Delilah's Scandal (The Cove Sisters Trilogy #2) - Sienna Mynx
SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR
March 2017 - Bronx, NY
The alarm blared like a siren in his brain. Maverick Lennon was startled awake from his nightmare. He grabbed his cell phone out of reflex and threw it across the room to stop the noise. Where it landed didn’t matter. The phone's alarm blared in triumph, undeterred. It mocked him. It sang an obscene warning of his failures to rise and shine. Maverick sat up. He pressed both hands to the side of his head, yet the alarm blared on. The disgraced cop’s body and mind seizures with fatigue as if he’d run a marathon in his sleep. His face went into his hands next. And his elbows rested on his knees.
It was only Tuesday.
The darkness in the room was nothing more than a cluster of shadows. But the darkness watched him. It waited to see if he’d respond. Throw something else, it whispered. How about you punch another hole in the wall, it chuckled. The darkness had shifted into his mind? He dragged his hands down his face and restrained himself. It’s just an alarm clock. You’re awake. And if you’re not, it’s just another stupid dream. He caught the peek of light from the sun glimmer in through the slants of his blinds. And the memories of her were instant.
“No. No,” Maverick said and closed his eyes. It was too late. He opened his eyes again. The ghost of his wife, at eight months pregnant, entered the room. She wore a long peach nightgown, the one her mother had given her for Christmas two years ago. The kind that gathered material at her breasts with thin, slender straps pressed tight to her shoulders to hold the weight of her full bosom. It’s sheer fabric draped over the swell of her belly. Even pregnant, she hadn’t gained too much weight.
“Rise and shine, Hercules,” she said as she walked past the bed. Rise and shine, the darkness chuckled back to him. Frozen with dread and heartache, he tracked her with the movement of his eyes. She visited the closet. His closet. She chose his tie. She chose his shirt for ironing. “Coffee is ready. You’ll be late for court if you don’t hurry.”
It was always the same. The reason he set the alarm was to avoid this moment, her ghost, this pain. Maverick glanced to the darkness. His eyes lowered to the floor, where the alarm blared. The darkness in his mind had tricked him. He wasn’t awake. The nightmare came for him too soon.
“Sweetie? Are you okay? C’mon, get up. You said you had court,” his wife said.
Both of Maverick hands were now pressed in prayer at his mouth. Of course, he didn’t believe in ghosts. This was worst than a ghost. It was his sick mind slipping into the memory of her when he needed sanity the most. Her blonde locks swayed and glistened as if spun in gold. They cascaded around her shoulders. She cast a look of innocence and love—a smile of patience. The kind of patience that always reminded him to be the man she deserved, and then she faded away.
It had been three months since her death, and already his life had turned to shit. The cellphone lying against the darkness stopped blaring. Instead, it rang. He opened his eyes and found he lay flat to his back on his pillow. He was awake. And the phone was ringing. His beloved ghost had gone before the worst part of her visit came for him. Grateful for the ringing cellphone he tossed the covers aside. He knew the caller. Maverick reached for the phone. The bullet wound to his side that had been stapled shut stretched and split him in agony. He withstood the pain. He preferred it.
“Are you up? Because I’m on the way,” Camille said.
“What do you mean? Maverick. You have to take this seriously. I.A. is cutting you a break. If you don’t do this, you will lose your badge. And we’re not going to let that happen.”
Maverick glanced at the bed. It was empty. Her side had disappeared under the tangled bedsheets, but he still could sense her absence. He wanted a king-size bed. Melissa insisted on a Queen. She preferred to sleep in his arms at night. Now he slept alone, and his bed felt massive.
“Maverick? You there? We need to go over your story. Our story. Okay? I’m on my way. It’s okay. You’ll be fine.”
Maverick hung up on the caller. He