Series: The Riverdale
Series Book One
Author: Janine Infante Bosco
Blog Tour 8/22 – 8/31
Jake Lanza is one of
Riverdale New York’s favorite sons. He owns a tattoo parlor in the small upstate town and prides himself on being a fun-loving, live by the seat of your pants type of guy. He has everything he wants in life, a thriving business, a great family and a best friend with whom he could never live without.
Cara Sloane weaved her way into Jake’s life when they were fifteen years old. After her life fell apart at such a young age, Jake helped her heal, and began to pick up the pieces of her fallen life. His unconventional ways slowly had him becoming the anchor in her life.
Now fourteen years
later Jake begins to see Cara in a new light. The things he thought he never wanted, he suddenly began to yearn for. The only problem was they were both too frightened to lose the greatest love either of them has ever known. Can Jake convince Cara there is more for them than just a friendship? Is he willing to take that gamble himself?
Cara couldn’t help but stare at her phone, willing it to ring as she wondered why she hadn’t heard from Jake in hours and not for lack of trying on her behalf. The last time she checked she had called him fifteen times the last of those calls had gone straight to voicemail. She even tried calling Riverdale Ink, only for Pete to tell her that he had never gone to work that day. She couldn’t help the sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach that warned her something was wrong. In between re-stocking the bar and tending to the few stragglers that had come into Rudy’s she tried calling the Lanza home, only to get no answer from any of them. She glanced at the clock, reminded that an hour ago she had promised herself if she hadn’t heard from any of them she would leave to go in search of them. The hour was up.
The front door opened and she turned praying it was Jake only for her to shoulders to slump when she saw Nick. He made his way towards her and she couldn’t help the dread that lurked inside her. Had someone sent him to break some sort of bad news to her? She stared at him trying to read his expression. His clothing was covered in grease stains causing her to believe that he’d been at Lanza Automotive all day. His hair was mussed from his fingers and she watched him drag them through what she could only imagine was the umpteenth time. He leaned against the bar and gave her the same assessing look she had given him.
“What’s the matter?” She choked, her hands braced on the bar waiting for the blow he was about to deal her.
Nick shook his head letting out a deep breath. “So you haven’t heard from them either? Great.” He said sullenly, pausing a beat before snapping his fingers and pointing towards the door. “Let’s go.”
Cara looked up at him startled and confused. “Go where?”
“Where else? Deb and Joe’s we’ll start there.”
She nodded quickly. “Alright, let me just tell Rudy I’m leaving.” She had never been so relieved to see Nick in her life. Not sure if relief was what she should be feeling especially knowing he was just as concerned as she was. She grabbed her pocketbook and quickly told Rudy she had an emergency. She made her way back towards the bar only to find Nick was half way out the door. They got into his car and he peeled out of the lot.
“What do you think is the matter?” Cara said realizing she was afraid to hear the answer, a thousand dark thoughts ran in her head. Had something happened to one of them? Was it Jake?
“I don’t know. Luke never came to work. Sam left work early and signed Ava out of school.”
“How do you know all that?”
“No one’s answering their phones so I called the school.”
Cara glanced at his hands noting that his knuckles were white as he gripped the wheel.
“Jake didn’t go to work either.” She said flatly. Whatever was going on at the Lanza’s screamed disaster.
“I know.” He said, glancing at her briefly before directing his eyes back to the road in front of him.
“Why wouldn’t they have called us?” She wondered aloud. Whenever something happened with the family, whether good or bad Cara had always been included and when Nick had been around so had he.
“I have no idea.” He said as he pulled into the driveway. Cara quickly noticed everyone’s car had been parked out front of the house except for Jake’s. She felt the bile begin to rise in her throat and for a moment she thought she threw up in her mouth.
“It’s Jake.” She whispered, feeling her heart beating frantically. Nick was out of the car before she even had her seatbelt off. She had merely managed to slam her door shut by the time Nick pummeled the front door with his fist. The door swung open just as Cara caught up to Nick and Luke stood in front of them.
Cara began to tremble once she caught sight Luke’s bloodshot eyes unable to deny that he had been crying. He tore his gaze from her sighing heavily as if she was the last person he wanted to see right now. She didn’t know how she didn’t burst into tears from just Luke’s looks alone.
“Luke, what’s going on?” Nick asked dreadfully.
Luke stared at him for a moment, trying to find his voice before he looked over Nick’s shoulder and his eyes met Cara’s momentarily. He pulled Nick closer to him whispering to his buddy so that Cara had to strain to hear.
“You got to get her out of here.”
Nick remained still and silent, looking at Luke who nodded as if there was some sort of code that only the two of them knew.
“Luke where’s Jake?” Cara demanded her patience running thin. Nick turned around meeting her gaze as he took hold of her arm.
“Come on, this was a bad idea.” Nick said. Cara looked up at him incredulously. Her veins throbbed with anger and she smacked Nick’s hands away.
“Get off of me.” She pushed passed him standing in front of Luke who was about to close the door. She stuck her foot out in the doorjamb and stared up at him her eyes blazing with fury. “I’m going to say it one more time. Where is Jake?”
“Cara.” He whispered. She looked up at him and could see he was struggling. Nick’s arms wrap around her from behind her.
“Don’t!” She yelled, viciously tearing his hands off her as she slammed her hands against Luke’s chest and he stumbled back. “JAKE?” She hollered from the doorway. Luke grabbed her wrist. “I said get off of me!” She spat.
“Cara listen to me!” Luke yelled. She looked at him, shocked, unable to recall ever hearing him raise his voice. “You need to leave. He will call you I promise. But right you need to let him be.”
She felt the tears slide down her cheeks as she stared coldly at Luke. She wanted to tear his heart from his chest just as he was tearing hers out. “I’m not going anywhere until I see Jake and then he can throw me out. But you…?” She shook her head, swallowing the lump lodged in her throat. “No, I don’t answer to you.”
“What the hell is going on in here?” Joe Lanza said. She had rarely heard the man raise his voice in all the years she knew him. Well, that wasn’t entirely true Joe was always hollering about something but she had never seen him yell so angrily before. The three of them stood in the entryway of the house, staring at Joe who sadly wore a solemn expression on his face one that was full of angst.
“Dad, I’ve got this. Go back inside with mom.” Luke said in a raspy voice.
“You’ve got what? Why are they standing in the door like strangers and you’re standing on the sidelines braced for war? You want to kill your mother today?” He swallowed, shaking his head at his son grabbing before taking hold of Cara’s hand.
“Pop Jake asked me…”Joe silenced his son with one bold stare, daring him to speak another word. It didn’t matter how old you were if Joe pierced you with that look, you shut your mouth because there were very seldom times when he showed authority. Jake was a lot like his father, he rolled with the punches and didn’t let much get to him. However, like Jake when he was adamant about something no one questioned him.
Cara met Joe’s gaze her heart breaking for him never seeing him so completely undone. “I’m sorry.” She mumbled. “I just--“
“It’s okay.” He pressed his lips to her temple affectionately, leading her by the hand into the living room, instantly making her feel as if she belonged. She froze her feet unable to take the next step, too afraid of what awaited her. She didn’t know what to expect but by the looks that adorned Luke and Joe’s face, she knew it was worse than she imagined. She took a deep breath and stepped next to Joe. Her eyes roamed the room until they locked on Jake as he sat by the window with his back towards her.
“Jake?” She breathed. Her hand dropped Joe’s and she made her way towards him. He turned around lifting his head to meet her gaze. The look on his face caused her to stop in her tracks as she raked her eyes over him. Physically, he appeared fine no visible injuries in sight. Her eyes settled on his and she saw the pained expression that crossed his face. Her heart broke as she couldn’t remember a time when Jake hadn’t been happy to see her.
“I tried to stop her.” She heard Luke say from behind her. She glanced over her shoulder, saw that the sorrow reflected in his eyes and it dawned on her that Luke wasn’t trying to be mean spirited or even attempting to hurt her. He was just doing as Jake had asked of him. She felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her. Cara was broken from her thoughts as Sam entered the room with Deb’s hand firmly in hers. As soon as Deb’s eyes met hers, the woman began to cry uncontrollably. What the hell was going on? Cara felt like the plague. Sam closed her eyes, wrapping her arms tightly around her mother walking her to the couch. Joe slipped his hands in his pockets and dropped his head.
She turned around to look at Jake once again. “I don’t know what’s wrong but I’m sorry you’re all hurting.” She wiped at her face feeling shunted and pitiful. “Nick, would you take me back home, please?”
“Yes.” Nick replied softly. She imagined he felt a little of what she was feeling as he was still in the dark too.
Her eyes didn’t leave Jake’s hoping he saw the pain in the eyes, the pain he was creating. She knew he was hurting, wished she could help, but he was doing everything in his power to push her away.
“Cara wait.” Jake said his voice was just above a whisper. “I’m sorry.” He threw his head back and stared at the ceiling. “I’m so sorry.” After a brief pause his tear filled eyes met hers. She ached for him knowing whatever this whole charade was about it was eating away at him. She wanted to be the one who made everything okay for him for all of them she thought. However, he was making that impossible.
“There’s something I have to tell you.” His voice breaking as he said the words. Sam stood from cradling her mother, shifting her eyes to Luke. Like an obedient puppy, he went to sit with their mother as Sam took a seat next to her brother. She grabbed his hand, clutching it as if she was radiating whatever strength she had left in her to Jake.
“You can say it. It’s not going to change anything.” Sam whispered to her brother pressing her lips to his cheek before glancing around the room at her family. “Why don’t we give them some space?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Cara said, closing the space between them kneeling in front of Jake. Sam nodded before she stood and slipped away from them. Cara took hold of both of his hands as her eyes and words pleaded with him. “Please tell me what’s going on.”
He reached out to touch her hair looking at it as if he was for the first time. “You love me?” He asked as he searched her face.
“I love you more than anything.” She said her voice full of conviction.
He smiled genuinely. Her eyes closed for the briefest of moments as his knuckles caressed her cheek. “I love you Cara.” He leaned his forehead against hers remaining silent for a few seconds before whispering. “I have cancer.” He swallowed hard dropping his hands from her face as he stared at her quietly, giving her a chance to process the words he had just spoken.
She leaned back on her heels and stared at him blankly. Surely, she didn’t hear him correctly. Did he just say he had cancer? Cancer. She began to shake her head in disbelief.
“I didn’t want to tell you because I don’t know what stage it is yet or what kind of treatment I’ll need.” He said softly.
She felt as if she was switched to autopilot. “Where is it?”
“In my lymph nodes I have Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”
It struck her like a Mack Truck he had just been diagnosed with cancer and his first concern was keeping things from her so she wouldn’t worry. He always put her first even now. She knew him, could tell you undoubtedly that he planned to get all of the facts and make light of everything so that it would be easier for her to deal with.
“I know you love me Cara and it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me but I don’t want you to think you’re stuck in this mess with me. More than anything, more than getting well and living my life, I want you to be able to live yours and live it fully. I don’t want this to bring you down so –“
“Oh My God shut up!” She said, scrambling to stand up. “Let’s get some things straight, okay?” She looked around at the family who was pretending not to listen but crying because they had been. “I want you all to hear what I’m about to say so listen up.” Her tone was harsh and demanding she’d apologize later for it but for now she wanted them to pay attention to what she was saying. She turned back to Jake taking his hands in hers kissing each of his fingertips before squeezing his hands in hers. She took a deep breath, surprised by her own strength and her lack of tears. “I love you Jake Lanza.” She smiled at him holding his gaze. “It doesn’t matter that you have cancer. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know what stage it is. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know what your treatment will be. It doesn’t change my love for you. You want me to live my life and live it well? That’s great, but my life is meant to be lived with you. So we’re not going to worry about anyone but you right now do you understand? There’s no good life if you’re not in it.” She watched his face as he stared at her with love evident in his eyes as tears slid down his cheeks. “We’re in this together. All of us.” She gestured towards his family before her eyes settled back on him. “No giving up on me Jake. You’re going to kick this diseases ass and leave a wake of destruction behind.” She winked at him, wrapping her arms around him and pulled him to her. He fell into her arms and clutched her to his body. She pulled back slightly, pressing her lips to his, kissing him desperately in hopes that she could will him to fight for his life. “Say the words Jake.” She murmured against his lips.
He pulled back cupping her face in his hands. “I’ll fight with everything in me.” His thumb traced her lower lip and he smiled at her. “No giving up.”
She threw her arms around him, burying her face in his chest, holding on for dear life as the truth sunk in. They were going to embark on the biggest fight of Jake’s life but they were going to do it together.
Fitting the Pieces (Book Three)
Jake’s Journal (Book 3.5)
IN HONOR OF THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE SERIES YOU CAN NOW GET YOUR HANDS ON JAKE'S JOURNALS
Read his inner thoughts as he goes through the hardest time in his life. Read his letters to Cara as he pours out his heart and soul to her, though his works and drawings he wished to create. Discover the plans he had for his loved ones and the promises he left behind.
Help Janine raise money for the Light the Night Foundation. Janine has signed up for a walk in her hometown of Staten Island, NY. To be part of the team click the link below to donate funds towards the cause. Any donations are appreciated.
Light the Night Walk: http://pages.lightthenight.org/nyc/StatenIs15/TheRiverdaleSeries
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Now in her early thirties Janine is dedicated to her family, her boys the lights of her life. In her spare time, she wrote the Riverdale Series a labor of love and family that she is so very thrilled to share with you. Hope you enjoy the Lanza’s.