Keep reading for a sneak peek of Love is Blind by Janine Infante Bosco, releasing June 11th!
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The things I’ve lost could shatter any man.
Send him on a downward spiral.
I would’ve punched my own ticket if it weren’t for the Satan’s Knights.
Instead, I became the VP of the Knightdale Charter.
A man can’t drown in his misery when he’s got responsibilities.
So I look for things to dull the pain.
Sex. Drugs. Whatever.
When you’ve been to hell and back, the only time worth having is a good one.
My little Birdie knows this self-destructive path, too.
That’s why I can’t stay away from her.
The highs are higher when you don’t fly alone.
But I’m not the only ghost in her life, and her past isn’t letting her go.
I thought my club was the only thing left for me to love.
It turns out I was wrong.
“I want an open bar and a DJ at my funeral. Oh, and those mini hotdogs are a must.”
I turn my head at the sound of the female voice and stare blankly at the girl sitting two stools down from me. Her long blonde hair cascades in waves around her face shielding most of her profile from my view.
There is no one on either side of her and the bartender is clear across the other side of the room, leaving me to believe she’s either talking to herself or to me, and if it’s the latter—well, she’s got the wrong guy.
I’m not much for people and I don’t do small talk.
Maybe if I was in the market for a quick fuck, I’d reconsider. I’d move to the stool between us, buy her a drink or two—however many it takes. Then, I’d take her into the bathroom or maybe Sally’s office—cash in on the perks of being a silent partner in this fucking place—and fuck her until we both can’t see straight.
But I’ve got enough gash hanging off my dick that I don’t need to go through the pains of listening to this bitch go on about her funeral.
I shake my head and bring my attention back to my drink.
Hard pass, Goldilocks.
Hard fucking pass.
When you’ve watched a tiny white box the length of your forearm be lowered into the dirt, you hope to never attend another fucking funeral or wake as long as you live. And you sure as fuck don’t make conversation about it either.
I knock back the shot, welcoming the burn as the whiskey slides down my throat. I didn’t venture out here to get my dick wet. I came here for one purpose and that’s to get inebriated. I needed a reprieve from the clubhouse, a place to drown my sorrows without any of my brothers standing over my shoulder wondering if tonight is the night, I’ll wrap my bike around a pole.
The night is young and I’m just getting started.
I turn my head hoping to find my favorite bartender, Emmy, making her way back to the bar but she’s still busy serving the rowdy douchebags sitting at one of the high-top tables across the room. Muttering a curse, I start to turn back to my empty glass, but my eyes seem to have a mind of their own and take a detour, landing on the blonde once again.
She tucks some of those golden locks behind her ear and I watch her cheeks hollow as she awkwardly purses her full lips around the straw and sucks back some of her drink. I should look away—pay her no mind—but instead my gaze narrows and trails over her pretty features.
From this angle I can’t make out the color of her eyes, but she’s got long lashes and high cheekbones that appear naturally flushed and stand out against her smooth pale skin. A pert little nose, a delicately carved jaw and a plush mouth.
Sexy as fuck in a subtle kind of way.
A real fucking looker.
“And while I’m at it, I don’t want people to wear black either,” the chatty blonde adds. I wait for her to give me her eyes, but she doesn’t. Lowering her glass, she murmurs, “Life is meant to be lived in color.”
I consider that last sentence.
People only say that when life hasn’t kicked them in the ass. But life is pretty black and white. We start dying the day we’re born, and in that short life we shoulder more grief than joy. If I was a religious man, I’d tell you the color comes at the end. When our weary bodies are laid to rest and we’re reunited with the ones we’ve loved and lost.
But I ain’t that guy either.
Cutting my gaze back to my empty glass, I swirl the ice around.
“You’ll be dead, color won’t matter.”
“Maybe that’s what some people believe but when you’ve lived nearly your whole life in pitch black darkness, you want the celebration of that life to be vibrant as fuck.”
I hate that fucking term.
A priest said those same exact words at my daughter’s funeral and as soon as he did, I wanted to bury him alive.
It isn’t a celebration when a child dies, it’s a goddamn tragedy.
I don’t share that with Goldilocks, though, and a moment later her hand slides from the bar, dropping into the pocket of her oversized denim jacket. She pulls out a hand bell and I curiously raise an eyebrow.
Pretty, morbid, and peculiar.
She lifts the bell over her head, shaking it wildly. The ringing goes right through me like nails on a chalkboard and I cringe.
“What the hell are you doing?” I grind out.
Ignoring me, she continues to shake the bell, shouting over her shoulder for Emmy to refill her glass. Before I can slide off my chair and grab the offensive bell from her fucking hand, Emmy appears and quickly reaches over the distressed bar, snatching the godforsaken thing from her.
“Jesus, Birdie. You promised me you wouldn’t cause a scene,” Emmy hisses.
My gaze cuts back to the blonde.
Somehow the name suits her.
“Yes, and you promised you’d get me drunk, seems to me as though we’re both no good at keeping our word.”
She pushes her glass forward and that blank stare fills her face yet again.
“I’m waiting,” she presses.
Releasing an exasperated sigh, Emmy turns to me and mouths a silent apology. I want to ask her how she knows Birdie, if she’s a regular or just a fucking pain in the ass passing through, but she turns and grabs Birdie’s glass. She fills it with something from the tap and tops it with a one of those tacky paper umbrellas, then slides it back to Birdie, lifting her hand and wrapping it around the glass.
“There you go,” Emmy says.
That’s when it clicks for me.
The blank stare.
The comment about living life in the darkness.
The fucking bell.
I stare at her, more intently this time, working her from head to toe, searching for a clue that might confirm my suspicion, but people don’t walk around with a fucking stamp on their forehead revealing they’re blind, do they?
“I’m sorry Ghost my cousin seems to have lost her manners—”
Birdie cuts her off.
“Can’t lose something you never had, Em,” she says pointedly, tracing the rim of the glass and plucks the little umbrella from it. She flashes a smile and turns her head slightly, giving me a full view of her perfect face and the palest pair of blue eyes, I’ve ever seen.
A man can forget his pain staring into those eyes.
Believe he’s more than the demons that haunt him.
Fuck him harder than he’s ever been fucked before.
Lucky for me, the trance is broken when Birdie flicks the paper umbrella at me. I slowly divert my gaze, following the trail of the umbrella as it bounces off my denim clad thigh and falls to the floor. Lifting my chin, I stare at her wordlessly.
The girl is quite the character.
“Disability pays shit therefore I can’t afford a vacation so I’m going to sit here with my new friend, plan my funeral, and drink until I forget where I am. You game?”
I think she’s talking to me.
“Birdie,” Emmy hisses.
Ignoring her, she lifts the glass.
“Bottoms up, buddy,” she croons before pursing her lips around the straw. She takes a long pull, but the alcohol doesn’t quite make it down her throat because she spits it directly in my face.
She may be blind, but the girl clearly has zero fucks and one hell of an aim.
That’s gotta be some sort of talent.
“Birdie!” Emmy chastises, quickly reaching for a rag. “I’m so sorry Ghost.”
I don’t have time to reply because Goldilocks goes on a tangent.
“Don’t Birdie me,” she hollers. “What the fuck is that a Shirley Temple?”
Licking my lips, I take the rag from Em but keep my eyes pinned to Birdie.
“Tastes like fruit punch to me,” I deadpan, swiping the rag over my beard.
I’m way too fucking straight for all of this.
“Fucking fruit punch, Em. Really?”
“It wouldn’t hurt to sober you up,” Emmy argues. “Give your liver a rest.”
“My liver didn’t ask for a rest, it asked for your best vodka,” she spats.
For the first time in a damn long time, I feel the urge to laugh because fuck—she’s funny. But I don’t give in to it and Emmy rolls her eyes, plucking my empty glass from the bar. My features harden and comb my fingers roughly through my hair as she fills the glass to the rim and pushes it toward me. A frown ticks the corners of her mouth as her eyes lock with mine.
“I’m sorry, Ghost. I should’ve put her at the other end of the bar,” Emmy murmurs.
Emmy’s a good girl from what I know. She shows up for work, never gives Sally any problems and turns her cheek when my brothers roll in, ready to turn shit up. But referring to her cousin as a mundane object while she’s sitting right in front of her—well, that ain’t cool.
I steal another glance at Birdie.
“I’m blind, Emmy, not deaf. You don’t have to apologize for me, and you certainly don’t have to put me anywhere.” She turns and stares in my direction, not quite meeting my gaze. “What kind of name is Ghost anyway? Your mother didn’t like you very much, did she?”
She didn’t but that bitch ain’t responsible for my name. That honor goes to the Satan’s Knights.
You see, a ghost can be a lot of things.
Unseen. Uncaught. Untraceable.
A phantom criminal.
Everything I am and all I ever will be.
But a ghost can be a memory too.
It can be a secret.
Or in my case a menace of a man with a broken past, haunted by the grief of losing his infant daughter. I used to close my eyes and see the faces of all my victims, the enemies I eliminated for the sake of my patch. Most of them were vile pieces of shit that got what they deserved; some were just in my way. But now when I close my eyes, I see my baby Abigail floating face down in the bathtub, her lips blue and her skin cold and gray. That sweet scent of a baby after she’s been bathed and swaddled was gone leaving the stale stench of death in its wake.
Like I said, a ghost can be a lot of things.
I shake the image of Abigail from my head and turn my attention back to Emmy. The girl has been working here long before my club bought a piece of Sally’s and she’s been keeping my glass full since Abigail died. She never asks questions, never gets on my case, but I see the way she looks at me. I recognize the pity every time it surges in her eyes.
Taking the glass, I swirl the whiskey around.
“Why don’t you just save us both the headache and pour the girl a drink and while you’re at it, leave the bottle of Jack with me.”
Emmy’s wary gaze travels from me to Birdie and back to me as I down the whiskey.
Yeah, I wouldn’t trust me either.
“You heard the man,” Birdie chirps.
Lowering my empty glass back on top of the bar, my gaze slides to Birdie. She shucks the oversized jacket from her shoulders, revealing a pair of pink polka dot pajamas and…for fucks sake…are those ducks? Yeah, they sure as fuck are. The girl is wearing a pair of rubber rainboots with ducks printed all over them. She rolls up her sleeves and slaps both hands against the edge of the bar.
“Shots! Shots! Shots!”
I swipe a hand over my beard and drag my eyes back to Emmy who stares at me like I’ve lost my goddamn mind.
I shrug. Maybe I have.
The words that come out of my mouth next would surely confirm the notion.
“Life is meant to be lived in color,” I say.
Then I look back at Birdie.
The girl has one hell of a smile.
Bright and vibrant as fuck.
2021 © Copyright “Love is Blind” By Janine Infante Bosco
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.
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