Broken (The M Series, #1)
by Ryanne Anthony
About the Author
Ryanne Anthony is a born and bred Midwestern girl. After finishing her education, she realized her chosen profession was not for her. After several dalliances with other careers, Ryanne decided to try her hand at writing, something she’s loved to do in her spare time since she was a little girl. Ryanne loves to read and says has a very active and self-described ‘dirty’ imagination. She admits most of her writing is ‘off the cuff’, never much thought out. She always sees a scene in her head before she writes it down and always has.
“It’s in my head, just pops in there, before I type it out. Always, always, always. I see it play out and if I like it, I type it out before I forget it. And I will forget it. I am notorious for that!”
Asked where does she get her inspirations for her characters, Ryanne states:
“Sometimes… don’t laugh… I look at an actor and say ‘wow, I bet he or she could play a role like this’ and see them on a big screen performing. Or, I see someone and describe them. I have family and friends throughout my works and they are always spotted when they or others that know them read the finished product.”
Ryanne is happily married to her childhood sweetheart and still in the Midwest where she and her husband are raising their two children and two dogs. She ensures us she has a lot more plots hanging out in her brain. She’s just waiting to see who’s ‘talking’ to her the loudest.
A family in pain, desperate to find out what is ripping apart their once tight knit group, turns to therapy for answers… but, as the four hour session moves ahead, more and more secrets are revealed. Will these secrets rip this family apart forever? Can therapist Victoria Walmsley-Fields, lead them back to each other and the peace and happiness they once enjoyed as a family?
Where to find Ryanne Anthony
Where to find Broken
Meet the Broken Charterers
Finally, the Cannon/Harvey families… this should be interesting. Looks like eighteen of them are coming… Marcus and Mariah… Matthew and Madison… Joshua and Mandy… Russell and Evelyn… Stephen and Katherine… Thomas and Rachel… Tom and Monica… Nathan and Lisa… Ethan and Alissa.
I wonder how many will actually show up this morning. Mandy says they are a pretty close knit and she expects them all to be here.
Let’s hope I can help fix this family, I think as I click the intercom.
“Marta, are all the Cannons and the Harveys here?”
“I believe they are, ma’am. I count sixteen.”
“No, there are supposed to be eighteen. Can you ask who’s missing?”
“Sure. Mrs. Cannon? Dr. Fields would like to know who is missing.”
“Marcus and Matthew. I believe they’ve been called.”
“They have. I told them to hurry,” a man’s voice murmurs.
“I heard, Marta. Send the others in and usher in the last two when they arrive, please.”
“Yes, Dr. Fields.”
A moment later, the family files into the room.
This is going to be quite a session. I’ve blocked four hours with them today. It will be interesting to see how many of them stick around the entire four hours.
I watch and take note on who sits where and observe body language.
“Good morning, family. I’m Victoria Walmsley-Fields. Are we all aware this is a four hour session?”
I hear affirmations.
“Good. Well, I’m Mandy’s regular therapist. I will only disclose parts that she approves. Would anyone mind my addressing you by your first names? If it makes you more comfortable, I prefer being addressed as Vicky. How about we go around and you can tell me how you want to be addressed. Let’s start with you.” I look at a beautiful woman sitting to my left.
“Mariah Cannon. I have several names I will answer to.”
“What makes you more comfortable?” I note her posture. She’s tight and clipped. She knows what this is about.
“Cookie,” she bites out.
I smile and nod. “That’s fine. Cookie.”
I look at the next seat. “It’s not necessary to introduce yourself, Mandy.”
I get a tight smile and she looks down at her shoes. I smile to the next woman on Mandy’s left.
“Madison Cannon. Madison is fine.”
“Is there something else you’re called?”
“My family calls me ‘Sugar’ and my husband calls me ‘Smooch’.”
“But here, you want to be addressed as ‘Madison’?”
“I really don’t care. ‘Sugar’ is fine. No one but Matthew can call me ‘Smooch’.”
“Matthew is your husband?”
I nod. Her body is tight, too. And the scowl on her face is deep and telling. She definitely knows why she’s here. I look to the next seat.
“Thomas Harvey, II. Thomas is fine.”
“Rachel Harvey. Rachel.”
“Nathan James. Nathan.”
“Lisa James. Lisa.”
“Is there something wrong, Cookie?”
“Everyone calls her ‘Twinkie’. I think she should stick to that.”
“I don’t care, Cookie! Whatever!” Lisa shouts.
“Let’s hold all the issues until I find out who everyone is and everyone has arrived, all right?”
I look to the next seat.
“Stephen Cannon. Stephen.”
“Katherine Cannon. Katherine.”
“Thomas Harvey, III. Tom.”
“Monica Harvey. Monica.”
Interesting. No nickname.
“Evelyn Turner-Collins. Evie.”
“Russell Collins. Russ.”
“Ethan Harvey. Ethan.”
“Alissa Juarez-Harvey. Lissa.”
“Joshua Cannon. Joshua.”
Ah, so this is Mandy’s husband.
“Asshole is better.”
“Mariah!” Rachel gasps. “Why are you calling your brother-in-law an asshole? Is that joke? It’s not funny at all.”
“Look at my face, Mom! Do I appear to be in a joking mood?”
I clear my throat. “I think I have it. Pleasure to meet you all.”
They murmur back and pay attention to my face. Good.
“Okay, so this session is for Mandy, who is in a great deal of pain. This is a step to helping her heal. Most of the distress she’s feeling is from the ‘fallout’, as she calls it, of her family. Namely you all. I will discuss any and everything you want in these four hours, but Mandy’s issue is first and foremost.”
“Heal?” Lisa asks. “From what? Are you going to tell us what’s going on, Vicky, because my sister doesn’t tell me shit anymore?!”
She didn’t acknowledge the fallout. Interesting.
“I asked her not to,” Mandy says quietly.
“Mandy! I’m your friend, too!”
Mandy’s eyes well. “I know you are, Twink. I just– I…”
“That’s fine, Mandy,” I murmur. “Twink, you’ll better understand in a moment. Mandy is not trying to slight you in any way. Please try to be patient.”
“Fine,” Lisa mutters, crossing her arms and legs. Her husband rubs her thigh, but she ignores him. She is deeply hurt. She probably feels betrayed.
“I’d like to ask you to separate, please. Men on one side, women on the other, directly across from your spouse.”
She grunts but gets her chair and moves it in a row, with Madison and Mariah still flanking her. Very protective.
“Cookie, Mandy, Sugar, Monica, Rachel, Lissa, Evie, Twinkie and Katherine, correct?”
They nod. I turn to my right.
“Joshua, Tom, Thomas, Ethan, Russ, Nathan, and Stephen. And we are waiting for
Marcus and Matthew, correct?”
They nod again.
“While we wait, would anyone like a refreshment or a bathroom break? Need a smoke or fresh air?”
They shake their heads.
“Good. Let’s just take a moment and catch our breaths. There is a lot of tension in the room.”
“It should be,” Madison mutters, shooting daggers at Joshua.
Mariah snorts. “I agree, don’t you, Twerp?”
“Yeah, it’s what his brothers nicknamed him. Never thought it was fitting, until now,” Mariah snarls.
“Okay, what the fuck is going on?” Lisa shouts. “You love Joshua, Cookie! And so does Sugar! What are you keeping from us?!”
“Not yet, Twinkie,” I say softly.
There is a knock at the door and as it opens, I stand. Two tall, handsome men walk in and approach me.
“Sorry we’re late. Game ran over at the gym,” the first one says, extending his hand.
“We completely lost track of time. Hi, I’m Marcus Cannon.”
“You’re Mariah’s husband, right?”
He smiles. “Yes, I am,” he says as he goes to his wife and kisses her.
“Matthew Cannon. That’s mine right there,” he grins as he points to Madison while shaking my hand.
I chuckle. “Of course,” I say as I watch him kiss his wife and she turns her cheek to him.
“I’m Vicky. Gentlemen, if you don’t mind taking a seat across from your wives, we can get started.”
They nod and go to their seats.
“So,” Marcus slaps his brother’s back. “What’s the urgency, Josh?”
“Yeah, Twerp. I have shit to do, you know. I can’t sit around and listen to you whine about Crawford’s for four hours,” Matthew laughs.
A tear rolls down Joshua’s cheek as he looks at his brothers. His arms tighten on his chest as sobs rack his body. This is guilt. He’s going to have to confess to his brothers, whom I’m suspecting he looks up to.
“What the fuck? Did something happen to someone?” Matthew says looking around the room.
Stephen looks at Mandy. “Is something wrong with one of the kids?”
“What is this? Dammit, Twerp, stop crying and say something,” Marcus frowns.
Joshua calms but says nothing as the room stares at him, waiting.
Mariah speaks first. Or should I say snarls…
“You need to take that bastard out back and beat the shit out of him.”
“Baby!” Marcus frowns, shouting in confusion. “What the hell is going on?”
“Matthew, are you just going to sit there or are you going to do what Cookie said?” Madison screeches on my left.
“Smooch, why am I beating the shit out of my little brother?” Matthew frowns.
“Because that fucking bastard cheated on me!” Mandy screams out in a cry and runs out of the room.
Silence fills the room as everyone turns back to Joshua.
Matthew smacks Joshua hard on the back of the head.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Marcus shouts.
“Joshua! I have never been more disappointed in my life!” Katherine cries.
“I hope that pussy was worth what you’ve done to your wife, Twerp,” Tom shouts. When the hell did this happen?”
“Four months ago,” Joshua mumbles.
“If you say she’s pregnant, Joshua, I will kill you,” Evelyn mutters.
They all stare at Joshua.
“Is she pregnant, Josh?” Nathan glares.
Joshua slowly nods.
“I don’t believe this shit!” Evelyn jumps up and is ready to tackle her brother, but her husband stops her. “How could you, idiot? How the hell could you forget you were married and fuck another woman? How could you hurt your wife like that? Now a child has to be robbed of its father and she won’t be able to call you ‘Daddy’! She won’t ever be able to acknowledge you! Or you her, if your wife is brave enough to take you back!
And what about your boys, Daddy? Got-dammit! How the hell will those boys ever be able to understand this mess you’ve made? You should have thought of them… all of this before you stuck your dick in another woman instead of taking it home to your wife where it belongs!”
The room freezes at her words.
“Evie,” I say softly.
“What?!” she whirls on me, anger flashing in her eyes.
“This is Joshua,” I murmur, studying her face.
She scowls at me. “I know.”
“You just called him ‘Daddy.’”
Evie pales. Shaking her head she says, “No, I didn’t.”
“You did,” Matthew says to her looking at the floor.
“Fuck! You see?!” Evelyn shouts, leaving the room and slamming the door.
“Dr. Cannon?” I say, looking at the Cannon family patriarch.
He’s pale as he looks at me, mouth gaped. “Stephen, please.”
“Stephen, I think it’s only fair to tell you Mandy blames you and your, uh, previous behavior on what she calls the ‘destruction’ of her marriage.”
“Would you like to comment?”
“Not really, love,” he says looking at his wife.
“Speak, Stephen,” Katherine sighs. “Your daughters are in pain over what you and Evelyn’s mother did and we never knew it. We never got her any therapy.”
She nods. “Evelyn’s mother died when she was ten. She’s been with me ever since she turned eleven when Stephen got flustered and couldn’t handle raising a girl alone. She’s the daughter I’ve never had.”
“That… wow, Katherine. You should be commended. Not a lot of women would take in the child that was the result of betrayal. Why would you?”
She shrugs. “She needed me. It was not her fault how she came to be and she shouldn’t have been made to suffer because her father was ignorant.”
I nod. “Ignorant in his actions or in raising her?”
She looks at her husband. “Both.”
“I take it you and your husband separated for a while.”
“What made you take him back?”
“I missed him. My boys missed him. My daughter needed him.”
“There’s another daughter?” I ask, confused.
She smiles. “I meant Evelyn. She’s my child as much as the three boys I birthed.”
I nod. Genuine love. What a remarkable woman.
“Stephen? Have you ever explained why you participated in the affair?”
“Was it love?”
“Would you like me to move to another member of the family for their opinion?” “No, just…”
“Ask better, more detailed questions?”
“Yes.” he croaks out.
I look around the room.
“Does everyone want to hear this? If not, you can wait in the waiting room until Stephen finishes.”
No one moves.
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