If This is Love Read Online Jewel E. Ann

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Angst, Contemporary, Forbidden Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 99
Estimated words: 97369 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 487(@200wpm)___ 389(@250wpm)___ 325(@300wpm)

He's mine ... don't ever forget that.

Milo lives in the barn, a cowboy through and through.
I live in a castle, but I'm not a princess.

When the only person who loves me dies, Milo's there.
As I get older, I no longer look at Milo like a big brother. I look at him like the man God made just for me.

With the first glimpse of freedom from my pathetic excuse for a father, I imagine a future with Milo. I dream of the day when we won't have to hide our feelings.

But Milo has a secret. He is not free.
The man I love is marrying the woman I hate.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************




Fletcher Ellington purchased me for the bargain price of one million dollars. A gift for his wife, Ruthie.

I was four years old.

Ruthie sewed floral sun dresses and ran a boar-bristle brush through my hair every morning. She taught me to read Magic Tree House books, paint pictures to express my feelings, and question everything. We spent hours in her gardens, where I learned a tiny seed can turn into a “shit-ton” of zucchini. Fletcher’s word, not mine.

Now, she’s dead.

“Indie will be so lost,” Faye, Ruthie’s older sister, whispers to Grandma Hill while Ruthie’s casket disappears into the ground. It’s a polished white casket, shinier than Greg’s casket.

He died last year in an ATV accident. I was sad he died, and his wife and daughter didn’t. I know that’s bad, but Pauline (Fletcher’s sister) and my so-called cousin, Jolene, are terrible people. Everyone on Fletcher’s side of the family is terrible. Jolene is seven years older than me, and I hate her. Ruthie told me never to hate anyone, but I can’t help it. Jolene never misses an opportunity to remind me that I’m an “impostor.” Children purchased like racing horses and livestock are not “blood” family.

Someday, I’m going to get back at her. I’m going to take something that she wants. And I’ll stick my tongue out, even though Ruthie always told me nice girls don’t have to stick their tongues out. But I’ll do it anyway just to see Jolene’s freckled face turn red and steam shoot from her big nostrils.

For now, I can’t think about stupid Jolene. Instead, I focus on birds chirping while the breeze carries the slight smell of manure up the hill to our gathering around Ruthie’s grave. Fletcher falls to his knees next to the grave. I can’t imagine feeling worse if he were my real father grieving my real mother. Greg used to say that blood is thicker than water, but Ruthie said he wasn’t using the saying correctly. “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” Ruthie said it meant the opposite. “The bonds we make by choice are stronger than the bonds of family (the water of the womb).” And the only reason Uncle Greg and my mom had this argument was because Greg thought Jolene was more deserving than I was because she was his biological daughter.

I am the purchased livestock.

Ruthie wasn’t Fletcher’s family by blood. Still, while his body shakes with sobs, hands clenching his white button-down shirt over his heart, I think back to Uncle Greg’s death. Fletcher didn’t cry. Not once.

In my short ten-year life, I’ve quickly learned that love is different for everyone. Fletcher must have really loved Ruthie. That’s all I can figure out. What must everyone think of him sobbing like this? Like a child. He’s a king or maybe even a god. Nobody looks him in the eye, and everyone calls him “sir.”

He swears. Smokes cigars. And makes people disappear, according to Pauline. She tells Jolene to be good or “Uncle Fletcher will tie you up and take you for a ride in his truck.” Jolene rolls her eyes, but I don’t know why. I once saw a man’s boot hanging out of the back of Fletcher’s pickup truck. And it was attached to a leg despite Ruthie saying it was one of Fletcher’s boots.

I know what I saw.

But now? It’s as if someone spun the world like one of those globes at school, and everything is backward or upside down. Fletcher Ellington crying?

I wipe the tears. Fletcher’s been a good person to me. Good enough. I’ve always felt like he loved me because Ruthie loved me. Now that Ruthie’s gone, I’m not sure Fletcher has a reason to love me. Seeing him on his knees, I’m not sure he’ll love anyone ever again. Without Ruthie in the world, I wonder who will cry over my grave if something awful like cancer stops my heart from beating. Will they bury me in the Ellington family cemetery, or will I be composted like some animals that die here on the ranch?

“You’ll come with us for a few days.” Faye rests her hand on my shoulder. Her silver and turquoise rings clink together. Ruthie wore pretty rings too. But Faye has fake nails where Ruthie painted her own nails to hide the dirt that got stuck under them from so much time in her gardens. “Your dad needs some time alone.” Faye gently squeezes me, and my head leans into her touch.

My dad? I never call him Dad. In my head, I call him Fletcher—actually, Fletch because that’s what Ruthie called him. To his face, I call him “sir” like everyone else.

“Let’s go, Indie.” A familiar hand wraps around mine. It’s warm, calloused, and huge.