Title: Sweet Thing
Author: Renee Carlino
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads Link: http://tiny.cc/cm97zw
Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets
Mia Kelly is a twenty-five-year-old walking Gap ad who thinks she has life figured out when her father’s sudden death uproots her from slow-paced Ann Arbor to New York City’s bustling East Village. There she discovers her father’s spirit for life and the legacy he left behind with the help of an old café, a few eccentric friends, and one charming musician.
Will Ryan is good-looking, poetic, spontaneous, and on the brink of fame when he meets Mia, his new landlord, muse, and personal heartbreaker.
A story of self-discovery and friendship, Sweet Thing shines light on the power of loving and letting go.
*Sweet Thing will be on sale for $2.99 the two weeks of the blog tour*
I followed Jenny around a little and made sure she had everything she needed. The DJ played some hip-hop music so of course the wedding party had to have a dance off on the little makeshift grassy dance floor we’d created. After Jenny kicked everyone’s ass by pulling out all the stops and yanking her dress up to do the Michael Jackson splits, I skipped up to the cottage to grab a sweater. There were only two bedrooms in the cottage—the smaller one I was staying in and the one that Jenny’s parents would stay in that night. Jenny and Tyler were getting swept away to some secret spot his parents had paid for and most of the other guests were either going back to the city or staying in a hotel nearby.
I opened the door and noticed right away a couple was in the room. They didn’t notice me because they were partially hidden by an old-fashioned privacy screen, plus they were... occupied. I squinted my eyes but couldn’t make out exactly what I was seeing and then I heard what was sadly becoming a familiar sound: Audrey and Will having sex. I backed out of the room, begging the universe to let me remain unseen. I shut the door and turned around to walk away when I ran smack into Will’s chest.
“Have you seen Audrey?” he said. I did a double-take. I must have looked as confused as I felt. Who the heck was in there with Audrey?
It wouldn’t be long before I found out. “What, Mia?” he said seriously and then Dustin walked out of the room and stood behind me, closing the door behind him. Will glanced at Dustin and then back at me. He looked dumbfounded and ruined like he was going to cry and then he whispered, “Oh no. Really? Really, Mia? You and him?”
Dustin and I stood there frozen and then with perfectly shitty timing Audrey opened the door and walked out. It was only a matter of seconds that we stood there, but it felt like an eternity. I couldn’t find the words to tell Will that I wasn’t part of it. His voice suddenly got loud and high. “What?” he said through crazy laughter. He was laughing and it was scary and then his expression turned to bewilderment and then disgust. “The three of you? What the fuck?” He turned on his heel and headed down the hallway, waving his arms around and mumbling something I was sure none of us could understand.
I turned and looked at Audrey and Dustin. “You guys are serious assholes. You should leave.” They looked blankly at me like idiots. I ran after Will, but I was a ways behind him. Every one of the guests watched as Will grabbed a giant bottle of whiskey and headed toward the dock. “What are you doing, Will?” I yelled after him.
I noticed Audrey and Dustin hadn’t taken my advice yet, because they came rolling out behind me. When I got to the top of the dock Will had already rowed himself to the middle of the pond in the tiny wooden boat. “Come back, Will, let’s talk,” I said, pleading with him.
“I’m not. Talking. To. You. Ever!” It was lunatic Will.
He stood up in the boat, looked at me, Dustin, and Audrey and flipped us off with both hands, then yelled, “Fuck all of you!” And then he lost his balance and the boat started rocking. He fell but sat right back up and started rowing away. “Don’t look for me!” he yelled as he rowed farther into the darkness.
All the wedding guests looked on with amusement. I looked at Jenny and mouthed, “Sorry.” As I turned to head back toward the cottage, I stopped in front of Dustin and Audrey, “Come on, the screw-happy drummer? So cliché, both of you. Just leave.” They turned and headed for their cars without a word.
I went to cottage and finally got that sweater and then I exchanged my heels for some Converse, grabbed a flashlight, and headed back out. The pond was only about the size of a football field and there was an easy-to-navigate footpath around the entire thing. I walked around to the other side where I found Will sitting in the boat on the shore, taking continuous swigs of whiskey.
“Will?” I said in a low voice.
“Don’t fucking come near me, Mia. I swear to God I will row myself into the middle of that Goddamn pond and stay there till next year.”
I stood still and spoke calmly. “I walked into the room and thought you and Audrey were having sex. I couldn’t see who it was behind the screen. I tried to sneak back out and that’s when I ran into you. I was confused.”
“Go away, Mia.”
I knew Will believed me because he knew me, but he was hurting and I wished I could comfort him. I looked back at the wedding where I could see the party winding down and people leaving. Seeing the lights from a place so dark was enchanting, but it made me sad that two people who were supposed to care about him had ruined such a beautiful place for Will. I went back to the wedding where everyone was cleaning up. I worried about Will, but he was surprisingly responsible for someone who could act so erratically. I knew he wouldn’t do anything stupid.
We sent Jenny and Tyler off in a fancy old car and then it was just Jenny’s parents and me. I said goodnight to them and showered and then crawled into bed wearing my underwear and Clash T-shirt. I was asleep within minutes.
Lying on my side, I started awake and glanced at the clock. It was five thirty a.m. and I had my typical reaction. Whenever I drink or stay up late, it never fails, I always wake up way too early and then I get anxiety over the fact that I didn’t get enough sleep, which prevents be from going back to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s annoying as hell. My mind also wandered to Will; it was getting light out, so it was that coldest time in the morning before the sun is up. I turned over and gasped when I found him next to me, fully clothed in his suit and shoes, lying on top of the quilt and sound asleep. He smelled like a whiskey distillery but looked like a pallid child. My heart ached for him. I crawled out of bed, careful not to make any noise. I untied his laces and gently pulled his shoes and socks off. He moaned and mumbled something in his sleep. I lifted his loosened tie over his head and then I reached for his belt. The moment I touched it, he grabbed my wrist and held it. He looked at me through squinted eyes. “I got it,” he murmured. “Come back to bed.”
He stood up and stripped down to his boxers and then slid back into bed, curling behind me and pulling me tightly into his chest. He slid his hand under my shirt and clutched my side. His long fingers easily wrapped around me and came to rest centimeters below my breast. When he hitched his long leg over me, I was completely cocooned by him and it felt like heaven.
“Are you okay?” I said quietly.
“I am now.” There was a long pause and then I felt him kiss my hair before whispering, “It hurt more when I thought it was you.” I smiled, perfectly tranquil, and then within minutes we were both asleep again.
When I woke up I was lying on my back, Will was on his side curled up next to me, his body dovetailed with mine and his head resting on my stomach. I was mindlessly running my hands through his hair when I realized how incredibly intimate our positions were. He stirred sleepily and then his hands moved to my hips where he twisted his fingers in the waistband of my underwear. When I felt him hard against me, I jerked away, sat up, and threw my legs over the side of the bed. He rolled over away from me and mumbled, “Sorry, baby.” His voice was strained and raspy.
Leaning in, I kissed his shoulder and whispered, “Get some sleep.”
Don’t complicate things! I chanted that line over and over in my head as I gaped at Will’s arms and hands and imagined them everywhere, all over me.
About the Author
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.
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