Book & Author Details:
The Rental by Rebecca Berto
(The Rental #1)
Genres: Adult, Erotica,
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.
~ EXCERPT ~
At the entry, I met Rick. Looking up, I took in his clean-shaven jawline; crisp, fitted shirt; sleeves rolled at his elbows. How could the guy be more gorgeous every time I saw him? I glanced down at his black jeans and leather-tapered shoes. Holy shit.
I let out a breath and tried smiling at his face, but I couldn’t hold the intense gaze of his for more than a split second, so I looked down to my boots. I slid past him, and déjà vu slammed into my chest.
Not ready for a laundry encounter like last week, I took a cup and focused on steadying my trembles as I reached for the tap. I dared to look at him and he was fixated on my fingers. Not a moment later, his big hands engulfed mine. My trembles disappeared at his touch.
Rick had a presence around people, but around me, his gravitational pull was overwhelming. And right now, it scared me—wanting to run away, yet also wanting to fall deeper into this moment.
I was with Justin.
Justin was Rick’s brother.
“You okay?” He looked into my eyes and felt my forehead with the back of his hand. “You’re burning.”
I blushed and looked away to hurry some ice into my cup. “It’s damn hot in that garage. It’s crazy.”
“Ah.” He paused for so long that I felt the air thicken in my throat as I swallowed. “It is. But you’re okay?”
Was I? The right answer was yes, but I sure as hell didn’t feel that way. He was my whirlwind, and he’d swept into my world with all-encompassing force, spinning me again and again with our meetings. The hairs on my skin stood on end. “Oh, totally,” I said lightly. “Go on and enjoy your party.”
He remained and looked at me. The corner of his lips turned up, but it felt forced and weighed down by the other downturned corner. His eyes, once warm, were now dreary. Even his body seemed to be slumping.
He turned, but caught himself on the door and smiled. “I am. Trust me, I am.” Like that, he flipped his mood. I didn’t know what caused it or why. Maybe Justin’s whacky behaviour had plagued Rick all week too, and my mention of ‘enjoying’ himself reminded him of that.
“You staying past midnight?”
“Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe not. Might just leave a tip for your show. I heard they’re all putting in.”
“You want to see the show, Vee?”
I shuddered hearing him say my name. Damn it, the guy’s voice was smooth, yet coarse enough to rough up my insides. I smiled, confident. I wasn’t going to let my stupid drunken head get the better of me. And stuff the water! I was going to grab another Cruiser. I dumped the water and ice down the drain, grabbed a bottle from a pack, and stepped between Rick’s body and the nearby bench.
“Yeah,” I said. “I wanna see it.”
“Before you go …”
I halted, holding my breath, and the sensation of the icy bottle slipped away. I let my eyes roam, and drank him in the way I intended to with my drink. Passionate, private, and poisoning me to sweet surrender.
No touching anywhere wrong. No acting out. No worries.
He opened his mouth to speak, but it hung there, gaping. Rather than exude sexual vibes, it had flipped back to distraught, and it made him look like a big boy. A fragile boy. Like I had to hold him together.
He seemed broken and sad underneath, except as the birthday boy, he wore a cool smile and held his shoulders high—a facade to the rest of the world. Only here, Rick and I were in our own world, one where no barriers existed. Beneath skin deep, I felt the darkness occupying him.
“Birthday hug?” he asked and I answered, “Yes,” at the same time from his previous question.
He leant over me. I watched it in slow motion and my stomach swirled with anticipation. His arm brushed my shoulder and he flicked the laundry door shut. The space was technically the same size, but the room had shrunken. I tilted my head down and inhaled, my nose near his collarbone. My nerves spurred me on while my thoughts screamed at me to stop making a fool of myself. The spice smelt of cologne, but mostly the freshness of frangipani-scented laundry detergent. It was sweet enough I wished I could cuddle up and drift away with it.
Somehow, that whole minute in my head must have only taken a second or two. Rick stepped the other way and yanked down the cord to cover the door window, a view leading to the backyard.
When the blind fell, it was done. The room was closed off. We were alone. For what? This ‘birthday hug?’
I wanted him. Alone. Unseen. But I had no desire to cheat.
He captured me inside his space, his arms around my waist like butterfly wings. My body melted as if he was my heat source and I moulded my chin to the crook of his neck. My hands connected with his chest, feeling his life source beating madly beneath me. I quaked at the touch. Hands gliding, I felt around his contours, up his back until I run out of muscle, then linked my hands over each other and flattened them.
He hummed. Not a moan, nor a plea of pleasure. And it thrilled a spot inside me. Where I was a puzzle piece before—incomplete and in search—our reunion connected it. I had been lonelier than I was aware. My boyfriend hadn’t been there for me for weeks now. He’d been there, oh, yes, how he’d been here, there, and everywhere, but not around me.
Supported by Rick, I felt like a blossoming seed—I’d attached to solid ground and now I was growing with life. I couldn’t recite Rick’s middle name or his favourite dessert, but I could feel his heart against my chest. I could feel the thrum and beat of our bodies in sync. Could feel the residual emotion and heat we’d once had—unsaid and assumed—coming together as one.
Rick parted and hooked my chin in his big, yet soft grasp. His dark eyes held mine, and I couldn’t tear them away. Softly, he said, “Sorry. I mean, I’m not sorry for you, but I am for everything else. So thanks. Thanks for everything when you didn’t have to do anything.” I couldn’t quite focus on his words, as if I was waiting for the punch line to bring it all together, but I felt the emotion behind his voice.
“Thanks,” I said. I didn’t know why I said it back, but it felt right, like the inherent knowledge that simmered to the surface when getting back on a bicycle. There the whole time—understood by the body, even if not by the mind.
Reality sunk on me then, reeling me in. I blinked. Party, blinds, door. Us alone. I yanked the blind up, and Rick turned the doorknob, releasing our privacy.
“Sorry for acting strange,” he admitted. “Like you said, it’s pretty crazy in there and I needed … I needed a break. I’m drunk. I’m … going.” He gave me a parting smile, and it wrapped around my skin, now full of goosebumps in the wake of his departure.
The strippers arrived at midnight, and we could hear their voices from the entry oozing with sex. They went to the garage and everyone crowded around, even those who lurked in small groups outside the front or inside the living room. But the crowd was too large and people spilled into the paved section out the back. Cara, myself, and the other girls linked hands and pushed with the crowd to secure a good spot.
We were in the second row in a circle. In the centre were three chairs, and two guys helped set up poles. To the side lay a long table with some gifts for Rick. I wanted to give Rick my own personal gift, although the girls freeloaded tonight. He and I were barely friends, but I felt compelled to get him something. On one side of the gift table was a box with a slot at the top. I left momentarily to put a ten-dollar note in, and then returned to watch.
It took fifteen minutes for everything to begin but when it did, my heart sped up, and I could hardly think past the excitement. The memory of Rick and me in the laundry had my heart fluttering yet pounding with confusion, and all I knew was I wanted to see more of this guy.
Justin stood in a clump of guys on the opposite side. I hadn’t seen him for over an hour now, and I kept holding my gaze his way in hope he looked, but he was interested in what was about to unfold. He fell into a daze, stared at something or nothing, and then snapped himself back to the scene.
But, Rick—he watched me and held my gaze.
He stood with his arms crossed over his chest. Did he know his biceps bulged like that? Or two veins on either side of his neck were strained? And his tightened lips … did he know how controlled and stern he was? There wasn’t a side to him that didn’t appeal to me.
My mouth was dry and it became impossible to swallow. I ran my tongue over my lips and ran my fingers through my hair. I lifted it up over my shoulders and lolled my head to allow air. When I looked back, Rick had a grin on his face. I feared he knew a whole lot more than he should, probably more than I knew about my own thoughts.
They started chanting Rick’s name, so I joined in. The strippers quickly discovered who he was and strutted up to him. One grabbed his left hand, one his right and the other pulled him forward with the hooks in his jeans.
“Ahem, ahem,” Justin cleared his throat.
The middle stripper kicked Rick down with the tip of her stiletto. He crashed into the chair, fingers curling around the arms tightly.
“So,” Justin continued, “Rick needs to be cleaned. He is a naughty boy who hasn’t been home for over a year. Now he’s back and his clothes are filthy, his mouth needs to be washed out, and he probably needs some attention down below.” Raising his voice, he said, “What do we think, guys?”
The DJ restarted the music as all three strippers magnetised to Rick. One unbuttoned his shirt and tore it off. The other was on her knees between his legs and undid his jeans. I took deep breaths to calm down, but it was hard with Rick lounged back on the chair, arms spread over the sides, and his hands clenched around the ends—probably to stop himself from touching one of the girls. He widened his legs and one girl fit in between them.
Oh, and that little, incy wincy,
teeny weeny factor he had nothing on
besides his royal blue briefs.
I wasn’t sure I could wear that colour again.
The strippers tortured him during their dances. He looked up and down at them or called out to the boys, but not once did his briefs tent up. In fact, from his glazed expression, he was miles away with consuming thoughts, such as those ones that overtook him in the laundry earlier. He—I even dared to think—looked possibly bored as those three slim and sexy strippers tried to please him.
The strippers continued, attending to Justin’s requests. One opened a bottle of water and decided both her and Rick need cleaning. She tipped her head back, breasts cradling Rick’s face and poured the bottle down, water gushing all over them. Rick jerked back and forward into her with the shock of the water. Another girl was behind him, and her hands ran up and down his chest. After soothing him, she toed one of her feet down the side of his face, down his chest, along his briefs and back. The other danced by herself, touching her curves, and stripped for Rick to watch.
Something about their confidence reeled in my interest. The way they laughed louder, danced more seductively, flirted heavily with what they could and couldn’t do while bare-chested and near naked looked natural. My body flushed, but it had nothing to do with embarrassment. A sensation had released in me, and it was similar to when I slammed into Rick’s chest at my house.
Two of Rick’s friends soon sat down in the chairs next to Rick, and the strippers departed. They gave both of the other two lap dances. Apparently, Rick would get some more attention later, but he called it quits for now, needing ‘space.’
I left also, heading to the laundry room. Ditching that cool cup of ice water had been a mistake. I needed a bath of ice water. And a fan.
Rental-Rebecca-Berto-ebook/dp/ B00MR2MCZ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8& qid=undefined&sr=8-1&keywords= The+Rental+Rebecca+Berto
The prequel, The Masquerade, is a free download if you'd like to include the links:
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.