Read Online Books/Novels:
Rule’s Property (The House of Rule #2)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
When Courtney Powell is orphaned at seventeen, she loses everything: her parents, her friends, the basic security she’s always known. Drowning under debilitating sorrow, she moves to St. Louis to live with her newly widowed godmother. From the beginning, the woman’s grown children accept her into their family . . . but there’s something about the middle brother that causes an inexplicable wariness within her.
Time goes by as Courtney struggles to overcome her grief. When she finally emerges some years later, it becomes apparent that somewhere along the way, without her input and much to her anxiety, she’s become Nick Rule’s exclusive property.
|Books in Series:|
|Books by Author:|
Six years before
Closing her eyes, Courtney leaned back in the bathtub and searched for a single hint of happiness. When she came up with nothing, she opened her eyes with a sigh of defeat. Picking up a handful of bubbles, she let them slowly sift through her fingers.
An eighteenth birthday was supposed to be fun, exciting, happy.
For her, the day held none of those things. Since she’d moved into the Rule household the year before, her only goal had been to keep breathing. It wasn’t as if she was suicidal, because she wasn’t. All she wanted was for time to pass so that the grief in her heart would begin to fade.
She didn’t care if her life was boring. Her heart was so full of anguish that it didn’t matter to her that she had no close friends nearby. Her sole purpose in life was to keep living, moving forward, day by miserable day. In her heart, she realized that she was doing little more than existing, not truly living her life. Still, the tiniest glimmer of hope remained that one day, she’d be able to finally want to live again, that she’d find love and happiness, that finally, she’d no longer be so alone.
She inhaled deeply and held the air in her lungs. Closing her eyes, she sank underneath the water and began to count. How long could she hold her breath? Did it even matter? When exactly would her life get better? When would the pain lessen and the shock begin to recede?
Losing one’s parents at such an early age couldn’t be anything less than devastating, but surely after almost a full year, things should have begun to look better? Of course, she knew it wasn’t that simple. She hadn’t only lost her parents; she’d been separated from her friends as well, because the Rules lived in St. Louis, far, far away from her home state of Florida. And she’d had no choice but to leave Florida; she had no one else and nowhere to go. Neither of her parents had had siblings, and Courtney had been born so late in their lives that her grandparents were gone as well. She’d been left with no relatives at all . . . no siblings, no aunts, no uncles, no cousins . . . nothing.
She surged to the top of the water and sat up, taking a deep breath, forcing oxygen into her starved lungs.
Everyone here had been so nice to her. Mrs. Rule had been her mother’s best friend, as well as Courtney’s godmother, and after the accident, she’d taken Courtney in without so much as a blink. “You mustn’t ever call me Mrs. Rule, darling. This is your home now and it always will be. My family is your family now, I want you to know that.”
“What should I call you?” Courtney remembered asking through a haze of pain.
A look of extreme sympathy had touched the older woman’s features as she’d wrapped her arms around Courtney. “I’d offer to let you call me mother, but we both know Jenny was your mother and I can’t ever take her place, nor would I want to. Do you want to call me Justine?”
“Even though she was a few years older than me, your mom was my best friend.” The older woman had swallowed, as if trying to contain her own pain, looking as if it took everything she had not to cry. She’d cleared her throat and continued quietly, “I loved her like a sister. We’ll mourn her and remember her together, shall we?”
Courtney knew it hadn’t been as easy on her godmother as the woman had let on; her own husband had died suddenly of a heart attack, only six months before, and Courtney knew that he’d been the love of Justine’s life. Courtney tried not to think of herself as a therapeutic pet project for her new guardian, because that wasn’t fair to Justine, but sometimes, that’s how she felt.
All of Justine’s children had already been grown and out of the house when Courtney came to live with her. All three of her sons, as well as her youngest, Erin, who was only a little over a year older than Courtney, but who’d already left for college by the time Courtney came to St. Louis. She visited a lot on the weekends and was nice to Courtney when she saw her. It was as if the other girl was glad someone was at home with Justine, so she didn’t have to feel guilty for leaving and going away to college when her mother was still mourning the loss of her husband so intensely.
Courtney admitted that Erin was sweet; every time she saw her, the other girl would try to put her at ease and make her feel as if she’d actually joined their family. Erin teasingly called her ‘little sister’, as if they shared a deeper connection than they really did.