Series: Hail Raisers #6
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Genre: MC Romance
Mary Persephone Hail
Hail—well that speaks for itself.
Her name is painful to think about. Mary, his newfound daughter, isn’t a wished-for child. Persephone, though? Yeah, destruction is a fitting description. And Hail? Yeah, that’s just the final f-you.
The moment that her mother drops her off on his doorstep, Dante’s hell becomes complete.
Or so he thinks.
What can make life worse after losing one’s wife and kids, you ask? Here’s what: being given a baby that depends on him for her survival. Finding out that the baby’s mother is dying of brain cancer, and has a husband that he never knew about. A husband that Dante knows in the marrow of his bones is trying to kill her just as surely as the cancer eating her brain.
Dante’s a bad person. He’s done some not so nice things, and now he’s being punished for his misdeeds. Karma is finally catching up to him.
This child that he’s been stuck with is of his flesh and bone. This child is his salvation. This child is the final nail in the coffin of his wife and daughters’ too short lives.
He doesn’t want this child.
But this child will save him whether he wants her to or not.
With the help of a friend—yes, a woman friend—Dante finds his way back to life. But what he finds when he gets back isn’t the same life that he left behind. Turns out, he has to start living a new one. One where he’s suddenly having feelings for a friend that helped him get through some tough times, and loving a daughter that won’t let him quit.
4 ‘Saving Hail’ Stars
Hail Mary, indeed!!!!
The most broken of Hail’s, Dante, finally gets his salvation, in the shape of an adorable little girl, and a woman, Cobie, that felt just as broken as himself. A beautiful story of friendship, support and understanding in the hardest times, and above all, HOPE. That’s the biggest lesson, as long as Hope can arise, a light can bloom even in the darkest and lowest of our lives.
She’d been my saving grace. My hail Mary.
Dante has been living in hell, constant pain and despair since his wife and little girls were robbed of their lives. His bleak life only starts having a bit more of meaning when little Mary – his daughter, fruit of one drunken night when he was drown in grief – is brought to his life. Mary becomes his sole reason to live.
There, on the couch, with Mary sleeping next to my thigh, her tiny feet touching my hip and Cobie in my arms, her tears slowing… I found peace for the first time in years.
That is, until he fulfills his promise to Mary’s mother, on her deathbed, of him protecting and taking care of not only that adorable little girl, but also her friend, Cobie. Cobie, a cancer survivor, finds out that the disease has caught her again. She has no one to hold on to, and as broken as she feels herself, she is tired of fighting. But one talk with Dante is enough for him to plant the seed, that maybe giving up isn’t the correct choice.
And I’d survived a lot of stuff on my own. I could do this, too.
Was there anything sexier than seeing a man, holding a sick baby who had an ear infection, shirtless?
No. I didn’t think there was, either.
I may be under the weather, but my body wasn’t dead.
And the things I was feeling for the man that was clearly only ever going to be my friend was quite scary.
They become friends, and I adored their slow development of feelings, meanwhile being each others support, and help. How Dante so selflessly helped her throughout her recovering, with no agenda, and was just there for her. A true friend, when she needed it the most.
Only, I wasn’t left alone at my own house. I was left alone at Dante’s house.
Dante’s house that was covered with another woman’s life.
There were signs of his family everywhere.
I was becoming too dependent on him. That, and I was afraid that I was falling in love with him.
In love with a man that I knew was about as emotionally distant as a vacuum cleaner.
The problem with this proximity, was that they couldn’t help but develop deeper feelings for one another beyond friendship. And that wasn’t an easy situation, on either side. Cobie was already half in love with the man and his little girl, but she was also fully aware of the impenetrable walls Dante had built around his heart, after his family’s death. She knew, and could see how much he was hung up on Lilly’s memory…
What I didn’t want to do was admit that I’d gone and fallen in love with the man. Why? Because the man wasn’t ever going to fall in love with me back. His heart was already promised to another, and that would just be plain dumb for me to go and do.
And this is where I normally have a bit of an issue when it comes to this trope. Dead spouses are a very testy subject when we could can clearly see how much the H loved his wife and is attached to her memory. And my heart was hurting for Cobie, when she was fighting her feelings, because of his situation. But there was no hiding how much she loved them.
I hadn’t needed anything else—or so I thought.
But I did need something else.
I needed someone to take care of. Someone to love me. Someone to love my Mary.
And Cobie did… she loved us.
That is where Lani Lynn Vale excelled giving us his perspective, where we could see his internal conflict, and the struggle he was having with his feelings for Cobie, and guilt in regards of his deceased wife. Those of us you have read the whole series – and have been anxiously awaiting his story – , knew fully well the scale of his pain, and how hard it would be for him to open himself to love again. But with Mary already having cracked part of those barriers, he just needed a little friendly push (aka advised) from the amazing secondary character, specially Ruthie, Lilly’s bff.
You have Mary, and she pulled you out of the darkness, but you have to do the rest. You have to want to live, and you can’t do that while you still cling to your dead wife. She doesn’t want you to live like this. Nobody wants you to live like this.”
Even so, it was still hard for him to come to terms with what Cobie was making him, and that was one particular scene I just wanted to kick his ass so bad – even though I understood and knew why he was reacting the way he did – with what he said to Cobie, and oh man, he made me cry even me, my heart only immediately appeased with his self loathing and regret. Instant realization and I adored that LLV, didn’t make us wait for it, and for light to shine on his feelings.
There were feelings running through me that I hadn’t even felt with my wife—which had been the real kicker in the guilt department. I wasn’t supposed to love anyone else more than I loved my wife—but I did. I loved Cobie. I loved her with my whole heart and soul… and distance wouldn’t change that.
The only anticlimactic fact was that the major grovelling he was intending to do, and I was hoping for, got cut back due to other events. Cobie deserved all that. Bit I’m so glad we got to see all the depth of his feelings for her and his regret, plus his intentions, that showed me how much he truly loved her with all his heart.
I didn’t recognize that what we have is that rare, once-in-a-lifetime, forever kind of love until you left.
But you… I can’t live without you. I don’t want to live without you.”
“I never once doubted your love for me, Dante,”
“If you hadn’t left, I wouldn’t have realized what I was missing. Without you, I wouldn’t have realized just how sad and bleak my life had become.”
OMG, it really was a beautiful story. Lani Lynn Vale’s gave us an extraordinary version of a friends to lovers, emotional and so hopeful, that I have no doubt will touch your heart, shed some tears and leave with a happy smile on your faces with Dante, Conie and their little family. A true second chance at life! <3 <3 <3 <3
Then I kissed her. I kissed her long and sweet and thorough. She tasted like second chances, salvation and starting over. I never wanted to let her go. Not ever again.
We were our second chance at life and happiness, and we weren’t wasting it.
What I don’t want to be doing is living in the past. The past is just that—the past. I’ll always be thankful for it, but it’s time for me to take a step into the future.”
ARC kindly provided by the author via InkSlinger PR for an honest review
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.