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The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy (The Hounds Book 1)

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The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy (The Hounds Book 1) Read Online And Download

Overview: Two years ago, I lived a hellish life where happily ever afters happened to everyone else, never me. Until he came.

He was an alpha wolf shifter, rich, the most handsome man I’d ever seen in my life…and a monster a million times worse than the past I left behind.

His years of abuse finally break me, but when I least expect it, I’m impossibly free when I should be dead.

Keep running, Saige, I tell myself. Maybe then you’ll find a safe place to hide.

I never expect to run into three men with secrets, shadowed eyes, and damaged souls. With them I can almost believe they will protect me from a past that continues to hunt me.

With them, maybe I’ll be safe.


The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy (The Hounds Book 1) Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy (The Hounds Book 1)





The Piece You Broke by Marleigh Kassidy (The Hounds Book 1) Read Online Chapter One


TWO YEARS AGO

Eighteen.


It’s not a big number, but it’s an important one.


At least to me.


Stinging rain lashes me, making me shiver. It soaks the front of my blue and white striped dress, a uniform so clean I’ve never been able to work out why it’s necessary in a place as sticky as the Stationers Diner.


If today wasn’t today, I might find it in me to care about the grief I’ll get for serving customers looking like I went for a dive in my clothes. But today is different. Special. Even if the sky is the same murky blue as it is on any other Wednesday afternoon.


I eye the unlit cigarette in my hand, looking just as soggy as my grayish-white tennis shoes, then hurl it away, aiming for a small puddle a few feet away. It nearly makes it but falls short. Again. Poor guy. Instead, it joins its drowned brothers and sisters from the time before and the time before that.


Just this last shift and I get to celebrate receiving the only birthday present I’ve wanted since Mom closed her eyes when I was six, and no amount of crying and pleading made her open them again.


Freedom.


The only way to get extra breaks in the diner is if you smoke, so I pretend I do too. It’s a perk of having a smoker for a boss that I’m happy to take full advantage of. When he’s out of cigarettes, it’s less of a perk and more of a keep your head down and try not to breathe too loud in case it attracts his attention situation. Nicotine withdrawal, I’ve learned, is no fucking joke.


I bum a smoke from Oliver, the always greasy-smelling short-order cook in this hole-in-the-wall diner, who has never thought to ask if I’m old enough before he hands one over in exchange for a smile. He’s harmless, so I don’t mind.


Then I have a two-minute reprieve from the customers, and three minutes in the bathroom to cover up the bruises on my arms and face because the makeup never lasts an entire shift. When I noticed a woman on table six looking at my right cheek a little too long, I knew it was time for a smoke break.


I step out of the kitchen doorway so the rain hits me full in the face. Tipping my head up, I squeeze my eyes tightly shut, so it slides down my face like tears. It’s just a little too cold to be refreshing, but I’ve always liked how it makes me feel. Clean.


Four more hours and I can collect my paycheck, run home to get the rest of the money I’ve been tucking away over the years, and start the hunt for an apartment.


Landlords won’t exactly be queuing up to rent to a just-turned eighteen-year-old with no references, so I’ll have to find one that’s a little less fussy than—


"Saige! Where the fuck is she?"


My eyes snap open at the half-garbled yell from behind me.


Shit. Dad.


Spinning around, I rush inside, already knowing it's too late when I glimpse a straggly-haired blond guy, Geoff, my boss, on the other side of the counter shoving a dark-haired, blue-eyed man in a stained gray t-shirt and jeans opened at the fly away from the cash register.


"She owes me money," Dad screams as he stumbles back, nearly going down from Geoff’s hard shove.


Geoff might spend more time smoking or stuffing burgers into his mouth than he does in a gym, the belly that touches the cash register even when he’s standing two steps away from it, is proof of that. But he’s surprisingly strong for such a flabby guy.


I don't bother arguing with Dad about who owes whom money. It would just be a waste of time.


Guess my last hiding spot was just too damn good.


That or he’s too damn drunk to look further than the end of his nose.


"Dad, come on." I head toward him, already knowing I won't have a job waiting for me once I return from taking him home. Not after the last time he decided to pay me a visit at work. Or the time before that.


It's not the first job to end this way, but now I’m eighteen and an adult in the eyes of the world, it will be the last. Finally.


All I can hope is that Geoff will actually pay me for my last few days, unlike some of my past bosses, who acted like they’d never seen me before when I went back to collect what they owed me.


Keeping my focus on Dad and not on the customers I feel staring, I close my hand around his arm and tug. "Let's get you—"


His blow knocks me off my feet.


I crash into a table with a grunt, the edge hitting like a punch to the gut before I bounce off it. Someone gasps. Not me. I don’t have any breath left in me to do more than wheeze.


Sugar, or is it salt? Whatever it is goes flying as ketchup from someone’s plate of fries smears all over the front of my dress.


I collapse to the floor, hugging my belly as a dull throbbing heat blooms on the right side of my face.


Geoff is talking, trying to get Dad to leave, but it's as if his voice is coming from a million miles away. I feel numb as I lay on the cold floor staring at the speckled, white plasticky linoleum that I mop every night, fighting to hold back my tears.


Get up, Saige. You just have to hold it together for a little while longer.


What birthday would be complete without a smack in the face in front of a diner full of people?


Feel sorry for yourself later. Get up. Now.


I'm pushing myself to my feet when the front door swings open and a pair of pristine black leather shoes enter the very edge of my vision. "I'm looking for—"


The rich, male voice, full of easy confidence I don’t hear often, especially in this shitty part of the city, stops so suddenly that it distracts me from my humiliation.


I lift my head.


My eyes clash with the dark-haired man in an expensive suit at the door. I look at him and I’m amazed he even sees plain, Saige Leo with the drunk for a dad, long dark hair that doesn’t know whether it’s curly or straight, and blue eyes that are just as confused about whether they’re blue or gray.


But he sees me. This man with perfectly styled wavy brown-black hair, and crystal-clear blue eyes that shine like the facet of a gem. Flawless. A catlike smile of satisfaction stretches across his lips, straight white teeth even brighter set against olive-gold skin.


For a second, his eyes shift from blue to silvery gray, and it feels like an animal is staring back at me, but then he blinks and his eyes are that clear blue again.


Must’ve just been seeing things.


As he stalks toward me, I forget to breathe.


I’m conscious Dad is screaming about needing cash, but only distantly, as if it’s happening in another room and not right behind me. But it doesn’t seem important. Not with this perfect man striding closer, as if the only thing he sees is me.


Or it isn’t important until Dad’s hand grips the back of my neck. Probably getting ready to hit me again. I brace myself for it, scrunching into myself. But the blow never lands.


"Take your hand off her. Now." The well-dressed stranger's voice is a whip so cold and hard that I flinch.


He might be wearing a smart navy suit—tailored judging by how well it fits him—but with his powerful shoulders and the fierce burn in his eyes, only an idiot would think of taking him on. I’d put him at twenty-five, so at the peak of his physical fitness.


Dad rips his hand away faster than I believed he could move.


Less than a foot away from me, the stranger halts, stretching a large hand out toward me. Silver glints at his wrist, drawing my gaze for a second. The name stamped on the watch face screams that this guy has money to burn. Serious money. Who else could afford a Rolex?


"You belong with me," he says when I don’t move to take his hand. "Don't you feel it?"


I don't understand what he's talking about, so I shake my head no.


"Mate," he murmurs, dropping into a crouch in front of me, his voice low. He seems happy to ignore the silent diners and the fact I have ketchup smeared all over the front of my dress and my chin. "My heart."


Is this a dream, or a fairytale come to life?


"But I don't know you," I tell him, when my pain subsides enough that I can speak, wishing it were true with every bone in my body.


His next smile is so radiant that my heart aches with it. "You will." His gaze darts over my shoulder to where Dad must be and his expression hardens. “You’ll never suffer like that again. I swear it.”


I cling to the belief that I belong to this beautiful man who says I'm his, desperate to believe he's here to save me.


But he could be anyone.


My eyes search his for any sign he’s a predator and I’m about to become prey.


I don’t see it.


As if he knows what I’m thinking, a faint smile curves his full lower lip. “There’s a coffee shop across the road. Do you know it?”


The big chain coffee shop is where anyone with more than two coins to rub together goes for frothy coffees. That person is never me. I nod.


“We can sit right beside the big window while we wait out the rain. I didn’t think to bring an umbrella with me.”


My eyes go to his expensive coat and watch.


What were you even doing here?


He reads my mind once again. “My car broke down. Come." The next time he offers me his hand, I take it and he pulls me to my feet as if I’m made of air.


I’m not thin, since I’ve got too much of a tummy for that. So he shouldn’t find it that easy to pull me up with such ease. Yet he does.


He tucks me close beside him, smelling of expensive leather and safety as he leads me away from the diner.


“Saige!” Dad snarls, sounding like he’s moving toward me. “Come back here or—”


The man swings back around. “You put your hands on her. Keep talking and I’ll put my hands on you.” His voice is soft with his threat. “You don’t want that.”


I turn in time to see Dad shrink back, terror sobering him up fast.


He’s defending me. Against Dad. When was the last time that ever happened?


Never, Saige. It’s never happened.


After a moment, the man turns back around. His strong hand grips the door handle and swings it open, revealing the rain hasn’t slowed even a little. He lowers his gaze to mine. “What’s your name?”


I glance up at him. “Saige. Saige Leo”


Pleasure fills his eyes. “Saige Leo, beautiful name. I’m Rylan. How do you feel about me buying you a coffee on such a miserable day?”


It suddenly isn’t feeling miserable anymore. But he’s still a stranger, so I try to sound more cautious than eager. “Just a coffee?”


He nods. “Just a coffee. And we’ll talk.”


“About what?”


It’s as if he doesn’t even notice the ketchup drying on my chin when he smiles at me. “Whatever you want.”


“You called me your mate before. Maybe we could talk about that.”


He slips out of his expensive-looking suit jacket and drapes it around my shoulders before he leads me out into the rain. “Yes, maybe we could.”


I never look back.


Not once.



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