Towards the Edge of Vengeance – Extended Epilogue

Six Months Later

“Are you feeling alright, ma’am?” Meg asked as she set the basket down on the table. “You don’t seem yourself.” 

“Oh, yes, I’m okay,” Mina said. “Just a little tired.” 

“You aren’t letting what that nasty Miss Francine said bother you, are you?” Meg pressed. 

“What? No! Not really. I mean, I don’t know.” Mina sighed. “It’s hard not to let things like that bother me when she says it in front of all those other women, and they all seem to agree with her.” 

“You know they’re just jealous of the fact you got Mr. William’s attention and none of them did,” Meg replied. “They all wanted to have a chance with him, but he didn’t have any interest in settling down with anyone before you came along. Of course, they’re going to be sour over it. The fact that he’s asked you to be his wife is amazing. You shouldn’t worry about them.” 

“It doesn’t matter what they wanted! It’s not like I have anything above what other women have,” Mina said. 

“What do you mean?” 

“I mean it’s like they seem to think I’ve got some secret power that makes BJ want me above them. And it’s not like that. I fell in love with him, I admit, but I didn’t cast any spell on him or anything like that. He fell in love with me out of his own volition,” Mina said. 

“Ma’am, if you’re worried that other women won’t like you because you’re in love with BJ, I think you should reconsider what’s important in life,” Meg said. “If I may be so bold.” 

Mina looked over at the older woman with raised eyebrows. “Go on.” 

“The way I see it, those women can either go out and find husbands, or they can’t. It’s not on you to make sure all the other women in your life are happy. You fell in love with a good man, and he fell in love with a good woman. So why are you upset?”

“I guess I’m just worried,” Mina confided. “When he asked me to marry him, I was sure I was the happiest woman in the entire world. Now, I don’t know.” 

“Don’t you want to marry him?” Meg asked. 

“More than anything, I’m just scared.” 

Meg looked at her for a moment, her penetrating gaze causing Mina to look away. 

“What’s scaring you?” she asked, prompting Mina to reply immediately. 

“I don’t want to be ostracized,” she admitted. “I felt like I was really making something of myself here. But I felt some of that was being in my place on BJ’s arm. Now, with what Bethany said today and the way Mary and Nellie both laughed, it makes me think that the entire town is talking about me.” 

“And what would they have to say besides the fact that you are indeed one of the luckiest women alive?” 

“That I’m ruining his life,” Mina answered. “That I don’t have anything to offer him and I’m just like Winston, only after his money.” 

“No one thinks that!” Meg blurted. 

“That’s all but what she said,” Mina insisted. “You heard her yourself. She said I came from nothing and was only supposed to stay for a spell, and now here I am with this large ring on my finger. Of course, she’s thinking that I did something to get BJ to fall in love with me so I could get at his money.” 

There was another pause, and Meg sighed. “I wish I could tell you something that would make you forget all about what those jealous girls think, but I can’t. I can tell you all the wonderful things you do around here, and the way you’ve made Mr. Williams so happy since the day you arrived, but until you start to believe that he would do anything in the world to keep you—for you—then you’re just going to think those silly girls are right.” 

Now it was Mina’s turn to sigh. 

“You’re right. I should just forget all about them and focus on my own happiness. I mean, I’m going to be married in just a few months! That’s something to be thrilled about!” She beamed. 

“Yes, it is. You’ve got so many things to start planning. If I were you, I would think carefully about who I would put on the guest list,” Meg said with a wink. 

“Do you think I should invite them or leave them be?” 

“Invite the whole town if you like,” Meg said. “You know the everyone is going to talk about it the day it happens, so why not have them all there to see you in your happiest moment? When you finally accept the fact that he is in love with you and only you, you’re going to be thrilled to walk down the aisle to him and tell the entire world what he means to you.” 

Mina smiled. “Thanks, Meg. That really means a lot to me.” 

“Oh, you know me. I just say things that come to my mind. And I don’t say things I don’t mean, so you’d best think on what I just told you. Because I mean it!” She shook her finger at Mina as she spoke. 

“Promise I will.” Mina crossed her heart with her finger. 

“Good,” Meg said. “Now, you’d better go get changed into something for dinner. You don’t want to wear your Sunday best.” 

“Right you are,” Mina said. She rose from the couch and headed toward the staircase. 

Meg was right. She didn’t have to worry about what the other women in town had to say about her engagement. She already knew many of them had tried to get BJ’s attention in the past, and he’d made it clear to each of them that he didn’t want to court. 

She was the one he’d finally chosen, and that wasn’t her fault. If anything, she should be happy that she had what he was looking for in a wife. 

She’d done nothing out of the ordinary. She was just her own authentic self, and she loved to make him happy. She hadn’t done anything to try to get closer to him out of any motive for money. All she had done was try to be the best she could be. 

And now, he had asked her to be his wife. 

She had, of course, been asked before. But that was by someone who hadn’t loved her—someone she had only briefly thought she loved. 

This was different. She was now marrying the man she had fallen in love with months ago, and she couldn’t wait for their wedding day to come. It would change a lot of things around the ranch, but they were all good things. 

Mina was ready for the next chapter of her life, and when she thought of being Mrs. Williams, she couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her entire face. BJ was the light of her world, and she was proud that he had asked for her hand in marriage. 

She’d never thought the day would come when he would give her that kind of attention, yet after he asked her out to that dance a few months prior, it was like they both knew they were just meant to be together. 

BJ truly was the love of her life, and Mina couldn’t imagine spending a single day without him. 

Let the other women think what they did. 

No one could come between her and BJ. No one and nothing. 

Or so she thought. 

Two Weeks Later

“What do you mean, he’s coming to town?” Mina cried. 

“That’s what the telegram said,” BJ replied. “He’s challenging me to a duel for your hand in marriage.” 

“What!” She gasped. 

BJ took a deep breath. “The telegram says that he’ll be in town tomorrow and wishes to see me. We shall duel it out, man to man. The winner is to claim your hand. That’s really all it says.” 

“That’s ridiculous! Crazy, even. I don’t care what he wants. He’s the one who left me, and I don’t for one second believe that it was temporary. He might be trying to tell the world that now, but it’s not the case, and I’m not marrying him.” Mina folded her arms over her chest. 

“No, you’re not, and I’ll make sure he knows that tomorrow,” BJ assured her. 

“You’re not actually going to go through with a duel!” Mina cried. 

“It seems that he’s reached out to the local newspaper and everyone is expecting it,” BJ said. “I’m sorry, love, but I can’t back down from this. I’ll be a coward. Not to mention I’m not going to let anyone harass either one of us.” 

“But you just went through all that with my cousin, why must you go through something like this, now?” Mina nearly began crying. 

It wasn’t fair that she was so close to happiness, and the man she loved more than life itself was going to once again be putting his own life on the line—this time for her. 

She ought to have the freedom to marry whoever she chose without someone coming to claim her hand. It wasn’t their right. But, with the whole town now thinking that this was happening, she knew BJ wasn’t going to back out of it. 

“It’s just not fair,” she said, a tear running down her cheek. 

“Don’t you worry about a thing,” BJ said. “I’m not letting this man come in here and take you.” 

“I told him already that I don’t want anything further to do with him. I don’t know why he thinks he has a chance with me. I don’t even know how he found out I live here now!” Mina cried. 

“Shh, my darling. You’re all worked up, but you don’t need to be. I told you, I’ll take care of this,” BJ said. 

“You could get killed.” 

“I’m not going to let anyone hurt me,” BJ said. “Trust me.” 

He kissed her on the forehead before folding the telegram and putting it in his pocket. Then, he walked out of the parlor, leaving Mina alone. 

She was horrified. 

Her former fiancé, Robert Mulberry, had written her a letter a couple of weeks before telling her that he was coming for her. He claimed that he’d not broken off their engagement, but merely had put it on hold temporarily while he was working toward some of his personal goals. 

She’d explained to him that he had, in fact, broken it off, and he was now too late to try to get her back as she was engaged to be married in just a couple months. She’d also explained to him that she was no longer in love with him, nor did she wish to ever see him again. 

Though Mina often worried about being rude, she was very clear in insisting Robert not come to Hidden Meadow Ranch, and she told him she had no desire to even speak with him about anything further. She was to be married to someone else, and he no longer held any place in her heart nor her life. 

But he hadn’t taken the news well, going so far as to tell her that he was coming to take what was rightfully his own—and if she wasn’t willing to come herself, then he would have a duel with her new fiancé and win her back. 

She wasn’t sure that was even something that could be done, but he was so insistent, she worried BJ was really going to go through with the idea. 

Mina had been so terrified of losing him when he had gone after her cousin, she hated the idea of him being put in danger again. Robert was far from a saint. He only cared about himself, and she had been glad when he had broken off that engagement with her. 

Her parents had been far more upset about it than she was, but she’d quickly realized that her tears were shed out of guilt and shame for losing her fiancé, not out of love for him. 

She hated that he had come back into her life, and she didn’t feel any better after BJ had told her that no one would come to take her away. 

The fact that he even seemed to consider a duel made her feel sick to her stomach. And with the telegram announcing that he would be in town tomorrow, Mina knew time was running out. 

“This is to be a fair duel, meaning there is one bullet in each gun, and there shall be only one shot fired each. If that.” Sheriff Fuller looked at both men. “If either of you disobeys the rules, you will immediately be disqualified, and the other shall win the duel.” 

“What if one of us winds up dead?” Robert asked. 

He smirked at Mina as he spoke, and she looked away in disgust. She hadn’t said even a single word to him since he’d arrived, and she refused to even now. 

“No murder charges shall be brought forth since both parties are consenting to the duel,” Fuller replied. “Now, you both know how it goes. You are to take four long paces away from each other turn, and fire.” 

“Are we allowed to shoot with intent?” Robert asked. 

“If you are asking my permission to kill someone, I’m telling you that this is a lethal game, and I don’t condone its use,” Fuller growled. “But there are rules of engagement, and those rules state that you are to take the full strides, turn, and fire. I shall not interfere besides.” 

“Very good,” he said. “I hope you’re ready to meet your maker, rich kid.” 

“I hope you’re as good of a shot as you are arrogant,” BJ replied. It was the most he’d said all morning, and Mina had to fight to keep herself from screaming at them both to stop. 

She hated this situation, and she blamed herself for the fact that BJ was here. If he was killed tonight, she had no idea what she would do. He was doing this out of love for her. He didn’t want anyone else to marry her, and he was willing to put his own life on the line to make sure she was happy. 

She could put a stop to this if she were to marry Robert. But that meant she would be walking away from the true love of her life, and she couldn’t do that. She wouldn’t do that. It would be just as much a blow to his heart as a bullet, though she could take some comfort in the fact that he wasn’t killed for her. 

“Quiet in the crowd, quiet, please!” Sheriff Fuller held up his hand, and everyone gathered fell silent. 

It was so quiet Mina could hear herself breathing. Her chest rose and fell with the intensity of her gulps, but she barely noticed. 

All she could think about was the fact the sheriff was putting the men in place—then he gave the signal for them to walk forward. 

“Four paces, turn, and shoot!” he shouted. “Begin!” 

The men strode forward, each one taking a full stride. Mina held her breath. It felt like an entire lifetime passed in the moments that the two men walked away from each other, and time seemed to slow down further as they both turned and aimed their guns. 

She involuntarily screamed as they both pulled the trigger, but it was Robert who cried out and fell back, clutching his shoulder as he did. 

BJ, for his own part, stood tall with his arm outstretched, the gun still aimed at his opponent. 

“And we have a winner!” Fuller shouted. “BJ Williams! Is there nothing you can’t do?” 

The crowd erupted on either side of the street, but Mina didn’t wait. She couldn’t hold herself back any longer. She pushed her way through the crowd and threw herself into BJ’s arms. 

He held her close, rocking her safely back and forth as she sobbed with relief. 

The doctor was tending to the wounds of the fallen man, but BJ’s mind was clearly on other things. 

“Sheriff, you can assure me that that man will no longer bother me or my bride?” he asked. 

“If he does, he’ll be thrown behind bars,” Sheriff Fuller promised. 

“Good. Then I have a favor to ask of you,” BJ said. 

Mina stood taller now, turning slightly to face the sheriff as BJ spoke. 

“Yes? What can I do for you?” Fuller asked. 

“I want you to take us into your office and marry us right now,” BJ said. 

Mina gasped. “What! Right now?” 

“I’m not going to wait around for another catastrophe to come upon us,” BJ told her. “I love you and you love me. I don’t want to wait another moment before making you my wife. What do you say?” 

Mina didn’t even have to pause to think. She knew what she wanted. 

What she’d always wanted. 

She clapped her hands as she jumped up and down. “Yes! Oh yes!” she cried. “Let’s get married, right now!” 

And so, they did. 

THE END


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23 thoughts on “Towards the Edge of Vengeance – Extended Epilogue”

    1. I was hoping that BJ had dug up the treasure and found a framed photo of his mother and father. Mementos he would have treasured more than money.
      Overall, a really good read.

  1. Thanks for the great read…it was hard to put this down when I had to stop to do chores – I enjoyed it very much!

  2. An awesome story that kept you turing pages until the end and it came to quick. Enjoyed every page of your book. Will be looking for more of your stories

  3. I love reading your books but unfortunately sometimes the extended epilogue will not load. It says there was an error. Tried rebooting my kindle but to no avail. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoy your wring skills

  4. Really good book. I was not happy that BJ didn’t dig up the treasure and you didn’t let your readers know what if anything was really there. That’s the only thing I think the book needed. Keep on writing fantastic stories!!!

  5. Two gaps in a rather long, boring, drawn out story. Gap one: Winston escapes from prison. Next thing we hear about him is he’s in a town playing poker and buying drinks for the other players. No explanation as to where he got the money to play. He wouldn’t have had any money on him when he escaped because it wasn’t a planned escape. So, where did he get it?
    Gap two: Nothing more said about the buried treasure after Winston tried to find it. So we’re just left in the dark about that about that as well.
    Sorry, but not impressed with this story at all.

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