Copyright © 2014 Jamie Campbell
Jamie Campbell asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.
A Special Thank You
When I first started the Project Integrate Series, it all started with Amery and Lochie. I had no idea what they were going to do or what the story was, but I knew these two were special to me.
From there, the entire series expanded into something I absolutely love and have poured my heart and soul into. I can’t tell you how happy I have been that others have felt the same way.
All this time I have been writing from Amery’s perspective. I knew what Lochie was thinking, but Amery didn’t always. In fact, she rarely did. To celebrate a personal milestone in writing, I decided to write a portion of the story from Lochie’s perspective. I thought it was important for others to know and understand what he was doing and thinking during a few pivotal moments of their journey together.
So, here it is. The story takes place at the end of Divide and the beginning of Conquer. I hope you enjoy Broken and a huge thank you to everyone who has read any of the series and sent me letters of encouragement. The Project Integrate series wouldn’t be the same with you.
For just a moment, I wanted to keep my eyes closed and savor the memories. The woman I loved more than life itself, in my arms, under my hands, against my lips. It had been perfect, she had been perfect.
My friends always boasted about the girls in their life. Girls, plural. I didn’t admit it to them but there was always ever going to be only one for me. She was the most beautiful, craziest, sweetest, annoying woman in the world. And she was mine.
When she had turned up at my doorstep the night before, soaking wet from the rain, her shirt smeared with grease, I didn’t know what to think. But she had looked at me with those intense green eyes and it had felt like I was struck by lightning.
Then I wasn’t just looking into her eyes anymore and seeing her. I was seeing my entire future playing out before me. Marriage, kids, a lifetime of adventures with her. Only her.
It was only ever her.
The next thing I knew she was in my arms. I didn’t have time to think, but I did wonder if she had felt that same jolt of realization. The same understanding that it wasn’t just one night we were going to spend together but every night for the rest of our lives.
I carried her upstairs, not even noticing how her rain soaked clothes were making mine just as bad. It was a good excuse to dispose of them. The fabric was too much between us anyway.
We had made love. I couldn’t call it anything else apart from that. We didn’t have sex, we didn’t fuck. Our souls connected, our physical bodies merging as one. She had told me it was her first time, I confessed the same thing. I’m glad we got to experience it together.
I wanted her to be all mine, even if I wouldn’t say that to her. She would probably argue she wasn’t an object to be owned. I would counter otherwise, which would annoy the hell out of her.
God, I loved it when she was angry with me. She always gets this look in her eye and scrunches up her nose. I don’t think she realizes she does it, but it’s absolutely adorable.
She slept in my arms afterwards, my body wrapped around hers. I watched her sleep for a long time, not wanting to fall asleep myself. I didn’t want to miss anything, not even a second of seeing her look so peaceful. She rarely got to have those quiet moments anymore, she deserved to savor them.
I did eventually go to sleep though. I don’t think I had ever been happier and more content. Even when I awoke in the morning and played back the memories, my body hummed, sated. I had the woman I loved, I didn’t need anything more.
I dared to open my eyes, unable to resist not seeing her for another second. I wanted to make her breakfast, serve her whatever she goddamn wanted just so I could see the smile on her face. She didn’t wear it as much anymore and it killed me.
The bed was empty.
I sat up, my gaze sweeping the room as I searched for her. The bathroom door was open, she wasn’t in there. Her clothes weren’t on the floor anymore.
She was gone.
The pillow and sheets still smelled of her – jasmine and vanilla, she said that was the shampoo she used. I swung my legs over the side of the bed, hoping I was just mistaken.
I suddenly noticed a note on my bedside table. Good, at least she left an explanation about why she wasn’t there. She probably had to be somewhere, go do something important and didn’t want to wake me. I unfurled the single piece of paper:
That was it? Two words? I’m sorry? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was she sorry she slept with me? Sorry that it was me and not someone else? Sorry she had to leave? A million impossible questions whirled around in my head.
Then the anger set in. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She was supposed to be here, we’d wake up together still entangled in each other’s arms, I would get to kiss her all over again, tell her how much last night meant to me.
I scrunched up the piece of paper and threw it against the wall. It bounced off and disappeared behind some books. It didn’t matter if I never saw it again, the two words were burned into my eyes.
What. The. Hell.
At least I knew now why all her clothes were gone. She had taken every last piece, like she didn’t want anything of her to remain with me. Even though they were soaking wet and couldn’t have dried overnight. It felt like the worst kind of rejection.
“Lochie, breakfast,” my mom called out from downstairs. I wasn’t sure how I could face her. Everything in my body was breaking, crumbling like my very existence relied upon the love and acceptance of one woman.
One woman who was sorry.
Sorry she spent the night with me.
Sorry it was me.
I had to find a way to turn off the emotions. If I didn’t, I was going to do something stupid like chase after her. Every fiber of my being wanted to find Amery and beg her to be not sorry anymore. I needed to hear her say the words that it wasn’t a mistake, that it was beautiful, just like I thought it was.
But I couldn’t turn off all the pain. My heart was shattering and I hated it. I hated that one woman held so much power over me. With just two words she had taken me down like a building being demolished with a few sticks of dynamite.
“Mom, I’m going out,” I said on the way through. I grabbed one of the bacon and egg burgers she insisted I take and headed out. I ate it while I drove, but it didn’t plug the hole she had created in my chest.
Amery was staying in a trailer on the edge of town. It was only temporary while she was on the run from the Department. I lost count of how many times I offered to help her out but she refused. She was independent like that, it was one of the many things I loved about her, even though it was frustrating to no end.
I pulled up at the trailer park and hurried along the path to her door. I swore to God if that dick Garrick answered, I was going to punch him. He had it bad for Amery and there was no way I trusted him around my girl. I trusted her, but she thought the best of everyone. She didn’t see what I did, hence the reason I knew he was a dick a
Banging on the door, I couldn’t wait for it to be answered. I peeked through the windows.
The trailer was completely empty. Her beat up old VW Beetle was gone too.
Was that what she was sorry for? Running away? Was she ever coming back? Last night could not have been the last time I would ever see her. That just wasn’t going to happen, I refused to let it happen.
If only I’d known more about what was going on in her life. She kept so much from me. She swore it was vital, to keep me out of trouble, but I wasn’t so sure. She didn’t need to fight the war alone, I wanted to help her. God, I would have done everything humanly possible to help her.
My next thoughts were startling, even to me. Had she planned to take off like this? Did she know last night? Had I been merely a way to fill in time? My memories of the way she acted said no, but how could I really know? Every touch, every caress, every kiss had felt genuine. But this was Amery, the girl I could never really figure out but loved anyway.
I’d asked her if she was sure she wanted to sleep with me, I had made certain she knew what she was doing. She had told me she had never been surer of anything. She couldn’t have been lying, she just couldn’t have been.
From the trailer park, I drove straight to Amery’s best friend’s house. It was too early to really turn up unannounced at someone’s home but Lola would understand. She got me, she was a smart girl. If there was someone Amery would confide in, my best guess was Lola Newell.
“Have you heard from Amery this morning?” I asked, by way of greeting.
“Good morning to you too, Lochie,” she replied sarcastically. “What seems to be the problem?”
“I can’t find her.”
“Have you tried calling?”
The frustration was building. “Of course I have, she’s not answering. I need to find her.”
Lola studied me carefully. I wished I had thought to at least comb my hair before leaving home. I probably looked like I had spent the night tussled up in the bed sheets.
She rolled her eyes. “I haven’t heard from her. She was here a few days ago and that’s the last I know. She was acting kind of weird though…”
“Weird, how?” My heart was hammering in my chest like a rickety train. In the way only Amery could make it move. Lola sighed, she didn’t want to tell me. I wasn’t going anywhere until she did. “Please, Lola. I need to find her.”
She uncrossed her arms, still dressed in her pajamas. “It felt like a goodbye. Like she might not be coming back, at least not for a while.”
I didn’t want to admit that I thought it felt that way too. The moment I saw that note on my bedside table, I just… knew. I didn’t want to believe it though. I still didn’t. But Lola couldn’t help me. “Will you tell me if you hear something?”
“Of course.” She nodded. “Loch, is everything okay? She’s gone missing before and you haven’t looked like that in the past.”
“How do I look?”
“Like you might kill someone.”
I actually felt like I wanted to kill someone. All those people who wanted to hurt the woman I loved and scared her so much she had fled. That’s who I wanted to kill. Hunt them all down and fix the problem myself.
I ignored her comment. “Just let me know, okay?”
“The moment I hear something, you’ll know. You do the same, okay?”
I left Lola’s house but I had no idea where to go. I had never felt more helpless in my entire life. Amery was my guiding light, always leading me home. Without her, I was left to float in the current.
Broken by Jamie Campbell / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes