“Okay,” he said softly, stroking her hair back behind her ears. “But let’s start with baby steps.” He took a step closer. “Will you let me give you a hug?”
Just the thought of his arms around her set off a war inside her stomach. Yes, she wanted to feel the security of not being alone. She wanted to burrow into his spicy scent and block out the world. But the absolute spike of terror the thought of being restrained set off was almost debilitating. Oxygen became sparse in her lungs and she gulped in air.
But wait. This is Chad, she told herself again. Sexy Chad that wanted her more than anyone else she’d ever seen.
Straightening her spine, she nodded.
Chad lifted his arms around her and pulled her in against his chest. Lora fought not to struggle and focused on his collarbone. Inhaling the scent of his skin, she tried to count down from one hundred. But as the weight of his arms settled around her neck, she tensed. Chad immediately eased the pressure and she was able to hold herself together.
Lora felt like she was dancing on the edge of a cliff, daring the wind to push her over, but she knew she needed to do this. She wanted to do this.
Chad pulled back and cupped her face, pressing a kiss to her lips. Lora frowned as he stepped away.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
Chad winked at her and crossed to the bed. He nodded his head to the other side. “I want you to lay down on the bed. I am going to lay down beside you and we’re going to talk.”
“After the initial spike of fear, Lora could actually breathe, and just talking sounded like a good idea. She padded to the other side of the mattress as he removed his prosthetic, setting it to the side. Chad sat back and arranged the bedding so that they slid under the sheet. They were both still completely dressed as they laid down shoulder to shoulder, her left side to his right.
“I will never judge you,” he whispered into the darkness, his words hitting her heart like a cannonball. “What was done to you should never happen to any woman. I know you feel like you need to make a stand against him, but I don’t want you to rush this. I plan on being here for the long haul, no matter what. Okay?”
She nodded against the pillow, wiping the tears from her temples. She laced her fingers in his and turned on her side to reach her other arm across his chest. There was no fear as she squeezed him.
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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.
Connected Books: Lost and Found Series
The books below are connected to the Lost and Found series but can be read out of order.