HELL AND BACK by NATASHA MADISON

 

BLURB

 
Meeting him was a fluke. Dating him was a mistake. Watching him become a drug addict put me through hell. Running was my only option.

***

I’m running from my demons and when I find out she’s trying to escape her past, I know what I have to do.

One broken cop. One woman fighting for her life. A fragile love.

Sinister secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

They’ve been to hell. The hard part will be finding their way back together.
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 

 


EXCERPT

I pull up in
my driveway looking over at the house.

What I see pisses me off. 
Here she is
in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and glasses pushing a brand new lawn
mower.
I make sure I
check my temper before I walk over.

Right before I cross the street the little girl on the front porch stops
me mid step.
She looks
like just like her mother, just a smaller version.
  She is sitting on a plastic little table,
that they probably just bought, coloring.
I make my way
over to her right when the lawn mower goes off
“I told you I
would cut the grass.”
  I try to sound
casual, but the blood in me is boiling, it must be ninety-five degrees outside
,
and she’s wearing enough clothes for a trek across the frozen tundra.
She looks up
“I also said I got it, and I would be doing it myself.” The little girl from
the porch makes it to her mother and hides behind her, yanking on her pant
leg.
 
The fearful
look that she gives me is just like her mother’s.
  I crouch down, getting eye-to-eye with her
and say “Hey there, beautiful. What’s your name?” She doesn’t reply, and
instead she lowers her gaze so she is looking at her feet. “I’m Jackson,” I
reach out my hand, but drop it when I know she won’t take it.
  I gesture behind me, as I say “I live in that
house right over there.
  I used to know
your great grandma.”
  I’m trying to draw
her into a conversation with me, but nothing I say engages her.
“It’s ok
baby, you can tell him your name.
  Nan
used to make him cookies, so you know what that means, she must have really
liked him.”
  She rubs her daughters
shoulder.
“I’m Lilah,”
she says in barely a whisper.
“That is the
most beautiful name in the whole wide world.

You’re lucky to have such a beautiful name.”  She smiles at me, right as a car back fires.
She yells and puts her hands to her ears.

Two things
happen at the same time, her mother grabs her and runs toward the house, and I
vow to protect them.
“Wait,” I
rush after them and make it right to the door before it’s closed in my
face.
  I stand there inside the house and
watch them rushing to the corner and hide.

Two broken
girls protecting each other against some monster of the outside world.
  I walk up to them “It’s ok, it’s just a car,
it was nothing but a car.”
“Lilah, baby
it’s ok, it’s ok.
  I’m here.  It’s ok baby girl, were safe.” She is trying
to comfort the little girl who is sobbing quietly in her mother arms.
  “No one is here baby.”
She looks
over at me, our eyes meeting for one minute before she lowers them again.
“Look it’s
ok, it’s just Jackson.
  There is no one
here, baby.”
  She rocks Lilah back and
forth. Her back against the wall while she soothes her baby girl whose sobs are
slowly stopping, her eyes closing.
“What can I
do?”
  I’m now sitting in front of her not
sure how to even start to dissect this.
“Nothing, you
can’t do anything for us,” she kisses Lilah’s head. “No one can.”
I ignore that
last part not sure how to talk about this now.

“I’m going to
go outside and finish cutting the grass, then I’m going to go pick up some food
for us.
  Does she like pizza?”
“Jackson, I
don’t know what relationship you had with my grandmother, but I don’t need your
help.
  We will be fine.  Please, it’s ok, you can leave.” She rests
her head on the the wall closing her eyes, the defeat of the day leaving her
body.
“I’m going to
go outside and finish mowing the lawn so Lilah doesn’t have to go outside
anymore today.
  Then I’m going to pick up
pizza for myself.
  You won’t have time to
cook, so I’m going to pick one up for you.

I want to eat with you guys, but I’m not pushing myself on you either
after today.
  Now I don’t want to fight
with you or even discuss this, so just nod that you understand?”
She looks
into my eyes, but nods yes.
“I can pay
you for the pizza?
  I have money. I don’t
need a hand out,” she says while trying to push herself up to go get fucking
money.
 
If she
weren’t so scared of things I would punch the fuck out of something right now.
  “I don’t want your money, now or ever.  I have no doubt you can take care of
yourself.
  Consider this a housewarming
present.” I get up going to the door not even giving her a chance to say
anything else.
“She’s never
had pizza before, so can you just get us plain cheese.”
I don’t say
anything afraid of what will come out of my mouth.
  I nod and walk out the door, closing it
quietly so as not to wake Lilah.
I close my
eyes exhaling the breath that I didn’t even realize I was holding.
“She’s barely
holding on while fighting for her life.

She has demons, they both do.
Whatever happened to them, it’s in there deep.  The both of them are so scared, you can
practically see the fear coming off of them.”

I look over at Brenda who is on her porch watering her plants. “Tread
lightly, Jackson, or better yet walk away if you aren’t going to do anything
about it.”
I don’t have
a chance to respond she walks into her house closing her front door softly,
leaving me fighting my own demons.

 

 


 


About Natasha Madsion
 
When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
 
HELL AND BACK
NATASHA MADISON

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