Death silences. Love echoes. Ruby Buckley is no stranger to loss. She lost her twins in their infancy, lost her son to his demons, and lost herself to a life she never wanted. Until him. Jim Stone is lost. He's a father who doesn't know how to parent, a brother who doesn't know why he ever patched in, and is completely numb to everything around him. Until her. Craving normalcy, Ruby wants to live straight, but that's easier said than done when a member of the Forsaken Motorcycle Club is determined to make her his old lady. She's plagued by a past she can't escape. He vows to give her a better future, even if means delivering the impossible. But falling in love was only the beginning. Twenty years later and they're still going strong, even if the world around them is crumbling. Jim's put his club on the line and given Ruby the impossible-- her now adult twins she thought she'd lost forever. She has everything she's always wanted. But at what cost? Love is never more real than when it's forever.
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Time after time, I never cease to be amazed at how deeply I can be hurt.
Just a flesh wound, Mama.
Jim’s words echo in my mind over and over again. They’re all I hear as I watch my husband— the man who taught me that men can be good— being lifted into the back of the van by his brothers. Blood pools at the bottom of his vest and drips to the pavement.
My daughter— the precious baby I thought I’d lost forever— is being carried to the van by the boy who became my son at the age of eight. She’s lost so much blood. The dark red liquid completely covers her face, neck, and chest. My heart falls into my stomach as I catch sight of the blood smeared all over Ryan’s cut and his face.
My husband’s been gutted and my daughter’s been sliced open.
And all I can think about is my own selfish need to keep them with me. If I’m not a mother to my daughter or a wife to my husband, then I don’t know who I am. I’ll still have my sons— all three of them— but it’s not the same. My boys don’t need me the way my man and my girl do. I won’t get to hang on to Michael for much longer. He’s a Mancuso and he’ll be staying in New York to take over the family— and it doesn’t matter how I feel about that. Ian, my eldest, has his wife Mindy. He thinks he still needs me, but he doesn’t. Ryan, the boy I have to remind myself isn’t really mine, has Alex. My daughter.
If we lose her, there’s nothing anyone can do to make it better. Ryan will never recover and neither will I. He’ll shut down, just like Rage did when we lost Sylvia, and even I won’t be able to reach him then.
If we lose Jim, we lose our rock. I lose the only person I ever trusted enough to give my whole heart to besides my children.
I won’t survive it.