In a Broken Dream (The Broken Series Book 4)

BOOK: In a Broken Dream (The Broken Series Book 4)
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in a Broken
Dream

by
k.s. ruff

 

 

book four 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 © 2014 by Ruff Publishing, LLC

Cover design and photography by Kari Kunkel Anderson

All rights reserved.

ASIN:
B00P30Z09S

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

Dedication

 

 

 

 

To
my friend Cenia,

who
remains courageous in all things.

Acknowledgements

 

I’d
like to thank my husband, Tobin, for putting out all the house fires while I
worked on this book. To this day, he remains my inspiration for Kadyn. Thanks
for lining up the AK-47 and for shooting off all the ammo so I could use the
brass for the book cover!

 

I really must thank my daughters, Lexie and Madison,
for tolerating the ridiculous amount of hours I’ve spent on the computer this
year. I’d also like to thank my parents for their encouragement and support.
It’s easy to craft a loving, supportive family for Kri when I’ve been blessed
with one myself.

I want to thank my friend, Cenia, for allowing me to
share her wedding with the rest of the world, for double checking all my
Spanish, and for letting me get her ring dirty when we were shooting the book
cover!

I’m extremely grateful to two very dear friends who,
for safety sake, must remain unnamed. Thankfully, they survived the shoot-out
between the drug cartels. Their gripping story served as the inspiration for
this book.

I also want to thank my friend, Kari
Kunkel-Anderson, for photographing and designing my book cover. I still can’t
believe you shot the AK-47! I would also like to thank Kari’s husband, Brent,
for managing the pyrotechnics during the photo shoot and for supervising our
use of the gun. Their children, Mia and Clayton, were equally helpful in
blocking the wind, which was wreaking all kinds of havoc when we were playing
with fire!

I would like to thank Chris Levy for lending us his
AK-47 and for donating all the bullets for the book cover. I’d also like to
thank the staff at Blue Ridge Arsenal for helping us safely gather the brass.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to my friend, TJ
Crane, for his copyright advice. A huge thanks to Phil Hagen for his business advice
and to Dave Burris for designing a website that still takes my breath away. You
guys seriously rock!

I want to thank those friends who inspired the
characters in this book, those who are mentioned by name and those who
preferred aliases. I love sharing you guys with the rest of the world! I’d also
like to thank those friends who served as reviewers: Heidi Lieu, Cenia Miller, Christine
Bedard-Dannels, Kari Kunkel-Anderson, Erica Allder, Faddwa Brubaker, and Gloria
Bernini. Thank you for suffering through the first draft. Your feedback proved
invaluable.

I’d like to thank my readers for keeping me
motivated. I love hearing from you on Facebook, and I truly appreciate your reviews!
Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank the folks at Amazon for
creating a venue for self-publishing authors like me.

Chapter 1 – Love don’t die

 

Rafael
plopped down next to me on the couch. His arm settled casually over my
shoulders as he nuzzled my neck. “What are you working on?”

I
scooted a couple inches away. “I’m developing an agenda for a personal risk
seminar my professor asked Shae and me to lead in October.”

“October
is eight weeks away,” he noted softly. He closed the lid on my laptop and
tilted my chin toward his.

I
tried not to cringe as his lips captured mine. He had no way of knowing that a
piece of me died every time he kissed me. I gently pulled away. “I need a glass
of water. Can I get you anything?”

His
soft brown eyes darkened. “Don’t do that.”

I
set the laptop on the coffee table and rose from the couch. “Do what?” I asked
with forced innocence.

“Withdraw.
Pull away. Shut me out,” he responded, as if ticking items off a list.

I
turned away. “I wasn’t. I was just getting a glass of water.”

He
rose from the couch. “No. You weren’t just getting a glass of water. You were
drumming up another excuse to distance yourself from me. What’s going on, Kristine?
You’ve been doing this for over a month now.”

I
walked to the kitchen, pulled a glass out of the cupboard, and shoved it under
the water dispenser in the refrigerator. “I don’t know what you’re talking
about.” I felt a twinge of guilt for lying to him, but I wasn’t ready to have
this conversation.

Rafael
followed me into the kitchen. He stood there patiently while I drank the water.
Then he peeled the glass from my hand and set it on the copper speckled countertop.
“Don’t lie to me. You’ve been distancing yourself ever since you saw that
picture in Saint-Tropez. It’s like you caught a glimpse into our future and now
you’re trying to sabotage everything. Why?”

I
knew exactly which photograph he was talking about, the picture we’d taken
after building a sandcastle with a little boy named Gabriel. Rafael adored that
picture, so much so that he was using it as wallpaper on his cell phone. I
shook my head. “I’m not...”

He
boxed me in against the refrigerator. “What are you afraid of, Kristine?”

“I’m
not...”

He
swallowed my denial in a kiss that was edging on brutal. “Then why do you fight
tears every time I kiss you?” His fingers grazed my hip… my waist… my breast
before grasping my shoulder. His eyes pierced mine. “Why do you cringe every
time I touch you?”

 I
wedged my hands between us and shoved at his chest. “
Stop pushing me!
” I
hissed.

“Talk
to me!
” he roared. His voice echoed through the house. His
face quickly softened with regret. He pushed away from the refrigerator and
took a step back.

“I
can’t,” I choked out. My heart was racing, making it impossible to breathe. I stumbled
away from him.

He
reached for my arm. “Kristine. God, please don’t run away from this... from
us... from me.”

“I’m
not,” I insisted. I looked around frantically. I stilled when I realized I really
did want to run away. I shrugged his hand off my arm and slowly backed away. Tears
welled in my eyes. “I’m scared,” I confessed warily. My heart was shredding my
ribs like some feral animal.

His
eyes softened. He took a step forward, then froze. “What are you afraid of,
Kristine?”

I
choked down my tears. “Of you, of me, of us,” I admitted despondently. I edged toward
the sun room, yanked the door open, and breathed in the musky scent of
lavender. I was looking for something, anything that would soothe me. I wasn’t
just scared. I was completely terrified.

“Why?”
Rafael whispered as he walked up behind me. He didn’t touch me, he just stood
there radiating heat. I wanted to lean into him, to feel his arms around me. I
wondered how it was possible to want and fear the same thing.

I
didn’t turn around to look at him. I couldn’t look at him. I knew what would
happen if I did. I’d burst into tears and run from the room, like I had so many
other times over the past few weeks. I took a deep breath and slowly released
it from my lungs.
Rafael saved my life
, I reasoned. He was understanding
and kind. Far more patient than any other man would have been with me. He
deserved to know what he was getting himself into, how messed up and truly hopeless
I really was. If he knew, maybe he’d stop pushing me. Maybe he’d cut his losses
and walk away. Maybe then I could just shrivel up and die, and it wouldn’t have
to cost him his life.

“Talk
to me,” he pleaded softly. “Tell me you remember how good things were between
us.”

“I
do,” I responded brokenly. “I do remember how good everything was before I left
for Ukraine.” God, how I longed to roll back time. What I wouldn’t give to
erase the last two months.

He
leaned into me. “Tell me your heart still belongs to me... that you know you still
hold my heart in your hands,” he demanded in a voice thick with despair.

I
closed my eyes and leaned back against his chest even though I knew I shouldn’t.
The guy was like a damn magnet, which is why I was still in this relationship.
It was physically impossible to walk away. “There is no one else, Rafael. My
heart is all tangled up in you, but...”

“But
what?” he asked. He grasped my shoulders and turned me around.

Tears
streamed down my face. “I know what I saw in that picture, and I know what I
want almost as certainly as I know it can never be.”

He
tried to hide his alarm and failed miserably. “Why?” he demanded. “Why can’t it
be?”

I
choked on my tears. “Because I don’t get happy endings, Rafael. I only get
broken dreams.”

“What?”
he asked incredulously.

I
swiped the tears from my cheeks. “Every dream I’ve ever had has turned into a vicious
nightmare or completely disintegrated in front of me... my marriage, my
relationship with Kadyn, my engagement to Michael, Genevieve, peacebuilding in Ukraine...”

He
shook his head.

I
removed his hands from my shoulders and walked into the living room. “Do you
want to know why I’ve been building all these walls? To protect you.
I
don’t dare love you, Rafael. I don’t dare dream of a future with you, because
if I do, something truly horrific will happen. You’ll die. I’ll die. We’ll
never get our happy ending... and do you know why?
Because I don’t get happy
endings!
I can’t leave you because I need you. God, I need you more than
the air I breathe, but I can’t be with you because I can’t risk something
terrible happening to you. So I’m stuck here in limbo, completely incapable of
leaving, unable to move forward, stuck inside another broken dream.”

BOOK: In a Broken Dream (The Broken Series Book 4)
9.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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