Broken Series Book 2
by A.L. Simpson Genre: Contemporary Romance
Callie McKenzie hadn't had a good introduction to life.
A drug addicted mother caught in the crossfire of a bar shootout saw her dumped in the foster system at the age of thirteen.
Life finally seemed to take a turn for the better when she was offered adoption by a kindly couple but, she knew it couldn't last. Tragedy puts an end to her dream of a happy life when she is taken to the isolated farm of an abusive distant relative.
At the age of seventeen, beaten and bruised, fearing for her life, Callie flees.
In the dead of night, on a lonely road, Jake Prentiss - President of a motorcycle club, finds her stumbling to freedom.
In the weeks that follow she is slowly pieced back together and falls hard for her knight in shining leather. It doesn't last long and tragedy once again strikes.
At the age of eighteen, Callie finds herself alone again and in prison.
Her cousin always said she was a BITCH.
Now, she was also BROKEN.
At thirteen years old, I was alone. I had no-one and nothing.
My mama had been a part-time bartender at the Grey Turtle bar in a seedy part of downtown Foster near where we lived. Home had been a dingy one-bedroom apartment with next to no furniture, no heating, peeling paintwork and black mold spreading over the walls and ceilings. Mama preferred her drug fix to food and somewhere decent to live.
Three months ago, while working the bar, she’d been caught in the crossfire of a shootout between two gangs. She died instantly. It was three days later before I found out. I’d been making a stale-bread sandwich when a knock came at the door. It was a Child Protective Services Officer who told me about mama and took me away. Why didn’t I know before then, you ask? It wasn’t unusual for mama to take off with a couple of druggies from the area and return several days later.
Most days I took myself off to school, they never questioned my scruffy appearance, as most of the kids from where I lived were the same.
So, off I went with a lady called Giselle. She took me to her office and I sat quietly while she made a phone call.
"Petra, it’s Giselle. I have a thirteen-year-old girl who I need an urgent placement for."
Giselle paused and listened to someone on the other end of the phone before speaking again.
"I have a couple in mind for her, shouldn’t be any longer than three months."
She paused and listened again.
"Thanks. I’ll bring her by tonight."
She hung up the phone and turned to me.
"I'm going to take you to a home where you’ll be looked after while we search for your father. Do you know his name?"
"Nope. Mama said he was a stranger passing through town and all he wanted was her pussy in exchange for some drugs."
"Did your mother use drugs often?"
"All the time."
"Who took care of you, bought your clothes, cooked?"
"I took care of myself and cooked. Clothes came from the Goodwill bin."
Giselle sighed and patted my hand. "Mr. and Mrs. Rostenkowski will be paid money by the Government to feed and clothe you so, you won’t have to worry about that anymore."
"I’m not worried, I’ve looked after me and mama for as long as I can remember."
"Well, now you get to be a young girl. Did you attend school?"
"Yes. Foster City."
Giselle frowned. She obviously knew how rough the area was. "Are your grades good?"
"Very, I like school and my grades are better than the other kids."
She nodded and I could see that look in her eyes which said, that’s one thing you have going for you. Heaven knew I didn’t have anything else.
I was delivered into misery that very same evening.
"Callie, get your skinny ass down here now." Mrs. R, as she allowed me to call her, bellowed and I wondered what I’d done now.
I raced down the stairs and found her in the kitchen cleaning up Joel, her biological two-year-old. He was covered in white powdery goop.
"I told you to keep an eye on him while I brought the laundry in."
She hadn’t, but after three months in this house, I’d learned, you didn’t argue. "I’m sorry, would you like me to take him upstairs and bath him?"
She thrust one of his little arms toward me. "Yes, get him cleaned up before his father comes home and sees what you’ve let him do."
I scooped the little boy into my arms and hurried away. He’s a sweet little fella and the light in the darkness of my existence. I closed the bathroom door after we entered, and after turning on the water and ensuring it wasn’t too hot, I stripped him of his white covered clothing.
I couldn’t help but laugh. "I can see you had fun."
Once he was undressed, I swept him into my arms and lowered him into the bath. He kicked his chubby legs, clapped his hands and chuckled when I threw in his plastic duck and a boat.
"I have to wash your hair, you have sticky goop stuck in it."
He gave me a look of sheer panic. "Noooo, Cawee. No wash hair."
"Sorry, bud, I can’t leave it like that. If you’re a good boy, I’ll read you a story when we’re done."
Washing the little boy's hair was uneventful, I think the thought of it scared him more than the actual doing. In no time at all, he was scrubbed clean and dressed in fresh clothes.
"Let’s go and read a story while we wait for your mama to make supper."
Joel clasped my hand and I walked him downstairs to the living room. I’d no sooner sat down and the doorbell rang.
"Callie, get that." I swear half the neighborhood could hear Mrs. R when she yelled.
"Okay," I called back.
Joel followed me into the hallway and I opened the door to Giselle.
"Hi, Giselle. Do you want to see Mrs. R?"
"Yes, I need to talk with her. Is she here?"
"In the kitchen."
"Go back to what you were doing, I’ll speak with you shortly."
I closed the door, and while Giselle headed to the kitchen, I returned to the living room with Joel. He selected a book from a basket which held some of his toys and toddled toward me.
His chubby arms straightened and he held it in front of me. "Storwee, Cawee."
I lifted him onto my lap and opened the book. Joel pointed at the picture. "Owl."
"Callie, can you come to the kitchen please?" Giselle stood in the doorway.
I placed Joel on the floor and encouraged him to play with his toys. Before I had left the room, he was pulling favorite cars and trucks from the depths of the basket. I followed Giselle to the kitchen where Mrs. R stood not looking happy.
"Am I in trouble?" I couldn’t think of anything I could have done wrong.
Giselle placed her hand on my arm. "Of course not, honey. I’m here to tell you, your pre-adoption has been formalized and your new parents are waiting at my office."
I wasn’t sure what to think of this news. On one hand, I wanted to jump for joy at the thought of leaving this place. I wouldn’t miss the shouting or the chores I was expected to do. I was more like an unpaid maid than a foster child. There was never enough to eat and I often went to bed hungry. The clothes I was given were only just above the garments I’d had from Goodwill. On the other hand, I would be sad to leave Joel.
"Don’t worry about packing anything unless you have something special. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie have purchased everything you need."
"We can leave as soon as you say goodbye and thank Mrs. Rostenkowski."
I turned toward Mrs. R. "Thank you for having me. Please say goodbye to Mr. R for me."
She nodded sternly, no doubt wondering when she would receive her next slave. I didn’t bother to hug the woman, she wouldn’t know affection if it jumped up and bit her on the ass.
"I’ll just go and say goodbye to Joel." My voice was thick and tears sprang free as I trudged to the living room. I knelt down near the sweet little boy. "Joel, I have to go away."
He turned to me and smiled. "Cawee, pway?"
I drew him into my arms and kissed his chubby cheeks. "No, sweetheart. I have to go to a new home now. You be a good boy for your mama." I kissed him again, stood and rushed to the front door. Giselle was waiting for me and placed an arm around my shoulders.
"Everything will be better for you with the McKenzie’s. They have wanted a child for so long but because of their ages, they were only allowed a teenager. You’ll be good for each other."
I nodded as I sucked back a sob and followed her down the steps to her car. I climbed into the passenger seat and fastened the belt before Giselle turned the key and started the engine. We remained silent as she weaved through the streets back to her office.
A beautiful lady stood when we entered Giselle’s office. She was tall with long, wavy brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes. When she smiled at me, I knew I was going to like her.
"You must be Callie." She offered her hand.
I gave it a tentative shake. "Yes, pleased to meet you." And, I was.
"My name is Rebecca McKenzie but I would like for you to call me mother."
I frowned, it was a bit soon for me to be calling a stranger, mother. But, I decided it was no skin off my nose. "Okay, mother."
A man stood beside her. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He stepped forward and offered me his hand. "I’m Patrick McKenzie. You can call me daddy or Mac. I’ll leave it up to you."
I shook hands and lowered my eyes, I felt shy. "Mac, I think, please."
"Mac, it is. Are you ready to leave?"
I glanced at Giselle.
"I know these people are strangers to you, Callie, but we have carefully vetted and selected them to be your adoptive parents. You will live with them for the next six months. During that time, I'll visit regularly and if everything works out, the official papers will be signed making them your legal parents."
"What happens if they decide they don’t want me?" The thought of being shuffled from foster home to foster home terrified me.
Mother crouched down and gathered my hands into hers. "Honey, we have waited a very long time for a child to call our own, we aren’t going to decide we don’t want you."
Her soothing, gentle voice set me at ease and I felt myself relax. I turned to Mac. "I’m ready."
He smiled broadly. "Let our new lives begin."
They each gathered one of my hands and, after bidding Giselle goodbye, we left the office to head home. Home, would it be everything I’d dreamed of?
Broken Series Book 1
My name is Tyler Maxwell Alexander. I'm twenty-eight years old. A few months ago, I had it all. An executive job in a prestigious investment firm owned by my father. Ha! Yeah, right - father. I'll explain about that later. I lived in a waterfront apartment overlooking the harbor and drove a Mercedes convertible. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. All of it. Everything, except the fucking clothes on my back. I was broken. A bastard. Did I mention, I'm gay? No? Oh well, I have now.
This is the story of how my fairytale life turned to shit in the blink of an eye.......
I spend the rest of the afternoon working on the Murphy account. A couple in their mid-fifties, like my dad, who want to earn a little extra money to help make their retirement a comfortable one. They want a third of their funds in safe investments, forty percent in low risk and the last thirty percent in high risk.
Maxine and Thomas Murphy are a nice couple and I enjoy our chats when they come to my office. They are the typical mom and dad investors our firm caters to and have one hundred and twenty thousand dollars to invest. Not much to a business like ours. It's five in the evening when I close the file, satisfied I have placed their money wisely.
My phone buzzes and I smile as the message flashes on the screen. It's Ryan. "Good for tonight? 6pm at Riccardo's?"
I text back, "yes" before pushing the chair back and standing. The files, previously scattered all over my desk, are placed back in their folders in a walnut cabinet by the wall. I check nothing is left out before turning the key in the lock to secure them for the night. That's something else that pisses me off - dad will only allow old fashioned hardcopy files. He doesn't know, that against his instructions, I also have them on my computer. I swear to fucking God, my father and brother are dinosaurs.
I leave my office and am halfway down the hallway to the elevator when dad calls from behind. I groan, wondering what he'll want now. Turning around, I wait for him to approach.
"Where are you going?"
"Out for a drink with a friend." Not that it's any of your fucking business.
He raises an eyebrow. "Girlfriend?"
Yeah, nope, he doesn't know I'm gay. None of my family are privy to that tidbit of information. While mom and my brother would not take it well, dad would fucking lose it. He's by far the worst bigot I know. I can see it now, the explosion of his temper would catapult us into the fucking stratosphere. Nope, definitely not going to give him that piece of information anytime soon, if ever.
"No, friend from school. Why?"
Dad shoves his hands in the pockets of his Gucci pants and lowers his eyes to the floor.
I follow his line of sight wondering what is suddenly so interesting down there. His feet shuffle about and I wonder what he is so nervous about.
He lifts his eyes to mine and licks his lips. Hmmm, definitely nervous.
"Samuel didn't get the account."
"I could say, I told you so." I'm a smug sonofabitch. He's taught me some things well.
"Yeah, well there's more." Dad swallows so hard, his Adam's apple moves from the bottom of his throat to the top at the speed of an express elevator. "Pope wants to leave four hundred thousand with us, like he told you, for high risk investment. The rest he is taking from us. He will only stay if you handle his account."
"Why me? You said yourself, Samuel would do a better job." I can't resist throwing his earlier sarcastic words back in his face.
"He said he'll go high risk and pay our thirty percent only with you because you've never let him down. He only trusts you."
I lean against the wall, cross one leg over the other and fold my arms over my chest. "You said the account was no longer mine so I'm focusing on other clients now." I'm enjoying doing this to the fucker, making him sweat. As an executive of the company, I can accept or refuse any account as I see fit. Dad knows this and he also knows, he's rubbed me the wrong way.
I write a variety of stories including Male/Male, Menage and Shapeshifter.
Each book has a strong focus on story line with romantic interest building throughout.
I explore real life issues from kids on the streets to motorcyle war and put my own twist on each one.
I hope you take the opportunity to check out my offerings.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I always tap my foot on the ground before putting jeans on. Have no idea why.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I danced with Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly when I was 12 years old.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I detest when people are late with no good reason.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Manly on Sydney, Australia’s Northern Beaches and grew up just down the road in Narrabeen
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
What kind of world ruler would you be?
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about my Husband of 44 years, Grandchildren, Children, Writing and Travel
What do you do to unwind and relax?
How to find time to write as a parent?
I’m retired and have grown up children.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Honest, Reliable, Short, Pedantic
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I loved to write in school and used to make up stories as young as 8 years old or so. It wasn’t until I retired from Nursing I had the time to become a writer
Do you have a favorite movie?
Gone With The Wind – both movie and book.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Broken Bitch – it’s fast paced with a lot of real life drama
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A Donkey for the stubbornness. Once I set my mind to something, I don’t give up.
What inspired you to write this book?
My books are inspired by real life experiences with ‘embellishments’ and ‘drama’ added. I love to put my characters through the wringer.
What can we expect from you in the future?
In the near future I have a book called – Snake and the third in the Broken Series called Broken Bum.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not really, I tend to put everything in the books.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in your books?
In Broken Bastard – Tyler is a young man with a bright future before him. But, after his father’s death, everything he’s ever known, comes crashing down around him. Falsely accused, he ends up in prison and it’s here he meets Bailey. Bailey is serving a sentence for beating a man almost to death for beating a child into a coma. Their lives become intertwined and love grows between the two gay men. Add in brutal beatings, an inmate who will stop at nothing to get at Tyler and a corrupt brother and you have drama in spades.
In Broken Bitch – Callie McKenzie has been dealt about as bad a deck of cards in life as you can imagine. A drug addict mother and a cousin who treats her as a punching bag. For years she suffers until she can take no more and finds a way to escape the remote property. Jake Prentiss is President of a Motorcycle Club which is at war. He picks Callie up on a dark deserted road late one night and comes to care for the young girl. So, how does Callie end up in Prison and why is she convinced Jake is dead?
These books are tied together by a center to help prisoners which the men set up.
Secrets? Is a recent release. Kyle is a cowboy with a large spread in central Queensland Australia. Luke is a Police Officer who moved away from town 15 years earlier. Circumstances bring Luke back and onto Kyle’s ranch, that’s when the drama begins. Both men and Kyle’s foreman, Wendy, are all keeping secrets, but, will they all eventually come clean and will it be too late for one of them?
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
A dose of life experience, help from my sister – a Prison Guard and help from very close gay friends whose real life story of how they met features in another of my books – Destined to Shatter – in the book they are criminals, in real life they most certainly are not. I can’t thank these two men enough, they make my male/male books realistic and believable.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I usually do a search on the computer for names and pick what I think suits what I have in mind.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoy the development of my characters in every book I write. Causing them all sorts of heartache but eventually giving them their Happily Ever After.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
My first book in this, my pen name was Born to Sin and it just suited the circumstances and background of Hamish.
Who designed your book covers?
I do as well as Charlene Raddon from Cover-Ops
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I go over and over my books with my Editor and Mentor – Margaret Tanner – an exceptionally talented writer, to ensure the story is well developed, the timeline is correct and the words flow. I also use Word Pro-Writer to make sure grammar and punctuation is correct.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For Broken Bitch – Chris Hemsworth and Emma Watson
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love to hear from my readers. I love to hear their ideas on what they would like from me. I am incredibly grateful that they take the time to read what I have written.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend time with Kyle and Luke from Secrets?. I live in the country and love it. I would spend the day horse riding and wrangling cattle.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Most of my characters are based on real people I have encountered throughout my life. I just ‘drama’ both them and the events up to add interest and suspense.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Haha, my characters definitely have the upper hand but I like to confuse them (and the readers) with twists.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
My regular readers say they consider my books ‘must reads’ because they never know what to expect, they are all very different. I push boundaries and in one actually killed off the heroine.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Started a couple for future consideration but not fully written.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Definitely not vanilla.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Margaret Mitchell – Gone With The Wind
C.J. Bishop – Any of her Phoenix Club Books
Sloane Kennedy – Everything she has written
Kindle Alexander – Love all of them but especially Always
Di Morrissey - All
Judy Nunn - All
Maeve Binchy – All
Monica McInerney – All
Agatha Christie – Murder at the Vicarage
Jodi Picoult – My Sister’s Keeper
What book do you think everyone should read?
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell has a gift for description and making the words leap off the page.
How long have you been writing?
Since I was about 8 years old but published since 2015
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I usually visit the place I want to write about in my stories although I rarely use real place names. I normally use features of the region but give it a fictional name. I also speak to dozens of people.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read a great deal. I love M/M and Gritty M/F.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Background noise, not music but hubby watches television while I write and I can shut it off.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
One. I would absolutely mix them up otherwise.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Gone With The Wind – Seeing a theme here? We actually visited a few southern estates when we visited the US.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I hand write in a notebook and then type – usually something totally different to what I have written down hahaha
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I love Hamish (as does everyone else, many internet arguments over whose he was when the book came out) from Born to Sin. He’s hard. Been dragged up in the ‘hood. Trusts no-one and has no respect for anyone or anything including himself. It takes a woman and little boy, along with his co-worker, to eventually turn him into the man which was always there.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I have so many stories to tell and it absolutely was the right decision.
A day in the life of the author?
Non-stop and hectic
Advice they would give new authors?
Stick with it. Talk to other authors until you find one who is willing to mentor you.
Describe your writing style.
Mostly first person, I write Western Historicals under my real name in third person. It’s fast paced and I like to think the reader has no idea what is coming next.
What makes a good story?
A good story is one which captures and holds the reader’s interest and isn’t predictable.
What are they currently reading?
I am reading the Barretti books by Sloane Kennedy – again!
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I write as it comes. The only outline I do is the characters descriptions. My editor edits chapter by chapter and once finished, in its entirety.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Not using an editor and being too impatient to get their book out.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am always original. I don’t write to trends, would probably sell more if I did. Hahaha
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I don’t have a problem as I have male friends who I can turn to. Often get TMI but they are extremely helpful.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from 2-3 months but if I don’t have an edit for the young girls I mentor, I can get one written in around 6 weeks. I write from 25k to 70k
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. Every. Single. Time. I hit 10k.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!