Shattered by You - Nashoda Rose

Warning

Shattered by You contains dark elements and may cause triggers for drug use and references to nonconsensual sex. If you are uncomfortable with this or/and explicit sex, harsh language, and disturbing scenes, then this book might not be for you.

*Mature audiences only.

A note from Haven

When I was five years old, my brother taught me how to sing. I practiced all the time as I lay on the saggy cot in the walk-in closet with the tattered sheet pulled up to my chin.

The whistle of the cold winter air drifted through the rotting windowsills and I’d cover my ears and quietly sing to block it out. My mom once told me the wind was a monster with huge claw-like hands and no teeth. He had a black hole where his mouth was supposed to be; that’s where the whistling came from. She said his arms were like elastic bands and when kids were bad, he’d slide through the cracks in the house and snatch them away.

The wind scared me.

I didn’t want to be taken away from my brother, Ream.

The winter months were the worst and some nights Ream would sneak into my closet and sing with me. But we had to be quiet. Mom didn’t like singing. My brother never worried about being caught, but I did because then I wouldn’t see him for days.

It wasn’t just the wind. It was the noises; groans of the house, shrieks from my mother and her friends, things breaking and the shouts and laughter.

Then the silence.

That scared me the most because I didn’t know if Mom left us again.

Days alone in the house, no food, nothing to do but wait . . . for what I didn’t know. But Ream looked after me. He never let me go hungry for long. He protected me . . . until he couldn’t any longer.

We all know the definition of shattered: to break into pieces; to weaken, destroy; to damage, as by breaking or crushing.

But my story isn’t about being shattered.

It’s about surviving the pieces.

It’s about the strength found within the damaged.

It’s about love. Love found despite the jagged, tainted edges of who I’d become.

Warning: parts are ugly and dark. But there is beauty, too, and that is why we are here.

Haven

July 2014

MY FEET SLID in the spongey wet grass as the rain teemed. The heavy sludge of mud on the soles of my shoes bogged me down and I fell, landing hard on my hands and knees, panting.

The wind whistled through the trees, fragile branches snapped and plummeted to the ground, forgotten limbs broken under nature’s fury.

The monsters lived, but they’d never catch me.

I’d survived them.

I crawled to my feet again and ran, fighting against the wind as it tried to push me back. I put my head down like a bull and fought it. Fought nature. Fought the haunting memories. Fought the pain.

Tonight unravelled me. I’d been able to keep the horrific memories hidden for months, but seeing the news about a mutilated body of a drug dealer named Olaf Gordenski, found washed up on shore, was as if a tornado slammed into me and everything surfaced at once. I didn’t think. I ran. It was the only way to bury the emotions again.

He was dead.

Olaf was dead. Mutilated.

I wanted to feel relief, but my past burned in my chest like a volcano threatening to erupt.

I knew who was responsible. Deck. Or one of his ex-military men who worked for him at his not-so-legal company, Unyielding Riot. Deck was friends with my brother and after I escaped my hell, I told him about Olaf. My brother had already given Deck information on him, but what my brother didn’t know was about the club, the illegal club, with girls who didn’t want to be there. Girls like me who were taken there and forced to strip and keep men happy in the backrooms.

Anything I told Deck was confidential, him and his men only. ‘Nothing touches me,’ were his words. I didn’t trust him. I didn’t trust anyone, but I had no choice. Olaf had to die. Not only because he deserved it, but because he had always threatened to come after Ream.

He’d kept me prisoner for over a decade. He kept other girls too, although I was the only one who lived, or rather existed, in his house. Even at the club, I was kept separate, never allowed to talk to them.

There was an alarm on the house preventing me from escaping, although that wasn’t all that