Author: Janine Infante Bosco
After years of struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse, I got clean and put my best foot forward. I became the man worthy of Lacey Parrish’s love and made the girl with the sad brown eyes my wife. But I’m not the only one in our marriage with demons. Diagnosed a manic depressive, Lacey struggles daily with her mind, never willing to succumb to the stigma of mental illness.
The odds have always been stacked against us, but the stakes have never been this high. Pregnant with our child, Lacey is forced to choose between her mind and the baby we wished for.
I can take pain, but I can’t take hers.
Helpless and at the mercy of all the things that plague us, I turn to my past.
It’s always our favorite sins that do us in.
Suffering through hell, hoping love is enough for us to survive one more blackout.
*This is part one of the Leather & Lace duet and over 70,000 words.*
Overall Rating 5
Kindle eArc provided by Author
Reviewed by Lindsey
Five easy stars for this duet. I loved it hard. This story wasn’t an easy one to read with the heartbreaking truths that come out. But by the end it was so worth the tears and Kleenex. This story has grit and shows that love can win if you work at it. Now I want to go back and read them all again! The characters are strong and so damn determined to make the relationship work when EVERYTHING is against them. If you love MC this this duet isn’t one to miss!!
Blackout, Book Two Excerpt: “Not A Single I Love You”
©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.
“Can I help you?”
“I…I’m his wife,” I stammer. Silently, he rakes his eyes over me. I’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.
“No touching,” he warns. All too familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding a prisoner, I jerk my head in response.
“Lace, baby, is that you?”
My eyes snap towards the sound of Blackie’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 that’s been stitched with black thread.
“I’m here,” I croak.
“C’mere, let me see you. I need to see you,” 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.
“There’s my gorgeous girl,” he rasps, turning his head to get a better look at me. “Don’t cry,” he murmurs. “I hate when you fucking cry.”
“Then please stop making me,” 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.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” 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 I’m punishing him with my silence, and I try to find it in me to respond to his apology.
“How are you feeling? How’s my baby? Did you get the teddy bear?”
At the mention of the teddy bear, my gaze snaps to his and his apology is forgotten. Suddenly, I’m consumed by anger as I recall waking up to find that stuffed toy in my lap.
“I stood in that gift shop mulling it over, trying to decide between pink and blue,” 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. “It’s a girl, Lace,” he continues. “I feel it and I dream of her. Every fucking night, I dream of our daughter.”
I can’t listen to him go on about our baby when he turned his back on us. I’m sure he’s got an excuse, a grand one at that, but I’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 would’ve forgiven him for those things. I would’ve done everything in my power to piece together what he broke, and I would’ve torn the wall down until it was nothing but a pile of dust.
“You promised me,” 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. “I heard the baby’s heartbeat, Blackie,” I rasp. “I reached for you and you weren’t there.”
“You weren’t there!”
“Sorry, yeah, I know,” I say, shaking my head. “That’s not good enough anymore.”
“I know I fucked up,” he chokes, his voice raw with emotion. “I fucking let you down, but if you let me explain—”
“I don’t want to hear it,” I interject, lifting my hands to wipe the tears rolling down my cheeks. “How many times are we going to do this, Blackie?”
“As many times as it takes to get it right,” he answers.
“No! You don’t get it, do you? It’s not about us anymore. We can’t keep doing this. For fuck’s sake, you’re chained to a hospital bed. I can’t even touch you,” I shriek, eyeing the guard who is doing his best to appear invisible. “You know, I wanted it to be you…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 you’d be that man. You swore on everything we were and everything we’d ever be.”
“I’m yours,” he growls. “But you got it wrong, baby. So, fucking wrong. You’re not going to lose yourself and I’ll never have to remind you of the love we made, because if you ever forget, I’ll just make you fall in love with me all over again. Every day, for the rest of my life. Baby, don’t give up on me. I’m begging you. One more chance. I’ll make it right. Schwartz is working on getting me out of here.”
Tears fall endlessly.
They’re the tears of love.
Of two broken hearts.
As much as I want to believe everything he’s saying, I know better. He doesn’t mean to lie to me. He doesn’t mean to break my heart. He doesn’t mean any of it, but he also can’t help it.
He can’t help himself.
“You know,” I start, pausing to clear my throat and wipe my eyes. “I think you like breaking,” I whisper. My words aren’t meant to be insulting, they’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 professional—something, I swore I’d never do. I guess we’re both going against our word now.
“I 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 you’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.”
“You are…you’re everything, Lacey,” he shouts, his voice full of conviction.
“I’m everything and nothing at all, Blackie,” I whisper. “I spoke with Schwartz, he says you’re going to have to go to rehab.”
“I’ll get him to appeal the judge’s decision. Whatever it takes to get me home to you and the baby,” he insists.
“Blackie, you have a problem, a serious problem and twenty-eight days in rehab won’t fix you,” I tell him, watching as his expression goes grim. His jaw tightens and the air around us changes. It becomes thick.
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying, I can’t fix you. I’ve come to terms with it and now it’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.”
“Don’t fucking do that.”
“What am I doing?”
“Don’t use our child against me.”
“I’m not,” I admonish, hurt he would even suggest the idea. “I’m looking out for our child. There’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.”
“Don’t I? Why the hell do you think I’m as fucked as I am? I know I don’t deserve you.”
“No, Blackie, you think you don’t deserve me. I’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 should’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.”
“And what happens if I don’t?”
“I think you know the answer to that,” I whisper.
This story of ours won’t end with us old and gray. It’ll end tragically with our beautiful child never knowing its father and me burying the man I love.
“You didn’t say it,” he murmurs, forcing my attention back to him.
“You didn’t say you love me.”
I didn’t, did I? Not a single ‘I love you’. Not even a ‘Thank God, you’re okay’.
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.