A college-age spin on Beauty & the Beast
Redemption, Book Two
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+ book summary
When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.
Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.
Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?
She glances back at me, and our eyes collide for one charged moment. The message is clear: she’ll tell me her secrets when I tell her mine.
Which will be never.
“Your breathing’s all wrong,” I say, tearing my eyes away from hers.
“My breathing’s fine.”
“Not if you want to run more than three miles. Your breaths are too shallow. You need to inhale deeper. Engage your diaphragm. And get used to matching the breaths to your steps. For your slow pace, inhale for maybe three or four steps, then exhale for the same.”
“That seems like a lot of thinking for something that’s supposed to be natural.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
“Okay, what else?” she says, spreading her arms wide. “Am I bowlegged? My ponytail not high enough?”
“Just start with the breathing for now,” I say, irritation starting to set in as I realize how much I want to be the one running, not the one telling someone else how to run.
“Sure thing, Coach,” she mutters.
“So, by any chance, does your sudden affinity for running mean you want to be alone?”
She frowns. “Not really. Why?”
“Jesus, take a hint.”
“Ah. You want me to leave you to your brooding.”
She stops walking immediately and pivots so she’s facing back toward the house. “Fine. I’ll try to master your little breathing activity on the way back. Same time tomorrow?”
“No. Find another time to run.”
“I’m getting paid to keep you company, you know.”
“Well, do so quietly. And from afar.”
She sighs as though I’m a petulant child. “It’s shocking that none of your other companions stuck around for more than a couple of weeks. Absolutely shocking, I say.”
“Goodbye, Middleton,” I say, gesturing with my cane back toward the house.
“See ya, Langdon,” she says as she begins walking backward so that she’s still facing me. “Also, fun little trivia for this morning? In exchange for your unsolicited breathing advice?”
She ignores me and points to the cane. “That cane? All for show. You haven’t used it once to support your weight this entire time.”
I open my mouth to argue, but instead my jaw goes a little slack as it hits me.
And I haven’t once thought about my leg. Or my scars.
She’s already jogging away from me, and I stand still for several minutes, watching her until she disappears around a bend in the path. Then I continue with my walk, telling myself I’m relieved to have my solitude back.
And if there’s the slightest undercurrent of loneliness, I ignore it.
“A solid tale and a quick read, with plenty of steamy romance and sex.”—Library Journal
“Broken is as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. It’s a story about two people saving each other from themselves.”—Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst
“Five stars! I pretty much loved everything about this book . . . the characters, the storyline, the pace, the writing, the love, the chemistry . . . everything!”—The Book Hookup
“A solid retelling of a tried-and-true fairy tale with a lot of window-fogging heat and one of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read.”—Adventures in Writing
“Another fabulous read by Lauren Layne! She does New Adult right!”—Royal Social Media
“Engrossing . . . a unique read . . . The chemistry is hot.”—Reading on the Farm
“Lauren Layne writes awesome romances. I am such a huge fan and Broken is a perfect example of why. If you love those romances that hook you in, break your heart, make you feel so much and then slowly put you back together, rooting for the broken soul in the process, then this is the book for you! Five stars!”—The Romance Room
“Lauren Layne once again impresses with Broken. Paul and Olivia’s romance was filled with passion and heart, and was a pure pleasure to experience!”—The Reader’s Den
“Lauren Layne seriously knows how to balance the sexy with the heart-wrenching plots.”—Lazy Book Lovers