Made to Be Broken

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-02-24
  • Publisher: Bantam
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The author of the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series returns with her latest novel featuring an exciting heroine with a lethal hidden talent. This time she's hot on the trail of a young woman no one else cares aboutand a killer who's bound to strike again. Nadia Stafford isn't your typical nature lodge owner. An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, she's known only as "Dee" to her current employer: a New York crime family that pays her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when Nadia discovers that a troubled teenage employee and her baby have vanished in the Canadian woods, the memory of a past loss comes back with a vengeance and her old instincts go into overdrive. With her enigmatic mentor, Jack, covering her back, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly darker and deadlier mystery. Now, with her obsession over the case deepening, the only way Nadia can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghostsand either bury them for good, or die trying. Because in her book everyone deserves a chance. And everyone deserves justice.

Author Biography

Kelley Armstrong is the author of nine books of the Otherworld. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her family.


Chapter One

Below the belfry, the city sparkled, the late afternoon sun glinting off the skyscrapers, every surface dripping from a brief shower. A spectacular view . . . even through the scope of a sniper's rifle.

A pigeon landed on the ledge beneath the belfry, squawking about the rain. My eye still fixed to the scope, I reached into my pocket and tossed a handful of dried corn into the courtyard below. A flapping of wings told me he'd gone for it. The pigeons were the one drawback to this perch. Fortunately, I'd noticed them when scouting and came prepared. I didn't want a sudden flurry of birds from the belfry telling onlookers exactly where the shot had come from.

The doors below opened onto the quiet side street and at exactly five-thirty, out walked Grant Beecham. A creature of habit, like most people. He was alone. I expected that, but found myself instinctively looking for bodyguards or well-armed friends. I was used to Mafia thugs who knew there was a mark on their heads and never set foot outside alone.

But Beecham had no reason to think his life was in danger. He was just a pharmaceutical company researcher. Yes, he'd suppressed reports of fatalities in a new multiple sclerosis drug study. But his confession came only after evidence was found in an illegal search, so it'd been ruled inadmissible, the case thrown out. He hadn't even been fired; he was too valuable.

Sure, there were devastated families who'd lost loved ones, but this wasn't the Wild West. Injured parties seek financial restitution through the courts, and you take the money and shut up. You don't use your payoff to hire a hitman.

Beecham's car rounded the corner. A Lincoln with a driver to take him to his big house in Forest Hill, maybe with a stop along the way to convince another desperate family that he could provide—under the table and for the right price—the suppressed miracle drug.

I pulled the trigger. The bullet passed through the base of his skull, killing him instantly.

I didn't wait to see him crumple to the sidewalk. Or to watch passersby look over warily, assessing the cut of his suit before deciding he hadn't just fallen down drunk. By the time someone took out a cell phone, I'd be halfway down the belfry stairs.

I moved as quickly and silently as I could. Not easy when the steps were so ancient each one protested under my weight.

Dust whirled in my wake. I was wearing disposable booties, the kind considerate furniture deliverers wear. They'd eliminate prints, but did nothing for the dust reaching my nose and eyes. At my second stifled sneeze, a head popped around the bottom flight. Quinn, aka the Boy Scout—though the latter wasn't used by anyone who wanted to get on his good side.

Beecham was Quinn's job. Vigilante work was the only kind he did, hence the unflattering alternate nom de guerre. Among professional killers, a vigilante—even one as solid as Quinn—is viewed with the same disdain a veteran beat cop has for an idealistic, college-educated young detective. A prissy boy who wants to do a man's job without getting his hands dirty.

At six foot two, with a solid linebacker's physique, square face, stubborn jaw, and piercing eyes, Quinn didn't fit anyone's image of a "prissy boy." But few of the hitmen who scorned him had ever seen him. Like me, Quinn kept to himself, and for good reason. Killing criminals wasn't the only way Quinn pursued justice. He was a federal agent. What branch, I had no idea. I didn't ask.

Most people in my profession would have a problem partnering with a cop, even one moonlighting as a hitman. I didn't. I came from a long line of law-enforcement officers. My life goal had been to join that family tradition. And I had . . . until seven years ago, when I shot a suspect point-blank, made national headlines, and saw my life crash and burn.

As I rounded the last flig

Excerpted from Made to Be Broken by Kelley Armstrong
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