The Broken Road (The Broken Series)

BOOK: The Broken Road (The Broken Series)
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the broken road

 

by
k.s. ruff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book one in the broken series

 

Copyright

 

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
fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication and use of
these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by these
trademark owners.

In accordance with the US Copyright Act of 1976, the
scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book, without
the permission of the author and/or artist constitutes unlawful piracy and
theft of the author’s intellectual property. The only exception is short
excerpts or the cover image in book reviews. If you would like to use material
from this book for any other purpose other than review purposes, prior written
permission must be obtained by contacting the author at ksruff.com. Please
respect the rights of the author and the artist to protect their work by
purchasing only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or
encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted material.

Copyright
© 2013 by Ruff Publishing, LLC

Cover
design and photography by Kari Kunkel-Anderson

All
rights reserved.

 

eISBN:
978-0-578-13451-2

Discover other titles by K.S. Ruff at
ksruff.com

 

 

Dedication

 

 

 

 

 

To Tobin, my husband, my knight, and
my one true love.

Thank you for saving me from that
broken road.

 

Acknowledgements

I
am truly humbled by the people who have encouraged and supported me throughout
the creation of this book. First and foremost, I’d like to thank my husband,
Tobin, for not having me committed when I first announced I wanted to write a romance
novel and for not once complaining in the twelve months I spent glued to my
computer writing the first three books in this series. God, I love you.

I
also want to thank my children for putting up with the neglect and for not rolling
their eyes every time they heard “I’m sorry, mommy just has one more thing to
edit,
then
I can play.” I’d like to thank my parents for their
unwavering support in everything I do.

I’d like to
extend a special thanks to my friend, TJ Crane, for his copyright and business
advice. A huge thanks to Phil Hagen for helping me establish the necessary
connections and for guiding me through the process of getting a small business and
website up and running. I’d also like to thank Dave Burris for designing a website
that literally took my breath away!

I would like to
thank my sister-in-law, Christine Bedard-Dannels, for ensuring my French
translations were correct. I’m so sorry the story made you cry, honey! I’ll add
a note of thanks to my brother, David, for marrying such a kind girl and for
encouraging me throughout this project.

I also want to
thank my extremely talented friend, Kari Kunkel Anderson, for being such an
amazing photographer and for capturing those images that were swirling around
in my head.

A very special
thanks to my dear, sweet friend, Shira Ben-Zion, for helping edit this book and
for helping me sift through all those nonsensical grammar rules. Thanks also for
putting up with the random late night texts when I was wordsmithing!

I’d like to
thank those friends who formed the bones and the inspiration for so many of the
characters in this book, those who are mentioned by name and those who
preferred aliases. I should thank ALL of my friends for putting up with my
incessant chatter about the plot. I know I’ve wandered through the last twelve
months living two parallel lives, with one foot in and one foot out of these
books! Thanks for putting up with me!

I’d also like to
thank my reviewers: Mary Barnes, Jenny Uhl, Jenny Letowt, Erin Himstedt-Rice,
Autumn Leva, Cenia Miller, Kristen Miller, Channa Threat, Christine
Bedard-Dannels, Valerie Norman-Dannels, Dan and Kimme Cochrane, Marie Hagen, Rita
Gibson, and Lexie Hoines. Thank you for offering such wonderful advice. I’d
also like to thank my book club ladies for their enthusiasm and support. You ladies
seriously rock!

I’d like to
thank author John Locke for taking the time to write a book that would help
aspiring authors. Your insight and advice were invaluable. Finally, I’d like to
thank the folks at Amazon for creating a venue for self-publishing authors like
me.

Table of Contents

 

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Prologue

Chapter 1 – Strength, courage, and
wisdom

Chapter 2 – When you believe

Chapter 3 – Runaway train

Chapter 4 – A whole new world

Chapter 5 – Fix you

Chapter 6 - I’ll be

Chapter 7 – Home

Chapter 8 – When it rains

Chapter 9 – Have you seen her?

Chapter 10 – Try

Chapter 11 – What doesn’t kill you

Chapter 12 – Rescue me

Chapter 13 – Chasing Cars

Chapter 14 – Only Time

About the Author

Additional books by K.S. Ruff

 

Prologue

 

Four months earlier…

My
eyes met Tom’s as he stomped the snow off his boots. Soft white flecks
scattered across the rug by the door. “What have I told you about the phone?”

I
swallowed nervously. “I have to go, mom. I promise we’ll come visit soon.” My
hand shook as I hung up the phone. I braced myself for the storm, then turned
to face Tom. “I was only on the phone for fifteen minutes. I was talking to my
mom. She’s worried because she hasn’t seen us in so long.”

Tom’s
voice was laced with ice. “Don’t lie to me, Kri. I’ve been watching you through
the window. You were on the phone twenty minutes ago when I first pulled up to
the house.” He closed the distance between us, scattering snow across the
hardwood floor. His head cocked to one side as a vein pulsed in his neck. “Were
you talking about me?”

My
heart sped as I began to back up. “No, Tom. I swear. We didn’t talk about you.”

His
eyes narrowed. Then he sent me hurtling against the wall as he backhanded me.
Spit flew across my face as he screamed.
“Liar!”

I
glanced nervously at Cade as he whimpered from the couch. He jumped down to
meet me at the wall. A low growl hummed through his tiny chest as he faced Tom.
I slid to the floor and reached for him. “Shhhh. It’s okay, boy.”

“I’m
going to kill that fucking dog,” Tom hissed as he reached for the cordless
phone.

I
ducked as the phone shattered next to my head. My heart stumbled against my
chest as my eyes flitted to the keys hanging next to the door. Tom was pacing
on the other side of the room, contemplating his next move. “Stupid fucking
bitch,” he muttered as he raked his hand through his jet black hair. “Just had
to have a dog. Couldn’t live without that stupid fucking dog.”

I
could see his temper spiraling in front of me as if it had a life of its own. I
had lived this moment a million times before. If I was lucky, he’d demand I go
upstairs so he could take his frustration out on me in bed. If I wasn’t… then I
was going to get hit a few more times before he dragged me up to bed. Either
way, I’d end up in bed wishing I was dead. I eyed the keys again, then counted
the steps to the door.

I
glanced nervously at Tom. I had been biding my time, paying off bills, untangling
our finances, and stashing money aside. I had finally confided in someone, and
she and her husband had offered to take me in. I finally had a place I could go…
a place where he couldn’t hurt me. My jeep was parked right outside the door. I
could make a run for it… or I could die trying.

I
touched my cheek to see if there was any blood. My head spun. Did I have the
strength to see this through? I had attempted to leave once before; and Tom had
threatened to kill me if I ever tried again. We lived in the middle of town,
then. But, now? We lived smack in the middle of the mountains where no one
could hear me scream. A tear slid down my face as I pulled Cade to my chest. I
was so sick of fighting, sick of walking on eggshells, and mortified by the
dark turn my prayers had taken. I wondered when things had gotten so bad that I
started praying he would die.

Tom
ripped me from my thoughts as he threatened me from across the room. “I am sick
and tired of you not listening to me. I’m going to show you who runs this
house, Kri. Get your ass upstairs, now!”

I
scrambled to my feet with Cade still clutched in my arms. I watched as Tom
kicked his boots across the floor and turned to walk up the stairs. I breathed
a silent prayer, then ran for the door.

Chapter 1 – Strength, courage, and wisdom

 

The
treadmill started to hum. I smiled. How I loved that sound. I began walking as
the thin rubber strip pulled me back. I walked briskly at first, taking in all
the other people exercising around me.

I
turned up the speed and began jogging. I tucked the buds from my iPod into my
ears. My smile widened.
Mary J. Blige… “No More Drama”...
perfect.
I started running and fell into an easy rhythm with the song.

I
thought about why I was here, at this gym, in the middle of the day.
Running
,
I thought.
I’m running
. My mind quickly filled with images of all the
things I was running from… the past… the people…the pain. I increased the speed
again, intent on outrunning the images now darkening my mind.
That’s why I’m
here… so I can be stronger… faster… safe.
I embraced the fatigue in my
thighs and the air burning my lungs. I drew strength from the lyrics of the
song
.
“No more tears,”
I repeated, over and over again.

Three
songs later, I slowed the treadmill and resumed walking. I took a couple of
deep breaths while I tried to slow my breathing.
There’s good pain and bad
pain
, I thought.
This is clearly the good stuff.
I grabbed my water
bottle and doused my throat. I thought about the lyrics from the first song.
No
more pain.
I allowed pain and fear to dictate my life for nine miserable
years… but not anymore. A smile spread slowly across my face.
No more pain.

I
abandoned the treadmill and walked determinedly toward the locker room, still
chanting my new mantra. Twenty minutes later, a heather sheath dress and
matching heels replaced my black shorts, tank top, and sneakers. I threw my gym
bag into the back of my jeep and pulled into lunch hour traffic. It took me
five minutes to drive back to my office. By Montana standards, it was a brutal
commute.

I
sank into the chair behind my heavy wooden desk. I listened to my voice mail,
then began returning the phone calls that had accumulated over the lunch hour.
I was on the phone for over two hours. With a deep sigh, I closed my eyes and
rolled my neck, trying to release some of the tension that had already
accumulated there. I thought about the complaint I had just received and shook
my head in disgust.
Seriously? Since when did nursing homes start forcing
people to die?

The
woman I had just spoken to was battling brain cancer. A physician at the long
term care facility where she lived put an order in her file prohibiting
resuscitation; the order was issued against her wishes. The woman may have
cancer, but that didn’t take away her right to decide whether she had a Do Not
Resuscitate order on file. With cancer, she could still have weeks, months, or
even years. Turning to my computer, I logged into Lexis/Nexis and started
pounding on the keys.
Really
pounding. Within minutes, I was completely
immersed in research.

BOOK: The Broken Road (The Broken Series)
13.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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