Title: Nearly Broken
Author: Devon Ashley
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense/New Adult
Age Group: Mature (17+)
Event Organizer: AToMR Tours
We’d both gone missing at one point, but Claire had one thing
I didn’t. Someone to notice. So why was I the one still here and she the one
Nineteen year old Megan Smith has spent the past year working in a small town
diner in the middle of nowhere. Life is quiet, simple, safe. Then
comes the news that her look-a-like has gone missing.
Still damaged both physically and mentally, Megan's not looking to be noticed.
Wherever she goes from here, it's a road she needs to take alone. But when
Nickolas Ellis takes the job as the new nightshift cook, it scares her how
easily her defenses crumble down, down, down for him. But there are secrets she
can't bear to share with just anyone, unspeakable acts that continue to haunt,
and when the similarities of Claire’s abduction couples with the fear of an
unwanted visitor in town, the urge to run before it all happens again
intensifies, threatening the only happiness Megan's ever found.
New Adult Romantic Suspense / Realistic Fiction
Recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and
I turned off the side road and headed down Main Street, I came to an abrupt
halt. It was eerily deserted. Cars still filled most of the parallel spots and
occasionally one would drive by, but I only saw two people walking hand-in-hand
way out in front of me.
I didn’t like walking alone in the dark,
even on a night when everyone in town was just a block away, the music and
voices still replacing the silence around me.
I turned to look back. How could so many
people be in one direction and not the other? My heartbeat increasing with each
passing second, I stood there under the yellowish glow of the street lamp.
Which was completely stupid. Not only was the light inhibiting my eyes’ ability
to scan the darkness efficiently for shadows, I let everyone out there know I
was standing here all alone.
Suddenly those port-a-potties were looking
a lot better.
it, Megan. Just move. It’s not that far.
I sidestepped three times, holding still
while my eyes adjusted. I needed to get it through my thick, paranoid head that
I was safe here. Myrtle Creek was safe, way off the radar of everyone.
I could see the diner down the way. We had
forgotten to turn off the exterior sign, so it still glowed red and yellow in
the night sky, acting like a beacon to guide me on my journey. Alright, journey might have been an overstatement
for the short expanse of road. But the distance between here and there was so
daunting, I considered it to be an epic journey, because the terror clenching
the muscles in my heart made me fear I may never return.
I sucked in a deep breath. I needed to do
this. I needed to not be afraid. To prove to myself that I could walk alone in
the dark for a quarter of a mile and have nothing bad happen in the process. I
needed to take that step and move forward in my life.
One small step to reduce the fear that
crippled me at times. One small step closer to being the kind of girl that
could date someone like Nick. Someone who wouldn’t unleash a shit load of
baggage onto him. I really didn’t want to be this version of Megan anymore.
Scared. Paranoid. Haunted.
Exhaling slowly, I took that first step.
Then a second and third, until my feet finally gave into rhythm and advanced my
trembling body down the path. My eyes continued to worry, shooting left and
right and behind at the slightest movement or noise in the vast darkness.
Unlike the normal person, I found myself maneuvering around the light, finding
safety in the blackest of blacks. As brave of a front as I had put on, I was still
terrified to be out by myself, and my feet quickened their pace, yet were light
as air against the pavement.
Unfortunately, I had to brave the light to
get through the front door. My key already leaving its imprint inside my fisted
hand, I quickly turned the lock, ignoring the sounds that seemed to use these
precious few seconds to amplify around me, closing in faster and faster. My
heart pounded against my ribs, still yelling at my shaking hand for taking
three attempts to get the key into its matching groove. I shoved myself through
the door and locked it quickly behind me, not caring if I looked the fool to
anyone outside. I stepped backwards, allowing myself to blend into the shadows
of the dining room, escaping the reaching tendrils of the outside light.
I began to register the familiar sounds in
the kitchen behind me: the hums of the coolers and freezers, the buzz of the
light by the back door that we always kept on at night, and the gentle whirring
of the fan that kept Paul’s hard-drive cool.
I puffed a burst of air past my lips. My
heart coming down from its high, the beating began to slow, and I shuffled off
towards the bathroom, weaving through the maze of tables with ease. Hell, I
knew the room so well I could’ve shut my eyes and danced my way through and
never bumped a single thing.
Shaking my head at myself in the mirror, I
silently berated my flushed cheeks. It wasn’t the cool night air that gave me
that rosy complexion. My reflection also reminded me of the last time I was in
here. My fingertips caressed my lips and when I closed my eyes, I could almost
feel the pressure of Nick’s mouth on mine, rough yet gentle all at the same
time. Hard to believe that was just two hours ago. After that heart-stopping
kiss, my crazy grin was so wide I could’ve played back-up for the Joker in Batman.
Bringing myself out of that beautiful
La-La Land where Nick’s lips and arms never pulled away, I was half tempted to
grab the flashlight under the counter, but again decided I’d rather be stealth
in the darkness than draw attention to myself. Even if it meant putting my
heart through another marathon and baring flushed cheeks. I gulped down half a
glass of water and made my way around the counter, the thought of seeing Nick
giving me the courage to face my demons yet again.
I smiled. I could already tell this
journey would be easier than the last.
Movement out the corner of my eye locked
my feet in place, the weight of my body stuck on my left leg, my right heel
caught mid-air. It was like one of those horrible horror films where
slow-motion kicked in, just in time to torture you. A man strutted down the
sidewalk, a long drag of smoke smoothly rolling past his lips, scattered by the
wind that swept it quickly away.
mom, wife, a lover and a fighter,
coffee addict, wicked knitster, Microbiologist, baker of fine yummy treats, and
someone who will fight you to death for that last
twinkie bag of
M&Ms during the zombie-apocalypse. Seriously, my addiction is that
important to me. Oh yeah, and writing is cool too!
Labels: Contemporary, Devon Ashley, Giveaway, Realistic Fiction, Release Event, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense