Mary Persephone Hail
Hail"well that speaks for itself.
Her name is painful to think about. Mary, his newfound daughter, isn"t a wished-for child. Persephone, though" Yeah, destruction is a fitting description. And Hail" Yeah, that"s just the final f-you.
The moment that her mother drops her off on his doorstep, Dante"s hell becomes complete.
Or so he thinks.
What can make life worse after losing one"s wife and kids, you ask" Here"s what: being given a baby that depends on him for her survival. Finding out that the baby"s mother is dying of brain cancer, and has a husband that he never knew about. A husband that Dante knows in the marrow of his bones is trying to kill her just as surely as the cancer eating her brain.
Dante"s a bad person. He"s done some not so nice things, and now he"s being punished for his misdeeds. Karma is finally catching up to him.
This child that he"s been stuck with is of his flesh and bone. This child is his salvation. This child is the final nail in the coffin of his wife and daughters" too short lives.
He doesn"t want this child.
But this child will save him whether he wants her to or not.
With the help of a friend"yes, a woman friend"Dante finds his way back to life. But what he finds when he gets back isn"t the same life that he left behind. Turns out, he has to start living a new one. One where he’s suddenly having feelings for a friend that helped him get through some tough times, and loving a daughter that won"t let him quit.Books in Series:Hail Raisers Series by Lani Lynn ValeBooks by Author:Lani Lynn Vale Books
I miss you like an idiot misses the point.
-Dante"s not-so-secret thoughts
Dante, honey. You need to just relax. Nothing will ever happen to us.
I woke with a start and bile creeping up the back of my throat.
The tiny cabin was empty except for my bed, so my anguished cries echoed off the empty walls.
This cabin" Lily and I had bought it as our retreat. Our home away from home. The place we would go when we needed time alone, away from the daily grind. Time to be together, just the two of us, with no interruptions, not even phone calls.
Dante, this place is perfect. Let"s get it.
I made a noise akin to a wounded animal in the back of my throat and gritted my teeth.
I will not cry today. I will not cry today.
I"m a grown man! Grown men don"t cry!
Everything, and I do mean everything, hurt.
I"d drunk myself into oblivion the night before, and I was feeling the after effects now.
I moaned as I rolled out of bed and walked stiffly to the bathroom.
My foot hit the corner of the door, and I cursed.
Dante, don"t cuss in front of the girls. What are you going to do when they get in trouble at school for swearing when they fall down"
I ran to the toilet and threw up.
Today wasn"t going to be a good day.
And, as if God, the life giver and the life taker, was listening, I felt a piece of hair tickling my chest.
I reached into my shirt and pinched what I thought was the hair, and pulled.
The hair"it was long. So long that I knew without a shadow of a doubt whose it would be.
The moment that it was exposed to the harsh, bright light of the bathroom, I bent over the toilet and threw up the last of the whiskey that I"d drank a few hours before.
I moaned and let my head rest against the lid of the toilet seat, turning it so that I could examine the strand of hair.
Even after all this time"after she"d been dead for so long"I still found her hair in my clothes.
In my shirts, on my jackets. On my pillowcases.
God, she hadn"t even stayed the night at this place, and her hair was on my sheets.
Sheets that I hadn"t washed once since the last time she"d put them on the bed in anticipation of having a little alone time at our cabin.
I reached up blindly and flushed the toilet with the hand that wasn"t clutching my dead wife"s strand of hair, then sat back until I was on my butt.
Obviously, today wasn"t going to be the day that I got my act together.
Hell, that day might never come.
I love you, Dante.
A million men can tell a woman that she"s beautiful, but the only time she will listen is when it comes from the man she loves.
-Fact of Life
"Don"t talk, just feel me," he growled as he slid his shaft into me in long, full strokes.
I couldn"t talk. I couldn"t do anything but feel.
I don"t know why he was telling me to just feel. Just feeling was all I could do whether I wanted to or not.
"I love you, Lily," Dante growled. "God, you"ve never felt so good."
I froze and then immediately started to shake as tears rolled down my face. "I-I"m not Lily. I"m Marianne, remember""
The look of shock in his eyes as they met mine proved to me that he didn"t.
I can walk the walk, but please don"t ask me to jog the jog or run the run.
-Meme sent to Dante from Baylor
The only time a goodbye is painful is when you know, for certain, that it"s the last one.
I"d read those words in a magazine when I"d been nine months pregnant with my baby.
I had no idea that, within weeks of having her, I"d be saying goodbye. And I knew in my heart I"d never say hello again. It hurt.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
It was, by far, the hardest thing I"d ever had to do.
I looked back at the little girl in the car seat, my reason for still being alive.
Oh God, did it hurt.
It hurt so bad that I wasn"t sure if I could draw my next breath.
A sound had me turning to the man that was standing on his doorstep.
I"d only just found out where he lived. It"d taken me four precious days to find him. Four days that I didn"t have to give.
Why couldn"t he be where he was supposed to be" Instead, he was living here, in this Godforsaken place.
Though, I did have to admit that when we"d been intimate, we"d done so at my old place. I hadn"t exactly known that he wasn"t living at the place across the street.
I got out of the car, walked around to the back door, and opened it.