The Reigning and the Rule
by Calia Read
Book 2 in the Surviving Time Trilogy
Étienne Lacroix and I had a fire I thought would never die.
Our love was timeless.
An irreversible decision sent me back to the present day with a family I barely recognize, but I am determined to find a way back to Étienne.
I can survive time. But I can’t survive life without him.
Time bends to no one’s demands, so I must fight with everything I have to return to the past. However, I am terrified that the past I once knew might not look the same, and the man who once called me his surviving trace will no longer be waiting for me.
Time bends to no one’s demands but sometimes love does…
Sci-Fi (Time Travel)
The Reigning and the Rule is the second book in Calia Read's Surviving Time trilogy, and centers around Serene and Etienne. Serene's actions in the past have saved Etienne's family and legacy, but now Serene is back in her time, and doesn't recognize who her family has become. She needs to go back - not only to try to bring back her loving family, but to get back to her soulmate, Etienne. But she is scared. Not knowing how much time has passed in his time vs hers, what if the love she thought would never die is a farce? What if he has moved on? And what if she does more damage then good to her present day family?
Holy shit. It's not often I read a book that is SO full of tension that my heart pounds the whole time I am reading it, and my chest HURTS from the emotions it wrings out in me. But this one did it. I spent a good deal of this book hurting, crying, smiling, laughing. And while you might be thinking why I would put myself through the emotional whiplash (my husband certainly did), I tell you, this book is worth it. For all the same reasons as before. Serene and Etienne's characters were just as delicious as the first time around, but with the added tensions of the events of this book, you really feel the love and heartache for these character. The side characters, especially Nat and Livingston, are wonderful. The bonds Serene builds with them is truly sibling-like, and I love all their scenes together. The plot was interesting, if a bit frustrating from a romantic point of view. But it was needed, and felt realistic. It's the second book of 3! We can't just rush into a happily ever after! But dear god ... the tension. THE TENSION.
I'm obsessed with these books, and I beg of you to download them onto your kindle (the whole series is on kindle unlimited!) and the spin off. It's worth it. I promise you!
Cry for what you lost. Cry for what you miss. Cry for the ache in your chest. And then wipe the tears because tomorrow is a brand new day and a whole new beginning. I swallow because I know what this woman is capable of. Tell her woman is made from man, and she’ll break your clavicle with a smile on her face. Nat: “Now isn’t the time, Livingston,”
Nat: “Leave the room.”
Livingston: “Thank you,”
he breathes. I’m surprised he doesn’t give Nat a kiss on the cheek before he flies out the door. Etienne: “You bit me.”
Serene: “I think you deserved it. Some women might think breaking and entering in the middle of the night is swoon-worthy, but this is creepy as hell. Straight up Edward Cullen shit.” Etienne: “My brother hasn’t tried anything on you, has he?”
Serene: “You’re kidding, right? Livingston is like a Chocolate lab. He’s a lot of fun to play with, but when you’re finished, he’s off playing with someone else while you discovered he ruined your sofa.” Perhaps the greatest agony you can feel is to watch the love of your life walk this Earth with someone else. Livingston: “Your tongue works faster than your brain. Please don’t say somethin’ you’re gonna regret.”
Serene: “Then why have me come because we both know that’s gonna happen.” Nicholas: “You wouldn’t happen to ride horses very often would you?” When I glance at Livingston, I notice him giving Nicholas a curious look. Étienne pretends not to listen, but I see his shoulders tense. I smile at Nicholas and tilt my head to the side.
Serene: “Oh, yes. Étienne and I used to ride quite frequently when we were married. In fact, we were so skilled in riding we’d go bareback all the time. Right, Étienne?”
I smile at him innocently. Livingston suddenly chokes on his drink. The guest next to him starts slapping him on the back, asking if he’s okay. The table becomes deathly quiet. Étienne’s fist covers his mouth as he glares at me. The fire burning in his gaze could burn down this room.
“This is war,” I mouth to him. Scarlett may seem sweet, but she’s not dumb. Like everyone else at the table, she picks up on my double entendre and narrows her eyes. I don’t care. Her future husband may be sitting next to her, but he’s staring at me. He’s picturing me and all the things we’ve done. And he may want to strangle me for what I’ve said, but he wants to fuck me, too. Étienne doesn’t want her like he wants me. And she knows that. The women at the table are scandalized by the remark. The men interested. Especially Nicholas. Étienne clears his throat and lowers his hand onto the table. Slowly, his gaze slides from mine as he faces the rest of the table.
Etienne: “Serene is a very skilled rider.”
To hide my smirk, I take a sip of my champagne and ignore the whispers around me. I told myself I would grant her space until Livingston or Nat gave me further notice that Serene wasn’t as furious or had done the impossible—forgiven me. But considering she told Livingston after the engagement party that she wanted to cut my dick off and use it to choke me with it, I don’t think the latter will happen. Serene: “I get it. I get it. I look like a slore.”
Livingston: “What exactly is a slore?”
Serene: “It’s a mixture of the words slut and whore. Combine them and you have slore.”
Livingston: “Dear God. I’m sorry I even asked.”
Serene: “Should I unbutton another button?”
Livingston rubs his temples.
Livingston: “No. I think you’re showin’ enough skin.” The vicious thing about love that no one ever tells you is how it’s so incredibly easy to fall in love. It’s the falling out process that can be a real bitch. Livingston: “I have to admit somethin’.”
Serene: “Dare I ask?”
Livingston: “I was going to say it appears as though I was wrong. Étienne didn’t kill you today.”
Serene: “Oh, Livingston. Looks can be deceiving. I seem alive, but I can assure you I’m dying on the inside.” Livingston: “What is all the ruckus?”
Serene: “Yes, that’s what I’m wondering too,”
I say through gritted teeth. Étienne peels his eyes away from me and flings a hand at Nat.
Etienne: “She told me that you were in here while Serene was gettin’ fitted for clothes.”
Nat: “I was kiddin’,”
Nat interjects. The corner of Livingston’s lips fight to stay in a straight line.
He glances at me, but his gaze doesn’t have anything close to the fire lingering in Étienne’s eyes. Livingston simply has pure mischief gleaming in his irises.
Livingston: “Unfortunately, I was not in the room.”
He gives me a once-over and winks.
Livingston: “Though it’s obvious I should have been.” Serene: “But we’re only human. We react to situations in different ways and handle our pain the best way we know how. Doesn’t make it the right way. It simply means we’re trying to survive.” Etienne: “You won’t admit you love me, but do you want to kiss me?”
Serene: “Do you want to kiss me?”
Etienne: “Every day.” Étienne was talking to a fellow guest to his right, suddenly grows austere and shoots Scarlett a sharp look. Nathalie stares back and forth between us with alarm in her eyes. Livingston drapes an arm around his chair and grins before he smiles at Nicholas and points at me.
Livingston: “Pay close attention, my friend. This will be brusque and swift.”
My smile never dims as I tilt my head to the side and focus my attention on Scarlett. Livingston: “There’s an Oscar Wilde quote that I’ve been thinking of tonight,”
Serene: “Hold the phone. You know who Oscar Wilde is?”
Livingston: “Contrary to popular belief, I did listen durin’ my school years.”
Serene: “What’s your point, Livingston?”
I ask with a smile playing at the corner of my lips.
Livingston: “‘The one advantage of playing with fire...is that no one ever gets singed. It is the people who don’t know how to play with it who get burned up.’”
My smile fades.
Serene: “I’ve heard that quote. What are you implying?”
Livingston: “The game you’re playin’ tonight with my brother is dangerous.”
Serene: “Livingston, I never play a game I can’t win.”
Livingston: “Neither does he.”
Serene: “Then grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch the show.” Serene: “You’re going to meet your match one day, and she’s gonna flip your world upside down.”
Livingston laughs as if I made a joke.
Livingston: “I’d like to see that woman try.”
Serene: “It’ll happen,” Serene: “Go torture the bridesmaid you’re escorting.”
He looks around as the people linger on the sidewalk.
Livingston: “That’s a splendid idea. Where is Rainey?”
Serene: “Probably hiding from you.”
Livingston: “If you must know, I’m the one who should be hidin’. She stabbed me when we were kids.”
Bending down, he lifts his left dress pants leg and reveals a jagged scar on the back of his leg. My brows practically rise to my hairline.
He nods and stands to his full height.
Livingston: “Used her brother’s bow and arrow.”
Livingston tucks his hands into his pocket and rocks back onto his heels.
Livingston: “She wanted to play with Étienne and me and her brother. I told her she needed to stay inside and play with her silly dolls. Instead, she walked back to her house, grabbed her brother’s bow and arrow, climbed a tree, and waited to shoot at me.”
Serene: “God, I love her already.” Etienne: “You cut my shirt!”
Serene: “Yes. I apologize. I was aiming for your heart. Next time, I won’t miss. Now tell me why you lied!” Serene: “Any closer and I’ll be a part of you,”
Etienne: “If only that were possible,” If bodies were kingdoms, his would be mine. Mine, mine, mine. I reign over him, and he reigns over mine. Leaning against the doorframe, I watch my ex-future father-in-law.
Etienne: “If you’d allow me, I’d like to speak with Scarlett.”
Jack abruptly turns around and stares at me with outrage.
Jack: “Absolutely not. My daughter will not be speaking to a scoundrel like you.”
Over Jack’s head, Livingston makes eye contact and mouths the word, “Scoundrel,” and fights the grin threatening to pull up the corner of his lips. I shrug. There’s a first time for everything. Serene: “Fine. But” —I hold up a finger—“we speak to Asa, and that’s all. We can’t fuck with time, Étienne.”
A half-smirk appears on his face.
Etienne: “You speak so eloquently, Serene.”
And it's spin-off