Redemption Chapter One

Redemption book cover with a couple embracing each other.

Dashing to a nearby trashcan, Molly Harper pushed the lid away. It clattered to the floor only briefly drowning out the gagging sound as she threw up the contents of her stomach. Her retching echoed off the concrete hall as others left the execution room. Some looked at her, pity held in the mixed emotions of their gazes, while others turned away out of respect, or out of the desire for the affliction not to catch.

Molly had that problem. Seeing, hearing, smelling, any of the three often made her need to puke, so she could understand the crowd diverting around her.

Besides, she’d rather they didn’t pay attention to her. If they looked too close to her brown eyes, or to the curve of her nose, they might see similarities of the man who’d just been executed. Their whispers floated to Molly’s ears over the sound of her heavy breaths as the crowd spoke of Peter Blake.

“It’s not enough,” one said.

An old woman, the mother of one of the victims sobbed into a white handkerchief. “It didn’t bring her back.”

Molly closed her eyes, wiping her mouth on the back of her shaking hand. Sweat beaded on her forehead. A clammy sheen made her dress pants and blue button-down blouse stick to her skin.

Peter Blake stared at her throughout it all. She’d wanted to walk away, to leave and forget she had any association with him. Going into WITSEC, changing her name, and staying away for twenty years should have weakened his hold on her. The murdering bastard killed four women. No matter how hard she tried to tell herself she didn’t care, shouldn’t and wouldn’t care—Molly couldn’t help but love him.


Even now, after they called the time of death, when Molly should be relieved, her heart ached and a small part of it wished for the father she’d lost so long ago.

“Are you all right?” A woman with bright red hair and piercing green eyes walked up to Molly holding a cup of water in her pudgy hands.

“I’m fine,” Molly said. She averted her gaze to the yellowed tile that looked as if it hadn’t been replaced since the seventies.

The woman tilted her head, red hair cascading over her shoulders. “Here.” She held out the water. The hem of her white sleeve was stained with something that might have been mustard. “Thought you could use this.”

Molly smiled, but the edges of her lips felt droopy, as if she couldn’t muster the strength to make it sincere. Taking the water, Molly swished the cool liquid around in her mouth before spitting it into the trash can. It pooled on top of the vomit before getting absorbed. Molly cringed and looked away. The janitorial crew was going to hate her.

With the sour taste gone, Molly drank the rest. It soothed her raw, burning throat. Sighing in relief, she tossed the cheap paper cup.

“Not easy watching someone die,” the redhead said.

The statement startled Molly, but she shook her head. “No. It’s not.”

“Were you related to one of his victims?” She tugged at her wrinkled button-down shirt and adjusted the waistband of her black slacks, shifting as if she was uncomfortable.

“I—” Molly didn’t know what to say. She didn’t take the time to think up a cover story. She didn’t expect anyone to talk to her. Jesse Blake—that’s someone the people might want to talk with, but Molly Harper—no one looked twice at her. “I need some air.”

The walls closed in on her. Needing to get out of there before her stomach found something else to expunge, Molly gave the woman a polite smile. “Thanks again.”

She pushed past the crowd, moving from the dim lit prison halls out to the warm summer sunshine of North Carolina—a place she hadn’t been in twenty years.

It pushed past the chill that clung to her skin, warming her core. She missed the Florida heat, wished for it now—wished to be anywhere that wasn’t here.

Reporters carried cameras and microphones, rushing over as people exited the building. Lights flashed. Families shielded their faces, trying to avoid becoming a spectacle of the Mommy Murders. Memories of the actual events rushed over Molly. She veered to the right, trying to avoid having a microphone thrust into her face.

They yelled out questions about Peter Blake and the execution.

Did it bring them closure?

Would their daughters, wives, sisters, or mothers be at rest now that the man who murdered them paid for his crimes?

Was this justice?

Is this what the victims would have wanted?

A fresh wave of nausea pressed against her belly. Taking a breath, Molly steadied herself and walked to her car.

“Mr. Spencer!” A reporter called.

Molly’s body went rigid, her hand half raised to the car, finger brushing over the rubber unlock button.

“Mr. Spencer wait!”

Turning, Molly looked at him, her eyelids strained from going so wide. An invisible hand gripped her rib cage and squeezed, forcing the air from her lungs.

It couldn’t be—but a part of her wondered, hoped even that he might be here. Her anticipation and fear of seeing him waned in the halls of the prison. In the viewing room, Molly’s eyes only found her father. No one else mattered.

He stood across the parking lot next to an old beat up, blue pickup. His shoulder length blond hair cascaded wildly in the wind. The scruff on his face was the same color as his hair and helped define a chiseled jaw beneath high cheekbones. Loose blue jeans pressed against the curves of his thighs from the breeze and his flannel billowed out behind him.

“Aidan.” His name barely came out a whisper on Molly’s lips.

Her memories took over and the man faded, leaving a small boy with the same blond hair, only shorter, in his wake. He wore jeans with a tear at the knee and a faded Transformers shirt. His left cheek blossomed in blue and purple.

The wind whipped Molly’s dark hair into her eyes, obscuring the view. Peeling away the strands, she found Aidan to be the man he’d grown into and not the boy of her past. She imagined his piercing robin’s egg blue eyes were the same, just older, and hopefully not filled with the same fear she’d seen twenty years ago.

It was him. Not just him—a sexy him with muscles that came from hard work instead of working out, and tanned skin that spoke of time being spent outdoors. Butterflies shoved away the nausea and Molly dipped her head, trying to keep her gawking stare from being noticed.

The reporter, a woman in her mid-twenties, with dark skin and sleek hair pulled back into a ponytail held up a digital voice recorder. “Please, Mr. Spencer. I know this is difficult for you. I just need a few moments of your time.”

“Sorry, darlin’,” he said shaking his head. “No comment.”

The sound of his deep voice sent a shiver down her spine. It was nothing like it had been when he was a boy.

Aidan turned away from the reporter and for a brief moment Molly’s gaze lingered on his ass. God, what was wrong with her? She blamed it all on her over emotional state. She’d just watched her father be executed. Now, Molly couldn’t keep her eyes off the guy who indirectly persuaded her to go to the cops. Emotions racked her one after the other and Molly didn’t know how to decipher them all. Twisted was one way to describe it. 

 He got into his truck, the door squeaking as he slammed it closed.

Everything she had heard and seen, let Molly know he’d grown into a man. Curiousness got the better of her. As a boy he’d done everything he could to save his mother. She wondered what kind of man he’d become—and maybe part of her wanted to see him one more time before she left the state forever.

Molly unlocked her car, the beep echoing across the parking lot. She slid into the driver’s seat, starting it up. She pulled her camera bag out of the back seat and unzipped it, retrieving her gear. Draping the strap around her neck, she clicked a few shots of Aidan leaning out the window, still talking to the reporter.

Aidan pulled away from the woman, started his truck, and headed for the exit.

Molly maneuvered through the parking lot. She took slow breaths. A sheen of sweat formed between her palms and the steering wheel making the cheap pleather slick under her grip.

Aidan pulled out of the prison, making a left towards the highway.

She stayed at the stop sign and closed her eyes. “I’m gonna regret this.”

Molly pressed down on the gas, and turned the wheel, following him.

Stay Tuned for Chapter Two!

Did you find this chapter through a promotion or friend? Sign up for the newsletter to get the next chapter!

(If you're already signed up no need to sign up again!)