Authors: J.L. Drake
Broken Trilogy, Book Two
Copyright © 2015 by J.L. Drake.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: May 2015
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
Once shattered, we came out stronger.
The internal scars remind us,
that life is precious and fragile.
Thank you for being our mother,
our rock, and our best friend.
Table of Contents
There’s a difference between living and surviving, and this was neither. My life was never going forward. It had always been on hold while I dealt with everyone else—my mother, my father, my keepers. I was finally gifted a few months in which I fell in love with a man who made me feel more alive than I ever thought possible. Now, because of me, he’s been ripped from my life, murdered in the worst way possible for all of us to witness, and I lost our unplanned baby. There is nothing of me left to pick up the pieces; I don’t even want to. So here I am, gun to my head, waiting to join my little family on the other side.
Somewhere in México
“You did what, Raul?” The American hisses at the man who wears the ridiculous longhorn belt buckle.
, he’s alive, see?” He steps out of The American’s view to show that, yes, Cole is indeed alive. “No harm done.”
“No harm?” The American pulls out a knife, grabs Raul's hand, slams it against the wall, and within a blink the man’s pointer finger is rolling on the floor.
“Ahhh!” Raul yells.
“He’s our only leverage! And now they think he’s dead. Fuck!” The American punches the blood-splattered wall. He turns to face Raul, whose white face is staring at his missing digit. “If you weren’t married to my cousin, I swear I’d behead you myself.”
,” the man responds weakly.
Luka wipes his mouth with a rag. The smell of blood must be getting to him. He glances at Cole, who’s watching them. The corners of his mouth tug upward. He likes seeing Luka’s weaknesses.
I stare forward, hands shaking, tears streaming down my face. I’m so close to them. If only...
The ring of Keith’s phone rips through the silence, making my finger freeze, trembling on the trigger. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to focus.
“What?” Keith’s raspy voice answers. “Wait, back up. What?” My eyes slowly open, and I see Keith’s head turn toward me. His face falls as he notices what’s in my hand. “Wait!” He drops his phone, and it bounces off the floor as he jumps to his feet. “Savannah?”
“Stop,” I cry, shaking my head and keeping the gun tight to my temple. He stops at the end of the bed, his hands raised to show he won’t move.
“Please, Savi, give me the gun. Mark just called with—”
“Stop,” I cry out again through a sob. I’m so close. “Just leave me.”
“No.” He doesn’t elaborate.
“I don’t want to hurt anymore. I have so much pain. I don’t want to live without him. I don’t want to live without our baby.” I drop my head and pull up my knees. Keith can see I’m moments from ending it all.
Just squeeze the trigger, Savannah!
I keep a firm grip on the gun that’s imprinting my temple. “At what point did fate decide I don’t deserve to be happy?” I scream as memories pour out of me. “I’ve served my time. I watched my mother die. I watched my father pull away and stop loving me. I was kidnapped, and I had a birthday trapped in a twenty-four by twenty-four room! Now I lose my lover and our baby! I don’t want to know what’s next, Keith—I just can’t!” The gun bounces around on my head as my sobs become louder. “Everyone I love leaves me. I just want it to end!”
“I know, Savannah.” He kneels on the bed and shifts toward me. “But this is isn’t the way.” He moves up next to me and runs a steady, slow hand up my arm and over my hand. Wrapping his fingers around mine, he whispers, “Give it to me, sweetheart, please.”
Suddenly the weight of my pain is too much. It makes my hand relax enough that he slips the gun from my grip. He grabs my shoulders and pulls me into him. I feel him start to shake.
“I miss him too,” he barely whispers.
This is my undoing; I completely break down.
I am a coward.
Mark races up the stairs and down the long hallway toward Cole’s room. He flies into the bedroom and sees Savannah, curled up in a ball sobbing, and Keith looking terrified.
“What? What’s going on?”
Keith shakes his head as he holds up the gun. Mark feels the blood rush from his face when he realizes what could have happened. He grips his hair as he tries to think clearly. He needs to speak with Keith and Daniel
“Keith,” he says quietly, feeling ill, “Cole’s office, five minutes.” Keith nods.
He turns and runs out of the room and into Abigail’s, which she has been sharing with her sister June.
“Abby!” Mark hisses as he snaps on the light. “I need your help.”
“Huh?” June squints at the sudden brightness.
Abigail reaches for her robe. “Mark, dear, what’s wrong?”
“I need…” He pauses to control to his jumbled thoughts. “Where’s Sue?”
“With Savannah. Why?”
Mark shakes his head. “I need you to go in Cole’s room and wait with Savi. Something happened, and I don’t want her to be alone. I—”
Abigail pulls on her slippers. “What happened? Where’s Keith?”
“I need a meeting. I-I think I found something.” He starts to leave, but turns. “Abby, you know better than anyone where Cole might have weapons stashed around his room. Please get rid of them.”
She looks at June, baffled, then nods at Mark.
Mark bangs on the spare bedroom door, yelling out Daniel’s name. Sue answers first, looking exhausted.
“Sue! You need to go see Savi.” Her face drops as she pushes by him and runs down the hall. Mark moves into the room and sees Daniel pulling on a T-shirt. “I need to speak with you now.” Shrieks from Cole’s room make Mark squeeze his eyes shut.
Holy shit, this is out of control.
Mark is busy pulling up the file, while everyone plays catch-up.
“Jesus Christ!” Daniel rubs his head, listening to Keith’s story.
“If Mark hadn’t called…” Keith’s hands drop heavily to his sides. “I-I thought she was all right. She’s been so quiet, I thought she was dealing with all this in her own way. I had no idea she’d go this far.”
“Guys,” Mark interrupts, pointing to the flat screen, “tell me what you see.” He presses play on the DVD from The American. Daniel shoots Mark a nasty look. “I know, believe me, I know, but just watch, please.”
Daniel takes a deep breath and watches his son's murder all over again, but this time he steps a little closer.
“Wait,” Mark says, and Keith moves next to Daniel.
“Oh my god!” Daniel’s head jerks toward Mark. “There’s no tattoo!”
“Exactly.” Mark nods, freezing the video with the man’s shoulder in view. “That man isn’t Cole.”
Daniel picks up the phone and makes a quick call before returning to the stunned group. “Frank will be here in an hour. Get the guys up. We need to have a meeting.”
“What do you think we should do?” Keith asks.
Daniel folds his arms. “Get the guys prepared. We move out tonight.”
“I’m coming.” Mark’s tone is stern as he removes his sling.
“Yeah, you are.” Daniel nods and looks at John. “Paul can’t come. Have Derek take his place.”
Mark stops mid-step, hating how much his team despises Derek. “Not Keith or Mike?”
Daniel turns to Keith. “Savannah or Cole?”
Keith runs his hand over his forehead. Mark knows he’s close with Savannah, and she trusts him more than anyone in the house, but the idea of bringing back Cole is tempting. “Cole.”
“Okay,” Daniel agrees. “Living room meeting at zero two hundred hours.”
Half an hour later Mark waits while zoned out, trying to sort his thoughts and mentally prepare for what’s to come. What if they’re too late? What if Cole tried to escape after that video and they had to kill him? Mike sits bouncing his knee and watching Mark pace the living room. Derek sits next to Mike, half asleep. He yawns loudly, making Mike glare at him.
“Show some respect, Derek.”
“I was out cold, Mike. It’s just a natural reaction when one gets awakened the way John woke me.”
“Guys,” Mark whispers, shaking his head. Now is not the time for a pissing match. Emotions are too high.
John walks behind Paul, who is limping along on a crutch from his recent knife wound to the leg. Daniel appears with his wife, Sue. He sits her down on a chair. She looks confused but keeps glancing back at the stairs. No doubt she would rather be with Savannah than here with everyone else.
“I’m here,” Frank announces, bursting through the front door. He doesn’t bother taking his boots off as he sits down on the couch.
“All right,” Daniel addresses the room. “I’m making this short and sweet. The man who was killed on that tape wasn’t Cole.” The room is so quiet you’d think someone pressed a pause button. “When the body twists in the video, the man doesn’t have a tattoo on his shoulder, and we all know Cole has his Special Forces one.”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Paul chimes in. “So—”
“How confident are you it’s not him?” Frank moves his attention over to Daniel.
“I've watched it two more times, and I’m one hundred percent confident the man on that tape is not my son.”
Frank stands and pulls out his cell phone. “Good enough for me. Give me a minute.” He heads for the kitchen.
“Dan?” Sue whispers from her chair. “I don’t think we should say anything to Savannah until we know what we’re dealing with. I don’t think she can handle it.” A tear slips down her cheek, and Mark's stomach twists tighter. “I don’t think I could handle seeing her shatter the last piece that’s holding her together.”
Daniel walks across the room, taking his wife’s hand in his. “I agree, dear.”
“You will go too.” She stands stiffly, wrapping her sweater around her hunched body. She looks like she’s barely holding on to her emotions.
She nods. “Go bring our son home.” He reaches over and gives her a kiss on the cheek, then watches her move toward the stairs, the shock of the evening's events making her move like a zombie. Daniel sighs then turns to look at everyone just as Frank returns.
“All right, we have a possible location. We have two scouts watching the house. It’s in a small town right outside Tijuana.”
Dan steps forward, wiping his sweaty palms across his weathered face. “Since Paul is out, Keith will take his place and Mike will be in charge of the house.” Derek begins to argue, but Daniel shakes his head, stopping him. “The team needs absolute trust, Derek. You’ve shown that you don’t work well in a unit. Until you prove yourself, you’re staying here.” Derek leans back, muttering under his breath.
“I’ll give you access to anything you need,” Frank informs them. “I need this to be a quick extraction. Get him out of there before we start an even bigger goddamn war with those assholes, though I’m not opposed to lighting the whole place up on your way out.” Frank rubs his face roughly. “Chopper will be here in thirty.”
“Okay, men, let’s move it,” Daniel orders as everyone quickly scatters. “Frank, I need to see the blueprints for the house.”
Abigail clears her throat. “What if—”
“No,” Daniel whispers, looking grim, “no what if’s.”
She nods and gives Mark a quick hug. “Be careful, my boy.” She kisses his cheek. “We’re having prime rib.”
Mark grins a little. “Well, in that case…” He stops himself as the painful lump rises.
“I know, sweetie.” She runs her hand along his cheek. “He’s going to be okay.”
“Yeah,” he sighs, hoping to anyone who is listening to make his best friend be alive.
I sit in Cole’s tub and stare out the window. I can hear June and Sue whispering about something when Abigail comes into the bathroom. She shuts the door, then comes to sit in the leather chair across from me. It’s two in the morning, and since my pathetic attempt at suicide failed I have everyone in the house awake.
“Are we going to have to put you in a padded room, Savi?” she asks, making my heart squeeze. “I know you’re hurting; we all are, but don’t bring more hurt to this family by ending your life.” I pull my knees up to my chest and wrap my arms around them. She sighs then clears her throat. “I’m so sorry, Savannah, about the baby.”
“Please,” I swallow around a sob lodged in my throat, “don’t.”
She moves behind me and starts pouring warm water over my hair. We don’t speak again as she washes my hair, dries me off, and then walks me down to the kitchen. I’m very aware of the atmosphere in the house, and I’m sure it’s due to what I have done. The level of anxiety is like an elephant in the room.
We pass a couple of guys who quickly stop talking as we approach. They don't look at me. Daniel comes into the room looking like he’s on a mission. I look away, but he wraps his arms around my shoulders, pulling me into him much like his son used to do. I fight like hell to stop my tears, but it’s no use. They are always ready to break the dam that is made of frigging toothpicks.
“Some of us have been called out for an assignment,” he says, pulling away to look at me. “Mike is in charge since Keith is filling in for Paul.” He looks over at Abigail. “We shouldn’t be any longer than forty-eight hours.” He steps back and walks out of the room. I want to ask why he’s going, but I concentrate on trying to stop my annoying crying instead. I cried like crazy over my mother’s death, but this is a different kind of loss. My heart is shattered forever, and I know that even though I did not end my life today I have no desire to go on.