IF YOU LEAVE
by Courtney Cole
(July 8, 2014; Forever Trade Paperback; $12.00)
Madison is happily single—or so she thinks. After the tragic death of her parents, she took on the responsibility of running the family restaurant, and that’s just about all she has time to worry about. Until she meets Gabriel Vincent.
Though they don’t realize it at first, Gabe and Maddy will soon develop a weakness: each other. But Gabe has a secret, a hidden monster that he’s afraid Maddy could never overcome. And Maddy is dealing with issues she fears Gabe won’t understand. They quickly realize they need each other to be whole, but they have demons to fight—and the problem with demons is that they never die quietly. Can they find a way to heal the past . . . before they lose each other?
“She’s not breathing,” Pax suddenly blurts, dropping his ear down to listen at her mouth. “She’s not breathing. Jesus Christ.”
Maddy scrambles to try and help from behind us, to try and see, just as I pull into the parking lot. Before I’ve even come to a stop at the curb, Pax has the door open and is laying Mila out on the sidewalk.
“Breathe, baby,” he begs as he kneels and gives her a breath. “Breathe.”
He’s frantic and desperate and covered in Mila’s blood.
“Pax,” Maddy cries, pulling at his arm. “We’ve got to get her inside. We don’t have time for this.”
She pulls at him, but Pax isn’t thinking clearly and he shakes her off, turning back to Mila, trying to breathe into her mouth.
He’s interrupted by a team of people bursting through the doors with a gurney. Pax lunges up with Mila in his arms and thrusts her at the medical team.
“She’s not breathing,” he tells them in desperation. “Please—help her.”
The doctors and nurses close in around Mila as they lay her out on the gurney and rush her inside.
As they do, Maddy clings helplessly to the side of the stretcher . Looking down, I see that Mila’s eyes are still closed and she is as pale as I’ve ever seen anyone. More terrifying than that, though, are the words coming out of the nurses’ mouths.
There’s no pulse.
We need the paddles.
Maddy flinches as she hears them, tears running down her cheeks.
“It’s going to be alright,” Maddy tells her sister as the team shoves the gurney through the double doors and out of our sight. “Mila, you’re going to be alright.”
“Mila, I’m here!” Pax calls after her, when a nurse blocks his way. But Mila stays motionless. She couldn’t hear any of it.
I’ve never felt so helpless as when I watch them take her away. I know there’s nothing I can do and from the looks of all that blood staining the sheets covering her, I’m not sure that there’s anything that anyone can do. There’s no way she’s not going to die.
There’s so much blood.