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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(64) by Samantha Young|
“Not this kid. It was all bravado. Got himself thrown inside for being an accomplice in an armed robbery. He used to swagger around, trying to convince everyone this was where he belonged, but he was scared and you could fucking smell it on him. Like blood in shark-infested waters.”
I felt a little sick just imagining where this was going. “What was his name?”
“Danny,” he said, his voice hoarse. “Danny Little. Tried to get every fucker in the place to call him the wee man. I tried to tell him he was pushing too hard, pissing the guys off…”
“Was he your friend?”
Logan frowned. “I think I was his. He told me everything about himself. About his mum and his wee sister. How he was just trying to take care of them, make life better for them since their old man had passed away. A fucking cliché of tragedy, this kid.
“Just a kid, Grace. I should have protected him.”
The agony in his voice brought tears to my eyes. “Logan…” It almost sounded like a plea.
He turned to me, guilt written all over him. “I knew they were circling. I didn’t do enough. They got to him… kept threatening to rape him. I told him it was just a bullying tactic, but they tormented him with the threat until they attacked him. They didn’t rape him, but they promised him that they would next time. I just told him to keep strong, that they were bluffing, toying with him. I wasn’t… I didn’t do enough.”
I felt sick. My hand tightened in his in reaction.
“He killed himself a few days later. Stole a shank from someone. Slit his wrists at night in his cell.”
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered around the lump in my throat.
“I could have done something.” His hand was holding mine so tight now it was almost painful. “I…”
“You are not to blame for what happened to him.”
“Those words mean nothing to his family. If it were your son… those words would mean nothing to you.”
I couldn’t say anything because as much as I didn’t believe he was to blame, I knew he was also right. “You take too much upon yourself.” I brushed my thumb over the back of his hand in comfort. “All you see is the bad when there is so much good.”
He turned his head to stare at me, his eyes on mine before moving across my face, caressing my mouth and traveling back up to my eyes again. There was such tenderness in his expression it made me a little breathless. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re real.”
Suddenly feeling like we were venturing into dangerous territory, I loosened my grip on his hand and pulled away a little.
Tightness appeared around his eyes at my withdrawal. “I’m a selfish bastard.”
I shook my head.
“I’m a selfish bastard,” he insisted gruffly. “I want to bury myself inside you, and I’m not sure I can keep holding myself back from doing it.”
My breath caught at his confession, and I couldn’t ignore the burst of aroused tingles between my legs. But I could run from them. I sat up, prepared to do just that. “I told you I don’t do casual sex.”
He sat up, too, now. “Grace, there is nothing fucking casual about how I feel about you.”
Suddenly all my sympathy was crushed beneath my anger. “You have a funny way of showing it.”
“It didn’t seem fair.”
“What?” I asked, completely confused.
His brows dipped together in consternation. “I got out of prison and I had these great people willing to help me. And if that wasn’t enough, I got Maia. My kid could have been anyone, Grace… But it wasn’t anyone. It was Maia. Funny, smart, sweet, beautiful. My kid. A kid with so much will and determination she adjusted to life with me in weeks. There is so much to be proud of there.”
“And you think you don’t deserve her?”
“I know I don’t. But I could handle it because there was one thing I couldn’t have and it made me feel like there was a balance.”
My heart rate increased. “What are you talking about?”
I felt the world tilt around me. I wasn’t sure I’d heard right. “Me?”
“The day you told me and Shannon that you didn’t care about my time in prison. You didn’t judge me for it.” He stared at me soulfully. “I wanted you then. But you didn’t look at me the way a woman wants a man. I’m pretty sure all you felt toward me was annoyance. And that worked for me because I didn’t deserve someone like you. Later, when I started to realize you were as attracted to me as I was to you, I buried it. And after we had sex, it wasn’t just about Maia. If I got to have you and have Maia… It was too much – much more than I deserved.”
“I was a form of self-flagellation.” I looked away. “You hurt me to hurt yourself. Is that what you’re saying?”
“It sounds fucked-up when you say it.”
“That’s because it is fucked-up.” I swung my legs off the bed and stared hard at the wall. “You should see someone, Logan. Talk to them.”
“You mean a therapist?” He sounded incredulous.
“Yes. I used to see one. It helped.”
“I’m not the talking-it-out kind of guy.”
“You’re talking to me.” I glanced over my shoulder at him.
He gave me a sad smile. “Because you’re Grace. You’re the only one I talk to like this.”