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Badge of Tenacity

India Lord, Book 2

Can a retired military man finally claim his childhood friend as his lover when they’ve both changed, and a world of experience and problems lies between them?

I’ve retired from the military and moved home with two goals:
1—to go into business with my best friend.
2—to stake a claim on Chrissie, the gorgeous woman who haunts my dreams.
Number two bothers me because, while she’s currently single, I know nothing about her private life or marriage. I’m about to find out…

Since my husband died, life has been challenging. I work long hours to pay the bills, and someone is playing nasty pranks on me. The anxiety messes with my mind and causes big-time stress, but I keep going. That’s what I do.
Jarrod reappears in my life with perfect timing, and he’s no longer a scrawny kid. He’s muscular and easy on the eye—a generous man who appeals to me on every level. We might not have a future, but he’s perfect as Mr. Right Now. If only the rest of my existence ran as smoothly.

Contains a determined ex-military man, a hard-working lady farmer facing skullduggery from a mystery foe, and a little small town instalove, which makes everything better.

Other Books in the India Lord series

Read an Excerpt

I squelched through puddles, the mud sucking at my old gumboots. Frigid liquid nipped my toes, my water-logged merino socks no longer trapping in warmth. I shivered, downright miserable and cranky after a frustrating morning. A curse slipped free when I spotted a black farm vehicle sitting in my driveway.

Great. Just great.

An already shitty day was about to become worse. I stepped forward and forced a bland smile.

“Oliver, why are you here?”

My brother-in-law climbed out of his vehicle, his handsome and florid face wreathed in a welcoming greeting, the breeze ruffling his well-groomed black hair. “I came to check on you. I promised Doug I’d help and ensure you needed nothing.”

Oliver had told me that before, but my husband hadn’t liked how his brother had bossed him around and fired orders at him. The two men had different farming styles, which was why their father had subdivided the land and given his two sons half each.

“Thanks, but I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.” His brown gaze moved up and down, and I felt naked under his scrutiny. “What happened?” His expression blazed, full of curiosity.

“Got distracted and tripped over my feet.”

“I see you got your cows out of my paddock.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. Someone cut the fence.” I’d need to repair it before I used that paddock again for grazing.

Oliver tutted. “You should’ve rung me and asked for help.”

“If I’d realized they’d gone onto your land, I would’ve called you. I needed to muster them and returned to the house to get ear tags. I’m selling the calves at the sale next week.”

“You look tired. Still working at that pub?”

“Yes.” Another contentious matter and none of my brother-in-law’s business.

“Doug would hate to see you serving drinks. I’ve seen the guys hit on you now that he’s gone. If you’re not careful, someone will take advantage.”

Anger flared in me. Oliver discomfited me more than any of the pub’s patrons. My boss kept customers in line and didn’t stand for any disrespect toward his female staff.

“Chrissie, you’re stressed and tense. Let me give you a massage?”

I stiffened, my posture turning rigid.

“I have a free hour,” he continued. “Why don’t you go inside and take a shower? Relax under the hot water before I do the massage. Do you have any baby oil or lotion?”

He had to be freakin’ kidding. No way in hell I’d let him intimately touch me. Nor any of the other local men who thought their attentions should thrill me. What was wrong with Clare’s residents? The women eyed me as if I intended to steal their men. The older ones with unmarried sons thought I needed a man to save me, and the elderly pensioners patted my hand and told me I was still young. I should catch a man and bear children.

“Chrissie, what do you say?”

I backed up a step. “No, I don’t think—”

“I only want to help.” The lustful gleam in his eyes, the one he couldn’t entirely hide, gave him away. Help wasn’t the only thing on his dirty mind.

Footsteps sounded behind us—loud on the gravel. I jolted as masculine arms wrapped around me.

“Hi, angel. I’m home.”

He drew me firmly against his chest, ignoring my mud-splattered, wet clothing as I whirled to face him, the adrenaline rush making me dizzy. Tanned fingers tipped up my chin. Eyes the color of a stormy sky twinkled at me.

Familiar eyes.

I slumped against him, and his mouth closed over mine before I could utter a word. His grip on me wasn’t tight, but mindful of Oliver, I didn’t halt the kiss. Instead, I enjoyed the hell out of the soft lips teasing mine.