A Marshal’s Bait of Love – Extended Epilogue


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As the sun dipped low on the horizon, casting a warm golden glow over the dusty streets of Hardwood, Evie stood on the porch of her home, anticipation dancing in her heart. Four years had passed since the tumultuous events that had brought her and Luke together in a whirlwind of danger and romance. Now, as she waited for the arrival of Jack and Trina, her heart swelled with gratitude for the life they had built together.

Inside, the scent of freshly baked apple pie mingled with the sound of children’s laughter, filling the air with a sense of joy and contentment. Evie glanced over at Luke, who stood by the window, his gaze fixed on the road leading into town.

“They’ll be here soon,” she said, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips.

Luke turned to her, his eyes softening with affection. “I can’t wait to see them. It feels like ages since we last had a chance to catch up.”

Evie nodded, her mind drifting back to the day they had returned to Luke’s childhood home to close it up for good. It had been a bittersweet journey, filled with memories of loss and love. But standing there, hand in hand with Luke, she had felt a sense of closure that she hadn’t expected.

“I’m glad we went,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “It was important to say goodbye properly.”

Luke squeezed her hand gently. “I’m just glad you were there with me.”

Before they could say more, the sound of hooves echoed through the quiet street, drawing their attention to the approaching carriage. Evie’s heart skipped a beat as she caught sight of Jack and Trina, their faces beaming with excitement.

“Welcome home!” Evie called out, stepping down from the porch to greet them.

Trina’s eyes sparkled with joy as she enveloped Evie in a warm embrace. “It’s so good to see you, Evie. You look radiant.”

Evie laughed, the sound light and carefree. “And you look positively glowing, Trina. Motherhood suits you.”

Jack clapped Luke on the back, a wide grin spreading across his rugged features. “Luke, my old friend, it’s been too long.”

Luke returned the gesture with a hearty handshake. “It’s good to have you back, Jack. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

As they made their way inside, the children swarmed around them, their laughter filling the air with joyous chatter. Evie couldn’t help but feel a swell of gratitude for the family they had created together.

As they settled around the table, swapping stories and sharing memories, Evie couldn’t shake the feeling that their past had brought them together for a reason. And as she looked around at the smiling faces of her loved ones, she knew that their future held nothing but happiness and love.

This was their happily ever after, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

The evening breeze whispered through the open windows as the conversation flowed, carrying with it the sweet scent of wildflowers from the meadow beyond. Evie savored the warmth of the moment, relishing in the company of her closest friends and the comfort of her home.

As the night wore on, the topic turned to reminiscing about the trials they had faced together and the adventures they had shared. Evie’s heart swelled with pride as she listened to Jack and Trina recount their journey from hardship to happiness, their love for each other shining brightly in their eyes.

“It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?” Jack said, his voice tinged with nostalgia. “But I wouldn’t change a thing. Not for all the gold in California.”

Trina nodded in agreement, her hand finding Jack’s beneath the table. “We’ve been through so much together, but it’s only made us stronger. And now, with our little ones running around, I couldn’t be happier.”

Evie smiled, her heart overflowing with happiness for her friends. “You both deserve all the happiness in the world. I’m so glad you found each other.”

Luke reached over to squeeze Evie’s hand, his gaze warm with affection. “We’re lucky to have such wonderful friends. And to have each other.”

The warmth of his touch sent a shiver of delight down Evie’s spine, and she leaned into his side, grateful for the love they shared.

As the night drew to a close, Jack and Trina bid their farewells, promising to visit again soon. Evie watched them disappear into the darkness, a sense of contentment settling over her like a cozy blanket.

As she and Luke retired to their bedroom, she couldn’t help but reflect on the journey that had brought them to this moment. From the chaos and danger of their early days together to the peace and happiness they now enjoyed, it had been a wild and unpredictable ride.

But through it all, they had remained steadfast in their love for each other, weathering every storm that came their way. As she snuggled into Luke’s arms, she knew that their love would carry them through whatever challenges lay ahead.

With a contented sigh, Evie closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, her heart full of gratitude for the life they had built together and the love that bound them forever.

The morning sun cast a golden glow over the quaint town of Hardwood as Evie and Luke prepared for the day ahead. Their children, a boy named Thomas and a girl named Rose, giggled and played in the yard, their laughter filling the air with joy.

As Evie brushed Thomas’s unruly hair and tied Rose’s ribbons, she couldn’t help but marvel at how quickly time had flown since their wedding day. It seemed like only yesterday that they had stood before their friends and family, pledging their love and commitment to each other for all eternity.

“Momma, can we go see the horses today?” Thomas asked, his eyes wide with excitement.

Evie chuckled softly, ruffling his hair affectionately. “Of course, sweetheart. We can spend the whole day at the stables if you’d like.”

Thomas’s face lit up with delight, and he dashed outside to share the news with Rose, who squealed with joy at the prospect of spending the day with their beloved animals.

As Evie watched her children play, a sense of peace washed over her, filling her with gratitude for the life they had created together. Despite the challenges they had faced along the way, their love had only grown stronger, anchoring them to each other through every storm.

Luke emerged from the house, a smile playing at the corners of his lips as he watched their children frolic in the yard. “They’re growing up so fast,” he said, his voice tinged with a hint of nostalgia.

Evie nodded, her heart swelling with pride. “They are. But we’re so lucky to have them.”

Luke wrapped his arm around Evie’s waist, pulling her close as they stood together, basking in the warmth of the morning sun. “We are indeed,” he said, pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead.

As they headed towards the stables, hand in hand, Evie couldn’t shake the feeling of contentment that settled over her like a warm embrace. No matter what the future held, she knew that as long as they had each other, they could weather any storm that came their way.

Stepping into the bustling stableyard, greeted by the familiar sights and sounds of their beloved horses, Evie couldn’t help but feel a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the life they had built together and the love that bound them forever.

Several years had passed since the harrowing events that had brought Evie and Luke together, and the town of Hardwood had undergone a remarkable transformation. Where once there had been fear and uncertainty, there was now a sense of peace and security, thanks to Luke’s unwavering dedication as sheriff and the support of the townspeople.

The once-feared gang members were now behind bars, serving their sentences for the crimes they had committed. Archie, their former ringleader, had faced swift justice in court, his attempts to plead innocence falling on deaf ears in the face of overwhelming evidence.

As for the corrupt members of the town’s local law enforcement, they had been removed from their positions and held accountable for their betrayal of trust. Luke, with his unwavering dedication to justice, had stepped up to fill the void as sheriff, supported by two capable deputies who shared his commitment to upholding the law.

Despite their newfound tranquility, there were still occasional reminders of the past that haunted Evie and Luke. Archie’s letters, filled with apologies and thinly veiled threats, continued to arrive sporadically, each one a painful reminder of the darkness they had overcome.

Luke made it his duty to intercept these missives before they could reach Evie, sparing her the anguish of reading them. With a heavy heart, he watched the letters turn to ash in the flames, knowing that by destroying them, he was protecting the peace of mind they had fought so hard to achieve.

Evie and Luke found solace in the knowledge that they had faced their demons together and emerged stronger for it. With each passing day, their bond grew deeper, a testament to the resilience of their love and the unbreakable spirit of Hardwood.

As Evie tended to the horses in the stables, she couldn’t help but marvel at how far they had come since their wedding day. With each passing year, their love had only deepened, anchoring them to each other and giving them strength in the face of adversity.

Luke joined her in the stables, a smile playing at the corners of his lips as he watched her work. “You know, I never get tired of seeing you with the horses,” he said, his voice filled with admiration.

Evie chuckled softly, running her hand along the flank of a gentle mare. “They’ve always been a part of my life, ever since I was a little girl,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine my life without them.”

Luke nodded, his gaze softening as he looked at her. “You’ve done an incredible job with the stables, Evie. Your father would be so proud.”

A pang of sadness tugged at Evie’s heart at the mention of her father, but she quickly pushed it aside, focusing instead on the present moment. “I like to think he’s watching over us, wherever he is,” she said, her voice tinged with emotion.

Luke wrapped his arm around Evie’s shoulders, pulling her close as they stood together in the quiet of the stables. “I’m sure he is,” he said, pressing a tender kiss to her temple.

Later in the evening, when Jack and Trina joined in the joyful laughter of their children, Evie stole a moment alone with Luke, their gazes lingering on the scene before them. Amidst the sounds of children’s laughter and the warmth of the setting sun, they found themselves enveloped in a sense of profound gratitude for the life they had built together.

With a gentle squeeze of Luke’s hand, Evie reflected on the journey that had brought them to this moment. The trials and tribulations they had faced, the challenges they had overcome, all seemed to fade into the background as they basked in the glow of their shared happiness.

Their past, once a source of pain and uncertainty, had become the foundation upon which they had built something truly beautiful. Through their love and perseverance, they had transformed hardship into strength, fear into courage, and doubt into unwavering faith in each other.

As the stars began to twinkle overhead, casting their soft, silvery light upon the world below, Evie and Luke knew that they were exactly where they were meant to be – together, forever, and always.


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17 thoughts on “A Marshal’s Bait of Love – Extended Epilogue”

  1. What a story WOW. At times, I could ‘feel’ how each felt with all that was going on. Really good and well written.

  2. Evie’s father instilled a motto ‘A hard day of work is the same if you collect cow patties in a field or count money in a bank.’ Is a good way to live. These two characters Evie and Luke, I was really rooting for them to be found in the maelstrom not of their own making. Evie is a delightful strong women. Traumatize by events, but she finds solace in the aid of the close association of the other residents to maintain her positive outlook. She continued in her delight of the stable animal and calm she received from them. There is a possibly that her father died of a broken heart, since his death was only 6 months after his wife’s death. Her uncle Archibald was not taken down soon enough that he continued his death and destruction for a number of years. Luke is hero, so are the hometown heroes of Hardwood.
    Thank you Leslie Hales for a keeper story.

  3. This was a great book. It shows that sometimes a community or town shows more love and concern than family members. Evie’s uncle was evil but Deputy Lucas caught him and saved Evie and all the money her uncle Archie had stolen. Great read.

  4. I really enjoyed this story very much. The suspense and danger were ever present and encouraged me to read it quickly. It did not disappoint. Thank you.

  5. This extended epilogue didn’t go into details of what really happened afterwards as they usually would! Like why were Trina and Jake gone, what exactly happened in the town, etc.

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