Broken:Hidden Book TwoBy: Colleen Vanderlinden
I could not do what I do without my amazing family. You guys are my everything. Emily, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Alex – you guys are the best kids ever, and I am stunned every single day that I'm lucky enough to be your mom.
To my husband. You are wonderful in every possible way. You made me believe that there are such things as soul mates, and you are most definitely mine. Thank you for alway having my back, for making sure things get done to make these books happen. I love you.
To my readers. You make this whole writing gig fun. Thank you for reading, reviewing, encouraging me. Thank you for loving Molly and company. It really means the world to me. Thank you!
My name is Molly Brooks.
I killed the man I love. Ended the lives of every enemy he’d had, in one fiery, bloody night.
It did not bring him back to me.
My friends, the team of supernaturals who followed the demon they knew as the Nain Rouge, tiptoe around me. They want me to eat. They want me to tell them what to do, where to go, the way he used to. They want me to feed.
I will never feed from another.
I will keep this city safe, in his honor.
I will die trying.
I can only hope that it happens sooner, rather than later.
My wrath is absolute, my lust for death, pain, fear, unending.
I have lost myself.
I have been lied to, used, left behind, by the being I loved most in this world.
And this thing I have become…this is exactly what Nain always knew I would be.
Damn him for making me do this without him.
♦ ♦ ♦
Six months, exactly, since the day I lost Nain. The day I destroyed him. The day I realized how far he would go to get what he wanted. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hate him. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t love him, didn’t miss him so much it hurt.
I’d spent the first two months like a zombie. I stayed in his room, surrounded by his scent. I didn’t speak. I didn’t eat. I didn’t feed.
And, yet, here I am.
Death would not come for me, the way I hoped it would. So I did the one thing that would make me feel better: I hunted. My imps found demons, warlocks, vampires for me, and I destroyed them. Each kill momentarily made me feel better.
But they didn’t ease the pain I felt when I laid in bed at night, alone.
The gaping wound in my soul, the one left when our marriage bond had been severed at his death…well. It never stops hurting. It is eternal pain. This is the cost of the marriage bond between demons.
I am living a half-life.
That night, I fed, took powers by force. I truly became a mindflayer, a nightmare among nightmares. Power flows through my body, and I can kill in dozens of ways with little more than a thought. But it wasn’t just my mind, my powers, that changed under the stress of losing Nain.
I am afraid of myself. I will not use my powers anymore. The temptation to do more of what I did that night is overwhelming.
But I still hunt. I go back to the way I used to do things: blades and fists. The only difference now is that I have no qualms about killing my prey. I destroy those who would cause harm to the people of his city.
Tonight, six months after Nain’s death, I hunt werewolves. I revel in their pain and fear, and their deaths fill me, for a time. Their blood stains the ground around me, bodies litter the street. The Guardians arrive and claim their souls, even before I’ve left the scene.
And then I go home, and I am alone, hungry, and afraid again.
Sleep is not the friend it once was.
It won’t come easily. And when it does, I am not granted the deep, dreamless sleep of the peaceful.
There are the nightmares. Nain dying, over and over again in slow motion as I realize what I’ve done. Brennan rips my limbs from my body. My friends stare, mutter “murderer” over and over again.
But I’ll take these nightmares over the sweet dreams.
The dreams in which I am wrapped in his arms, my legs tangled with his, and it feels so real I swear I can smell him. And then I wake up. For just a moment, I am happy. And then reality sets in, and I’ve lost him all over again.
I finished hunting werewolves, and retreated to the roof of the loft. Ready to spend quality time with my punching bag. Another thing that always made me feel better.