May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years
later, a horrific skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her
millionaire dad critically injured and her mom dead at the hands of Dexter
operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little
brother while their world falls apart.
couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive
relationships and his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s
reputation, almost everyone believes he planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.
all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for
cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together,
Charlee and Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter
discovers his dad is trying to steal the May’s millionaire fortune.
But like an
addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the
Berto is the author or the dark contemporary/literary novella, PRECISE and
the upcoming new adult contemporary romance novel, DROWNING IN YOU.
She is also a freelance editor.
She writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line
between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her
readers are emotional reading her stories, 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
From a note tucked
under her pillow:
I like Dexter
“killed” my parents.
1. Killer Crush
As per all the fourteen- to
eighteen-year-olds at our school, I started crushing on Dexter Hollingworth
around the age of fifteen. There was one girl who hated him, but she was into
From the football
field sidelines to graduation day and beyond, my best friend Rosa and I have
wanted him. But guys like Dexter don’t notice girls like us who spend most of
our time talking about cool people like him.
At twenty years
old, I still “love” him.
I love the way his
body personifies what a male God should be without looking like Fabio.
I love the way his
perfect tanned skin is inked and how he wears those aviator sunglasses and how
he’d use up his lunchtimes to teach the little kids in our school guitar
But I hate
the way I love him.
I hate how Dexter
was the one controlling the ski lifts at Mason’s Ski Resort the day my mom was
killed because it also put me here, in this position, praying to a God I’ve
never believed in to spare my dad’s life.
In this hospital
room, the air is as quiet as the still of night and my dad’s languid breathing
and drawn-out, heavy movements remind me that my perfect family life was never
meant to be forever.
If I’m being
honest, it seems like things are already over. Dad’s skin keeps a yellow
color—at best—from the IV drip. His meds help with the simple tasks his heart
and other organs can’t. My thoughts wander again. I don’t let myself consider
the alternative—that maybe it’s wishful thinking. I go with this:
“Dad,” I say,
jealous my little brother, Darcy is holding our dad’s hand—the hand he can
squeeze with. “Look at you.” I wink.
“Is she okay, Dad?”
Darcy asks, sounding as though he’s confused.
confusion is contagious, but Dad’s patient zero—not Darcy.
There are bars that
raise and lower around Dad’s bed, and they’ve been raised forever. Surely they
must be there because they’re too hard to put down in their scratched, old
state. My dad doesn’t need silly bars around his bed! My dad owns Roycroft
“I think you’re
squeezing Darcy’s hand too tight,” I say.
says. He’s staring at me with squinted eyes, probably thinking what’s wrong
with my sister? She’s supposed to be the adult.
It hurts smiling
like this, the creases halfway up my cheeks. But maybe it’ll work. “Isn’t that
Dad’s eyes are like
I remember them now. There’s vibrancy in the rich brown color, like my eyes. I
bet he’s thinking is his daughter crazy? He tilts his head to the side—
don’t understand things like this. Injured people don’t get what’s unsaid.
Dad’s not that injured.
—as it clicks. Dad
shakes out of Darcy’s grip and waggles his finger at him. “That nurse…”
Hollingworth,” I say.
“Yes, Lisa. That
nurse Lisa said motor function is good. Squeezing someone’s hand uses up a lot
more strength than you think, son.”
Darcy’s mouth flops
open and stays that way. He checks out Dad, who’s nodding, and me—should I
nod?—so I nod also.
hand probably takes Dad twenty muscles and millions of brain cells just to do
something like that.”
“No way!” Darcy
grins and punches the air. “Dad, that’s cool.”
And just like that,
Darcy has that same face on as he had when Mom told him she had to wait three
hours in line to buy Desert Warcraft and yeah, she really, really got it for
That face is why I
haven’t downed twenty sleeping pills yet. God knows these last weeks have felt
like months, which actually felt like years. That makes me the most ancient
Why, Dexter? Why did
it have to be you in that seat, in that room, at that time?