I quit

“Dave, we need to speak,” Gypsy said.

After two years of working for this man, she couldn’t do it anymore. Every time she told Dave something was off, he laughed in her face and sent her anyway. Most of the time, Gypsy was right to be concerned. Frank Paloma being the main reason she was leaving this place. His abuse took her to the breaking point. The fact that Dave laughed forced her to lose all trust in this man. How can you work for someone who has no soul? Gypsy was quickly learning the hard way that she was better than the life she chose. There was no way in hell her daughter would grow up with a mother who was “Just a whore.”

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Saving Grace

“Mommy, mommy, tell me again,” Grace giggled.

Sitting on the surfboard, watching the little dark-haired beauty run back and forth had become one of her favorite things. He was right, Hawaii was home, and she wished she would have listened to what he wanted for them in many ways. Two years have passed since they exchanged vows on the same beach she now sat with their daughter. Grace, so full of life and wonder, was the spitting image of her father. She has a spirit of adventure that could only be attributed to Kaine. A handful, but every second of the day, Gypsy found comfort in her smile. Her daughter would always be a gentle reminder that it was real. That there was love once.

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41

For the first time in her life, Gypsy knew she finally found her place in the world. She was a mother to this perfect little girl and an accomplished artist. No longer could her father hurt her, and she found the strength inside of herself to fully walk away from the life she once lived.

“Sleep, little angel. Mommy will never leave you again,” she smiled. For the first time since her birth, Grace would spend the night with her mother. Something that Gypsy had looked forward to since the moment she knew she was pregnant. Her world finally had clarity, and the black cloud that lingered above her turned into a rainbow of hope—a family of her own.

A long hot shower, her warm bed, and her body finally relaxed. It’s in the darkness of night that you finally find the peace that you seek. For Gypsy, it was the time when she could come to grips for the first time with a darkness inside of her that she would never understand.

“I see you’ve been busy?” he asked.

The coldness of the room shook her to the bones. “I have. Why are you here?” she asked.

A small chuckle, he stood, walking over to where Grace slept, the look on his face was of disgust. “You brought that home with you?” he said. It was not a question but rather a statement.

“My daughter,” she said.

He watched for a few moments, finally reaching down to stroke the child’s cheek. “Pity,” he said.

Her body stiff, watching, she didn’t trust anyone around her daughter. “Why are you here? Oh, and I have a gift for you,” she said.

“A gift?” he asked. Rejoining Gypsy on the bed, he was curious about what this girl could have for him.

She reached under her pillow, pulling out the rosary, handing it over, “I don’t want these.”

Laughing with no regard for the sleeping child, he took the beads, and the other hand, he placed behind her head, pulled her forward.

His collection of words would forever change her life.

“If you feel that I’m done with you, you’re mistaken. I say when and if this is over. Just because you have that child doesn’t mean I won’t be back,” his voice echoed with threats of his return.

“Go. I can’t do this, not now. There is more to my daughter than I can tell you. You would never understand,” she said.

Without a word, he leaned in, his lips moving down the slender curve of her neck. Skin as pure as new snow, his teeth buried in her flesh as though it was warm butter. Without forewarning, he marked her body, staying until he finished. Her cries meant nothing to him, nor did her pleas for him to stop. This was no longer about what she wanted. The moment she brought him into her world, her life was not her own.

“I told you once that I would find you no matter where you roam. Take her and run, but I assure you, I will return for what is mine,” he warned.

Trickles of blood running down her chest, Gypsy covered the bite with her hand, her eyes closed tight. “I’m not scared of you anymore,” she said.

“Sometimes nightmares do come true,” he said.

The demons don’t live in the closet, and the boogeyman is real. Only your imagination can save you from the darkness. Dream wisely.

40 Burn it to the ground

“Get those pigs out of here,” Nicolette demanded.

The main doors to the warehouse opened—the livestock truck backed into the makeshift slaughterhouse. It was time for them to go back to the farm and get praised for a job well done. Frank Paloma is now resting in their stomach like a bad Italian dinner. In many ways, Nicolette felt bad for feeding them slop during their short stay.

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38 Franky boy

Nicolette waited. When Gypsy was out of the room, she turned to Frank, her face showing nothing but disgust for the man. Not only had he framed Gypsy for murder, but he stole her child and held her for a bounty. He was attempting to sell her to a known child predator. Frank Palona was the lowest form of human that walked the earth. In her eyes, she was doing the man a favor. If they allowed him to go to prison, they would murder him on the first day. Not that he wasn’t dying today, but his name would be at least be safe. Though his soul was another story.

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37 – Its only business

“I would like Spencer and Amelia removed from the room,” Nicolette said.

Two security guards entered, and without a sound, they secured the two and removed them from the makeshift courtroom. The moment that her security personal placed a hand on Spencer’s arm, there was a defeat in his eyes. Looking up at his daughter, was Spencer regretful that he was caught, or because he was now broke? No one would ever know, but it gave Nicolette satisfaction to know that her Uncle would suffer.

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36

The calmness would not last long for Nicolette. The wrath was coming, and her hands shook with anticipation. She had killed men in the past, but none would give her the pleasure this one would. Frank Paloma’s name was on the books, and death was coming to collect. She knew it, and in a way, she knew that he knew he would never make it out of the building alive. Angelina would say goodbye to her husband, and their two-year-old son would never see his father again. Some think killing is easy, but she will be taking a parent from a child. Tonight was not for the weak of heart. It was payback.

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35

Do you remember the first time your parents told you they were taking you to Disneyland? Or that feeling you got on Christmas morning when you saw everything you wanted under the tree? That was how Gypsy felt at that moment. Her daughter was only feet away from her, and her arms already ached to hold her. To embrace her and never let go of the little one. When she got her back, she was running as far away from this life as possible.

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34

Seconds were passing. Those words still burned like fire in Gypsy’s eyes. Her husband was dead, but she didn’t accept this. How could she when there was no proof? What would she tell Grace? “Oh, your grandfather killed your daddy because he’s a selfish bastard.” How do you say to a child that the man who is supposed to love her first is gone? He won’t hold her, take her to school, and one day, he won’t walk her down the aisle and let her go. How can she explain this to Grace? None of this was fair.

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