The Broken RoadI’m sipping Chianti and contemplating my future in the Windbag Saloon, a dark, rustic bar nestled in Helena’s historic Last Chance Gulch. At age 28, I’m still trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. Why? Because I’ve spent my entire adult life being broken… beaten, manipulated, and controlled. After nine miserable years, I’ve escaped my abusive marriage and am living on my own for the very first time. You might consider that courageous, but there’s a lot of false bravado involved.

My friends tell me I’m beautiful, intelligent, and kind; but I don’t always see what they see. My self-esteem is in the toilet for the obvious reasons. At age twenty-eight I haven’t experienced most things other adults my age have. I’m naive and clumsy, especially when it comes to men. My friend, Kimme, tells me I have a loser magnet imbedded in my forehead. That started with my ex, but sadly, it doesn’t end there.

The first man I dated after my divorce took me by storm. Michael’s an incurable romantic. He even looks like he belongs on the cover of a romance novel with his blatantly lustful eyes, his perpetual five o’clock shadow, and the thick dark hair that frames his face in perfect waves. His French accent and his mysterious past would prove difficult for any woman to resist, but he’s entirely too consuming. He proposed on our fourth date. I was too scared to accept. Now he stalks me, despite the restraining order. Needless to say, I’m struggling with some serious trust issues.

I’m Kristine Annabelle Stone, an elder rights advocate for the State of Montana. Currently, I’m surrounded by an amazing circle of friends, friends who regularly shield me from my stalker and my ex-husband, Tom. Opportunity knocks in the form of a U.S. Senate fellowship, which is why I’m sitting in this bar, toying with my wine glass, and contemplating my options. If only I had a crystal ball. . .

A crystal ball would reveal that someone sitting at this table is about to betray me. If I peered deep inside the mist swirling within, I’d discover that I’m about to run. The future holds dark things for me, things that aren’t necessarily anchored in my past. That future is riddled with people who would do me harm, but it’s also filled with unbreakable friendships and passionate men who would save me at all costs.

Unfortunately, I don’t own a crystal ball. So I’m peering at this chipped wine glass, in a bar that used to be a brothel, surrounded by exposed bricks, battered carpet, and weathered wood walls when I discover something remarkably empowering. You can still find beauty and strength in broken things. I relax into my seat, take a sip of wine, and smile. With an epiphany as powerful as that, who needs a crystal ball?

You can read more about Kristine in The Broken Road, the first book in “The Broken Series”, published by Ruff Publishing, LLC.

About The Broken Road

Montana girl Kristine Stone was strong enough to break out of an abusive marriage, but is she strong enough for the road that lies ahead? For the first time in her life, Kristine finds she is able to control the direction her life takes. Haunted by her ex-husband and a newly acquired stalker, she decides to leave Montana to work in the US Senate. Kristine issues a moratorium on dating the moment she decides to move to DC. This does little to deter Kadyn Rand, the Air Force Captain, who threatens to tear down every wall she’s ever built. Still, someone from her dark past refuses to be ignored, and Kristine finds herself in yet another fight for her life.

Air Force Captain Kadyn Rand is too stoic to be swept away by much of anything, but a vulnerable woman from Montana manages to do just that when she finds herself alone and in danger in DC. Kadyn tries to earn Kristine’s love and her trust, but he soon learns it will take much more than that to save her from her past.

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Friday, October 30, 2015 for the chance to win a kindle version of The Broken Road. This giveaway is open to everyone.

Meet the author
I live in Northern Virginia with my football-crazed husband, two beautiful daughters, and two psychotic Shih Tzus. I teach courses in international relations, peacekeeping, and human security for the American KSRuffMilitary University. I’m passionate about teaching, reading, and writing. A steady intake of chocolate and coffee enable me to juggle all three. Really, who needs sleep?

I love challenging perceptions, encouraging my readers to see the good in people they may otherwise judge harshly, and challenging people to view the world in complex shades of gray. The Broken Series is dedicated to anyone who has ever been broken. Everyone is broken in some small way. If you aren’t, you will be eventually. It is not a bad thing. It is through that brokenness that we find the courage and strength to do great things!

You can learn more about The Broken Series and K.S. Ruff on her website at, on Twitter, Pinterest, and on her Author Facebook page.

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