hope. He knew that this was very important to her.

Nick continued reading the letter, curious himself to find out what had happened.

I started to get worried when I didn’t hear from your parents for five days. They had only expected to be gone for three.

I went into town and checked at the post office to see if they had received any word by telegram. That was when I received the news. Your parents were attacked by Indians, and as a result, their wagon crashed. They both died in the accident. I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do with the two of you. I didn’t have the means to care for you myself.

I decided that there was nothing to do but to leave you at the orphanage. As you grew, you forgot about them, and I planned to tell you their story as soon as you were of age. But I was married and moved away, and as time passed, I forgot.

Only now that I returned to the orphanage to visit did I hear of your efforts to find out about your parents. I know that this is late in coming, but I want you to know that they loved you more than any parents loved their children and never intended for you to be orphans.

Please know they never wanted to leave you.

Write to me if you have any further questions.

Yours Truly,

Anne Potter

 

When Joseph looked up, Myra had tears streaming down her cheeks. “They loved us,” she whispered. “All this time, I thought they had left us on purpose.”

“Yes, they did love you.” Nick set the letter down on the mantle above the fireplace and pulled Myra in for a hug. “They loved you, and they never wanted to leave you. You had a family once.”

“I have to tell Joseph about this. He is going to be so excited. I can barely believe that I always thought they didn’t want us. I thought they had abandoned us.” Myra sounded sad but also joyful.

“It’s okay, Myra. Now you know the truth.” Nick was glad that he had helped Myra find a resolution with her parents’ past. He had seen how bothered she was. Maybe now, they could move on, and Myra would be happy about her life.

—*—

Myra stared out the kitchen window. Nick was busy fixing the chicken coop. She closed her eyes and imagined a little one or two of their own running around, helping him.

Now that she knew what had happened with her parents, a lot of her fears around having children had melted away.

Their parents had wanted both Joseph and her. They had wanted to be a family and have them together. They hadn’t wanted to abandon them.

It was devastating to know that her parents had met such a bad end, but it also put her at peace. It made her feel normal in a way, to know she’d had parents who had loved her.

She tried to think about what it would have been like to grow up with them. She had already written a letter to Anne. She was eager to know everything she could find out about her mother. She hoped that Anne would know a few things since she had been her friend.

Myra turned back to the stove where the food was cooking. She loved the everyday things that she had envied before. Making food for Nick and keeping the house clean gave her a real sense of purpose. She loved having a house and a garden with plants to eat.

She enjoyed the stories Nick told from the sheriff’s office and getting to know people in town. She finally felt as if she had found her final place in the world, and she couldn’t be happier.

The sound of Nick coming into the cabin made her walk into the living room.

“How is the chicken coop coming?” Myra asked, even though she had seen it from the kitchen window.

“Nicely. Soon, you’ll be able to have as many chickens as you like.”

Myra giggled. “Okay. I already talked with a lady in town; she has a fresh batch of chicks that are almost ready to be sent to new homes. Well, I think we should get about four hens too. Those baby chicks won’t lay any eggs for about six months.”

Nick wrapped his arms around her waist. “And you are correct as usual. How are you?”

“I’m fine. Just thinking about everything. The letter … It changed a lot.”

“Really?” Nick looked hopeful. Myra knew that Nick wanted children. He at one time hadn’t wanted children or a wife, but once they married, he had told her he wanted to have a couple of little ones to carry on with the ranch.

She wanted to give him children, and now that she had made peace with her past, she was sure she was ready.

“Really. I want a family, Nick. I want a family with a few children. We will be happy together and always go to church on Sundays together. I’ll make them their clothes, and they’ll help you on the ranch.”

“That sounds pretty nice.”

“It really does.” Myra smiled. A few weeks ago, she had been terrified of having children, but here she was, hoping to have a baby sooner rather than later.

“You know, if Joseph gets married soon, the two of you might become parents together this time.”

“Maybe, our kids could be like twins, just like we were.”

Nick nodded, “They could be.”

“Come on … let’s eat lunch. It’s going to get cold.” Myra pulled away and took Nick by the hand, leading him to the table.

She was happy. Maybe their family was tiny so far. But she knew it would grow, and she and Nick would continue to grow more and more in love with each other as each day passed.

Everything they had gone through had only made them stronger. Now it seemed like their story had ended, but in reality, it was only starting.

Myra smiled across the table at Nick. She had found her home, she had found her family, and she couldn’t possibly be happier.

THE END


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53 thoughts on “Freeing an Outlaw’s Heart – Extended Epilogue”

    1. A very good book. I figured Joseph would become the new deputy the town was needing . Good prevailed all the way around, and overcame evil, which makes a good ending.

      1. Great book, it was hard to put down, shed lot’s of tears and the anticipation of what’s going to happen next was exciting. I get so into the characters of books like this!. Look forward to start the next book.
        Thanks for th excitement. Keep up the good work.

        Barbara

    2. I really enjoyed this book,the story was thrilling , keeps you interested. Your books are enjoyed though out the story,that’s for a wonderful story.I can’t wait for the next one.Keep up the good work . Linda

    3. That was a great story for awhile I didn’t think it would end well, but it did, and it was a happy ending. I was so glad for Nick and Myra, also glad they were able to save Tommy and Lana. Enjoyed it very much.

    4. I really enjoyed this book. A brother & sister raised in an orphanage became thieves just to eat. It is always sad to know that this happened a great deal when children became 16 or maybe 18 and had to leave the orphanage.
      Keeps you reading. And this extended epilogue is a wonderful final ending.

    5. Loved loved loved the epilogue. The news about Myra and the letter about the history of her parents death, made my heart sad but joyous at the same time. I loved the whole book but have a feeling there’s more to come!!

    6. Great story!! I really enjoyed it & it was hard to quit reading but life goes on & I had other things to do! Everyone will enjoy the story!!!

    7. I love stories set in this time period. Stories about orphans always start so sad, I am happy to see she found the news she needed about her parents to be able to move on toward a full life. Myra, Joseph, Nick, and Tommy were slot of fun to read about.

    8. Ms Ellen
      I have really enjoyed reading “Healing an Outlaws Heart” so much. You did not disappoint with the book and extended epilogue. Myra and Nick were meant to be together from childhood and I am happy Myra found out about she and Joseph being loved by their parents that were killed by Indians. It was great to see Myra and Nick married and Joseph and Lana settled with Joseph having a wood mill. Thank you for such a wonderful read.
      Sincerely
      Sharon

  1. When I read, I am there like everything is happening to me. Through “ Freeing an Outlaws Heart”, you definitely took me where I wanted to be. Keep up the great work.

  2. What a wonderful story with characters that were believable and likeable. They carried the burden of the story with courage and determination. Perception has a way of defining a person’s journey in life. I’m glad Myra found out that she was indeed a beloved child her joy was palpable. Thank you for sharing your talented writing

  3. This story had so much tragedy written in, that it hardly seemed possible it could be pulled to bring a resolution to such sorrow. The characters, though judgemental, were able to clear their hearts and mind.

  4. I really enjoyed this book. All of the characters were wonderful and the pasts they had helped meld them together. It would be nice to have another story to read that followed this one and kept us up
    to date on Nick and Myra, Joseph and Liza, and Tommy.

  5. What a good read. A story filled with such touching and caring characters. One whose lives had been filled with such loss and hardship. It was good to see to all come to a good ending and for peace and happiness to be found by all.

  6. I really enjoyed this book. It was sad about the orphanage but finding Nick again was a happy note. I thought that there would not be possible for Myra to be happy but thanks to the extended epilogue I was wrong. Keep up the good writing, Ellen.

  7. Thank you for a great story and I loved the extended ending. I am ready to go read another of your books😘

  8. What a wonderful extended epilogue to a great story! Who knew that Nick and Myra’s deligence would pay off? Love how you brought everything together! Thank you 😊

  9. A very good book. It is joyful to have a story that is not just the run of the mill western, with a run of the mill love story. Thanks for a book that is a good read with a great story! Enjoy!

  10. Really enjoyed reading this book. Had alot of good things
    and bad happening but in the end everyone were starting a new happy life.

  11. What a delightful story Iloved it so much and couldn’t wait to read it some more when I could took me 2 nights to read and I truly loved the sheriff ,Tommy , Joseph and Myra, and of course little Lana as they journeyed through the ups and downs of the story, so happy that it ended with the happy epilogue , thank you for this lovely,delightful story, I’ll look forward to your next exciting book .

  12. A good book. I enjoyed it very much. Sorry these young twins faced such a difficult start in their lives. II glad in the end they found out the truth that their parents did lie them and would not have abandoned the. They got messed up for a while but reunited with an old friend from the orphanage and though things got messy for a while, things turned out well for them in the end.

  13. Good book, although I thought Joseph would be the new deputy. Guess we can’t predict everything but this was a great book Ellen.

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