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Broken Rules

By:Rebel Hart



Prologue





I’m walking hand in hand with Emmett Jameson. Something I never thought I’d do again.

Torture. Humiliation. Assault. Threats on my life. Taking me hostage. Constant emotional manipulation and abuse—these are the things he has put me through. Not to mention he worked alongside my estranged biological father to plot the murder of his own father. Can’t forget about that one. But there is also this intense attraction and sexual energy between us. A primal connection that keeps drawing us together no matter how hard I try to forget about it.

I swore that I never wanted to see or talk to him again—pleaded for him to let me go and leave me alone. But now the tables have turned, and he’s the one who’s afraid. Holding my hand like a scared little boy, and tugging me down the street to my house.

Emmett Jameson is drop dead gorgeous with thick, dark lashes, stormy gray eyes, and plump, pink, kissable lips that are always tormenting me with a faint smirk. His face has a slight crookedness to it that somehow only makes him more charming and irresistible.

My former friend, Lily, had just informed me my father is still hanging around town, scaring me into a frantic race towards my next class—anywhere away from her newfound hatred for me and the looming threat of my father’s lingering presence—when Emmett appeared, scared out of his mind and begging for my help.

He’s holding my hand too tight and walking too fast, sweating and looking over his shoulder in paranoia. I’ve never seen him this undone before.

“Slow down!” I bark at him, skidding my feet to a halt and yanking my hand away. “You’re hurting me.” My eyes glare at him with renewed rage as I tug at my stinging hand. I’m used to him hurting me, but I swore to myself it would never happen again, no matter what his excuse.

He looks back at me, his eyes welling up in desperate remorse.

“I…I’m sorry, Ophelia,” he stammers, stepping towards me. But I am unmoved. “I know…I know,” he tries again. “I know I promised I would never…”

“Hurt me again?” I snap back. “Funny how you’ve only been back in my life for ten minutes and you’ve already found some way to do that anyway.”

“I’m just scared, okay?” he pleads with me. “Come on, I don’t want to talk about this here in the middle of the street.”

I clutch my arms tightly across my chest, studying his urgency for a moment before I finally submit with a groan, taking off behind him again. His pace grows more frantic with each step as we approach my house.

“Hey! Wait!” I pull him to a stop again, wrestling him off to the side of the house. “Remember, I told you my mom and Brendan are home today. You’ve got to pull yourself together before we go in there.” Sweat is beading on the tips of his loose strands of hair.

“Okay.” He nods, not seeming to be able to snap out of it. He blinks rapidly, his wide, bloodshot eyes looking at me in a daze.

“They already don’t trust you after what they think happened before,” I remind him, growing angry at the memory. Remorse returns to his face, piling even more strain on top of his already-stressed expression. “Come on, Emmett, I mean it! They’re not going to like me bringing you here. If you act like this, they’re going to know something’s up. So, unless you want to tell them everything, you’ve got to calm down.”

He steps back and leans over to rest his hands across his knees, puffing sharp breaths out through his cheeks. I have to fight the urge to rush to his side and wipe his damp forehead, straighten his hair, and tell him everything will be okay. I want to coddle him, but I can’t let myself do that. Not after everything he’s put me through.

Suddenly, he straightens up and mops the sweat with the sleeve of his shirt. Like a switch has been flipped, he composes himself and comes back to me with an eerily casual smile. His face leans close to mine and a heavenly masculine scent floods over me. The effect he has never ceases to shock me—how I can always want to be so close and so far from him all at once? He devours me with his haunting, icy eyes, always filled with curiosity and desire. But there is always a lurking tinge of hatred and malice, and I never know if it is intended for me or not.

Emmett leans against me, nudging the strain of his pants between my legs. We’re both burning with desire. “I want you right now. Right here,” he murmurs softly. “Don’t you remember what it was like before? How good it felt to have me inside of you?”

He draws me in, and I am so close to caving. To risking getting caught or seen, and just wrapping my legs around him right here and now, hidden beside my house. The past couple of weeks have changed nothing—I still need him, even though I hate him. And no matter how much he scares me, it takes next to nothing for me to be ready to give myself to him again.

He stares at me and frowns. “I’ve always been able to see that fear in your eyes when you look at me,” he says remorsefully. “I’ve always wished so badly that I knew how to make it go away.” Before I can respond, he walks away.

“Okay, then,” I mutter, half-stunned as we turn back to the front door. I have to remind myself that I’m dealing with a master manipulator. Aside from the many things Emmett’s guilty of, his father was a monster, so he’s used to detaching from his emotions to save face.

The smell of simmering meat and spices wafts through the air as we step into the warmth of my home. “Ophelia?” my mother calls out as soon as the front door opens.

My mom is a nurse, and had no trouble finding a job when my scholarship brought us to Jameson. My stepdad Brendan works on power lines. They both do their fair share around the house, with the cooking and cleaning and constant worrying about me. She has been especially overprotective since I went missing for those few days.

Her face drops the moment she rounds the corner and sees him standing there next to me. “Oh,” she gasps.

“Hello, Mrs. Lopez,” Emmett chimes brightly, with a polite smile.

“Ophelia…” My mom is speechless. She didn’t expect to see me with him again after I told her I’d decided he was a bad influence.

“Emmett just needs some help with his homework,” I offer as calmly as I can. “We’re going up to my room, but he won’t be here long.”

She looks unconvinced, and won’t stop looking him up and down with a seething, distrusting glare.

“Mrs. Lopez, I owe you an apology.” He steps forward to interject just as her lips part and she seems to be gathering her words. “I can’t imagine how worried you must have been when Ophelia was gone with me for those couple of days. I should never have allowed us to get so carried away.”

The sincerity of his tone chills me. He is too good at lying, and any time I see him doing it to other people, I am reminded to be cautious of every word he says to me. I never ran off with him. He and his fucked-up family, along with the rest of the Elites, held me hostage in an attempt to get my estranged father to back off, but you’d never know that looking at us both now.

“Don’t worry, Mom,” I assure her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I’m not going anywhere this time.”

She looks at my hand, and then back at Emmett’s face. She’s not going to be so easily convinced. I see the rage building inside of her as her brow furrows and one fist rises to her hip. “You’ve got some nerve showing back up here,” she growls, scowling. “And you expect me to trust you this time? Just like I did after you wrecked your car with my precious Ophelia inside?”

“That was an accident,” he blurts, his lips pursing immediately at his poorly chosen words.

“An accident,” she scoffs. “How do I know she won’t ‘accidentally’ go missing again for a few days in your company?”

“Mom, really, it’s okay,” I interject, knowing Emmett can’t hold up to an interrogation right now. “I promise you I’m not going anywhere. Just a quick study and homework session in my room…that’s all.” The confidence and assurance in my own voice surprises me. I am getting good at lying, too, now. Something I’ve picked up along the way in Jameson, I suppose.

Her face twists up with doubt as she looks us both over with narrow eyes. I’m thankful for her wariness. If Emmett is up to his old games, it could save me. But I straighten up under her gaze, holding strong to convince her I am fine. Everything is fine. I am working to convince myself of just as much.

“I don’t want you two leaving the house together,” she commands, her voice low and defeated.

“Absolutely,” Emmett shoots back eagerly. “We won’t go anywhere.”

He is already turned away from her, racing up to the privacy of my room, but I linger for a moment and hug my mom tight. “It’s okay, I promise,” I whisper to her, side-eyeing Emmett boldly. I need him to make sure my words stay true.

“Please eat dinner with us tonight,” she says dryly in reply.

“Of course,” I chirp, sounding too cool and normal. I have to break away from this now, or I’ll lose my nerve. I turn to follow Emmett, wishing more and more that I had just told him no, that I couldn’t help him.

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