Un-Shattering Lucy (Lucy & Harris #4) - Terri Anne Browning

Prologue

Lucy

January

The cold January rain was numbing my body while the pain in my soul numbed my brain. I’d been moving on autopilot for the last few days, but today I couldn’t do that. My life was on the line and I couldn’t leave California without at least trying to fight for it.

I was leaving in just a few hours. Mom had spent the last two days packing up all the clothes she thought I would need for school. All the pictures on my bedroom walls were in boxes. All my favorite books had been carefully packed and everything was waiting so neatly by the front door at home. My parents were flying out to D.C. with me and would stay two days while I got settled in for the spring semester at Georgetown.

Georgetown.

I’d spent most of my life dreaming about going to Georgetown, but now it felt like it was going to be my prison. I’d made the choice not to accept the early entrance spot they had offered in their English program. I had been set to start UCLA in the fall. I didn’t want to move across the country when everything I needed—everyone I needed—was right there in California.

All those plans had gone to hell when Tessa Conway had turned my life—our life—upside down.

She hadn’t just destroyed my plans. She’d obliterated my future with Harris as well. She’d taken everything from me when she had nearly killed Harris by drugging him. I was still unable to get the videos she had sent to my phone out of my head, was haunted by every groan and sigh that had left Harris while he’d done things with her that I’d been aching for from him.

None of that had mattered, however, the second that Harris had thrown me out of his hospital room. Having him toss me out had been the kick to the chest that had made me realize that no matter what had happened with Tessa, I wanted to fight for him.

Fight for us.

That he didn’t want to fight for us had hurt more than seeing those fucking videos. That he hadn’t even tried was slowly killing me.

With my hair dripping into my face and my lips trembling, I blindly reached for the doorbell. I heard the footsteps on the other side, waited while someone looked through the peephole and paused. Several long moments passed and I wrapped my arms around myself in an attempt to keep from falling apart right there on the Cutters’ front steps.

I’d snuck out of the house when I couldn’t get Harris to answer his phone or anyone else to pick up on the landline. I couldn’t leave that night without at least talking to Harris first. I couldn’t just walk away without trying, damn it.

Finally, the door opened and Natalie Cutter looked down at me with a mixture of concern, pity and determination darkening her blue-gray eyes. I sucked in a deep breath, watched as the air misted with my exhale and met her gaze with my own determination. “I need to see him, Nat.” She opened her mouth and I knew she was going to turn me away. I reached for her hand, held on like my life depended on it—because it fucking did—and whispered the only word I could. “Please.”

She jerked like I had slapped her and carefully pulled her hand free. Instead of pushing me away like I had feared, her arm wrapped around me and gently pulled me inside her home. “You’re soaked, Lu,” Natalie gently scolded as she pulled me into the living room. “Dev, bring me a towel,” she called.

“Be right there, baby.”

There was a fire already blazing and Natalie urged me closer to it. The heat hurt against my cold, damp body and I shied away from it, not wanting the numbness to go away. I needed that numbness to help hold myself together.

“You’re going to get pneumonia, honey.” Natalie pushed my dripping hair back from my eyes and ran her blue-gray eyes over my face as if looking for something. After only a moment her eyes darkened and she turned away with pity still shining in her eyes.

I swallowed back a small sob, hating that this was hurting her just as much as it was me. She’d nearly lost her stepson less than a week ago. The thought of having nearly lost Harris had almost killed me on the spot so I knew she was still hurting from what had almost happened.

Footsteps had me turning just