But sometimes you’re forced to make the best of the crappy hand you’ve been dealt. I wanted to teach my daughter that. No matter what happens you face your problems head-on.
Never cower. Never give up.
Then someone took her and I had to put my faith in a system that had failed me, and my hope in a man I didn’t know.
Serve. Honor. Protect, are the only things I’ve ever cared about until her case was dropped on my desk. As we searched for her missing daughter, the last woman I thought I’d fall in love with became my reason for living.
Then the world came crashing down around us.
One secret would change everything, but I had one more hand to be dealt. And if I played my cards right, maybe, just maybe we’d get our piece of heaven.
I stand back and watch Marissa do her thing. As soon as we got back to her place, she went straight into Lori’s room. She walked around, inspecting things, checking to see if anything was out of place. I can see how much she hopes for this search to be different, for things to be out of place. Her shoulders droop in disappointment when she realizes that everything is exactly as it was the last time she checked. Watching that hope in her eyes quickly fade back to sorrow guts me.
Looking up at me with tears brimming in her eyes, she quietly says, “She hasn’t come back yet.”
“I’m going to get her back to you.” It’s not like we haven’t been trying, it’s just been one dead end after another. One minute we think we have something, only for it to turn out to be nothing. She nods her head.
“I’m going to change and then we can go,” she says as she walks past me, leaving me in the room by myself.
I walk around, taking in all the little ‘booby traps’ that she set up. The scotch tape on the drawers, the picture frames with strings attached to them, all in the hopes that she’ll come home and realize that Lori had been there. I can’t even imagine what that constant level of worry and devastation would do to me. I never really thought that I would be the kind of man who cared so much about children, but Lilah changed that for me. She really is the perfect kid.
Walking the room once more, I notice that her clothes haven’t been washed. She doesn’t want to touch anything. I’m about to sit on the bed and see if maybe there is something here that we’ve missed when she walks into the room.
“I’m ready,” she tells me, and I take in her outfit. Gone is the skirt she wore to work, and in its place are tight blue jeans that mold to her body with a bulky sweater that gathers at her waist. The look is finished with a pair of black Chucks. Her hair is tied high on her head in a ponytail, and her makeup free face makes her look like she’s a teenager herself.
“I can take care of myself.”
“I have no doubt that you can, Marissa, but now you have me to help with that. So just give me this, yeah?” The question hangs in the air for a couple of minutes before she finally gives in.
“Fine, I’ll give you this,” she says. “But you can’t scare these people off. If you go into cop mode with them, they won’t talk.”
I walk to her, grabbing her face in my hands. “We are going to get her back. I promise you.”
She nods her head as I lean down and kiss her lips. I was going for a soft kiss, but the minute she leans into me, my body takes over. One arm wraps around her waist as my mouth opens to tangle her tongue with mine. Our tongues dance together, both of us trying to get the upper hand over the other.
She pulls back from me and breathlessly says, “We should go.” She licks her lips before walking to her purse and pulling out two pictures along with her keys.
“Ready.” I follow her out the door, watching as she locks it.
We walk out of her building, and I guide her to my car with a hand on her lower back as I take in our surroundings, making sure that no one is watching us. I hate that she lives here, but I know that she isn’t going anywhere till Lori comes back. I don’t even have to ask her to know that if Lori never came back, she would stay there her whole life waiting, just in case. But I make a mental note to discuss it with her when I bring Lori back.
“I usually start at the soup kitchen down on 5th Street. If there aren’t that many people there, I go to the homeless shelter down the street before doubling back to the soup kitchen. After that, I go to the alley behind the bodega on 7th Avenue—”
The second she says it, I lose my shit.
“Are you fucking telling me that you’ve been down to pier warehouse next to the alley near the bodega? By yourself? AT NIGHT?” The thought of her down there at night by herself sends chills down my spine. Homeless men, women, and junkies gather there, many of them getting drunk or high. It’s fucking dangerous down there, even for me, and I’m a fucking cop with a weapon and experience. I get that she’s worried and feels like she has to do something, anything, to help bring her daughter home, but I am furious that she is so reckless with her safety. I need to take a few calming breaths so I don’t lash out at her.
“What if one of them saw her? What if she was there? I have to do what I have to do. If you have an issue with this, maybe you should just drop me off so I can get what I need to do done.” She continues, “You think this is the first time I’ve done this? I’ve been on these streets every day since she left. I don’t have enough energy left in me to argue with you right now. So are you driving me or not?”
I don’t answer her. I’m still deep breathing. Instead, I start making a list in my head. Change the lock on her front door, follow up on Lori’s Facebook page, and investigate all of her friends, turn her ass pink before fucking her raw. My mind lingers on that last item on my to-do list. Thoughts of her lying across my lap, her ass in the air, pink from my hand, and her drenched pussy ready and waiting for me has my cock springing to life and throbbing in my pants.
“Okay, Mick, just spit it out. What’s on your mind right now?” she asks as she turns her body in her seat toward me.
“Honestly?” I ask her, not sure she really wants to know. She glares at me, her eyes practically shooting daggers at me. “I was thinking a couple of things. First, I need to change the lock on your door. It can be picked open easily with a spoon, that’s how weak it is. Then I was thinking about digging deeper into Lori’s Facebook friends. Finally, I was thinking about how pink I’m going to turn your ass if you ever go back down there without me again.” I pin her with my own glare before I turn my eyes back to the road.
“Turn my ass pink?”
“Turn your ass pink. With you laid across my lap, I’ll use my hand to turn that perfect little ass a pretty shade of pink.” I stop at a red light and assess her. A second more and I would have missed the pink of her cheeks, the hitch of her breath, the way she pressed her legs together tight. “Right before I fuck you,” I say, and even I can hear the huskiness in my voice.
“I haven’t had sex since Lori’s dad left,” she says without meeting my eyes. My mouth hangs open as she continues, “Which was a long, long time ago.”
I don’t say anything because I hear a honk behind me. Looking up, I see that the light has changed to green.
“Just so you know, if you thought that I slept around, I don’t.” The last part is whispered softly as she turns in her seat again to stare out the window.
I pull over into an empty parking lot, reach over to unbuckle her seat belt, and pull her into my lap. “Look at me, Marissa, and hear what I’m saying. I was a dick when I first met you.”
She places her hands on my chest, her thumbs stroking it gently.
“I can’t take that back, but what I can promise is that I will always treat you with respect. I will treat you like a queen, my queen, because that is what you deserve. You deserve that and so much more.” I kiss her on the tip of her nose. “Let me in, Marissa,” I ask her quietly, holding my breath as my heart pounds so loudly, I’m certain she can hear it. “Let me in, baby, so I can do all of that for you and more.”
“Let me be there for you, Marissa. Let me hold your hand, let me hold you, let me guard the pieces of your heart till she comes back. I’ll take them, one piece at a time, until I have the whole thing.”
She doesn’t say anything else to me, just rests her cheek on my chest and nods. She pulls back and kisses me on the nose. “Can we please go and see what we can find out about my girl?” She climbs back into her seat and buckles her seat belt. “Chop chop! Let’s go, Moro!”
I let out a laugh, feeling lighter than I have in a long fucking time. I buckle my seat belt and put my car into drive, heading straight to the first stop on her list, hoping and praying that tonight is the night we get a lead.
4TLOR Review ~by Lou
A great book which really kept my interest throughout. I loved Hell & Back, so was very pleased that Mick was getting his own story. I had really been looking forward to this as it was built up well in Hell & Back, but you knew there was so much more. This is a standalone, but I really would advise you to read Hell & Back first, to get a full feel of the characters and the storyline.
There was a fair bit overlap in this story, and to start with I wondered why as we knew a lot of what had happened, but in order to make this a standalone it was needed and actually in hindsight , worked really well as it gives the readers a reminder of events if you are not reading the books back to back.
I really liked the characters in this story. Mick is strong and fiercely protective. But he also has a lot of wounds and scars from his childhood and throughout this story we learn far more about him as we begin to peel back the layers. The more I read the more I liked him – not forgetting his strong alpha traits!
Marissa is also a great character. She is so massively STRONG!! This woman really has been through the wringer, and many would break for far less, but she is determined to stay strong and resilient to what is happening around her even when it feels like all is falling apart.
With loads of action, some huge twists and heart-stopping moments, this book really will keep that pulse rate flying and as a reader you won’t know if you’re coming or going – but all in a good way!! The beautiful, complex and well developed story is heart-breaking and really really emotional at times. There was a point toward the end I got a little confused, but by the end and little bit of flipping back I realised what was happening.
Loved the epilogue! It’s made me really hope for a certain book between two of the characters whilst reading this – possibly with a little spoiler there in the epilogue about what’s to come?!?!
Another brilliant book from Natasha Madison, who has become an favorite author I will now always read!
**** 4 STARS ****
4TLOR Review ~ by Jordan
I loved Pieces of Heaven and the perfect (well almost) alpha that is Mick Moro.
I was only introduced to Natasha Madison’s books a few weeks back when I got to read Hell and Back, I fell so deep in to that book and Bella and Jacksons story. In that we got to meet Mick and the beginning of what looked like would be his story, so although these are standalones I would highly recommend you go and read Hell and Back.
This story goes back to the beginning of Bella and Jacksons but obviously from Micks POV and his journey with Sandie and Marissa, and how her daughter Lori is missing.
Mick is a vulnerable police detective who’s been played by the woman hes loved for years. I really wanted to shake some sense in to Him a few times, but I suppose love makes you do crazy things right?
Marissa is a strong confident woman, who adores her daughter and would go to the ends of the earth for her, and it shows. I loved her for mick!
This story has so many twists and turns, it had my heart going in so many directions. Just like with Hell and Back I didn’t see the twist coming what so ever. It has everything I love in a book, an extremely hot alpha, a woman who isn’t weak, some suspense and even some pretty hot scenes, what more could I want?
I love a good epilogue, and this was the perfect end to this story and had me smiling but also sad that it was ending.
I’m hoping Chris gets his own story now, but who ever and what ever Natasha writes next I know I’ll be reading it.