The Rental (The Rental #1) by Rebecca Berto
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romance, Erotica
Release Date: September 22, 2014
Amazon ♥ B & N
At first, Rick Delaney watched Vee Wyland with the hungry eyes of a fox as if she were a rabbit … his rabbit. But one day, he slunk away without notice.
Months away from graduating high school, Vee’s life is on the verge of crumbling. At home, dire finances and long hours test her family. Her boyfriend hardly pays attention to her. And she can’t shake her feelings for his older brother, Rick.
Then, all in one night, tragedy tears her teetering life into shreds.
When Rick and Vee reunite, the sparks fly. However, she unwittingly signs away a future for both of them. In his world, a place called The Rental, she becomes Victoria and Rick becomes Rhett. One part of her watches with fascination, while the other unfurls and embraces her sexual awakening. It began as a game, but the consequences are real.
Following their heart’s desire is forbidden, but walking away could strip their hope for a future.
The Rental is an erotic romance that explores how sex isn’t purely physical; sometimes, it’s a gateway to your soul.
THE STORY OF Rick and I began with my best friend, Cara. Sort of.
Cara and I have been friends since we were twelve, a friendship forged when a random class seating arrangement lumped us together.
Rick was school captain of sports in his last year of school. He became the sudden reason attendance spiked during assemblies. The teachers were rapt with our interest, even if they didn’t know why so many girls were there. We would all sit there holding our tongues at the sight of him in sneakers and workout shorts, revealing crafted calves from years of running, and his tank hugging every curve.
In one English class after such an assembly, Cara wrote a lovey-dovey poem about some guy who could run like a bolt of lightning, who had killer legs, and a perfect set of broad shoulders. That and he had tousled, medium brown hair and dark eyes. She denied it when I asked her, but every other boy in our year level and the one above had pimples, too many bones, and squeaky voices. It was obvious after her extreme lusting for Rick it was about him.
I, too, crushed on him, so when Cara made me ‘get a word in,’ I didn’t complain. That day after school, I pulled him up to chat. He was with Justin, who was in our year level and fifteen like Cara and I. Rick was eighteen, although not by much because he hadn’t gotten his licence yet. He said they were waiting for their mum.
Justin got right into chatting, but Rick eyed me over his shoulder, smiling, but giving me a touch too much attention to be purely polite. I still cringed when I thought about my level of nerves hanging with two cute boys.
I decided the best lead to see if Rick wanted to ask Cara on a date was the weather. Maybe I thought mentioning the word ‘hot’ would heat up the conversation. Or I could find a lead-in by mentioning how good Cara looked in her bikini.
What happened was I waved my hands everywhere and tripped on nothing at all but my stupidity. Rick lunged for me and picked me up the moment my knees crashed into the dirt. I sat there, legs dangling over the school fence while Justin washed off one of my knees with his water bottle, and Rick did the same with his other. I held my lips together in a firm line, refusing to let my lip wobble, and focused on the blinding sun. At least it made it impossible to cry.
Rick ended up letting Cara down by saying he needed to concentrate on schoolwork, which we both translated to she was too young. I frowned with her in disappointment, saddened by the fact if she was too young, so was I.
But Justin kept talking to me and developed rapt feelings. We found friendship while Rick and I dodged glances and conversations that were heated and angsty. Between Justin’s interest and the age difference between Rick and me, any more than what we were was too premature.
When Rick upped and left the country last year, Justin advanced as if a barrier had been lifted. I told him I wasn’t ready, but Justin was very much so and hung around me at lunches, parties, and with groups of friends at the shops after hours. Months passed and Rick wasn’t coming back. We never had anything, so I stopped feeling guilty for wanting to move on. And one day, when Justin asked me out as his girlfriend, I didn’t say no.
I had gotten high with Cara and some other friends in the shadows of the garage at some house party while everyone else inside danced. Justin kissed me and I let him, and we kept on fooling around.
Now I was in my senior year, but in another sense, I was in the same place as three years previously—a knobbly-kneed girl who first met the Delaneys.
How could I date a guy and still be so breathless when I came within sniffing distance of his elder brother? It was late, and I was meant to be sleeping, but I lay there and played with the trimming of my sheets, lost in thoughts and weighed by shame. I’d never cheat on Justin, but the way Rick still looked at me … sweeping in to my rescue … I gulped and wiped my forehead feeling hot and sweaty.
I had wanted to do things tonight.
“Stop it, Vee,” I whispered to myself. “Sleep.”
But I remained awake for hours in thought about one brother, his water bottle, and him bended below me.
Rebecca Berto writes stories about love and relationships. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her books, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so.
She's strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.
Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their pets.