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 Rental by Rebecca Berto
(The Rental #1)
Rick Delaney was parked outside my house with my boyfriend. He stepped out of his car and lifted two fingers, saluting me at the front door. He shouldn’t have been.
How could he return to Melbourne after a whole year when I resigned to a life without him—a life, specifically, with the brother he’d arrived? Bottled-up feelings pounded in my chest so hard I was glad no one was home to witness it.
And my boyfriend? He tripped getting out of the passenger seat. That’s what can happen when you looked at your mobile phone instead of your girlfriend’s smiling face. My expression soured as he passed me, not even a peck on the cheek.
“What’s with the ride?” I called.
Their mum, Mrs Delaney, should’ve been dropping Justin off like usual. But he ignored me and trudged farther into my house.
Rick noticed my expression and jogged up the stairs. Elder by three years, he stood tall with the composure of a man compared to his teenage brother. Strong shoulders filled out his dark T-shirt. He was bigger in not only his upper body but everywhere—thick arms and thighs and a solid build. Add that to a smile and he melted the hearts of women everywhere—seventeen-year-old girls included.
“Mum and Dad are in Europe,” Rick said. “They call it a long-awaited honeymoon. Justin and I call it a mid-life crisis.”
My jaw hung open. How could Justin not tell me? I thought this type of thing excited a boyfriend. Weeks of no parental supervision at home—it’d excite me if not for the sudden pit of worry in my belly. “They’re away? They’re not here?”
“That’s what a holiday is.” Rick deadpanned.
“It’s just that Justin never told me anything.”
“It was only a few days ago.”
As if that made it okay. If Justin didn’t spend so much time with his phone in his face, he might have remembered to tell me. I didn’t know why, but it cut me that I didn’t know an important change in his life. I told him every time my dad left to truck interstate for work, and that was every few weeks. He was gone more than he was here, and Mum worked odd hours. It was lonely and hard to stay away from the temptations Justin and my best friend, Cara offered me at parties or when we hung out.
“Hey, bro,” Justin called behind us. He came up and slammed his hand on the side of the front door. “Come fix the washing machine.”
“Washing machine?” I asked. Why are you acting like you live here? I was close to adding.
“Yeah,” he held out the front of his top, “got a Coke from your fridge and it squirted everywhere.”
“We don’t have any Coke left in the fridge.”
“You do in the spare one.”
I bit my lip and flexed my fingers by my side. Facing him, I cracked a thin smile. Most of the time, Justin wasn’t like this. Correction, before recently, my boyfriend wasn’t like this. He kissed me like no one else, and made me laugh, but damn it, he either had the memory of a goldfish or was too ignorant to care.
“That was for tomorrow night!” I stared into his eyes with hope of making him feel guilty, but he was clueless. “Dad’s back from Sydney tomorrow, and Mum’s got a dinner for us three. You know he loves Coke. You know he’s been away for weeks. You know Mum’s too busy working to buy more groceries before then.”
Justin shook his head. “So uptight.” He squeezed my ass, smiling as he planted his lips fully to mine. “I love that about you, but seriously, I forgot. And your mum works at a supermarket for fuck’s sake.”
True, but Justin drank Coke, and ate all the ice cream, and ate all the chips, and I got sick of explaining to Mum why I was so selfish as to keep putting her out when she only requested little favours like these on special occasions. Such as tomorrow.
“I’m not uptight.” I paused. “It’s fine about the top—I’ll hand wash and Rick—”
But as I turned to tell him not to worry about fixing the washing machine, my hands met a rock solid chest. I froze. My palms lingered on the contours of his defined pecs with my fingertips at his collarbone. Not able to look at his eyes, I dropped my hands, as if that would undo our moment.
I’d spend sleepless nights dreaming about his body, as I did when he was far away and stopped talking to me. Pictures and memories of him were all I had.
Justin was hot with his dark eyes and brown hair, but compared to Rick, he was scrawny. Mostly bones everywhere, and when we made out, his hips rubbed into mine. I’d forgotten his shortfalls when it was just him and me. I liked him plenty and that grew to love. But now my past was back, and I had no idea what to feel when seconds ago my hands were on his brother.
That brother with a firm build, one that wouldn’t rub against me if we were to … I shut down that thought pattern. I shouldn’t imagine Rick on top of me. We were three years apart, and at my age, sex with him was illegal.
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.