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Badge of Redemption

India Lord, Book 3

Don’t let the past dominate your future.

I’ve been a single mom since my marriage imploded. My husband went to work and never returned, leaving me to raise our son. A surprise visit leaves me reeling—the truth is a terrible shock that changes everything. Now money problems are forcing me outside my comfort zone—to take a risk and pray I don’t lose everything.

When I was younger, I trusted the wrong people—a stupid mistake since it landed me with a criminal record. My cousin’s friends have offered me a second chance, and while there are challenges, I’m grateful for the opportunity. My path shifts again after a fortuitous meeting with a gorgeous curvy woman and her son. I’m wary because I refuse to be a notch on any woman’s belt, but Victoria is sweet, genuine, and in need of help.

The widow and the biker—perhaps two misfits can become stronger together.

Contains a big-hearted biker with a reputation, a young widow with a child, and lots of small-town shenanigans and gossip, plus some instalove which makes everything better.

Other Books in the India Lord series

Read an Excerpt

“Faster, Mummy! Faster!”

My daredevil three-year-old, almost four now, chanted from his booster seat in the rear of my car. A glance at the speedometer had me easing up on the accelerator with horror, but I still clenched the steering wheel with white-knuckle strength. The bloody cheek of them. How dare they suggest something so inhumane?

When I’d spoken to Chase’s parents on the phone—no, his name was Doug—they’d professed excitement that they had a grandchild and couldn’t wait to meet him. Their expressions on seeing Liam jump from the car had been full of astonishment and wonderment. I’d watched them tumble head over heels in love with their grandson, who resembled his father. On spotting Liam, every one of their doubts had faded, and they’d embraced my son, wrapping him in love.

It was me—his mother—they didn’t want.

I consciously took a deep breath and focused on safe driving, slowing even more on the gravel. These country roads were unfamiliar, and it was getting late.

“I want my toys,” my son cried.

I groaned inwardly because that whiney tone meant he needed to rest his overtired, over-stimulated mind, and a tantrum loomed on the horizon.

“We’ll play a game,” I said in a bright tone. I swallowed the lump in my throat—one of suppressed emotion and fear and fatigue. My son wasn’t the only one mentally and physically exhausted. “Let’s count the horses, and you tell me what color they are.”

Liam perked up, and a flash of thanks filled me. My son’s temper was not a pretty thing. Mostly, he was an angel. Intelligent. Kind to other kids. Easygoing. The second that switch flipped, he was a little devil. I remember my mother telling me I’d been the same way. I think I’ve matured, but my temper still surfaced occasionally. Slow to ignite, but a firecracker once I got going. I’d unleashed my demonic powers on my son’s grandparents before I’d snatched him up and unceremoniously left.

We wouldn’t be returning soon.

“Horse!” my son shouted.

I winced as pain shot through my head, the beginnings of a nasty tension headache. “What color is it, Liam?”

“Brown,” he shouted.

Another throb speared through my temple. “That’s right.”

“Horse. Lots of horses.”

“Well done,” I praised, finally turning onto a tarmac road. “What colors are they?”

“White and brown,” he said promptly. “One has spots.”

“The one with spots is called an Appaloosa.”

“Pretty,” he said. “Want one.”

“Do you know what horses eat?”


“That’s right. We don’t have lots of grass at our house.” I ignored the tiny flicker of panic inside. Given that I’d run out of money to pay the mortgage, we wouldn’t have a house for much longer. My job at the childcare center and the casual gardening jobs paid our expenses and nothing more. “If we had a horse, it would be a hungry one.”

I caught my son’s frown. “Grandpa will keep it on his farm,” he announced.

I cringed. No doubt. Mr. and Mrs. Anders had fallen in love with my son and would enjoy spoiling him rotten.

A weird noise came from my car, and I instinctively slowed even more. The thumps grew louder, and I pulled onto the gravel shoulder. While I was decent at basic car mechanics and could change a tire, this clatter sounded expensive.

“Why stop, Mummy?”

“The car is sick,” I said. Great. Just great. I was in the middle of nowhere, with only Liam’s grandparents who might help me. And they wanted to whisk him from me. No, wait. I’d met Chase’s—Doug’s first wife—Chrissie. I still had her number, although I hadn’t bothered to call her because I’d looked up an online directory for the Anders’ phone number. I fished her number from my purse but decided to investigate my car first.

“You wait there and read your book. Mummy needs to check the car engine.” Please let it be something simple. I lifted the hood. Parts clicked and whirred, doing everything they should. A knock in the engine could be a combination of things. My father had taught me basic maintenance tasks, and I vaguely recalled something about expensive and immediate repairs. I fervently wished I could call Mum and Dad now, but they’d died not long after I’d met Chase. Doug, dammit! Doug. The man had lied about his true identity because he’d already been married.

History. I shoved the bitter memories from my mind and focused on the present. Stuck in the countryside with darkness approaching, and my car had a weird vibration—an expensive rattle. I couldn’t see anything obviously wrong. I dropped to the ground and checked for leaks. The water and oil were fine because I’d checked them yesterday.

Standing again, I mentally ran through my list of contacts. A pitifully short list and none close enough to ask to drive from Hamilton to Clare. My husband’s first wife it was, then. Nerves fluttered in my belly. Although Chrissie and Jarrod had been incredibly kind, the situation Chase had placed us in had been difficult. I sighed. Understatement.

I forced away thoughts of the man who’d conned me. After glancing at Liam to ensure his book was still occupying his attention, I tapped in Chrissie’s number.

“Hi!” Her bright voice calmed my anxiety until I realized it was a message. “I’m not available right now because I’m on holiday. If this is urgent, call Connor and Milly Sullivan.” She rattled off a number, but my brain didn’t compute. I was busy struggling with a Plan B.

No way in hell would I walk back to Chase’s—Doug, dammit. My child’s father was Doug, not Chase. Anyhow, that was not an option. Sighing, I opened the door and groped through my handbag in search of a pen. A mutter escaped. “Liam, is there a pen back there?”

My son helpfully looked. “No, Mummy.”

I groaned, then recalled a lipstick in my side pocket. That would have to do. I’d just dug the gold tube from the bottom of my handbag when a throaty rumble drew my attention and had me straightening. The growl grew louder, and I spotted a motorcycle. My tummy did a slow somersault as the driver coasted to a halt. Big tanned hands came up to tug off his helmet, and he swung off the bike, making it stand on its own. He was big—around six inches taller than me. His black hair was long and pulled back into a short tail, his skin a darker shade than mine, suggesting a Māori heritage. Faded jeans covered long legs and bulky thighs; his black T-shirt bore a rip toward the hem. Tattoos wrapped both arms, and subconsciously, I took half a step back.

Behind me, a car door opened, and I whirled to see my son had escaped his booster seat.

“Broom-broom!” he shouted.

The man looked startled for seconds, but then he grinned, and I swear my heart jumped in my chest. His smile stripped him of his fierceness and shoved him into an entirely different category. The man was gorgeous and worthy of a second and third glance. I watched, breathless and speechless and still halfway to terrified, while he crouched in front of my son.

“Hello, little man. Do you like bikes?”

The man’s size or his tattoos failed to cow Liam. He reached out with a finger and traced the whorls of a traditional Māori tattoo, his digit pale against the man’s darker skin.

The man said something to Liam. I stepped closer in time to hear Liam’s little boy giggle and the man’s deeper chuckle. He ruffled Liam’s hair and unfurled to his full height.

“Car troubles?” His brown gaze did a quick up and down scan. Not sleazy but checking for injuries, I realized. His attention focused on my clenched fingers, and he took half a step back, his features taking on faint wariness. “I have no intention of hurting you,” he said carefully. “I’m offering help if you need it. Otherwise, I’ll be on my way.”