The Sergeant's Unexpected Family

By: Carrie Nichols

Falling for his brother’s ex—and her baby!

A new small-town romance from Carrie Nichols

After losing friends while serving his country, Sergeant Brody Wilson shut himself off from the world. Enter beautiful Mary Carter, his brother’s former girlfriend, and her adorable infant son. Despite his best efforts, Brody can’t close off his heart to beautiful Mary and little Elliott. But will pushing them away cost the wounded warrior the family he’s always dreamed of?

Brody reached out and pulled her in for a chaste hug.

“Don’t worry. I may have acted like an insensitive jerk, but if anything ever did happen—which I doubt—I’d be there for Elliott.”

“Really?” She put her arms around him. He smelled of hay, horses and fresh air, and she struggled with the urge to rest against his solidness, if even for a moment. There were so many reasons she should pull away. He didn’t do complicated and their getting involved was that with a capital C. She was a single mother who needed to think of her son. Getting involved with Brody knowing he didn’t do long-term would be stupid. She could be damaging the one thing she’d come for—establishing a familial relationship for her son.

Instead of pulling away, she tightened her arms around him. He responded by fitting her body to his. He used his thumb under her chin to lift her face to his. The look in his eyes mirrored her anticipation and her heart crashed against her ribs.

“I’ve needed to know what you would taste like since you first smiled at me,” he whispered, and fastened his mouth to hers.

* * *


Small towns, huge passion

Dear Reader,

Brody Wilson insisted on auditioning for the part of hero in my first book in the Small-Town Sweethearts series. Unfortunately that wasn’t his story, but I promised to reward his patience. I have followed through on that promise, but as Sondheim cautions, wishes come true, not free. So Brody’s happily-ever-after doesn’t come without cost. I have given my hermit wannabe a farm with rescued animals and a town full of well-meaning if somewhat meddlesome residents.

In today’s busy world we often forget to take pleasure in life’s little moments, in the everyday things around us. Mary is a city girl who discovers her heart on an isolated farm. She learns even darkness rewards us with a sky full of miracles. I think this makes her the perfect heroine for a jaded Brody, who is surrounded by beauty he never really sees.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Loon Lake. If you haven’t read the first in this series, The Marine’s Secret Daughter is still available in digital. And I hope you’ll join me later this year for more Loon Lake and Liam McBride’s story.

Please visit me at or or email me at [email protected] to let me know what you think!

Carrie Nichols

Chapter One

“If you’re going to nag me, you’re gonna have to marry me.” Former army sergeant Brody Wilson heaved an exasperated sigh and propped his hands on the polished wooden counter of Loon Lake General Store.

From the other side, seventysomething Octavia “Tavie” Whatley pointed a crooked, arthritic finger. “As God is my witness, you stood right there—right there on that very spot, Brody Wilson—and swore to me you’d given up those cancer sticks.”

“I did.” Brody blew his breath out between his lips. “I am... I will.” Brody shook his head. The residents of Loon Lake might be eccentric, but they were decent, caring people, and he enjoyed living in this quaint corner of Vermont. But sometimes...

Looked as if today was turning into one of those sometimes. If he lived in a city, he’d be nameless and no one would know or care if he smoked himself to death. But damn, the woman was right, because if he lit up now, he’d be throwing thirty-two smoke-free months down the tubes. May was a tough month for him, but cigarettes wouldn’t change the past, only complicate his future. Yeah, smoking was a stupid move if there ever was one; nevertheless, he glared at Tavie as if she were the one in the wrong.

“Humph. And don’t think you can flash those pearly whites down at the Pic-N-Save to get those smitten girls to sell you any. I know their mamas.” Tavie sniffed and touched her halo of teased hair as if she were in sole control of the thing that ruled a soldier’s life in peacetime—the unit’s training schedule.

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