#1 Spring Break
INFO [chapter 1 starts right after the info]
The Sweet Caroline series consists of many books. All books can be read as stand-alones, but they work best as a series. At the start of each book, I always tell my readers which book would be wise to read first to understand the past of the characters.
The series can be split into two separate series: the first generation & the next generation. The next generation is about character that were kids in the books about the first generation.
FIRST GENERATION: 1. Sweet Caroline // 2. Slutty Shaughna // 3. Eager Annabel // 4. Feisty Francesca // 5. Twisted Thomas // 6. Chef Quiroz // 7. Caring Christopher
NEXT GENERATION: 1. Blooming Rose // 2. Jealous Jagger // 3. Needy Nia // 4. Guarded Marcus // 5. Charming Creed // 6. Thompson Twins
You can read this as a stand-alone story, but if you’re going to read my other stories as well, you might want to start with “Sweet Caroline”.
The main character of “Blooming Rose” is the Rose Storm, the daughter of Nathanial Storm and Elise Hail. She’s Caroline’s stepdaughter, and Caroline is the main character of the first book. I do recommend reading “Sweet Caroline” before reading “Blooming Rose”, but it can be read as a stand-alone.
Rose Storm is a force of nature if there ever was one. She’s kicking ass at Harvard, no longer interested in boys and sex like she was in high school. Her best friend Gracie convinces her to tag along for a week of booze, sex and hot guys during Spring Break. Cue the drama!
Rose Storm is a daughter of divorce. Nathanial Storm, her father, is married to a woman 17 years younger than him, and her stepmother Caroline gave Rose a shitload of siblings, filling the big house with kids, laughter and love. Rose loves all her siblings, but all through high school, she was happy to be able to escape the loud house every once in a while to go to her mother’s house, where peace and quiet rule all. Elise Hail may be a bitch sometimes, but she’s also Rose’s safe haven.
In high school, Rose acted out. She had sex with guys she didn’t love, spent a lot of time – as in a lot – with her vibrator, and got drunk almost every weekend. When she got into Harvard med school, she decided to get her act together. No more boys, no more sex, no more wild child. She’s battling her way through university, determined to become the best OB-GYN there ever was. Her focus is on getting her degree. Nothing else matters.
Rose may be foul-mouthed and act like she knows it all, but she’s haunted by ghosts of her past. In her childhood, her mother’s boyfriend sexually abused her, and Rose never fully got over that. She doesn’t like to admit it, but she’s a little scared of love. Sex? Yeah, that’s fine. Love? Nope. Not doing it. She doesn’t do parties anymore, doesn’t date, and focuses solely on her education. Her best friend Gracie decides during their second year of college that Rose should put herself out there, and she won’t take no for an answer. Spring Break is the ultimate excuse for cutting loose. It’s only a week. What could go wrong?
Rose has got no time for romance. No energy. And no stomach for it either. But… when she runs into twin brothers Manny and Tommy Thompson at Spring Break, she knows she’s in for an interesting holiday. Maybe Rose will go home after a wild week of sex and booze, and get back to her life. Or maybe, just maybe she’ll finally open up and let someone in. Maybe. Probably not.
#1 Spring Break
The second Sebastian pulls up in his blue van, I see and smell that he’s been drinking. The fucker got behind the wheel with alcohol in his system. My best friend Gracie waves at me from the passenger seat, and I can tell from her red eyes that she’s probably high. Or drunk. Or both.
“Get out,” I tell Sebastian, pulling open his door instead of jumping in the back of the van with the others. “I’m driving.” I’m already pulling my glasses out of my bag, which I need for driving.
“It’s my van!” he argues, frowning at me.
I hate him. I know Gracie thinks the dude is sex on a stick, but right now he looks like a plain old asshole, with his stupid fake tan sprayed onto his naturally pale white skin, the slicked-back hair and his fake-ass white smile that cost his daddy thousands of dollars. Entitled trust-fund baby.
“Out,” I insist. “You either let me drive or I’m calling the cops and you’ll end up with another DUI.”
Sebastian grunts, but he doesn’t argue with me. I throw my bag in the back of the van, say a quick hello to Pooja and Miguel, and then I push Seb into the back of his own van, shut the sliding doors and hop behind the wheel. The smell of booze and marihuana hits me, making me wish I was back at my dorm, or on a plane back to my hometown.
Why the fuck did I agree to do Spring Break the right way, as Gracie put it?
“I’m so glad you came,” my best friend says, giving me a side-hug. “Oh, you smell so good…” When she presses her nose into my shirt and inhales the scent of my fabric softener, I realize she’s even further gone than I thought.
I curse softly to myself when I realize the van is a European model, which means I have to drive stick. My dad taught me, but I’m not very good at it. The vehicle grunts and huffs as I pull out of the parking lot, but I eventually get the hang of things and manage to pull up at stop signs without letting the engine die.
“Spring Break!” Sebastian cheers from the back, toasting with Pooja and Miguel. They brought five crates of beer. Great. At least Pooja doesn’t seem to be drunk yet, but the others sure are. She rolls her eyes at me when I look at her in the rearview mirror, and I wink back, happy to not be the only sober one in the car. Still, she allowed Seb to drive, so she loses points for that.
After half an hour of putting up with Gracie sitting backwards on her knees, talking to Seb over the top of her seat, I pull over and yell at her until she switches seats with Pooja. No way am I driving for ten hours today sitting next to Gracie when she’s that drunk. I suggested booking some plane tickets, but Gracie and Seb insisted that it would be so much fun to make it a road trip. Ten hours of driving in a van with a bunch of drunk college students, a quick stop for food and a few hours of sleep at a motel, ten more hours in the van… I don’t see how that’s fun, honestly.
I’m not even that excited about partying in Florida for a whole week. I’d much rather be back in my childhood bedroom right now, reading a book to my siblings, baking with my stepmom, snuggling up to dad while I make him watch reality TV, and having dinner with my mother and her boyfriend. I haven’t seen my family in months with how busy school keeps me, and I miss them. Why did I let Gracie convince me to tag along?
Oh. Right. I needed to get a life.
“You look pissed-off,” Pooja says, sighing happily while she settles into her seat next to me.
“I’m the only sober one in a van full of idiots, I don’t even want to go on Spring Break, and now I’m the designated driver for ten hours straight,” I grumble, pulling up a little too enthusiastic at a green light, making the van jolt. “Fuck, I hate driving stick.”
Pooja laughs and flips her long black hair over her shoulder. “I’m not drunk. I only took one sip of beer, so we can take turns driving. I’m really glad you decided to come, by the way. I tried to talk Sebastian out of driving, but no one ever listens to me. You… no one can say no to you.”
“You just have to talk really loud, curse every few sentences and not take no for an answer,” I say, shrugging. “Plus, it helps when you get raised by an ex-con.”
“Your dad is an ex-convict?” Pooja asks in a stage whisper. “Wow…”
I grin. I love freaking people out like this. My dad did two years for beating his sister’s rapist to a pulp, so I don’t think he should have been in jail at all, and it was long before I was born. He doesn’t like me referring to it, but I enjoy making people’s eyes pop out of their heads, so I use his story a lot. I’m surprised Pooja hasn’t heard me talking about it yet, but then again, I’m usually too busy with school to spend much time with my friends. I’m lucky I’ve got Gracie, and she’s got a whole gang around her, who are all very accepting of me only showing up when I’ve got time to spare, which is hardly ever. Without Gracie, I would probably never leave my dorm room.
“You’re pre-med, right?” Pooja asks.
“Yeah, sort of,” I reply, checking the navigation system to make sure I’m still headed in the right direction. I don’t drive much when I’m at school, since I live in the dorms and everything I need is right there on campus. “I got really good grades in high school and did this advanced med program in my senior year, which landed me acceptance into a BS/MD program, so if I keep my GPA up, I will be accepted straight into med school in two years, when I finish my bachelor’s degree.”
“Wow,” Pooja breathes. “That’s great. Is that why you hardly ever party with us? Because you need to keep your GPA up?”
“Yeah,” I say, because that’s the easy answer. The truth is a little more complicated, but I’m not going to get into that with someone I don’t know all that well, and three drunks in the back. “I need to focus on my grades. Partying isn’t my style.” It used to be, in high school, which makes it a miracle I got into the med program at Harvard, if you ask me, which I am incredibly grateful for. I guess I’m pretty smart, and I did work hard when I wasn’t drinking or having sex with yet another boyfriend, so I should give myself some credit for getting into Harvard, but it still feels like I got lucky and I shouldn’t be here. I don’t think I’m as smart as my fellow students, or that I truly deserve my scholarship, my high grades and the praise from my professors.
Impostor syndrome is real. I feel like a fraud all the damn time, and I didn’t use to feel like that in high school. I was a big fish in a small pond, and now I’m just a regular fish in a huge pond, with lots of monstrous fish all around me. I was a popular girl in high school, with my pick of who I wanted to date. I got good grades but never got any shit for being a bit of a nerd, I had lots of friends… And now, all I ever do is study until Gracie shows up at my dorm and forces me to go out with her and the gang. The one time I tried to step out of my comfort zone last year, I got myself into such a shitty situation that I’ve stopped trying since.
Maybe it’s a good thing I’m going on this trip. I know I need to loosen up. It’s been a stressful two years since I got accepted into Harvard. Cutting lose for a week surely won’t hurt.
“What’s your major?”
“Computer Science,” Pooja replies with a small smile. “Please don’t ask me immediately if I can fix something on your phone or computer. Don’t be that girl.”
I laugh and turn to wink at her. “I want to be an OB-GYN. Please don’t take your pants off and make me look at your vagina.”
“Taking pants off? Vagina?” Sebastian asks from behind us. “You girls pulling over for a quicky? Can I watch? Or even join in, maybe?”
“Shut up, Seb,” Pooja and I shoot at the same time, grinning. I think I’ve found someone to brace this week with. I’m not sure I would survive this is it was just me, Gracie, Seb and Miguel. Or maybe I would, but they wouldn’t. I would be driving into the woods to dispose of their bodies instead of taking them to our hotel in Florida. My dad is an ex-con after all, I’m sure he must have picked up some tricks to get away with murder. Being around Gracie’s boyfriend Seb makes me contemplate killing someone at least once every ten minutes.
The hotel is beautiful. Absolute stunning. Sebastian may be an asshole, but his dad owning a whole string of hotels in Florida, Hawaii and a bunch of other places sure comes in handy right now. Instead of staying at some shitty motel, we get huge-ass rooms on the top floor that we would never be able to afford on our own. I wish he’d had asked his daddy dearest for five plane tickets as well, so we didn’t have to drive all the way here in that stupid van of his.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, fortunately, since I got to spend the two long-ass days in the car getting to know Pooja. She’s talkative, quirky, and really easy to get along with. I’ve known her since the first month I started at Harvard, which is over a year a half ago. I could have been friends with this girl for almost two years, yet all I did was sit in my room, study, and try to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t have to go out party, or even… ugh… date.
Luckily, dating isn’t on the program while we’re here. I think all Gracie has planned are parties, taking shots off each other’s bodies, and maybe a wet T-shirt contest or something.
“You up for this?” I ask Pooja as she walks into my room, wearing a short red dress that looks amazing with those long, brown legs of hers. I’d die for skin and a body like that. My pale skin doesn’t tan easily, and I look at her naturally dark skin tone with envy.
She shrugs. “Gracie isn’t giving us much of a choice, is she? We’re here now. We might as well give ourselves over to the madness.”
I grin and grab my sunglasses. “Might as well.”
We head to Gracie’s room on the other end of the hallway and run into Miguel doing a handstand front of her door, refusing to let us through. Pooja is about to turn around and knock on Seb’s door instead, but I’m not one to give up, so I yell for Gracie to open up. When she swings the door open, Miguel gets hit in the back by it, and I laugh my ass off when he falls down onto the hardwood floor, cursing.
“That’s what you get for defying Rose Storm,” I tell him, helping him up and wincing at how horrible he already smells. That’s what you get for being in a car for so many hours and chugging beers instead of showering like Pooja and I did.
Seb shows up to see what all the noise outside his room is about, and he winks at Gracie when he sees her in the flimsy gold bikini she has on, covered by a see-through silver beach dress. Just like Seb, she got a fake tan a few days ago, and I have to admit she does look like a bronzed goddess right now.
“I know my dad got us two room, but I think we should definitely only use one,” he says, pulling her in for a kiss. “You look so hot it hurts my eyes.”
She giggles and melts into him, moaning a little when he squeezes her ass. It worries me how into him she is. I think he’s a huge jerk. Then again, I think most guys are, and I don’t believe in dating anymore. Not after what happened last time I decided to give a guy a try, little over a year ago. No fucking way. And if you feel like you have to date, why the fuck would you date a guy like Seb? His dad being rich is the best thing about him, which I think says it all.
The five of us make our way down to the ground floor, and then out the back to join the party going on around the pool. This hotel is the place to go for college students with enough money to stay in expensive rooms, but I can tell by the amount of people here that lots of them probably don’t stay here, but in one of the cheaper hotels close by.
Gracie has already spotted a few people she knows, and she links her arm through mine, pulling me with her. The others string along as well, and soon we’ve all got beers in our hands, and some rando is trying to dance with me. If you can call the grinding he’s doing against my ass actual dancing, which I highly doubt. Pooja rescues me by pulling me to the side of the pool, and we sit down with our legs dangling over the edge, enjoying the cool water on this hot sunny day, sipping our drinks.
Suddenly, two big hands wrap around my ankles, and I shriek as someone pulls me into the water. I come up gasping for air, and I grab my sunglasses that fell off when some asshole dragged in into the pool. I look around to see who it was and look right into a set of honey-colored eyes with specks of gold in them. I’d recognize those eyes anywhere, anytime.
“Manny Thompson,” I say with a grin. “What on earth are you doing here?”
“Spring Break, baby!” he yells, trying to push me under again.
I jump him and take him right down with me. We come up laughing, my body wrapped around his from refusing to go under on my own. He shifts me so my legs are around his waist and his face is so goddamn close to mine now, making me very much aware of the scruff on his face, his long lashes and that sexy smirk.
“You look as good as I remember, Rose,” he says, his eyes dropping to my breasts, my black bikini top on full display now that my dress is wet. “Even better, actually.”
“So do you,” I reply, squeezing his biceps. He was already rather muscular in high school from all the sport teams he was one, and he’s even bigger and broader now. Guess that’s what getting into college on a football scholarship does to a guy.
“Still single?” Manny asks, not beating around the bush at all. I’ve always liked that about him. We’ve known each other since our first day of kindergarten, and we ended up in bed together a few times in high school. Those few times with him are very high on my list of things I fantasize about when I get myself off with my vibrator.
“Yeah, you?” I ask, putting my sunglasses in my wet hair.
“For you, always,” he says with a wink, easily lifting me to the edge of the pool so I’m back next to Pooja, who is openly staring at Manny’s wet, muscular body.
This spring break suddenly got very interesting.
I’m so excited to finally write the short story about Rose that I’ve been planning since I finished “Sweet Caroline”. It took me a while to get here, but I feel like I’m ready now, when I wasn’t before. I hope you guys will like it!
Just so you know: I know not everything is realistic in my stories. For example, Rose is in a BS/MD program at Harvard, which doesn’t even exist in real life. The program exists, just not at Harvard, so I’m taking some liberties, like I always do in my stories. I’m sure other stuff will be off too sometimes, but I do try to write things that could happen in real life, while still enjoying the fact that I can just make shit up since this is fiction. Hope you guys don’t mind.
This will be about one week of Spring Break, and then I will jump to the Summer Break for the epilogues and give you guys a teaser, because Rose will be back in other books. Her story doesn’t end in “Blooming Rose”, but this is her very own short story before she goes back to being a side-character in other books. The story won’t just be about Spring Break though. The story will give you guys some insight into what Rose’s life was like growing up with Nathan and Caroline raising her, having so many siblings, and of course dealing with her past with Trevor, and some other stuff she went through when she was younger.
Enjoy! Love, your favorite Goddess