Get ready for the tears and the fears of the powerful romance between Blackie and Lacey that continues to get put through the wringer in this intense and realistic tale that kept me glued to the pages. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Blackout: Book Two by Janine Infante Bosco, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf. In honor of this second installment in the Leather and Lace Duet make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC too!
Once upon a time there lived a young girl, who battled depression and an older man who struggled with addiction. They fell head over heels in love with one another and foolishly thought their love could conquer all, that they’d beat the odds and live happily ever after. But some of the most tragic love stories are disguised as the greatest fairytales.
I thought we were past the pain, that we could finally be happy. I never imagined I’d be pregnant, alone and battling mental illness while my husband overdosed in prison. I also didn’t think he’d miss our daughter’s birth because a judge mandated him to rehab for ten months.
Now, he’s free and I’m broken beyond repair. Disconnected from everything I ever loved, including my newborn baby, I’m the casualty of another blackout.
Two tortured souls, navigating Hell, trying to find that happily ever after—wondering if it even exists.
Gripping the doorknob, I draw in a deep breath and hold it. As soon as I find the courage to open the door, I release the breath and shuffle my feet inside the room. Before I can take another step, a uniformed officer stands in front of me.
“Can I help you?”
“I…I’m his wife,” I stammer. Silently, he rakes his eyes over me. I’m about to ask if he needs to see my I.D. or something, but he moves to the side and allows me room to enter.
“No touching,” he warns. All too familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding a prisoner, I jerk my head in response.
“Lace, baby, is that you?”
My eyes snap towards the sound of Blackie’s voice and a gasp escapes my lips at the sight of him. Shackled to the bed by a pair of handcuffs, the man I married is unrecognizable. Aside from the dry blood and harsh bruises covering his beautiful face, his left eye is swollen shut and just below the brow there is a deep gash that’s been stitched with black thread.
“I’m here,” I croak.
“C’mere, let me see you. I need to see you,” he slurs desperately.
The bitter part of me wants to let him stew and feel everything he inflicted on me in that courtroom. All the pain and every ounce of heartache. But the bigger part, the part that loves him unconditionally, runs to his side.
“There’s my gorgeous girl,” he rasps, turning his head to get a better look at me. “Don’t cry,” he murmurs. “I hate when you fucking cry.”
“Then please stop making me,” I say, choking on a sob.
Quietly, he continues to stare at me, and I watch as his bottom lip trembles. Tears spill from his good eye as he pulls at his chained wrist. The cuffs slap against the bedrail and he releases a guttural cry.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” he rasps. His tone remorseful.
I remain silent as I stare at him in disbelief, wondering how we got to this tragic point in our marriage. The longer we continue to stare at one another, I start to think I’m punishing him with my silence, and I try to find it in me to respond to his apology.
“How are you feeling? How’s my baby? Did you get the teddy bear?”
At the mention of the teddy bear, my gaze snaps to his and his apology is forgotten. Suddenly, I’m consumed by anger as I recall waking up to find that stuffed toy in my lap.
“I stood in that gift shop mulling it over, trying to decide between pink and blue,” he reveals, pausing for a beat as he tries to crack a smile. His face is too swollen and all he really manages is a lip curl. “It’s a girl, Lace,” he continues. “I feel it and I dream of her. Every fucking night, I dream of our daughter.”
I can’t listen to him go on about our baby when he turned his back on us. I’m sure he’s got an excuse, a grand one at that, but I’m done listening to him. He broke something between us the day he threw that teddy bear in my lap and he built a concrete wall between us inside that courtroom. Sadly, I would’ve forgiven him for those things. I would’ve done everything in my power to piece together what he broke, and I would’ve torn the wall down until it was nothing but a pile of dust.
“You promised me,” I cry, stepping closer to the bed so he can see the pain in my eyes. The pain he put there. Choking on my tears, I shake my head as my knuckles whiten around the bedrail. “I heard the baby’s heartbeat, Blackie,” I rasp. “I reached for you and you weren’t there.”
“You weren’t there!”
“Sorry, yeah, I know,” I say, shaking my head. “That’s not good enough anymore.”
“I know I fucked up,” he chokes, his voice raw with emotion. “I fucking let you down, but if you let me explain—“
“I don’t want to hear it,” I interject, lifting my hands to wipe the tears rolling down my cheeks. “How many times are we going to do this, Blackie?”
“As many times as it takes to get it right,” he answers.
“No! You don’t get it, do you? It’s not about us anymore. We can’t keep doing this. For fuck’s sake, you’re chained to a hospital bed. I can’t even touch you,” I shriek, eyeing the guard who is doing his best to appear invisible. “You know, I wanted it to be you…I wanted us to go the distance, Blackie. I wanted you to be the one who remained at my side when I lost myself. I wanted you to be the man who reminded me of the love we made and the family we created. At the end of a long life, I wanted your face to be the last one I saw before I died. I wanted your hand to be the one I held when I left this world. It was supposed to be you. You promised you’d be that man. You swore on everything we were and everything we’d ever be.”
“I’m yours,” he growls. “But you got it wrong, baby. So, fucking wrong. You’re not going to lose yourself and I’ll never have to remind you of the love we made, because if you ever forget, I’ll just make you fall in love with me all over again. Every day, for the rest of my life. Baby, don’t give up on me. I’m begging you. One more chance. I’ll make it right. Schwartz is working on getting me out of here.”
Tears fall endlessly.
They’re the tears of love.
Of two broken hearts.
As much as I want to believe everything he’s saying, I know better. He doesn’t mean to lie to me. He doesn’t mean to break my heart. He doesn’t mean any of it, but he also can’t help it.
He can’t help himself.
“You know,” I start, pausing to clear my throat and wipe my eyes. “I think you like breaking,” I whisper. My words aren’t meant to be insulting, they’re meant to inspire. To help him see the error of his ways. I speak to him not as his wife, but as a trained professional—something, I swore I’d never do. I guess we’re both going against our word now.
“I think you like falling apart because for a brief pause, you get to feel whole after someone picks up the pieces. After the euphoria of being complete wears, you come crashing down. You realize you did nothing to help yourself, and you do whatever you can to break again, hoping this time you’ll be the one to pick up the pieces for yourself. I wanted to be the one who changed you. I wanted to breathe life into your fragile soul.”
“You are…you’re everything, Lacey,” he shouts, his voice full of conviction.
“I’m everything and nothing at all, Blackie,” I whisper. “I spoke with Schwartz, he says you’re going to have to go to rehab.”
“I’ll get him to appeal the judge’s decision. Whatever it takes to get me home to you and the baby,” he insists.
“Blackie, you have a problem, a serious problem and twenty-eight days in rehab won’t fix you,” I tell him, watching as his expression goes grim. His jaw tightens and the air around us changes. It becomes thick.
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying, I can’t fix you. I’ve come to terms with it and now it’s time you do as well. If the judge sends you to rehab, I think you should go. If you want any kind of relationship with our child, you will go.”
“Don’t fucking do that.”
“What am I doing?”
“Don’t use our child against me.”
“I’m not,” I admonish, hurt he would even suggest the idea. “I’m looking out for our child. There’s a difference. Blackie, you have no idea how it feels to be on the receiving end of your bad decisions. You have no idea how heartbreaking it is to never feel good enough.”
“Don’t I? Why the hell do you think I’m as fucked as I am? I know I don’t deserve you.”
“No, Blackie, you think you don’t deserve me. I’ve done nothing to make you believe that and everything to convince you otherwise. Now, you survived another overdose and by the looks of it, a beating that probably should’ve killed you. God is giving you another chance to get right with yourself. Make it count. Not for me. Not for our baby, but for yourself.”
“And what happens if I don’t?”
“I think you know the answer to that,” I whisper.
This story of ours won’t end with us old and gray. It’ll end tragically with our beautiful child never knowing its father and me burying the man I love.
“You didn’t say it,” he murmurs, forcing my attention back to him.
“You didn’t say you love me.”
I didn’t, did I? Not a single ‘I love you’. Not even a ‘Thank God, you’re okay’.
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
With each published book I became more and more invested in the men and women of the Satan’s Knights MC, became a member of this unique family of rough around the edges characters. Their lives are messy, with danger around every corner, and it’s made their hard-fought HEAs even more rewarding in stories that kept me on the edge of my seat while pulling at my heartstrings.
This final tale is an epic one, as many of Ms. Bosco’s stories are, and couldn’t be contained in just one book with the action here picking up right where Book One left off...with Blackie going to jail while Lacey deals with pregnancy and her mental illness on her own. From the first page to the last readers will find themselves held captive by this dark tale that deals with serious issues head-on. At no point did Ms. Bosco sugarcoat the realities of prison life or the desolation and fear of coping with mental illness while being unmedicated. For Blackie, his demons continue to weigh on him as he feels unworthy of the happiness Lacey offered him. He doesn’t think himself capable of being a father, thinks he causes more trouble than he’s worth, and there were times where I feared his demons would win. My heart broke for him quite often during his time in prison as he hit rock bottom trying to take the pain of his past and fears of his future away. To the outside world he looks like a thug, but behind the bad boy facade is a loyal man with a heart of gold. That heart still beats and it’s what belongs to Lacey still and drives this story when all hope feels lost.
Lacey’s no stranger to the dangers of the MC lifestyle as her father’s the notorious Jack Parrish. She grew up around bullets and blood and it never deterred her from her desires because the moment she met Blackie she knew he’d be hers someday and set out to claim him. It was a bumpy journey that put them (and readers) through the wringer and getting married should’ve been the end of their story. But for these two it was merely the beginning as his fears led to a downward spiral full of doubts that culminated with his current incarceration that feels like a betrayal to Lacey. Lacey’s a likable heroine, a heroine who’s grown up throughout the series and who’s now seeing things clearly. She once thought that love was enough but now realizes that communication is vital and that her and Blackie hid too much of themselves out of fear. I applauded her reaching that conclusion and was in awe of the strength it took for her to go through her pregnancy while battling the dark voices of her Maker (the same mental illness her father fights). In scenes that were vividly depicted readers will feel Lacey’s loneliness and doubts as her pain becomes ours. It’s a battle that will never end for her though and each day she overcomes her Maker is a reason to cheer. As Blackie will never be completely healed either I find her to be the perfect match for him as they’re two hardened warriors just trying to find a bit of light in the darkness.
From the first page to the last this is a story that will require a few tissues along the way as readers are taken on a rollercoaster ride full of intense emotions where the lows are truly dark and the highs are full of joy. Lacey and Blackie’s connection, and their love, is clearly put to the test throughout this story and there were times I wasn’t sure if they’d win. In the clever hands of Ms. Bosco though I was given a realistic and unforgettable tale that I’m still thinking of. Every hurt, every moment of happiness was mine as well and it was a hard-fought journey to HEA that had me rooting for them every step of the way. Alongside this unforgettable main couple was a cast of equally appealing secondary characters who made this an even richer story. The men and women of the Satan’s Knights rallied around this couple and were a strong support when they were needed most in roles that gave new meaning to the word family. I especially enjoyed seeing more of Nico and his much-appreciated humor as well as Bishop and his particularly poignant support. Even if you’ve never read a book in this series before you’ll find this a powerful and timely tale for the issues it deals with. I encourage you to let this be the moment that inspires you to pick up the book that started this momentous string of books as it’s a series full of heart and soul....along with some pulse-pounding danger to keep you coming back for more.
My rating for this is an A.
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
THE PREVIOUS BOOK IN THE LEATHER AND LACE DUET:
BLACKOUT: BOOK ONE
After years of struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse, I got clean and put my best foot forward. I became the man worthy of Lacey Parrish’s love and made the girl with the sad brown eyes my wife. But I’m not the only one in our marriage with demons. Diagnosed a manic depressive, Lacey struggles daily with her mind, never willing to succumb to the stigma of mental illness.
The odds have always been stacked against us, but the stakes have never been this high.
Pregnant with our child, Lacey is forced to choose between her mind and the baby we wished for.
I can take pain, but I can’t take hers.
Helpless and at the mercy of her illness, I turn to my past.
It’s always our favorite sins that do us in.
Suffering through hell, hoping love is enough for us to survive one more blackout.
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.
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