#1 This one has to stick
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 book “Twisted Thomas” is the sixth story in the series.
Tattooed tech god Thomas and blonde bombshell Tracy are both on the rebound. They’ll do anything to get over their exes. Anything at all. That leads them straight into each other’s arms. Rebound sex might lead to more, who knows? And if it doesn’t, at least they got some of the hottest nights of their life out of it. Tracy and Thomas are the very definition of ‘double trouble’.
Pining over a girl for three years isn’t Thomas’ usual style. He’s a tattooed, muscular god, and he owns his own tech company. He’s not exactly shy or insecure. Finding a girl willing to go home with him has never been a problem for Thomas. Unfortunately, he screwed up his chance with the girl of his dreams. He’s determined to get over Francesca as quickly as possible. If he can’t have the girl he loves, surely he can find another girl to fill the void she left. Any girl at all will do. Luckily, he’s got his best friend and business partner Dylan to joke around with, and an interesting new neighbor to take his mind off his own sorry little life.
Blonde bombshell Tracy got dumped for the umpteenth time by the same guy, her on-again-off-again boyfriend Michel. He’s a hot chef, a compassionate sweetheart with great banter, and probably the love of her life. She knows for a fact that she will never be able to be the kind of girl he needs, and she’s done trying to be. She’s damaged goods and she’s got no intention of getting in touch with her sweet, emotional side. She buried that part of her a long time ago. Only her pets and the animals she cares for as a vet tech get to see her fall apart, and even then Tracy prefers to keep the tears at bay. Determined to not fall back into old habits with Michel, she throws herself at the next hot guy she sees. That just so happens to be Thomas.
Thomas and Tracy are both on the rebound, and find comfort in each other. They’ll do anything to get over Francesca and Michel. Anything. Maybe they’ll end up getting more than comfort and great rebound sex – who knows? They might even learn a bit about themselves in the midst of all the drama these two troublemakers create.
The POV will switch between Thomas & Tracy every chapter. This book is a little rougher than my other stories, with lots of sex, including threesomes and stuff like that. Hope you’re up for that!
Enjoy the story!
#1 This one has to stick
It’s not fair that someone who just broke up with you looks this good. When Michel looks back at me over his shoulder and smiles ruefully, my heart almost stops. It should be illegal to have eyes as deep as his, a smile as warm as his, and a body as sinful. He’s not even gone yet, and I miss him already.
“Fuck you!” I yell for good measure, not wanting him to see how torn up I am about him calling it quits on us. “Go ahead, leave me, see if I care!”
“Tracy,” he says, shaking his head as he steps out of my apartment and puts a hand on the door so I can’t close it yet. “Don’t be like this. You know we can’t go on like this.”
“Don’t put this on me,” I hiss, trying to hold onto my anger so I won’t break down in front of him. I don’t cry in front of people. Ever. Not even in front of Michel, who I’ve been with on and off for five years now. We’ve broken up before, but not like this. It feels final this time. Then again, it always does, and it never is. Maybe this isn’t the end, but it sure feels like it.
“Okay, fine, I can’t go on like this,” he says, looking at me with sadness in his eyes. “I wish things were different, Trace, but you and me… it’s not good for me.”
“Then leave,” I order, giving him a shove so he’s not blocking the door anymore. “I honestly don’t even give a shit anymore.” Finally, I can slam the door in his stupid, gorgeous face.
I’m alone. Again.
He left me. Again.
This time, I don’t think he’s coming back. Every other time he decided that I wasn’t the one for him, we got back together in a matter of weeks. Days even in some cases. The longest our break-up ever lasted was three months. For some reason, it feels like this time might be the last time. Maybe this is the time we don’t find out way back to each other.
I can’t even blame him, to be honest. I love him, but I’m horrible at relationships. I can’t open up to people, I don’t let anyone in, not even him, and I have no idea how to be vulnerable. With tears in my eyes, I slide down the wall I was leaning against for support and wrap my arms around myself, trying to stay strong. I won’t cry over him. I won’t. This was inevitable. We were never going to make it. I knew that from the start, yet I kept letting him back in.
When I’m just about to get up, my cat Snoopy bolts into the hallway, coming to a halt right in front of me. She gives me a hard look and rubs against my leg. I pick her up and give her a hug that she clearly doesn’t want. Her claws sink into my arm and I curse, shoving her away. Even my own cat doesn’t want to comfort me.
Luckily, I’ve still got Pumpkin. Dogs are always happy to see you, unlike cats, who do their own thing most of the time. Pumpkin licks my face and wags his tail, letting me pet him as long as I want. He’s a 5-year-old Siberian husky that I rescued from the shelter. He’s such an energetic little fellow, and he never fails to make me smile.
“Wanna go for a walk?” I ask him, already getting up and grabbing his leash from the side table. A walk through the nearby woods always makes me feel better after a rough day. And Michel dumping me for… what’s this now…? The fifteenth time or so? Yeah, that’s a rough day.
When I step out of my apartment building, I see that Michel’s car is still here. I move a little closer and realize he’s sitting behind the wheel, bent over it with his head on his arms, his shoulders heaving. Oh God, is he crying?
Pumpkin barks loudly, and Michel’s head snaps up, his gaze meeting mine. Yup, he’s crying. I feel tears threatening to spill out as well, but I’m not giving in. I hate that he’s hurting, but he’s the one who wanted out. Not me. I’m not crying over him dumping my ass again.
Michel gets out of the car, wiping his eyes. “Can I come?” he asks, his voice wobbly. “I could use a walk too.”
“Sure,” I sigh, turning around to walk in the direction of the woods without looking back. I love living on the edge of town with nature always within reach. It means that I always have to drive a hell of a long way to get anywhere, including my job on the other side of town, but whenever I take Pumpkin for a walk – which is at least three times a day – I know that this is the perfect place for me.
“I’m sorry,” Michel mumbles when he catches up with me. “You know I love you, Tracy.”
“You have a funny way of showing it,” I bite out. I’m more hurt than angry, and he knows it.
“Why don’t you ever tell me things?” he asks, still sounding emotional. Michel is a tall, broad, happy guy, and he normally isn’t the type to cry. The fact that he was bawling his eyes out after breaking up with me tells me that he truly does still love me. Too bad love doesn’t seem to be enough when it comes to us.
“I tell you things,” I reply vaguely, letting Pumpkin run free when we get far enough into the woods.
“Your uncle died, and you went to the funeral on your own without even telling me where you were going,” Michel reminds me, his tone bitter. “Your last living relative died, and you didn’t even pick up your phone to call me, Trace.”
“I needed some time to work through things.”
“Why can’t you ever work through things with me by your side to support you?” he asks, kicking at a stone in our path, watching it roll away. “I want to be there for you so badly, through the good and the bad, but you only ever share the good. That’s not how relationships work.”
I shrug, not willing to talk about this. I don’t like talking about my family, and my uncle dying is still so fresh, my emotions so raw. I’ve got no one left now, and I don’t want to dwell on that. Like my dad used to say: Packards don’t cry. Even back when I was still a little gap-toothed girl, he told me to choke back my tears and be strong. I don’t know why he was like that – maybe because Mom died when I was a baby, or because his service in the army turned him into stone. Fact is he raised me to be strong, resilient, and independent. When he died, I managed to not to shed a single tear at his funeral. He wouldn’t have wanted to me to break down. He hated tears.
And now uncle Greg is dead too, the only person I had left. If I talk about that, I will crack, and I don’t do that. I never crack.
“Look, I get that you’ve been through a lot of shit, but that’s no excuse to be this closed-off,” Michel says, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Let me be there for you.”
“You’re not my boyfriend anymore,” I remind him with a hard look. “Why the fuck should I care about you wanting to comfort me? I’m fine. I’m always fine. You know I am. I don’t need you to be my hero.”
He drops his hand and shakes his head. “Okay. Be like that. This is exactly why I can’t do this anymore, Trace.”
“Then go,” I bite out, getting annoyed with him. “You broke up with me, Michel. Why the fuck didn’t you just drive off into the sunset to find a girl that cries over every little thing, huh? Why are you in the woods with me?”
“Because I love you!” he shouts, sounding angrier than I’ve ever heard him. “I love you so fucking much that it’s destroying me, okay? It’s draining to be in love with someone who doesn’t open up. I can take you not being able to cry, but I can’t take you not letting me in. I don’t just want the happy days and the hot sex. I want everything. All of you. The sad and the hurt and the bad days and-”
“Like I said, you can have that with someone else.” I throw a tennis ball for Pumpkin to fetch, deliberately not looking at Michel. I know that when I look into those big brown eyes, I’ll beg him to take me back. I will promise to change for him, but I know I can’t. We tried that so many times before, and it never worked.
“Look at me,” Michel begs, moving in front of me and taking my face in his hands. “Please, Tracy, look at me.”
I try to step back, but I stumble and almost fall. He puts an arm around me to catch me, pulling me into his chest. His scent is so familiar, so warm and inviting. I forget all about our problems for a second, pressing my face into his shirt and inhaling deeply. It’s the smell of home.
The only home I’ve known since Dad died.
“Tracy…” he breathes, one hand knotting my hair while the other runs down my back until he reaches my ass, squeezing it. “Please… give us a shot.”
Somehow, this is always what happens. He breaks up with me, then one of us shows up at the other’s apartment or we run into each other in the street or at the gym or something, he tells me he still loves me but that he needs more, and I beg him to give me another shot, promising things will be different this time around. And then only a few months later, we’re right back where we were, everything crumbling around us once again.
“I can’t,” I say, determined to break the cycle. We can’t keep doing this to each other. “I can’t give you what you need, Michel. You need to walk away from me and never look back.”
He grunts and squeezes my ass tighter, pulling at my hair so my face is titled upwards. Our eyes lock and I can see all his feelings swirling in his deep brown eyes, red and puffy from crying. He’s hurt, and he knows I’m right, but he still loves me. He wants to try again. He is waiting for me to start begging the way I always do, but I can’t. He needs someone better than me. Someone who wants him to hold her hand when life gives her lemons. I’m not that girl. I don’t want him to help me make lemonade. I throw out the goddamn lemons myself, replace them with strawberries with whipped cream and eat them off his naked chest, pushing the memory of those stupid sour lemons out of my mind altogether, never even telling him they were there.
“You should go,” I insist. “We need to end things. You’re right. We can’t keep doing this.”
He dips his head and kisses me, and I melt into him in spite of everything. I wrap my legs around his waist, loving how he holds me up with ease, his hands on my ass. He’s strong, big and manly – just a few of the reasons I love him.
Because I do love him. I do. I really do.
“Michel,” I groan when he starts kissing my neck. “We need to stop this. You’re right. You want things I can’t give you.”
“No, I don’t,” he replies, flicking his tongue over that sensitive spot below my ear. “All I need is you, baby.”
Pumpkin barks loudly, breaking the spell. I slide down Michel’s body and step away from him, pulling my shaking hands through my hair.
“I’m going to take Pumpkin for his walk,” I announce, my voice hard and emotionless, even though inside my chest my heart bleeding. “It’s time for you to go home, Michel.”
“Are you sure?” he asks, sounding like I kicked him while he was already down. “I love you, Tracy. If you could just let me-”
“No,” I cut in sharply. “This is me. This is all you’re ever gonna get, and it’s not enough for you. So unless you’re suddenly okay with not seeing into my soul the way you think you want, you should leave.”
“Okay,” he says, looking like he’s about to cry again. I think he knows as well as I do that this is it. There’s no going back this time. “I should go then. Bye, Tracy.”
I don’t watch him go. I never do. Instead, I walk further into the woods, calling for Pumpkin to follow me. He barks, annoyed that Michel isn’t coming with us. He loves Michel, and he should. He’s amazing. The hottest, sweetest, sexiest, kindest, most understanding person I’ve ever met. Funny as hell, too. But I’m not the one for him, and he knows it. He needs to move on, and I need to let him.
This time, our break-up needs to stick.