The Lawson Boys: Alex

Remember the Lawson Boys from Vet’s Desire? The brothers of Cindy Lawson?
One’s a smart-a**e, the other a soldier.
Meet Alex, the soldier.

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scroll down for excerpt           Book 1 in The Lawson Boys duet

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Alex600900The Secret…
On leave from the Australian Army, Alex Lawson has arrived
in the little country town seeking answers from generously-curved
Harly Bentley. She’s kept a secret from him for years, but he’s
here now, he’s furious, and nothing is going to stop him from
getting the truth. But will the results be what he expected?

 

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Driving along the highway towards the small town, Alex sighed in contentment as the cool breeze blew in the open window and past his face. Outside were trees, bushes, wild flowers and farms.
No desert, no flying dirt, no burning heat through his uniform as he returned fire on the Taliban. No wondering who was friend or foe, especially when an Afghanistan soldier they’d been training had turned on his unit and killed three Australian soldiers before the unit had managed to bring him down. Shit, he’d thought the man had been an all right bloke, he’d seemed to really want the war to end, and then damn if he hadn’t turned on the very men he’d befriended and killed some of them.
Yeah, some R & R back home in Australia was just what Alex needed. Getting away from war for awhile, enjoying well-earned time with friends and family.
And fixing a problem that was long overdue to be fixed.
The looming sign stated that the town of Whicha was less than ten kilometres away.
His problem lived in Whicha.
Coming to stay with his old friend was good for R & R, helping Paul with his carpentry business, relaxing, not having to watch his back, but he had an ulterior motive for visiting Paul, and that ulterior motive was his problem.
Taking a deep breath, Alex slowed down to the designated speed sign he passed and watched as new buildings appeared, interspersed with older designs. It had been some years since he’d last been here and the small town had grown a little. Not a lot, he was pleased to see, but a little. You just couldn’t stop progress.
Larger plots of land gave way to smaller blocks before he entered the township itself. It was old, some of the original colonial buildings still standing and being lived in or used as shops. Quaint was the word his sister would have used to describe Whicha. Small, quaint, and probably everyone was related to each other in some way. That last was debatable…in a small way.
Smiling, Alex pulled up at a service station to refuel the Jeep before pushing onward, passing a small supermarket, a couple of clothes stores, some other small businesses, the local pub, and finally the café.
Parking outside the café, he gazed thoughtfully at the curtained frontage. According to Paul’s emails, she still worked at the café part-time. He wondered if she was working today. The door remained shut, but suddenly a section of the curtain was pushed back by a toddler sitting near the window, and he saw her standing directly in front of the table beside the window, her pad and pen in hand while she spoke to the woman with the toddler.
Harly Bentley. He’d know her anywhere, even though it had been years since he’d seen her. Thick black hair twisted up into a careless bun on top of her head, her skin creamy, eyelashes so thick and black, and a mouth that even now, all these years later, he could remember their softness.
Her over-generous curves were poured into a pale blue uniform dress with a frilly apron tied around her waist, and her manner was no-nonsense, he could just about feel it from the way she pointed at the menu while speaking to the woman.
Jotting down the woman’s answers, Harly glanced at the toddler and the woman turned and took the curtain from his little fist. But right before the curtain fluttered back into place, Harly looked up and directly at him, and he was struck by her eyes, pale grey, so startling between those thick, black eyelashes. She frowned slightly, a puzzled expression on her face, and then the curtain cut her from view.
Releasing a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, Alex relaxed back in the seat and loosened his hold on the steering wheel.
Harly Bentley was his problem.
Should he go inside and face her? No, that wouldn’t be good, there’d be nowhere to talk, to get the truth from her. Maybe he should go and drop his gear off at Paul’s before ambushing her as she was leaving. Running his fingertips lightly along the steering wheel, he debated the wisdom of either move before finally putting the gearstick in reverse and backing back out onto the quiet road.
Ambushes were best planned.

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copyright Angela Verdenius