Authors: Kylie Hillman
Tags: #Family, #Fiction, #Romance, #thriller, #dark, #Contemporary, #Suspense, #Australia, #MC, #organised crime
And then there’s been Benji.
When my parents disowned me, it became untenable for me to work at the hospital with my father. Between his constant pressure to leave Lucas and Ollie’s never-ending scheming, I decided to walk away.
From my family.
From the hospital.
From my career as a surgeon.
In the end, it was a surprisingly easy decision for me to make. Watching Benji’s guilt eat him alive and drive him further into the pits of addiction, I found my calling. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy training to specialize in addiction and the mental health issues surrounding it.
Once I finish my maternity leave, I begin a rotation at a local rehabilitation center. Maddi and I are trying our best to get Benji to admit himself, the breakthrough that we had with him before I went into labor tonight leaving me with hope that we just
get him there.
“I’m capable of doing both,” I answer her firmly, rolling my eyes. It’s a habit I’ve picked up from her, earning me many spankings from Lucas—which
an inducement to stop, but I’m not telling him that. “I won’t be there tomorrow to support you. I need to know that you’ll be okay.”
Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for.
The first day of Mad Dog’s murder trial.
“I won’t be okay until this is all over. Once I can touch him without an audience. Once he can sleep with me in our new house. Then I’ll be okay.”
Her response kills me.
She’s struggling; the loneliness and her inability to fix the problem eats at her.
Her weight has plummeted, her triggers from the abuse she suffered controlling her again.
She barely sleeps, every spare moment spent trying to find a way to get Mad Dog free. The only time I’m sure she sleeps for longer than two hours are the nights I spend with her when Lucas is away on “Club Business”.
On those nights we keep each other sane.
“Jeez, Maddi. I promise it’ll get better. He’ll be home before you know it. They can’t convict him for something he didn’t do.” Taking her hand, I squeeze it. “Have faith.”
“I’m trying. But it’s hard.”
I’m lost for words. Lost for anything else to say. The mere thought of not being able to touch Lucas when I want to breaks my heart. We haven’t been through half the things they have. I can’t begin to imagine her struggle—feeling as if every time the world starts to stabilize, something else knocks it off its axis just to mess with you.
She pulls her hand from mine, withdrawing into herself as her emotions become too much. I’m about to call her on it when the door to my room opens. Lucas strides in, Kaden in his arms, and his mother hovering behind him.
“Hey, Princess. I thought you would’ve headed home to bed by now. Do you need a ride?” He grins at Maddi when he sees her.
Planting a kiss on her cheek, he passes Kaden to her before he climbs onto my bed.
Rearranging me so I’m resting against his chest, he runs his thumb over the tattoo on my inner wrist. The tattoo that I previously thought was the dumbest thing a woman could do—mark herself as “property” of a man. My small Celtic tree tattoo with a stethoscope wrapped around it is one of my prized possessions. I've spent many an hour lying in bed tracing Lucas’s much larger version that runs up one side of his neck, beginning behind his ear and running down to his beefy shoulder.
“Princess?” He cocks an eyebrow when she doesn’t answer him straight away.
Maddi is mesmerized by Kaden, staring at his chubby face with wide eyes. He’s staring back at her, little fingers opening and closing.
“God, he’s gorgeous. You two are so lucky.
, please let this be us one day.” I don’t think she’s realizes that she’s said the words aloud.
Lifting her head, she yawns, finally answering Lucas. “I brought my car. I’m gonna head home now.”
Mama C steps forward, and takes Kaden off her without a word. The eagerness that’s written all over her face at being able to steal another cuddle is the only thing that stops me protesting that I want him.
Maddi raises her head, finally meeting Lucas’s questioning eyes. I watch her eyes hover for a second on the President’s patch that he now wears, like they do every time she looks at him. That patch was her father’s and should be Mad Dog’s. It would be, but he refused to accept the position after they held their vote, declining to rule from jail. Lucas is adamant that he’s making him wear it the
minute he steps foot outside of the prison that’s been his home for the past five months.
“Are you coming tomorrow? I’ll understand if—”
“Don’t be stupid. I’ll be there. We
will be,” Lucas cuts her off.
I nod my agreement with his declaration. Not one of the Shamrocks would miss tomorrow without a damn good reason. And that reason would need to be life or death.
“Thank you,” she whispers as she makes for the door. I let her go without another word—she’s too close to shattering to truly hear what I want to say to her.
Once the door has shut behind her, Mama C croons to Kaden, rocking him expertly. “Aunt Maddi is going to need you, little man. You’ll make her feel better.”
“Amen.” Lucas crosses himself. “She’s gonna need all of us. Tomorrow’s just the beginning.”
Tilting my head back with a finger under my chin, he plants a kiss on my lips, “I love you, Doll. More than you’ll ever know.”
Biting my bottom lip so the tears his words bring to my eyes don’t spill, I snuggle into his neck. Placing a kiss on his pulse, I whisper, “I love you too, Lucas.”
Lifting my head, I look at my son, at the woman who loves me like a daughter, and finally at the man who gives me everything I never realized I wanted, and I pray.
I’m a doctor.
My mind is full of science, which makes me skeptical of the existence of a deity who rules the world with an iron fist inside a velvet glove.
Yet even with my doubts, I pray.
I pray for Maddi and Mad Dog, and justice being served.
I pray for Lucas and I, and the continuing strength of our relationship.
I pray for my son, and his place in this crazy world.
But most of all, I pray for the Black Shamrocks MC and their ability to forge their way through everything they have ahead of them.
I didn’t understand their brotherhood when I first met them, my ignorance nearly led me to make Lucas choose between his Club and me. I’m glad I didn’t—that I learned what they stood for before I made that error.
They are a family.
Not one based on blood connections.
They are a family based on love and loyalty.
Even when that loyalty is tested from within, the ones who truly embrace the brotherhood stand strong and fight.
family, and I pray they always will be.
THE END...for now.
y husband, Mick:
You’re a brilliant man for constantly putting up with my late nights, early mornings, and flights of fancy. The little suggestions you offer are pretty damn helpful as well. Love you babe, forever and ever xxooxx
My beautiful children, Dylan and Mickayla:
Love you both to the moon and back!! The best children a mother could ask for—stubborn, original, and adorable. All the good things xoxo
My lil bro, Eric:
Thank you for finally jumping on board and sharing my sales links. It wasn’t so hard after all haha. Love you, dude xx
My PA extraordinaire! You keep me sane when it looks like everything’s turning to shit—with either a well-time joke, some sympathy, or a much-needed “God, she’s a useless whore.” comment. Nothing is ever too much hassle and I thank you for your hard work. We haven’t known each other long, but I know this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship because you’re pretty much everything an author could ask for xx
It was an awesome day when we met in FB land. You are a one-of-a-kind, classy lady, and I pinch myself constantly that you are my friend, my beta reader, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I’m a lucky woman!
Megan Alexis Drane:
#JunctionBuddy. Absolutely adore you, young’un. You are an epic beta reader and one of the funniest people I know. Never know what’s awaiting me when I see a pm notification for a message from you—all I know is it’s going to be hilarious!
Beta reader, #HashtagMinx, Inspiration behind Timber’s nickname for JJ, and Confetti Cannon supplier! So many epic ways to describe you, Doll. Thank you <3
One of the most self-sacrificing bloggers out there. Always available for a kind, reassuring word, and a chat when I need it. Thank you so much for your input into this book, especially considering you were sick at the time.
Everyone in Kylie’s Kollective:
All of you ladies (and Mick and Sean) rock hard! I have so much fun in our group, and I absolutely adore the atmosphere you all help create.
Love you, lady!
ylie Hillman is an Australian author.
Wife to a Harley-riding, boating and fishing, four-wheel driving, underground mining quintessential Aussie bloke.
Mum to two crazy, adorable, and original kids.
Crohn's Disease sufferer and awareness campaigner.
She’s also an avid tea drinker, a connoisseur of 80s/90s rock music, and is known for lacing everything she says with sarcasm and inappropriate innuendo.
Formerly working in finance, she was forced to reevaluate her plans for her life when severe Crohn's Disease brought her corporate career to a screeching halt. Restarting her childhood hobbies of writing and reading to alleviate the monotony of being sick and housebound, she found her calling and is enjoying life to the max. A typical day is now spent in the “real” world where she hangs out with her awesome family and “book” world where she gets to chill with her fictional characters.
Kylie writes the books she wants to read. A lover of strong men who aren't perfect and aren't afraid to admit it, straight-talking women who embrace their vulnerabilities, and real life gritty stories, she hopes these themes shine through her writing. An avid reader of all genres, Kylie hopes to release books that keep the reader on the edge of their seat—be it with suspense, romance, or laughter.
Seizing Control (Black Shamrocks MC #1)
Brawl (MMA YA Standalone)
Seeking Redemption (Black Shamrocks MC #3)