Authors: K.S. Ruff
book three in the broken series
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
locales, brands, media, businesses, and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author acknowledges the trademarked
status of and trademark owners of various products referenced in this book of
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© 2013 by Ruff Publishing, LLC
design and photography by Kari Kunkel Anderson
other titles by K.S. Ruff at ksruff.com
my cousin Lexie…
most courageous woman I know
owe a debt of gratitude to my husband, Tobin. He’s put up with an insane amount
of neglect while I’ve worked on this third book, and he hasn’t complained, not
once. He’s been invaluable as a military, security, and martial arts advisor,
and he remains my inspiration for Kadyn.
I want to thank my children, Lexie and Madison, for regularly
encouraging me to get off the computer and to live life. Frankly, I’m surprised
they haven’t tossed my computer out the window! I want to especially thank
Madison for cheering me on near the end of my edits. “
Only one hundred and
twenty-eight pages, Mommy. You can do it!
” I love you Madi-moo!
I’d also like to thank my parents for their love and
support. They’ve gifted me with so many cherished memories and seen me through some
very difficult times.
I really must thank my cousin, Lexie, for suggesting
that Kri and Rafael get tangled in a relationship. As inappropriate and messy
as that relationship has been, I’ve really enjoyed exploring it!
I also want to thank my friend, Kari Kunkel-Anderson,
for photographing my book covers. I still can’t believe you caught the exact
nanosecond that drop of (fake) blood actually dripped off the feather for this
I’m extremely grateful to Marina Klyayn for helping me
with my Russian and to a certain U.S. diplomat who shall remain unnamed. I’d
also like to thank Michelle Hart for helping me with my rock climbing scene.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to my friend, TJ
Crane, for his copyright advice. A huge thanks to Phil Hagen for guiding me
through the process of getting a small business up and running. I’d also like
to thank Dave Burris for designing a website that still takes my breath away!
I’d really like to thank those friends who inspired the
characters in this book, those who are mentioned by name and those who
preferred aliases. I can’t wait to share you guys with the rest of the world!
I’d also like to thank my reviewers: Mary Barnes,
Jenny Letowt, Autumn Leva, Cenia Miller, Kristen Miller, Channa Threat,
Christine Bedard-Dannels, Valerie Norman-Dannels, and Lexie Hoines. Thank you
for offering such wonderful advice. I’d also like to thank my book club ladies
for their continued enthusiasm and support.
Once again, I’d like to thank author John Locke for
taking the time to write a book that would help aspiring authors. And, last but
certainly not least, I’d like to thanks the folks at Amazon for creating a
venue for self-publishing authors like me.
owned my body in a single kiss. I don’t know whether it was the sleeping pill
or the fact that no one had touched me in over five months, but my brain was
nowhere to be found when my body responded to that kiss.
long dark hair brushed across my face as he blanketed my body with his. His
lips captured mine as he pinned both of my hands above my head. A small moan escaped
my lips. He nudged my legs open and settled his body against mine. Moonlight
danced across his golden skin as it poured in through the seams in my blinds. Rafael
hardened against me, and a long forgotten need spun through my abdomen, chest,
trailed wet, erotic kisses all along my jaw… behind my ear… and down my neck. My
eyes fell closed. I ran my hands over his thickly muscled shoulders as he
released my wrists. His hand slid under my camisole and cupped my breast.
“Kristine,” he groaned.
eyes flew open. I stared at him in shock. My fingers tangled in his long dark
hair as I tried to break away. “
Oh my God!
fell off the bed as I clambered out from underneath him. I cried out as my head
hit the hardwood floor. I quickly scrambled against the wall. I tucked my knees
under my chin and wrapped myself into a tight ball before rubbing my bruised
eyes grew determined as he contemplated his next move. His chiseled shoulders
and forearms rippled as he moved toward me.
eyes widened in alarm. I glanced around the room as I contemplated running.
pained look flickered across his face as he reconsidered his actions and
collapsed back onto my bed.
eyed him warily. I was uncertain of his intentions and still shocked to find him
in my bed… my room… my house!
sorry,” he whispered hoarsely from the bed.
struggled to form a coherent sentence. “How… what… why are you here?”
sat up and leaned against the headboard. He looked thoroughly lost as he raked
his hand through his long dark hair. He slowly pulled it back into a leather
strap that was tied to his wrist. “I heard you sobbing.”
swiped at my cheeks. Sure enough, they were wet. I lifted my chin from my knees
as questions tumbled from my mouth. “You heard me? How did you hear me? How did
you get in here? I don’t understand. I have a security alarm. Why didn’t it go
eyes captured and held mine. “I heard you crying from next door. Our bedrooms
share a wall.”
hands fell to the floor. “
You live next door?
eyes closed as his head fell back against the headboard. “Yes.”
pushed up to my feet, still bracing myself against the wall. “How long have you
lived next door?”
opened his eyes and studied me as I fidgeted against the wall. “I purchased the
place when Michael first sent me to watch over you.”
shook his head. “No, the first time you moved to DC.”
slid back to the floor.
eyebrows furrowed. “Are you okay?”
I confessed. “I don’t understand.” I silently cursed the sleeping pill and the
fog still crowding my brain.
slid from the bed and joined me on the floor. His broad chest was bare, but he
was wearing long gray pajama bottoms. He sprawled his legs out in front of him,
then pulled me between his legs so I was curled up against his chest. “I’m
sorry,” he repeated as he wrapped me in his arms.
didn’t look at him. I
look at him. I was too embarrassed by the
way I had responded to him. “Why?” I whispered. “Why did you come?”
rested his chin against my head. “At first? Because I was worried about you. I
wanted to make sure you were okay.”
shrugged. “I couldn’t walk away.”
voice was barely a whisper. “Did Michael send you?”
he said gruffly. “I’m here because this is where I want to be. I’m not working for
kissed me,” I whispered. My body trembled, remembering the kiss.
I’m not apologizing for that,” he responded flatly.
Michael is your brother,” I persisted, as if he needed reminding.
sounded bitter when he spoke. “For that I am sorry.”
I asked hesitantly. I was still struggling to follow his train of thought.
stiffened. “I’m sorry Michael hurt you. I’m sorry he pushed you away when your baby
died. I’m sorry he couldn’t work through his fears to be there for you. I’m
sorry he left you broken on that office floor. I’m sorry I listened when he
insisted I walk away from you. I’m sorry he met you first. I’m sorry you fell
in love with him, and I’m sorry it wasn’t me.”
heart quickened with each word he spoke. “
You’re sorry it wasn’t you?
lifted my head from Rafael’s chest and searched his eyes questioningly. “What
do you mean? You’re sorry it wasn’t you guarding me… when I was attacked by the
eyes radiated pain. “Yes, but no. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you when
you were attacked. That’s true, but that’s not what I’m trying to tell you,
steadied my hands against his chest. My voice was barely a whisper. “What… what
are you trying to tell me, Rafael?”
held me firmly in place as he cupped his hand around the back of my neck. “You
fell in love with the wrong brother, Kristine. It should have been me. It
have been me, if I had met you first. Michael isn’t the right man for you. He
jaw fell open. “You kissed me,” I repeated dumbly.
he rasped just before his lips crashed against mine. He crushed me against his
chest as he lifted me from the floor. In three long strides he was lowering me
to the bed. He climbed over me, resting his knees on either side of my waist. I
was mesmerized by the powerful body hovering over mine, too breathless and confused
I fell in love with the wrong brother?
fingers ran down my cheek as he studied my face. “You’re so beautiful,” he
whispered, “even when your face is stained with tears.” He kissed each salty
trail, then gently kissed me on the lips. “Something inside of me dies each
time you cry.”