I gave up my son without ever having laid eyes on him. I never held him. Never got to see how many of his features matched my own. Never got to smell his sweet head. Never breastfed him. Never changed his diaper. Never dressed him. Never counted his fingers and toes.
I never did any of the things most new moms get to do. Even moms who give their children up for adoption usually hold their child at least once before giving them away.
I had an emergency C-section. I was unconscious when he was born, so I never got to hear his first cry. I never met him. I didn’t get to name him or find out what his parents named him.
I thought I’d never meet him. That was the plan. When I gave up my son, I did it for him.
I was young and not ready to be a mother, but if keeping him was best for him, I would have figured it out.
I gave him up because of who his father was—the most dangerous man in the world. I had no idea how he would have reacted if he found out the truth. Would he have tried to kill my son? Would he have tried to brainwash him and bring him under his thumb like he did Enzo? Would he have had to fight Enzo to become the new Mr. Black, ruler of the most notorious crime organization?
No—I ensured that my son would never be harmed, would never grow up in this dangerous and cruel world like I did.
So I gave him up, ensured he had the best parents possible, that he was hidden, never to be found.
And then, Mr. Black was killed. I could find my son. Kai did find him. It was safe to know my son. To love him out in the open.
But I knew better. Mr. Black dying changed nothing. We are all too connected to money, crime, and power for our enemies not to come and find us. We are always in danger. Enzo, Kai, Siren, and Zeke think they can protect their children while still living in this world—they’re wrong. They will never be safe. I did the responsible thing. I kept my son safe. I gave him up a second time.
I thought that was it—I’d never know my son, not even his name, the color of his eyes.
Giving him up the second time was immensely harder than the first. The world turned to shades of gray after I decided to remain out of his life. Nothing brought me happiness or even a tingling of joy. I didn’t smile or laugh, and I knew I never would again.
And then, everything changed.
I realized I made a mistake.
I had to find my son for his own survival.
I searched and searched, but I couldn’t find him, not with all the resources in the world.
Then, I met Waylon Brown. It seemed like a coincidence at first, but eventually I realized he had ulterior motives. He knew where my son was; he provided proof. But in return, I had to marry him.
I would have married him that day, gave him everything I owned, and kneeled in promise to be his servant forever if he gave me my son. I still don’t know what Waylon’s real reason for wanting to marry me was.
Did he just find me attractive and want a good-looking, intelligent woman on his side? Or did he want the treasure he thought I had the key to?
Father, what did you put in motion? Why couldn’t you just burn your letter? Why ruin my life and every generation after because of a rumor of the greatest treasure to exist on earth and only a Dunn able to retrieve it?
“Liesel, did you hear me?” Langston asks as he sits next to me on the beach.
I’ve been staring off into space, thinking about everything I’ve lost over the years. Langston is included in that list. And yet somehow, my enemy, my best friend, and now my lover might be the man who can give me my son back.
“I heard you,” I say, having no idea what to do with the information.
I have so many questions.
“The others? Do they know?” I ask, referring to Kai, Enzo, Siren, and Zeke. I asked them all for help at various times in my search for my son, but none of them had been able to help me. Were they just keeping Langston’s secret?
“No, they think he’s my biological son.”
I nod and look down at my feet. I still haven’t looked at the boy Langston claims is my son since he revealed it to me. I’m not ready to see if he has my eyes or hair coloring. I’ve seen him before, but not up close, not while I was looking to see if he resembled me.
“What’s going on in your head?” Langston asks, trying to pry beneath the shield I’ve put up.
I shake my head, but then I finally speak. There is no use keeping my thoughts to myself. Not when we’ve shared so much.
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