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Breaking the Pattern 1-3 ebook

Breaking the Pattern 1-3 ebook

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By the author of Tattooed Teardrops, winner of the Top Fiction Award, In the Margins Committee, 2016, this poignant account of the lives of Henry, Sandy, and Bobby as they struggle to break free from the cycles of abuse, poverty, and mental illness that plague their families will touch your heart and challenge you to look at youth crime in another light.

The Breaking the Pattern books are gathered together into this compendium for your convenience and additional savings.

You will find:


As Henry should be focusing on his schooling and preparing himself for the future, he is hindered by abuse, the challenge of raising his baby brother while dealing with his mother’s deep depressions, and the return of a ghost from the past Henry has tried his best to forget.


Raised to a life of crime, Sandy is a teenage prostitute, junkie, and con artist. She always joked that her Da taught her a trade, that it hadn’t hurt her to be brought up like she was. But things keep getting more complicated, more dangerous, and Sandy doesn’t want to admit even to herself that she longs for an honest, normal life.


Bobby is a geeky teen who is convinced that his new foster home is everything he has ever hoped for. His foster mom Katya is different from any he has ever had; but as her behavior becomes more and more unpredictable and disturbing, he comes to realize that both he and Katya’s daughter Zane are in trouble.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A heartwarming, sad, intense story that will keep you turning pages until the end… P.D. Workman has a wonderful gift

If you enjoy gritty contemporary young adult books like those by John Green and Stephen Chbosky, give P.D. Workman’s Breaking the Pattern series a try.

By the author of Tattooed Teardrops, winner of the Top Fiction Award, In the Margins Committee, 2016, these poignant stories will touch your heart and challenge you to look at youth crime in another light.

Start your journey today!
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Chapter 1

Henry tried to enter the room quietly and remain inconspicuous. Sort of hard when the class was silent for a lecture and he arrived halfway through the period. The blackboard was already full of notes students were copying into their binders. He scanned the room for an empty desk and hoped the one he chose was actually free and not just empty because someone had gone to the restroom or was sick that day. He slipped in as quietly as possible, praying that the teacher would just keep going. But Mrs. Phillips stopped mid-sentence, watching him. Henry sat, head down, his slightly-too-long hair falling down over his eyes. Henry’s round-framed glasses slid down his sweat-slick nose. He pushed them back up and leaned his forehead on one hand as he opened a notebook and prepared to take notes with the other, barricading himself from her scrutiny.

“Are you Henry?” Mrs. Phillips approached his desk. The rest of the class watched with avid interest.

“Yeah,” Henry admitted. He tried to look confidently into her face and saw her eyes widen slightly as she saw his face clearly for the first time.

“Let’s go talk in the hall,” she suggested.

With the rest of the students’ eyes on them, Henry followed Mrs. Phillips out of the room and into the hall. She shut the door as the class began to buzz with gossip. She looked Henry over once more.

“What happened to your eye?”

Henry grimaced nervously. “Looks like someone belted me, huh?” he suggested. “I got up in the night to go to the can,” he explained. “Didn’t turn on the light. Slipped on my baby brother’s toy. I dunno what I hit—the doorknob or the counter or what. Knocked me cold. My ma freaked out this morning. Made me go to the hospital to get it x-rayed. That’s how come I’m late.”

“Wow.” She smiled reassuringly. “I just wanted to be sure. You realize school started two days ago?” She cocked an eyebrow.

Henry’s face warmed and a drop of sweat trickled down his back.

“We were on vacation,” he explained. “I guess my ma got the start day mixed up. If she doesn’t write things down, she gets the days wrong.”

“Okay. Go sit down. I’ll get you the list of supplies you need and give you the assignments you missed.”

“Thanks.” Henry breathed a sigh of relief.

They went back into the classroom. Henry slipped into his seat, sweating heavily with everyone’s eyes on him. Great way to start school; two days late and with a black eye. Good way to stay unnoticed. At least Mrs. Phillips didn’t seem to doubt his story. He waited for his heart to slow back down to normal, glancing around for any of his friends. There were a couple of acquaintances. No one close. But then, he wasn’t that close to anyone. He rubbed his palms on his pants and plucked his shirt away from his body to encourage it to dry faster.

Miss Phillips gave him a supply list and assignments that he had missed. She smiled and returned to the front of the room to continue her lecture. Henry read over the assignment and got to work. With any luck, he’d be caught up by the end of the day.

* * *

He made it through the rest of the morning unscathed. If other teachers noticed his black eye, they didn’t say anything about it. 

Since it was only a couple of days into the school year, his teachers hadn’t covered anything new yet. Just reviewing and warming up their brains for the upcoming semester. He wasn’t going to have to do much to catch up.

Henry scanned the cafeteria for familiar faces at lunchtime. It was the first year of high school and there were a lot of unfamiliar people—a lot more faces than there had been in junior high. The room was buzzing with barely controlled chaos. Hearing laughter nearby, Henry focused in on Andrew, a boy he had known since kindergarten. There was an empty seat next to him. Henry moved toward it and looked at Andrew questioningly. Andrew’s eyes lit up.

“Henry! Hey man, I haven’t seen you around,” Andrew enthused. “Thought that maybe you’d moved. Come on, have a seat.”

Henry slid into the seat. “Thanks.”

Andrew took a bite of his sandwich, looking Henry over.

“Hey, you know you got a shiner?” he asked around a mouthful.

There were giggles from some of the surrounding students. Andrew was kind of a clown. He liked an audience.

“Yeah, I did notice,” Henry said dryly.

“You get in a fight or something? I should see the other guy?”

Henry shook his head, carefully peeling back the edges of the plastic wrap of his sandwich. “No… I gotta start putting on my glasses and the light when I get up at night. Stop walking into doors.”

Andrew laughed, nodding. “Just how strong are those pop bottles? You blind without them?”

“If it’s pitch dark, yeah,” Henry agreed. “May as well have my eyes shut. In fact, maybe I’d see better with my eyes shut!”

Andrew giggled. He gestured to the boy seated across from him. “Do you know Tony?”

“No.” Henry sketched a salute. “Hi. I’m Henry.”

“Henry’s a stand-up guy,” Andrew declared, “and real handy with homework if you need help. Tony’s new this year, just moved into the neighborhood. He’s in most of my classes.”

Henry nodded, munching on his sandwich. The bread was stale and a bit dry. And there hadn’t been nearly enough peanut butter to coat the slices. With just bread and jam, he was going to be starving by the time he got home. But he wasn’t using the school lunch program unless he had to. He got teased enough as it was.

“And I guess you know everyone else,” Andrew said.

Henry glanced at the others in the immediate vicinity. A few familiar faces from junior high. No one that he was particularly friendly with, but no one who bullied him, either. He got a few nods of greeting.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Hey.”

Chapter 2

At the end of the school day, after the dismissal bell, students were hanging around in the hallways, visiting, catching up with old friendships and trying out new ones. Already, there were a few couples lip-locked in front of lockers or in corners, testing out the new freedoms of high school. In junior high, such displays had been immediately broken up by the teachers. In high school, they were ignored. Henry didn’t hang around or look for any of his friends. He hurried straight home.

He dropped his books on the kitchen table. Bobby was crying in the bedroom.

“Ma? Ma, are you home?” Henry called, looking around for her.

There was no reply. Henry made his way to his room, where Bobby was standing in his crib screaming. He held onto the bars tightly. The baby’s face was red and sweaty. He sounded frantic, like he’d been crying for a long time. When Henry appeared, Bobby immediately reached out his arms, his screams changing in pitch to an urgent uh-uh-uh! Henry reached in and picked him up. Bobby clung to him, burying his face in Henry’s shirt, his sobs starting to slow. His fingers dug into Henry, sharp nails catching at his skin. He was holding on so tightly that Henry figured if he let him go, he’d hang there without support like a baby monkey. Henry bounced and cuddled him.

“There, you’re okay,” he murmured. “Henry’s here. You’re okay.”

There were three empty bottles in the crib. Henry collected them with one hand, wedging one under his opposite armpit so he could carry them all without putting Bobby down. He went into the kitchen.

“Shh, shh,” he comforted as he jiggled Bobby. He prepared a fresh bottle of formula for Bobby with his free hand and held it in front of him.

“There you go. Why don’t you put that in your mouth for a bit?”

Bobby drank the bottle around sniffles and gasps. Henry took him into the bathroom to change his reeking diaper. He gently wiped Bobby’s bottom, which started him crying again. His skin was bright red and inflamed, obviously painful to the touch. Henry disposed of the dirty diaper and left Bobby bare-bottomed.

“There. You can play like that while I study and get a snack.”

Henry put Bobby down on the kitchen floor and made another jam sandwich for himself. He sat down over his books, eating the sandwich slowly while he read, glancing over at Bobby every few minutes to make sure that he was happy crawling around and kept out of mischief.

The front door opened. Henry looked over his shoulder to see who it was. Clint. A big man, wearing a construction hardhat, looking unshaven as usual. He was rank with sweat.

“Hi.” Henry looked back at his books, uninterested in further interaction.

“Hey, Hank,” Clint grunted.

“Don’t call me that,” Henry objected. “It’s Henry.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

Clint didn’t care. He had no intention of showing Henry the respect of calling him by his preferred name.

“You seen my mom?” Henry asked. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed the space between his eyebrows.

“No. She’s not home?”


Obviously. Why would Henry ask if she was there? Clint wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. Clint watched Bobby playing on the floor.

“How come Squirt’s got no diaper?”

“He got left in a dirty diaper. It burns his skin. The baby book says the best thing is to let his skin get some air,” Henry explained.

“What if he whizzes on the floor?”

“I’ll clean it up.”


Clint looked around. “I’ll see you around, then, Hank.”

“You’re not staying?”

“Not if Dorry’s not home.”

He adjusted his hard hat, showing a white band of skin where the hat’s front support kept the sun and dirt from darkening his face, and he turned and left. Henry sat for a moment, listening to his retreating footsteps. He shrugged and went back to work.

It was late when the door opened next. Dinner and homework were long since finished. Bobby was back in bed, asleep this time in a clean, dry diaper and onesie, tummy happily full. Henry put down his book and got up off his bed quietly so as not to wake Bobby.


He walked out to the living room, where she was taking off her shoes and her fall coat. Her face was pale and thin, dark rings under her eyes, her brown hair lank and uncombed over her shoulders. She forced a smile at Henry.

“Hi, Honey. How was your day?”

“You left Bobby alone,” Henry accused, ignoring her greeting and question.

“I couldn’t take his fussing anymore.” Her voice was flat and emotionless. “Don’t get on my case.” 

“You could have called me at school. So I could come home at noon or something.”

“I didn’t want you to miss any more school. He was okay until you came home.” 

“You can’t leave him alone like that! What if he got out of his crib? Or someone came into the house? You know Social Services would take him away if they knew you left him alone.”

“Well,” she shook her head slightly, “no one is going to tell them.”

“You want him to be taken away?” Henry challenged.

“They’d put him in foster care for a while,” she said with a shrug, “and then they’d give him back again.”

Henry remembered being in foster care years ago. When she was recovering from a relationship and couldn’t ‘handle’ him. She probably didn’t even remember that man’s name anymore. But Henry did. He remembered Frank. He remembered a lot more than she thought he did, though neither one of them ever brought it up.

“Bobby’s got a real bad rash,” Henry told Dorry. “Was he dirty when you left?”

Dorry swept her hair back from her face with both hands in a tired gesture. She went to the fridge and looked through it listlessly, eventually selecting a small juice box of lemonade that sat alone on the top shelf. Henry watched her remove the straw, removed the wrapper from it, and poke it into the top. She took a couple of small sips and put it to the side on the counter, where she probably wouldn’t pick it back up again.

“Of course not,” she told him. “I made sure he was okay.”

“You can’t just leave him by himself,” Henry repeated. “The baby book—”

“Henry,” she interrupted him tiredly, “I don’t care what the baby book says. The baby book doesn’t have to listen to him cry all the time. I do. You know how he’s been the last few days.”

“Yeah, ’cause he’s been sick. And I was the one taking care of him then, not you. Did you even stay with him at all today? Or did you just put bottles in the crib and leave as soon as I was out of the house?”

“You’re not my mom,” Dorry snapped, “I’m yours. You don’t get to tell me what to do.”

Henry exhaled sharply in frustration. He picked his books up from the table, shutting them loudly and putting them into his backpack.

“Is that how you took care of me when I was a baby?”

Dorry looked at him for a moment, her pale brown eyes expressionless. She ruffled his hair. “You turned out okay.” 

That was as close as she ever got to saying that she loved him. Henry noted that she hadn’t answered the question.

* * *

Henry woke up several times during the night. Not because Bobby was fussing, but just because he was anxious. He would get up and check Bobby’s diaper, worried that the rash was going to get worse if Bobby had to sleep the night through in a wet or dirty diaper. He checked Bobby’s temperature to make sure that his fever hadn’t returned. 

When he couldn’t think of anything else to check, he just stood there by the crib in the moonlight, looking at Bobby’s cherubic face as he slept. 

Then Henry climbed back into bed with a sigh and tried to force his mind to slow down and let him return to sleep.

P.D. (Pamela) Workman is a USA Today Bestselling author, winner of several awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody and the InD’tale Magazine’s Crowned Heart award, and has published over 100 mystery/suspense/thriller and young adult books.

Workman loves writing about the underdog. She has been praised for her realistic details, deep characterization, and sensitive handling of the serious social issues that appear in her stories, from light cozy mysteries to darker, grittier young adult and mystery/suspense books.

P. D. Workman does not shy from probing the deep psychological scars of childhood trauma, mental illness, and addiction. Also characteristic of this author, these extremely sensitive issues are explored with extensive empathy, described with incredible clarity, and portrayed with profound insight.
—Kim, Goodreads reviewer