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To Love & Protect His Omega Cover

NEW - To Love and Protect His Omega - Chapter 5

Blurb for To Love and Protect Book 1, a Single Dad Mpreg romance: 

Gunnar swore to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the omega he loved…

Police Detective, Gunnar swore an oath to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the one closest to him. Now he's a single alpha dad raising an 8-year-old daughter. But when they adopt a sick kitten, will a hot veterinarian with his own secrets offer a second chance at love?

Pursued by a relentless stalker, omega veterinarian, Liam, packs up his entire life and moves across the country to start over. He has lost faith in romance and instead devotes his new life to saving his animal patients. But when a handsome alpha detective and his daughter come into Liam's exam room with a kitten who needs a miracle, will Liam give romance a second chance?

Can these two men overcome their pasts to make a family together? Even as a final threat from Liam's past threatens not only their relationship but their lives.

Note: These chapters were posted from the betaed, but not fully proofread version of the book. This means there are proofreading errors in the text. I have used this version for the website as a security measure in case someone downloads the book and tries to publish it off as their own. The fully proofed version on Kindle, Nook, & iBooks,  Kobo, Google Play, Scribd & Smashwords.  

Chapter 5 - Gunnar

“Did you find anything?” Juanita asked as Gunnar returned to his desk. The usual noise of the squad room didn't even register until his partner spoke. His daughter was safe. That was the most important thing. Not how kind and accepting the omega had sounded over the phone. Not the omega. Liam. Dr. Chandler.

Calling him Dr. Chandler was safer. But Gunnar had been the first one to break that formality. In this day and age, calling a man by his given name wasn't even really an informality. It was just friendly. Normal. And yet, Gunnar felt like he had crossed the line. He felt like he'd invited the handsome veterinarian over the same line, and now they were on the same side of it with no certainty of where they were going next.

Or maybe it had just been a normal conversation.

Gunnar twisted his wedding ring on his finger. He was wearing a ring. Even if he had wanted Liam to have the wrong impression, he wouldn't, and that was for the best. Adam might be dead, but there was no more room in Gunnar's heart to love again. Not like that.

“Are you all right?” Juanita asked.

“Olivia skipped out of her afterschool program and somehow figured out how to take the bus to the vet hospital so she could visit with her kitten.”

Lena's eyes widened. “She took the bus on her own?”

“I don't even know how she did it.”

“Internet. You can find anything on the Internet.”

Gunnar pinched the bridge of his nose. “The veterinarian called me. He said he's happy to have Olivia for the rest of the afternoon, but I really should go get her. I swear, I just want to slap her. And I hate myself for that. What kind of dad wants to hurt his kid even for a second?”

“Sounds like she really scared you.”

“Anything could have happened to her. What if we had found her, like that poor kid this morning?”

“That poor boy was an adult and a drug addict. Doesn't make it right, but you can't see your kid in every victim. That'll just drive you crazy.”

“I know.” It didn't stop him though, from seeing both Adam in the faces of the dead. His dead.

“I looked through the physical records from now back to 2015. Nothing jumped out at me, but if the perp was incarcerated for something else, he might've stopped for a few years before picking up again now. We need to look further back.”

“I can do that. Why don’t you go and get your daughter from the vet?”

Maybe he could get his mother to do it. No. His mom was out hiking with some of the other ladies from her bridge club. They wouldn't be back in the city for at least another hour, and then it would be unwinding with glasses of sherry at Marguerite's house. When the weather was bad, they just started at Marguerite's and stayed there.

“Are you sure?”

“Go get your kid. My mom raised the three of us on her own after my dad passed. I get it.”

“I didn't know your father had died when you were young.” Three months with Juanita, and he hardly knew anything about her. Some detective. “I'm sorry.”

“I was eleven. He had a heart attack. It was a rough time.”

Gunnar nodded. “It's been hard on Olivia, with Adam’s death. Sometimes I'd hear her crying in her room at night.” And he had stood outside of her door, unsure what to do and afraid to break down in front of her. It was his job to be strong for her. Otherwise what stability did she have?

Juanita reached across the desk and in a gesture of odd familiarity, took his hand. “It's hard for everyone.” Her dark brown eyes locked with his, and Gunnar swallowed down a lump in his throat. The time for breaking down on the job had long passed. It had been a year, more than a year, and he needed to keep himself together. “Thanks, Nita,” he said and pulled his hand away.

“I'll finish looking through those files and let you know if I find anything. Did you finish up the paperwork for the B&E and blunt force trauma from Tuesday?”

Gunnar hated paperwork, but he knew better than to let it pile up. That turned a minor annoyance into an agony. Besides, with one strike against him from last year's evidence debacle, he recognized in his gut how important it was to cross his Ts and dot his Is.

Gunnar thanked Juanita again, and after making sure his paperwork was in the right bins, hustled out. Hopefully, Olivia hadn't been too much of an imposition on the staff. On the bright side, having an alpha’s rebellious kid dumped on him would be just the thing to turn the handsome omega doctor off. Dr. Chandler, no, Liam probably had a boyfriend anyway. And even if he didn't, Gunnar was in no place to start a relationship.

The clinic was bustling when Gunnar steps through the door. Four people, three with carriers in front of them, sat on the chairs in the waiting room. Inside one of the carriers, a cat was pitifully meowing, while a larger one held a small dog with a gash over his nose.

Gunnar went to the front desk. It was still the same receptionist, and she had a golden-furred dog at her feet. Had the dog been there before? Probably. Over the desk, he could only see a sliver of its rump, a third of its leg, and its crooked tail.

“My daughter – –.”

“She's helping the doctor in room one.”

Helping the doctor? Code for being underfoot. “I'm so sorry.”

“Oh no, Olivia's lovely. She's very conscientious. She folded up all the towels and did a fine job hand feeding her kitten before we began to get our afternoon appointments. Our room one client has a new puppy, and she's helping keep him out of mischief.”

Pam sounded genuinely charmed, and Gunnar smiled. Maybe this wasn't a complete disaster. “I can go get her.” It was only 5 o'clock, and considering the huge favor Liam and everyone else in the practice had done him by watching Olivia, the least he could do was take charge of her from here.

“Let her finish. I know you're upset, but I don't think she meant to scare you. She really is worried about her kitten, and feeling guilty.”

“None of this was her fault.”

“That's a hard thing to believe when something is your responsibility. Or when you love someone.”

Wasn't that the truth? Liam nodded. “Again, thank you. All of you.”

“Dr. Chandler took Olivia right under his wing. He's going to be a great dad someday. I'm surprised he doesn't date more. I don't think I've seen him dating at all. Which is odd for the young ones, especially the omegas. You think he'd be beating them off with a stick.”

Gunnar would think that. Liam was handsome, intelligent, and kind. If Gunnar wasn't such a mess himself, if he didn't come with the kitten a whole lot of baggage that a young, unattached omega clearly didn't need, but Gunnar would have made a pass at the doctor himself. And probably been rejected. But still, he would've tried.

“Did you want some coffee or tea? We also have cold water?” Pam said, pointing to a hot and cold water cooler beside a low table with packets of instant coffee, tea bags, sugar, Splenda, and dry creamer.

“Maybe some tea,” he ventured. Police coffee was enough to strip the lighting from your stomach, and he tolerated at most two cups a day. After that, it was tea and juice.

He was getting so old. When was the last time he’d had a beer or a glass of wine? There’d been the one bar trip with the officers in his new precinct. But that wasn’t really unwinding. It had been work, and he’d drunk one beer and left with barely a buzz.

The last time he'd had a glass of wine and relaxed was with Adam. Gunnar's mam had taken Olivia for the weekend, and Gunnar and Adam had gone to the mountains to ski. And more importantly, to Gunnar at least, relax in the hot tub afterward. Adam had loved skiing, and he'd been good at it, taking the slopes at breakneck speed and even doing some of the jumps. Gunnar, in contrast, was a competent skier who spent most of their excursions with his heart in his throat scared to death that Adam would break his back or his leg.

They'd made love that night in the hot tub after sharing twin glasses of champagne.

Gunnar's eyes blurred, and he quickly went to the cooler for a glass of something. It had been a year, and the memories still cut like glass. He had no business looking at the omega doctor any way other than professionally. Maybe in another year, or two, or five, he might be ready for something. Not now. Not yet.

The door to the first exam room opened, and Olivia walked out, wearing a baggy scrub shirt over her school shirt. The scrub top went down almost to her knees. It was bright pink with cartoon animals. In her arms, she cradled a puppy. She was smiling as she looked back at Dr. Chandler. Liam.

Liam smiled back, and Gunnar's heart clenched in his chest.

Gunnar had no business wanting the doctor, but he did. In spite of everything.

“Dad?” Olivia froze, and the brief moment of happiness faded from her expression. “I just wanted to see Puff,” she said. “That's why I took the bus.”

Olivia didn't say “I'm sorry,” but the contrition and nervousness were obvious in both her expression and the way she tensed up as she looked at Gunnar, her snub nose slightly raised as she lifted her chin with something between defiance and bravado. In that way, Olivia was just like Adam. God, Gunnar loved her. As angry as his daughter sometimes made him, he loved her more than anything.

“Why don't you let me hold Ferdinand while you speak with your father?” Liam suggested.

“But I want to help. I'm not any trouble, you said that, right? Can you tell my dad?”

“I already told your dad. But you scared him a lot when you went off on your own.”

“Dad doesn't ever get scared. He fights bad guys with guns. And catches murderers.”

Was that what Olivia thought, that he was always brave? He wanted to be strong, but not untouchable. Gunnar took a step towards his daughter. “Of course I get scared,” he said. “When the afterschool program called and they didn't know where you were, I was so scared I had lost you. You should have called. Or waited for me.”

“Why don't you to take a moment over there, by the refrigerator, to talk?” Liam suggested.  “Just be careful of the carriers. That's our going home queue.”

Olivia nodded and solemnly handed the puppy up to Liam. “Ferdinand is 9 lbs. 6 oz. You wrote that down right?”

“Right here,” Liam said, pointing at a blue paper on top of the file.

“Thank you for letting me help.”

“Of course. And later on, you can show your dad what you learned about how to feed Puff.”

“I will. I promise,” Olivia said. “Puff is going to get much, much better.”

“Good. Now I may want to hospitalize him overnight, just to be sure, since your dad probably has to work tomorrow morning, and I know you need to be in school.”

“No, I don't. I'm not really learning anything there. It's stupid.”

Gunnar closed his eyes. One crisis at a time. Olivia had used to love school, even after Adam died. But since they'd moved, even though her new school had better equipment and a higher overall rating, Olivia hated it. And Gunnar didn't know what to do.

Maybe he should put her back into therapy. She’d hated that too, but what else would help?

What Olivia really needed was her bearer dad back. Unfortunately, Gunnar didn’t have that power.

“You have to go to school,” Gunnar said.

“Can't I be homeschooled?”

Olivia hated school that much? Something had to be wrong. “What's going on at school?”

“Nothing. It's just boring.”

“Are the other girls being mean to you?”

“They don't talk to me at all. Not since I hurt Cindy. But I don't care, because they were mean before, and all they do is just stand around and talk anyway, I don't want them to be my friends.”

Gunnar felt completely helpless. He'd have an easier time facing down a madman waving a gun than trying to figure out how to help his daughter through the elementary school social minefield. “Can you play with any of the boys?” Olivia's best friend was a boy, Simon, and they had run around together since kindergarten.

Adam had known the little boy and his and Olivia's friendship far better than Gunnar. Maybe he needed to arrange for the pair to have another play date?  Gunnar's mom usually handled play dates.

“Dad, are you okay?”

“When your afterschool program called and said you weren't there, I was really scared.”

“I told Mark to tell them I wasn't coming and I was fine. They shouldn't have called you.”

“I'm your dad! Of course, they're going to call me.”

“Oh.” Olivia looked down at the floor. “I'm sorry,” she mumbled.

What was he going to do with her?

Gunnar said, “Can you please promise not to run off on your own again without telling me? Or call grandma?”

“Grandma’s with her hiking club today.”

“I know you're very smart. And very resourceful. And tough. But if anything were to happen to you, it would break my heart. I don't know if I'd be able to…”

After Adam's death and the funeral, Gunnar had considered ending his own life. He got up to the attic with his police issue Glock and put the barrel in his mouth. Only knowing Olivia was downstairs and how devastating it would be for her to lose both parents had kept him from pulling the trigger. He couldn't burden her with that. She already carried too much on her small shoulders. He knelt, and held out his arms. “I love you, you know that right?”

Olivia nodded. “I love you too, dad.” Her eyes were shining. “I'll call on the phone you or grandma if I'm going someplace.”

“And you're not going to take the bus on your own, right?”

“What if it's an emergency? Like if there's an asteroid falling in the only way to get out of the way is if I get on the bus because it's faster than running. Do I have to call then?”

Gunnar laughed. “We'll make a special exception for asteroids, okay?”

Olivia threw her arms around Gunnar's waist. And Gunnar returned to the embrace.

“I'm sorry I made you scared,” Olivia said. Then she squirmed in his arms and said, “You should go look at Puff! He really is doing much, much better.” Olivia stepped back and held her hand up. “He scratched me, see? He didn't mean it. He was just tired of the food. I can show you how to feed him, but Dr. Chandler said I shouldn't do it by myself. Dr. Chandler said Puff might need to be hospitalized for the night. Which means he's just going to take Puff to his house and watch him and then bring him back here tomorrow morning for the day. But he wants to talk with you about that.”

“That's very kind of Dr. Chandler,” Gunnar said.

“Dr. Chandler likes Puff. And me. And I think he likes you too. But I don't know, because you two haven't talked a whole lot.”

It was another twenty minutes before Liam could see Gunnar and Olivia in an appointment room with Puff. Olivia managed to stay in the waiting room for five minutes before she went back into the clinic to use the bathroom, after stopping to talk with Pam, and then somehow wound up trailing Liam again. Gunnar waved her back towards him, his face hot, but Liam just smiled and mouthed, “it's all right.”

“It's really okay,” Pam whispered from behind the desk after the two had gone back into the second exam room. “He likes Olivia. We all do.”

“He shouldn't feel like he has to babysit my kid.”

“You can take them out to dinner if you want to thank him.”

Was Pam trying to set them up? Gunnar tried to read her expression, but she wasn't even looking at him anymore as she keyed information from one of the files into the computer.

Gunnar ran the pad of his right thumb along the arc of his wedding ring. “My husband, Olivia's father, passed on a little over a year ago.” Four hundred and twelve days to be exact. Gunnar had stopped being exact in conversation. It just freaked people out.

Pam nodded, her gaze still fixed on the screen. “Olivia told us. She's a good kid. She doesn't want to trouble you because she can see how hurt you are. So don't be too hard on her, about today.”

“She said that?” Gunnar had worked so hard to hide the depth of his pain from his daughter. She had enough burdens. And still, he was failing.

“Not in those words, but it's clear she loves you.”

“I'm supposed to be supporting her.”

Before Pam could respond, the front doors the clinic jingled open again and a man in a dark green uniform carrying a large, brightly colored vase of white roses, came up to the desk. “Delivery for a doctor Liam Chandler,” the man said. He was stocky with close-set brown eyes and thick fingers marked by faint, slightly inflamed scratches.

“Flowers!” Pam stood up with a bright smile, and then her gaze flitted to Gunnar, and a faint expression of guilt flashed over her features as she said, “does it say with her from? I can sign for them. Dr. Chandler's in with a patient.”

The deliveryman put a clipboard on the desk. “Right here,” he said pointing to a line on the bottom of the page.

A sudden painful stab of disappointment past through Gunnar. Of course, Liam had an alpha. He was attractive, intelligent, and kind. It would only be a matter of time before the omega had a family and children of his own.

The scent of roses wafted through the air. Gunnar had not let himself really feel his attraction to Liam. It was too dangerous, and a betrayal of what Gunnar and Adam had shared. Now though, as he knew the omega was taken, Gunnar allowed himself to want. What would it be like to see those blue eyes darkened with lust, to feel Liam's lips soften and part against Gunnar's as his sweet omega scent filled the air as easily as the smell of white roses now.

The door to the second exam room opened, and Liam walked towards the desk carrying a file. Olivia skipped out after him, sliding around the omega who was still making some notations on the page. “Ohhh! Who got flowers?”

Liam looked up, and the color faded from his face.

“Good, there you are,” Pam said. “There's a card. I wasn't going to open it without you here.”

A chubby, elderly woman wearing a brightly colored wraparound skirt and flowing white top, came out of the room holding a cat carrier. “White roses, beautiful! Does the doctor have an admirer?”

Liam swallowed. He lowered the file folder to his side and walked towards the desk like a man facing execution. “Does the card say who they’re from?”

The omega’s expression made Gunnar was to hold him and smooth away the fear and pain on his face with kisses.

Pam grabbed a letter opener for the cup beside her keyboard and sliced open the tiny envelope holding the card. Pulling it free, she said, “Oh! They’re from Mrs. Morris! Remember her Pomeranian with the broken leg?”

“Mrs. Morris!” Liam breathed out through his teeth as his expression relaxed into what looked like a genuine smile. “She called on Tuesday let me know how well things were going.”

“Should we put them in the waiting room? Or would you rather take them home?”

Liam ran his tongue over his lips. “I don't want them. I mean, not at my apartment.” He ran a hand through his hair. “The animals.”

“We can put them in the waiting room,” Pam suggested.

Liam hesitated and then nodded. He wasn't even looking at them. Something about receiving flowers scared Liam, and that made Gunnar instinctively wanted to find out why. Or more specifically, who. He'd worked as a cop long enough to know what trauma looked like on a victim. Liam was hiding it better now, but he still pinched the file folder a touch too tightly, and in spite of the air-conditioned cool of the room, sweat dampened his skin.

Gunnar wanted to ask, but he knew better than to do it now. Not in front of Liam's coworkers, and not as a stranger. He'd have to earn Liam's trust first.

And in spite of his reservations about getting too involved, he wanted to earn Liam's trust. He hated seeing this strong, kind, and, yes, handsome omega reduced to an instant blind terror. He wanted Liam to smile. Gunnar wanted to carry Liam’s scent on his skin. He wanted things he shouldn't want, but he wanted them anyway. And even if he couldn't let himself have those things, the least he could do was help.

“Olivia, why don't you take your father into the first exam room and Carolyn will bring Puff, okay?”

Olivia nodded. “Come on, dad. Dr. Chandler wants to talk to you about keeping Puff overnight.”

Olivia took Gunnar's hand, and let him into the exam room. But even as he waited, listening with half an ear to his daughter chattering about her day’s volunteering, he couldn’t forget the fear on Liam’s face.

Gunnar would find out who had caused it and make sure they never hurt Liam again.

You've been reading To Love and Protect

To Love & Protect His Omega Cover

Gunnar swore to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the omega he loved…

Police Detective and single dad, Gunnar Justice swore an oath to serve and protect, but he couldn't save the omega closest to him. Now he's raising his 8-year-old daughter alone. But when his daughter adopts a sick kitten, will a hot veterinarian with his own secrets offer a second chance at love?

Pursued by a relentless stalker, omega veterinarian, Liam Chandler, packs up his entire life and moves across the country to start over. He has lost faith in romance and instead devotes his time to saving his animal patients. But when a handsome alpha detective and his daughter come into Liam's exam room with a kitten who needs a miracle, will Liam give romance a second chance?

Can these two men overcome their pasts to make a family together? Even as a final threat from Liam's past threatens not only their relationship but their lives.

To Love and Protect His Omega is a single dad Omegaverse romance with mystery, action and all of the feels.

If you love Omegaverse m/m romance that keeps you turning pages into the wee hours of the morning, start reading To Love and Protect now!

Grab It Now:

QMDIRECT

Formats include: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook, iBooks, Android) & PDF (Computer, Kindle, Print.) 

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To Love and Protect His Omega (WIP)

NEW – To Love and Protect His Omega Book 1, Chapters 3-4

After Adam's death, the Captain had asked Gunnar three times he wanted to transfer out of homicide. Three times, Gunnar had said no. Whether or not he was a homicide detective, people would keep killing people. But if he stayed on the job, he'd be able to bring closure to their families. And if he did his job right, he would at least ensure the killer never had a chance to try again.

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To Love and Protect His Omega (WIP)

NEW – To Love and Protect Book 1, Chapter 5

“Did you find anything?” Juanita asked as Gunnar returned to his desk. The usual noise of the squad room didn't even register until his partner spoke. His daughter was safe. That was the most important thing. Not how kind and accepting the omega had sounded over the phone. Not the omega. Liam. Dr. Chandler.

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To Love and Protect His Omega (WIP)

NEW- To Love and Protect His Omega – Chapter 6

White roses. Liam wanted to take the vase and throw it out the door into the middle of the street and let the cars and trucks grind the glass and roses into dust. The smell settled in the back of his throat, and his vision blurred.

Hold it together. You have to hold it together.

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NEW – To Love and Protect His Omega – Chapter 7 (Gay Romance)

Gunnar kissed his daughter goodnight and then, exhausted, went to the kitchen for a cold glass of juice. He would've liked a beer, but after drinking himself into a stupor the week after Adam's death, Gunnar had poured all of his alcohol down the sink and refused to keep any more in the house. So juice it was. Apple, golden yellow, and at least with a touch of seltzer it went down like soda. He took the glass to the living room couch and sat down.

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