A haunting mistake that brought them all together…
Maria’s fear and hate for men is solidified by Ricky’s abuse and his obsession to kill her. In an effort to save her son, she runs away and crosses paths with Dave, a man going through his own tribulations with his wife. He is determined to protect her, show her that not all men are evil and that true love exists. And he in turn, finds a woman worthy to be a mother to his daughter.Maria finally finds peace in her new roles as a mother, a wife and a home maker but that dream is short lived when a ghost from her past threatens to take it all away from her in the most brutal and torturous way.
But Maria isn’t alone anymore, her father finally shows up to do what he was supposed to five years ago. Protect his daughter.
Maria is a typical cliche, carrying a number of titles none of them
complementary- teen mother, battered woman, abandoned child born out of
wedlock, coward, martyr and murder.
She is a teenage mother who got pregnant at the age of seventeen after
falling in love with Ricky and sinks into the idea of having a true family
with both parents present in the child’s life. A life she never had, being
raised by a single mother, Edna, who still clings on the love she shared
with Miguel, a criminal on the run.
Maria wanting more than the phantom love her mother has, stays with Ricky
after numerous signs that she should leave. Sh lets him gain complete power
over her and all she does is dedicated to avoiding a beating.
For five years she struggles to keep Ricky happy, availing herself for his
sadistic hobby of beating, cutting, burning and raping her just to keep him
away from her son and mother. her father’s abandonment and the lack of love
for her and Ricky’s abuse births an intense hatred for men which feeds on
the attention from other men.
Maria has accepted her life, drawing her will to live from her son Micheal,
but a number of attempts on Ricky’s life gives her a new will to live and a
new life with a wonderful man and his daughter, but this life is threatened
by the demons of her past.
Maria weaved through the booths and walked to table five balancing four plates on her arms and hands. Sometimes she wondered why she took this job in the first place. But she didn’t have much of a choice, that and the fact there wasn’t much in the small town of Jacksonville Mississippi to do, and there weren’t many options of a job position for a twenty- two year old girl who didn’t have a college education, with a four year old son and a dead beat boyfriend. It was a good thing her mother worked as a seamstress or they would be struggling more than they already were.
“Two burgers with fries, a veggie salad and an omelette with toast,” Maria repeated their order with a smile as she set the plates down on the table. She placed the veggie salad in front of the girl silently congratulating her on her efforts to lose weight. She was so round and hefty, at first Maria didn’t think she would fit in the booth, but somehow she managed. She placed the omelette and the burgers in front of the three guys sharing her table. “Would you like anything else?” she asked with a pasted smile that her manager had insisted she needed to have on at all times.
“You got our orders wrong!” the girl answered, looking at Maria with lethal eyes. Her freckled forehead was creased and her chubby cheeks looked even bigger with her lips curved down. Maria looked at her with equally hostile eyes. She had a long day with many obnoxious, perverted customers, there was very little polite left in her.
“Oh, I’m sorry which one?” she said feigning concern. She was sure she had gotten the orders right and the girl just wanted to annoy her, for some incomprehensive stupid reason, customers thought it fun to make waitresses run around like hamsters on a wheel under the notion of customer service. She was about to pull out her note book from the front pocket of her apron when the girl switched plates with one of the burger guys and pulled the omelette closer to her. Maria looked at her shocked, “Those are both yours?” The shock echoed in her voice.
“Yeah, so?” the girl barked.
Maria looked at the man who didn’t have food, he was tiny and was wearing a shirt three sizes too big. He sucked on his straw nosily, looking at her from under his long brown hair and then she turned to the one who got the salad. His clothes fitted tightly on his small frame. He looked like a pubescent girl tossing the salad around on his plate. He needed that burger more than the chubby girl did. The two were thin enough for her to eat with one bite each “Enjoy your meal.” She turned around and walked away. As she made her way to the counter, she could feel several eyes on her. She suddenly felt under dressed as she did on several occasions in the diner. Their uniforms didn’t help much and made her discomfort even worse.
The manager made them wear the tiniest black shorts she’d ever seen and tight grey tops which they had to leave the front buttons open to show off more cleavage than necessary. Their green aprons were only an inch longer than their shorts. This was one of the reasons she hated working there. She was relieved to see the friendly face of Jane, her best friend, who’d been more like her sister since high school, sitting at the counter. She too didn’t go to college, but her reasons were for true love.
Her husband Tom worked at a factory close by. She had insisted on not leaving the small town to go to a big city like most of their class mates had. She said she didn’t want to leave him alone, in case he found some other girl to love. Her parents fought her left and right. They wanted her to better herself, to find a job in a big city and to find someone her own age to love. Tom was almost ten years her senior, but she didn’t care, she loved him. Tom tried to get her to leave, but she wouldn’t budge, so he broke it off and avoided her as much as he could. Her parents were ecstatic of course, but she was heartbroken. She got desperate and when she got desperate she came up with the craziest ideas. She lied to her parents and said she was pregnant, and since her best friend Maria was close to six months pregnant at the time they didn’t doubt it. They blamed Maria for corrupting their daughter. Maria put up with it, she wanted her friend to get what she wanted, and since she was happy at the time, she didn’t see why her friend shouldn’t be also.
Jane married Tom a month later. Her parents didn’t want the embarrassment of having a pregnant daughter in their house. A few weeks after the wedding, she told them all the truth. Tom laughed, and couldn’t believe he didn’t see through her plan, her parents however were furious. They took her college money and moved to Miami. They were going to put it to good use since Jane didn’t want to. Two years later she had a child, a daughter, the splitting image of herself.
Maria leaned on the counter, her hand in her long thick black hair. “Jane, why do we work here again?”
Jane smiled at her, “Because we have families to support,” She squeezed Maria’s hand and went back to filling glasses from the soda machine. “Twenty more minutes till our shift ends, suck it up.” She pulled her long blonde hair into a pony tail then picked up the tray full of drinks. Jane had one of those pageant faces, big beautiful brown eyes, and the body to match. Maria always liked to think Michael had Jane’s eyes, just so she wouldn’t see the resemblance of Ricky.
Maria felt more depressed at the thought of going home. It wasn’t her mother or her son, she looked forward to seeing them at the end of a long day. The one she dreaded seeing was Ricky. She hated the fights, the beatings, and his unfounded jealousy. If she could, she would pack up her mother and her son and leave, but with Ricky it wasn’t that simple. He would find them and when he did, he would take her son away from her. She could live without a lot of things, but not her son. Jane saw the grave look on Maria’s face. She put her tray down and hugged her tight knowing all too well what was tormenting her. Maria held on to her grateful. If it wasn’t for Jane’s support, she wouldn’t have the strength to hold on to life.
Jane pulled away, “Maria leave him.”
Feeling defeated and scared, “I can’t do that, he’ll take my son away.”
Jane looked at her, “Why not reach down for the Latino in you and kick his ass.”
Maria let out a chuckle, a slight smile on her face, feeling the tension from her shoulders ease. She had never met her father, but her mother, Edna told her everything about him. Miguel was one of the members of a notorious Latino gang in New York. He was on the run when he passed through their small town. Her mother fell in love with him and his dangerous life. He fell in love with how innocent she was. He stayed around for three months before he left, saying it was for her safety. Maria however didn’t believe that, she believed he just cut his losses and left. It was too convenient that he left so soon after Edna told him she was pregnant. All men thought of number one first.
She picked up three menus for the three guys who had just walked in, “Jane, not all Latino’s are gangsters and besides I’m half Latino.”
Jane picked up the tray, “You inherited a lot from your dad and especially those green eyes which I’m so crazy about, but what you should have inherited was the gangster part. Whoop his stupid ass to the next decade.” She turned and walked away. Maria smiled at the thought of giving Ricky a taste of his own medicine, as she walked to the trio this time with a genuine smile on her face.
“Hello and welcome to JJ’s diner. This way please.” Her smile was suddenly killed by the lustful eyes the guys were now giving her. She pulled her hair over her chest, trying to hide her cleavage. ‘Eighteen minutes to go’ she thought to herself as she led the way, so sure that their eyes were stuck on her ass. She fisted the apron in her hand. She wanted to turn it around to her back side.
Maria was a beauty, courtesy of Edna and Miguel, and she knew that, she didn’t need constant reminding. In high school, it was fun having all the guys look at her and some even did her homework. But it also got her into trouble, Ricky being the trouble. He bought her chocolates and flowers, wrote her poems, and walked her to and from school, and befriended Jane and Edna. He was a dream come true, like the lead character in a romantic movie, until she got pregnant and once they moved in together, he had her wrapped around his little finger.
He hated the fact that other men looked at her, and he was even more reviled when he thought she liked the attention. When Michael turned two, Jane threw a birthday party for Michael at her house. Tom’s best friend Ned helped Maria decorate, since Ricky didn’t want to do anything to help. He was very friendly and no one was immune to his jokes, except Ricky. He saw it as Maria and Ned’s way to blatantly flirt in his face. When they got home, they got into an argument about his misplaced jealousy and he punched her, warning her to stay away from him. Edna had insisted she leave, if she didn’t want to be a punching bag, but when he came begging for forgiveness pointing out how it was her fault he lost his temper, she took him back, foolishly apologizing. After that day, Maria never spoke to Ned. Worst of all, she was hooked to Ricky, with no way out.
He hit her more, practically on a weekly basis, determined to disfigure her face and her body so that men would find her repulsive. When people began to notice, he hit her everywhere and anywhere. She tried to leave, but he kept threatening to take their son away for good. She couldn’t risk not seeing Michael ever again, so she did what she thought she had to do, she stayed and took the beatings for three years. Maria thanked God every day that Michael wasn’t a girl and therefore wouldn’t bare the curse of having an abusive, useless and absent man in her life, but she was also scared that her son may turn out to be one of those bad men.
She froze when she felt something trail up over her long hair, leaving a tingling track of cold fear. She hated being touched and if Ricky walked in and spotted her, she would hate being touched even more, with a bruised filled body.
Please don’t touch me, please don’t touch me, she chanted in her head unable to utter a word, or move her paralyzed limbs.
She inched her head away and swallowed a whimper when the warm hand stroked her hair on the side of her head. This couldn’t possibly be happening. Couldn’t he read the sign on the wall, no touching the waitresses, that’s what it said and yet he was doing the exact opposite or was he a selective reader!
She felt her chest tighten and her breath shorten as her mind kept chanting the four words engraved in blood and fear in her mind and on her body, please don’t touch me, please don’t touch me.
“You smell as good as you look?” the hoarse, scratchy voice whispered wetly in her ear and echoed repeatedly in her mind, tightening every muscle in her body in terror.
She forced her legs to move and took a side step away from him counting the fear away as she took in deep breathes to wake up the rest of her body. “Please take a seat.” She managed to whisper with a shaky voice. She didn’t dare turn to look at him, she couldn’t, and his voice was enough to torture her.
She would always hear his wet, hoarse voice uttering those words everywhere she went and with every man she was forced to speak to. She wasn’t going to make it worse by putting a face to it.
The man chuckled, taking a seat opposite his friends. Maria kept her eyes on the table away from her new ghost. She clutched her fingers as a small fiery temper boiled inside her.
Great! He just had to laugh, that’s going to haunt me too! Why don’t I just look at him and complete the package.
She blinked back her tears and bit her lips together. The fire inside her was quickly turning in to pity. She hated her life and herself even more. She was such a coward for letting herself get to this point. A spineless, cowardly chicken too scared to get out of the hail storm thundering down on her.
Maria took a deep breath then took out her notebook, pulling herself out of the pity hole she so often spent most of her time in, long enough to put on a fake smile and take their order. “What would you like to have?”
One of the men looked her over, undressing the little clothes she had on with his eyes. “You.” he blurted out.
“I’m not on the menu.” She responded turning around and walking to the back room. She pulled her jacket out of her locker and shrugged it on. She sat down on the bench with her purse held on her lap, silently waiting for Jane to finish up so they could go home. She knew she would get into trouble for leaving those jerks unattended, but that would be child’s play compared to what Ricky would do if he walked in and found her with them.
Maria took a deep breath and fought the urge to look around the diner for Ricky, fearing he might at any second attack her for the idiotic remark. The thought of another beating sent a cold chill down her back and it also made her angry that she lived in constant fear. She hated men. If she could, she would take them all out, starting with Ricky, then this asshole at her table and then maybe find her dad and kill him too. If he bothered to visit once in a while, he would have taken care of Ricky like a father should and she would finally breathe easy.
She hated men.
Every single one.
They were like roaches infesting the world, never dying. And if one did, another one would be born to replace it and pick up the trend of objectifying, hurting and using women like toilet paper.
I am amazed how good this story is. This story had everything that a good book needs. I was in the edge of my seat the entire time. Maria struggles were insane and my emotions were in a roller coaster as I read this book. If you like a good suspense/romance/girl power book, you will love this one. I highly recommend this book.
Oh My Gosh!!!! Loved it, Loved it!!!
Great story about domestic abuse and how it can make a person realize they are stronger than they think and how a mother sacrifices her happiness for her family. It's not all negative; it has more happy moments than sad and a very good ending!!! I recommend this read and am giving it five starts, if I could give more than this story deserves them all. This is a page turner and something is always happening it will blow your mind.
Maria is a battered female that lives with her abusive husband Ricky, her mother and her 4 yr old son. She has lived with the abuse for so long that it has progressively gotten worse over the years. So Maria either has to leave or let Ricky kill her and her child. You will not believe all the hell Maria goes threw with this crazy man. She is always looking behind her and then she is looking over her shoulder constantly afraid of her own shadow. Until she meets Dave and he promises her something huge!!!! Dave comes into the picture with his crazy wife Amy another pair made in hell!!! Amy and Ricky are made for each other and should have married instead of the other two unfortunate soles they ended up with. Beautiful Izzy is an angel and Michel is a strong smart four year old boy who is very protective of those he loves and brave when he stands up to his father.
You fall in love with Dave and his kindness and his being rich does not hurt either, can I keep him? Beautiful story, I could not put it down, a keeper on my shelves.
Wow, this was an intense read! I couldn't stop turning the pages and got so wrapped up in Maria's story right from the first page! Then we meet Dave and I was totally into his story too! These two people went through so much garbage and you just had to wonder if they were ever going to find peace and happiness.
I would recommend this book to everyone and can't wait to read more by this author! She knows how to grab your attention and she does not let go. Great job Christina and good luck