All the Broken Pieces: (Broken Series Book 3)

All the Broken Pieces: (Broken Series Book 3) by Anna Paige

Book: All the Broken Pieces: (Broken Series Book 3) by Anna Paige Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Paige
Tags: Contemporary Romance
gave her a slow, deliberate wink as I straightened.
    She wasn’t quite able to mask her shock, giving me a glimpse of widened eyes and a flush in her papery-skinned cheeks. It wasn’t a total annihilation but it had sure as hell been a direct hit.
    I walked away before she could formulate a reply.
    Peering through the dining room and kitchen on the way past, it occurred to me that I had no idea where the laundry room was. I didn’t recall there being a utility room off of the kitchen, but I hadn’t really been paying attention. Oh, well. I wasn’t about to go back and ask Bonnie a damn thing. Instead, I trudged down the long hall, taking in the line of framed photos on the walls and trying to get my bearings.
    I stopped at one particular photo, my attention drawn to a pair of startlingly clear blue eyes. In the picture, a younger, darker-haired Teach stood beside a raven-haired girl in her early teens. His arm was draped around Lauren’s slender shoulders and she had one arm wrapped around his waist, clearly gripping the hem of his shirt on the other side because her arm wasn’t quite long enough to reach too far around. There was a soft, genuine smile on her face that reached all the way to her eyes.
    It was beatific.
    I couldn’t help smiling.
    “That picture was his favorite.”
    Startled, I turned toward Marilee’s tired voice. She was in a thick wool robe and slippers, looking as care-worn as I’d ever seen. I wanted to reach out for her, grip her hand, hug her; something. But before I could decide which, she lifted her hand toward the photo.
    “That is the only picture of her we’ve ever seen where her smile looked real.” She pressed her thin lips together thoughtfully. “He said none of the social workers or foster parents could believe the difference in her when he came to visit. They likened it to the sun breaking through thick clouds. She adored him, and he her.” Her lips tipped into a frown as she traced the smooth glass over her husband’s likeness. “He wanted custody, you know. Fought like hell to get it, too. But after all she’d gone through, they thought it best not to put her in the care of a single man. He and I hadn’t yet met one another then, you see.”
    I stood there with a soft smile on my face, trying to act as though nothing she was saying was new information for me while my mind processed her statement bit by bit.
    Lauren had been a ward of the state. She’d been in multiple foster homes from the sound of it. Teach tried to help, tried to take her in but wasn’t able to. Most disturbing of all was the phrase ‘after all she’d gone through’.
    “Aunt Mar, what are you doing up? I thought you were resting.” Lauren stepped into the hall from the kitchen carrying a large basket of folded laundry. She wore no makeup but her crystal blue eyes popped just the same and her hair was pulled into a messy knot atop her head, revealing her slender neck. She was in colorful leggings under a long t-shirt, and bright pink socks. Somehow, the casual way she was dressed made her even more appealing. She didn’t look at me, keeping her focus on her aunt and looking concerned.
    Shit. Had she heard everything? Would she think I was pumping the poor, grieving woman for information?
    “I’m just stretching my legs a little, honey.” Marilee told her with a fond smile. “And talking to your handsome visitor for a minute before I head back to bed.” She clucked her tongue and patted my arm, looking at Lauren as she spoke. “Now, stop your worrying and offer this nice young man something to drink. Myrtle from down the street brought by a jug of her vanilla tea and a big tray of lemon squares this morning.”
    “Yes, ma’am.” Lauren told her, dropping the basket to the floor and stepping in for a hug. “Would you like me to bring you something?”
    The older woman shook her head, running a hand over Lauren’s hair as she stepped out of the embrace. “No, dumplin’. I have a

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