This is a 20,000 word story, prequel to the Lost and Found Series. It contains strong language, violence and adult situations. Not for readers under 18.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
In the harrowing prequel to The Lost and Found series, three embattled Marines must deal with their devastating physical and emotional injuries in a world that seems to have turned against them.
When the rescue helicopter crashes into his convoy in Iraq, Marine First Sergeant Duncan Wilde struggles with the loss of men, his career and the use of his body. Things can’t get much worse. Until his fiancée decides she has to move on with her life, and that of her unborn child by another man.
Sergeant Chad Lowell knew when he went to war that it would come with a price. And it did. A young Marine under his command is killed by a landmine. Chad’s left with one less leg and a mountain of recriminations. That doesn’t mean he wants to be a pitied by every female he comes in contact with.
Gunnery Sergeant John Palmer is furious at the hand he’s been dealt. He’s served his country faithfully, if not without antagonism, for many years. Now they’re turning him out like a relative who has overstayed his welcome. And, since he’s not even a real man anymore, maybe it is time to move on permanently.
Can these wounded warriors use a friendship borne out of adversity to form a partnership rescuing others? And can they find real love in spite of their challenges?
This book takes us from deployment to hospital to discharge to the first day of Lost and Found. From First Sargent Duncan Wilde’s injury to his fiancé’s walking out, Sargent Chad Lowell’s injury to his dreams to his almost cheery attitude, and Gunny Sargent John Power’s injury to his adapting and his grumpy FU responses to just about everything, this story captivates.
For the record there is no romance in this one, it shows us what these men have to overcome in order to become partners in LNF.
This is a favorite scene when they are all together for the first time.
A week after Duncan moved in with Palmer, Chad Lowell rolled into the room, pushed by an orderly. His left arm was bandaged and there was a stump below the knee of his left leg, but Duncan grinned in spite of himself and gave a yell. He leaned forward as much as he could and almost fell out of bed clasping arms with his ex-Sergeant, genuinely glad to see his buddy. They’d been on two tours together in the desert and they worked together well, though Duncan was several years older. Chad had been injured months ago while they’d been on patrol, walking next to the Marine that had stepped on the mine, Mike Dodd. Dodd hadn’t survived but Chad had, in spite of the traumatic injuries to his entire left side.
He grinned and Duncan was relieved to see the easy-going character still in there. Though his eyes were haunted, his spirit still seemed strong. Duncan shook his head at the younger man. “I never expected you’d still be here. I asked a couple weeks ago but nobody would answer me. How the hell are you?”
Chad shrugged and motioned to the orderly standing behind him. “Fine. Getting the royal escort.” He looked up at the orderly. “Mind if we hang for a while? I’ll holler when I’m ready to go.”
The orderly gave a laid back wave and left.
Chad looked him over. “You look like crap, Dunc. When I heard you were part of that messy ‘copter crash, I knew it was going to be bad. What’d they tell you?”
Reaching above himself, Duncan used the bar hanging over his head to shift his weight on his hips. He was starting to feel when he’d been in one position too long. “I’m okay. Busted pelvis and a few burns. Spinal cord shock was the biggie. But my feeling is starting to come back.” He grinned in spite of himself, and Chad grinned with him. “What about you?”
“Ah, well,” Chad paused to clear his throat, “you knew my leg was gone. Luckily I still have the knee joint. I’m going to be fitted with a prosthetic next month.” The young Marine looked where his leg used to be. “Damn strange nothing being there.”
Duncan couldn’t imagine. As he looked at the Marine in front of him, changed for the rest of his life, it was hard not to get pissed at the country and all the suits who pretended to run it.
“The arm had third degree burns. I’ve had several grafts that have taken well, but I may need Chad touched the skin of his neck and grimaced as if he didn’t like the feel of it.
Duncan nodded in support. The grafting process was as painful as the actual injury sometimes. They’d taken skin from his thigh to graft to his back. The pieces seemed to be attaching fine but he still took meds to combat rejection and infection.
Chad looked across the room at Gunnery Sergeant Palmer, who was flipping channels on the TV. “Hey, Gunny.”
Chad winked at Duncan. “Yeah, nice to see you too, buddy.”
“I’m not your buddy, Lowell.”
Chad made a comical face at Duncan. “The Gunny and I were in the same airplane for a while, weren’t we? Then we shared a rehab room for a while.”
Duncan looked at Palmer. He’d refused to talk to anybody unless it was to berate them. This was the first time he’d heard the man talk to anyone without having a ‘fuck you’ attached. And though he was flipping channels on the TV, Duncan thought he seemed to be paying more attention than he normally did.
“But don’t worry,” Chad continued. “His bark is worse than his bite.”
Madden, J.M.. The Embattled Road (Military Romantic Suspense) (Lost and Found) (Kindle Locations 203-230). J.M. Madden. Kindle Edition.
You can immediately tell these guys have a camaraderie that can build to a lasting friendship.
I laughed and cried as I read this truly inspiring prequel.
5 Contented Purrs for JM!
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J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between ‘combat modified’ military men and the women who love them. J.M. Madden loves any and all good love stories, most particularly her own. She has two beautiful children and a husband who always keeps her on her toes.
J.M. was a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio for nine years, until hubby moved the clan to Kentucky. When not chasing the family around, she’s at the computer, reading and writing, perfecting her craft. She occasionally takes breaks to feed her animal horde and is trying to control her office-supply addiction, but both tasks are uphill battles. Happily, she is writing full-time and always has several projects in the works.
She also dearly loves to hear from readers! So, drop her a line. She’ll respond.