Broken

Broken

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390353
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Series: Lauren Layne's Redemption Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 270
Sales rank: 27,274
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lauren Layne is a New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance novels. Prior to becoming a writer, she worked in e-commerce and Web marketing. In 2011 Lauren and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where she decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite Lauren’s ardent assurances to her husband that it would take only three). Since then, she’s gone on to publish ten books, including those in the bestselling Sex, Love & Stiletto series, with more stories always in the works. Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and their spoiled Pomeranian. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Read an Excerpt

The knot I’ve had in my stomach since boarding the plane at JFK eases slightly. My first encounter with a Maine resident is going well, and if he suspects I’m a total sham at this whole caregiving thing, he’s hiding it well.

“How long is it to Bar Harbor?” I ask, even though I already know. I did my homework. Well, some of it. The more crucial details still elude me.

“About three hours. Longer on a summer weekend, but on a Tuesday at the tail end of the season, we shouldn’t hit any traffic.”

“Season?”

“Summer season,” he says, glancing up. “Maine’s known for being a summer tourist destination.”

I bite my tongue to keep from retorting that of course I know what the season is. It’s practically synonymous with the word Hamptons. What does surprise me is that Maine has one.

Ease up on the snob routine, Olivia.

“So, you make the airport trip often?” I ask, still fishing for information about the Langdons.

For a second he says nothing, and I think I’ve officially crossed the line to prying, but he finally responds. “Not so much. Mr. Langdon doesn’t come up as often as he used to, and Mr. Paul . . . he doesn’t leave the house much.”
Paul.

My charge. Or patient. Or whatever he is.

I’m dying to ask more questions, but there’s something in Mick’s tone . . . Tension? Sadness? There’s something, but I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot by misidentifying it.

Instead, I sit back against the cushy leather seats and try to get acquainted with the Maine scenery. I know from my online research that Bar Harbor is on the water, but right now I can’t see anything but trees. For someone who doesn’t often see a tree outside of Central Park, there’s something oddly calming about all of the green.
Well, it’s calming until I allow myself to actually think about what awaits me. Because I have no freaking clue.
It’s weird, but I haven’t put much thought into what I’ll be doing now that I’m here. It’s not like there was a job description. Heck, I didn’t even apply. And if I had, I’m pretty sure a college coed without so much as CPR certification (although I have that now) wouldn’t have been selected as an ideal caregiver for a wounded vet.
Obviously, when Harry Langdon got my name through the friend of a friend of my parents, he wasn’t looking for any kind of trained professional.

So why me?

Of course, it’s a little late to be having these thoughts. I’ve known about this for three months, but in my mind I’ve pretty much been glossing over the reality, the same as I do whenever someone asks what it is I do as a home care specialist: an extra hand for those who need it.

So basically it’s the dictionary definition of vague. But people totally eat it up, and it’s not exactly a lie. Harry Langdon’s email said there was no nursing experience required, just companionship, basic cooking skills, and willingness to relocate to Bar Harbor.

I nailed the lack of nursing experience. I don’t think handing out ice cream bars at St. Jude’s counts. But, surprisingly, I do like to cook. I mean, I’m not destined for my own cooking show or anything, but Mom always insisted on giving our chef the weekends off if they weren’t hosting a party, which means she showed me the basics. Grilled cheese. Scrambled eggs. Chili. Spaghetti.

As for that willingness to relocate? Please. I’d pay them to take me away. My only complaint is that the job isn’t in LA or Seattle or somewhere in a different time zone from everything I’m trying to leave behind. Although, judging from the number of “watch for deer” signs I’ve seen so far, I’m definitely a long way from home.

Basically it all comes down to the fact that one rich dude told another rich dude to find some rich ditz who wouldn’t mind acting as a paid companion.

Not exactly the stuff Nobel Peace Prizes are made of, but I can’t bring myself to care. Whether I got the job because of connections or because of sheer luck (it’s certainly not because of skill), it’s still a ticket out of New York. It’s still an escape.

But all that being said, I don’t know much about my client. I mean, I know Harry Langdon is an elderly businessman with a ton of money. But as for his son? No idea.

Not because I wasn’t curious. Google would have told me what I needed to know in a heartbeat. And God knows, a little research would have been prudent. But honestly? I’ve been scared to death that all it’ll take is one gruesome picture or detailed account of his injuries to have me backing out of the whole thing.

I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but I’m not used to ugly. And from what Mr. Langdon has implied so far, whatever happened to his son was very ugly indeed.

I barely managed to get myself on the plane this morning as it was. The last thing I needed was to know what I was getting into. But now I’m here with no chance of backing out, and keeping my head in the sand is no longer an option.

I can’t stop thinking about how sad Mick’s voice was when he talked about Paul. No, Mr. Paul. Maybe it’s time to figure out exactly what I’m dealing with here.

I pull my cellphone out of my purse, scrolling through the barrage of texts awaiting me.

Mom: Call me as soon as you’re settled. Remember, nobody will think less of you if you decide you want to come home early.

Dad: Olive. Call if you need anything. Proud of you.

Bella: Miss you already. You’re the hottest Florence Nightingale I know.

Andrea: U there yet? my aunt and uncle have a summer home in Vermont if u get creeped out taking care of an old dude and need an escape. xoxoxoxoxo.

The rest, from my friends, are a mixture of support and skepticism that I’ll see this through. I freeze when I get to Michael’s, though: Call me when you quit running. I delete it.

But it’s the last message that really eats at me. Ethan and I haven’t had any contact since I tried—and failed—to get him back a couple of months ago, yet he cares enough to reach out with a simple Good luck, Liv.

I read those three simple words about five times, but I’m unable to find any hidden meaning. That’s the kind of guy Ethan is. He’s simply good.

I didn’t deserve him.

I respond to my parents, letting them know that I’ve arrived safely and that everything’s okay, but don’t reply to anyone else. I don’t even know what I’d say. Although the flight from New York to Maine was only a little over an hour, I already feel completely detached from my old life. The feeling is unsettling, but also freeing. As though maybe I really can start over.

I start to go about my initial task of Googling Paul Langdon, but the coverage is spotty, and before my phone can load the search results, cell service has gone from spotty to nonexistent.

Fantastic.

I put the phone away and lean back in my seat, letting my mind wander. I alternate between worst-case-scenario visions of what lies ahead (just one more thing you can screw up) and Pollyanna pep talks (you’ve got this) for most of the drive, but I sit up a little straighter when I catch sight of water through the trees, and I strain to get a better look.

Mick sees my movement. “That’s Frenchman Bay. It’s even prettier on a sunny day.”

I nod, but I actually sort of like that it’s overcast. It seems to suit my mood. The glimpses of water become more and more frequent, and even with the gray skies, it looks like a postcard.

“How much longer?” I ask. My palms are clammy.

“Not long. The Langdon estates are right on the water outside of town.”

Langdon estates? Interesting. There’s rich, and then there’s rich. Now I’m really wishing that my online research on the Langdons had been more thorough.

And when Mick turns onto a tree-lined drive, I’m wishing I’d hired a full-on private investigator because I’m pretty sure the building to my right is an honest-to-God stable.

“How long have you worked for the Langdons?” I ask, now completely confident that Mick is a full-time employee for a wealthy family and not just an occasional luxury.

He doesn’t meet my eyes in the mirror this time. “Long time,” he says finally, his tone terser than it was before.
Got it. No chitchat about our employer.

Then I see the house. Actually, house is a stretch. It’s more like a compound.

There are at least three buildings within easy walking distance of the main house, which rivals the grandest of the Hamptons homes I’ve been to. I’m still gaping when Mick comes around and opens the door for me. The house is neither modern minimalism nor ornate ostentation. The only time I’ve seen anything like it was when my parents and I spent Christmas in the Swiss Alps at a resort chalet. It’s three stories of perfectly maintained wood, gray stone chimneys, and high-peaked roofs.

I can’t help but picture it in the snow, maybe adorned with white lights at Christmas. Not that I’m trying to romanticize the whole thing, but I have to admit . . . it’s not a bad place to banish oneself.

“Mr. Langdon would prefer you stay in the main house close to Mr. Paul,” Mick says, taking my suitcase out of the trunk. “But if that doesn’t work out, there’s plenty of room in the staff house—the ‘small house,’ as we call it.”

I frown a little at what I think must be a hidden meaning in those words. Why wouldn’t it work out for me to stay in the main house?

I follow Mick through the front door, doing my best not to gape. I’ve been in so many nice homes that I’m generally sort of immune to all the bells and whistles that money can buy, but this is gorgeous in an unfamiliar way. There’s none of the ostentatious snobbery of Park Avenue, nor the trying-too-hard casualness of Hamptons beach homes. Instead it’s sort of this rustic beauty. In place of a marble foyer with a crystal chandelier, there’s a spacious entryway opening to a wide wooden staircase. There’s almost nothing in the way of home decor save for a hunter-green area rug, but that actually kind of works. Too many frills would take away from the natural beauty of the exposed wood.

It definitely feels like a man’s home, and I find myself wishing I’d bothered to look up what happened to Mrs. Langdon. Because while it’s gorgeous in an imposing sort of way, it’s clear that no woman has called this home in a long time. Maybe ever.

I follow Mick into the biggest kitchen I’ve ever seen. The stove in the middle of the room has like eight burners, and the fridge is at least twice the size of ours at home.

Mick is murmuring something to a middle-aged woman whose apron over her jeans and button-down blue shirt identify her as the one responsible for whatever smells so delicious on the stove.

“Ms. Middleton, this is Linda Manning.”

“Olivia, please,” I say with a smile.

“Call me Lindy,” the gray-haired woman says, shaking my hand in a friendly enough manner, although it’s clear that I’m being assessed. “You’re a good deal younger than the rest of them.”

“The rest of . . . the staff?” I ask, not following.

Mick and Lindy exchange a glance. I’m obviously missing something.

“There’s really not much in the way of staff,” Mick says with a forced smile. “I take care of the driving and estate management. Lindy doubles as cook and housekeeper, although a couple of girls from town come over every week to help with the more extensive cleaning. Scott takes care of the land and the stable.”

“Oh,” I murmur, still confused about what they’re not saying. And stable? Really?

Luckily, Lindy doesn’t seem like the type to be needlessly mysterious. “When I said you were the youngest, I meant you were younger than the other home care aides. I’m used to seeing fuddy-duddy old women or thirtysomething charity workers.” She pauses. “Have you and Mr. Langdon met in person?”

“Not yet,” I say. “But I’m eager to meet him. Is he around?”

Mick and Lindy exchange yet another of those glances, and I narrow my eyes just slightly at the familiarity in the look. Something tells me Mick and Lindy are more than colleagues. I guess that’s a good thing, considering they’re out here in the middle of nowhere all by themselves.

“Mr. Langdon only comes up to Bar Harbor every few months or so,” Lindy replies cautiously. “Did he tell you he’d be here?”

I feel a little stupefied. Every few months? I mean, I knew that he didn’t live here, but I thought he’d at least be here when I arrived to provide specific direction on what’s expected of me.

“I guess he didn’t say so specifically,” I say, trying not to totally freak out on them. “I just assumed . . .”

“Well, no matter,” Lindy says, giving me a confident smile. “We’ll give you the lay of the land and introduce you to Mr. Paul, and you’ll feel right at home.”

I’m pretty sure Mick mutters something under his breath, but then he’s wheeling my suitcase out of the kitchen, nodding in acknowledgment at Lindy’s instruction that I’m to be put in the Green Room.

“It’s got a fantastic view of the water,” she says, tugging off her apron. “And it’s close to Mr. Paul’s room should he need anything.”

“Where is, um, Mr. Paul?” I ask, following their naming convention even though it feels like something out of another century.

Lindy’s confident expression slips slightly, and for a second I think she wants to warn me about something, but her smile returns. “He spends most mornings in the library reading,” she says, indicating with a nod that I should follow her. “He’s probably there.”

“Isn’t it afternoon?” I ask.

Lindy doesn’t turn around. “He spends the afternoons in there too. And the evenings.”

Yikes.

“Hey, Lindy,” I ask, moving between her and the door of what I assume is the library before she can knock. “What, um . . . what is it that I’m expected to do? Nobody’s really told me any specifics.”

She purses her lips. “Mr. Langdon didn’t outline any expectations?”

“Oh, sure. He said I’m to encourage his son to get to physical therapy—”

Lindy snorts.

“—and that I’m to ensure he eats regularly.”

Another snort.

“But mostly just that I should be a companion. Keep the man company.”

Lindy doesn’t respond to this last bit, and too late I realize she isn’t looking at me. She’s looking behind me.
I spin around and barely stifle a shriek when I see the silhouette of a man standing in the darkened doorway.
I can’t see his face, but his voice is ice cold. “Sounds like my father forgot to mention the most important part of your job. But then, he never tells my babysitters what they’re really doing here.”

I take a small step forward, wanting to get a look at the man I’m talking to, but he takes a step back, hiding himself in the darkness.

“And what’s that?” I ask, narrowing my eyes.

“Suicide watch.”

The door slams in my face.

Customer Reviews

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Broken 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the sweetest love stories I've read in a while. Sort of partial since it involved one of our Wounded Warriors. Read the last chapter over about 5 times!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book isnt she lovely and just loved the way she kept the story line clean and wanting. So I went off and bought the second book which I finished reading in a day. Can not wait until the third book comes out.
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
Perfect redemption story! How can you not fall for a scared, damaged hero? Read this book in one sitting...loved every minute of it!
lilianaD More than 1 year ago
I received a copy in exchange of an honest review. I loved the book, a story of loss, betrayal, love, healing and hope told in a very compelling, touching and fun manner, a modern version of the beauty and the beast. Olivia is a privileged young woman from Manhattan's 5th Avenue, who lives a life of contentment without happiness and feeling cornered to make a important life decision, makes a choice that betrays her long time friend/boyfriend Ethan and good friend Michael. Follows dropping out of college and looking for redemption in the form of employment as a caregiver for a war veteran, in a lost little city in Maine. Paul is a war veteran who is tormented by survivor's guilt, being the unique survivor of his marine patrol, and bearer of disfiguring face scars and an afflicted leg-he' lives as an hermit in one of his father's remote properties in Maine. Getting those two broken souls together would lead to a long journey to healing, love and hope.  Ms Layne is a great story teller, the characters are well defined, realistic, with the right touch of wit and self-deprecation, it makes the reader laugh and brings tears to the eye and makes the book a definite page turner. The journey to trust and healing is not easy, there are field mines on the way, but every step is further in the right direction of redemption and rebirth of the soul.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved Olivia and Paul! Great story...I couldn't put it down, but I need more...it just ended and that sucked.
COBauer More than 1 year ago
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Another FABULOUS read by Lauren Layne! She does New Adult right! The characters Layne creates are multi-dimensional and very easy to like. Yes, even Paul at his worst. Broody, sexy Paul. Yum… She doesn’t waste any time jumping into the story, either. You get just enough to know what’s going on and BAM! Off you go. I particularly appreciate how she handles sexual tension between characters. I’ve only read two of her books now, but it’s never felt forced or contrived. The buildup is fantastic and the payoffs are explosive and extremely satisfying. Looking for heat? Right here. In spades. This was a great followup to “Isn’t She Lovely.” It was fun getting to know Olivia and her side of the story. Is that a hint of “Beauty and the Beast” I detect? ;) I’m a sucker for any kind of re-telling, particularly a fairytale. I’m officially hooked on Lauren Layne. I suspect I’ll be taking down the rest of her collection over the next few months… Thanks for the great vacay read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Holy hotness. This book is EXTRAORDINARY. I absolutely loved it. I treasure the whole Beauty and the Beast trope. And boy, was this guy a beast. He was mean as all get out. But because the story alternated POVs, we got to know what HE was thinking too, and that helped redeem him in the eyes of the reader. I love that the heroine knew when to walk away. No doormat in sight. Yay me. These two leads had a marvelous connection. Everything just clicked for me. And groveling to boot? Hell yes I'll be reading this again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
highly recommended...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Glad I took a chance and read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading this one I couldn't stop! Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. One of my favorites by far. I loved the relationship between Olivia and Paul!
bouncyberthaCR More than 1 year ago
4 - I have a serious lady boner for the guy I'm supposed to work for. Stars! I was a little nervous when I started Broken, Olivia featured somewhat as the enemy in the first book in this series Isn’t She Lovely and I was interested to see what sort of story Lauren would give her. We were pathetic privileged monsters, and I, for one, am determined to change, even if his isn’t. Olivia in the first few pages of the book is someone I really though I wasn’t going to like, but as the story progresses, I fell more and more in love with her. Paul really does treat her pretty abhorrently at points, but rather than give up, pack up and go running back to her wealthy parents and hassle free lifestyle. She stands up and fights for herself, and for Paul. She makes me long for normal. She has to go. I loved Paul too, he was an absolute idiot in the beginning of their story, but as Olivia kept bouncing back from his attempts to get rid of her, he gradually opened up more, and you got too see the real guy beneath, and not just the miserable anti-social invalid, he wanted people to believe he was. There has to be a human being left under the cold savage. I just don’t know how to reach him… yet. There are a lot of moments in this where I had to stop and take a breath and wipe away a tear, don’t for one second think that this book is light and fluffy because it is being released under the Flirt/Rouge logo. Both Olivia and Paul have issues and secrets they are keeping from each other that they work through as the book progresses, and I struggled to put this book down. She’s gorgeous and dazzling. I’m disfigured at best, monstrous at worst. I adored the first book in the Redemption series, and I loved this one too, the ending just made me want to hug the random person sitting next to me on the bus. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for Michael to get his book, I am keen to see where Lauren takes us next. ”I’d go anywhere for you.” ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and I was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Beauty+%26+the+Beast+grown+up%21%0AOnly+objection+to+overuse+of+F+-+word++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story. It had so much heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ahhhhhmazzzzzinggggg!!! Take the plunge its so worth it! Olivia and Paul make you laugh and cry. Isn't that what all the greats do? Who doesnt love a fixer upper? I sure do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so cute and the characters felt so real. Captured my interest and I didn't want the story to end. All the back and forth of emotions was wonderful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heart wrenching story about two broken people who find each other and their happy-ever-after. A great story, well written, with interesting characters and plot. LA-TXN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sexy, sweet, sad, a perfect combo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im heartBROKEN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh yes I loved your story!!! Oh...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the story line and the characters! I couldn't put it down.