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The Lieutenant's Lost and Found Family

Written by Christy Jeffries

Chapter Twenty

One year and five visits later, Nolan had a set of papers and a velvet box in his back pocket when he pulled up to the Jordan residence. Unfortunately, when Thor ran out of the cabin to do his welcome-home trick, Nolan wasn’t quite ready for him and landed right on his backside.

The box flew out of his pocket just as Abby was coming down the front porch.

“I hope that’s not another replacement squeak box for Sergeant Oink.” She raced toward the small cube as the dog put his front paws on Nolan’s shoulders and pinned him down, licking his face. “Thor accidentally swallowed the last one and his stomach squeaked for twenty-four hours straight until it finally pas…”

Abby’s voice trailed off as she saw that the item she’d just rescued was definitely not a new toy for Thor.

“I was going to wait until Harper was home from school,” Nolan said, getting to his knees, “but our dog has a tendency to speed these things along for us.”

He took the box from her hands, which were now trembling, and opened it to reveal the diamond ring inside. “Abby Jordan, I’ve loved you since I first saw you in that video online, and every time I come to visit, I love you more. Last spring, I showed up here looking for my lost dog, and instead I found my own forever family. Will you marry me?”

A tear trailed down one of her cheeks as she nodded eagerly. “I knew this dog was special before I ever brought him home, but I had no idea that he would lead us to each other. Somehow, Thor always seems to know exactly what we need, and, Nolan, I need you. For now and forever.”

Nolan slipped the ring onto her finger, then lifted her into a hug as he rose to his feet. She kissed him deeply, the promise of their future on her lips.

Thor barked as he raced in circles around them, making Nolan chuckle. “Hopefully, Harper will be just as excited when we tell her.”

“Of course she will.” Abby kept her arms locked around his neck as she looked into his eyes. “I love you, Lieutenant Nolan Murphy.”

He pulled the official government papers out of his back pocket. “Actually, I’m no longer a lieutenant. I was promoted to captain when I officially changed duty assignments to Idaho.”

“You mean you’re moving here permanently?” she asked, the hopeful expression on her face making him feel as though he was finally coming home.

“Yep. Shadowview Military Hospital is starting a new program training canine companions for service members recovering from their injuries. I’m going to head up the program.”

“I can’t think of anyone more perfect for that assignment,” Abby beamed. “Or more perfect for me.”

Nolan swept her into his arms and carried her inside the cabin, determined to show her how perfect they would be together.

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Christy Jeffries

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