His Marine training taught him that failure is never an option regardless of circumstances. That certainly applies to Chad’s need to stop Lost and Found’s deranged client from using the information he gathered to stalk and abuse his ex. Falling in love with the broken woman and her sweet daughter in the middle of rescuing them is definitely not the best timing. But it’s also inevitable. In Book 3 of this heart-warming military romance series, Chad will discover that protecting Lora is a much easier task than proving he’s the one man she can finally trust with her heart.
Weeks of no incriminating evidence should have clued him in sooner about who was the real victim. Now Chad Lowell is wracked with guilt after the woman he’s assigned to investigate is attacked by her abusive ex-husband right under his nose. Lora and her little girl are in incredible danger, and he vows to protect them at all costs, whether the angry and hurt woman wants him to or not. His Marine training makes the protecting part easy, but nothing he does seems to make Lora want to take a chance on him or his love.
Lora O’Neil left a life of abuse to make a new start for herself and her daughter. When her ex hires Lost and Found Investigative Service to track her down, she’s left reeling both physically and emotionally. The private detective that had been watching her for the past couple of months did finally come to her rescue, but does that mean she should now trust him to help her turn their lives around? The sexy former Marine makes her body feel things she thought she’d never feel for a man again, but she just can’t imagine what it would take for her to heal enough to ever say yes.
When Lost and Found messes up they do it in a big way.
As Chad is getting ready to leave his post for the night when he hears a crash and muffled screams. While he isn’t in time to prevent all her injuries he is able to rescue her from further damage being done by his client, her ex.
Appalled Chad informs Duncan and explains everything to the police, even waiting for the babysitter while Lora is taken to the hospital.
We also see more of Aiden in this one as he is finally found and Duncan goes to evaluate his condition at a hospital in Missouri. Far from where he was in Denver, but no less wary of any help.
This is a favorite scene after Lora’s home is broken into.
Lora didn’t know how she felt. It was as good of a place to hide as any, she supposed. “Are we going somewhere in particular?”
His eyes shifted away, and for a moment, he looked a little uncomfortable. “We are. A little place about an hour south of Amarillo called Honeywell, Texas.”
She had never heard of it. “What’s in Honeywell, Texas?”
He grinned at her. “Not much of anything really. Couple restaurants, couple gas stations, a grocery, a feed store. There’s a little movie theater that plays matinees on the weekends.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “You’ve been there before?”
Winking at her, he passed a vehicle. “I might have grown up there.”
Lora didn’t know what to think. Why on Earth would he take her to his home? “Mind explaining that to me?”
Chad sighed. “Well, we’re not connected in any way, so I thought it would be a good place to hide you out. My family has a ranch down here, several thousand acres, and it’s easy to lose yourself on the land. My dad gave me a chunk of the ranch to try to get me to come home a few years ago, but I wasn’t interested in moving back. It’s nice to visit once in a while, but I doubt I’ll ever live there again.”
“And your parents are okay with you bringing a strange woman and child home with you?” She thought his cheeks might have flushed just a bit.
“Well, they’ll probably get the wrong idea, but that may actually work in our favor. I, um,” he coughed into his hand, “well, anytime I come home I have visitors. Of the female persuasion. Maybe if they think I’m off the market they’ll leave us alone.”
Lora shrank back in the seat, cringing. She didn’t want to belong to any man. Did he actually think she would go for that idea? Her gaze furious, she opened her mouth to respond, but he held up a hand.
“I’m sorry, Lora. We’ll come up with another story. No big deal.”
She looked at his clamped jaw and realized he was offended. Why the hell would he… her eyes fell to his left hand, hidden at his side. Ah. He had scars on that side of his neck, too, and she wondered for the first time how far down they reached. It had to have been incredibly painful, what he’d gone through.
Chad had put himself out there to help her, help them both actually, and she’d cut him off at the knees. Shame fought with her instinct to protect herself at all cost. “I can’t… I don’t know that I would be able to fake being with you. Physically, I mean.”
If anything, his jaw hardened even more. “No problem,” he snapped. She clenched her fists and gave a sharp cry, frustrated that she’d hurt him even more. “I can’t do physical. Me. I can’t do that.”
Some of the tension went out of the fist clutching the steering wheel and he glanced at her. “Okay. I can understand that. We’ll come up with something else then.”
Lora wanted to cry, and scream, and most of all she wanted to punch Derek Malone. The man had ruined her life and Mercy’s life, and she didn’t know if they would ever be the same. She missed being a woman, letting a man touch her without shrinking in fear. Dinner out, dessert in. Sharing every day with someone important. For a few precious months, she’d had that.
Chad turned on the radio and concentrated on the road, letting her off the conversational hook. Mercy slept quietly in the back seat, worn out from all that had happened in the night and morning.
Looking out the window, she tried to imagine the life she had before, but it was so shrouded in all the crap that came after. A tear slipped down her cheek and she was glad she had her head turned away.
Madden, J.M.. Embattled Home (Lost and Found Book 3) (pp. 67-68). Kindle Edition.
While Lora recognizes her issues, Chad tries to be patient. He’s already fallen for this feisty single mom and her daughter. He’ll do everything he can to protect her from her ex and his mother.
Lots of action and hold your breath moments when combined with the blossoming relationship keep you turning the pages.
The interactions between Duncan and Aiden will intrigue you and have you asking for more of Aiden. There’s quite the story there I’m sure.
5 Contented Purrs for J.M.!
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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.
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