Broken

Broken

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Lauren Layne’s heart-wrenching novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both . . . or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

Accolades

“A solid tale and a quick read, with plenty of steamy romance and sex.”—Library Journal

“Broken is as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. It’s a story about two people saving each other from themselves.”—Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst

“Five stars! I pretty much loved everything about this book . . . the characters, the storyline, the pace, the writing, the love, the chemistry . . . everything!”—The Book Hookup “A solid retelling of a tried-and-true fairy tale with a lot of window-fogging heat and one of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read.”—Adventures in Writing “Another fabulous read by Lauren Layne! She does New Adult right!”—Royal Social Media “Engrossing . . . a unique read . . . The chemistry is hot.”—Reading on the Farm “Lauren Layne writes awesome romances. I am such a huge fan and Broken is a perfect example of why. If you love those romances that hook you in, break your heart, make you feel so much and then slowly put you back together, rooting for the broken soul in the process, then this is the book for you! Five stars!”—The Romance Room “Lauren Layne once again impresses with Broken. Paul and Olivia’s romance was filled with passion and heart, and was a pure pleasure to experience!”—The Reader’s Den “Lauren Layne seriously knows how to balance the sexy with the heart-wrenching plots.”—Lazy Book Lovers

Excerpts

She’s right. I walked the entire way, not only without my cane but without even realizing I didn’t have my cane.

The thought should elate me, but I can’t shake the dark sense of foreboding. No matter where I look, my walls are crumbling, and this damned girl keeps presenting me the most dangerous element of all.

Hope.

This woman—this girl—is exactly the sort of person I exiled myself to Maine to avoid.

She’s tempting. Not just in the sexual way, although yeah, there’s that. But with that briefest of glimpses, she tempts me with something worse: she makes me long for normal.

She has to go. Now.

He was completely in the shadows before, but this time the hallway light catches him, and it feels like my stomach drops to my feet.

Paul Langdon is not the crippled, middle-aged recluse he’s supposed to be.

He steps back into the shadows before I can see him properly, but my first impression is broad shoulders, military-short blond hair, and piercing blue eyes. And young. Like my age young.

Everything makes brutal sense now: why he’s been hiding in the shadows, why the hostility and bitterness roll off him in waves.

He throws my arm off with a curse, and I expect him to turn away from me. Maybe even push me back.

Instead, he faces me fully, letting me see him head-on, and the way his eyes betray nothing—not even wariness—almost breaks my heart. It’s like I can actually see him shut off his human side.

My fingers tighten again on his shoulders, and it’s not to push him away. It’s like some dark, savage part of me is released by the taste of him, and instead of wriggling away and slapping him, I do the unthinkable. I kiss him back.

He freezes for a moment when my tongue shyly touches his, and he starts to pull back, but my hands go to the back of his head and pull him to me. When our lips meet again, it’s an all-out battle as our tongues tangle, each trying to take control. We’re like two sex-starved animals who need each other to survive.

I rap my cane once against the ground. “Well, for starters, despite the fact that there are tortoises that could surpass your sorry excuse for a jog, I’m in no shape to accompany even the most pathetic of runners.”

“What a handy skill you have of overloading a sentence with insults,” she says as she reaches up to adjust her ponytail. “That must be helpful, what with your thriving social life and all.”

I thump my cane against the ground again, studying her. “Must be nice, picking on the cripple.”

Olivia rolls her eyes. “Please. Your soul’s more crippled than your leg.”

Which would have been fine if she’d pushed me away, scraped at me, or even slapped me, because I definitely was asking for that. But she responded. She responded like she was made for me.

She touches me. Not with the cloth, but with warm, gentle fingers. It’s harmless at first. Just a soft stroke along my hairline. She traces my eyebrow. My cheekbone. She cups my jaw, and I let my cheek turn toward the warmth of her hand. It’s been so long since someone’s touched me. As long as she stays on the left side of my face—my good side—I’d let her touch me forever.

I suck in a breath as she tenderly, reverently runs one gentle finger over the top of my right cheekbone. Then lower.

She’s touching my scars. And I’m letting her.

I’ve told myself over and over that I won’t kiss her again. That she’ll kiss me.

But I’m not above luring her in. I want her. I want her so badly it hurts.

My eyes meet hers, watching as her shock fades to desire. She wants me too.

I purposely move my gaze to her mouth. Kiss me, I silently beg. And then I say it out loud. “Kiss me, Olivia.”

She shakes her head once.

“Please,” I whisper. I don’t care if I’m begging. I don’t care if she kisses me out of pity. I need her.

She’s right. I walked the entire way, not only without my cane but without even realizing I didn’t have my cane.

The thought should elate me, but I can’t shake the dark sense of foreboding. No matter where I look, my walls are crumbling, and this damned girl keeps presenting me the most dangerous element of all.

Hope.

“I don’t want you to go,” he says roughly, moving quickly and pulling me to him before I can put distance between us. “Is that what you want to hear? You want to hear that I want you? That I need you? Because I do, Olivia. I need you.”

One-Liners
  • A new adult adaptation Beauty and the Beast about a scarred war vet who falls for the beautiful young caretaker with internal wounds of her own.
  • "The best beauty and the beast story I've read."
  • A new adult spin on Beauty and the Beast.
  • Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Tale as old as time ...
  • What to read if you love beauty and the beast stories.