In a year filled with shock, loss, laughter, and tears, last Thursday will forever be emblazoned in my psyche. Ask me when I discovered I had cancer, I'll tell you not only the date, but the time, too. 8/5/15 at 6:28PM. I'd just gotten in from picking up a few items at Target. Last week, as I grappled with physical pain, a small amount of depression, and thoughts of the Death Dwellers, my mother called up the stairs, "are you watching the news?" Houston was flooded and that depressed me a lot. It brought back memories of Katrina.
When I told her I wasn't, she said, "Prince was found dead." My response was what prince? It didn't occur to me that she meant Prince Rogers Nelson, until she said your Prince. My heart seemed to do the impossible: it dropped down to my toes. If I bleed black and gold for the New Orleans Saints, then I cry purple for Prince. One thing about having so much time on your hands during a long recovery is your activities are limited. I've read books and magazines until my eyes have crossed. I've also listened to music. Even though Prince left us his music, a light flickered out when he left us. My predominant thought was if he could die, then anyone can. Yes, I can be weird, but my sentiment was the most ridiculous I'd ever come up with. Death's a part of life, but my shock was such that I couldn't make sense of anything. His passing reminded me how short life is. One minute we're here and the next we're gone. It's a hard lesson, well worth remembering.
As always, thank you for your prayers, well-wishes, jokes, messages, invitations, requests for upcoming releases and anything else that I may have forgotten. I want you to know I haven't forgotten you! You are always in my thoughts. I promise I will return, as soon as I possibly can. I had a slight bit of nerve damage in my upper right arm when the lymph nodes were removed and it causes a lot of pain. And, of course, when the incisions became less painful, I started driving and had a setback. Six to eight weeks before resuming regular activities isn't a number thrown out there for nothing. I've also had doctor's appointments to get to. We're on the hunt for the escaped cancerous lymph node. As soon as it is captured through ultrasound, it will be removed from yours truly. Because of my Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, I have decided it is too risky to keep my ovaries, so they will also be removed at that time. I don't have a firm date for my second surgery, but it will be done at the end of May or the beginning of June. Added to this is my mother hasn't been feeling well. Several weeks ago, she went to the ER and was told by the attending physician she has early stage Alzheimer's. News like that ruins a day like nothing else can. Her primary care physician maintains her symptoms are due to memory loss. However, she has an appointment scheduled with her neurologist at the beginning of May.
To those of you who have contacted me regarding Misfit - I will try my hardest to have it out before my next surgery. I'm so sorry to keep you waiting. This year has flown by. It's already the end of April and I haven't released anything or given a date announcing a new release. So far, my newsletter is due out as scheduled. Please have patience. I thought I'd share with you some of what I do have for Misfit, the blurb and prologue.
Until the next time, I wish you love and laughter..in the purple rain.
Ophelia Donovan wants to move past the loves of her life, two badass bikers in her brother’s MC. When she gave Cash “Ghost” McCall and Louis “Stretch” King, an ultimatum of bringing their relationship out in the open or she’d walk, they chose separation. It crushed Ophelia’s dreams of having a happily-ever-after and family with Ghost and Stretch.
Stretch lives with guilt and pain from the death of his former lover and the injuries he received the same night. For a while, Cash and Stretch worked fine. They’d agreed to choose a woman together to bring into their relationship. Instead, Cash brought Outlaw’s sister in, intending to use her as a shield for Cash’s growing feelings for both Stretch and Fee. The dissolution of their relationship because of Fee’s goading leaves Stretch angry with both of his lovers.
Ghost doesn’t do relationships. He doesn’t have the confidence in himself that he’s equipped for something meaningful. He only knows he loves both Stretch and Ophelia. She wants kids, a house with him and Stretch, and, most of all, an open relationship with them. So open she expects Ghost to go to her brothers—his club’s president—and confess all. Even if he did do commitment, he wouldn’t be alive to see it through. Outlaw would kill Ghost, especially after already warning him away.
Christopher “Outlaw” Caldwell knows Ghost is about fun and fucking. He’s in charge of the Bobs, those women trotted out for pleasure at special club occasions. Outlaw’s little sister wants a family and he refuses to allow her to waste her years on a man who’ll walk away in the end. Outlaw’s life has been quiet recently, with every known club threat removed, giving him plenty of time to focus on family.
Thanks to Cash’s outrageous plan to throw Outlaw off, he raises the man’s suspicions. Soon, a biker from a rival club uses Ophelia to get on Outlaw’s good side, leaving her gravely injured, Outlaw in jail, Stretch admitting how important both she and Cash are to him, and Cash determined to never deny his love again.
Warning: Not suitable for anyone under 18. Contains excessive swearing, graphic sex between MMF, taboo subjects, and…Kendall at her finest.
Ophelia Donovan handed the cab driver her fare and departed the vehicle, anxious to forget her cousin-in-law’s latest stunt. Though she’d never work for Kendall again, they’d moved past their differences and settled into a friendship.
But...but…Jesus. If Christopher discovered what had gone on in the bridal shop, he’d kill Kendall. Her death would dampen Bunny’s growing excitement as her wedding date drew near. Ophelia didn’t care to consider what Kendall dying at the hands of Christopher would due to Meggie. Johnnie. Rory. Matilda.
How could Kendall even fix her mouth to say what she had?
Huffing, Fee appreciated the quiet neighborhood she stood in. The small house with the neat lawn in front of her symbolized her moving past Cash and Stretch. Recovering from the heartache of their relationship hadn’t been easy, but she’d faced much worse than losing the two men she loved with all her heart. Had loved.
She’d definitely moved past them.
Strike two for her afternoon. She hoped visiting Noah would calm her, the very reason she’d elected not to return to the club with Kendall and Johnnie, certain their argument raged on. No, thank you.
Maybe, tonight, she’d finally sleep with Noah. Cash’s and Stretch’s face rose in her head and she grimaced.
Maybe, she wouldn’t sleep with Noah tonight.
“You’ll never know if you don’t ring the bell,” she scolded herself.
Rubbing a hand over her brow to wipe away sweat, she forced her legs to move.
“Hey, girl,” Noah said, when he opened his door to allow her entry.
Walking into his barely furnished house, she smiled at him and set her hobo bag on his counter. Her stomach didn’t erupt in flutters in Noah’s presence as they had with Cash, nor did she feel the calming influence of Stretch. Noah had a similar look and height. Like her lost loves, her new beau had blue eyes and brown hair.
And he was a biker. And he lived in Cash’s neighborhood, about a block and a half away. Deep down, accepting a date from Noah had more to do with Cash and Stretch than it had to do with Noah. They’d met at the bar she and her guys frequented—the place she sometimes sang at.
Visiting Noah, so close to Cash’s house, she’d hoped to run into him. Or Stretch. Both of them. They took the route that brought them past Noah’s place to get to Cash’s.
No such luck. And she barely saw them at the clubhouse anymore.
Their threesome was truly over.
Noah clapped his hands right next to her head and she jumped. “What the hell are you thinking about?”
“My friend’s wedding,” she answered, swiping her hair off her neck, murmuring in approval at the cold air blowing on her. “It was so hot today.”
Folding his arms, Noah leaned against the counter that separated his kitchen from his living room. He didn’t even have a dining space like she had in her apartment. “What friend is that?”
“Bunny. Remember I told you she’s marrying the sergeant-at-arms in a few months?”
“Isn’t that six months away?”
She kicked off her flip-flips and plopped down in one of his bean bag seats. He had two. “The wedding is turning into a huge deal so she’s planning away. I’m one of the bridesmaids.”
“Your sister-in-law is matron-of-honor, if I remember.”
Fee grinned at Noah. He was attentive and thoughtful, much like Stretch, but the complete opposite of Cash. Her smile faded away. “Um, yeah,” she said with less enthusiasm as memories of Cash and Stretch suddenly haunted her. “Meggie is matron-of-honor.”
Noah wanted a meeting with Christopher. Since her brother had no idea she was dating a biker, Ophelia didn’t think a meeting would ever be arranged if she had to be involved.
The Torpedoes—Noah’s MC—was a former support club to the Dwellers and current club enemy thanks to their president. According to Kendall, rivals of both the Dwellers and the Torps bombed their clubhouse and they’d loss the majority of their members. According to Noah, the Torps were regrouping.
Noah walked to her and held out his hand, drawing her into his arms and nuzzling her neck the moment she stood. “I’ve been thinking about you.”
“That’s why you’ve been blowing up my phone.”
She threw her head back to allow easier access, wanting a spark to ignite within her. But she remained uninspired at his touch.
“Do you know why I haven’t called you in four days?” he whispered, his hot breath fanning her cheek annoying her instead of exciting her.
“Because of your stubbornness. You can get me a meeting with Outlaw. I’m out of time and patience. I’m so glad you realized the seriousness of the situation.” He chuckled and nipped her earlobe. “I had to show you I meant business, babe. Do as I ask or suffer the consequences.”
Ophelia frowned at Noah’s words, a small shiver traveling through her. Her track record with men wasn’t good at all and since her mother’s death, it had grown worse. If she didn’t fall for men with commitment issues or some type of emotional trauma, she chose abusive assholes.
After Cash and Stretch, she’d told herself she was done with men. She’d join the other team or be celibate for the rest of her life.
Of course, watching Johnnie and Kendall go at it gave her trauma. For two people who loved each other, they couldn’t go for long without arguing. Definitely not the type of relationship Ophelia wanted.
“You have what I asked for?” Noah’s voice broke into her thoughts. “That is why you called, isn’t it?”
She pulled away and faced him. “You think I called because I have a time for you to meet with my brother?”
Slowly, she shook her head, attempting to inch past him, not liking the vibes she was getting. The building anger in his eyes alarmed her. “No. I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d say hello.”
One moment changed the course of life. The mundane became the maudlin that only time healed. Ophelia had had several such instances that turned her world upside down. Christopher’s shooting. Her mother’s death. Zoann’s shooting. Ophelia’s abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. The murder of her sisters and nieces.
Each time, she lived in blissful ignorance, never guessing the next minute would upend everything.
A moment before Noah lunged, she saw his intentions by the darkening of his eyes and the reddening of his face. The change in his features might’ve been funny, if it wasn’t so scary.
She sprang for the door. Except he stood between her and freedom. He tackled her before she escaped. She slammed to the wood floor, pain jarring her head, back, and legs,
Tears springing to her eyes, she raised up on all fours and crawled toward the door. Noah’s boot met her stomach and she screamed. He dragged her to her feet, only to punch her down. She gasped and curled into a ball.
“I want a meet with Outlaw, you stupid bitch. You want to be my old lady? You need to learn to follow my directions.”
Momentarily frozen and breathing heavily, Ophelia watched as Noah grabbed her bag and opened it, pouring the contents out. Coins pinged on the floor, followed by her cellphone, a pen, her wallet.
She stopped the inventory and closed, popping them open a moment later at Noah’s growl.
“Condoms?” Suddenly, he loomed above her. “Fucking slut.”
If she didn’t move, he’d kick her in the head. Forcing herself into motion, she grabbed his ankle and lifted herself up, shoving him backwards at the same time. She caught him off-guard and he slammed to his ass, granting her freedom.
Not bothering with her wallet, cellphone or ID, Ophelia managed to get to her feet. Grabbing the back of her shirt and the waistband of her shorts, he lifted her again, ignoring her wiggles and screams.
“I can kill you and bring your body to Outlaw. If he thinks I recovered you and want to help find your murderer, I’ll gain his attention.”
“Christopher isn’t stupid,” she snarled. “He’ll know. He’ll figure it out.” Her brother figured everything out.
Noah lost his hold on her again, dropping Ophelia to the floor. Ignoring her pain, she scrambled to her feet, cursing the lack of an available weapon. She needed to kick him in his junk, then punch him in his nose.
As he came toward her, Ophelia met him head on, raising her foot to deliver her kick.
She positioned herself too soon. Noah grabbed her ankle, unbalancing her again. She crashed to the floor. He stomped her knee, grunting in satisfaction at the sound of bone breaking and her agonized cry.
Sobbing, Ophelia tried to drag herself to the door. She just needed to get outside to free herself of this nightmare. Instead, Noah grabbed a handful of her hair and tipped her head back.
“Now, you die,” he spat, puffing out breaths.
Placing the blade of a knife to her neck, he sliced, ignoring her struggles, her screams, and her tears. The cut stung, burned, and throbbed. Once he finished, Noah dropped her to the ground.
Warm wetness slid down her throat, but she was losing sensation, her surroundings blurring. The blade of the knife descended toward her thigh, piercing it. She gurgled a cry, tears sliding down her cheeks.
A knock cut through her hazy brain. Or had she imagined it? When she heard the ringing of the doorbell, hope swelled within her. She tried to scream, but she had no sound.
Noah ignored a second and stabbed her again.
“Pl-plea...” Too difficult to speak, she closed her eyes and awaited death.
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