Heroes Heart Paperback
I’ve failed the one woman who saved my soul… now I’ll risk Hell to get her back.
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I’ve lived in a haze since losing my wife… then I met Lorelei.
She gave me her heart, only for me to break my promises to her. Now she’s missing, hidden by secrets she never shared.
But I don’t care—whatever the price, I’ll pay it to bring her back.
Formerly Titled Broken Vows (Crossroads Heroes Series) Want to read about Kerrigan and Lorelei’s beginning? Check out the prequel: Broken Promises, in the Heroes with Heat and Heart 9/11 Charity Anthology.
LORELEI: LOOKING FORWARD TO OUR DATE TONIGHT.
I fired off a response, grinning like a teenage boy. SAME HERE. I’M GLAD WE’RE TAKING A CHANCE ON EACH OTHER.
CALL YOU WHEN I’M ON MY WAY?
LORELEI: YES. BE SAFE. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU. XO.
“Hey man, Chief’s looking for you before you head out.” Brady grinned as he stopped me in the station’s hallway.
“What’s got you smiling? Did you finally get laid?” He huffed a laugh.
“Can’t a guy smile?” I shrugged, avoiding the conversation I knew he wanted to hear.
“Sure. But you’re not known for that. What gives?”
“I met a woman.”
Brady slapped his palm against my back. “I knew it. About time, brother. You deserve to be happy. Do I know her?”
“No. I don’t think so. But it’s still new and we both have some things to work out—but I really like her.”
“Man, I’m happy for you. Let me know if you need anything, ok. We got your back, Kerrigan.”
“Thanks.” When I got to Haywards’s office, I wasn’t expecting to who was waiting for me.
Hayward shot me a sympathetic look and shrugged. “Kerrigan. I tried your house first. But your mother said you were on duty. The chief was kind enough to call you in here. How are you?”
A flood of emotion poured in, nearly knocking me off my feet. Here, standing in front of me, was Kara’s mom. She was a mirror image of the woman I lost, which is why I had avoided contact with her. Seeing her face was a painful reminder of what I lost.
“Why are you here, Kelly?” Hayward stood and moved around the desk.
“I’m going to step out and give you two a few minutes alone.” He squeezed my shoulder and excused himself from the room.
The tension was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. I hadn’t meant to be callous to her but seeing her made the pain resurface.
“I have some things that belonged to Kara that she would want you to have.” I watched in horror as Kelly placed a bag on the table. She tugged out a photo album and handed it to me. When I opened it, I was nearly knocked over with grief. Picture after picture filled the pages of the two of us in high school. It was clear from the photographs we were in love. “I thought you’d want that. But this is what I really brought to give you.” She fished out a box and held it in her hand. “It came in the mail a few weeks after her funeral. I’ve held on to it all this time, waiting for the right time to give it to you. When I heard through the grapevine you were here in town, I knew it was time.”
She shoved the tiny container into my hand and patted my arm. “She loved you more than life itself.” Kelly started toward the office door and paused. “Don’t be a stranger, Kerrigan. We miss you, too.”
I stared down at my hand. Why now? I was just starting to let go and live. But if what I thought was in this box, I didn’t know if I would survive seeing it. My eyes closed as I willed myself to be strong enough. The photos were hard enough, but that was so long ago, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I suspected this would be.
The door opened, and I vaguely heard Hayward’s voice behind me as I eased off the top and stared at the contents inside. A broken sob escaped past my lips as I slipped the one thing that would bring me to my knees from the box. My 53 LC TAYLOR fingers wrapped around it as I fell to my knees. Hayward was there in an instant.
“Fuck.” He wrapped his arm around me. “I got you, buddy. It’s ok. Let it all out.”
“No.” I pushed off my knees and jerked back. “I can’t be here, Hay. I need to go.”
I shoved it in my pocket and grabbed the door handle. “Let me take you home. You shouldn’t be driving like this.”
I silently nodded and hurried out the door. Several people watched me pass by. My face did little to hide the pain I was feeling. Hayward climbed in behind the steering wheel and cranked the engine.
“Don’t let this set you back, Kerrigan. These last few days I got to see the old Kerrigan—and I suspect it’s because of the woman you’ve found. You can’t let this come between you and the future you deserve.”
“I can’t think about Lorelei right now. This.” I held up the reminder of what I promised to Kara between us. “Is a sign I am betraying the promise I made to love her forever. Getting involved with Lorelei was a mistake.”
“You don’t really believe that do you?”
Blowing out a frustrated sigh. “I don’t know anything anymore.”
Hayward glanced over at me and frowned. “Call her, Kerrigan. She can help you work through this.”
“Thanks for the ride.” I slipped out of the passenger seat, ignoring his suggestion, and hurried inside.
I wasn’t surprised to find my mother waiting when I got inside. “She found you.” She sighed. “I didn’t want her to go to your job, because I knew this would happen. What did she give you?”
I held it up. “A reminder of why getting involved with anyone is a mistake.”
“A mistake?” She blinked. “Are you an idiot? Kerrigan—Kara wouldn’t want you to die alone. She’d be happy for you and Lorelei.”
“I can’t do this, mom. Not now. I need to be alone.”
“Don’t make a mistake, baby. I know you’re hurting right now, but that woman made you smile. If you walk away now, you’ll regret it. Kara is your past—it’s time to let her go.”
I slammed my door shut, cutting off anymore words from my mother. My fist clutched the tiny reminder in my palm as I sat on the bed. I was supposed to pick up Lorelei in twenty minutes, and I couldn’t bring myself to move. My phone vibrated against my leg. When I pulled it from my pocket, I wasn’t surprised to see it was Lorelei. I was late for my date with her based on the time my phone read.
Opening her message, I cringed. LORELEI: HEY ARE YOU OK? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE ALREADY.
My mom pushed open the door and saw me staring at my phone. “Did you call her?”
“I hope you know what you’re doing. You might throw away the one chance you have at starting over. And for what? A stupid ring? You need to tell her, Kerrigan.”
I knew she was right. But I couldn’t face her right now. Not with the suffocating emotions I was feeling right now. I rolled the reason for my guilt around in my palm. Pinching it between my fingers, I held it up in front of me. “This symbolized forever. How am I supposed to look at this while giving my heart to another?”
“I don’t know, Honey. But Kara is dead, and you finally have a chance at starting over. Ignoring her is a big mistake.”
“Maybe. But seeing this—hurts.”
I pulled open my nightstand. Giving her wedding ring one last glance, I tossed it inside and closed the drawer. The expression of my mom had cut me to the core. It was a mixture of sadness and disappointment. I’d lost Kara all those years ago, and this reminder of her death scorched my soul in ways I wasn’t prepared for. My phone rang, startling me out of my self-pity. Lorelei’s face filled my screen. I glanced up at my mom and flashed the screen to her. She simply shook her head and walked out. It rang several times, then stopped. Another text message pinged.
LORELEI: I KNOW YOU’RE NOT AT WORK. I CALLED AND TALKED TO THE CHIEF. HE SAID YOU WEREN’T THERE. WHAT’S HAPPENING KERRIGAN?
I didn’t reply. I couldn’t.
What would I say? Oh yeah. My dead wife’s mother brought me her wedding ring, and it fucked me up. Sorry. I can’t talk. Even saying that in my head made me feel worse. The guilt of wanting Lorelei was like a dagger to my heart. And I wanted her—like I had wanted Kara when I met her. But this was more than I could handle. Shutting her out was best for both of us. I’d only wind up hurting her when she learned I couldn’t let go of my past life.
Her face filled the screen again. Was I right to do this?
Emotions I thought I’d reserved for Kara lingered in my chest as I stared at Lorelei’s image. One swipe to the right and I could hear her voice. But in doing that, was I diminishing the importance of what I had with Kara? I knew either choice I made would leave me with pain. Kara was my past and Lorelei, my future.
My thumb hovered over the button for a moment. Swallowing the bile burning my throat, I closed my eyes and sent a silent prayer to the heaven as I made my choice. A choice that would change everything.
“I’m so sorry, baby.”
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