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Consequential Love Series (Resolute Love - Book #1, Challenged Love - Book #2, Victorious Love - Book #3)



A startled gasp escaped, when she rolled the person over, and realized this was an injured young man with a bleeding wound on one shoulder and another on his head. To ensure his survival, she needed to move him into the cabin, but how? Too many random thoughts bombarded her, one after the other and none of them helpful. Silencing the panic, she said a hurried prayer for strength and assistance in getting him out of the cold weather. Blessed peace and tranquility engulfed her manic thoughts.

“Can you walk?”

The words echoed in the emptiness as she shook the man with frantic energy, more concerned with rousing him than further hurting his injured shoulder.

“You have to help me; I can't move you by myself. WAKE UP!”

His eyes snapped open. Oh my! The color of his eyes was a mesmerizing combination of blue and brown, the most unusual hazel ever created. Snowflakes clung to long lashes framing his eyes. Many a woman must have lost her good senses in those eyes—definitely bedroom eyes.

Her stomach did a flip, and butterflies fluttered around in her stomach. No, not butterflies, more akin to dragons in flight, big-hot-heavy dragons.

After breaking out of the woods, Garrett remembered collapsing and surrendering to exhaustion and pain. The sensation of being rolled over and a woman's frantic voice breached his clouded senses followed by none-too-gentle shaking. Damn! The shaking ratcheted up his pain. How could he stop her and let the cold chase away his aches and pain? If he ignored her for a while longer, perhaps she'd go away.


That did it; forcing his eyes open, Garrett became eternally grateful he opened them. The woman shaking him looked angelic. Blue eyes peered down at him, and a cute nose sat above the most kissable lips ever. A Nordic style winter hat covered her head, but wisps of hair fell free in a halo of gold around her face. By reaching up, he could bring the angelic face close enough for a kiss.

“Come on! Get up! I can't leave you out here, and I need your help.”

Leigh broke from the trance she entered with the first glimpse of his eyes. Those remarkable eyes opened and raked over her face. When they stopped on her lips, she lost herself in dreams of kisses and more.

With reluctance, Garrett surrendered the idea of a kiss and struggled to stand. The woman wrapped an arm around him, and after a few attempts they achieved an upright position. They lurched through the snowbanks, falling over often before they reached the house. She threw open the back door, and they collapsed inside with Garrett on the bottom and the woman stretched on top of him.




The weekend from hell ended with no one dead and no physical injuries sustained, so they considered their first meeting with Leigh's parents a success. Garrett bonded well with her dad, Frank, but her mom, Lois, never warmed up to him. Correction, she had been darn right cold and hostile toward him. Neither of them remembered her ever using his first name.


The drive from the cabin to town proceeded with limited conversation. The familiar sounds of country music filled the car. They each contemplated what happened over the weekend.


"I'm glad the roads are clear of all the snow. Riding the snowmobiles cross-country didn't give us any indication of the road conditions." No response. Leigh continued in hopes of drawing him into a conversation. "We have time for breakfast before your appointment."


"Hmm…uh-huh." Garrett stared out the passenger window, lost in thought. The snow-covered scenery didn't register with him.


"Garrett, you're so quiet; a penny for your thoughts."


A sigh escaped as he faced her.


"Plenty of things are on my mind. Guess the highlights are my bewilderment at the intense hatred your mom harbors against me; my concern over leaving you alone; and my curiosity about my new job and boss." His voice trailed away as he shifted to the right. Focused out the side window, he mumbled, "Lots of things on my mind."


She cleared her throat. "Please don't let my mom mess with your head. For some reason, she wants me back with David, so she'll continue pushing her agenda. I hope she'll drop her efforts after we're married, but I honestly have no idea what we should expect."


"You're not helping." He rapped his knuckles against the cold window and rested his head against it.


She took her eyes off the road and glanced at him. Instead of sitting tall, he slumped in the seat, an uncharacteristic posture for him.


His cell phone rang, so he punched the screen to answer the call. "Hi, this is Garrett."


"Joe Henderson here. Something came up, and we need you sooner than expected for the assignment. Can you report for work tomorrow and leave that night?" His new boss asked an unexpected question.


"Yes, sir, my fiancée and I are headed your direction later today." Garrett held back a sigh of frustration.


"Outstanding! You'll have time for a review of the information on your assignment and…wait a minute, did you say fiancée?"


"Yes, our engagement happened recently. She's joining me in Brainerd."


"Congratulations! Bring her with you on Tuesday, so she can meet everyone. See you then." A click ended the call.


"Perfect." He stared at his cell phone in disbelief.


"What's up?" The sarcasm of his tone worried her.


"That was my new boss calling. He needs me on the assignment right away, so we're going into the office tomorrow morning."


"What? A whole week early? But we planned on looking at houses all week."


Garrett glanced at her. "Sorry, he said something came up."




"Thanks for the dance." His lowered voice sent chills down her back, and his lips brushed hers in a soft kiss.


"My pleasure. I loved the song."


Her answer preceded a surprising round of polite applause from the other patrons and staff in the bar. The focus of her eyes darted around in confusion as she'd forgotten where they were; a blush colored her cheeks.


In his usual confident manner, Garrett acknowledged the other patrons and helped her back on the chair. A movement off to one side caught his attention. A tall dark-haired man stared at them. The man was Andrew Klein.


"I'll be right back. Order me the shrimp and a draft beer, please." A light kiss brushed her cheek before he walked away. Rather than taking a direct path toward Klein, he circled around and caught up to his quarry in the hallway leading to the restrooms.


"You're a long way from home, Klein." Garrett called out to the man's back as he walked down the hallway.


The man stopped, his shoulders stiffened as he turned and faced Garrett. "You have me at a disadvantage, sir."


"Somehow, I doubt it since you visited me in the hospital." The intense fury at facing this man in a restaurant with Leigh steps away overcame Garrett and manifested into a snarl. "Don't bother with denials; you showed up on their surveillance system."


"You got me." Klein held up his hands in mock surrender. "The man who killed my brother fascinated me, so I searched for you."


"Why?" Garrett stepped closer stopping three feet away from the other man.


"After I took custody of my brother's body," he spat out, "and shipped him home, I allowed my curiosity about the man who caught my brother twice and then killed him rule my actions."


"Have you resolved your curiosity?"


"Not quite." Klein laughed at Garrett's scowl. "Detective Nichols gave me the party line on what happened. Is the woman with you tonight the one my brother supposedly threatened?"


Garrett bristled at Klein's reference to Leigh, and both hands clenched into matching fists.


"Not supposedly, fact. He held a gun to her head, and I stopped him before he hurt her." Garrett eyed the man and assessed him with the critical eye of a law enforcement professional. "Your brother was an escaped federal prisoner, convicted, and sentenced to life without parole; I couldn't allow him to escape."


"You killed him." Klein hissed and jabbed a finger into Garrett's chest.


"I did after he tried to kill me. Twice." He swiped Klein's finger away. "When do you leave for home?"


"Not for a while, I find this place offers answers to my questions and consoles my grief."


"Whatever you do, stay away from my fiancée."


"And you?"


"I've survived in war zones; another Klein doesn't worry me."


"Even with your injuries?" He nodded at the splint on Garrett's arm.


"Not a problem for me."


"I'll keep it in mind. If you'll excuse me, I was headed for the restroom."


"Don't forget, stay away from her."


With a slight nod, Klein entered the men's room.


Garrett released a sigh, leaned against the wall, and closed his eyes. He raised a silent prayer for strength and Leigh's safety before pushing off from the wall. He hoped his face didn't reflect the encounter with Klein as he strolled across the bar and rejoined Leigh.