Read Broken (The Broken Series Book 1) Online
Authors: Carrie Cox
I’d come to Monaco and taken this job to find myself again. I knew that sounded a little out-there, but I needed to reconnect with the old Kristina. I needed to find the person I used to be before the drugs took over.
But so far my plan hadn’t worked. I hadn’t found my old self. I’d become someone new, and I just didn’t recognize this person I’d become.
I craved Jack’s touch and wanted him so badly.
I was becoming obsessed. I was quite aware that I had an addictive personality, so the last thing I needed was to become addicted to Jack Harding.
Brian reached out a hand to steady Jack. “Okay, I can see you’re doing well but don’t push it.”
We were standing in the sitting room of Jack’s apartments, and Jack had just taken his first steps without the crutches.
He really had come on in leaps and bounds since I got here. I couldn’t believe he was the same man that I’d met the first day I arrived in Monaco. It didn’t seem possible that he was the same angry, brooding man who’d been stuck in that wheelchair.
Jack caught my eye, grinned at me, and my heart melted.
I had to turn away.
“Okay,” Brian said clapping his hands together. “I think we can safely say that you’ve progressed on to the next level. How has the pain been, Jack?”
Jack shrugged. “It’s not too bad. Nothing I can’t handle.”
The smile slipped from Brian’s face. “Don’t forget to take your pain killers. I’m serious about this, Jack. I only want you to do this for a maximum of an hour a day to start with. We don’t want any setbacks.”
Jack tilted his head back and glared at Brian. He didn’t even try to hide his annoyance. “Last week you were telling me to do more, bullying me to get out of the chair, and now you’re telling me not to do too much. I can’t win!”
“Quit moaning,” Brian said. “I’m saying this for your own good. If you work too hard, it could have a detrimental effect on your recovery.”
Brian shook his head and before Jack could respond he said, “Anyway, I’ve got a surprise for you.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “I hate surprises.”
Brian winked at Jack. “You’ll like this one. A lovely Swedish masseur named Olga.”
Jack’s eyes widened. “Olga? I’m not sure I like the sound of this.”
I grinned, imagining a stout, well-muscled, middle-aged woman who would give Jack a thorough pummeling Swedish massage.
“Well, you’ll just have to put up with it. It will be good for you.” Brian glanced at his watch. “In fact, Olga should be here by now. I’m going to go outside to see if she’s arrived.”
After Brian left us alone, I headed to the kitchen area, trying to keep my hands busy and my eyes off Jack. I was still feeling really confused, and I needed to keep my guard up.
I couldn’t cope with Jack’s teasing flirtatious nature today. He might only see it as harmless entertainment, but I was starting to fall for him. The more I let him flirt and creep into my affections, the greater my risk of getting hurt.
Who was I kidding? I was only putting off the inevitable. I was going to get hurt.
“What’s up?” Jack asked. “You’re very quiet today.” He leaned on the kitchen counter and then walked over to me with a slight limp.
I shook off his question and smiled up at him. It was brilliant to see him walking without crutches.
“I’m fine, just a little tired. Do you want some breakfast?”
Jack shook his head. “No, I was up early this morning. Maria made me some. Although she still won’t look me in the eye after the wine-gate incident.”
I covered my mouth with my hand to hide my smile. I shouldn’t laugh. Poor Maria still felt terrible. She’d given me the wrong bottle of wine to take to lunch yesterday, and she’d been full of apologies this morning. It wasn’t really her fault. I’d taken the wine so it was my responsibility. Neither Jack nor I had told Maria that Jack had gotten drunk — we didn’t want her to feel any worse. Besides, luckily, no serious harm had been done. Jack was tipsy for a few hours, but he was fine by dinner time, and he didn’t even get a hangover.
“I was thinking about going out for a walk this afternoon,” Jack said. “What do you think?”
“Maybe we could take a walk in the grounds. I’m not sure Brian would want you to go for a long walk. He’s worried about you wearing yourself out.”
I turned away to fill the kettle, but I could feel Jack’s eyes on me. I shivered, feeling a tingle running along the back of my neck.
When I turned back and raised my eyes to look at him, he was standing there frowning, with his arms crossed in front of his chest.
“What?” I said, flicking the switch on the kettle. “You heard Brian telling you not to overdo it.”
I really didn’t want Jack to strain himself. The last thing I wanted was his recovery to have a setback. But truthfully, that wasn’t the whole reason. I didn’t want to go for a long walk with him again. I wasn’t sure I could be alone with him for long without telling him exactly how I felt and succumbing to the urge to kiss him again.
It seemed the harder I fought it, the stronger this attraction grew. He looked unbelievably gorgeous today. His hair had grown a little too long and fell forward over his dark eyes. Using the crutches had built up the muscles in his arms even more, and the t-shirt he wore today stretched tightly across his chest and shoulders. He really was the hottest guy I had ever seen.
Stop it! I ordered myself and focused my attention on the steam billowing out of the kettle.
“Are you sure you don’t want tea?” I asked. “I’m going to have one.”
I kept my voice deliberately light and cheerful, but I didn’t think I was fooling Jack. He knew something was bothering me, but the last thing I wanted to do was tell him about it.
As I began to pour the water into my mug, Brian re-entered the room and in my shock, I spilled the boiling water. It splashed on the counter.
“Shit!” I said and quickly grabbed a cloth.
Everyone turned to look at me: Jack, Brian and the gorgeous six-foot blonde who stood next to Brian. That must be Olga.
I can safely say she was not what I’d expected.
Brian introduced us, and Olga shook my hand smiling sunnily at me. She was completely the opposite of the Olga I’d pictured in my mind. Her skin was beautifully smooth and tanned. Her hair was the perfect shade of honey blonde, and she had bright blue big eyes. She was gorgeous.
If she hadn’t seemed so sweet, I would have hated her already.
After I rescued my tea, I offered to make some for Brian and Olga. While I was busying myself in the kitchen area, I kept shooting glances over at the three of them as they chatted.
I wanted to assess Jack’s reaction.
Annoyingly, Jack seemed very happy with Olga. He smiled at her as she told them about her five years of experience as a sports masseur before she decided to specialize in injuries.
She had all the qualifications I did not.
I suddenly had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. What if they decided to keep Olga around as Jack’s companion while he was recuperating?
She would do a far better job than me given all her training. Maybe that was the plan. They were going to get rid of me and replace me with Olga.
I should have been glad, happy to have a way out. Happy to get away from this insane, one-sided attraction I felt for Jack.
But was I happy? Hell no.
I mean, I knew my feelings for Jack could never develop into anything more. Once Jack was recuperated, he was hardly going to want to keep in touch with me. He’d be back on the circuit, racing, living it up with fast women and having the time of his life again.
It would be easier to leave now, and it might spare my heart from being trampled on.
Another good reason to leave now would be to save myself from embarrassment.
Sometimes, when I was alone with Jack, I felt words bubbling at the back of my throat. I would be so close to telling him how I felt. Many times it had only been through sheer willpower that I managed to stop myself reaching out and running my hands through his silky hair. I was not sure how long I could keep this up, pretending to be all business like and professional. Professional was the last thing I wanted to be when I was around Jack Harding.
I had a bitter taste in my mouth as Jack led Olga into the bedroom where she’s going to be performing a massage. He smiled at me as he walked past, but I didn’t smile back. I couldn’t. My teeth were clenched together so tightly my jaw ached.
Brian was talking to me, but I was barely listening. All I could think about was the fact that Olga was with Jack in the bedroom.
Brian was saying something about how Olga’s massage would be good for Jack, and he thought it would be a good idea to do this every day, especially as Jack was so much more mobile recently. He said it would help ease the pain Jack had been feeling.
That made sense. Of course, it did. I wanted Jack to feel better, but all I could think about right now was the last time I used that massage oil on his legs and how his skin had felt beneath my fingers. I hated that Olga was getting to do that instead of me.
Seriously, I needed to stop being such a selfish bitch. I was being ridiculous. This was good for Jack. What was wrong with me? How could I resent something that would help him feel better?
I took a gulp of my tea but it was too hot and it scalded my mouth. I set it down on the counter heavily.
Brian looked up. “Are you okay, Kristina? You look a bit down today.”
I shook my head and stuffed my hands in the pockets of my jeans. “What?
No, nothing’s wrong. I’m great, absolutely fine.”
I looked towards the bedroom door. It was still open. That was good, at least they hadn’t closed the door behind them.
“As this is the first time Olga’s massaging Jack, don’t you think maybe you should watch?”
Brian gave me a funny look.
“I mean in case she does something wrong…”
Brian looked at me with a puzzled frown on his face. “You don’t have to worry about Olga. She’s very professional.”
My cheeks flushed, and I shook my head. “Worried? I’m not worried. Why should I be worried?”
Brian chuckled. “Okay, Kristina, if you say so.”
“What?” I snapped in irritation. “I’m glad she’s here. She sounds like an expert, someone who can really help Jack.”
Brian nodded and started to pack up his bag and file away his notes. “Yes, she will, I think. Jack is doing well, Kristina, and a lot of that’s mental. You’ve helped him more than you know.”
I shook my head. “It’s not down to me. I haven’t got any training. I don’t know what I’m doing. He’s done it himself.”
Brian stopped packing the things away in his bag and leaned on the kitchen counter. “You are helping him, Kristina, trust me. You are playing an important role in his recovery. Not so much physically… It was the mental blockage Jack needed help with. Before you came here, he didn’t want to get out of that chair. He was in pain and worried that he would never recover. He was broken.” Brian gestured behind him towards the bedroom door. “And you can see how much he’s improved.”
I swallowed and nodded.
“I hope so,” I said and I really did.
I hoped I’d helped Jack, because he had helped me.
Even though I was full of these stupid, tormented feelings and entertaining ridiculous romantic notions about Jack, he had helped me.
For the first time in ages, I felt like my life had a purpose, that I was actually doing something worthwhile.
After Brian left, I paced the small sitting room, shooting looks at the bedroom door every so often.
What were they doing in there? It was taking forever. My mind was racing, full of ideas. I could picture Olga with her hands running up and down Jack’s legs.
This jealousy was ridiculous; I needed to get a grip. What the hell was wrong with me?
I opened up the French doors and stepped out onto the patio. The fresh, cool air felt good against my burning face. I took a few deep, calming breaths, staring out at the lush green lawns and the turquoise sea beyond.
This place was beautiful. I was so lucky to have this opportunity, especially with my background. I couldn’t mess it up because of my feelings for Jack. It was ridiculous, and if I wanted to help Jack, I couldn’t let him down by leaving.