Rule's Property (The House of Rule Book 2)(6)

By: Lynda Chance


"He wants to keep it," Damian answered flatly.

"Keep it? What the fuck for? The Rule Corporation doesn't keep shit. At least, only very rarely. Does Garrett not get what we do for a living? Do we need to send his ass back to school?"

"It's a little late for that." Damian chuckled, glancing out the window and then back to the folder. "Just take a look, will you? I actually think it's a good idea. You know he's wanted to branch out for a while now. Actually, expanding is probably a damn good idea. And we have to start somewhere, might as well be real estate. Goddamn, look how much fucking money we've made since we bought this building."

Nick tilted his head in agreement. There was no question that buying the downtown high-rise had been a stroke of genius. And it had been their youngest brother's idea. "I'll take a look, but I'm telling you, I don't have the time to run another subsidiary. Do you have any idea how much travel that would entail? We'd have to hire new people."

"Garrett can handle it since he has such a hard-on about it. But you have to admit, the kid's on the right track. We've almost doubled our profits with the corporate rents we're pulling in from this building alone."

"True," Nick agreed, glancing back down at the pictures in front of him.

Damian stalled for a moment before continuing. "Speaking of the building . . . you're not going to like this--"

"What?" Nick asked, lifting his head and narrowing his eyes on Damian, already pissed from just the tone of his brother's voice.

"Your dear mother--"

"Whose mother?" Nick quickly interrupted his brother's sarcastic opening gambit.

"Our mother." Damian admitted, smirking. "She's redecorating the house and asked if she could use the penthouse--"

"I live in the goddamn penthouse," Nick interrupted with an impatience he couldn't contain.

"I know you do. Obviously why I prefaced that statement with 'you're not going to like this.'" Damian replied blandly.

"Do not fucking tell me you gave her a key card," Nick spit out.

"I didn't." Damian stated with a sly smirk.

Nick studied the expression on his brother's face with building anger, instinctively bracing for what was coming. "Don't fuck with me," he hissed out.

"I didn't give her one." Damian's mouth twisted in a shit-faced grin before lowering his boom. "I gave it to Courtney."

Every muscle in Nick's body froze, the oxygen in his throat seizing up. "When did Courtney get home?" he managed to force out.

"Yesterday, I think," Damian replied off-handedly.

"When'd you see her?" Nick asked, trying not to sound as if he were interrogating his brother, barely aware that his words were becoming abrupt as his body tensed.

"Last night at the house. Girl looks good, all grown up. Finally lost that baby fat. Gave her my key card and Garrett's as well. He won't need it, since he's been living at the lake house when he's not travelling. The only card left is yours. Don't fucking lose it."

Nick lifted one eyebrow, expressing his irritation at the unnecessary warning. He remained silent, wondering if his body language was indicating that his emotions had just shifted into dangerous territory.

Damian went on, only semi-apologetically, "You know I didn't want to agree, but what the hell was I supposed to do?"

Nick's muscles stiffened as he tried to stay on subject, trying not to give any indication of his true thoughts. "Tell mother 'no'? Offer to put her up in a hotel? Let her stay at your house?" he suggested.

"Couldn't do that," Damian stated. "My house is too far from the city and Courtney has job interviews lined up this week."

"Courtney? What's she got to do with this?" Nick asked, confused.

His brother looked at him as if he'd grown an extra head. "Are you dense? What the fuck is wrong with you today? I told you she's home from grad school. I told you I gave her the key cards to the penthouse. Where do you think she'll be staying, exactly? If mom can't live in the house while it's being updated, how do you think Courtney will be able to?"

Nick let out a slow, exaggerated breath while he tried to get his brain to keep working. Keep up with the fucking conversation, Rule. You can do it. Get your goddamn head back in the game and out of that girl's pants. "I guess I don't get a vote in the matter?" he forced himself to ask a question that wouldn't sound suspicious to his brother.

"Look, Nick, I'm sorry. It'll only be for a few weeks, okay? Maybe less. The penthouse has four suites. You'll never know they're living there."

Nick frowned but said, "Fine."

"Fine? You're giving up that easily?" Damian asked incredulously.

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