NY Times Bestselling Author
Reconnect with the Lost and Found group as they settle into the intricacies of marriage and growing families.
When Shannon proposes having another baby, John is caught flat-footed. He just survived the weekend from hell, caring for his two rambunctious boys. Now she wants to add another? Fudge no!
But that conversation has to go on hold, because she’s brought home a young soldier who is struggling to reconnect with civilian life. He seems to be checking off a list of tasks before he checks out himself. Can they detour his death plan and give him something to live for?
Marigold Lee hired on at the Lost and Found Investigative Service to honor her father’s memory while she attains her psychology degree. The young soldier with the devastating burns makes her yearn for a relationship, but his suicidal tendencies brings up her own emotional pain.
As she helps him wade through the traumatic minefield of discovering his own lost family and consoling another, they find a connection greater than either of them ever expected.
This book had me laughing at the first page, John’s email to Shannon while she’s away at a convention is absolutely hysterical. Her response even more so as she’s gotten a bit tipsy with her flight home delayed then cancelled.
John’s handling of the twins is both funny and endearing. He does of course have help, but the daycare Moms can scare the hardiest of the LNF guys. Chad goes with him to the twin’s doctor’s appointment and then to the airport to pick up Shannon.
Shannon on the other hand sees someone who needs help but won’t ask as she’s heading the gate for the final leg home. She manages to break his barriers just a bit between the walk to their flight and during it. However, it’s John and Chad that make the first bit of a break through.
This is a favorite scene.
Shannon smiled at Logan. “It’s so much easier to just let them pass. They’re in a hurry to get somewhere, so just let them.”
They retrieved his crutches and bag, and she slung her own bag up over her shoulder. He scowled as she maneuvered up the ramp ahead of him, but there was no way he could get himself and the bag up the ramp. He had to accept her aid. At the top she waited for him, taking the few seconds to check her messages.
He reached out to take the bag and rather than fighting, she let him take it. At least she would be nearby if he stumbled or fell. The baggage claim wasn’t very far away, either.
Her heart began to pound as they navigated the flow of traffic heading to retrieve their bags. It had been a long, stressful week, and she was more than ready to see her grumpy husband. Then she looked over against the wall, and he was there, looking incredibly handsome and strong in his leather jacket and black T-shirt. His shoulders were more broad than the wheelchair, but tapered to a strong, lean waist. There was a scowl on his dark bearded face, but as soon as he saw her his expression lightened and a sexy smile curved his lips. She motioned for Logan to follow her, then jogged across the tile to kiss her husband.
Grinning, he pulled her down into his lap, his mouth settling over hers. Shannon felt the tension from the week ease out of her as she sank into John’s strength, and his hungry kiss. The thrill that she felt from his touch was as energizing today as it had been when they’d first gotten together, and she cherished that.
“I missed you,” she breathed against his neck, hugging him tight.
He drew back enough to look into her eyes. “I don’t like business trips.”
She laughed and slipped off his lap, moving to hug the man standing beside them. “Hi, Chad. You let him drag you along, huh?”
Chad laughed, his blue eyes twinkling. He tipped his cream-colored hat back on his head. “He’s just so cute, Shannon, with those big dark eyes. He needed a battle buddy today taking the kids to the doctor, so I volunteered.”
“Fuck you, asshole,” John growled, swinging around. “You were just bored. I could have done it.”
Chad laughed and made a face. “Maybe.”
“John,” she admonished. “Language.”
Scowling, he looked at Chad. “Fudge you, asshole.”
Shannon shook her head, laughing at the banter. The two of them always had each other’s backs, so she shouldn’t have been surprised to see them together. She glanced over her shoulder. Logan had hung back, moving his bad side to the wall, but he watched the men, seeming a little shocked. She held out a hand and tried to remember if she had told him her husband was disabled. No, she didn’t think she had. She barely even thought about John being bound to a wheelchair anymore. It was just part of him.
Chad had more visible issues, but he didn’t try to hide them anymore. The tendons in his damaged left hand had contracted to the point of almost making a fist, and though they’d faded, the scars on the side of his neck were still visible.
“Logan Vance, this is my husband John Palmer and our good friend Chad Lowell, two of the partners from the Lost and Found Investigative Service.”
John reached out a gloved hand. “Were you hitting on my wife, Mr. Vance? Do I need to kick your ass?”
Logan blinked, obviously aggravated. “No, sir. Your wife was just being kind and helping me out with my bag. I didn’t hit on her, I swear.”
“John,” Shannon breathed. “Stop. You’re embarrassing the guy.”
Logan’s face had flushed, the scars going pale against the floridness of the rest of his skin. John continued to glower, even as he shook Logan’s hand. “Welcome to Colorado, then.”
Chad stretched out a hand as well. “Chad Lowell. You have family out here, Mr. Vance?”
Logan shook his head. “Not anymore, I don’t think. There’s a chance, I suppose. My father’s family was from here, but he said all the family was gone by the time he moved east. I just want to see our old house and the neighborhood where we lived.”
Shannon looked at John, widening her eyes, trying to convey that there was more to the story. Her brilliant husband seemed to understand. “Do you know where it is? We can do a quick search at the office.”
Logan’s face shifted into a frown. “No, thank you. I’ve taken up enough of your time.”
John shrugged, negligently. “You haven’t taken up any of my time. Why don’t you come with us to the office? A few keystrokes and I should be able to tell you all you need to know about your family. I’ll be helping a fellow veteran out.”
Logan looked at his feet, then around the milling people of the airport. Shannon had a feeling he didn’t want to try to make his way through the mass alone. He would do it if he had to, but she could see the struggle in his face.
“Have you rented a car yet?” she asked him.
He shook his head. “I planned on seeing what kind of shuttles were running.”
“Then consider us your shuttle, for now,” she laughed. “You can get a taxi when you leave the office, if you want.”
His eyes slid over John’s chair before, with a sigh, he nodded. “Okay. Let me grab my other bag.”
They walked over and retrieved their bags, the last ones on the belt. Chad took them both, motioning for Shannon and Logan to follow John through the throng. As usual, her husband plowed through people like he was in a race, glaring at those that took too long to move. A wheeled baggage cart drifted over, rubbing the wheels of his chair. The woman pushing the cart was talking to her companion and didn’t even see it happen.
“Hey, Oblivious,” John snapped. “Watch what the fuck you’re doing.”
The woman’s attention jerked around, and she corrected her cart. “I am so sorry,” she gasped, her face going pale.
Shannon followed along in her husband’s wake, keeping pace with Logan on his crutches. She leaned over conspiratorially. “John suffers from a particular form of wheelchair rage. He has no problem giving people a piece of his mind. Usually with the F-word involved.”
Logan smirked, the first humorous response she’d seen from him. “I think we can all appreciate the F word.”
Madden, J.M.. Embattled Return (Lost And Found Book 6). Kindle Locations (375-425). Kindle Edition.
We learn about Marigold, Shannon’s assistant and how John almost messed up her hiring. Yet more giggles from me.
Once at LNF Headquarters, John gets the information from Logan to start his search for his family. When that’s done he recruits Marigold to take Logan to a hotel.
Here we get a closer look at Marigold as she drops her act of annoyance with John. Logan appreciates the humor, and in spite of himself finds he’s attracted to her. Marigold too, is facing that pull and she isn’t quite sure how to handle it.
This is an intense yet enjoyable read, as Logan finds some peace and lots of other things including love.
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.