If I Don’t Try With You
My Jason/Elizabeth prequel to Hand Me Down, in which the aftermath of Michael’s shooting is rewritten. Here are several snippets.
She saw it in his face when he stepped through the door. The grief, the regret, and beneath those, the anger that this could happen to a boy he loved as a son.
Elizabeth Webber stood in front of the mantel, her hands clasped loosely in front of her. In the two days since that terrible phone call, since their engagement, she had been preparing for this fight.
This would be the last time she’d fight for them to be together. If she did not convince him today to let her stand by him, to take on the risks because the rewards were worth it, she had sworn to herself she would never ask again.
She only hoped she was strong enough to keep that promise.
Sonny jabbed a finger at him . “I’ve begged for you over a year to take care of that punk—”
“He’s never been guilty of a single thing you’ve accused him of.” Jason fisted his hands. “You were sure he’d kidnapped Michael, arranged for Kate to be shot earlier this year. And if this is the Zaccharas, if it is Johnny, it’s fucking retribution for your mistakes!”
Sonny’s coal black eyes blazed. “You blaming me?” he hissed. “I was in the warehouse, Jason. My son’s blood was on my…” He trailed off as if realizing what he was saying.
“I don’t want to blame you.” Jason shook his head. “I don’t, but I can’t avoid it. You’re right. Michael’s blood is on your hands.”
These Small Hours
This rewrites the aftermath of Kate’s shooting, in which Johnny shoots Sonny, and Nadine is a witness, and Jason is battling Sonny for control of the organization.
From Chapter Four
She watched Jason close his eyes, and understood that this was not the first time they had had this conversation. “Olivia,” she said softly. “We should go—”
“What if it were your fiancee?” Sonny growled. “Your son? Would you act more quickly if it were your family the Zaccharas went after?”
“You think I’m ignoring you because it’s not my family?” Jason repeated, and Kate sensed that Sonny’s words had pushed the usual stoic man closer the edge. “Have you forgotten everything Elizabeth has been through? Bombs. Kidnappings. Being shot at, having our son kidnapped. I loved Michael, Sonny—”
Kate felt her throat thicken at the emotion in Jason’s eyes, his voice, as he continued. “Just because I wasn’t his father anymore, it doesn’t mean I didn’t love him that way.” He shook his head. “I want justice for Kate, for Michael. But not just any justice. I want the right person for the right crime.”
“I think you shot him, Johnny, but I think it was self-defense. I think it was a you or him situation and maybe he shot first. I think Nadine Crowell saw you and you married her to keep her quiet.”
Johnny stared at him blandly. “I don’t know that anything keeps my wife quiet.”
“That’s true,” Mac said, and now he smiled slightly. “I like Nadine. She stands up for the things she believes in, even when it gets her into trouble, which means she believes in you. In a perfect world, she could tell me the truth and it would turn out okay, but it’s not a perfect world. I got one DA who’s been involved with the victim and married to your lawyer. I got special prosecutor who thinks you killed his son and that the victim almost killed his daughter once upon a time. I got a jury pool that might think you’re guilty of something and without a Lulu, you might be convicted. It ain’t a perfect world, Johnny, and I’m tired of seeing people go down for things they ought not be convicted of and other people going free.”
Mac got to his feet. “I’m not arresting you today, Johnny, but I can’t promise I won’t arrest you another day or that we can put a leash on Sonny when he gets out of the hospital. I can’t keep Scott away from you forever, so I’m going to ask you to stick to your story, and to keep Nadine Crowell as safe as you can. From Sonny, from Scott, and from everything about your world. She’s sticking your neck out for you and she deserves to stay alive for her trouble.”
A Few Words Too Many
From Chapter Twelve…
Carly rolled her eyes. “Ugh. I love Sonny, so this is mostly worth it, but man…how am I supposed to sneak snacks if Sonny never lets me go out without him and the guards?”
Elizabeth arched an eyebrow. “How do you feel about some pistachio ice cream?”
Carly reached across to her, and clutched Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Don’t toy with my emotions, Muffin. I need sugar, and I need it now.”
From Chapter Thirteen
She leaned down and picked out one of the shopping bags from her large collection from Wyndhams. “Now you get your reward for making a decision.”
Elizabeth frowned at her. “Carly, did you buy me something?”
“No!” Carly scowled. “I don’t even like you.” She sniffed. “I bought Cady something. Here.” She wiggled the bag at her. “Take it.”
“Okay.” Elizabeth reached for the lime green bag and pulled out first, a miniature white sundress trimmed in red, orange and yellow, and then a delicate pink onesie that proclaimed I Love My Aunt. She arched her eyebrows at it. “Carly.”
“Listen, Muffin,” Carly said, feeling the heat in her cheeks and wishing she hadn’t given into the mad impulse.
From Chapter Fourteen
He paused, because he didn’t know exactly how to explain this to her. “You took apart your entire life to take care of me. You let people think the worst about you, and you never…once backed down.”
“You needed me,” Elizabeth said. She rested her chin on his shoulder and smiled. “And it was fun, sometimes. It sounds awful, but I used to get a kick out of how everyone looked at me differently. Before I was just little Lizzie Webber, Audrey’s granddaughter, Lucky’s friend. Afterwards…” She laughed. “I was the ex-mistress of an alleged mob enforcer.” She wiggled her eyebrows. “It helped break me out of my shell.”
He laughed, glad she could look back on those accusations with a smile on her face.