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A Secret Melody

A Rules Series bonus story

When she comes into view, I'm awestruck. In this moment, sitting at a grand piano, she's never looked more alive.

My name is Melody Peters and I'm dead. Gosh, that sounds dramatic doesn't it - except I guess you don't get more dramatic than dead. I have been awhile now. I've gotten used to it. I'm well past the acceptance stage.

I died when I was sixteen. A car crash. A drunk driver, I think.

I'd been on my way home from boarding school with my best friend Abby. But then I'd died. I don't think I was ready to die. I had too many things left to do. Fuck, I hadn't even written a bucket list yet.

The one thing I had done? I'd fallen in love. His name was Zach. Zach Mulligan.

He wasn't my first boyfriend. Hell, he wasn't even the first boy my big brother caught trying to climb out my bedroom window. Although, he was only the second. I wasn't a complete slag. But he was the first and only boy I ever fell in love with.

A Secret Melody is a Rules Series Bonus Story from USA Today Bestselling Author, Hanleigh Bradley.

"I really loved Melody and Zach’s story. You will definitely need a box of tissues with this one! A fabulous series!" - Behind Closed Door Book Reviews

Fans of the Rules series can read a special bonus epilogue on Hanleigh's Patreon.
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A+ Broken Rules-1.jpg
A+ Broken Rules-1.jpg

Maths class. I’m bored out of my skull.

I’m actually pretty good at Math and if I had a different teacher, I’d probably pay more attention, but I bloody hate Mrs Partridge and so my mind always wanders in Math.

It’s not intentional.

It doesn’t happen in any other lesson except Math. My big brother says it’s because I’m not challenged enough.

He thinks I’m a genius. I think he’s wrong.

My phone has been confiscated or I’d text my little brother, Ayden. He’s barely a year younger than me. We’re pretty close. We both go to boarding school but at different ends of the country, a fact I find unbelievably frustrating.

Our big brother, Landon, the serious one, is at University so we don’t hear from him too often.

He’s a bit of a dick.

I love him but he’s the sort of guy mums warn their daughters about. He doesn’t do ‘relationships.’ Actually, it isn’t just relationships he doesn’t do. It’s love, dating and all things beyond sex. All he does is sex.

I’ve told him a million times that he’s stupid, but he doesn’t believe me.

He doesn’t even believe in love. If he did, perhaps he’d change his pattern of fuck, roll off and leave. He’s the king of fuck and dump but he says he makes it clear from the beginning—there’s no future with him—and that apparently makes it all okay.

He didn’t believe me when I told him that one day, he’ll meet someone who’ll make him change his mind.

Landon’s convinced love is a fairy tale for silly little girls like me. He asked me to prove it—prove that love exists. So far, I’ve failed in that mission.

How can you prove that? I’ve been thinking it over for the best part of a week but I’m at a complete loss.

I sit here, my mind wandering, doodling stars all over the page in my notebook. I’m so distracted that I don’t even notice that someone has just taken the empty seat next to me.

‘Excuse me,’ someone says, pulling me from my thoughts.

I turn, practically jumping out of my skin.

My forehead scrunched, I look him over.

He’s new. Fit. Dark eyes, tanned skin and a defiant look on his face.

‘Who are you?’

He raises an eyebrow and gives me a questioning look, as if the whole world should know who he is. I’m a sucker for arrogant jerks that break your heart. I’m so screwed.

‘Did you miss that whole new kid intro?’ He laughs.

‘Er—maybe.’ I blush because apparently my face has nothing better to do. ‘I was distracted.’

He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t make any attempt to introduce himself or respond. Looks like it’s up to me.

‘I’m Melody.’

‘I know.’

‘You know?’ He’s clearly new so how the hell does he know who I am? Stalker much?

‘Teacher.’ He points at Mrs Partridge. ‘She said I was to sit next to Melody Peters.’

‘Oh,’ I reply dumbly. Thank you, Mrs Bloody Partridge.

‘I’m Zach,’ he smirks, ‘and you’re responsible for taking me to my classes this week.’

‘Since when?’ I huff out.

‘Since you weren’t listening to Mrs.’


He makes the whole thing worse by laughing at me. As fit as he is, I don’t think we’ll be friends.