Our Broken Sky: A Chaos Theory Novella

Our Broken Sky: A Chaos Theory Novella

by Sarah Harian

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In The Wicked We Have Done, readers were introduced to Valerie Crane. But you don’t know her the way you think you do. This is her story…
Valerie has always been different from her identical twin Veda.  Tattooed, fiery, and foul-mouthed, Valerie acts on instinct, getting even with anyone who wrongs her passive, sensitive sister.
At twenty-two, Veda doesn’t want to seek revenge against the three young men who raped her. As for Val…
Val never could manage her anger well.
As far as Val sees it, the Compass Room is simply a quicker way for her to die—payment for the crime she feels no guilt over. There isn’t a reason to fight, not until a girl as broken as she is reminds Val of what it’s like to hope…
Includes a preview of the next Chaos Theory novel, A Vault of Sins
Praise for The Wicked We Have Done
"Holy jawdropping creepy bots! Hot, funny, and terrifying ... if The Running Man and The Hunger Games had a baby on steroids: this would be it. You will be glued to each amazingly horrifying page from beginning to end." — Molly McAdams, New York Times bestselling author

“THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!! I couldn’t put it down! Suspenseful, romantic and thought provoking, The Wicked We Have Done had me rooting for criminals while pondering morality and questioning humanity. I can’t wait for the sequel.” — Jamie Blair, author of Leap of Faith

“A heart-pounding thrill ride! The Wicked We Have Done will make you gasp, smile and cry – an emotional rollercoaster in book form. I absolutely loved it!”  — Susanne Winnacker, author of Imposter

Sarah Harian is the author of the Chaos Theory series, including The Wicked We Have Done. She received her M.F.A. from Fresno State University. She currently lives in the Sierra Nevadas with her husband and their dog and swears she’ll never live anywhere other than the forested mountains—they’re too inspiring.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698181908
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/19/2014
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 107
Sales rank: 727,241
File size: 814 KB

About the Author

Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her BA and MFA from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or roughhousing with her dog.

Read an Excerpt


In middle school, Veda was a princess, and I was her bodyguard.

We didn’t hang out together at that age. Being an identical twin automatically made me a freak show, and I had too much pride to put up with that bullshit. I cut my hair short while Veda kept hers long, and found friends of my own. Automatically, anything that Veda liked, I hated. Anything that she turned her nose down on, I tried. Beer at twelve, pot at thirteen, sex at fifteen. It wasn’t a way to rebel against Dad. It was a way to be different than her. To have an identity of my own.

And soon it was who I became.

So when she began to turn the other cheek to mean girls, when she gave her shitty boyfriends a second chance to win her over, it had become instinct for me to react volatilely. She was my sister, and I wasn’t about to let anyone hurt her. Jasmine, Veda’s nemesis, got hit with a bucket of paint during art class freshman year of high school. And Rob—I couldn’t help but screw with the guy who played Veda over and over.

Rob got a bloody nose.


One time was with the back of a frying pan. He came to our house after he broke up with Veda for the third time, and when I opened the door I hit him in the face.


Instinct keeps me on my toes.

It’s my instinct to commit small acts of revenge. And when I have to hold back, the real demon comes out.

Part I


Bitch from Hell: Do you know about the show tonight?

Some nerve. Some fucking nerve. She did it on purpose—texting me early. She thought I was still under her witchy thumb, even four years later.

Bitch from Hell: I was hoping you’d be there.

Maybe I was still under her thumb.


Bitch from Hell: Why not?

It was too early to play these games. I threw my phone on the floor and dragged the covers over my head.


I growled. “Why is everyone so set on ruining my life before I’m even out of bed?”

“Drama queen.” Veda popped her head into my room. “It’s ten thirty. Dad made breakfast.”

“Oh my God. It’s fucking eggs. You don’t have to go screaming my name down the hall.”

“You’ll hurt his feelings. It’s a congrats brunch . . . he spent a long time on it.”

I glared at her, but pulled the covers off me anyway. First day back at home after graduating. Shit was still packed in boxes. Now I had a congrats brunch and a tattoo appointment and an ex’s concert all within twelve hours of each other.

“I just want to sleep.”

“All day? Get over yourself.” She already had her hair curled and her makeup on like it was Sunday morning. Even though Dad stopped making us go to church when we were in high school. Even though it wasn’t even Sunday.

I raked my fingers across my scalp so my hair was standing up and followed Veda down the stairs to Dad and his monstrosity of a breakfast.

“Jesus Christ.”

Fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, orange juice, coffee . . . I could have had a heart attack just staring at it.

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain,” said Dad from the kitchen. He was wearing an apron and had oven mitts on both hands, and with his hardly operable fingers he clutched a spatula. His shiny forehead glistened with sweat. “Ah, one daughter completely together and the other all over the place. I see college hasn’t changed much.”

“Rude,” I mumbled, plopping down at the table.

Dad set a warm plate in front of me and kissed my head. “Good morning to you too, sweetie.”

Veda sat down and tossed her curly hair over one shoulder, scooping a pile of fruit onto her plate. I stabbed at my eggs. “Why are you all put together anyway? The whole point of living at home until Dad gets sick of us and kicks us out is that we don’t have to be put together.”

“Haha, very funny.” Dad and Veda made a grab for the toast at the same time. She fought him for it and won.

“You have an interview or something?”

“Who interviews on Saturday?”

“Gross. Chew with your mouth closed.”

“I have plans.” Her voice softened on the word “plans” and I knew something was up.

I shot her the bullshit look. It always made her spill her guts.

“Rob wanted to catch up, all right?”

Not again. I could have killed that bastard for the amount of mental torment he put my sister through. My disgust immediately vaulted over to Dad.

“Don’t look at me.” He popped a grape into his mouth. “You girls survived four years of college without me breathing over your shoulder.”

I’d always gotten along with Veda . . . I’d always understood her. Except when Rob was in the picture. I hated people who made you forget who you were. Rob was the epitome of that. He played with Veda when he wanted to, like she was a china doll on the shelf. When he was bored, he boxed her up for later. When he wanted her again, Veda forgot all the pain he’d caused her and jumped right into his arms.

My phone buzzed in my pocket, reminding me that I was the biggest hypocrite in the world.

“You should ditch him and hit up a concert with me instead,” I tried.

Veda’s eyes widened. “You little weasel. You scumbag.”

“Girls,” Dad warned.

Veda pointed her fork at me. “Making me feel bad for wanting to see Rob and then asking if I’ll go with you to watch you lick Leila’s feet.”

Poison words. She was spouting poison words. “Lick her feet. Have you ever seen me lick anyone’s feet?”

She cocked her eyebrow all fucking smug. “Leila’s.”

“Oh, go to hell, Veda.”


While Veda got the hint, I was ready to curse her out more. Indifferently, she said, “There’s a sort of homecoming party I need to make an appearance at tonight. You should too.”

Despite how opposite we were, Veda and I had recently been getting along with the same group of people. Call it a first-world miracle.

I gave in. “It’ll be a terrible show anyway.”

She smirked, and I rolled my eyes. Valerie: 0. Veda: 1.

When I finished what was on my plate, I leaned over and kissed Dad on the cheek. That mushy father-daughter stuff always got him. And I was willing to fork it up (usually) because it was Dad and if I didn’t fork it up, he might just stop functioning and we’d have to wheel him into a mental ward.

He is a sensitive soul like that.

I got up and he grabbed my wrist, pulling me to him and wrapping his arms around my waist. I cursed again and he smacked my leg. Veda laughed.

“Flounder here for as long as you want. I missed you girls.”

A degree in business and no network connections. As far as I was concerned, floundering was my middle name. Dad’s weakness was giving Veda and me money when we wanted things, and our house was big enough to have a raging party on one end and not wake Dad sleeping on the other, not like I’d do that. If I ever trashed the place, Dad would probably cry, and that’s a worse punishment than, well, punishment.

“George needs an accountant-slash-booking employee. He’s been practically begging me.”

Veda groaned. “You know if she starts working for George, she’ll never find another job and will be living here forever.”

“How much does one working as an accountant-slash-secretary make in a tattoo parlor?” asked Dad.

I grinned smugly. “Enough to finish my sleeves.”

Dad pushed me away, and Veda chucked a piece of toast at my head.


Labyrinthine Tattoo and Design was all the way on the other side of town. I had told George he needed to change its name when I got my first piece at eighteen. It ostracized anyone who couldn’t pronounce “labyrinthine.” First he told me to fuck off. Then he explained that he likes his clientele smart, artistic, and appreciative of big words.

I called him a pretentious twat.

Now we were best friends.

Other than the linoleum floors, his parlor mimicked an old study. Shelves with thick, leather-bound books lined the walls—the kind of books they don’t make anymore. They must have been worth a fortune but it seemed like he didn’t care when people picked them up or flipped through them. Hell, he probably wouldn’t care if someone stole one, as long as the thief read it from front to back before selling it for profit.

The parlor was dead when I arrived on opening at noon. Jo, the piercer, spun around in a wheelie chair behind the counter. Jo and George. For having such a fruity name for their parlor, both of theirs were damn boring.

“George, your favorite person in the world is here,” Jo said.



“Close enough. Send her back.”

“Send me back? I can see you.”

George peeked his head out from behind the white curtain. “Nice to see you too. Jo, darling, can you grab Valerie’s piece from the binder?”

“Oooh, Valerie’s piece? You’re not just gonna wing it?”

“I don’t wing anything.”

I pulled my shirt off and adjusted the tank top underneath. “Bullshit. You freehanded all of my pieces.”

“Flowers aren’t exactly masterpieces.”

I stretched out on the black leather chair. “Yes, but I am a masterpiece.”

I heard Jo chuckle from the counter.

“And what are you trying to do, suffocate me?” I reached out and pulled back the white curtain so I could see the lobby.

He handed me the sketch of the tattoo.

“A bird?”

“A sparrow with the standard flowers and twiggy vines and all that girlie stuff you love.”


“You’re so girlie it bleeds from you in pastel petals.”

“I resent that comment.”

“So you want it or not?”

I studied the bird peeking out through the branches, expertly crafted by Sir Georgie. “I could get used to it.”

“But do you want it on your body forever?”

“You’ve been creating this layer of my body for four years.”


“You haven’t failed me yet.”

“Well, thank you.” He unpeeled the packaging of a needle. “I think that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”


Pulling the curtain back was a mistake. A big fat fuckin’ mistake.

I knew the second that Annie walked into the lobby. Annie was cute. Maybe with a wicked streak, but it was too hard to tell. Annie went to the same college as Veda and me. We both hung out with her on occasion—like at the big parties that were so overwhelming they made you flock to the familiar: the people you went to high school with.

Annie broke up with her boyfriend of two years a few months ago.

“Hey!” She grinned. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”

I stared at her. “I told you I was getting work done the weekend I came home.”

“Oh.” She tucked her auburn hair behind her ear. “I must have forgotten.”


“You here for a consultation, sweets?” said Jo, distracting Annie. Thank God. I listened as Annie set up an appointment with Jo to get the tattoo on her foot touched up. I had seen it. It was some halfhearted sentimental text, but I couldn’t remember for the life of me what it said.

“So you have plans tonight?” Annie asked me. Damn. I thought Jo would have distracted her for longer. “I was thinking about going to that big party on Cole Street.”

That was the party Veda was dragging me to.

“Me too. Well, I’m thinking about it. Dunno. Might show up. Depends.”

“Oh.” She did the ear tuck thingy again. “Well, then, maybe I’ll see you tonight, yeah?”

“Sure. Maybe.”

She fluttered her fingers in a wave at me and then left.

“What was that?” asked George.

“She got that tattoo at a place on the other side of town and the artist did a shit job.”

“No, I mean the flirting.”

“I’m getting to that. She’s not getting it touched up here because of your skill, no offense.”

“She knew you’d be here today.”

“Obviously.” My shoulder twitched the next time George lowered the needle. “Sorry.”

“Go on.”

“That’s it.”

“She likes you?”

“Like is such a broad term. Yes, she likes me. For a mostly straight girl she liikkeeesss me.”


“I don’t know. Maybe I made her feel something between her legs and now she’s all intrigued by the thought of me. So she’s flirting. She’s hoping I’ll bite and agree to make out or do something more so she’ll get her sample-sized spoonful of lesbian and call it a day.”

“You don’t know that. And don’t move. The detail on the feet is small.”

“I do know that. That’s what experimenting straight girls do.”

“So you’re not going to roll with it?”

“Hell no, I’m not going to roll with it. Do you even know what that kind of sex would be like? You don’t. You have a dick. You stick that thing anywhere and it feels good.”

I tilted my head so I could see his face as he worked. He was trying really hard to bite back his smile, but wasn’t succeeding. “It’s not the same for you?”

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Our Broken Sky: A Chaos Theory Novella 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice! Keep it up!
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Valerie's perspective I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 4 Stars *Please note that this review may contain spoilers for the first book in the series.* This novella is part of the Chaos Theory series. I think that readers who read and enjoyed the first book in the series, The Wicked We Have Done, will also enjoy this novella which is told from Valerie's point of view. Valerie was one of the more intriguing characters in the first book of the series so I was very interested to see things from her perspective. While this novella is rather short, it packs quite a bit of story into its pages. We learn about Valerie before anything happened. We see her with her twin sister Veda and find out exactly what happened to send Valerie to the Compass Room. The story then jumps to the Compass Room and we see things from Valerie's perspective. Much of the section within the Compass Room focuses on Valerie and Jace's relationship and the time that they are alone together. The story jumps once again to the period of time after the Compass Room and we see how Valerie is coping with everything that has happened. I think that this novella jumps from section to section without much of a link. I enjoyed seeing Valerie's perspective because I already knew the story from the first book. I do not recommend reading this before book 1 because I think that it would be hard to follow and it would give away quite a bit of the plot of the first book. While I don't thing that this novella gave a whole lot of new information, I would recommend it to readers who enjoyed the first book.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
Our Broken Sky by Sarah Harian is a novella that continues her Chaos Theory series. This being a novella makes this a difficult review, as anything would be spoilers. I will try to explain and just give you mostly my thoughts. You truly do need to read The Wicked We Have Done, before you attempt to read this book, or it would be way too confusing. Our Broken Sky revolves around one of the survivors in The Wicked We Have Done...Valerie. We know that everyone who was sent to the scary Compass Room in the first book, committed a crime, and they were expected to not survive. We know Valerie is gay, and a tough young lady. We learn in this book exactly what her crime was to having been sent to the Compass Room. We learn a lot more about Valerie, and what makes her what she is. Harian does a wonderful job, moving the story back to the Compass Room, and we get to see Valerie’s view of her stay there, and what happened to change her. I enjoyed reading this story, and learning about what caused her to commit murder, which made us understand a lot more. It was also nice to see her and Jace again, and how Valerie began to soften up, even though she knew her days were numbered. She found true love. We also knew the ending. I can’t say much more, other then this was an excellent filler, as we wait for the next full length novel, A Vault of Sins, coming in September that will bring the survivors of The Compass Room back together. I for one cannot wait. Wonderful writing by Sarah Harian, especially in this short format.