A Mail-Order Groom in Disguise – Extended Epilogue


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Five years had passed since Nathan and Mia’s wedding, and the Caldwell Ranch had transformed into a symbol of love, resilience, and hard work. The once modest property now thrived, reflecting the dedication and determination of its owners. Nathan and Mia had built a life together, their bond growing stronger with each passing day.

The ranch house, nestled amidst rolling fields and grazing cattle, was alive with the sounds of laughter and joy. Inside, Mia rocked a newborn in her arms while her three-year-old son, Richard Jr., played with wooden toys on the floor. The sunlight streamed through the windows, casting a warm glow over the cozy interior.

“Nathan, can you help me with this little rascal?” Mia called out, her voice filled with affection as she tried to wrangle her energetic toddler.

Nathan entered the room, a broad smile on his face. “What’s Richard Jr. up to now?” he asked, scooping up his son and swinging him playfully in the air, eliciting giggles from the boy.

“He’s been trying to ride the family dog again,” Mia said with a laugh, adjusting the baby in her arms. “And this little one, Nathan Jr., just can’t seem to get enough of being held.”

Nathan leaned in to kiss his wife gently on the forehead. “You’re doing an amazing job, Mia. I don’t know how you manage it all.”

“We’re a team, remember?” she replied, her eyes sparkling with love and contentment. “We’ve come a long way together.”

Nathan looked around their home, his heart swelling with pride and gratitude. “We certainly have. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.”

Later that day, the family prepared to head to their neighbors’ house for a barbecue party. Chris and Erin lived nearby, and their friendship had grown even deeper over the years. Nathan hitched the horses to the wagon, ensuring everything was secure before helping Mia and the children onto the seat.

As they rode through the picturesque landscape, Nathan glanced at his wife, her hair catching the sunlight and her smile brighter than ever. “Do you ever think about how far we’ve come, Mia?”

“All the time,” she replied, squeezing his hand. “It’s hard to believe that it all started with a mail-order ad. Life has a funny way of working out, doesn’t it?”

Richard Jr. clapped his hands excitedly as they approached Chris and Erin’s house, a charming homestead surrounded by blooming flowers and bustling with activity. Chris greeted them with a hearty wave, his own children running around the yard with boundless energy.

“Welcome, friends!” Chris called out. “Come on in, the food is almost ready!”

Erin emerged from the house, wiping her hands on her apron and smiling warmly. “Mia, it’s so good to see you. And look at these handsome boys!”

The families embraced, exchanging laughter and stories as they made their way to the backyard. The scent of grilled meat and fresh bread filled the air, mingling with the sounds of children’s laughter and adults’ chatter.

Mia and Erin found a quiet moment to sit together on the porch, watching their children play. “Did you ever imagine you’d be this happy?” Erin asked, her eyes shining with curiosity.

“Never in my wildest dreams,” Mia admitted, her voice soft with wonder. “I never thought a mail-order husband would bring me so much joy and love. It’s more than I could have ever hoped for.”

Erin nodded, her smile reflecting the same sentiment. “Life has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it?”

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the landscape, Nathan and Chris stood by the grill, talking quietly. “We’re lucky men, you know,” Chris said, his tone serious yet filled with warmth. “Marrying the women of Shadow Ridge was the best decision we ever made.”

Nathan nodded in agreement. “Every day, I fall deeper in love with Mia. She’s made me a better man.”

Chris glanced over at their wives, his expression thoughtful. “And they’ve given us beautiful families. We have so much to be grateful for.”

Nathan smiled, his heart full. “We certainly do, my friend. We certainly do.”

As the evening wore on, the families enjoyed the simple pleasures of good food, great company, and the love that bound them together. The hardships of the past seemed distant memories, overshadowed by the happiness they had found in each other.

The stars began to twinkle in the night sky, and the sounds of laughter and music filled the air. It was a night to remember, a testament to the love and resilience that had brought them all together.

As the barbecue party continued into the evening, the warmth of the gathering settled into a comfortable rhythm. Children’s laughter echoed across the yard, mingling with the adults’ conversations and the soft strumming of a guitar. Mia and Erin found themselves wandering into the kitchen to fetch more lemonade, giving them a moment to chat in the relative quiet.

“So, Mia,” Erin began, leaning against the counter with a playful smile, “how’s life with your mail-order husband?”

Mia laughed, shaking her head. “I never thought I’d be so happy. I mean, look at us now. Two beautiful boys, a thriving ranch, and Nathan…he’s everything I didn’t know I needed.”

“I’m so glad to hear that.” Erin’s eyes sparkled with genuine happiness for her friend. “Chris and I talk about you two all the time. How you both turned something so unconventional into such a beautiful life.”

“Well, you and Chris aren’t doing too badly yourselves,” Mia replied, pouring lemonade into the pitchers. “Your home is always so full of love and joy. I love visiting here.”

Erin sighed contentedly. “It’s amazing how things work out. I remember being so worried about my father not accepting Chris, but now look at us. He’s the best father and husband I could have ever hoped for.”

Mia nodded, her thoughts drifting back to the early days of their marriages. “It’s funny how life has a way of surprising us. I mean, if someone had told me five years ago that I’d find true love through a mail-order ad, I would’ve laughed in their face.”

“Me too,” Erin agreed, giggling. “But here we are, living our dreams.”

They carried the lemonade back outside, joining their husbands by the fire. The men were deep in conversation, their expressions serious yet filled with camaraderie.

Chris glanced at Nathan, his voice low. “So, how’s everything going on the ranch?”

“Better than ever,” Nathan replied, his eyes reflecting the flickering flames. “We’ve had our challenges, but Mia and I, we’ve built something strong. The boys are growing up happy, and we’re more in love every day.”

Chris nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same for us. Erin and the kids make every day worth it. I can’t imagine life without them.”

Nathan smiled, glancing over at their wives. “We’re lucky men, Chris. We’ve got everything we could ever want.

Chris’s expression turned more serious. “Have you heard anything about Eliza and Donovan?”

Nathan sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Last I heard, they’re still in prison, facing the consequences of their actions. I’ve left the investigative work behind, focusing on the ranch and my family. But every now and then, I get updates.”

Chris nodded, his face reflecting the weight of the past. “It’s good to know they’re not causing any more trouble. We’ve all moved on, and it’s better this way.”

Nathan agreed, the shadows of their past no longer looming over their present. “We’ve turned things around, made something good out of a bad situation. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

As the night grew darker and the stars twinkled overhead, the families gathered around the fire, sharing stories and dreams for the future. The bond between them was unbreakable, forged through trials and triumphs, love and resilience.

Mia watched Nathan interact with their children, her heart swelling with pride and love. Richard Jr. clung to his father’s leg, his eyes wide with admiration, while Nathan Jr. slept peacefully in his mother’s arms. The sight filled her with a sense of contentment she had never known before.

Later, as the party wound down and the children grew sleepy, Nathan and Mia prepared to head back home. They said their goodbyes, hugging their friends tightly and promising to meet again soon.

On the ride back to the ranch, the boys dozed off in the back of the wagon, lulled by the gentle rocking motion and the cool night air. Nathan reached over and took Mia’s hand, squeezing it gently.

“Thank you for today,” he said softly. “For everything.”

Mia smiled, leaning her head against his shoulder. “We have a beautiful life, Nathan. I’m grateful for every moment.”

As they approached their home, the ranch stood as a testament to their hard work and unwavering love. The challenges they had faced together had only strengthened their bond, and they knew that whatever the future held, they would face it together.

The night was still, the sky a blanket of stars, as Nathan and Mia carried their children inside, tucking them into bed with tender kisses and whispered promises.

Their love had built a home filled with warmth and joy, a sanctuary where their family could thrive.

With their children safely tucked in bed, Nathan and Mia stepped out onto the porch, seeking a moment of quiet amidst the night’s tranquility. The stars shone brightly above, a breathtaking canopy that seemed to stretch infinitely.

Nathan poured them each a glass of wine, handing one to Mia as they settled into the porch swing. She leaned back, savoring the gentle sway and the warmth of the wine.

“This is perfect,” she murmured, her gaze drifting to the sky. “A perfect end to a perfect day.”

Nathan nodded, his eyes fixed on her face, illuminated by the soft glow of the lantern hanging nearby. “I can’t believe how lucky we are, Mia. Sometimes it feels like a dream.”

Mia smiled, taking a sip of her wine. “It does, doesn’t it? But it’s real. We built this life together, and it’s more than I ever imagined.”

They sat in companionable silence for a while, the night sounds of the ranch a soothing backdrop. The gentle lowing of cattle, the rustle of leaves in the breeze, and the distant call of a night bird created a symphony of peace.

Nathan broke the silence, his voice thoughtful. “Do you ever think about your father, Mia? About what he did to secure this place for you?”

Mia’s expression softened, her thoughts turning inward. “I do. I think about him often. He made mistakes, but he also made sacrifices. This ranch…it’s part of his legacy, and I’m grateful for that.”

Nathan reached out, his hand covering hers. “You’ve honored his memory by turning this place into something good. You’ve made it a home, filled it with love and laughter.”

Mia glanced at him, her eyes shining. “And you’ve been right beside me, every step of the way. We’ve done it together.”

Nathan chuckled softly. “You know, when I first came here, I never imagined I’d end up staying. I thought it was just another assignment. But meeting you changed everything.”

Mia laughed, a light, joyful sound. “And here I was, thinking I needed a husband to secure my inheritance. Instead, I found the love of my life.”

They clinked their glasses together, a silent toast to their journey. Mia leaned her head on Nathan’s shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body seep into hers. The future stretched out before them, bright and full of promise.

After a while, Nathan spoke again, his tone playful. “You know, I’m glad you punched Eliza that day. She needed a wake-up call.”

Mia grinned. “I’m glad, too. It was strangely satisfying.”

Nathan’s laughter rumbled through his chest. “You’ve got a fierce side, Mia Reynolds. I love that about you.”

She tilted her head up to look at him, her smile tender. “And I love you, Nathan. You’ve brought so much joy into my life.”

They kissed, a sweet, lingering touch that spoke of years of love and shared dreams. When they pulled apart, Nathan’s eyes were soft with affection.

“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” he mused.

“We have,” Mia agreed. “And I wouldn’t change a thing.”

They sat in silence again, watching the stars twinkle overhead. The night was peaceful, a reflection of the harmony they had found in their lives. Mia’s thoughts turned to their children, the future they were building for them.

“I want our boys to grow up knowing they’re loved,” she said quietly. “To understand the value of hard work and the importance of family.”

Nathan squeezed her hand. “They will, Mia. We’ll make sure of it.”

As the night deepened, they remained on the porch, sharing their hopes and dreams, their fears and triumphs. The bond between them was unbreakable, a testament to the love that had brought them together and the life they had built side by side.

When they finally stood to go inside, Nathan paused, looking up at the stars one last time. “You know, Mia, we’ve turned something bad into something beautiful. Just like our lives.”

Mia nodded, a tear slipping down her cheek as she smiled. “Yes, we have. And I think my father would be proud.”

They walked into the house, hand in hand, ready to face whatever the future held. Together, they knew they could overcome anything.

As they stepped inside, the warmth of their home enveloped them, a comforting reminder of the life they had built together. They quietly checked on their sleeping children, marveling at the peaceful expressions on their little faces.

Nathan gently brushed a stray lock of hair from Richard Jr.’s forehead, his heart swelling with love. “He’s growing up so fast,” he whispered to Mia. “Seems like just yesterday he was a newborn.”

Mia nodded, her eyes misting with emotion. “And now we have another little one to watch over. We’re truly blessed, Nathan.”

They left the boys’ room, closing the door softly behind them. Nathan led Mia to the living room, where they settled on the couch, her head resting on his shoulder.

“You know, Mia,” Nathan began, his voice low and filled with emotion, “I never imagined my life would turn out like this. I came here with a mission, thinking I’d be in and out. But instead, I found a home, a family…and you.”

Mia looked up at him, her eyes shining with love. “You saved me, Nathan. In more ways than one. I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Nathan chuckled softly. “Well, I guess we’re both saviors, then. Because you’ve given me more than I ever thought possible.”

They sat in silence for a moment, savoring the intimacy of the moment. Then Mia shifted, looking at Nathan with a mischievous smile. “Remember the day you first arrived at the ranch?”

Nathan laughed. “How could I forget? You were so wary of me. And rightfully so, given the circumstances.”

Mia grinned. “I was cautious. But something about you…I don’t know. There was a goodness in you that I couldn’t ignore.”

Nathan kissed her forehead. “And you saw through all the pretenses, saw the real me. For that, I’ll always be grateful.”

Mia’s expression turned serious. “Do you ever regret giving up your work with Union Pacific? The investigations, the thrill of the chase?”

Nathan shook his head. “Not for a second. This ranch, our family…this is where I belong. The thrill of the chase doesn’t compare to the joy of watching our children grow and building a life with you.”

Mia sighed happily, snuggling closer to him. “I’m glad. Because I can’t imagine doing this without you.”

They remained on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms, until the night grew late. Finally, Nathan stood, extending his hand to Mia. “Come on, let’s go to bed. Tomorrow’s another day, and we have a lot to look forward to.”

Mia took his hand, allowing him to pull her up. “You’re right. Every day is a new adventure.”

As they made their way to their bedroom, Mia paused, looking back towards the porch. “You know, I never did thank my father properly for all he did. Even if his methods were…questionable.”

Nathan smiled, wrapping his arms around her. “He did what he thought was best. And in the end, it brought us together. That’s something to be thankful for.”

Mia looked up at the stars visible through the window, her heart full. “Thank you, Father,” she whispered. “For everything.”

Nathan kissed her gently. “We turned bad into good, just like you said. And we’ve got a lifetime of happiness ahead of us.”

They climbed into bed, holding each other close. The challenges they had faced had only strengthened their love, and the future stretched out before them, bright and full of promise.

As they drifted off to sleep, the last thing Mia heard was Nathan’s soft voice, filled with love and contentment. “I love you, Mia. Forever and always.”

“I love you too, Nathan,” she whispered back. “Forever and always.”

In the quiet of the night, their hearts beat as one, their love a beacon of hope and joy. Together, they had built a life filled with love, resilience, and the promise of endless tomorrows. And in each other’s arms, they found their true home.



Grab my new series, "Brave Hearts of the Frontier", and get 2 FREE novels as a gift! Have a look here!

5 thoughts on “A Mail-Order Groom in Disguise – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Wonderful storyline, solid characters, good and evil. You really need to talk to your proof reader. I could find no issues in the extended epilogue, but the book had way too many mistakes. The spelling was correct but the words were not. It was like the proof reader just used spell check on it and sent it on. So many times I had to stop and read it over and over until it clicked into me what it was supposed to say. Confusing.

    1. Thank you for your feedback! I appreciate your kind words about the storyline and characters. I apologize for the errors you encountered and will work on improving the proofreading process for future editions. Your input is invaluable.

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