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RAIN HAS SEARCHED FOR A PLACE TO CALL HOME. BUT THERE'S NOWHERE TO HIDE WHEN THE NIGHT SKY LIGHTS UP WITH TERROR....Torn from the embrace of her poor but loving family, Rain Arnold now lives surrounded by opulent riches but feels more like an outsider than ever before. Her heart's true passion -- the theater -- may prove to be her salvation, as she embarks on a journey to unmask a legacy of long-buried family secrets.Enrolled in one of England's most prestigious drama schools, Rain is sent to London to live with her great-aunt, Lenora, of the renowned Endfield family. Their estate is breathtakingly austere, filled with antiques and a long, storied history. But something isn't right. Rain hears footsteps at night, and the high-pitched laughter of a little girl. She sees strange lights in rooms that are supposed to be closed off. And everything about the place -- the air, the silence, even the somber household staff -- is as cold and soulless as a museum. Behind the icy sheen of wealth and privilege lies something unspeakable. Something that could turn Rain's most precious dreams into an inescapable nightmare....
About V.C. Andrews® With the publication of her first book, Flowers in the Attic, V.C. Andrews' novels became a bestselling phenomenon. Flowers in the Attic was followed by thirty-five more spectacular successes: Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, My Sweet Audrina, Heaven, Dark Angel, Garden of Shadows, Fallen Hearts, Gates of Paradise, Web of Dreams, Dawn, Secrets of the Morning, Twilight's Child, Midnight Whispers, Darkest Hour, Ruby, Pearl in the Mist, All That Glitters, Hidden Jewel, Tarnished Gold, Melody, Heart Song, Unfinished Symphony, Music in the Night, and Olivia; the Orphans series, which includes Butterfly, Crystal, Brooke, Raven, and Runaways; and the Wildflowers series, featuring Misty, Star, Jade, Cat, and Into the Garden. Lightning Strikes is the second novel in the thrilling new Hudson series, which began with Rain. V.C. Andrews' novels have sold more than eighty million copies and been translated into sixteen foreign languages.
Chapter One: A Grand Adventure Grandmother Hudson sat there with an I-told-you-so smile on her face at the breakfast table after I returned from speaking with my mother on the phone."Well?" she asked when I sat in silence. I knew she wanted to hear she had been right. Spitefully, I wanted to keep her waiting. Actually, my reluctance to speak was more out of my own pain. No matter how brave a face I put on, I was still disappointed."She's not coming," I said quickly, my eyes downcast. "She says the attorney general is having them over for dinner. I'm supposed to call her if you dare make plans to go with me to England.""I should go just for that," Grandmother Hudson said like a petulant little girl. "Have you packed everything?""Yes."She slid a long white envelope over the table to me."What's this?""Extra spending money. I don't expect my sister will buy you anything you need. It's a bank draft, so soon after you arrive, ask Leonora to direct you to her bank and have it deposited. You know, of course, all the money will be changed to English pounds?""Yes.""You'll have to learn the exchange rate so you understand what things will cost. Of course you'll speak the same language," she continued, "but there are many differences. My sister has become an Anglophile. She has an accent and all, although there were times even recently when I caught her sounding more like an American. It will take a little getting used to, but that will be part of the adventure." She paused, sat back and sighed. "I wish I was your age, going off somewhere. I feel like I've been chained to this chair and imprisoned by my own traitorous heart," she moaned."You've told me many times that you did a great deal of traveling and that you enjoy not having to drag off somewhere," I reminded her."Yes, we did travel quite often until Everett became ill." She paused, looking thoughtful for a moment and then smirked at me. "No one told you that you have to memorize every last word I utter in this house and then throw them back at me."I laughed at her and she smiled, wagging her head. Then she grew serious again."I should tell you a little about my sister Leonora and her husband Richard," she said sitting forward. "You already know he is a barrister, and Leonora will be the first to tell you how important he is. They live in a fancy part of London, Holland Park. I've actually only been there twice, once for a visit and once...for a funeral.""Funeral?""They lost their only child Heather. She was seven at the time.""How horrible. How did she die?""She was born with a defective heart valve and corrective surgery didn't solve the problem. One morning, they found she'd died in her sleep. It was very sad.""What did you tell your sister about me?" I asked."What everyone else believes. It's better for us to leave it that way. My sister isn't as liberal minded as I am. For now, she thinks you're going there to live and help with the domestic chores while you attend the drama school. Since they have a maid, a cook, a butler and a chauffeur, I'm sure there won't be all that much for you to do. She's certainly not going to give up her maid and assign her duties to you. Having a team of servants is too much of a status symbol to Leonora.""I'm not afraid of hard work, Grandmother.""I know." She smiled and then her face turned somber to add, "It's not the work that will be hard. However, I wouldn't have agreed to send you over if I didn't feel you would do well, Rain. Mr. MacWaine will take good care of you, and I do hope to get there myself someday soon, despite my oppressive physician."I nodded. I really did hope she would.Later in the day while I was writing a letter to Roy, I heard Victoria come into the house. I could always tell when it was Victoria. Her heels tapped down on the tile floor like tiny hammers when she walked. Her steps were deliberate, each one falling with a