Go to Hail (The Hail Raisers Book 2)(3)

By: Lani Lynn Vale

Reggie’s face lit up with wonder. “I can do that?”

I started to chuckle and then dropped a kiss onto her head.

“Yeah, baby. We can do that.” I winked at her, and she giggled.

“Come help me and Mama finish this puzzle,” she ordered. “It’s a five hundred piece one of Elsa. Mama says she hates them.”

I knew she hated puzzles.

I was a puzzle.

One she couldn’t figure out.

The only problem was that there was no puzzle to figure out. I knew what was wrong with me.

She knew what was wrong with me.

It was something that I couldn’t fix…not and continue seeing my other kid.

Allegra, my other child’s mother, was a vindictive bitch.

The moment I met Hannah, she’d started turning Alex against me.

What had once been my baby girl, my mini-me in everything that I did, now hated my guts.

And there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Either I left Hannah and TJ, or I didn’t get to see Alex.

It was a lose-lose situation. One that I wasn’t sure that I could ever possibly win.

“I can help,” I offered, walking to the back of the couch and placing my hand on the back to steady myself. “Just let me get my boots off.”

They were covered in grease and grime from the shop.

One of our new trucks had been damaged during a call, and I’d had to help fix it up to get it back into service.

It’d taken an hour out of my approved time with Alex, and at this point, I couldn’t say that it was bothering me.

There was only so much you could take of your daughter saying she hated you before you believed her.

Walking into Reggie’s warming embrace was like summer compared to Alex’s winter.

You’d never be able to tell that Alex and Reggie were the same age.

Alex was quiet, withdrawn, and quick to rile.

Reggie was loud, rambunctious, and never met a stranger.

They were both eight years old, and neither one of them had their father in their lives.

Though, that wasn’t my doing on Alex’s part.

I tried to have a place in her life. Even though the last year Alex had done nothing but spew nasty words at me the entire time she was with me, I still picked her up on Wednesdays and took her out to eat. I still picked her up on the weekends and took her to Dante’s place to spend the weekend with her.

I couldn’t take her home, though.

Hannah, Reggie, and TJ were in my home.

We may not be together, Hannah and I, but we were a family.

I wanted Hannah more than my next breath, but with Allegra’s threats, and Alex’s proof that she wasn’t threatening me, I didn’t have much I could do.

So Hannah was just my roommate.

Hell, I was barely ever here.

TJ was now two months old, and in daycare because both of his parents worked.

I wanted to be able to give my child the time and devotion I’d shown Alex when she’d been a baby, but at this point in my life, it just wasn’t feasible.

An hour after I put TJ to bed, Hannah stopped by the couch with an armful of laundry and asked me what I knew she would ask me.

“How did your night with Alex go?”

I looked up from the paperwork that I was filling out at the coffee table and saw her beautiful eyes on me.

God, it was like a shot straight to the heart.

“She said she hated me no less than a hundred times. Screamed that I was hurting her while we were out having pizza, and told some lady that I’d kidnapped her.”

Hannah’s mouth fell open in shock.

“You’re joking.”

I closed my eyes, dropped my pen, and let the remembrance of the hellish night sweep through me.

“No, not kidding at all,” I moaned into my hands. “I guess I’m just lucky that the police department is still under construction.”

Two months ago, corruption had been discovered in our local police department, and it’d been shut down pending further investigation. A month ago, the choice to reopen, but hold an election for the chief of police, had been decided. They’d also concluded that everyone in the department was being terminated, even the ones that weren’t convicted of any wrongdoing. They’d sat idly by and let whatever happened, happen.

The next Chief of Police would be the one to choose his staff.

The election had been a week ago, and the new chief was building his department. It took time, though, and thank God for that.

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