Uncovering Hope (Uncovering Love Book 3)

By: Kacey Shea

Book Three in the Uncovering Love Series



To my sister—

For being brave enough to leave,

having courage to see a better life,

and learning your worth.

I love you.





ELIJAH SCREAMS AS I BALANCE him on my hip. He’s teething badly, his little round face taut with pain. “I’m sorry Pam. I can’t make it in tonight.” I switch the phone to my other ear so I can make out my supervisor’s response.

She sighs, and that’s not patience I hear in her tone. “Not again, Carly. I hate to do this, but you know I’m gonna have to write you up. This is the fifth time this month you’ve called in. Maybe if you give me a little notice next time I can get one of our on call nurses to cover. They don’t mind, but not at the last second.”

Eli wails and I pinch my eyes shut. Tears spill out the sides. His cries bolster my own and I choke back a sob.

“Sweetie, you okay? We can talk leave of absence options if this just isn’t going to work.” Unpaid. I have to feed my children. More tears prick my eyes. I cannot lose this job. It’s all I have anymore. I set Eli on the bedroom floor and pop a bottle of cold milk in his mouth, then wipe the tears from my face and prepare a convincing lie.

“No. Pam, that’s not necessary. Things are fine. Well, as fine as they can be with a sick one-year-old. Josh got called into work and I don’t have anyone who can watch the boys.”

“Hmm . . .” She clicks her tongue. “He got called in at ten o’clock on a Thursday night? What exactly does your husband do again?” Shit. I pluck the bottle from Eli’s greedy mouth and he screams on cue.

“I’m sorry Pam, I’ve gotta go.” I end the call and toss my phone on the bed. “Sorry, sweet boy.” Picking him up, I replace the bottle and cradle him. “You’re a good little boy for mama,” I soothe, and rock from side to side until his tears quiet and his eyelids become heavy. His heartbeat slows, calming my own.

I brush back his sweaty curls. I need to cut these locks soon. They’re babyish and make him look like a girl but I can’t bring myself to chop them just yet. I’m holding on to the baby phase, not willing to move on. I’ve always dreamed of having a large family but that’s not possible. There’s no way in hell I’ll bring another little life into this chaos.

Carefully lowering myself to the bed, I lie back against the pillow and roll his little body to the center. I curve my larger one around his sleeping form and place one hand on his arm. I’m so damn tired. Where the hell is Josh? I shut my eyes. I don’t want to consider the possibilities. Maybe he’s dead. I hate myself for the hope that brings. Who have I become? It wasn’t always this way. I try to remember better times and give in to the pull of exhaustion.

“My God, you’re amazing.” Josh leans down, places a chaste kiss on my parched lips. “He’s beautiful, baby. You did good.”

“Would you like to hold your son, Mrs. Martinez?” The nurse holds our infant swaddled in a hospital standard blanket. I nod and she nestles my little boy in my arms. I’m exhausted but I’ll be damned if I’m not the first to hold my son.

Josh sits at the edge of the bed, snaking one tattooed arm around me and the other beneath my arm that cradles our little boy’s head. I’m overcome with emotion, feeling safe and content. Through smiling tears I watch my husband gaze upon our son.

“He’s perfect, Carly.”

“He has your face, I think.”

“What should we name him?” We’ve gone back and forth for weeks. I want to call him Austin but my husband wants Ezra. Suddenly the argument seems irrelevant. How lucky am I right now, a healthy babe in my arms, my man by my side.

“He looks like an Ezra to me. What do you think?” My husband’s eyes snap to mine and a grin spreads across his handsome face.

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“I love you so much.”

“I love you too.”

“Mama! Mama! It’s raining in my room.” My eyes flutter open and heart hammers in my chest. It takes a second to realize I dozed off. Not sure how long, but I’m soaked in sweat. My eyes adjust to the pitch black room and find Ezra standing in the doorway.

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