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Embattled Ever After
SERIES: Lost and Found, Book 5
GENRE: Military/Police, Romantic Suspense
ENDING: HEA (They’re a couple and live Happily Ever After.)
WORD COUNT: 75,000 to 99,999 (large book)
HERO’S AGE: 40-49
HEROINE’S AGE: 30-39
HEAT LEVEL: Very Sexy (Let Me Show Exactly What I Want)
GRAPHIC LANGUAGE: Some (The occasional “F” bomb, lots of other talk, some explicit sex)
Duncan Wilde has avoided long-term relationships very well since his fiancée left him wounded in the hospital years ago. That one harsh lesson – that he needed to guard his heart – has stuck with him for years. Besides, he’s a beat-up old marine well past his time for love. The fiery young doctor from Kansas City seems to think otherwise, though. Too bad she’s so damn young.
Alex Hartfield grew up as a military brat, but she sees something in Duncan that makes her think of permanence and starting a family. She wants someone to come home to every night and love, and he’s the first man who makes her guarded heart race with hope and excitement. Now, as they try to understand the dangerous incidents going on around them, they fight to find common ground. But it seems as if fate has some tricks up her sleeve.
I urge you to read the books of the Lost and Found series in order! Each can be read as a stand-alone, but you get a much better experience by taking them all in.
Warning – this is the fifth book in the Lost and Found series, and as always, there are ups and downs. Readers need to be aware that I deal with PTSD issues, suicide, and miscarriage. But, as always, there is a happy ending!
READ AN EXCERPT
The crowd parted to reveal the hallway across the room. There, with the shine of the multi-colored Christmas lights glinting off her dark auburn hair, stood Dr. Alex Hartfield. Square, narrow black glasses framed laughing eyes and her lips were pursed in a mischievous smile as she watched his reaction. Unable to help himself, Duncan glanced down her frame. A gray sweater hugged her chest and rested lightly on her tight, jean-clad hips. When he looked up a spark had entered her vibrant green eyes, her lips had spread into a broad smile and she started to walk toward him.
Oh, bloody hell…
Then, she leaned down to press a kiss to his cheek. Duncan held completely still as she touched him, wondering what the hell she was doing here.
Then he realized the rest of his crew was waiting for some reaction, so he forced a smile and waved her to the seat across from him. With a few slaps on the back, his people began to fade away.
Duncan made himself lean back in the booth and try to look collected. Hard to do with Chad’s crazy-ass ‘Save a Humvee, Ride a Marine’ t-shirt on over his polo and a stunning woman sitting across from him. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this madness. My men seem to think I’m in a rut.”
She smiled, her lips a pretty shade of dark pink. “Well,” she murmured, voice teasing. “Maybe the rut isn’t easy to see to the person that’s in it.”
Duncan tilted his head in ascent. “Perhaps. Can I get you a beer or a drink?”
“I’ll take a beer.”
Since no one had a spare in their hand, Duncan pushed himself up out of the booth and limped to the bar, cane clicking softly on the hardwood floor. Zeke had already told them to help themselves to anything they wanted, so he found the cooler and dug out a couple of longnecks, then carried them back to the table.
Alex smiled when she took hers. “My favorite. Thank you.”
Blinking, he sank down onto the cushion. The brand was his favorite as well. For some reason, he’d thought she’d be too good for a regular beer. It seemed a little low-class for her. But as he watched her lift the bottle to her lips, fingernails gleaming on the low bar light, she totally made it work. “I’m curious why you’re here.”
Pursing her lips, her eyes lifted to his. “Well, I called out originally to check on Mr. Willingham. You haven’t heard anything from him?”
Duncan shook his head, sighing. “For some reason, I didn’t think I would. He may show up later.”
Alex looked sad at the news but resigned. “Your office manager told me that, but I was hoping maybe there was something. Do you come across vets like him a lot?”
Duncan scraped at the beer label with his thumb. “More than I like to admit. We have a lot of veterans out there right now and they don’t always take care of themselves the way they should. We help the ones we can, but we only have so much work to go around. I have more applicants than I can ever hope to place.”
“Wow. I had no idea.” She frowned, fine lines creasing the skin between her arched brows. “I grew up on bases but it’s been a while. I mean, I’ve been away from the day in and day out life since I graduated high school. You see the war on the news but it seems very distant once you’re back in the civilian world with regular, non-military people.”
Duncan grimaced. “Yes. We’ve dealt with that for years. People are slowly becoming more aware, though. There are more veterans’ organizations popping up. And the government is realizing how behind they are.”
Her shadowed eyes seemed sad. “I have to admit I felt…outraged when I realized what had happened to Mr. Willingham. Somebody should have cared about what happened to him, someone should have noticed he was gone.”
Duncan shrugged. “Somebody probably did, but until the veteran feels secure enough to reach out, we can only wait.”
MEET J.M. MADDEN
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author 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.