Broken (Women of the Otherworld Series #6)

Broken (Women of the Otherworld Series #6)

by Kelley Armstrong

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553588187
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/25/2006
Series: Women of the Otherworld Series , #6
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 188,637
Product dimensions: 4.15(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kelley Armstrong lives in rural Ontario with her husband, three children and far too many pets. She is the author of a new crime series, the Women of the Otherworld series and an upcoming young adult trilogy, The Darkest Power.

Read an Excerpt


Clayton doesn't do "unobtrusive" well. Not even when he tries, and that afternoon, he was trying his damnedest. He was downwind of me, at least two hundred feet away, so I couldn't smell him, see him or hear him. But I knew he was there.

As I stood under the oaks, I couldn't suppress a twinge of resentment at the pressure his presence added to an already gut-twisting situation. Yes, I'd been the one to suggest the run, leaping up from the lunch table and declaring I was ready. He'd asked if he should stay inside—possibly the first time in our fifteen-year relationship that Clay had been willing to give me space. But I'd grabbed his hand and dragged him out with me. Now I was blaming him for being here. Not fair. But better than to admit that what I felt was not resentment but fear—fear that I would fail, and in failing I would disappoint him.

I took a deep breath and filled my lungs with the loamy richness of a forest emerging from winter, the first buds appearing tentatively, as if still uncertain. Uncertain . . . good word. That was what I felt: uncertainty.

Uncertainty? Try abject, pant-pissing, stomach-heaving terror—

I took another deep breath. The scent of the forest filled me, called to me, like Clay's presence out there, beckoning—

Don't think of him. Just relax.

I followed the sound of a rabbit thumping nearby, upwind and oblivious of me. As I moved, I saw my shadow and realized I was still standing. Well, there was the first problem. I'd undressed, but how would I Change if I was still on two legs?

As I started to crouch, a pang ran through the left side of my abdomen and I froze, heart pounding. It was probably a random muscle spasm or a digestive complaint. And yet . . .

My fingers rubbed the hard swell of my belly. There was definitely a swell there, however staunchly Jeremy swore otherwise. I could feel it with my hand, feel it in the tightening waistband of my jeans. Clay tried to avoid the question—smart man—but when pressed he would admit I did seem to be showing already. Showing, when I was no more than five weeks pregnant. That shouldn't be. Yet one more thing to add to my growing list of worries.

At the top of the list was this: the regular transformation from human to wolf that my body required. I had to Change, but what would it do to my baby?

My fear over losing my child came as a revelation to me. In the nearly three years I'd wrestled with the thought of having a baby, I'd considered the possibility that the choice wouldn't be mine to make, that being a werewolf might mean I wouldn't be able to conceive or carry a child to term. I'd accepted that. If my pregnancy ended, I'd know that I couldn't have a child. That would be that.

Now that I was actually pregnant I couldn't believe I'd been so cavalier. This was more than a collection of cells growing in me, it was the actualization of a dream I'd thought I'd lost when I became a werewolf. A dream I was certain I'd given up when I decided to stay with Clay.

But I had to Change. Already I'd waited too long, and I could feel the need in every muscle spasm and restless twitch, hear it in my growls and snaps whenever someone spoke to me. Twice I'd come out here with Clay, and twice I'd been unable—or refused—to Change. Make it a third, and Clay and Jeremy would be flipping coins to see who locked me in the cage. That was a safety precaution—being Change-deprived makes us violent and unpredictable—but given my surly behavior this past week, I wouldn't blame them if they fought over the privilege.

Just Change, goddamn it! Get down on your knees . . . See? That feels fine, right? Now put your hands on the ground . . . There. Now concentrate—

My body rebelled, convulsing so hard I doubled over, gasping. Change into a wolf? With a baby inside me? Was I crazy? I'd rip, tear, suffocate—


I pushed up onto all fours and cleared my head, then opened the gate only to thoughts bearing the pass-code of logic. Was this my first Change since I'd become pregnant? No. It was the first since I'd learned I was pregnant, two weeks ago. I must have Changed a half-dozen times between conception and testing.

Had anything happened during those Changes? Bleeding? Cramping? No.

So stop worrying. Take a deep breath, smell the forest, dig your fingers into the damp soil, hear the whistle of the April wind, feel the ache in your muscles. Run to Clay, who'll be so happy, so relieved . . .

My skin prickled, stretching, itching as fur sprouted—

My brain threw up the brakes again and my body tensed. Sweat trickled down my cheeks. I growled and dug my fingers and toes into the soft earth, refusing to reverse the process.

Relax, relax, relax. Just stop worrying and let your body do the work. Like constipation. Relax and nature takes over.

Constipation? Oh, there was a romantic analogy. I laughed, and my changing vocal cords squeezed the sound into a hideous screech, more worthy of a hyena than a wolf, which only made me laugh all the harder. I toppled sideways and, as I lay there, laughing, I finally relaxed.

The Change took over, spontaneous. My convulsions of laughter turned to spasms of pain, and I twisted and writhed on the ground. The pain of a Change. Yet some still-panicked part of my brain convinced me this wasn't the normal kind of pain—I was killing my child, suffocating it as my body contorted.

I must—Must stop—Oh, God, I couldn't!

I tried to stop—fighting, snarling, concentrating on reversing to human. But it was too late. I'd waited too long, and now my body was determined to see it through.

Finally, the pain ended, gone without so much as a lingering ache, and I lay on my side, panting, then leapt to my feet.

Damn it, not so fast! Be careful.

I stood there, motionless except for my tail, which wouldn't stop whipping from side to side, as if to say "Well, we're Changed. What are you waiting for? Let's run!" The rest of my body didn't disagree with the sentiment, though it let the tail do the shouting, settling for subtler displays of restlessness: heart tripping, ears swiveling, muscles tensing. I refused to move, though; not until I'd taken inventory, made sure everything was as it should be.

First, my belly. No obvious signs of distress. I panted, letting my chest rise and fall, testing whether the movement seemed to hurt anything. It didn't, though my stomach did let out a growl as that nearby rabbit's scent wafted past. You wouldn't know I'd just devoured a three-course lunch. Ungrateful stomach. But the other part of my belly, newly filling with life, felt fine.

I lifted my paws one at a time, stretching and rotating my joints. Good. My nose and ears had done fine picking up that rabbit. And the still-wagging tail was obviously working. Okay, enough of this.

I stepped forward. One paw, two, three, four . . . No sudden scream of complaint from my belly. I broke into a lope, then a run, then a headlong dash across the clearing. Still no signs of distress.

Next, the tougher moves—the wolf maneuvers. I crouched, wiggled my hindquarters, then leapt at an imaginary mouse. As I hit the ground, I wheeled around, teeth bared as I snapped at an unseen foe. I bounded across the clearing. I jumped and twisted in midair. I pranced. I lunged. I charged. I chased my tail—

A wheezing sound erupted behind me and I froze, the tip hairs of my tail still caught between my teeth. There, across the clearing, was a huge, golden-haired wolf, his head between his forepaws, eyes closed, hindquarters in the air, body quivering with that strange wheezing noise. His eyes opened, bright blue eyes dancing with relief and amusement, and I realized what that noise was. He was laughing at me.

Laughing? I'd just gone through a horrible trauma, and the guy had the nerve to laugh? I knew half of that laughter was relief at seeing me Changed, and I admit I probably looked a little silly gallivanting alone in the clearing. But still, such indignities should not be tolerated.

With as much grace as I could muster with tail fur hanging out of my mouth, I swept around and stalked in the other direction. Halfway across the clearing, I wheeled and charged, teeth bared. His eyes widened in "oh, shit" comprehension and he backpedaled just in time to get out of my way, then bolted into the forest.

I tore after him. I loped along the path, muzzle skimming the ground. The earth was thick with the scent of my prey—a deliberate move, as he weaved and circled, permeating this patch of forest with his smell, hoping to throw me off the trail.

I untangled the web of trails and latched onto the most recent. As I picked up speed, the ground whooshed past beneath me. Ahead, the path opened into a clearing. I pitched forward, straining for the open run, but before I hit the edge of the clearing, I dug in my claws and skidded to a graceless stop.

I stood there, adrenaline roaring, urging me to find him, take him down. I closed my eyes and shuddered. Too eager. Keep that up and I'd run straight into a trap. After a moment, the adrenaline rush ebbed and I started forward again, cautious now, ears straining, muzzle up, sniffing as I walked.

My eyes saved me this time. That and the sun, peeking from fast-moving clouds. One break in the cloud cover and I caught the glint of gold through the trees. He was downwind, crouched to the left of the path's end, waiting for me to come barreling out.

I retraced my last few steps, walking backward. An awkward maneuver—some things easily accomplished on two legs are much more difficult to coordinate with four. Once I'd gone as far as I could, I craned to look over my shoulder. The trees closed in on me from either side. Not enough room to guarantee a silent about-face.

I took a careful step off the path. The undergrowth was soft and moist with spring rain. I prodded at it, but it stayed silent. Hunkering down to stay below branch level, I started forward, looping to slink up behind him. Once close enough to see through the trees, I peered out. He was crouched beside the path, as still as a statue, only the twitch of his tail betraying his impatience.

I found the clearest line of fire, hunched down, then sprang. I hit him square on the back and sank my teeth into the ruff around his neck. He yelped and started to rear up, then stopped. I let out a growling chuckle, knowing he didn't dare throw me off in my "condition." All I had to do was hang on—

He dropped, letting his legs fold, his body cushioning my drop, but the suddenness of it was enough of a surprise that I let go of his ruff. As he slid from under me, he twisted and pinned me, his teeth clamping around the bottom of my muzzle. I kicked at his underbelly. He snorted as my claws made contact, but made no move to fight back.

He looked down at me, indecision flickering in his eyes. Then he released my muzzle and his head shot down to my throat. I wriggled, trying to pull out of the way, but he only buried his nose in the ruff around my neck and inhaled deeply. He shuddered, legs vibrating against my sides. A moment's hesitation. Then a soft growl, and he twisted off me and dove into the woods again.

I scrambled to my feet and set off in pursuit. This time he had too much of a head start, and I could only get close enough to see his hindquarters bounding ahead. He flicked his tail up. Mocking me, damn him. I surged forward, getting close enough to hear the pounding of his heartbeat. He veered and crashed into the forest, off the trail, and I chortled to myself. Now I had him. Cutting a fresh path would slow him down just enough to let me—

A brace of ptarmigan flew up, almost under my feet, and I slid to a halt, nearly flipping over backward in my surprise. As the panicked birds took to the sky, I got my bearings again, looked around . . . and found myself alone. Tricked. Damn him. And damn me for falling for it.

I found his trail, but before I'd gone a hundred feet, a gurgling moan rippled through the silence. I stopped, ears going up. A grunt, then panting. He was Changing.

I dove into the nearest thicket and began my own Change. It came fast, spurred by a healthy double shot of adrenaline and frustration. When I finished, he was still in his thicket.

I crept around to the other side, pulled back a handful of leaves and peered through. He was done, but recovering, crouched on all fours, panting as he caught his breath. By the rules of fair play, I should have given him time to recuperate. But I wasn't in the mood for rules.

I sprang onto his back. Before he could react, my arm went around his neck, forearm jammed against his windpipe.

I leaned over his shoulder. "Did you think you could escape that easily?"

His lips formed an oath, but no sound came out. His shoulders slumped, as if defeated. Like I was stupid enough to buy that. I pretended to relax my grip. Sure enough, the second I did, he twisted, trying to grab me.

I slid off his back and pulled him down sideways. Before he could recover, I was on top of him, my forearm again at his throat. His hands slid up my sides, snuck around and cupped my breasts.

"Uh-uh," I growled, pressing against his windpipe. "No distractions."

He sighed and let his hands slide away. I eased back. As soon as I did, he flipped me over, still far more gently than usual, and pinned me as securely as he had in wolf-form. He eased down, belly and groin against mine. He slid his hands back to my breasts and grinned at me, daring me to do something about it now.

I glared up at him. Then I shot forward and sank my teeth into his shoulder. He jerked away. I scrambled up, then pinned him, hands on his shoulders, knees on his thighs. He struggled, but couldn't get me off without throwing me.

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Broken (Women of the Otherworld Series #6) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 293 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was great to see another Elena and Clay story. What I love about the Otherworld woman is that they are strong, capable, talented and flawed. They make for great reading. It is also refreshing to see characters mature and move through life dealing with common day issues just like us mortals (family, babies) as well ask trying to close portals to other demensions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The newest addition to the Women of the Underworld Series, Broken, returns to werewolf protagonist Elena Micheals. The unique twist on a letter thought to be written by Jack the Ripper and the portal it opens is a fascinating and entertaining premise to an exciting, tension-ridden plot. It is a fast-paced, page turner, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend the book and the series. According to the author's newsletter, the series is currently slated for at least ten books. Book seven turns to Jaime as the narrator. Though Broken has a completely satisify (and exciting!) conclusion, enough questions are left about the future of Elena Micheals, the pack, and her children for a later return to her story. Her story is far from over. I look forward to reading more in this series about all of the intriguing characters introduced in the first six novels and in the Dates From Hell anthology. If you haven't begun this series yet, I recommend it - but be warned, once you pick these books up, you won't be able to put them down!
harstan More than 1 year ago
She is the only female werewolf in existence and she is pregnant by her werewolf lover something that has never happened before. The men in Elena Michaels¿ pack are smothering her in their need to keep her safe and protected she understands their motives, but could use some action in her life. That occurs when half-demon Xavier Reese asks her to steal the letter ¿From Hell¿ supposedly written by jack the Ripper. In return Xavier will tell her where a rogue werewolf is hiding.----- The pack believes they can accomplish the theft with no danger to Elena so they travel to sorcerer Patrick Shanahan¿s Toronto home where the letter is located. They pull off the caper without a hitch but disaster happens when Elena¿s blood from an insect bite drips on the letter opening a dimensional portal. Two zombies enter from the other side bringing cholera to Toronto, contaminating the water supply and spreading other diseases. The sorcerer directs his zombies to kidnap Elena, who realizes she must find the practitioner causing the havoc that threatens her babies, pack and Toronto.------ The Women of the Other World story that stared with BITTEN and continued with STOLEN comes to a heartwarming conclusion in BROKEN. Elena is very happy with Clay and considers her pack as her family. Kelley Armstrong writes a fanatic urban fantasy filled with romance and mystery that will satiate fans of three genres. Nobody will guess the identity of the villain though that person is in plain sight for Monday morning quarterbacks. That is just part of the charm of this spellbinding, magical and delightful tale and miniseries.------ Harriet Klausner
Ravenswood_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Kelley Armstrong is a progeny when it comes to supernatural writing. Her books leave you breathless with their racy romances, the constant struggles, and the exciting stories. She does all of this effortlessly and you have no choice but to plummet without stumbling straight into her world. She has created such a strong presence in all of her characters that everything about them makes them seem real! You get so caught up in their stories that you feel you are a part of them. I cannot say enough good things about Kelley!
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
Elena and her werewolf pack are back in action in Broken. This time around, a very pregnant Elena unwittingly opens a portal that may have unleashed historical Jack the Ripper onto an unsuspecting modern day Toronto. Amidst zombies, a cholera outbreak, and vicious and diseased rats, Elena and company must try to get the portal closed and kill the ones who came out of it while staying alive themselves. I really enjoy this Women of the Otherworld series. What I love most about it is the wit, sarcasm and brass that Armstrong writes into her characters. It gives the books a fun and fresh feel that I really enjoy. Broken is exciting, very entertaining and has a great ending. I highly recommend this series.
eldbooks More than 1 year ago
Bitten was the best and staying in line I found these book stolen and broken the follow up book also great reading . The books following thow were a little out to me . If she had stayed in the same story line I would be still buying her books . I had gotten several books on tape ( CD'S ) before I found they had changed story lines . I wish she would write another book on these characters I found in Bitten . I really enjoyed them and it is so hard to find a werewolf book as good as Bitten .
Belly_love More than 1 year ago
This book was really good, the only problem I have with the book is not really with the book its with the writer, the books start out with a main character then the next book is someone else in the first story, its not bad. I was just really confused, after reading them all I really understood and liked the books, if you like crazy thriller books this is a good choice.
Devi711 More than 1 year ago
This is the sixth book in the series 'Women of the Otherworld'. Honestly, I'm shocked that I have actually stuck with a series for so long. Most of the time, I will get bored of a series by the second or third book. But, Kelley Armstrong is amazing. 'Broken' is my favorite book of the series. Kelley Armstrong brought back Elena, so, I was definitely excited an pleased. The story line was fun and had me wanting for. I felt that the book was too short. That's how much I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay so I LOVED THIS BOOK! I didn't like the Jack the Ripper in it even though I LOVE Jack the Ripper stories. I just don't think that parts meshed well. BUT Elena and Clay having a baby! But wait there is always a twist! Far be it for me to spoil it for you! But you'll LOVE it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Broken is the latest in Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld. This one brings back Elena (the only female werewolf in existence) and her pack as the central characters. Elena and crew inadvertantly unleash Jack the Ripper on Toronto and need to rectify the situation. This is somewhat complicated by Elena's pregnancy and how it affects what she does. Its fast paced and hard to put down. I really enjoy Elena's interactions with the pack and particularly with other supernaturals she meets.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Elena, the only female werewolf known to exist, is pregnant and bored. When a seemingly safe mystery comes along to investigate, she and the pack become involved. A good mix of history (Jack the Ripper) and the paranormal.
crishaynes on LibraryThing 27 days ago
This series has really fallen for me. However when I saw that this book focused on the wolves again, I did go and get it. I did enjoy it and would recommend it. It was entertaining and creative.
teharhynn on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I love her books, there¿s just the right mix of supernatural and sexy that makes them all hard to put down. This one was very good; there was a mix of all my favorite characters.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Elena is pregnant and having to deal with the men in her life fussing around her when she accidentally gets her blood on the "from hell" letter, which opens a portal for some zombies, and a man. Murders in the style of Jack the Ripper start up and Elena has to try to solve this and keep the babies alive. Interesting and quite fast paced this is quite a good read and I liked how Elena is developing.
leodione on LibraryThing 3 months ago
It's taken longer than forever for one of my supernatural super heroes to pop out a kid. Bout time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kelley Armstrong does it again. I must admit, when I found out the whole "Women of the Otherworld“ series wasn't totally based on Elena I was kind of disappointed. It took me 4 years to buy the third book. I'm so glad I finally bought it and am continuing on. All the women are different, with strengths in different areas, but they're all wonderful characters. People should definitely acquire this series, I'm betting they won't be displeased.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
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Oh wow... it was so amazing and you would be an idiot to not want to read this book.
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