Title: Blackout: Book Two
Series: Leather and Lace Duet #2
Author: Janine Infante Bosco
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Once upon a time there lived a young girl, who battled depression and an older man who struggled with addiction. They fell head over heels in love with one another and foolishly thought their love could conquer all, that theyâ€™d beat the odds and live happily ever after. But some of the most tragic love stories are disguised as the greatest fairytales.
I thought we were past the pain, that we could finally be happy. I never imagined Iâ€™d be pregnant, alone and battling mental illness while my husband overdosed in prison. I also didnâ€™t think heâ€™d miss our daughterâ€™s birth because a judge mandated him to rehab for ten months.
Now, heâ€™s free and Iâ€™m broken beyond repair. Disconnected from everything I ever loved, including my newborn baby, Iâ€™m the casualty of another blackout.
Two tortured souls, navigating Hell, trying to find that happily ever afterâ€”wondering if it even exists.
*This is part two of the Leather & Lace duet and over 70,000 words.*
Blackout, Book Two Excerpt: â€œNot A Single I Love Youâ€
Â©Copyright 2019 Janine Infante Bosco
Gripping the doorknob, I draw in a deep breath and hold it. As soon as I find the courage to open the door, I release the breath and shuffle my feet inside the room. Before I can take another step, a uniformed officer stands in front of me.
â€œCan I help you?â€
â€œIâ€¦Iâ€™m his wife,â€ I stammer. Silently, he rakes his eyes over me. Iâ€™m about to ask if he needs to see my I.D. or something, but he moves to the side and allows me room to enter.
â€œNo touching,â€ he warns. All too familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding a prisoner, I jerk my head in response.
â€œLace, baby, is that you?â€
My eyes snap towards the sound of Blackieâ€™s voice and a gasp escapes my lips at the sight of him. Shackled to the bed by a pair of handcuffs, the man I married is unrecognizable. Aside from the dry blood and harsh bruises covering his beautiful face, his left eye is swollen shut and just below the brow there is a deep gash thatâ€™s been stitched with black thread.
â€œIâ€™m here,â€ I croak.
â€œCâ€™mere, let me see you. I need to see you,â€ he slurs desperately.
The bitter part of me wants to let him stew and feel everything he inflicted on me in that courtroom. All the pain and every ounce of heartache. But the bigger part, the part that loves him unconditionally, runs to his side.
â€œThereâ€™s my gorgeous girl,â€ he rasps, turning his head to get a better look at me. â€œDonâ€™t cry,â€ he murmurs. â€œI hate when you fucking cry.â€
â€œThen please stop making me,â€ I say, choking on a sob.
Quietly, he continues to stare at me, and I watch as his bottom lip trembles. Tears spill from his good eye as he pulls at his chained wrist. The cuffs slap against the bedrail and he releases a guttural cry.
â€œIâ€™m so fucking sorry,â€ he rasps. His tone remorseful.
I remain silent as I stare at him in disbelief, wondering how we got to this tragic point in our marriage. The longer we continue to stare at one another, I start to think Iâ€™m punishing him with my silence, and I try to find it in me to respond to his apology.
â€œHow are you feeling? Howâ€™s my baby? Did you get the teddy bear?â€
At the mention of the teddy bear, my gaze snaps to his and his apology is forgotten. Suddenly, Iâ€™m consumed by anger as I recall waking up to find that stuffed toy in my lap.
â€œI stood in that gift shop mulling it over, trying to decide between pink and blue,â€ he reveals, pausing for a beat as he tries to crack a smile. His face is too swollen and all he really manages is a lip curl. â€œItâ€™s a girl, Lace,â€ he continues. â€œI feel it and I dream of her. Every fucking night, I dream of our daughter.â€
I canâ€™t listen to him go on about our baby when he turned his back on us. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s got an excuse, a grand one at that, but Iâ€™m done listening to him. He broke something between us the day he threw that teddy bear in my lap and he built a concrete wall between us inside that courtroom. Sadly, I wouldâ€™ve forgiven him for those things. I wouldâ€™ve done everything in my power to piece together what he broke, and I wouldâ€™ve torn the wall down until it was nothing but a pile of dust.
â€œYou promised me,â€ I cry, stepping closer to the bed so he can see the pain in my eyes. The pain he put there. Choking on my tears, I shake my head as my knuckles whiten around the bedrail. â€œI heard the babyâ€™s heartbeat, Blackie,â€ I rasp. â€œI reached for you and you werenâ€™t there.â€
â€œYou werenâ€™t there!â€
â€œSorry, yeah, I know,â€ I say, shaking my head. â€œThatâ€™s not good enough anymore.â€
â€œI know I fucked up,â€ he chokes, his voice raw with emotion. â€œI fucking let you down, but if you let me explainâ€”â€
â€œI donâ€™t want to hear it,â€ I interject, lifting my hands to wipe the tears rolling down my cheeks. â€œHow many times are we going to do this, Blackie?â€
â€œAs many times as it takes to get it right,â€ he answers.
â€œNo! You donâ€™t get it, do you? Itâ€™s not about us anymore. We canâ€™t keep doing this. For fuckâ€™s sake, youâ€™re chained to a hospital bed. I canâ€™t even touch you,â€ I shriek, eyeing the guard who is doing his best to appear invisible. â€œYou know, I wanted it to be youâ€¦I wanted us to go the distance, Blackie. I wanted you to be the one who remained at my side when I lost myself. I wanted you to be the man who reminded me of the love we made and the family we created. At the end of a long life, I wanted your face to be the last one I saw before I died. I wanted your hand to be the one I held when I left this world. It was supposed to be you. You promised youâ€™d be that man. You swore on everything we were and everything weâ€™d ever be.â€
â€œIâ€™m yours,â€ he growls. â€œBut you got it wrong, baby. So, fucking wrong. Youâ€™re not going to lose yourself and Iâ€™ll never have to remind you of the love we made, because if you ever forget, Iâ€™ll just make you fall in love with me all over again. Every day, for the rest of my life. Baby, donâ€™t give up on me. Iâ€™m begging you. One more chance. Iâ€™ll make it right. Schwartz is working on getting me out of here.â€
Tears fall endlessly.
Theyâ€™re the tears of love.
Of two broken hearts.
As much as I want to believe everything heâ€™s saying, I know better. He doesnâ€™t mean to lie to me. He doesnâ€™t mean to break my heart. He doesnâ€™t mean any of it, but he also canâ€™t help it.
He canâ€™t help himself.
â€œYou know,â€ I start, pausing to clear my throat and wipe my eyes. â€œI think you like breaking,â€ I whisper. My words arenâ€™t meant to be insulting, theyâ€™re meant to inspire. To help him see the error of his ways. I speak to him not as his wife, but as a trained professionalâ€”something, I swore Iâ€™d never do. I guess weâ€™re both going against our word now.
â€œI think you like falling apart because for a brief pause, you get to feel whole after someone picks up the pieces. After the euphoria of being complete wears, you come crashing down. You realize you did nothing to help yourself, and you do whatever you can to break again, hoping this time youâ€™ll be the one to pick up the pieces for yourself. I wanted to be the one who changed you. I wanted to breathe life into your fragile soul.â€
â€œYou areâ€¦youâ€™re everything, Lacey,â€ he shouts, his voice full of conviction.
â€œIâ€™m everything and nothing at all, Blackie,â€ I whisper. â€œI spoke with Schwartz, he says youâ€™re going to have to go to rehab.â€
â€œIâ€™ll get him to appeal the judgeâ€™s decision. Whatever it takes to get me home to you and the baby,â€ he insists.
â€œBlackie, you have a problem, a serious problem and twenty-eight days in rehab wonâ€™t fix you,â€ I tell him, watching as his expression goes grim. His jaw tightens and the air around us changes. It becomes thick.
â€œWhat are you saying?â€
â€œIâ€™m saying, I canâ€™t fix you. Iâ€™ve come to terms with it and now itâ€™s time you do as well. If the judge sends you to rehab, I think you should go. If you want any kind of relationship with our child, you will go.â€
â€œDonâ€™t fucking do that.â€
â€œWhat am I doing?â€
â€œDonâ€™t use our child against me.â€
â€œIâ€™m not,â€ I admonish, hurt he would even suggest the idea. â€œIâ€™m looking out for our child. Thereâ€™s a difference. Blackie, you have no idea how it feels to be on the receiving end of your bad decisions. You have no idea how heartbreaking it is to never feel good enough.â€
â€œDonâ€™t I? Why the hell do you think Iâ€™m as fucked as I am? I know I donâ€™t deserve you.â€
â€œNo, Blackie, you think you donâ€™t deserve me. Iâ€™ve done nothing to make you believe that and everything to convince you otherwise. Now, you survived another overdose and by the looks of it, a beating that probably shouldâ€™ve killed you. God is giving you another chance to get right with yourself. Make it count. Not for me. Not for our baby, but for yourself.â€
â€œAnd what happens if I donâ€™t?â€
â€œI think you know the answer to that,â€ I whisper.
This story of ours wonâ€™t end with us old and gray. Itâ€™ll end tragically with our beautiful child never knowing its father and me burying the man I love.
â€œYou didnâ€™t say it,â€ he murmurs, forcing my attention back to him.
â€œYou didnâ€™t say you love me.â€
I didnâ€™t, did I? Not a single â€˜I love youâ€™. Not even a â€˜Thank God, youâ€™re okayâ€™.
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