Can you get too much Crew Gentry? I can’t! And I found this deleted scene from Sacrifice over the weekend. I thought I’d share.
If you haven’t read this one, it’s super emotional. It’s also a total standalone romance about a fighter and the woman he’s always lost (that now hates him for good reason).
Everything is quiet except for the tick of the clock, reminding me how late it is and that I should be sleeping. I roll over and look at the time. I have to be on the dock for work in less than four hours and I haven’t managed to close my eyes yet.
I know I need to rest, but I can’t shut off my brain. Too many things are floating around…questioning me, challenging me, taunting me. Too many possibilities exist and I don’t have the ability to force the ending I want.
The ending I need.
I throw back the blankets and climb out of bed. The house is still. Scents from the meatloaf we had for dinner linger in the air and it makes me grin despite the irritation in my mind. Right now, in this exact moment, things are fine. Everyone is accounted for, everyone is sleeping peacefully. Well, everyone except me.
The door to Ever’s room groans as I push it open. She needs her rest too and I probably shouldn’t gamble with waking her, but I do it anyway. I just need to see her and make sure she’s not lying awake too. I know Jules is on the couch because I saw her earlier when I got a drink of water and if Ever is in here alone, awake, and as scared shitless as I am …
I step inside her room and let my eyes adjust. Shadows from the dreamcatcher I gave her are dancing on one of the walls. I hope to fuck it’s doing its job.
Her little fingers are pressed against the pillow by her face, her long eyelashes splayed against her cheeks. Her little frame is swallowed by the blankets and pillows, making her look so small. She looks happy—peaceful even—and despite the image, I choke back a sob.
Why the fuck is this just an illusion? Why the hell can’t this be fucking real?
I kiss her lightly on the forehead, breathing in her bubble gum scent, and she begins to stir. I step away and let her fall back into an easy sleep again before kneeling beside the bed.
My body hurts from training. My mind aches from worry. But my heart might actually be broken.
“We’re gonna get through this, monkey,” I whisper, my voice rough with sleep and frustration. “I promise. I’m not gonna let you down.”
I hope that lands somewhere in her subconscious. I hope when she wakes up and we have to go back to war in the morning, she’ll feel stronger knowing she’s not alone. That I am leading the pack. Because no matter what this little girl and her mommy get into, I will be in front of them, taking the brunt end of it and finding a solution. Even if it kills me.
I lean forward, whispering again. “I know that you’re a little scared and that’s normal, monkey. But we’re Gentry’s. We’re strong. We’re fighters. We’re winners. And I promise you, we will win.”
If only I could believe myself.
Sucking in a breath, I lay my head on the blankets and close my eyes. A lump settles in the base of my throat as red-hot tears scald my cheeks.
“God, you’re gonna fix this. Do you hear me?” My words are soft and I’m not even sure why I’m saying them out loud. I’ve never been much of a prayer kind of guy and I’m not even sure this qualifies as one to start with. I just know that right now, in this situation, it can’t hurt. “I don’t know if this is some kind of challenge for me or another one for Jules, but I’ll tell you this: I’m not about to start losing now.”
Ever brushes her hand against mine. Her fingers twist around my thumb as she nestles her cheek against the side of my head.
The tears come harder, my chest shaking as I try to keep my wits about me. This is the only time I’ve cried. I won’t cry again.