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.You are this Cinderella’s Prince Charming, and this is only the very beginning of our fairytale, babe.”Six Months LaterI WATCH THE snow coming down in the backyard through our bedroom window.It’s February, and everything is finally over.The detective had been right—Kyle Senior’s case was a ‘slam dunk,’ but that didn’t mean that the trial didn’t months.Just before Christmas, he was finally charged and sent to prison.And Braxton hasn’t fought since the day they rescued us.He only trains in the gym now with Frank.“Are you almost ready?” Hannah asks from behind me, bouncing Addison on her hip.She looks gorgeous today, her red hair a brilliant contrast to her green dress.“Everyone’s seated,” Lennon grins, picking up the flowers from the dresser.Peyton, whose wounds have healed, kisses me softly on the cheek.“You look so gorgeous.”Fanning my eyes, I laugh.“You’re going to make me ruin my makeup.”“Wouldn’t matter anyway,” Nikki smirks from the corner.“You’d still be a knockout.”After shooing them all from the room, I take one last look out the window.“I’m ready.”The girls start walking first, each of them effortlessly taking the stairs to the entryway in time with the music to the collective sighs of the small group below.But when I see my dad at the top of the stairs, my eyes start to well.“Hey, baby girl,” he coos.“None of that just yet or the old man won’t be able to keep it together,” he whispers, holding his elbow out to me.As we descend the stairs, “You and Me” by You+Me starts to play and my eyes follow up the aisle to where he’s standing.He’s as handsome as ever in a black tuxedo, his stormy eyes locked on me.My dad and I make it almost halfway down the aisle before he breaks composure, striding over to us.Dad kisses my cheek before handing me off to my husband-to-be.Brax leans down and whispers, “I’ve waited long enough to marry you.I couldn’t wait another second.”Biting back a grin, I step up on my tiptoes and press my rounding belly into him as I drop a kiss on his lips.“I love you.”“I love you too, babe.Now let’s get hitched,” he purrs quietly so only I can here.“So I can see what’s under this dress.”My laughter fills the foyer of our home as the commissioner starts the ceremony.Ours might not be the pretty fairytale, the kind with no flaws, but it is perfect all the same.Cinderella married his Prince Charming in a white dress as the snow came down on Valentine’s Day and nothing could have been more beautiful.Vancouver Island Regional Correctional CenterSame DayThe prison yard is cold from the winter blanketing the coast, and a man in orange sits on a picnic table, facing the barbed wire fence.He’s weathered now.Rich hands don’t fare well in the savagery of the justice system.Opening the book in his hands, he pulls out the only thing that calms his soul.He strokes over her face with his thumb before pressing the photo to his lips.Then he sighs.She’s stolen so much from him, his lust for revenge invigorating him in this hellhole.Checking his watch, he frowns.It’s time to follow the herd of cattle back inside to their cages, where some are certain to remain until slaughter.But not him.He is too smart for that.After carefully pacing the photo back between the pages, he stands.Then he turns around only to find the yard empty, none of the prowling guards in sight.In front of him stands one man in his late twenties.He’s tall and handsome, briefly making the man think of his son.Pain ripples through his chest at the memory.Stepping forward, the younger man wraps his left hand over the other man’s shoulder, a wicked smile stretching across his lips.“Frank O’Leary sends his regards,” the young Irishman says, thrusting his right hand forward.Turning away, the Irishman wipes the shank on his pants before crossing back through the yard.The man lies there, the red of his blood staining the snow-covered ground.No help comes.No alarms are sounded.The life drains from his already pale eyes.His book lies strewn in the white beside him, the top of her blond hair laughing at him.The man takes his last breath, and it puffs out into a cloud in the winter air as his heart stops.The prison transcript later that day reads:Kyle Nathaniel Davis II, inmate number 329 died on February 14th, 2015, of a stab wound to the stomach.Suspects: None.The End.Till It’s Gone – YelawolfCinderella Man – EminemStand By Me – Ki:TheoryYou and Me – You+MeRecovery – James ArthurSail – AwolnationGhost – TupacGuts Over Fear (feat.Sia) – EminemBreak Free – Ariana GrandeBodies – Drowning PoolAfter The Storm – Mumford & SonsBravado – LordeWe Found Each Other In The Dark – City and ColourI’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick MurphysLast Resort – Papa Roach‘Till I Collapse - EminemTo my sweet and amazing beta readers: Nikki Mccrae, Elizabeth Thiele, Wendy Colby, Melissa Gill, Midian Sosa, Tracey-lee Mylchreest, Larni Phipps, Lori Christensen and Kristi Webster.You are all exquisite, encouraging and beautiful women.I am blessed and grateful to have you in my life.I value your opinions greatly and appreciate your honesty.A million times thank you!Big hugs and kisses to my phenomenal editor, Mickey Reed whom I had the pleasure of meeting while I was writing this book.You are hard working, dedicated and one of the kindest souls I have ever known.Thank you for everything you do! I couldn’t imagine doing this without you.A special thank you to my brilliant formatter Stacey Blake from Champagne Formats, you are a creative genius! The artistic flare you bring to the pages is stunning and not only that but you are wicked fast at it.I look forward to the day we can share a big ole glass of wine together.Thank you to the talented Rodney DeShawn Logan for providing the perfect photo for the cover of this book.I literally could not have dreamed up a better shot than this.Thank you to the handsome Steve Gehrke for being on the cover, you are an absolute sweetheart!To my Meli, aka: Melissa Gill at MG Book Covers, thank you once again for an absolutely gorgeous book cover.You spoil me rotten and I am so grateful for all that you do.I think it is safe to say that I am one hundred and ten percent addicted to the work you do.I can’t get enough! Bring on the book covers!Thank you to Lydia Quintana, my very own Book B (so not saying that word - Ha), from HEA Bookshelf, you are a god send.You go above and beyond in everything that you do.Thank you for your hilarity, your efficiency and your hard work.It has been a pleasure doing business with you, but more than that it’s been a blast getting to know you.For K.Mackenzie, the flesh and blood brawler, my Cinderella, thank you for being you.Your passion and dedication is inspiring, but your heart knows no bounds.It’s been a blessing having you in my corner, thank you.For all my indie girls, the huggers and the non-huggers, I give you all the biggest, most absurdly over the top bear hugs! Kristi Webster, Elle Jefferson, Marie Garner, Crystal Aurora Rose Reynolds, Aly Martinez and Ella Fox; your wisdom, kind words and jokes mean the world to me.I can’t thank you enough for taking me under your wings and embracing me with open arms.I am truly grateful to each and every one of you for the time you’ve spent helping me, getting to know me and bullshitting with me (those are the fun times) [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]